Shen’s a bit of an odd duck. He’s a ninja who likes to be punched in the face (spoilers: that’s not changing), and while bits of his kit are super unique and impactful, he also sports two painfully generic abilities. He’s been suffering from a pretty severe case of old-schoolitis, basically, making him a prime candidate for some champion update TLC. So we’ve given him some. Alongside brushing up the big guy’s model so it’s closer to his awesome splash, we’ve also spent a bunch of time updating some of his abilities. Now Shen's power manifests as a ki blade that joins him as he enters the Rift, and which he controls with his abilities. Here's his new kit:
Passive: Ki Barrier
After casting an ability, Shen gains a temporary shield. The shield has a relatively long cooldown which is significantly reduced if one of his abilities affects an allied or enemy champion.
Q: Twilight Assault
Shen calls his spirit blade, empowering his next three basic attacks to deal damage based on a portion of his target’s max health. If his spirit blade collides with an enemy champion on its way to him, Shen deals increased damage and gains greatly increased attack speed. All enemies struck by the returning blade briefly suffer reduced movement speed when moving away from Shen.
W: Spirit's Refuge
Shen’s spirit blade creates a protective barrier that allows Shen and his nearby allies to dodge all basic attacks for a few seconds. The ability triggers when there are allied champions in the zone - if there are no allies are in the zone, it waits to start until one gets close enough.
E: Shadow Dash
Passive: Shen recovers a flat portion of energy whenever he deals damage with Twilight Assault or Shadow Dash.
Active: Shen dashes in a target direction, dealing damage to all enemy champions in his path and taunting them briefly.
R: Stand United
Shen channels as he prepares to teleport to an allied champion anywhere on the map. As he channels, he grants his target a shield, and once he arrives, he brings his spirit blade with him.
First things first: Shen’s staying largely faithful to his original design. He’s still a tanky energy-based champ, and his E and R are pretty much identical. You’ll still be able to pull off your last-second ults to save a teammate from death, and still surprise your enemies with those fancy-pants taunt -> flash -> taunt moves. Or y’know, accidentally flash -> taunt absolutely nothing -> spill drink over keyboard, if we’re being real.
Then there are Shen’s other abilities. We wanted to put into effect a pretty fundamental change to his combat patterns by giving Shen and his opponent more things to do and think about during each game. His old Q had some neat interactions with other champions, but ultimately it was basically a point-and-click damage ability with some bells and whistles attached. Feint - his old W - had aged even worse, and was basically a pretty bland shield (because practically no-one built AP on Shen) that just interfered with his otherwise precious energy pool. We quickly identified both abilities as prime candidates for the champion update team’s efforts. Basically, we’re fine with Shen engaging in extended one-on-one duels, but we want those fights to be a bunch more engaging and skill-based than they were.
We wanted to give Shen and his opponent more things to do and think about during each game.
So how’re his new abilities different? Well, his new Q - Twilight Assault - completely changes how and when Shen wants to fight. He’s purely melee now, obviously, so can’t bully or last-hit from range. Instead, he’s all about positioning, maneuvering around his opponent so his Q casts pull his spirit blade through his enemy. His opponent wants that to not happen, obviously, resulting in the two tangoing around their lane for positional advantage. Shen can force the issue by Shadow Dashing in, landing the taunt, then pulling the spirit blade through. This gives him a pretty big boost to his damage, and opens up Spirit's Refuge to parry his opponent’s reply. His new W has serious implications in teamfights, too, giving his entire team the means to dodge incoming basic attacks. Again, this all requires positional smarts, and the ability’s cooldown means he’ll only really get one shot with it per late-game fight. It’s a strong ability, basically, but only when it’s used properly. Finally, Shen’s new passive shield is a key part of the big man’s repertoire, particularly come late game. Past level 16, his shield literally has no cooldown when he lands his abilities on other champions, meaning smart and dextrous Shen players get to morph into mighty unkillable supertanks.
Shen’s all about positioning, maneuvering around his opponent so his Q casts pull his spirit blade through his enemy.
That’s about it for Shen’s changes. We’re kicking out a couple of his old abilities and replacing them with more interesting tools that should give him clearer goals during each game. At the same time, we’re brushing up his visuals, refitting him with a new model and better particle effects across the board. So jump onto the PBE now and let us know your thoughts on Shen’s new kit. We’ll shadow dash back in a couple of weeks for the big guy’s release!