IntroductionThough Shen has recieved numerous nerfs since his release, he remains an extremely useful champion on nearly any team. He is well known for his ability to tank, initiate, and save his teammates. Shen is a good partner to have in your lane because of his health regeneration abilities as well as his good early game damage. Many people often underestimate how much damage he can put out, especially with his passive. His map presence is also not to be overlooked. His ultimate allows him to be in any lane, and every fight. So without further ado, let's begin.
MasteriesThe mastery set I usually run is 1/17/12. The one point in offense for the exhaust mastery. Defense is pretty standard. We don't take strength of spirit for obvious reasons. We take increased dodge and movespeed. Dodge is great late game for completely nullifying physical damage. The reason I do not put a full 21 points in defense is simply because the last two are simply not that good. Ardor will increase attack speed and ability power by 4%? We don't really need more attack speed and we will not be stacking any ability power (No, we're not going AP Shen). The last mastery reduces all damage by 4%; this isn't really noticeable. If you really think about it if you were to take 1000 damage, then you would take 40 less. Not significant enough to warrant four extra points in defense. I almost never go a full 21 points in any tree with the exception of the Utility one. It just has great masteries everywhere you look which is why we put the three points that would have gone in defense into utility. In utility we take the ghost mastery, less time dead (great for late game), increased health regen, extra experience, and extra gold per 10s. The gold per 10 is sometimes overlooked because it is so little gold. But over a whole game it amounts to about two hundred fifty gold or so and that's a few extra wards that you couldn't have bought without the mastery.
If you do decide to jungle Shen, be aware that he jungles slower than other junglers and may have a hard time keeping up in levels at times. He has poor control of the jungle, and his ganks aren't that strong per se. I advise that you probably don't jungle him. For jungling, I take 1/18/11 masteries. One point in offense for the smite mastery, 18 points in defense for increased magic resistance, armour, dodge, movespeed, health and reduced minion and physical damage, and 11 points in utility for improved ghost, extra health regen, extra experience gain, gold per 10 seconds, and increased buff duration.
RunesMagic penetration marks for side laning are much better than armour penetration. Those vorpal blades become annoying after a while. For seals you can take flat armour, or health per level. I prefer armour since most damage early game is physically based and more armour allows me to have stronger laning presence. Glyphs you should take magic resist per level. Quintessences I almost never deviate from the regular flat health but some like taking movespeed.
Jungling I use the same runes but I switch out magic penetration for armour penetration. Health quints should be taken over move speed. I have not tried attack speed reds simply because I do not own them. If someone knows better runes for jungling Shen, please feel free to post down below.
Summoner SpellsAND /
Ghost is for obvious reasons. I take exhaust as my second summoner because it has so many uses. Watching the enemies closely, you can determine which one is doing the most damage to your team. Whether it is a AP or AD carry, I try and pop exhaust on them when they start getting down on my teammates. But if your team is steamrolling them in fights, then just save exhaust for chasing that one last guy. Otherwise you can use it early game to ensure kills in lane or for baiting them in towers with a Taunt&Exhaust type combo.
You take Smite in the jungle for obvious reasons. Just remember to keep it up to ensure buffs, drags, and barons.
Passive: Ki Strike
Every 8 seconds, Shen's next attack deals bonus damage.
This is what gives you a large amount of damage without really buying anything. It makes you pretty strong early game though the strength dissapates as the game goes on. [With the most recent change, the base damage of this is reduced from 15 to 10 but the scaling is also changed from 3.5% of MAXIMUM health to 8% of BONUS health. On my typical build I will have about 1000 - 1400 bonus health per game. This leaves us at around 3000 to 3300 health at level 18. Considering the changes, we would have done more damage pre-patch. Good job Riot for making this supposed late-game buff actually a nerf. It is also MUCH weaker early game because of the low amount of bonus health you will have. You will lose about half the damage at level 1 according to my math.] This skill is amazing in making your jungle faster as well.
Q: Vorpal Blade
Deals 50 / 95 / 140 / 185 / 230 (+65% of ability power) magic damage to target unit. That unit becomes life tapped for 5 seconds, healing any champions who attack it for 10 / 20 / 30 / 40 / 50 (+20% of ability power) health over 3 seconds.
/ 65 / 60 / 55 / 50 energy
This skill is what you will be constantly spamming early game. Use this to last hit, harass, and heal your lane mate. I like to pop this on the cannon minion when it appears so I get the most heal out of it. The smaller minions will probably die before you get the full duration of the blade mark. Mid to late game you will just be spamming this to push lanes for your team or to put out some damage in the downtime between taunts. [The most recent patch nerfs the damage by 20 at the higher levels. Hurts his pushing and damage slightly, but not too noticeable. Keep same skilling priority.]
Shen enters a defensive stance, shielding the next 50 / 100 / 150 / 200 / 250 (+60% of ability power) damage. Lasts up to 1.5 seconds.
Cost 45 energy
Not as good as it used to be but it has it's uses. It's good for limiting the harass you get in your lane, and for blocking damage later in the game. Don't underestimate this ability though. Countless times i've used this to block ignite damage to survive with a sliver of HP, or just shrug of Zilean's bombs in lane. The latter won't work as well once he gets rewind though so don't get too confident. Just make sure you don't spam this ability too much so you have energy for your other abilities. Sadly, we don't take more than 1 point in this; our other abilities are much more useful.
E: Shadow Dash
Shen rapidly dashes to a target location, Taunting enemies he collides with for 0.8 / 1.1 / 1.4 / 1.7 / 2 second(s).
Restores 50 Energy if you hit a champion.
Cost 120 / 115 / 110 / 105 / 100 energy
This is one of the skills that will separate a good Shen from a bad one. The cooldown on this sucks, and is a big energy drain if you don't hit it so make sure you learn the range on this so you can hit it the majority of the time. Other than initiating you can use this to dash through walls, get to lanes faster, defend your turret, save your teammates, and interrupt channels. Make sure you don't waste this ability, it's the second most important in your arsenal.
R: Stand United
Places a shield on both a target allied champion and Shen, absorbing 300 / 525 / 750 (+100% of ability power) damage for 7.5 seconds. After channeling for 2.5 seconds, Shen teleports to the target's location.
Cost 50 energy
Finally, the ability that makes Shen what he is. You have to learn to time this ability, knowing when is the right time to save your ally. Many times I've seen a Shen try to save an ally who was going to die anyway only to have the shield broken almost instantly, or he tries to save an ally but once he gets there they both die. This is why it is very important to judge when to use it. Some Shen's see a fight happening but they don't ult in until they see someone very low on their team. You will not teleport if the teammate dies before the channel is up so you have to use it when they have a decent amount of HP left. It doesn't matter what health your teammate is at, a shield is a shield and you need to get in that fight as soon as possible. Don't let your team fight outnumbered like that. That ult and your taunt is a complete game changer when timed right.
Skill OrderWe take a few points in blade early for better harass and health regeneration. Usually one in W is enough until you max your taunt but if you are getting harassed a lot by someone like Zilean let's say, then it might be wise to put less in Vorpal Blade and more on Feint. Though we don't take this right away, we will be maxing Shadow Dash first because the cooldown and taunt duration is extremely important. After maxing your taunt, we max blade so we can push lanes faster. Pushing lanes is extremely important once mid game comes around. Jungling I use the same skill order but make sure not to take E before level 4.
Item BuildsStarting Items: I would advise that you take either the Doran's Shield or Boots and Health potions. If you are jungling, take Cloth Armour and Health potions. How you plan to play in your lane will dictate what items you will take. Choosing the boots option allows you to play more aggresively because you will most likely have a movespeed advatage so you will be able to harass and run back before they can react. If you play to play defensively, because you have a difficult lane for example, then take the Doran's Shield. Personally I like taking the boots because the move speed let's me have more versatility early game and the three health potions still help when you are getting harassed hard.
Early game items: My first item is always a Heart of Gold. Heart of Gold gives a lot for what it costs; it gives health, and a great passive. Your farming ability is somewhat mediocre (especially if you are in a duo lane, which you most likely are) and the passive will make up for you falling slightly behind in CS. I like to stack 2 sometimes giving you a total of 1 gold per second. Your boots should probably always be Mercury's Treads. CC reduction is priceless as you will be taking many for your team.
Mid-game Items: Now you should look at building an Aegis, then another item which gives health and resist. Aegis costs about 1.9k gold but on top of the stats it gives you, you get an amazing aura for your team. This is essential for your team in a fight. As for the next item, you have several options. You can either pick up a second Heart of Gold (then perhaps a Randuin's), or a Sunfire. Starting now, what you are buying is largely dependent on how the game is going. A second Heart of Gold will help you if you are underfarmed and need some cheap stats. You will sell one of these later on. Randuin's is an awesome item to get for several reasons: i) You already have HoGs, why not turn them into something rather than just selling them ii) it is good for tanking physicals iii) The active is one of the best in the game with an AOE movement and attack speed slow. Sunfire Cape is good for both the stats and the passive. The passive will help your poor farming ability and damage as well as to push lanes. As said earlier, pushing lanes is VERY important on Shen.
Late game items: You now have several items under your belt. What you get now is 100% situational. Too much magic damage for you to tank? Force of Nature or Banshee's Veil. Banshee's Veil is better for blocking a lot of annoying "hard" CC Stun, Snare, Silence or something of the like. If they have mostly just "soft" CCs like Slows, short Silences, etc., then pick up a FoN. It's much better at taking magic damage. The movespeed is great for catching up for that clutch taunt or for escaping. It also synergizes well with your defensive masteries (and your move speed quints if you took them). I did not include Quicksilver Sash in here simply because I believe that Banshee's is a better choice overall. However if they have a Morde, Malzahar, or WW on their team you could consider investing in this item.
Physicals still taking a beating on you? Randuin's THEN Thornmail/Frozen Heart. I get a Randuin's rather than the Thornmail or Frozen Heart first because a team will usually have a good mix of damage. The latter two don't add health and so add nothing to help tank the magic damage. Some may argue that Thornmail and Frozen Heart are much better at taking pesky autoattackers. While this may very well be true, Randiun's active sort of evens things out. It will slow movement for chasing or escaping, as well as slow attack speed. Not to mention the passive which has slowing effects as well.
As a final luxury item you could pick up a Guardian's Angel. Keep in mind though, it usually isn't wise to invest in a Guardian Angel if your team isn't winning the majority of the fights and getting the majority of the towers. And also, you should save GA as your last item when you have nothing better to get very late game.
Sorry for bad quality, my I hadn't used my FRAPS in a long time and somehow the install had corrupted. It was a hacked full version so I couldn't exactly "reinstall" as it told me to. As a result, I had to use the only other screen capture I had which was Growler Guncam :/ I can try to get another install of FRAPS or another better recording program if the quality is bothering anyone.
If you have any questions regarding jungling, or if you have any suggestions on what to add/change, feel free to post below.
Playstyle1 - 6: Look at your lane. If you are able to play aggresively and zone out your opponents, then by all means do so. If you are even thinking about doing this then you should already have grabbed a cloth armour and health potions. Control the brush and punish your opponents when they try to come near for exp. Grab whatever CS your partner isn't getting. But be extremely wary of their jungler as if you are pushing and zoning hard, they WILL call for a gank. When you finally hit 6, the first thing you should do is look at the other lanes. See if anybody needs a save or a gank. By ganking, I mean coordinate your teammates to initiate before ulting in.
Mid and Late game: Some towers should be down by now. If your team is defending towers, see if you can pick off an overextender with your taunt. You can force them to draw tower aggro as well if they are within tower range. If your team is pushing though, tell them to push one lane while you push another by yourself. Remember to keep an eye on the minimap and keep the map warded. You don't want to die pushing because you weren't paying attention. The reason for pushing by yourself is because if your team is pushing 4 middle, most likely their team will put 5 to defend and maybe force a fight near their tower thinking they have a player advantage. Meanwhile you will be pushing another lane and trying to take towers with nobody to stop you. This way, when a fight does engage, you can ult into your team instantly and you won't be a man down.
Things to remember:
i) After a fight begins, don't spam your Q and W blindly. Your energy doesn't regenerate as fast as you might think and you need to save enough for your ultimate or your taunt.
ii) When teams are turtling their towers, that is a good indicator you should push another lane. The game gets nowhere if both teams just sit at tower farming each wave as they come. If you are pushing far though, make sure you have map awareness so you don't just die while pushing.
Final CommentsFor the most part, I decided to write this guide because Shen is one of my favourite champions and one of my most played. Other than that, I wanted to encourage people to play tanks since a lot of people seem to only like playing carries or casters. Hopefully, my guide was helpful and I hope to see more Shens around. I'll keep this guide updated and if you have any questions, feel free to comment on this guide, message me on Solomid, add me in-game (anbLn). Good luck !
Change Log- 4/x/2011 : Edited masteries and runes. Changed layout to be more user-friendly.
- 5/9/2011 : Edited masteries&reasoning, runes&reasoning, skill order&reasoning as well as updated item choices&reasoning.
- 5/10/2011: Small edit to skills with regards to the most recent patch changes.
- 5/14/2011: Jungling video uploaded.