LoL: The state of Shen

Shen's Scorpion skin.A couple days before the latest patch went live I gave an overview of the ninja champ, Shen. At first glance he seemed as though he might suffer from confused design, and that his energy system wouldn’t scale well. I was reluctant to unlock him at first, but after seeing the way he changes a team fight, I decided to give him ago.

First, I think Shen is among the more balanced champions in the game, even though he dramatically changes the dynamic of any game he’s in. His ultimate gives him the ability to prevent ganks and sometimes turn them for a kill. It’s a unique skill, despite similar abilities in someone like Pantheon or TF because Shen shields his target, actually for quite a lot. At rank one, Shen’s ult is a 450 damage shield, more than enough to soak damage output of two heroes at level 6. Shen also shields himself for half that amount, giving you a serious advantage, particularly in what used to be an even fight.

Unfortunately that’s about it. Yes, his taunt can mess things up, but it’s short enough that it doesn’t drastically alter the course of a fight unless you’re near a tower. The rest of his skills are actually pretty boring, and that’s Shen’s biggest drawback. He’s boring. His ultimate has a fairly long cooldown – two minutes or more. The rest of the game seems to be a lot of running around waiting for a chance to use that ult.

Part of the problem is that his CC, the taunt, is so expensive. It takes most of your energy pool to cast, which is why I recommend building him with a Rylai’s. Vorpal Blade becomes a spammable slow, basically guaranteeing no one will get away from you. The chase is long because you do so little damage, but you’re durable enough that you should almost always get the kill.

I’ll be curious to see if he gets any changes in the next patch. The Ezreal buff surprised me, and though Shen hasn’t seen the same overwhleming negative outcry, I also haven’t seen many people singing his praises.

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