IntroductionShen as he is now is commonly banned, and for a good reason. He has all the makings of a strong champion. He's hard to kill, has good crowd control, and is able to do respectable damage without investing heavily in damage items. To top it off, he has a global ultimate that allows him to come to the aid of any ally at any time with a shield that counters Summoner Ignite. All these factors make Shen a popular pick as a solotop.
This guide however is not about solotop Shen, this guide is about support Shen. Support Shen is at least as if not more threatening than solotop Shen, and I write this guide to explain why.
NOTICE: This guide has been updated in response to S3 changes! Enjoy!
Why to play Support Shen
- Extremely good at initiating and peeling
- Good ranged poke
- Very hard to kill
- Ultimate can save a life anywhere, even top lane, which gets ganked very often
- Poke has relatively short range, and you can be kited if you overcommit.
- Sustaining your carry can potentially push your lane
- Shen does significantly less damage than other supports earlygame, so your burst combos are not as likely to kill people earlygame before you are able to build health items.
- Philo stone is not efficient on Shen, making it an undesirable gp10 option. You will have to wait slightly longer than other supports before you can complete a gp10 item typically.
Reasons why this is preferable to top lane Shen?
- Shen can be counterpicked top lane by champions like ChoGath, Olaf, Yorick, and many ranged champions
- Everyone expects Shen to be played top lane, and people who know how to counterpick Shen will do so.
- Shen's kit is by default strongest when assisting an ally. You will not be less effective, but rather more efficient earlygame by playing as support Shen.
- Shen is not countered specifically by any popular bot lane compositions. Shen can viably sustain losing lanes, and viably harass winning ones at any time. He also amplifies jungler ganks incredibly well.
And don't Jungle Shen, please. It takes too long for Shen to gain levels reasonably in the jungle especially if you get counter jungled. Shen always has to lane.
Support Shen is also a good pick when:
- You have one or more solo champions that scales well into lategame but is likely to be bullied and tower dived.
- You do not know what AD carry your team wants to play or what your opposing matchup will be, as Shen can viably adapt to the needs of pretty much any bot lane.
- Your AD carry is extremely strong, but very vulnerable to being dived especially by suppression ultimates. You are an amazing counter to Warwick lategame for instance, but you are not necessarily the best champion for laning against him.
- Your jungler is capable of doing extremely high damage. Jungle Shyvana ganks are heavily teammate reliant for instance, as she lacks tools to lock down targets, but can demolish stationary targets if for instance as Shen you are able to initiate fights for her.
- Your entire team in general is squishy, or lacks good initiation, and needs a tank. Shen is always a good choice when you need a tank. Support Shen for example can work extremely well on double AP comps due to roles he is able to fill that most AP champions are unable to do nearly as effectively.
MasteriesShen is a tanky support whose strengths lie not in his raw damage output, but in being disruptive and hard to kill. Thus masteries in the offensive tree are not as useful on Shen, aside from Summoner's Wrath for improved . I split 15 points in defense and utility the way I play Shen currently.
Of primary importance in the Defense Tree include the following:
- Veteran's Scars, Durability, and Summoner's Resolve: Health is a strong stat on Shen.
- Hardiness and Resistance: Flat Resistances synergize with Shen's shield and building health.
- Block and Unyielding: Shen is somewhat vulnerable to kiting in exchanges. These masteries can add up the most in protecting you from kiting.
Perseverance also works on Shen for increasing your sustain, although you should have plenty of it from your shield as well as simply using your Q on minions if you are taking a lot of harass. The immediate impact from damage mitigation masteries overall is more noticeable in playmaking imo.
In the Utility Tree, I find these masteries important:
- Wealth and Greed: You absolutely need extra gold to increase the versatility of your starting builds as well as maintaining enough gold income to later complete core items.
- Mastermind and Summoner's Insight: Reduced cooldowns on Summoners lets you make more plays.
- Artificer: Reducing the cooldowns of active effect items like Twin Shadows and Locket of Iron Solari is highly useful, given how much these items can add up in teamfights.
RunesAvarice Quints and Seals are mandatory. You want all gold generation runes as a support. Especially on support Shen, earlygame you are slightly more gold starved than other supports because you are not a typical philo rush support. In many matchups, you will usually also want to force the lane into a poke-based farm war, so gold generation runes will generally speaking add up significantly if you play a safe lane. I do however take 1 Armor Seal simply because from what I can tell, a 9th Avarice Seal actually does not do anything due to the game universally rounding down decimals for stat values below 10.
If for whatever reason Riot does actually decide to nerf or otherwise rework Gold runes, or if you don't actually own them, then the next best options to consider are Armor Seals and Mobility Quintessences, given Shen primarily wants durability and mobility to deal with kiting. Without Gold runes, you either have to expect your carry to farm and scale extremely well, or you have to bet on snowballing aggressively, which is typically not the optimal playstyle for Shen.
I prefer Armor Marks and Magic Resist Glyphs on Shen given your job is to tank, and these runes also are the safest for laning phase. Scaling and Flat Magic Resist are both acceptable, but I find Shen so sturdy during the laning phase that usually, I'm more concerned about tanking burst mid and lategame when scaling runes add up more. Ultimately, Marks and Glyphs however up to preference, and the ones I suggest are not the only decent options.
- Magic Penetration: Good for more offensively oriented lanes. If you lane with a Tristana for instance, consider these.
- Magic Resist: You run these mainly for stacking Magic Resist against certain team compositions.
- Armor: Similar to Magic Resist Marks, the primary purpose for running Armor Glyphs is for countering team compositions that lean heavily towards one damage type.
- Ability Power: Combined with Magic Penetration Marks, these scale well with your offensive abilities (as well as your shields) and can be considered for more aggressive lanes.
- Energy: Flat Energy Glyphs to be specific (+20 energy), because scaling Energy Glyphs basically break even with Flat Energy at level 14, and are currently completely pointless until Riot decides to make them give 30-40 energy at level 18. While being Energy based mostly means Shen never has to worry about his abilities being unavailable for extended periods of time, Energy Glyphs actually enable Shen a lot more freedom and versatility in his ability usage throughout the game. With Energy Glyphs, you are able to use all three of your basic skills in one quick rotation almost without delay even if you did not use any Energy restoration options such as your or taunting targets while dashing. Thus for example, you are able to kite people with >> which does in fact cost 230 energy, putting only a 1 second total delay in between casts to use your full kit with Energy Glyphs.
As a tank, you will be taking a lot of damage if you are doing your job of initiating and peeling well, and due to your resistances, Heal will be efficient on you as you protect your carry. Now one thing to keep in mind is that it is best to not actually save Heal for when you or your partner are about to die. It is increasingly common for carries to take Ignite to secure early kills in lane. The best time to use this spell is simply whenever you and your carry have taken enough damage to be able to use the full effect. The sooner you use it, the sooner it will be off cooldown for the next time you may or may not need it.
If you really want to, you can drop Flash on Shen for defensive purposes because your is a damn good escape already. However Shen isn't hugely mobile without Twin Shadows, and you are typically not building Shurelyas Reverie (not that it's a bad option on Shen, it's just there are more efficient items on him). Flash on Shen is super strong for offensive purposes, allowing you a burst of mobility to catch someone off guard with a taunt.
The other summoner spell to take bot lane generally speaking. Exhaust shuts down carries, and can set up kills or be used for peeling. Great summoner.
A great alternative to Flash on Shen that's on a lower cooldown that's excellent for him offensively and defensively. I prefer Flash personally though due to its extra versatility.
Very strong utility spell that's always good on any support. Let's you scout starting items, jungler position, and secure kills on stragglers in bushes, and Improved Clairvoyance also places a reveal debuff on anyone caught within it and then later leaves the area. If you are playing with a pre-made team and especially if you expect a lot of level 1 pressure in the jungle from an invasion, this spell may be a crucial lifesaver.
Passive: Ki Strike
Every 9 seconds, Shen's next attack will deal bonus magic damage equal to 4 + (4 × level) + (10% of his bonus health). Whenever Shen hits an enemy unit with a basic attack, the cooldown is reduced by 1.5 seconds. Shen restores 10 / 20 / 30 energy when he Ki Strikes.
Decent passive, because it lets you build nothing but health and still do respectable damage with your autoattacks. You won't actually get to use this very often during early laning phase, but this passive is pretty noticeable when you have opportunities to taunt and combo their carry. This ability also makes last hitting with Shen a breeze, in the event your carry isn't around to farm the lane for you.
Q: Vorpal Blade
Deals 60/100/140/180/220 (+60% of ability power) magic damage to target unit. That unit becomes life tapped for 5 seconds, healing any champions who attack it for 6/10/14/18/22 (+1.5% of his maximum health) health over 3 seconds, with the duration refreshed upon subsequent damaging. If Vorpal Blade kills a target, Shen is healed for 33% of the normal amount over 1 second.
Cooldown 6 / 5.5 / 5 / 4.5 / 4 seconds
Cost 60 energy
A poke and a heal combined in one. Try to harass the enemy carry or support with this move as often as possible. The more you harass with this move, the more you and your carry can sustain. Alternatively if your lane is getting pushed because you are at a disadvantage, you can throw these on minions and let your carry attack the minions for some free regeneration.
Shen enters a defensive stance, shielding the next 70 / 115 / 160 / 205 / 250 (+60% of ability power) damage. Lasts up to 3 seconds. While Feint is active, Ki Strike's cooldown reduction on hit is doubled to 3 seconds.
Cooldown 9 / 8 / 7 / 6 / 5 seconds
Cost 50 energy
It's a shield. Use this whenever engaging for some free sustain against harass. Use this as well if you intend to land a taunt, since you will absorb some damage from autoattacks when you taunt enemies. Take note that shields and heals scale directly with damage resistances, so generally speaking it is more effective for Shen to initially prioritize resistances than AP to increase the effectiveness of this ability, not to mention his overall ability to tank.
This ability also comes in handy when farming minions, as each autoattack you land during the active duration of your shield significantly lowers the cooldown of your passive. You can and should also use this ability when freezing enemy creep waves as a means to aid your carry's ability to farm (read the section on Early Game for more information).
E: Shadow Dash
Shen rapidly dashes to a target location, Taunting enemy champions he collides with for 1.5 seconds and dealing 50/85/120/155/190 (+50% of ability power) magic damage. Restores 40 Energy per champion he collides with while dashing, and Shen has 50% physical damage reduction from taunted targets.
Cooldown 16 / 14 / 12 / 10 / 8 seconds
Cost 120 energy
You only need one point of this early, but boy it does a lot. This move gives you an escape, a gap closer, and crowd control all in one. Generally speaking as support Shen, you want to save your taunt to peel enemies who engage on your carry. Likewise if you are at an advantage, you can use this as an initiation to lock down enemies for your teammates to kill. And of course if you have to run, this makes an excellent escape and can be used to traverse pretty much any wall.
R: Stand United
Places a shield on both a target allied champion, absorbing 250/550/850 (+150% of ability power) damage for up to 5 seconds. After channeling for 3 seconds, Shen teleports to the target's location.
Cooldown 200 / 180 / 160 seconds
Shen ultimate aw yeah. Saving allies like a true support should. Best part is you can save any ally from anywhere, so even if you're bot lane and top is getting ganked, once you hit 6 you'll be there to save the day.
Level ult whenever available
Max Q first for harass and sustain. Whether you are winning or losing lane, this ability is too good to not level.
One point in E early for crowd control and escape, typically by level 2, sometimes at level 1 for invasions.
Max W second for durability, taking your first point in it by level 3 to improve your self sustain so you can block single target abilities while going for pokes.
If you are winning lane, you can prioritize E after Q for a tiny bit of extra burst damage.
This is pretty much the only way to start off as support Shen. You always want to have at least three wards to cover possible ganks and to control the brush. Rejuvenation Bead also builds into Emblem of Valour, which is a core early game goal for support Shen, and it also makes you very sustainable to make up for your low range.
This is an essential item on supports generally speaking for maintaining a healthy supply of wards, and particularly useful on Shen who scales very well with the Health provided by this item and its upgrade.
You are rather starved for gold income especially because Philosopher Stone is not cost efficient on you. Fortunately, your abilities scale decently with AP, and you have a more than desirable upgrade option that builds from this item.
Get this early if you can generally speaking. The extra HP regen for both you and your carry is great for your laning phase. The armor is also necessary on Shen to help him trade hits with the AD carry.
Pick either one of these pairs of boots, depending on the type of damage the other team does. If you have spare money, the Alacrity Enchantment is overall the most practical one to pick in most situations for general positioning purposes.
The upgrade to Sightstone that provides you more wards and health. Not much to say other than you really want this item.
This is an upgrade option from Kage's Pick, and a very awesome one at that. This item provides you Magic Resist, Movement Speed, Ability Power, and most importantly an active effect that summons two ghosts which reveal and slow nearby enemies. This active effect is both strong for chasing and peeling, and very much can help you in reliably picking fights with your Taunt.
Aegis and Bulwark are items that upgrade from your Emblem of Valor, and provide balanced tanky stats for not just yourself, but for your team. What not to like?
This item provides health, cooldown reduction, and an aura that gives your team Attack Damage and Lifesteal. Strong for buffing your AD oriented champions as well as pushing and completing objectives.
If you need extra armor outside of Ninja Tabi and Runic Bulwark, you also want this item as well, which also gives you a nice amount of health and Cooldown reduction. The active shield synergizes well with Bulwark furthermore.
This item is considerably expensive and no longer builds from a gold per 10 item, but you should consider trying to build it in games where a fed Vayne or Kog'maw are the biggest threat on the enemy team and all your team needs to do to survive is shut them down.
If you are getting really fed, then this is an awesome luxury item on Shen that gives you a lot of health, some damage, and slows on your autoattacks ensuring nobody can escape from you as well as enhancing your already amazing ability to peel.
This is a slightly cheaper alternative to Frozen Mallet that gives you ability power and slows on your abilities rather than your autoattacks. Damagewise, you get more from Frozen Mallet in teamfights, and defensively, Frozen mallet also grants you more health. However Shen's ultimate scales very well with Ability Power, which can be very beneficial in clutch situations in saving allies that would otherwise get killed when being focused.
Has been nerfed significantly, but is still an option on Shen if you are getting fed and want to increase your damage output. The Attack Speed is very beneficial for procing your passive more in fights, which increases your ability to regain energy.
Now a high end Magic Resist item as opposed to being a cheap one. You get health, a lot of cooldown reduction, and magic resist, and the passive effect scales very strongly with your Qs healing. This is overall a more optimal item if you can combo it with Warmogs, but still worth considering if you need lots of magic resistance against the enemy team.
This is an option that really should only be considered if you are decently ahead but expecting the game to go on fairly long, as Philosopher Stone is not very efficient on Shen. However Eleisa's will reduce the cooldown of your Heal summoner spell, which can be very useful in teamfights.
This item provides an HP regen aura, Ability Power, armor, and it buffs minion damage. Another option to upgrade from Emblem of Valor. The upgraded minion is a bit of a gimmick, but nonetheless useful any time you want to push a lane. Especially since you are Shen and have a global ultimate, roaming the map to push lanes with this item can be pretty powerful.
Early GameSupport Shen like many other supports shines early game. His kit is very versatile and effective offensively and defensively. You should not however usually play Shen with a kill-lane mindset from the start, because his burst damage output is overall very low earlygame. While your E makes a good lockdown initiation, you probably won't be able to easily set up a kill with it unless your lane partner is someone like Tristana, and even then other supports are better for dedicated kill lanes. This doesn't mean however you can't be an effective aggressive support in some lanes.
Alright, I'm playing support Shen. Wtf am I supposed to do?Your top priority generally speaking is to enable your carry to farm. There are two basic ways to do this when you play support in general. Either keep your carry alive, or bully the other team's bot lane so that they can't farm and harass efficiently. Shen is a support who can do both these things very effectively, so it is your job to be able to read the situation at hand and decide whether you want to harass the enemy or keep your carry alive.
If you are team blue, and your lane is pushed, you should usually try to get your carry to take the minor Golems when they are available. Your (and later your ) makes you excellent at tanking the Golems, and it's a good source of experience and gold when there are no other minions to farm.
I feel like a badass, so how do I bully people?Bullying people with Shen is about Qing them mostly. Keep in mind, this is actually harder than it sounds. Shen's Q only has 475 range, which significantly shorter ranged than any AD carry's autoattack range. Generally speaking, your approach is limited to brush camping to close the gap and then attempting to Q their carry or support as they last hit or commit to something that puts them out of position. AD carries with good reflexes and positioning generally speaking can get free hits on you as you try to walk up and Q them.
It is worth keeping in mind that given you start with a Rejuvenation Bead, you will naturally have a higher than average amount of health regeneration, so typically you can come out ahead in long term exchanges by simply persisting successfully at Q pokes. Alternatively, the threat of hitting an opposing carry with a Q or an E is often able to actually deny last hits under certain situations especially if they lack a sustain support, so oftentimes you can simply zone people by walking towards them. If you are taking a lot of harass though, you can Q and attack minions as a source of health regeneration.
Speaking of E, your taunt can be used as an initiation tool, although you only really want to try this if you are certain your AD carry can follow up for big damage, particularly if this will guarantee a kill or at least blown defensive summoners. If you and your carry are at a reasonably strong advantage early on in lane, you may consider taking extra points in E to increase your burst damage output by a tiny bit.
Wtf, my carry is wimpy. What can I do?Fear not, this is another reason why Shen is a good support, because you also have the option of playing lanes defensively very effectively. As a defensive support, you generally will save your E to peel attackers as necessary, or you will be using your lane presence to prevent the other team from approaching your carry safely.
If your AD carry is taking a lot of harass, you can also heal your carry by letting them attack targets that you mark with your Q. The ideal situation is landing a Q on their carry/support and having your carry poke them back, which both heals your carry as well as dealing damage to the other team. Typically though if a lane is disadvantageous, you will often be pushed closer to turret. What you can do as Shen is Q healthy minions, and have your carry attack those. The heal may not look impressive immediately, but you can do it repeatedly, and it adds up quite a lot over time. While Shen does not have the same "burst" heal potential a Soraka, Sona, or even an Alistar might have, he can very easily keep up in sustain over time with these supports if played effectively because he is manaless.
Keep in mind, Shen has more difficulty than other supports in directly assisting his carry in last hitting minions under turret with the standard earlygame last hitting techniques given that his and will both do more than enough damage to kill minions under turret fire, and at higher levels when used together do enough damage to almost completely wipe out caster minions. Early on, you should typically prioritize freezing lane (which is preventing creep waves from moving past a certain point, such as into turret range). Alternatively if it really looks like your carry can't get all the last hits under turret, you might as well take some of them for yourself, and then take advantage of the brief period when your is on cooldown to properly assist your carry in last hits. Before your carry builds significant damage items, typically they will need an extra autoattack to last hit caster minions under turret consistently.
How do I use wards?The following tips apply generally speaking to all supports. You want be able to have at minimum two wards per every trip back. The more ideally, the better, as this enables you and your carry to stay in lane longer with less risk.
1. If you are blue team, the most practical places to ward to prevent ganks include Dragon and the ramp leading to wraiths. This will prevent ganks from either directly through the river or from behind Dragon as long as you pay attention to the map, and this also helps keep your mid lane safe as well.
2. If you are trying to conserve wards but still want reasonably good coverage of ganks coming from the river, you can always simply just ward the area in between and above the tri bush and the bot river bush. This ward location works slightly better for purple team.
3. Warding bushes in the lane is good. You can do this to enable your carry to harass supports that are brush camping, which is especially critical against supports like , , and . It is also very common for junglers to attempt ganks by telling their bot lane to push the creep waves so that you do not have vision of them approaching through the lane bushes.
4. If your team invaded the jungle early to steal an important buff, it is prudent to ward the corresponding buff on your side of the map to make sure the other jungler doesn't attempt to counter invade for free. Likewise you can use wards aggressively against predictable junglers to give vision of when they reach a certain objective and encourage your team to kill them.
5. Likewise, vision wards (and later oracle's) can and should be used to deny the opponent vision used for any of the above stated purposes. If you are carrying a vision ward as Shen early on, you probably want to save it for defensive purposes, to deny your opponent vision in brush you are camping in, because your low range makes you more vulnerable to kiting than other supports. If you are using a vision ward to counter a ward in the location noted in point #2, it's usually wise to place this particular ward in the bot river bush.
Mid GameAround about 7 minutes into the game, you can afford a assuming you followed my runes, masteries, and build. You still want plenty of wards however, and then your build goals are typically and . One you have a Sightstone, you should typically be purchasing extra vision wards and save those for counter warding at key locations.
I hit level 6. Now what?This is one of the best reasons to be playing Shen. You have the unique ability of counter ganking lanes from anywhere, at any time. Top lane in particular is ganked very often due to the multitude of ambush points a jungler can initiate a fight from top lane as well as due to not being warded nearly as heavily. A well-timed ult should generally save a life and under some circumstances possibly enable a kill. Be careful that you don't get interrupted by even a silence from Soraka if you're intending to peel attackers from the person you are ulting, although this does not cancel the shield that you place on your target.
Of course, one of the only downsides to support Shen compared to other supports is his ultimate isn't as directly helpful bot lane as others because ulting to save the life of your carry isn't quite as effective if the other team then switches focus to you while you're in lane. Don't take this to be a bad thing overall, because the rest of your kit is still very strong for serving whatever purpose your AD carry needs.
In emergencies however, you can also use your ultimate as a way to get back to lane faster as you recall ideally to purchase more wards and other stuff essential for you lane.
I'm bored here! Shouldn't someone be dying around now?Forcing someone out of lane can be just as good, so generally speaking you don't want to get too greedy if your team already establishes a clear advantage.
If you really want someone to die however, possibly because their support/carry scales better or is farming better or is otherwise problematic to deal with in lane, then keep in mind that Shen is also very strong midgame when your jungler comes to gank. In this situation, be ready to flash E their carry if necessary. A good stunlock from your jungler, Shen's taunt, and perhaps an Ashe or Varus ultimate will probably kill someone very easily.
Before you call your jungler for a gank, it's prudent to thoroughly ward any location from which the opposing jungler or mid lane could attempt a counter gank. If the enemy jungler is someone like or in particular, take some time beforehand to actually ward inside their jungle, because they will avoid the standard warding spots at the river with their ultimates.
Dragon ControlA team with Shen in general can kill Dragon very easily due to how strong Shen's sustain is. If you know the other team lacks vision at Dragon, or especially if your jungler successfully killed someone either bot or mid lane, your team should generally try to be very aggressive in controlling Dragon. Shen's gives free sustain for everyone who attacks Dragon, and you are strong at tanking Dragon as well due to your shield and sustain, as well as the fact you typically will run . If you are worried about not being able to kill Dragon quickly, then simply purchase a as soon as possible, which will give everyone near you more lifesteal and attack damage, and it gives you extra cooldown reduction as well which aside from making you a more useful teammate further enables you to tank dragon with relative ease.
Late GameBy this point of the game, a lot of turrets are probably destroyed on either side, and teams are grouping and looking for opportunities to catch people out of position or to complete objectives quickly. By now, you probably might have completed your Ruby Sightstone, two utility/tank items, and some form of boots. Also by this point of the game, it is important to acquire an .
I'm Shen, so can I split push now?It certainly is an option given you can be on one side of the map and use your ult to join your team during a fight, but most of the time, you are more useful either staying near your team, or if you have to roam by yourself, you are typically just warding wherever you can to give your team vision on the entire map as well as searching for enemy wards to destroy. As support Shen, you typically will not have the luxury of building DPS items or , so you will be extremely slow at split pushing without any of those items.
If you do intend to split push however, as a general tip, ward places. The luxury of split pushing safely by properly warding the map is very very inexpensive, and generally speaking you don't want to die pointlessly to ganks. Especially if for whatever reason you don't have completed, you should think very carefully before wandering away from the rest of your team.
So, again, how do I use wards?For the most part place wards wherever you like lategame. Typically good places to ward for the sake of managing objectives are the brush near buffs as well as Baron and Dragon as well as the paths leading to Wraith camps. Baron in particular should be kept warded at all times lategame, because completing Baron is worth 5 champion kills as well as huge stat buffs comparable to having your own personal Sona.
In general, try to pay attention to the position of the enemy team, and take advantage of this to ward places where they aren't hiding currently, because even if you're a tank, it's not fun to get caught by their entire team hiding in that one tiny bush near Baron or Wraiths. Wards also have other fun uses such as warding over the walls inside their base to give vision of people turret hugging, or even enabling a teammate with teleport to backdoor more efficiently. And of course in emergencies, you can also ward over the walls behind Baron if you lack a safer way of acquiring vision of it.
Teamfighting with Shen? Am I even relevant as a support?You are a tank, and your name is Shen. This is actually one of the easiest as well as the most satisfying parts of playing Shen in my opinion, and this is another reason why Shen makes an excellent support. Shen generally speaking will never fail to transition well into lategame as a disruptive tank due to how inexpensive his core build options are as well as the utility of his kit.
In teamfights, you can either peel enemies from your carry, or you can initiate on someone out of position. This requires being able to assess how well your team is able to focus targets or defend against initiations. If the other team has a threatening assassin, you probably want to prioritize peeling the assassin when he attempts to dive your carry. If your team is capable of really high burst damage, then you want to try taunting a squishy target. If other members of your team are capable of initiating, it also can be good to wait for them to start, and then take advantage of this to get in a better position to either taunt multiple targets or isolate high priority threats during the chaos. If the other team is still doing a lot of damage to your carries, then do remember to use your ultimate. At max rank, blocking 850 damage on an allied unit is extremely strong. Combine this with the active effect from , you can potentially be blocking up to 2000 points of damage total for your team.
Are you getting focussed and killed during teamfights after you get off your full spell rotation? If teams are fairly evenly matched, then it's probably fine if you are the first to die on the team as long as you disabled someone and saved lives on your team. Of course, if your team is not particularly strong, then dying might be a waste of an Oracle for Shen. The best case scenario however is the other team not only focusses you, but they fail to actually kill you before you escape, which is not a very unrealistic scenario when you keep in mind that Shen's at max rank with 20% cooldown reduction is on a 6.4 second cooldown. Of course, you have to keep in mind that your E has an extremely high energy cost. Which brings me to my next section.
Energy managementWhile Shen is a very forgiving champion by design, your ability to manage Shen's energy costs will truly determine the skilled Shen players from the decent ones. Here I will give some basic guidelines on how to manage Shen's energy. These alone will not make or break Shen, but mastery of your resource management in general will make you a better and more efficient player. Ask yourself these questions to determine the optimal way to use your abilities.
1. Do I have blue buff?If so, then don't worry too much about your energy costs and feel free to go nuts in fights if you're not committing suicide. Yes Blue Buff is actually strong on Shen. Lower cooldowns are never a bad thing, and combined with the huge bonus in energy regeneration, you can be significantly more aggressive with Shen when you are carrying a Blue Buff. This does not mean that you should be taking it from your AP carry, but in the event you are able to steal a buff from the other team, it's a very very nice bonus on Shen.
2. How badly do I need to escape?At rank 1, the cooldown on Shen's is such that it forces you to wait long enough to the point that its energy cost is a relatively minor issue. At higher ranks however, using Shen's dash strictly as an escape will pretty much put you almost completely out of energy after using it twice in a row, especially if you are using it as soon as possible with 15-25% cooldown reduction factored, which my suggested build will put you at. If you use your to block incoming damage, keep in mind there is a risk involved as you will often have to wait slightly longer for your energy to restore to a point where you are allowed to dash again. Keep in mind a 1-2 second delay in hopping a wall can make or break a successful escape with Shen.
3. What do I need when initiating?Do I need damage or do I need crowd control? If you need damage and want to go for the instagib (with teammates of course), then by all means unload your EQW immediately on the unfortunate person you caught out of position. Note that this costs 230 energy. You regain 40 energy for taunting a single target, and at level 13 you regain 30 energy for using . Basically this leaves you with 40 energy remaining. By the time your is ready again, you will only barely have just enough energy to recast it assuming you cast no other abilities within that timeframe. With that in mind, if you left out your from the engage, you would have just enough energy to dash in again, and then someone successfully assuming the taunt landed. Now on the other hand, if you strictly saved your energy for only using , you pretty much would break about even in energy costs and energy restored assuming your dash always taunted a single champion and assuming you are using your dash about as soon as possible with 25% cooldown reduction factored. If you taunted 3 champions on the other hand, then feel free to go nuts, because not only did you completely refund your energy for dashing, it was probably such a damn good initiation that your team should win that fight, and should win it fast.
4. Did I just flat out screw up and miss an offensive taunt?Check tip 2 and think for a moment carefully before carelessly tossing a on someone as you retreat.
5. Am I going to be autoattacking a lot?If you're really fed, build a Frozen Mallet so you can stick to enemies with your autoattacks and then if you are expected to semi-carry games, get a Wits End for raw DPS. Shen can restore his energy more efficiently if he increases the rate at which he can proc .
Jungling (Don't play Jungle Shen, but learn protect your own jungle pls)
Don't play Shen as a jungler please!In my opinion, playing Shen actually as a jungler is never going to be the most efficient way of playing him. While he has respectable ganks that can juke wards, and is sustained enough to jungle for a year with no immediately ill-effects, you suffer problems similar to that of Warwick, in that your clear time is slow, given you have no AOE clears and especially in the case of Shen, rather poor offensive steroids. Unless you can expect your team to be able to guard your jungle constantly from invasions, you will almost certainly have buffs and small camps stolen from you when playing against other faster jungle picks. You also happen to be very weak and vulnerable during your early levels where you will likely will have taken a decent amount of damage from clearing your first camps, which is a point where many other junglers who do more damage than you can pick fights and at the very least further slow you down, if not potentially kill you.
The main good thing is because you're a tanky support-oriented champion, your transition outside of the jungle is pretty easy given you scale well with durability items. A jungler like Master Yi is a very risky pick not because he can't manage his own jungle reasonably, but because as a carry jungler, he requires really expensive damage items to remain functional when transitioning to teamfights. As Shen generally speaking, you never really will have that problem given your Taunt and Global ultimate are always useful abilities, and your as usual makes you a significant Dragon/Baron threat.
HOWEVER, if you want to be good, you need to pay attention to your jungle!As a support however, you can be a lot more useful to your team if you have a good understanding of how jungling works. During the start of the game, it is very common for teams to invade the other team's jungle at level 1 to either secure first blood or steal a crucial buff. Earlygame, you may want to delay taking a point in any skill at all during initial jungle procedures because in the event your team is invading, or the other team chooses to invade, a point in can make or break a teamfight as well as give you a way to escape from bad situations. If your team is defending blue, tell your mid laner to defend that midlane river bush ASAP at all costs. No, I do not mean the tiny bush near Dragon/Baron, or that curved bush above/below it. I mean the bush that is perpendicular to the river and RIGHT NEXT TO MID LANE. It frustrates me tremendously when I watch my team fail to defend that crucial location because it's not only a smart thing to do, a lot of people apparently don't do it at all, and it makes it too easy for to get away with free blind grabs if nobody gives vision of that one location.
In general, if you are expecting the other team to invade the jungle at some point, it is very prudent to get to the buff that your jungler isn't starting at and ward it ASAP. If you see the other team steal it early, then your team can make an effort to steal the corresponding buff on the other side of the map to even things out. If on the other hand a lone jungler foolishly tries to steal that buff all by himself, then he's free money if your team hunts him down.
You can also ward inside the enemy jungle for offensive purposes as well. If your jungler is very strong and is planning to invade, you can ward either at an important buff (usually red buff), or near wraiths to track the other jungler's movement. This will enable your jungler to either steal a camp safely, or find a good opportunity to pick a fight.
If the enemy mid laner is someone like Anivia who is extremely dependent on the Ancient Golem buff to do anything, then (especially if you are on team Blue) you usually want to try to find a safe opportunity to ward the enemy blue buff at around 5:30 (given in most cases, the first large camp that was taken respawns at around 7:15ish). If you can get your team to cooperate and contest for that buff successfully, then that could potentially win mid lane for you.
In general, if you are expecting predictable plays to be made in the jungle in locations that you could easily punish when you see them happen, then it's usually a good idea to ward in such a location. Crippling the enemy jungle is probably one of the best ways to secure a large advantage earlygame, as this enables your other lanes to play more aggressively and come out ahead in 2v2s when your own jungler counter ganks.
Of course, sometimes you will have free time during laning phaseIf there is absolutely nothing else to do, and your jungler is on the other side of the map, you can and should farm the jungle, or better yet assist your carry in doing that. This is typically very difficult to do safely right when the game starts given how much damage jungle creeps do at level 1, but if you have pushed your lane significantly, then sometimes instead of being overextended against opponents that are trying to freeze lane, it's easier to just retreat into your jungle and do Golems or Wolves, depending on being team Blue or Purple respectively. Shen is one of the better supports at enabling safe farming of neutrals due to his sustain, so you should take advantage of farming neutrals as often as possible as long as you aren't sacrificing lane control.
Lane partnersCarry synergy is ranked as STRONG, DECENT, or SITUATIONAL
Ashe is a strange carry. She's ridiculously strong levels 1-2, but usually extremely weak after that, although her ultimate makes her incredibly scary especially when combined with the threat of her jungler and support. You are an excellent support for her however because you can both help her be aggressive early on, as well as peel and sustain for her during her weaker parts of her laning phase, given she can usually take advantage of your heal pretty safely due to her range. When you both hit level 6, the threat of a chain stun is absolutely ridiculous.
This lane if played right will make people's lives miserable, simply put. Caitlyn has a significant range advantage on all AD carries, which in a way synergizes very strongly with your poke oriented playstyle of tossing Qs on enemies. It's basically impossible for ANYONE to outtrade this lane if the Caitlyn simply autoattacks anything you put your Q on. Specifically, you can absolutely crush almost any other AD carry in exchanges by just simply landing your Q on them and getting Caitlyn to attack them. Overall kill and snowball potential is fairly low simply because it's much harder for Caitlyn to follow up any of your taunt combos with burst damage, but this lane can work pretty well if you are able to force people out of lane repeatedly.
Corki is a short ranged carry that has an awesome combination of both respectable burst and damage over time. He doesn't have too many weaknesses outside of his shorter range, but his high consistent damage is very attractive for Shen, who trades damage earlygame for strong disruption and sustain. Lategame he especially appreciates your ability to peel when he has to get really close to enemies to reach his full damage potential. Solid lane with few downsides.
Draven's autoattacks can do a ridiculous amount of damage while his spinning axes are up. And his Stand Aside ability can be a good initiation or followup for your taunt combos. Pretty simple, but this of course makes him a great laning partner with Shen, on top of the fact that your ability to peel is very valuable for him.
Ezreal is a carry that is very strong earlygame. He is very hard to kill due to his escapes, and his Mystic Shot and Essence Flux burst is quite strong. Combined with your taunt combos, this can be a very powerful combination, especially if he can land his Essence Flux on you to increase your attack speed during combos. Overall I'd consider him not as easy to pair with Shen than other carries who have more consistent sources of damage output, but a skilled Ezreal can work really well with Shen if he consistently can play to his strengths as well as yours aggressively.
Graves is tanky, has a lot of earlygame burst and a respectable attack speed steroid, while he's hindered lategame by short range and the fact his steroid is tied to his escape. Shen is an amazing support for him because you can give him free sustain, set up combos for him, and you can peel very well for him enabling him to actually use his steroids offensively without worrying as much about being dived.
Think of laning with Jayce as like laning with Graves. He can play like a short ranged AD carry with a lot of burst. The other great thing about Jayce is his Acceleration Gate not only enables him to have good poke and escapes, it also can be used to help your initiation with taunt combos. All in all very versatile, and great damage output to follow up any initiation attempts you make.
Kennen as an AD carry is very strong early and midgame at the cost of having abilities that do not scale well later on with an AD oriented build. In a way, laning with a Kennen is a lot like laning with Ezreal, in that his early damage output and harass can potentially let you dominate lane, but if you don't dominate lane significantly, then Kennen proves to be rather pointless. The main advantages he has over Ezreal in particular are being manaless, and that setting up a chainstun can be rewarding. However, his burst damage output isn't as high, and it is also very hard to set up a chainstun with Kennen consistently. While Shen can be good at picking fights, he doesn't do as much damage as other supports, and his kit is typically better for peeling, which is not something Kennen generally needs from Shen. All in all this lane can work alright, but there's clearly better options.
KogMaw is a strong carry in every area with few weaknesses besides a slightly below average earlygame and a lack of escape options. While his kit doesn't necessarily synergize especially well with Shen's, your ability to peel and sustain for him is very valuable at all points of the game. Lategame he's one of the strongest carries in terms of raw damage anyway, which as Shen you very much appreciate.
Miss Fortune is very strong earlygame and can do a lot of damage over time during laning phase, but is typically hindered lategame by a lack of escapes as well as shorter range. Because you are Shen however, you compliment her incredibly well due to your ability to peel as well as initiate, and you can really enable her to be more relevant lategame.
Sivir is an overall strong AD carry with no weaknesses besides having the shortest range of all AD carries, but this is compensated for by her fantastic if difficult to use kit. A skilled Sivir is always an asset to your laning phase, and for Shen this is no exception. Your taunt combos into her Boomerang Blade are devastating. Her ultimate is SUPER strong combined with your kit, as the attack speed and mobility are super strong stats on Shen, allowing you to use Ki Strike more, as well as stick to targets more easily. A good Sivir should overall be hard to kill when her ultimate and spell shield are up, but you can really seal the deal by being there to peel that last guy who thinks he can dive after popping her spell shield.
Very good lane to troll people. Teemo's toxic shot can proc your Q healing for extra sustain. Your taunt combined with Teemo's global taunt works wonders in baiting people. Well placed Mushrooms also can really mess people up and make it so much easier for you to initiate on stragglers. All in all this lane actually can work pretty well hopefully with hilarious results. The only real downside is Teemo doesn't have any AD scaling abilities to boost his damage output lategame.
Synergy: TEEMO TOO STRONK
Tristana is a lot like Ashe in that she's ridiculously strong for the first few levels, and then kinda sucks after that, although she's still a ridiculously huge lategame threat, and also scary when her jungler and support can be there to amplify her. Shen unfortunately isn't the best support for her because his damage output is overall really low early on, so he can't snowball Tristana nearly as easily as other supports. Tristana lategame however does reasonably fine with Shen. While her range and escape make her less dependent on peeling, she still much appreciates your ability to initiate fights.
While TF is overall better played as an AP mid for multiple reasons, he actually can lane very effectively with Shen as an AD carry. He has good mana sustain, and combined with your ability to sustain his health, he can be hard to push out of lane. Furthermore the combined threat of his stun and your taunt is pretty scary, especially if he carries Ignite. If you want an early kill lane as Shen, TF might fit your style. Once you both hit level 6, you can simultaneously gank a lane by having TF ult, and then you ult immediately after he does to follow up, and this should all but completely guarantee a kill on pretty much anything that isn't Zilean carrying a Guardian Angel. While TF typically falls off lategame especially as an AD carry due to his very short autoattack range, this isn't as much of a problem for him if as Shen you peel attackers who dive him.
Synergy: STRONG (surprisingly)
The main issue with Twitch right now is simply because he's overall a weaker champion than some other carries, but he does have some good points worth mentioning when laning with him. The first is that his W is a really long ranged slow, and if he lands it, it often can be favorable to attempt a hard engage. The second is that your ability to peel otherwise can make him rather hard to kill before he stealths. All in all he's not supremely awesome in the name of utility or burst damage to synergize with Shen, but his kit does have enough to be pretty effective.
Urgot is not a true AD carry, but rather a tanky ranged anti-carry. His laning phase is overall strong, but Shen actually contributes very little to amplify Urgot's effectiveness in lane for the most part, due to his low damage output. Urgot's especially short autoattack range makes him significantly worse at taking advantage of your manaless sustain compared to real AD carries and worse at defending you from kiting earlygame. Your taunt here and there can be used to help him pick fights, but given your low damage, Urgot overall has better options for supporting him.
Varus is like MF in that his laning phase is very strong, while his lategame is generally hindered by a lack of escapes, so the fact you can peel for him is automatically a win. His earlygame damage output is high enough to justify initiating fights to potentially snowball, and when he hits level 6, he can follow up your taunt easily with a Snare for guaranteed kills. Overall a strong laning partner for Shen.
Vayne is one of the weakest carries earlygame, in exchange for being one of the strongest lategame in terms of sheer damage output. Laning with Vayne is tough however. While you do have decent sustain, really aggressive burst lanes can make your life difficult given how squishy Vayne is. Midgame however you can very easily snowball Vayne if you land a good taunt and she lands a stun. Lategame you both should probably just utterly destroy everything in sight with little trouble provided you enabled Vayne to farm reasonably. Anything that tries to dive Vayne will probably die once you peel them.
As you can see, Shen is a very strong and versatile support champion with a kit that can compliment many AD carries very effectively. Obviously some supports synergize more strongly with certain carries, a few examples including Sona+Caitlyn, Leona+Corki, and Nunu+MF, but Shen as he is now is a very strong pick for support simply because he's very safe.
Lane matchupsLanes matchups and how to approach them are rated as PASSIVE, FLEXIBLE, or AGGRESSIVE
Note that there are in fact a number of common lane combinations featuring one champion who you want to be aggressive against, and another who you want to be passive against. In most of those situations, some differing depending on your own lane partner, you want to err on the side of being passive, given Shen is significantly stronger defensively early on than he is offensively given he's a sustain and poke oriented support.
Actually one of the harder AD carries for Shen to deal with at least by himself. She has longer range than most AD carries, especially on her Volley. While she's squishy and lacks escapes, a skilled Ashe can be difficult for Shen to land a taunt on, let alone a Q. Her slow also generally gives her a significant advantage in kiting you. Most other AD carries however can outburst her provided she doesn't have a crit saved up.
Much like Ashe, Caitlyn has a big enough range advantage on you that it can be very difficult to initiate on her, especially combined with her brush control using traps. Keep in mind that your can be used to fully absorb the damage from disarming her traps, although you want to be very careful doing this if their support is also capable of locking you down. You will generally have to play passive against a Caitlyn until your jungler can initiate a gank.
Pre-level 6, you generally can bully him with pokes as long as you don't sit in his Gatling Gun, although you generally can't kill him if he always saves his Valkyrie for escaping. Post level 6 his missile barrage is kinda annoying, although you can sustain it.
Ouch, Draven seriously hurts. Anyhow while he does have shorter range, you actually don't want to pick a fight with him early simply because his Spinning Axe damage is actually hard to deal with, even when you Taunt him, and while his escapes aren't that good, they probably will be enough earlygame to keep him relatively safe and kite you. Play the lane safe until you can build a decent amount of armor.
Ezreal is currently one of the most popular AD carries, and another champion you probably have to play passive against, but Shen is overall probably one of the better picks for support against an Ezreal. Ezreal has relatively high burst in both his Mystic Shot and Essence Flux, and gets some attack speed after landing his abilities. Your dash can be used on reaction to his skillshots to dodge them, but more importantly your shield can heavily nullify the damage of his Mystic Shot. Take advantage of this to protect your own carry from Ezreal's poke and burst. You have to be extremely careful to watch what he builds later though, because getting caught by a Phage proc from Ezreal can be really scary. You especially don't want him to get you low when he hits level 6. Before he does build Phage, it's possible for your carry to outtrade Ezreal if you are able to Q him first and don't let Ezreal land too many abilities on your carry. Just keep in mind that Ezreal is extremely difficult to kill under normal circumstances and that his blink will get him out of the vast majority of trouble, although occasionally you can sometimes pressure him into wasting mana on it by simply getting close enough to Q him.
Graves has a lot of earlygame burst and is tanky, and typically runs with a sustain support. Harassing him is probably not worth the trouble early on. Focus on keeping your carry alive, as typically Graves is not as strong as most other carries lategame on equal farm.
You can accuse me later of being lazy by comparing his laning phase to that of Graves, but I don't think it's really an inaccurate statement. He has a very strong earlygame in his burst and tankier than average stats, and does well with a lot of sustain supports. Early on he'll generally outbully you and your carry in most matchups, and initiating on him can be a bad idea if it just gives him the idea to drop the hammer on you and go for the kill. He does fall off slightly lategame due to his shorter range, so naturally if you can keep the lane against him a farm war, things are more manageable usually.
Kennen has a lot of mobility and harass potential, so attempting to harass him is usually more trouble than it is worth, especially when he hits level 6 and has his ultimate up to cockblock your initiation attempts. Generally speaking, Kennen will outduel most AD carries early on, but this isn't a huge problem for you if you simply focus on sustain in this matchup. Your sustain is potentially endless, which is overall a decent check to Kennen's potentially endless harass.
Gameplan : PASSIVE
Kogmaw lacks escapes and doesn't have much burst early on, and his range is low while his steroids are down, so this matchup allows you to be aggressive early on. Especially because he's one of the strongest lategame carries, you definitely don't want him to free farm. Take advantage of his low range and burst early and try to get your AD carry to harass him hard.
She's a short ranged AD carry that lacks any real escape. She is known for being strong earlygame, but at the same time she's one of the easier carries for Shen to bully due to her lack of true burst. She can do a lot of damage over time if you're not careful and get caught in a bad position by her support (Nunu for instance is particularly scary paired with MF), but as long as you keep your engagements against her relatively short and don't sit in her abilities, it's not impossible for Shen to sustain this matchup either. If your carry also is able to do good burst damage however, you probably want to be aggressive in this matchup.
While she has short range, her spellshield is annoying, and she's very dangerous to get close to due to the insane damage on her Boomerange Blade. Unless you can consistently bait a spell shield from an inexperienced Sivir, you will want to focus more on simply just staying away from her and her Boomerang Blade, avoiding CC from her support, and focusing on sustain during the times you do get hit.
Short range? Check. Low burst? Check. You can definitely be aggressive in this matchup if you want to. Don't get kited however, because Teemo's early damage over time is actually pretty silly if you let him kite you. At the same time though, he's Teemo. He's not nearly as huge of a damage threat as other AD carries lategame. Play the lane however you want or need to.
Tristana sucks a lot midgame if she doesn't get fed. Force the lane into a farm war early on, and only later get aggressive when you have a guaranteed jungler gank incoming. Obviously a farmed Tristana will be very scary lategame, but overall you want to play this lane safe because a Tristana that snowballs with early kills will be extremely difficult to handle.
He can be a bit scary if laning with a support that has crowd control and he's carrying Ignite. Other than that, he's not that hard for Shen to bully. Pay attention to his Pick a Card cooldown and try to be aggressive if he wastes it on a minion. He has short range, and he's a squishy champion without real escapes, so picking fights with him is usually favorable if you aren't in danger of being chain stunned. Your ultimate also can be used to directly counter his ultimate if he tries to use it to gank a lane.
One of the squishier carries overall and doesn't really have great escapes, meaning initiating on him is usually favorable. He can do decent damage if landing max stacks of his passive and Expunge, but typically is otherwise not that great at immediately winning trades especially if you dodge his W.
Urgot is a laning menace especially if paired with someone like Soraka who can sustain his mana. For the most part playing against him is simply a game of surviving early on. He falls off pretty hard later on in the game damagewise because he relies more on his Q than his autoattack for damage. Make sure you and your carry dodge his E, because Urgot is one of few champions that is actually good at harassing and potentially killing people under their own turrets early on if he lands his E. Try to call for ganks if he's being particularly aggressive, because his escapes are rather bad, and early on especially without his ultimate, he's pretty squishy if focused by a team, just typically hard to kill one on one usually. If by chance however he's not laning with Soraka, consider kiting him with your Q (which in this matchup, actually does outrange his autoattack) before he hits 4, and especially if he runs low on mana early. Most of the time though you will be forced to play very carefully after he's level 4 though.
While Varus has high damage potential, his damage is skillshot reliant, so good juking skills can heavily affect how you play this matchup. If you can consistently dodge his Piercing Arrow, you should try to be aggressive while he has it on cooldown. You do want to be a little bit cautious engaging him when he's level 6 and has his Snare up though.
Vayne is weak early and has short range, and you definitely don't want her to free farm. Much like with KogMaw, you can and should bully her early on. Be very careful when trying to taunt her however if your health is low, because that true damage will kill you. Try to build a Randuin's Omen if she starts getting out of control.
Alistar has significantly stronger crowd control than you do, and can punish you very hard earlygame if you get really careless. However his mana costs on his offensive abilities are extremely high, and he has to make a choice between a successful all-in or passive sustain given his mana restrictions. You should typically try your best to kite him as often as possible due to this. If his carry doesn't have a lot of burst damage, then don't be afraid to autoattack Alistar occasionally in trades, just remember to have your dash ready to escape from difficult situations. Successfully escaping from a Pulverize Headbutt combo will typically put Alistar very far behind in lane.
Blitzcrank is another crowd control monster that outdamages you significantly. Shen however can fare pretty well against Blitz due to his sustain and strong escape. Because of this, you generally want to be protecting your AD carry by standing in front of him if you're worried Blitz is in range to grab him. Warding bushes against Blitz is mandatory so that your carry can harass him for brush camping. Harassing him as Shen is risky but possible, given your short range makes you potentially easy to grab, although you can also Shadow Dash on reaction to his grab, which is extremely energy intensive, but thankfully Blitz's grab is on an extremely long cooldown.
Fighting against a support Fiddlesticks early is mostly about picking your opportunities well. His main source of damage and self sustain, namely his Drain, can be easily interrupted by your taunt, and typically it's easy to kill him in this situation. However his Fear is a very good disable that lasts a long time, which can be used to his advantage either for peeling or setting up initiations for his carry. Playing the lane passively on the other hand works too, given your sustain for the most part outmatches his poke ability with the Crow. At level 6 he's significantly more dangerous than you are on the other hand especially when amplifying a gank, so if you didn't shut him down early, you will want to make sure you have plenty of wards to anticipate when he wants to try for an initiation with his ultimate. If you're fast and in range, it is possible to interrupt his ultimate channel with your taunt of course, but opportunities to do this typically will be rare.
Galio has a rather weak duo laning phase as a bot lane support, and obviously will only be a really serious threat when he acquires his ultimate. You outsustain him very hard early in the game, and he doesn't have a ranged autoattack to kite you with, although his Q is both a very strong slow and does have respectable base damage. In general, you want to abuse his carry as much as possible during the early laning phase before Galio acquires his ultimate. His W is a GODLY defensive steroid, but actually does little for his carry during the early laning phase if you focus on persistent zoning with pokes. Once he hits level 6 however, you do have to be respectful of his very damaging AOE ultimate, which is especially strong punishing the positioning of melee champions like yourself. It IS in fact possible for Shen to taunt Galio out of his own ultimate, but opportunities to do this will be typically non-existent.
Gameplan: AGGRESSIVE (early), PASSIVE (post-6)
Janna has decent damage output and crowd control, but very low sustain. Harass her as often as possible. Eventually your sustain and lack of mana should give you the edge in poke wars if you can force her to either run low on mana or health. Actually killing someone in a Janna lane isn't easy because she's good at peeling, but on the other hand this is probably a lane where you should prioritize pushing to their turret and forcing them to last hit under there.
Support Kayle is capable of a lot of early damage, but she's rather mana hungry. Fighting her directly early on generally speaking won't go in your favor. Once you hit level 3, you can start trying to poke her back, with the goal being to try to get her to waste her Q and E on you. Bear in mind, you have to make a decision between using your Q and your W, because unless you run energy runes, you will not actually have enough energy to use your Q, W, and E in one quick motion. Later on, her damage output either falls off under a normal support build, or can be countered with Randuin's Omen if she insists on a more damage oriented build.
Leona's laning phase is much like Blitzcrank's in that she has pretty high burst potential, and an unholy amount of crowd control. Generally speaking, you probably want to play this lane very safely and try to keep yourself and your AD carry healthy so that she has a harder time gibbing either of you. If you can do it without getting caught out of position, focus her carry as much as possible very early on to make it harder for Leona to easily pick fights. Saving your taunt to interrupt part of her combo is good if she initiates on your AD carry. Keep in mind though Leona is quite vulnerable after initiating, so if you and your carry are healthy enough, it's not that hard to kill Leona if she overcommits to a fight.
Fighting Lulu is much similar to fighting Janna. While she has fairly strong damage output and crowd control, you have a significant sustain advantage on her, so repeated successful poke attempts will give you the edge over the long run. Lulu is also much squishier and easier to kill than Janna especially pre-level 6, so especially if your AD carry is capable of dealing respectable burst damage, you should focus Lulu repeatedly to shut down her laning phase.
If you want to be aggressive against Lux, you need boots, which I do not recommend as a first item due to how expensive they are and limit your warding options. For the most part though Lux has no way of winning a poke war against you as long as you and your carry never get caught in an outrageously bad position by her snare. Her AOE nuke is a bit annoying but typically easy to outsustain and prone to pushing the lane. Her shield can block a decent amount of damage, but is also on a fairly long cooldown early. If you can bait her to miss a snare on the other hand, you want to take this as an opportunity to either harass or zone her away.
Malphite is very annoying and boring to play against, and you almost always have to play passive against him regardless of who his carry is. Harassing Malphite is mostly pointless unless you are able to consistently keep his shield down, and his Q for the most part completely prevents you from doing much of anything aggressive to his carry. Of course if his carry is seriously out of position, make sure you Q him/her at what few opportunities you are given. Once he hits level 6, you still have to play passive unless he plays his lane really poorly, because initiating on him more likely than not will get you or your carry killed. The main advantage you have in this lane is you are much more resilient to ganks early on than Malphite is due to your actual health sustain, and there is also a possibility for you to be more aggressive if you can force Malphite to run low on mana, although this will typically be difficult and risky to do especially if he's laning with a strong earlygame AD carry.
Morgana support is much like Galio, and thus is extremely dangerous at level 6, but before then is not that hard to abuse. Her Dark Binding is a good peel or initiation tool, though dodgeable. Her Black Shield can be used to nullify your Q damage as well as your taunt, but is on a much longer cooldown than either of them. Outside of that shield, she has absolutely no way of sustaining her carry, does poorly in autoattack fights, and is reliant on actually landing her binding to peel, so you should take as many opportunities as possible early on to harass her carry before Morgana hits level 6, which will make her less useful. If you end up needing to play passive against Morgana however, play very safely against her and respect her option of Flash ulting. Her ability to lock down and burst a target that is even slightly out of position at level 6 is very strong even if she has no AP.
Gameplan: AGGRESSIVE (early), PASSIVE (post-6)
Nami has strong spells for crowd control, harass, and sustain, but she is limited a lot by mana costs. She will typically outdamage you a bit early on, but in the long run you will beat her in a sustain war. Play the matchup patiently, and make sure you save your dash for peeling or escaping when she tries to get aggressive. When she hits level 6, just remember that it is easier to dodge Nami's ultimate by moving sideways rather than running away from it.
Very early in the laning phase, you have to play safely against Nunu, because his steroids can make any AD carry hit pretty hard early on, and the mobility can make it hard for Shen to properly initiate fights. Before you hit level 3 and have your shield and dash ready, you also don't want to get caught by his slow. Typically however after level 3, you can fairly easily run Nunu out of mana in the process of simply zoning his carry, given his only option to protect his carry from a poke war is peeling with his Ice Blast. You still of course don't want to be caught by say, a Draven, Vayne, or MF that is Blood Boiled and beating you up while you're slowed. It's worth keeping in mind that Nunu's passive does potentially allow him to spam spells for free, but in order for him to do this, he would have to be autoattacking creeps, which would push the lane to your side enabling you to also turtle in response. More often Nunu will only be taking advantage of his passive if you zoned out his carry from lane. Also if you are going to be aggressive after level 6, remember to save your Taunt to interrupt Nunu's ultimate, which is another ability he will typically use on the defense.
A very uncommon matchup, but very annoying to actually play against. Shaco has some of the strongest brush control in the game with his Jack in the Boxes, and without Vision Wards, there really isn't much Shen can do about it, although your shield can be used to help in taking less damage from disarming his traps, though you have to be extremely careful doing this if his carry has strong early burst. Note that also you are allowed to use your Q on Jack in the Boxes that you have vision of. In general though, this is a matchup you usually have to play passively against, simply because Shaco's brush control and his peels make him very hard to initiate on.
Typically you should be able to win a sustain war against Sona unless she explicitly dedicates herself to sustain given Shen should be able to shrug off her harass to a degree. This lane however should overall play out passively for you. Try to be aggressive early on so that she has to think twice about harassing your carry and runs low on mana. Ideally the lane should become a farm war at this point. Be careful not to get caught out of position by a stun at level 6 however, because Sona's burst potential at level 6 is one of the highest of all supports, and combined with a jungler gank and an AD carry like Graves, this can potentially kill you.
Unless someone screws up, this lane should probably become a farm war, as both of you are strong sustain supports with low damage output. If you can do it safely, you want to be pushing this lane to force the other team to farm under turret as well as potentially forcing Soraka to take points in Starcall. Be ready to help your carry last hit and sustain under turret if a Soraka lane tries to push you back. What will give you the edge in this lane however is jungler ganks. Shen is massively more threatening than Soraka when amplified by a jungler gank, and he's also by far better at peeling when a jungler tries to gank his carry.
Taric has decent damage potential and initiation, but you are a better sustain support than him with better escapes and peels. You don't want to get gimped by a burst combo if his AD carry is someone like Tristana or Sivir, but at the same time you do want to harass this lane if you can, because Taric is rather mana inefficient if he's forced to heal his carry.
Zilean's ability to kite you will probably make you mad, but most of the time he will run out of mana long before he's actually able to kill either you or your carry. Alternatively, he's also very strong at peeling and escaping from trouble, and his ultimate is of course amazing and making it extremely difficult to kill anyone in his lane. Early on if he tries to be aggressive, use his bombs as a means to force the lane to be pushed closer to your side so that you can focus more on sustaining near turret. Later if you have a gank coming and want to attempt a kill, make sure to burst down Zilean before he can use his ultimate.
VideosCOMING SOON! (hopefully)
Currently I'm a noob with recording things from my computer and getting voice commentary on them. Until I completely figure out Xsplit or some other acceptable recording device, you'll just have to put up with me simply leaving .lrf files in this section.
I currently lack operational replays of me playing support Shen, given all of them occurred before the Rengar patch, which messed up LoLReplay related stuff.
February 14, 2012 (Nautilus patch)http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/V184.108.40.206
The patch that provided the main rework to Shen, and started the general trend of permabanning him in ranked games. To sum it up, the changes to , damage reduction upon taunting enemies, and the increased methods by which Shen could restore his energy made him a much more terrifying tanky duelist. was nerfed slightly earlygame for sustain purposes, but gained a health scaling ratio and an effect similar to Skarner's in which killing a unit with it would restore health. In general, this patch increased Shen's ability to transition smoothly to lategame drastically, a reason why he's now considered a very strong champion.
March 20, 2012 (Lulu patch)http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/V220.127.116.11
Slight nerfs in cooldown and base damage. Makes Shen's already rather low damage output worse, but otherwise does little to affect him. Does little to affect support Shen, whose strength lies not in damage, but in versatility and tankiness.
June 6, 2012 (Draven patch)http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/V18.104.22.168
had a cooldown increase of 1 second. This is a nerf particularly to jungle Shen, who already suffers significantly from slow clear times, while solotop Shen mostly doesn't care during laning phase. Support Shen on the other hand actually considers this a slight buff, simply because it slightly aids Shen in his ability to assist his carry in last hitting under turret when necessary. All in all not a hugely significant change.
July 7, 2012 (Jayce Patch)http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/V22.214.171.124
A significant nerf to Shen's ultimate, especially for most versions of Jungle and Solotop Shen that don't build cooldown reduction in favor of pure tank or tanky DPS items. This nerf, the cooldown nerf on , and some metagame observations is why I have started to prefer a lot more in my Support Shen builds. Building 15% cooldown reduction early will put your ultimate cooldown on something similar to what it was pre-nerf, which feels a lot more manageable as a support.
July 19, 2012 (Zyra Patch)http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/V126.96.36.199
I actually don't understand the point of this particular nerf to . 2 less damage per level means at level 18, you do a grand total of 36 less base damage on your passive before factoring magic resistance. If anything, I don't notice it at all, and it doesn't really change that Shen can build nothing but health and do respectable damage. Very unnoticeable if anything. The cooldown nerf a few patches ago on the other hand was far more significant, and even that was relatively minor.
August 30, 2012 (Late August Patch)http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/V188.8.131.52
A significant nerf to the cooldown on early ranks of Shen's . This doesn't really change that Shen's E is an amazing escape. This more limits Shen's ability to be aggressive earlygame. This isn't quite as noticeable for support Shen who is by default a very strong passive laner, and if you simply save your dash for critical moments that your carry can follow up from, it still will get the job done. However in earlygame teamfights, you will not be able to stick to targets quite as reliably or disengage after initiating. More importantly, for solotop Shen, picking fights with your dash is more risky if the enemy jungler camps top lane.
December 4, 2012 (Nami Patch)http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/V184.108.40.206
Season 3 changes whoa. For the most part, it is a rather noticeable nerf to Support Shen, in the sense that itemization for him became a lot more difficult, especially with the removal of Heart of Gold. A lot of the most attractive support items in this game currently use mana in some shape or form. While this doesn't mean they are necessarily bad items to pick up on Shen, it does mean they are a lot less stat efficient on him as a whole, meaning there is a need to pursue other options to increase Shen's overall stat efficiency as a support. However, Emblem of Valor now upgrades into the much desired Aegis, Kage's Lucky Pick now actually is a great item on Shen building into Twin Shadows, and Sightstone is a WONDERFUL item on him. Furthermore, while cooldown reduction is overall much harder to itemize on all supports, this change doesn't hurt Shen very much given maxing CDR, while nice on him, is a significantly lower priority. Increased ambient gold also helps Shen and supports in general very much in actually building worthwhile items. Overall in spite of itemization being more difficult and limited for Support Shen, I still expect it to be very strong. Earlygame will likely be more difficult for Shen, though mid and lategame should still be pretty strong for him, possibly stronger.
Final CommentsShen is a very overlooked support that can fit on many team compositions viably and has very strong laning presence. A well played Shen can easily win a game for his team by constantly saving lives, locking down and softening threats, and providing virtually unrivaled utility. Playing Shen as a support does not make him less useful than playing him as a solotop, and as a whole makes your team harder to kill by providing your team a tanky and disruptive champion bot lane in addition to whatever champion your team chooses to send top in the end.
Kennen added to Laning partners/matchups!
Note on Wits End in Items.
Updated Ki Strike to reflect recent patch note changes
Added patch commentary details for fun discussion
Updated opinions on laning with Ezreal. Slightly better than I originally experienced.
Updated various things, particularly in Masteries. Laning tips on Draven and Jayce. Build also sees some tweaks as a result of new patches. Added a section about the jungle.
Minor ability update.
Added more champions and details in laning matchups!
Updated opinions on Ezreal in response to his popularity as an AD carry. Tweaked some item analysis.
Urgot has been added. Runes section slightly expanded.
Updated opinions on playing against Nunu and Shaco.
Major updates in response to S3 mostly complete! Updates include new items, fixes to guide, updated opinions on Caitlyn, Alistar, and Nami!