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Mastering Shen

By An Authentic Shen Main, Preseason 13





Quick Shen Tank Top Build


Summoner Spells


Starting Items

Best Overall Build

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Matchups: Threats & Synergies


Threats:

0

0

0

0

Runic Selection

The 99% Rune tree is my preference 99% of the time. I find it synergises with Shen's kit the best, almost like they were designed around him. The other 1% is something we will discuss later on.

Grasp of the Undying

Grasp of the Undying
is quite a sizable portion of your damage when trading. Utilizing it fully can take a while to learn, but when mastered, can change your laning phase drastically.

Shield Bash



Shield Bash
is another great synergy with Shen's kit. With his passive, Ki Barrier, you can squeeze out a little more damage in a short or extended trade. With proper passive management, you can activate it twice in a 6 second, medium sized trade.

Second Wind



Second Wind
is a great rune to keep you healthy in the laning phase, either against ranged or melee. This comes in handy for damage that you can't quite use your passive or
Spirit's Refuge
to block, or heal back the poke taken from oppressive champions, like
Vayne
or
Teemo
.

Revitalize

Lastly,

Revitalize
. Another staple part of the basic rune system for Shen. Provides the extra bit of shielding that can mean the difference between life and death. This also has the added benefit of working with your
Stand United
or
Redemption
, if you build that. There are some exceptions that may be more optimal to take over this rune, but it is never a wrong choice.

Unflinching



Unflinching
can sometimes be taken if there is a lot of Crowd Control effects, but not enough AP damage dealers to merit buying
Mercury's Treads
. By sacrificing a small bit of shielding power, you can gain a small bit of Tenacity. Very usefull in team fights, but don't over estimate the enemies, as they won't prioritise you for their CC.

Rune Shards

This comes down to personal preference. Personally, I always take

Attack Speed
, as over the duration of the game it mathematically will scale better. I find it easier to farm against oppressive laners, and trade for the extra
Twilight Assault
damage. Taking the additional
Adaptive Force
won't hurt. Your Empowered
Twilight Assault
will provide
Attack Speed
and paired with your extra
Adaptive Force
you can hit bit harder.

Another point of interest is the choice between the

Scaling Bonus Health
,
Armor
or
Magic Resist
. I alter this depending on match up, be it
Armor
into
Darius
,
Sett
or
Vayne
, and
Magic Resist
into
Sylas
,
Tahm Kench
or
Kennen
. Shen main, Shending Help, has a point about this, where he will take
Armor
or
Magic Resist
, provided the Jungler also deals the same damage as the Top laner. If they deal opposing damage, his choice is
Scaling Bonus Health
. Personally, I don't choose
Scaling Bonus Health
, and rather I stick to 'If in doubt, choose Armor' as even into Ap match-ups you will no doubt take minion damage, but it does pair nicely with the new
Heartsteel
item.

  • 99% of the time


Starting Items & Summoner Spells

Starting Items

For my starting items, my choice in every ranked game is

Doran's Shield
along with the
Health Potion
. If it aint broken, don't fix it. For the odd time I choose or am autofilled Support, I have found more success in
Relic Shield
rather than
Steel Shoulderguards
but either one would work on Shen, due to his 'Hybrid Damage.'

Summoner Spells

When choosing summoner spells, always ask yourself 'Am I confident in my Champions ability to kill the enemy and am I confident in my ability to kill the enemy?' In Shen's case, I believe all champions are killable, when played right. For those that I have put in the Easy and Even catergories, I am confident in both Shen's ability and my own ability to have kill potential. In most of these match-ups, I will choose either

Ignite
or else
Ghost
. When playing against the Hard catergory, I almost always play
Teleport
.

Ignite



Ignite
is a great Summoner Spell to get an added damage increase when playing into champions that you would otherwise be in a stalemate lane against, like
Ornn
or
Dr. Mundo
. It's also a great choice when playing into champions that have inbuilt healing, like the forementioned
Dr. Mundo
, or
Aatrox
,
Irelia
and
Sylas
. By taking
Ignite
, you can reduce a huge portion of their healing, making it easier to finish them off in a surprise 1v1.

Ghost

I think

Ghost
is a great Summoner Spell that provides a massive amount of sticking power to less mobile champions or can allow more access to the enemies back line. I will take
Ghost
100% of the time into
Nasus
,
Kayle
and
Malphite
, 95% of the time into
Jax
and
Ornn
(where I might otherwise take
Ignite
) and on occasion into
Gangplank
and
Teemo
.

The most effective way to utilise

Ghost
against these champions is to wait for a slow push into your tower. Cast
Twilight Assault
and wait 3-4 seconds. Either use
Ghost
immediately or use
Shadow Dash
and then cast
Ghost
. You will have 3
Twilight Assault
stacks straight away, and by waiting the 3-4 seconds, you will be ready to cast
Twilight Assault
again by the time you have used the first 3 stacks. An added bonus is to get a drag through from the beginning to gain an added slow as they run away.

  • Primary Selections

Skill Path

  • 99% of the time

Shen

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Itemization

Shen's kit allows for him to be very versatile, and can suit many different Mythic choices. We will discuss a standard 'Safe and Tanky' build, a 'Build If Ahead' and 'Build If Behind' build path and something a little more spicy.

Safe And Tanky

For the average new Shen player or the seasoned Shen enjoyer, there stands one primary, cookie-cutter build path. This build plays on everything that Shen benefits from; Health, Resistance and Ability Haste. To start, we choose

Doran's Shield
along with a
Health Potion
and
Stealth Ward
, pretty standard for a lot of top laners. Our Summoner Spell is chosen based on the aspects discussed above.

One thing that Shen lacks is innate wave clear. As of Preseason 13,

Bami's Cinder
no longer builds into a mythic item, allowing for a more diverse mythic selection. This is a great item component for Shen, as it provides him with health and also the Immolate passive, giving him with the wave clear that he lacks. Along with
Boots
, this item is great for a first back.

Next, move onto building

Heartsteel
, and completing your
Plated Steelcaps
or
Mercury's Treads
. Your boot choice is completely reliant on the enemy team composition, but my most frequently bought is
Plated Steelcaps
. Again, don't over estimate the enemy CC. You won't be their priority, so you may find the 12% basic damage reduction more effective.

My build through

Heartsteel
is as follows:
Kindlegem
>
Giant's Belt
>
Crystalline Bracer
. This may vary, though, as different lanes may require building
Crystalline Bracer
first, like into
Teemo
or
Ryze
to provide more sustain in lane. I value Cooldown Reduction more than the 100% Base Healing, as proper and frequent use of your passive and
Spirit's Refuge
will block a large amount of damage, and for this reason I take
Kindlegem
first.

Into most Top laners,

Warden's Mail
is a good choice for not only champion damage, but can help when turret diving, as the passive Rock Solid will reduce turret and minion damage.
Randuin's Omen
gold efficiency isn't great, so I don't prioritise completing the item, only if the activatable slow is useful, or there is a high number of Critical Strike champions.

I have added

Redemption
in at this point. Personally, I think this is a fantastic item. I build this if I have gone to far behind in lane to be able to match my opponent. It allows me to help out my team more, by keeping them alive. If I can carry my team, my team will carry me. It can also be good in situations where you may be losing fights only by a small margin, but with the healing and true damage, it can be the difference in turning fights. I would rotate into this item second, or just after a
Bami's Cinder
, when I am behind in lane, or not able to farm as much gold as being a cheap item, I can purchase it sooner. Understand that sometimes you will have to surrender yourself to supporting your team entirely, rather than match side lanes and fight 1v1's.

For heavy

Magic Resist
, I choose between
Spirit Visage
or
Force of Nature
.
Spirit Visage
has the best synergy with Shen's kit, has more health, increases your health regeneration, and boosts your Passive shield and and healing from items and spells. It is a safe choice.
Force of Nature
, on the other hand, gains more effectiveness from more AP heavy team comps. It will allow for a small bit more mobility when helping tank for your team, but also reduce the damage taken from AP spells. I like the movement speed increase, as the sooner I can get in range to cast
Redemption
, or chase down and E enemies, the better. If there is one AP carry,
Spirit Visage
will surfice, but consider
Force of Nature
into 2-4 strong and mobile AP champions.

To top of the build, I lean towards

Titanic Hydra
for the faster wave clear along with the more damage output. It has great health stats and with the scaling health from
Heartsteel
, you will only gain more damage. You can push side lanes more aggressively, drawing enemies whilst you can easily R away.
Warmog's Armor
is also one to consider, as it not only gives more ability haste and health to increase
Heartsteel
damage, but also allows you to stay out on the rift longer with out recalling to regenerate.
Gargoyle Stoneplate
isn't something I build often or at all, but it does work well enough with Shen to merit a mention. It's great for damage soaking on the front line and also has a small bit of ability haste for more frequent W and E usage.



    Build If Ahead

    

    • Build If Ahead

    

    Build If Behind

    

    • Build If Behind

    

    

    ShenTop


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