Sometimes, reworks completely change how a champion could be played. Graves lost his cigar but gained a penchant to blow back minions and monsters (then won his legal battle to get his cigar back). Draven lost his blood brother status but gained a LOT of money (presumably from representing Graves in court), proving that gold is thicker than blood.
Shen support used to be a thing, with people such as Hachani (now "Comeback," which is a weird pronouncement for someone who is sharing time with another player) pulling it out before the Shen rework.
The old Q gave health to other champions, and his taunt and global ability were still feared. Once the rework came around, his position as a top laner was never fully challenged. However, the new reworked Shen actually can serve to be a better support that his older counterpart.
What is old is new again, and what is reworked… works again.
Especially now, buffs to Knight’s Vow and Shen’s global pressure make the support Shen pick all the more viable. Don’t believe me? Just ask Brazil, home of the 2017 MSI, the most passionate fans and Shen support in the 2017 competitive season.
Why does this work?
The most cumbersome ninja in history fits the support role thanks to his ability to turn fights around with his CC and potential nullification of the enemy AD carry. Shen’s dodge field, if used properly, can cause enemy AD carries all chat their frustration as they do absolutely nothing. Mimicking the pre-marksman rework of struggling AD carries, you may just tilt them out of existence.
Shen also has the added tilt factor of completely shutting down all-in attempts. Across the hemisphere, I physically felt the pain of CNB’s Lep as he Lep’d to his own demise, getting baited by a Shen ultimate. Using your global to come in and save an ally at the last minute gives you the annoyance of Soraka's ultimate combined with the extra irritation of an enemy teleport.
I’ve been talking a lot about how annoying this pick is, and it makes sense. Shen, a large tanky ninja, and literally taunts you. He makes fun of his enemies and then dodges all of their attacks. He’s like if Drunken Fist Rock Lee could also teleport anywhere and ditched the spirits for a spirit sword.
The pick is very strong in lane as well. He can punish melee supports because of his percent health damage on Q, and his taunt is easier to line up on them. Against picks like Tahm Kench, you can completely negate the building of stacks and then taunt the Tahm as he eats someone, ensuring you keep both enemies in place.
Shen also functions with no mana, having energy, which makes his in-lane sustain fantastic. Items that can abuse his ability to stay in lane are best, and Shen can also buy more cost efficient items thanks to his lack of need for mana or mana regeneration. Most of the time, ninjas need chakra or whatever, but Shen just needs the tears of your enemies to perform optimally.
- Relic Shield + 3 Health Potions
- Boots of Mobility
- Eye of the Equinox
- Knight’s Vow
- Locket of the Iron Solari
- Gargoyle Stoneplate
- Righteous Glory or Redemption
Gabriel Zoltan-Johan is a news editor at theScore esports and the head analyst for the University of Toronto League of Legends team. His (public) musings can be found on his Twitter.
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