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[Guide] Shen: The Whimsicali Way

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Junior Member


This is a long and thorough guide written from my perspective. At times I may assert that your play style is failure through inference or direct attack. I acknowledge beforehand that play style is the single most important factor for successful champions. But, we must remember that play style must also fit the play styles of the team or composition. A successful champion isn’t a successful team. Team play is what wins games, not solo kill ratio. Before you build an unorthodox build, make sure your comp/style/team-style can handle it.

With that said, Shen is a Tank. Shen’s job is to protect and defend. Should Shen play defensive, enemies will fall. While dying is never a good thing, when presented with death, Shen should protect carries to the death. I am not advocating random suicide or feeding. I am advocating sacrificing yourself to keep dps in the game. If someone MUST die, let it be you and not your Ashe/Ryze/Annie etc.. Believe me when I say, they will thank you.

Shen’s Starting Stats and Abilities:

Health 428 (+85 / per level)
Mana 200 (+0 / per level)
Move Speed 310
Armor18 (+4 / per level)
Spell Block30 (+0 / per level)
Critical Strike2.05 (+0.35 / per level)
Health Regen1.49 (+0.11 / per level)
Mana Regen10 (+0 / per level)

Ki Strike
Every 8 seconds, Shen's next attack deals bonus damage.

Vorpal Blade
Damages target unit and life taps him, healing allies that attack the target.

Deals 60/100/140/180/220 (+0.6) magic damage to target unit. That unit becomes life tapped for 5 seconds, healing any champions who attack it for 15/30/45/60/75 +(0.2 Ability Power Ratio) health over 3 seconds.

Shen blocks damage from the next champion attack or spell.

Shen defends the next champion spell or attack, blocking up to 50/115/180/245/310 (+0.3) damage; lasts for 1 source of damage or 2 seconds.

Shadow Dash
Shen dashes rapidly toward a target location, taunting enemy champions he encounters.

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 40 Energy if you hit a champion.

Stand United
Shen shields himself and a target ally from incoming damage, and soon after teleports to their location. Places a shield on both a target allied champion and Shen, absorbing 400/600/800 (+1) damage for 8.5 seconds (Shen's shield absorbs half as much damage). After channeling for 2.5 seconds, Shen teleports to the target's location.

Runes suggestions:

Blue: 9x MR/lvl
Yellow: 9x 1.41 Flat Armor
Red: 4x . 91 flat armor & 5x .97 Flat MR.
Quints: 3x MR/lvl

This setup provides the equivalent of:
Lvl 1 Lvl 18
Armor 44.7 (+22.77) 112.77 (+22.77)
Magic Resist 39.31 (+9.31) 81.13 (+51.13)

This focus is huge and allows you begin the game with a solid base and provides lacking MR for late game.


I generally go 6/21/0 (as I am not 30 yet).
My completed build will be 9/21/0.

Unfortunately there is a misconception of Vorpal blade. There are many guides citing that Vorpal blade is enough regeneration that aid from items are not needed. This is false if you play in a competitive bracket. While I do not know my exact ELO, I can assure you that the teams I play harass in coordination and with persistence. It is impossible to use vorpal blade to heal unless you are tower hugging, and even then it is not so great. With this being the case, I choose Regrowth Pendant.: it provides the most regeneration and aids in building into Warmog’s.

Generally, purchase order will go: Regrowth Pendant -> Giant’s Belt -> Ruby Crystal -> Boots -> Warmog’s. However, depending on how much harassing is going on, I may move boots up or back. If I am allowed to farm, I go straight for Warmog’s. This rarely happens and it is usually wise to buy in the following order: Regrowth Pendant – Boots ->Ruby Crystal -> Giant’s Belt -> Warmog’s. No matter which order I choose, I always build Warmog’s as my base item.

After building Warmog’s we need to address the other team’s strengths. Is it caster heavy? Is there a lot of CC?

Here is where you decide to:
A: Convert boots -> Tabi/Merc (I usually go Merc if there is even 1 caster)
B: Banshee’s Veil
C: Sunfire Cape
D: Altma’s

Banshee’s Veil is an excellent item and will negate more potential magic damage, in my opinion, than any other item. Ignore the +400 mana. Yes you are paying for something you wont use but the item stats are worth it even if it had no +mana. Ignore the mana, buy the item. It works. I usually only go Banshee’s if there is more than 1 or two dangerous casters. Nevertheless, it is a very important decision to make. You may even need to rush Banshee’s before Warmog’s. Play smart, build against the strengths of your opposition.

Sunfire Cape is a great item and the AE it provides adds up. It has been said accurately that the range of Sunfire’s AE is quite a bit larger than most expect. I use this item mostly for the farming potential. By purchasing this item early I can usually farm out, at minimum, 1 addition large item per game; if not two. If you see a large creep mass, get there quick and reap the rewards. While traveling around the map, take the time to clear the jungle. It doesn’t take long and isn’t going to make or break your team if you aren’t a dumb@ss. I want to make it clear that I am not advocating jungling instead of helping your team. However, make sure you can make it to the fight. If your teleport or ult are down, will you be able to get there? If the answer is NO, then it is a suicide mission without a purpose; your team should know better or wait to engage until you are there. A good team will wait for a golem or lizard buff. Why? Because they are substantial benefits and take little extra time when compared to the value of the bonus. If the game is completely out of control in your favor, snag as many Sunfire’s as possible plus an Altma. At that point, it really doesn’t matter though. You could probably get away with selling your items and going naked if the game has snowballed out of control but I don’t recommend it.

I’ve been playing with building Altma’s Impaler recently and I happen to believe it can be of value. But YOU must take this in mind, YOU are NOT DPS. You have the potential to be a killing machine but must temper this with the duties your team expects. They expect Shen to run interference. If you can do this task, the offensive boost an Altma gives can provide defense in certain situations. At times, the best defense is a good offense and can make the difference between who has the 2v1; you or them. I give you warning, do not build this item if you cannot provide the Tank role. If you are getting demolished, you aren’t yet durable enough to build Altma’s. This is an item reserved for specific comps and squishy teams. While a good offense is sometimes a good defense, it is usually the opposite. In other words, don’t be a “genius” and play DPS Shen; Shen is a Tank.
If you are wondering why I do not recommend Leviathan, it is because it is a snowball item. It is an excellent item if you can get to 10 stacks, otherwise Warmog’s is better. The 15% damage reduction is huge, but if the game is going well enough that you maintain that 15% reduction, you don’t need it. In competitive games, you are going to die. If the opposition finds any of your team with a snowball item, they will go out of their way to gank them. Leviathan is simply an item that, in my opinion, becomes the most useful when it isn’t needed. By all means, grab Leviathan if you choose. It is your decision and I fully support that. I, however, will not be buying Leviathan ever because I find guaranteed better than maybe.

A typical game will net:

Mercury Threads

Planning for more is asking too much. Shen is not a farmer. Expect 9-10k in good games and 6-8k in gold starved games. Guides that advocate 15k gold builds are simply not playing competitive games. If the opportunity does present itself, use your brain. What is going to secure the win? What are you having trouble with?

Skill Build
1. Vorpal
2. Dash
3. Vorpal
4. Dash
5. Vorpal
6. Stand United
7. Dash
8. Vorpal
9. Dash
10. Vorpal
11. Stand United
12. Dash
13. Feint
14. Feint
15. Feint
16. Stand United
17. Feint
18. Feint

Feint is an excellent skill and, come next patch, I will play with changing my order. Maximizing Vorpal as soon as possible helps the early game tremendously and maximizing Dash will yield more control over team fights. By no means do I believe feint, in it’s current form, worthless. It has saved my @ss more times than I can count. One of my favorite uses is to Dash and then Feint at late game. Vorpal simply doesn’t heal enough vs. the damage reduction potential of one or two Feints. Energy conservation and intelligent use is far more likely to win fights than the Dash/Vorpal Spammer who has little on his mind beyond doing damage.

Summoner Abilities:

Flash and Teleport.

Flash is to be used mostly as offensive but do not be afraid to use it in a panic. You will not always have the energy to Dash out of trouble. Taking flash allows for more aggressive play. As an example, Dashing into an enemy only to have them run. Flash into them and Ki strike will end their life. It turns Shen into a semi EZ/Kas. It makes tower diving less risky and flanking through walls even easier. Use the map to your advantage. If flash is up, flash over a wall and then Dash into the crowd. They aren’t going to know what hit them. Counter them with a flash kill once or twice in a game and you will force the team to play less aggressive.

Yes I know Shen has a teleport with his ULT but it is a waste to use it for moving around the map. If you aren’t sure why Teleport is an excellent choice for any champ, I suggest you play a few more games.

In closing:

Build Shen as a Tank
Run interference for your squishies
Sacrifice yourself before you allow squishies to die
Play defensive and avoid unnecessary deaths (use judgement, sometimes a squishy is a lost cause).
Use map awareness to flank in team fights.
Don’t aimlessly chase opponents (it is 99% a trap)
Clear the jungle whenever there is opportunity
Dragon must die every time it spawns.

Good luck playing the Whimsicali Way.

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Senior Member


You Inverted all the skill description dude :P

Good guide....not what I use myself on Shen but i can see that working. I'm nota fan of warmog I go with Levi then boots.After that I start frozen mallet and Aegis...game usually end by then if not I stack Sunfire Cape for the lulz....with full levi stack and my full built I reach somewhere near 5.3k hp and I can tank like a champ

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Junior Member


You Inverted all the skill description dude :P

Talk about copy paste failure! Thx and fixed. Gave ya a thumbs up for the catch!