The Twilight Blade looks upon its people and performs the duty expected upon him. For even in the darkest of nights, remember that you are not alone and the avenging blade shall always be at your side. In this Shen guide, we will be looking towards understanding one of League of Legends best team-fighting champions. Understanding the importance of split-pushing, global map awareness, and teamfighting all incorporated in a single champion. The ultimate Top Lane Champion to appear in League!
The Eye of Twilight Sees All
Shen is a proud member of the Kinkou Order and seeks towards maintaining spiritual harmony. Despite facing gruesome crimes and threats towards his country, Shen remains true to his neutrality – much to the dismay of his followers and friends. Shen now faces his own doubt whether the Order’s beliefs are worth keeping or if it seeks to be rebuilt. One thing is for certain, a change is coming soon enough and fate will come to him.
In professional eSports, Shen has been a consistent pick in the Top Lane because of his utility as a teamfighter. Esports pros choose this champion when they are not planning to give focus on the top side of the map. In recent tournaments, Shen has found a home not only in the Top Lane but also as a Support and Jungler, where he is called as River Shen because you can always find him in the River waiting to make a play and surprise the opponents. However. we’ll only tackle his Top Lane role in this Shen Guide.
Shen’s General Gameplay
Shen has a heavy emphasis on watching over his allies and constantly looking at your minimap and ally healthbars. As a teamfight heavy champion, he shines best when supporting his allies in battle and going headfirst into the enemy lines. When combined with Teleport, Shen is almost always present in crucial fights, making the enemy doubt entering battles they aren’t sure they can finish off quickly. In this Shen Guide, we’ll be learning how to utilize Shen’s kit to benefit the entire team.
Shen Guide: Skills and Rotation
We’ll be focusing on Shen as a top laner in this Shen Guide. His kit revolves mainly on protecting his allies and jumping into their aid in their time of need. However, Shen can also be an offensive tank who jumps into battle to setup for his team’s success. As such, Shen’s ability has different uses depending on the situation but using them right can transform him from being a teamfight utility champ to a dueling monster in no time at all.
Passive: Ki Barrier
Innate: Upon completion of one of Shen’s Ability, he will gain a small shield for 2.5 seconds. If the ability affects one or more other champions, this ability’s cooldown is reduced.
Shen is always accompanied by a Spirit Blade that he can control with his ability. The Spirit Blade will always remain near him and will automatically move if he leaves its max range.
Shen’s Ki Barrier is his best feature as a champion. Using your Ki Barrier’s cooldown allows you to win trades against enemy champions or help you survive damage to survive longer. Since Ki Barrier’s cooldown is reduces when you affect an allied or enemy champion, it’s best you use you abilities in succession of each other after taking damage so that you can abuse having a lot of shielding in one fight. Juggle your abilities and don’t just simply spam them all at once.
Q: Twilight Assault
Active: Shen recalls his Spirit Blade to his location. Enemies that the Spirit Blade hits while it is being recalled are slowed for 2 seconds.
Innate: After the Spirit Blade arrives at Shen’s location, his next 3 basic attacks are empowered which deals bonus magic damage and increases the range of those attacks by 75 range for 8 seconds.
If the Spirit Blade hit an enemy champion while it was being recalled, the empowerment is increased dealing more bonus magic damage and increase his attack speed by 50% while it’s active.
Twilight Assault is Shen’s basic ability and is useful in activating Ki Barrier immediately or help him harass the enemy champion. When trying to duel against an enemy champion, make sure you sandwich the opponent between you and your Spirit Blade so that you can increase the damage you deal to that champion. This is also useful when you’re trying to escape an enemy champion. This ability also helps you deal more damage to minions and monsters if you want to CS faster.
W: Spirit’s Refuge
Active: Shen activates his Spirit Blade, creating a protective area around it where he and his allies can’t take damage from basic attacks. This protective area does not block turret shots, champion skills, or damage from minions.
Spirit’s Refuge is useful to protect yourself from ranged champions who constantly try to harass you in lane. Since you gain a small shield from Ki Barrier, it’s best you expend the shield first before using this ability to maximize the amount of damage you block. In teamfights, it’s best you make sure that your allies benefit more from this than you do. After all, your job in the teamfight is to draw the enemies’ attention while keeping your allies safe.
E: Shadow Dash
Passive: Dealing damage from Shadow Dash or Twilight Assault will recover a small amount of Energy.
Active: Shen dashes towards a specific direction which deals damage to all enemy champions and monsters that were in his path. All enemy champions and monsters that he passed by will be Taunted for 1.5 seconds, forcing them to attack him.
In essence, Shadow Dash is Shen’s main damaging ability and is a great engage tool. Use Shadow Dash to immobilize your enemies and prevent them from attack your enemies. Using this in combo with Spirit’s Refuge also helps you win trades against enemy champions. Try to use this ability when the enemy champion is trying to attack your turret to engage a fight under the tower in your favor. You can use your Flash Summoner Skill as an extender to Taunt champions that are outside this ability’s range.
R: Stand United
Active: Shen targets an allied champion from anywhere on the map. That ally is shielded while Shen channels for 3 seconds, the shield lasts for 5 seconds even if the channel is interrupted.
When Shen completes the channel without being interrupted, Shen and his Spirit Blade will appear between the allied champion and the nearest enemy champion. Any projectiles that targeted Shen will be destroyed upon completion.
Shen is essentially always with his allies when this ability is not on cooldown. But because this ability requires you to have map awareness, you should always look towards the minimap or your allies healthbars to determine whether a fight is happening that requires your help. A good Shen player will not need his allies to call out to him for help. Only use Stand United if you’re sure that the ally needs this ability to survive, otherwise save it for later because of its incredibly long cooldown.
Shen Guide: Items and Builds
Shen is a tank champion through and through. However because of his assistive nature, he needs some items to help him deal damage or assist him in other tasks such as wave clearing to help him become an efficient split pusher. As a frontline tank, he will need items that affect the enemy team so that he can allow his teammates to follow him into battle. In this Shen guide, we will learn which items he needs as a top lane tank.
Doran’s Shield – Doran’s Shield is an excellent starting item for tank champions or those who are expecting to be harassed heavily by the enemy champion. It allows you to take more of a beating because of the passive ability that helps you regenerate health after taking damage from an enemy.
Titanic Hydra – Titanic Hydra is Shen’s main item because of the lack of damaging abilities he has to help him clear minion waves. Titanic Hydra offers a bit of Attack Damage which is helpful since most of the damage his deals come from his autos. Build this as soon as possible to help you clear waves better and deal more damage to enemy champions and turrets.
Randuin’s Omen – Randuin’s Omen replaces Sunfire Cape as his primary tank item because of the utility it gives as a teamfight item. Having this ability prevents you from being kited out in duels and decreases critical damage from enemy champions. While Sunfire Cape gives you a useful damaging passive ability, it also prevents you from going near the enemy turret if there is an enemy near it because of the burn it applies and totally defeats your purpose as a side laner and split pusher.
Thornmail – This items is useful when fighting against champions who have high healing. It also offers a lot of armor for when your enemies have a lot of AD champions.
Adaptive Helm – Shen’s main MR item and is useful to prevent you from being melted down by consistent magic damage from enemy champions. Build this in place of Randuin’s Omen as a second item if fighting against a lot of mages.
Warmog’s Armor – Great item to increase your HP threshold that will help you last longer in fights. This item will help you win more teamfights by disengaging for a bit and diving right into battle again.
Locket of the Iron Solari – Great item to have that grants additional shielding to your team. This item is mostly underrated but should be considered as your 3rd or 4th item. Activate it after completing Stand United.
Gargoyle Stoneplate – Good item that balances armor and magic resist. This item is especially good if you dive right into the midst of battle and like to soak up as much damage as possible.
Shen Guide: Runes
Keystone: Grasp of the Undying – Primary keystone for Tank Champions who like to stack up HP but still want to deal damage against enemy champions. This also helps you sustain more in battle because of the healing it gives after attacking a champion.
Shield Bash – Shield Bash makes Shen an excellent duelist because of the combo it has with Ki Barrier. Make sure to attack your enemy after getting your shield so that you maximize your damage output.
Second Wind – Allows Shen to take more punishment from enemy champions in lane combined with Doran’s Shield. This also helps Shen have more sustain in teamfights in the later stage.
Revitalize – Combos well with Ki Barrier by making it 5% stronger, increased by 10% when below 10% HP.
Cheap Shot – Gives bonus damage when you hit an enemy champion with Shadow Dash. Promotes Shen’s dueling capabilities by making his autos hit like a truck.
Ultimate Hunter – Shen doesn’t tend to build CDR so having Ultimate Hunter helps him reduce the CD of his ultimate ability which is really long.
As a lot of players know, despite having a mostly utility skill kit, Shen still makes an excellent duelist. His role as a support tank makes him a valuable addition to the team. He has a high learning curve in terms of macro play because of the need for him to be aware of fights happening around the map. Hopefully, this Shen guide helps a lot of people achieve a greater understanding of how to play Shen on the rift even if he doesn’t communicate with the team.
Why is Shen popular in pro play?
In professional eSports, teams like to take a lot of objectives while doing other things at the same time. Shen is able to do this by having a constant presence on the map even if he’s stuck in one place. As mentioned in this Shen guide, his ability to protect his team makes him an important asset.