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[Guide] Shen, I'm a flippin' ninja

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This guide is going to skip the descriptions at the start and get right into the meat and potatoes.

First off- Skills:

Q- Vorpal sword- The is actually a fantasic skill. A lot of people think the damage is low or it doesn't heal enough and ***** and moan about it. The fact of the matter is that at level 2 of vorpal sword you have a 100 damage nuke on a 3s CD and you can't run out of mana. The heal adds up a fair bit but I'll cover that in the how to play section.

W- Feint- as far as you are concerned this skill does not exist. If you are hardcore feel free to remove the W key from your keyboard. Energy regens fast, but not fast enough to make this worthwhile.

E- Shadow Dash- one of the best CC spells in the game. you can max this first but the killing/farming/harassing/healing power of vorpal sword should be maximized early game when it is most effective. The dash taunts everything in it's path. It's about the same hitbox as morgana's skill shot but moves 100X faster. This can be used in so many different ways it is incredible. You can dash over terrain, escape ganks, dash into brush for great initiation, take an alternate route from a low health enemy and then dash across a wall for taunt + kill. Once you learn the maps well with shen it's uses are limitlesss.

Ki Strike: A deceptively poweful passive. 8s sound like it sucks but with his taunt and the 3 second reduction from being hit it can churn out some huge burst damage at the start of a fight. It does magic damage (as does vorpal sword).

Level up:

Yes W is so bad you could just not even spend the points. Vorpal is first because you want to maximizes it's effectiveness early and mid game. Shadow dash is effective even with only a couple points in it so it can wait a bit longer.
HP quints
HP/level yellow
MP red (you are going to do MUCH more magic damage than physical until ultra late game)
CD/MR/MP/HP blue, Anything will do here.

Summoner spells:
On SR: Ghost + teleport/cleanse/ignite/exhaust. I'm partial to teleport as it gives you the mobility to be involved in pretty much every fight that ever occurs. This is a VERY good thing.

On TT: Ghost + ignite/cleanse/exhaust. I'm partial to ignite to counter how strong regen and healing can be on TT.

Why ghost? Ghost is required on shen because it allows you to get a HUGE amount of first blood and tower-diving kills. Shen may be a tank but he is incredibly good at polishing off enemy champions.

You want max defensive mastery for the extra 4% damage reduction and the 60 HP. Just don't take anything that has to do with mana. After that I suggest going to 15% magic pen or (ONLY ON SUMMONER'S RIFT) getting improved ghost and teleport and the 1g/10. The gold/10 basically covers the cost of any health potions you decide to buy during a match. Gold/10 is very bad on TT, matches are too short.

Start with doran's shield and a health pot. This keeps the enemy from being able to harass you out of a lane because all you bought was a ruby crystal and you can't get close enough to creeps to regen with vorpal. On TT the health pot will let you win lvl 1 and 2 fights that you normally would lose. The armor is nothing to sneeze at either.

After that you want ninja tabi or merc treads. Very rarely is tabi better than merc treads on SR. On TT you will fight teams that have very little CC and tons of autoattackers so they can be useful there.

From that point you want an aegis and warmog's in no particular order. Many times though an early aegis can basically win you a game as you team get's a pretty big boost from it in team fights. If your team has been doing well and you want to keep it going get the aegis first. If it's a big time farming game grab warmog's first to get the HP skyrocketing.

If the game is still going at this point grab atma's impaler followed by stark's. You are not only a tank but do great DPS. If you team already has a stark's get phantom dancer for the dodge and movespeed.

I've experimented with Frozen Mallet on shen and while it is OK, it just isn't as good as adding an atma's. If the enemy is running away from you, you've generally already won the fight.

I get the same items on SR and TT. I find it works extremely well on either map.

How to play Shen:

Shen is a tank with very good burst damage on initiation. Dashing into a caster/DPS charater and unloading ki-strike + vorpal blade will generally take off 1/3-1/2 thier HP early game. His burst remains high as you stack HP and eventually end up dashing into the middle of teamfights and with the subsequent champion attacks on you unload 2-3 Ki-strikes in a row. This is where Shen's power comes from Dash->Ki->Vorpal. Now know as DKV.

Question: Why don't I vorpal first then dash then vorpal again?

Answer: You never want to announce your intentions before you dash. It should be completely by surprise. A thrown vorpal can cause an enemy to move out of range or use other means to dodge your dash. You want the enemy to think you aren't dangerous.

Summoner's Rift:

Shen is a pretty good champion on SR. He is far from top tier but in a solo queue situation he is a solid pick. Shen meshes very well with a lot of different champions and his dash is an incredible gank enabler. With vorpal sword and ki strike he is an excellent farmer for a tank.

Early Game:

While a solo Shen could be possible, it is a waste of your gank enabling. In a sidelane you can dash from (or into) the brush for harassment. When harassing with Shen generally don't waste your time by just throwing vorpal swords. Save up some energy and do a DKV and hit them hard and then back off. If they don't have much healing and refuse to leave the lane or tower camp do another DKV and pop ghost to chase with vorpal and finish them off. This can net you a ton of first bloods.

Against tough lanes with lots of harassment let them push you right up to your tower. You can use vorpal and ki strike to easily farm the tower aggro'd minions. When the enemy stats to get cocky and attack the tower use your DKV. They will hit you and get tower aggro. Suddenly they go from pwning a lane to almost dead. Again you can often follow this up with ghost for a kill.

Stay in your lane until level 6. You can easily stay for a LONG time with just doran's shield regen + vorpal blade healing. At bare minimum you want 825 gold before you go back to spawn for boots + ruby crystal. Better is the 1200 for merc treads or if things go really well 2300 for boots + aegis or merc treads + giant's belt.

Mid game-late game:

After level 6 you need incredible map awareness with Shen. If you are unable to actively enable ganks with DKV and are forced to farm a lane then make sure to keep an eye on the minimap and health bars of friendly champs. This is the Shen cockblock. An enemy (or two) will try to gank your alliies, try to wait until they are fully committed and then use your ult on you ally who is the main target of the gank. When you arrive DKV the most dangerours enemy. This is up to judgment. Generally it is the champion with the lowest HP and highest DPS. Good targets are also those who can chase well to try to polish off the ally you shielded.

You can target the ultimate using the champion icons at the top left of the interface if things are jumbled in the fight and you don't really need to shield the giant cho-gath blocking the tiny tristana getting raped.

This is also a good point to use your ultimate to set-up ganks. For instance if your ally goes into the brush and the enemy can't see him, but isn't worried because, hey, it's just 1 champion. Unseen somwhere else on the map you can ult that ally hiding away and DKV the enemy for a great "OMGWTF" gank.

Once team fights start you can do 2 different things:

1. Initiate with dash and put a huge hurt on the primary target. The multiple ki-strikes will wreck almost anything you decide to kill.

2. Shield another person who get's focused and THEN DKV a squishy target in back. This is where you can aim a dash to go through some MDPS or tanks to drag them back to your final destination. This can really screw up an enemy's formation.

#1 is required if you're the only tank. #2 is the best case situation where you have a champ like malphite, amumu, rammus or allistar to start things off for you. An amumu ult followed by you shielding amumu to make him unkillable followed by a well aimed dash is a guaranteed victory.

As the game goes on in length your strategy doesn't change unless you have a TF or Pantheon or stealter to backdoor towers with. If you manage to get well farmed with gold and get stark's and atma's you should be able to be a wrecking ball in teamfights.

Twisted Treeline:

Shen is a top pick on TT. Vorpal blade and shadow dash are incredible in the small skirmish fighting and small area of this map.

The strategy on TT is very similar, except at level 1 you have a very good chance of a 3v3 fight. Always take vorpal blade first. The damage and healing it provides wins low level fights. Once you hit level 2 start being aggressive with the DKV combo. You can drive enemies out of your lane quite easily because it will be very hard for them to dodge it in the confined space.

A couple key dash locations to know are on either side of the top lane in the middle of the lane. You can dash in/out of dragon. You can also dash in/out of the lizard area into the brush. Yes, you can get lizard buff, dash into the brush in the middle of top lane and then wait for the enemy to push up having no idea at all you are there. Also you can GET XP BY DRAGON. You can wait in the dragon spawn area until level 2 and then dash out for a surprise gank.

Just stay agressive and keep enemies either dead or heading back to the fountain. TT is so much about teamwork that it's tough to say more than that without doing a full TT strategy guide.

The main thing with shen is health = burst damage. As sexy as a DPS or AP may look (and an AP Shen is great for 1v1) they lose out on the great iniation and durability of a tank Shen. Huge HP combine with a teleport (dash) makes shen extremely hard to kill. He is probably the hardest tank to gank in the entire game. If not the hardest champion period.

If I ever manage to get some video recording going I'll try to post some vids to demonstrate what I talk about. Just remember DKV and always take ghost. Also, remove the W key from your keyboard, 1 feint can cost you a killing vorpal blade or an escaping dash. If you have problems with being harassed just let them push to your tower and use dash to get them some tower aggro.

Any questions or comments or grammatical errors? Post away.

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Junior Member


i dont now if i am right shut i take healt and attack as runes?

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Senior Member


Maybe it's jut my experience but I have found picking up a phage to be amazing as it allows me to chase enemies much better in conjunction with dash to get in range of them. Also you say to pick up Doran's shield but on TT I find getting boots first allows me to chase people in the initial 3v3 fight that almost always happens and I can get my tabi much faster which are pretty amazing on a map dominated by tanks. Also do you bother to still pick up warmongs on TT? I tend to go

tabi->phage->legion->frozen mallet after that if the game is still going I either pick up armor for things like jax/yi/shaco or I go and get spell resist for fiddle and co.

Also I fee you dismiss w to easily there are a lot of situation where it can be a really amazing skill like if you are in a lane against Mundo or Zilean or a stealth character using feint in anticipation of cleaver or a shaco popping out of stealth can give you a real leg up in a fight and allow you to farm longer as they will usually back off after they don't see a 1/4th of your health missing.

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Senior Member


Very nice guide. Although, one thing I'll say.. is that you should take at least one level of feint at 4 or 5. This has saved my life countless times early game which allowed me to lead enemies chasing me into the tower and die.