[Guide]Shen: Tank Assassin
This guide is all about Shen, and how to build him to be a great player on offense and defense simultaneously.
This guide will show you how to make Shen the most annoying, hated, and feared ninja since that one ninja who no one has ever heard of, because that is the way ninjas like it. Your teammates will love you for keeping them alive and getting them kills, while your enemies will absolutely hate you (for pretty much the same reasons). If you play Shen right, opponents should run whenever you show up to a fight. I have also included a brief guide to jungling with Shen, which is at the very bottom if you wish to read it.
Shen is the right player for you if you:
Have good situational awareness.
Love getting hit with every nuke the other team has and laughing about it.
Enjoy it when your teammates worship the ground you walk on.
Take pleasure in being able to be anywhere on the map at any given time.
Don't mind having twice as many assists as kills (if you have a good team, this will probably be the case. Just accept it now, knowing most of those kills would not have happened if you weren't there).
Passive- Ki Strike: Every eight seconds, Shen's melee deals a fixed amount of bonus damage, plus 3.5% of his max health. There is a 2 sec reduction on the cooldown each time Shen takes damage from an enemy champion.
Base Damage Bonus: 10 + (5 x lvl) (example: lvl = 6, 10 + (5 x 6) = 40 bonus damage
This is a solid passive, and will increase your total damage output as well as your farming capabilities. Make sure it is ready before initiating any confrontation.
Vorpal Blade: Shen throws a sword thingy at a target, dealing damage. Additionally, any champion who attacks the target after the hit lands will regain a set amount of health over 3 seconds.
Damage: 50/95/140/185/230 (+0.65 AP) damage
Healing: 10/20/30/40/50 (+.2 AP) health
Cost: 70/65/60/55/50 energy
Cooldown: 3/3/3/3/3 seconds
This is an outstanding multi-purpose move. It has a low cooldown and low energy cost, and does a solid amount of damage. It is great for dealing damage, harrying, farming, and healing. More on this later.
Feint: Creates a shield around Shen for 2.5 seconds that absorbs a set amount of damage.
Cost: 45/45/45/45/45 Energy
Cooldown: 9/8/7/6/5 seconds
Damage reduction: 50/100/150/200/250 (+.6 AP)
This is a good skill for damage reduction. It is great for protecting yourself from harrying, or predictable moves like Karthus's ultimate or zilean's clockwork bomb. It is also phenomenal against DOTS like ignite or mordekaiser's ultimate. Also useful for harrying enemies sitting on a turret, since at level 2 it should block the full damage from a turret shot. Just be careful not to spam it at the start of team fights, as you may use up energy you need later in the fight.
Shadow Dash: Shen launches forward, taunting any enemies he passes through. If he passes through an enemy champion, he is refunded 50 energy.
Taunt time: 0.8/1.1/1.4/1.7/2 seconds
Cost: 120/115/110/105/100 energy
Cooldown: 10/10/10/10/10 seconds
This is hands down Shen's best skill, so I am going to devote a big section here to explaining its full use. Shadow Dash has 6 main functions:
Catch fleeing foes
Run enemies onto turrets
Prevent enemy ability use
Catch fleeing foes: An enemy is running. Use shadow dash to get them to turn and fight. Acts like slows and stuns, but more fun and reduces ki strike's cooldown when they hit you.
Protect teammates: Your teammate is low on health and fleeing. Use shadow dash to taunt their pursuers, giving your teammate time to escape.
Run enemies into turrets: If you are at your turret and an enemy steps into the turret range, shadow dash them. Your turret will then attack them. If you have a teammate with a stun/slow, make sure they know to use it once your taunt wears off to hold them in the turret range longer.
Escape: Shadow Dash can essentially be used just like flash. If you find yourself caught in an area move, or just overwhelmed, consider shadow dashing away to put space between yourself and certain doom. When being pursued, it is often a good idea to save energy for shadow dash instead of using feint; it is more likely to save you in the long run, unless you are on the verge of death.
Prevent enemy ability use: Shadow dash can be used to prevent an enemy from using an ability that would allow them to escape, like Akali's ultimate, or stealth. Wait until you think they are about to activate it, then taunt them to prevent it. Shadow dash can also be used to interrupt channeling moves, like Nunu's/Karthus's ultimate, before they can do damage.
Protip: If you are playing against a team with a Katarina, it is probably a good idea to save shadow dash for when she starts her ult during team fights. This can almost completely remove the threat she poses, since most of her damage comes from her ult.
Speeding up: Since energy regenerates so quickly, you can use it to get to your lane faster. Don't use it in this way if there is a chance of encountering an enemy, however.
Anyway, onto Shen's ultimate:
Stand United: Shen teleports to a teammate anywhere on the map, shielding the teammate from a fixed amount of damage (or for 7.5 seconds, whichever comes first).
Shield health: 300/525/750 (+1 AP) damage
Cost: 50/50/50 energy
Cooldown: 180/150/120 seconds
This is a very useful situational skill. It allows you to not only protect your teammate, but insert yourself suddenly into a fight without your enemies being prepared for it. Again, several uses for this skill:
Saving a teammate
Saving a teammate: Pretty straightforward. Teammate is about to die, you use stand united, now you both survive. Hooray! Be careful though: if your teammate is alone and being killed by the entire enemy team, I don't advise using stand united on them, it will just ensure that you die too.
Protip: Sometimes, if you have a firm grasp of where everyone is on the battlefield, it is in your best interest to wait until your teammate is on the verge of death to save them. This is because, as players grow close to death, the ones attacking them will get cocky and not work as hard to protect themselves from damage. The end result is causing the enemy team to overcommit to killing your teammate, making it easier for you to pick them off when you teleport in. Do not attempt this, however, unless you have a very firm grasp of where all the enemies are and how quickly they can burn through your shield; otherwise this may just cause you to waste stand united and get your teammate killed.
Turret Diving: An enemy is fleeing but just managed to get behind their own turret. You can use stand united on a teammate pursuing them in order to run through the turret and kill them. This is very tricky though, as it can end up getting you and your teammate killed. Make sure to communicate well with your team; that way you don't waste it.
Rapid Transit: You should only use stand united for rapid transit if it is late game and your team is in the enemy base. If you have to go back for items, or to heal, or you *gasp* died, you can use stand united to get yourself quickly to the enemy base to help.
Masteries, Runes, and Summoner Spells
Masteries: Generally, I go for 21 def 9 off. I break it down as follows:
Red runes: Magic Penetration
Blue Runes: Cooldown Reduction
Yellow Runes: Energy Regeneration
Black Runes: Health
The idea here is pretty basic. Most important are your quintessence and seals. For quintessence, you just can't beat health runes; with three of them, that is an extra sixty some health right off the bat. For seals, the energy regeneration is insanely useful; a lot of the time, the difference between life and death is whether you have the energy to shadow dash. With glyphs, cooldown reduction is the way to go, since it lets you spam more vorpal blades and shadow dash sooner. For red runes, I actually like magic penetration, since Shen's primary damage output is vorpal blade and ki strike, but really if you want to switch that out for health or something else, go right ahead.
Summoner Spells Flash is an absolute must. It lets you enter and exit combat quickly, and you can use it in conjunction with shadow dash to catch a fleeing foe, or escape. For your second ability, I like incinerate, it increases Shen's damage output and is great against champions with ults like mundo's or tryndamere's. You can also nail enemies with it if they are hiding behind a turret. If you find yourself having trouble surviving, consider ghost.
To start, I recommend ruby crystal. It increases your health by quite a bit, and is a useful ingredient.
Next, upgrade the ruby crystal into heart of gold. Shen is pretty poor farmer early game, so the gold boost helps tremendously.
After heart of gold comes mercury treads. The movement speed is always useful, and this item build is somewhat lacking in magic defense, so MT are a must. They also help a lot with escaping dangerous situations, which will happen a lot.
Next, go for sunfire cape. The combination of health, armor, and damage/farming makes it possibly the single best tank item in the game.
From here on in, the build is very situational. You will usually want to get Banshee's Veil next, since the combination of health, magic resist, and shield make it phenomenal for increased tankitude. If they are very heavy AD, however, you may want to immediately upgrade heart of gold into Randuin's Omen. This is an upgrade you will eventually want either way; their team composition simply decides when you upgrade it. If they are very heavy in sustained magic damage, with champions like ezreal or kog'maw, definately grab Force of Nature. Once your health and armor are both pretty high, you can grab something like Frozen Mallet, Atma's, or even Guardian Angel. A word of warning about GA: enemies who see it will often ignore you entirely, which is bad. You are the tank, you want the other team attacking you, not your allies.
Heart of Gold
Heart of Gold > Randuin's Omen
Force of Nature
Frozen Mallet/Atma's Impaler (You will almost never get this far)
If you have a lane partner who will be useful for getting first blood, start with shadow dash. Otherwise start with vorpal blade. Whichever you didn't get first, get second. Next get vorpal blade to level 2, then feint, then vorpal blade level 3. Next comes Stand United. After that get Vorpal blade level 4, then put a point into shadow dash and feint. Max vorpal blade, then shadow dash, then feint, with a priority on stand united.
The reason this build works is because it takes advantage of the fact that with feint and shadow dash, Shen is very, very hard to kill. Because of this, you can afford to enter dangerous situations and beat the tar out of enemies, then get out. Feint and shadow dash work well at low levels, so you can max vorpal blade early, and dish out a lot of damage, while keeping your own health up. Most enemies don't realize just how much damage high level vorpal blade does; they will often underestimate you, which lets you kill them. Hard. Don't be afraid to enter fights with less than half health; just make sure to manage your energy, and know when to get out. Keep good situational awareness, of both your health and the health of your teammates, and you will do just fine.
Start off with shadow dash if you have a lane partner with good DPS, and go for first blood. Attack them, beat the snot out of them, then shadow dash them when they try to run to taunt them. Feel free to throw in an incinerate; all of this together should get you first blood. Next, get vorpal blade and then feint. Leave feint at level 1 for a while; it is plenty useful there. For most of the early game, just kill minions, focusing on last hitting. If you are last hitting effectively, you should have 1k by the time you reach level 6. At this point you may want to run back and grab heart of gold, boots of speed, and ward.
sidenote: WARDS. WARDS WARDS WARDS. BUY WARDS. WARDS ARE GAME CHANGERS. THE TEAM THAT WINS IS THE TEAM THAT KNOWS WHERE THE ENEMY IS. BUY WARDS. LOTS OF WARDS. USE THEM.
To keep your health up, hit minions who are at full health with vorpal blade, then attack them to constantly heal. It is a good idea to target the siege minions, as you can get more healing hits in. As Shen, you should almost never have to go back to heal. That being said, if you have less then 10% of your health left don't be an idiot; get out while you can.
While in your lane, harry your opponents with vorpal blade; just hit them then back up. It should frustrate the heck out of them, since you essentially have unlimited mana and can just keep doing it. If an enemy gets low on health, make sure ki strike is ready, then use shadow dash to tear into them. Let your teammate know you are going to in advance, so they know to come in and help.
Level 6 and beyond:
This is where Shen really starts to shine. Once you get your ult, keep a close eye on your teammate's health bars. If you see one of them get low, use Stand United on them and earn their eternal gratitude. Be careful not to wait until they have one tiny bar of health left to use stand united; odds are the enemy will burn through the shield and their remaining health before you get a chance to teleport in. Instead, if it looks like they might be in trouble, jump in early before they get too low. As well, feel free to call out ganks; Shen, despite being a tank, is great at ganking. Be sure to communicate well with your team; good communication can lead to great success. As well, don't be afraid to go for the golem buff; this is one of the few things in the game that can increase shen's energy regen, so don't feel like you are wasting it if you get it. If you find yourself a bit low on health later in the game, you may want to enter the jungle and take on the golem, keeping vorpal blade on him at all times. This can be used to heal you (and a teammate if they want), without you having to go all the way back to base.
Generally, Shen should be the first one in and the last one out of most big battles. You can eat a lot of damage, and give your teammates time to wear down your opponents. Keep a close eye on whoever your team focuses; stay close to them, and shadow dash when they are about to escape. That being said, don't waste shadow dash if you teammates will kill them without it. If you can, try to save shadow dash for escaping if necessary, or protecting a teammate. Also be sure to keep an eye out for channeling enemy champions, like Nunu, Jana, or Karthus, and use shadow dash to cut them off.
Protip: Just because you can interrupt Nunu doesn't mean you should. When you interrupt his ultimate, he deal damage proportional to how much time he has to charge (so if he charges for half the time he is supposed to when he is interrupted, he does half the max damage). While half is better than full, sometimes it will be possible for your teammates to all get out of range before it goes off. If this is the case, don't bother interrupting him; just get out.
The only situations where Shen is not the first one into a fight is when you are using stand united to save someone across the map, or you are setting up a trap. If there is an enemy being cautious, see if you can sneak behind them, behind a corner or in bushes. Your teammates attack, the enemy flees, you shadow dash the fleeing enemy. BAM, they are dead, your teammates are kissing your feet, and you can stand tall, a new god who has found his calling. Hooray!
Overall, enjoy Shen. He is a great champion and a lot of fun, and everyone on your team will love you for bailing them out so often. Take advantage of being underestimated damage-wise; while this won't happen regularly, when it does, be sure show your enemies the error of their ways (death is a great teacher). Also, if your teammate is about to die, and you use stand united to save him and kill his attackers, be sure to type (to both teams) "I AM NINJA!" Yes, caps are necessary. Just trust me.
Jungling Shen [OUTDATED: Since they changed Heart of Gold I have not re-examined this jungling build. I will look at it later and see how to re-vamp it]
Here is a very brief rundown in the changes you need to make to this build in order to jungle with Shen. First off, please be aware that you really need to be close to level 30 to be able to jungle with Shen effectively; if you aren't you just won't have the health and damage resist to survive the first group of mobs.
Runes: You may want to switch out some of your seals for flat armor, but this isn't vital. It just helps a bit with jungling, especially if you are having trouble surviving.
Skill order: Starting off, get vorpal blade, then feint, then another point into vorpal blade, then shadow dash. From then on the skill order is the same.
Items: Start off with cloth armor and five health potions. From here, build the cloth armor into heart of gold; the item build is identical after that.
Summoner Spells: Make sure one of your summoner spells is smite, and have the other be either flash or ghost. Be sure to get the the improved smite mastery.
Jungling Order: Start off at the big golem. Pop a health potion the instant you take damage, and just use smite and vorpal blade on the big guy till he goes down. Kill the little lizards, then go do wolves. After wolves, take out the banshees. While fighting the banshees, you can use feint once or twice for a neat little damage reduction, but don't spam it or you won't have energy for vorpal blade. You should have smite ready by this point, so go take out lizard (make sure you have full energy and near-full health before starting this fight). Head over and take out the smaller golems. At this point you should be level 4, and probably don't even need to go back to heal if you have been balancing feint and vorpal blade well. Still, if you want to, head back and pick up heart of gold, or go start ganking.
Alternatively, if you are fearing a gank or have teammates that want to countergank and therefore can't protect you, the following order works as well, but is less efficient: Lizard > Banshees > Wolves > Big Golems > Smaller Golems.
From that point on the build and style is the same as if you were laning with Shen. Run around, help your teammates, and maybe go back and grab lizard and golem buffs every now and then. Good luck!
Also, if this got added to the Complete List of Guides, I would be grateful and honored and stuff.
Updated to include runes.
Feel free to point out any grammatical or data errors in this.
It feels unfinished. There is no real formating despite looking like itīs intended, on some points you either miss details (Ki-strikes 3 sec reduction on Championhit) or keep rambling (Feint). Just try to have an equal amount of explanation to each issue, it just stands out when the skill order has no explanation at all while Stand united gets a seperate paragraph on Towerdiving.
Alight, thanks for the feedback.
Thanks again for the feedback. I went through and condensed some of the sections, added specifics on the skills as well as some additional strategy, and cleaned it up so it is easier to read. Let me know what you think.
Feint was NEVER mediocre before. It was fine apart from the fact that noobs couldn't use it because it took some skill.
Alright, I went through and tidied up everything. I tried to take all the feedback into account. Thanks again for the advice, and if there is anything else amiss with the guide, let me know.
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