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Shen: The Iconic Ninja

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A Noob's Guide to learning Shen.

One of Shen's electrifying elements is using energy rather than mana. This makes Shen a viable solo lane due to the fact that he will not have to worry about mana potions or returning to base to regenerate mana. However, over using Shen's skills is exhausting which may leave him without energy when he needs it. In the jungle, Shen can give the blue buff to teammates who may make more use of it than himself.


Ki Strike - Every 9 seconds Shen's next attack does bonus damage. Useful for last hitting minions, Ki strike also does additional damage based on maximum health and restores 10 energy. Attacking minions or champions will reduce the cool down.

Vorpal Blade - Damages and Life taps his target, healing allies who attack the target. Similar to Ki Strike lasting hitting minions or using Vorpal Blade on a super minion or Golem will in turn heal Shen making him difficult to harass out of lane. When fighting enemy champions it is important to life tap the champion your team is targeting.

Feint - Shen shield's himself absorbing incoming damage for a few seconds Not only is this useful for the jungle, but while in lane Shen can use Feint to block enemy harass while he is farming. Having Feint active while using basic attacks will also reduce the cool down for Ki Strike meaning Shen will restore energy and deal damage even faster.

Shadow Dash - Shen rapidly dashes to a target location taunting enemies he encounters Taunting enemies will cause them to deal reduced damage to Shen and return energy. Hitting taunts in clutch situations is crucial for your survival as well as your teammates. If a teammate is about to die, taunt the enemy that is attacking them so they can run to safety. If an enemy is about to get away, taunt them so your team can pick up the kill. If your team is hiding in the brush and suddenly four enemies attempt to gank Shen, he can use taunt to jump over walls and escape or taunt the enemy champions and lure them back to his team.

Stand United - Shen shields target allied champion and soon after teleports to their location The cool down on this skill is fairly long so be sure to use it only when it is ideal for your team. Depending on the situation it may be better to teleport in the beginning of a fight, or as a teammate is about to die. Most importantly, players using Shen must have excellent map awareness. Using the f1, f2, f3, ect. keys can help by switching the view onto your teammates briefly. Make sure to position yourself effectively in coordination with Stand United's cool down. If available for use and your team is all at the top of the map, try going bottom to pick up some minion kills before teleporting into a fight.

Summoner Spells

Teleport - Very effective on Shen and one of my personal favorites. Using teleport will allow Shen to cross the map without using his ultimate or return to his lane after saving a teammate.

Smite - Not only is smite useful in the jungle, but extremely helpful in clearing super minion waves.

Heal - Heal can be used for extra lane sustain or healing allied champions.

Ghost - Another favorite, ghost allows Shen to kite/lure enemies toward your team or quickly arrive at a fight when Shen would otherwise be out of position.

Flash - Can be useful depending on the enemy team, but with Shadow Dash already as one of Shen's skills, Flash may not be as important as other spells.

Exhaust/Ignite - Both are useful for ganks if teammates do not otherwise have enough damage/slows to finish kills.


Typically I max Vorpal Blade first, leaving Feint and Shadow Dash last. If you find the cool down for Shadow Dash a little long a few points will lower this. Leveling Feint will increase the amount of damage blocked but not the length of the shield.

Building Shen

Depending on the other team, Shen's items frequently vary. When facing teams heavy in magic damage, buying item's like Force of Nature, Maw of Malmortius, or Quicksilver sash will be useful. When facing teams with heavy physical damage armor items that also grant health will be more effective such as Sunfire Cape, Randuin's Death Omen, or Locket of the Iron Solari. Adding a gold per 10 seconds item can be helpful in gaining extra gold. I would recommend Heart of Gold. Anytime the enemy team has a carry that relies on basic attacks, ninja tabi or thornmail will counter them. Of course building health is essential in order to give your armor or magic resist more weight. Important Health item's are Warmogs, Spirit Visage and Giant's Belt.

When Jungling with Shen, keep in mind that the rate at which you clear camps is important to gaining extra gold and appearing in lane when your needed. I would suggest items like Wriggles Lantern and Iconic Spark.

On the other side, I find that adding items like Zeke's Herald, Triforce, or Wits End is effective in helping teammates by adding more damage on Shen's part. Ghostblade also benefits Shen nicely, giving an extra gp10 in the form of an avarice blade and a unique active that acts similar to ghost with a 50% attack speed increase.

Ability power scales pretty well and helps all Shen's skills. For example, Rylai's Crystal Scepter will give health and convert Vorpal Blade into a slow. A Sheen will increase the burst of the Vorpal Blade/basic attack combo but you will end up spending 400gp on a sapphire crystal that doesn't benefit Shen in any way. However after 100 or so AP, Shen's skills aren't very well benefited from ability power. Buying a Guardian Angel is always useful if you end up spending gold on an item that will help Shen do more damage.

A well rounded build for Shen might look something like this

boots/health pots x3 > ninja tabi > heart of gold > giant's belt > warden's mail > warmogs > force of nature > randuin's death omen

When jungling I start with cloth armour/health pot x5 and quickly build ninja tabi. If you notice the enemy team is dealing mostly magic damage, you may choose to wait to get armour and vice versa. Basically, health is the most important aspect of Shen and it also scales with Ki Strike and Vorpal Blade.

My Shen looks something like this

Cloth armour/health pot x5 > ninja tabi > Kindlegem > vampiric scepter > negatron cloak > force of nature > zeke's herald > sunfire cape

Don't be afraid to experiment with different build's until you find something that works for the type of Shen you want to play.


Jungle - I tend to find myself playing Shen the most in the jungle. Not only does he regain health effectively, but he is excellent at ganking.

Solo top - Another viable option because Shen can teleport across the map.

Support - Shen can help a lot in the bottom lane with champions such as ashe.

Middle - Shen actually can do quite well in the mid lane if the enemy team decides to place a physical damage champion there.

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Cute Slave



Noobs guide to learning Shen.
Always ban him.

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Senior Member


Thornmail? Please no.
Get a Randuins first. Far more likely to reduce enemy AD carry damage output. More likely to save your teammates than you having a thornmail too. If they're focusing you, they're doing it wrong.

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Commissar Vexx

Senior Member


I go with

Boots>3pots>Heart of gold>Ionic Spark>Mercurey Treads>Warmogs>Negatron>Wardains Mail>FoN>Randuins>Sunfire Cape

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Senior Member


Ki strike does NOT heal you in anyway. And dont recommend thornmail, for the love of god.

Also, leveling up Feint over vorpal blade is a good option in a tough lane. Leave shadow dash to level last, always. A mere 0.5 second off the cooldown and 35 damage is not worth the skill point compared to 40 more vorpal damage + healing, or 45 more shield health and lower cooldown.

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I appreciate the feedback, I edited my original post to include some of the things you all mentioned as well as extending the item section.