Shen Laning Guide (Patch 13.7)
A laning and itemization guide for everyone.
March 31st, 2023 ⸱ 16 min read
Welcome again, dear reader. I'm surelynottop.
If you've read my other guides,you can skip this section safely. But if you didn't and are new here,here's a quick introduction of me.
I'm a Top/jungle player, who loves to play as my main, Mordekaiser. However,due to Top starting to become less and less useful, I've switched to other roles,and started focusing on different, efficient and fun playstyles. Everything you'll read here is field-tested with at least 200+ games of experience.
However, I want to keep in mind that i'm NOT a high elo player. I've played againts high elo players myself but i've never faced more than diamonds in my matches, excluding the usual broken matchamking moments.
With that out of the way,let's break down what this guide will focus on.
What is Shen's identity?
Shen is a tanky,but also mobile, Tank champion,who loves teamfights and to help the team. His ultimate,
,is a very good turntables spell and very efficient at roaming and joining fights. He has a very good dueling capability if used right,but that comes from experience first. Stand United
What are his strenghts?
-Very good lane sustain with his passive,
-A good amount of CC(Crowd Control) with his Q,
and his E, Twilight Assault Shadow Dash
-Can block autoattacks with his W,
-Damage based on the enemy %health
-great roaming and mobility
What are his weaknesses?
-Very bad waveclear by default,with only autoattacks being able to damage minions
-Very long cooldown on his Ultimate,at 200 seconds
-Mediocre at best splitpushing
-Weak pick against splitpushers and mobile comps
I'll include a summary here. If you wanna learn in depth, i'll explain in depth how you can improve at Shen.
Quick Shen Tank Top Build
Understanding itemization and build order
Contrary to common belief,
has great synergy with a lot of items in the in-game shop. Reason why is, he has great gold efficiency for the kit it provides. Combining His intrinsic CC and his sustain, he can manage to build almost everything and make it work easily. Shen
One of those items is . You can easily leave this item alone and focus on your mythic item. The 300 health and burn damage provided is super valuable to compensate a lot of his weaknesses early on.
Another example is ,which compensates his hefty cooldown ultimate and helps at early roams/dueling.
Last one i wanna talk about is ,which greatly reduces damage by autoattackers and minions. Of course,a argument can also be made for and his
interaction. Shadow Dash
Lastly,he can build a lot of mythics and make them work. As demonstrated by the Challenger Shen player xPetu, every stat you buy will benefiti him in a specific playstyle. My personal favourite is ,but i'll be focusing on the main stuff for this guide.
work and when should you use it? Stand United
After choosing a ally champion, the spell will trigger any kind of spell effects ( , etc.),then,after 3 seconds,teleport to the location the ally's at. If the target is sent to
's Mordekaiser ,you'll teleport to his last location outside the ultimate. Realm of Death
Keep in mind these 3 things:
-You can be interrupted while channeling by any hard CC ,silences included.
-If the target dies, you will not teleport at all.
-The ultimate shield benefits from any %shield increases, such as , and .
Any tips to play
more efficiently? Shen
cooldown gets reduced when you affect a enemy or ally champion,excluding you,with abilities. This means whenever you pull your blade through someone with Ki Barrier , taunting with Twilight Assault , and blocking autoattacks with Shadow Dash . Spirit's Refuge
can and will block autoattack interactions while you're near your blade. This includes some weird stuff such as Viego's Spirit's Refuge and on-hit damage from Jax's Heartbreaker Grandmaster-at-Arms
- You can flash while using
to extend his range and nullify reaction time. Shadow Dash
- do NOT use
only when someone is at low health. It works exactly like a teleport but better, so use it also to join fights and objectives. If the target dies,you'll just waste a ultimate and stay in lane. Stand United
What runes do you think work best with shen?
- is surely one of the best runes,if not THE best, for shen. The amount of CC you inflict can make you proc it at least twice,giving some good sustain, damage and 7 max health for proc. It also helps with poking a bit while laning against melee users.
- works great for those matchups where you won't be able to proc grasp consistently,but a engage with
is viable. This includes ranged opponents, enemies who do short trades and some minor exceptions. Shadow Dash
- is good only in unfamiliar bully matchups,where you'd rather scale than farm or fight alone.
The rest of the secondary runes depends totally on the enemy laner and team. A special mention goes for ,since it can be activated multiple times if used correctly. should be a must in most games, alongside for a bit extra damage whenever you taunt or slow.
I'll list some rune pages below the matchup section,since these are very important.
I'll add more with time, but i'll list some of the most common ones for both lanes.
Matchups (Both Top and Mid)
Here's some rune pages examples.
- Stock Runes
- Ranged Matchups
- Scaling Matchups
- Aggressive Runes
For summoner spells, Choice it's easy: always teleport-ignite/ghost if toplane, ignite-ghost is midlane. You can always opt for flash and use it for E-Flash plays, but that's not going to work always,while ghost works perfectly with Q's slows, has less cooldowns and is better at teamfights. Paired with ,this gives you absurdly low cooldowns.
Use if you need more clear and dueling potential, <Ionian is for roams and lanes you've gone ahead/are passive early. 300 health and a bit more damage during trades is very valuable early,as that 25 DPS from it is great.
Boots depend on the enemy teamcomp mostly,if they got hybrid damage ionian is the best,heavy CC is ,or if 3+ AP, and boots if 3+ autoattackers. Don't rush boots based only on the enemy laner,if possible.
is a menace of a item,since you can proc it twice during a single trade,if using your spells correctly. E-empowered Q-W will proc it twice in 2.5 seconds,giving about 200+ damage,a slow and reduced damage. Super good against heavy AD laners such as
or Fiora ,or mobile champs such as assassins or,again, Aatrox and Fiora Aatrox
is used for when you wanna really tank the enemy team. You can go for when using it,so that it activates a recursive stacking on bonus resists,giving about 15+ worth of stats for both
and Armor . Altho this item is not great untill you buy 3 items,the health drain and armor stacking works great mid-late. Magic Resist
it's a awesome item and very underrated for supportive plays. Shen already has a good amount of health, so the AOE healing will be great. If using and this greatly amplifies it to healings exceeding 400 health midgame.
is good only if you wanna splitpush and your team has a lot of AP (3+). It's great at his purpose but for building it you'll have to give up . It's rough but vey worth it. Don't build both or you'll just lose the value of both. Although you can go for into titanic,then sell bami later,if you really want to compensate for enemy pushes (
Fiora and Yorick come to mind). Nasus
is super slept on ,and even if you don't get any mana,the %
reduction it's super good. Cheap item,worth the stats if you really need to build armor. It's a great 2nd item for AD teams. Attack Speed
it's kinda mediocre,unless stacked. The health stacking comes into play,but as a shen it's not something you particularly desire early. However,if the enemy team allows for scaling,and you're getting ahead,it's a viable option for those huge
shield plays. Stand United
Game plans/ Game strategies
Since shen can have a lot of scenarios when laning and fighting,here i'll include the most common scenarios, so that you'll have a solid gameplan for when it happens. Keep in mind some champions can be more categories (Fiora is both mobile and splitpusher for example).
Splitpushing,duelists,and/or mobile champs.
These are by far the hardest,if not the worst,matchups for Shen,if unexperienced. These ones will always have some tool to punish or negate your engage,partially,or completely (
, Darius , Fiora etc). These ones will either demolish your tower or your healthbar. Wave management here is crucial,to say the least, I hope you got a somewhat decent one. Yorick
can really help you survive ,since they don't have essential poke your passive can't deny,and they mostly do all-ins. Take 1(2 if unsure)
shards in the runes, and if necessary . If you wanna duel,you can use the standard runes. Armor
Game plan should be the following:
-Don't die in lane or you'll have to use teleport,here it'll be super crucial. Stay passive and try to farm until 6,then go for plays with your ult,and come back with TP before they take 2-3 plates. If your team is behind you'll have to scale a bit and force objcetives. If you didn't manage to win lane there's nothing you can do.
-play aggressively early,forcing Q-Grasp pokes to cheap the enemy health (its about 100 damage with a auto like this) before lv 2-3 (depending on the matchups,some like
can be dueled before 6). Some enemies will not be easy to trade with or poke,so sort it out based on your experience and confidence. Yorick
, Yasuo and Yone ,who are all very autoattacks focused, should need a lot of care based on both players experience. You can block (almost) their entire damage with your Olaf ,but they can also 100-to-0 your health unless you play it right. Spirit's Refuge
, and are very good against thembut I advice to only build 2 of them. Take the choice based on how good/fed they're. of course,
also resided here,cause she can be 4 types of enemies at once.. Fiora
Keep teleport up, go for ignite if you don't wanna buy grievious wounds, and fight them either by poke or all-ins when they can take one. Careful about dhases,shields or spells that will negate it.
Scaling,heavy damage laners
For champions such as
, Veigar and Kayle ,they won't be dangerous at all early game,instead you should be demolishing them. You can take Nasus LV 1 for zoning ,and farm with autoattacks. You're a lane bully for them,so make sure to not let them scale and timegate based on what they need: Shadow Dash
and Nasus scale on kill,minion farm and gold,so engaging them asap and not let them touch as many minions as possible works great. Against them you can freeze a wave and negate their farm at the very early levels. Remember,the more they stack,the faster they scale,so slowing them a bit works. Veigar
-levelers such as
and Aurelion Sol ,which power greatly scales from levels should be kept away a wave,but in midlane this is very hard, so take them as a timebomb and help other lanes when shoving. Before 5 mins, towers don't take damage,so you have time for 1 or 2 roams. Kayle
It's very easy to roam with them,both top and mid,they hardly push waves early so Ults are a go-to if you can. You can also take ,since they won't stay very close, and it's a good choice for fights.
Easy-neutral matchups,you can easily farm and roam while pushing waves after buying . If you push the wave you can easily ult while they shove back,so you can take any runes as you wish. Some of them like
or Zed will NOT engage you,but just poke you or shov. I'd advice to take at least take some sustain ( into works perfectly to build into fast and push faster). Fizz
Some of them like
or Viktor will always push more,so in these cases i suggest building instead of sunfire cape. Go for a Malzahar shard, and , to be healthy for those roams. You can trade here if you don't want kill pressure,and go for or to help around the map. Since you're likely to not run given some hard CC's,having low cooldown spells really helps a lot. Magic Resist
, Mordekaiser and Darius can easily stomp you both early and mid game if you're not careful. They have high damage but have at least one crucial spell to land. They're great at negating you xp,so you've to trade some health or give up farm completely. Take teleport against all but Mordekaiser, as he sucks at pushing, AD juggernauts will take 1 or more plates if you have to go back for a emergency. Take against them instead of if you're not confident. Sett
is a great item against them,even first. For Mordekaiser,you can go for raw resist items such as or ,depending on the enemy damage types. If he goes first you'll always lose after LV 6-9, so might as well help the team.
Keep teleport up for roams,stay safe and let them scale,or wait for a gank.
Ranged ADC Laners
Literal definition of "Why are you taking a ADC into a duelist tank?"
Some of them are easily crushed,others like
are a pain. For the mobile ones, wait for their dashes before taunting, for the immobile ones,easy AF. Take double Vayne if unsure, farm safely and roam. and combo it's perfect for both mid and top. Take and they won't damage you anymore. Armor
By far it's most common on
, Singed and Sion . Rammus
Proxy happens when someone farms the waves before they come at the outer tower. Playing against them is simply not stopping them. Take the scaling runes i mentioned above, go alone (don't buy anything else) and buy asap. Then recall after 2-3 waves, buy it and it's a chill lane. Only
can push with ,so tower is safe too. You can also buy if you really wanna help with ults or wanna stop their proxying. Sion
Drain tanks (heavy sustain laners)
into it's a must to buy. Don't rush ,instead go for or into potion early. Champions like
will completely have their heals negated early,while Aatrox and Warwick can now be fought with care. Some are dependant by your W,while some by your E. Olaf heals a lot while not being AD, so it's very hard to counter her. Only a full sustain setup will negate her( in in Gwen ) . Against her you can go ,as you won't be building any item that helps against true damage outside of raw health and regen. Magic Resist
You melt tanks early games,so it's not a issue to fight them. Take ,push waves,ult. Easy lane,easy matchups, as long as they don't hard-scale like
or Malphite you'll be more useful. Sion
Lv 1-Early game strategies
Try to always invade the enemy jungle with your team,either top or bot side. It's very easy to secure kills with your taunt, assuming you move correctly through a invade. Early game it deals a lot of damage,plus shielding you from it. Don't level it up unless you see someone who can be engaged upon.
Your farm and push before is utterly horrible compared to other champions, so try to last-hit or Q-Grasp poke the enemy laner. Against some ranged ones you might opt for E, but that's up to personal preference and matchup.
If you wanna roam,you might opt for pushing a wave,regardless of some of the damage you'll take. Doing so will let you stack faster,meaning more roams and more ults.
If you wanna play it safe,farm until 6 and roam after it.
About LV 10-11 you should've scaled pretty well,but here is when you'll be starting to fall off. Now you're really dependant on good fights and roams, so force them when they're available.
After 20 mins passed,you can now always focus on plays with your ultimates, while pushing a sidelane. Your focus is not to take towers,unless you can take one or you're going for a splitpushing build/setup. Mostly,you'll push waves. Doing so will sometimes force a laner to come and farm it, making it a 4v5 or less if happens. Go for plays around the map, ult,take a objective together, go back in lane,repeat.
There's only one thing you'll be able to do in late game: push and fight. If you die its a very crucial mistake,so make it that dying will not be your fault. Not having a teammate can make you lose a game very easily.
It was important early game, now placing a E or W correctly in a fight is a win-or-lose scenario.
will apply grievious wounds with since it's a taunt,meaning you're very efficient at it. You can dash through some thicker walls if using your cursor right, and can do shorter dashes by having your cursor closer to you. Shadow Dash
will block the following spells/effects: Spirit's Refuge
On-hit damage from autos,
's Jax and Empower on-hit damage, Grandmaster-at-Arms
's Viego and mark-autoattacks, Heartbreaker
's Ezreal , Mystic Shot
's Q (negating the heal too) Warwick
Fizz damage, Seastone Trident
Vi damage (not the shockwave) and W, Relentless Force
Ekko autoattack, Phase Dive
's Hecarim , Devastating Charge
's Kayle and passive wave damage(sometimes it's not blocked,may be a temporary bug), Starfire Spellblade
's Talon , Noxian Diplomacy
's Twisted Fate , Pick a Card
the entire existance of
's Q when in cougar form, Nidalee
's Renekton , Ruthless Predator
and all spells that are considered autoattacks by default. (
, Yasuo and Yone Q's, Trundle and Aatrox 's passives, and Galio 's Dr. Mundo ) Blunt Force Trauma
will be empowered when passing through clones,so if a Twilight Assault , Shaco or LeBlanc send a clone,use it for a free use. Neeko
If you're reading this, I thank you in advance, for this guide took me a long while to make.
As always, a like and any critiques/feedback is greatly appreciated. I'll see you all in the summoner's rift. <3