Up until Moscow 5′s dominating performance at IEM Kiev, Shyvana was a hugely underplayed and underestimated champion. While playing some unranked and relatively low ELO ranked games a few weeks prior to Kiev, I started noticing something peculiar: when my opponents had a Shyvana on their team, more often than not, my team would lose. After realizing that she had some potential, I started looking into her abilities and playstyle.
If you are unfamiliar with what Shyvana is all about, the best way to put it is that she can be considered “tanky dps.” What does that really mean? Well, in the current League of Legends metagame, it means she’s really %*#@ing good.
Shyvana’s passive revolves around the number of times that she hits her enemies with basic attacks, so attack speed is slightly more effective on her than other champions. It allows her Q to be spammable and her W to last a bit longer, both of which make her an incredibly strong jungler.
Her ult is also somewhat unique in that it not only buffs her by giving her a percentage base increase in armor and magic resist (obviously, defensive items are good on her), but it almost makes her normal abilities deal more damage to more enemies.
Speed and counter jungling are the two biggest draws of jungling Shyvana, but another important thing to realize is that neutral creep buffs (especially blue) are not needed for her to jungle successfully.
Focus on leveling up Burnout first as it provides a lot of AoE damage that is crucial to killing neutral creeps quickly and for the bonus movement speed. The rule of thumb with this ability is that if it is not on cooldown, you are doing it wrong.
Put a point into Twin Bite at level two and a point into Flame Breath at level 4, with Burnout at one, three, and five. Once you hit six, your ability leveling sequence should be the following:
- Dragon’s Descent
- Twin Bite
- Flame Breath
In terms of items, I start out with Cloth Armor and five healing potions, then start building a Wriggle’s Lantern and Mercury Treads. The next priority is Phage that will eventually be built into Frozen Mallet. Wriggle’s, Treads, and Mallet are what I would consider Shyvana’s core items.
Once you have those three items, you can start looking into what your team needs. If it needs damage, Wit’s End and Atma’s Impaler are good choices (don’t forget about Madred’s Bloodrazor if the enemy team is tanky). For armor, look at Sunfire Cape or Thornmail, and for magic resist, go Force of Nature, as the bonus movement speed will help. Situational items include Randuin’s Omen and Rylai’s Crystal Scepter for the added slow. If I need to tell you that Warmog’s Armor is legit, you probably should not play Shyvana.
Obviously, you can only pick three of the items, so base your last two or three items on what your team needs and what you can afford. I’m slightly biased to Atma’s, Force of Nature, and Warmog’s because the added health from Frozen Mallet fits in well with Atma’s and Force of Nature. If the game goes long enough, replace you can replace Wriggle’s with an Omen or even a Guardian Angel.
The rune page is pretty simple; the main goal here is to help make the first six levels of your life extremely easy without sacrificing your late game potential. Shyvana’s lack of gap closure is why I choose to run movement speed quintessences but you can swap those out for attack speed or attack damage if you want.
Please do not replace the attack speed marks with armor penetration. If you build Shyvana with the items I mentioned above, three-fifths of your damage will come from magic damage; the armor penetration is not necessary.
After going back and forth between masteries, 9/21/0 is probably a little better than 0/21/9 (I cannot justify putting any points into Good Hands, but the movement speed might be worth it). I run with Smite/Exhaust as my summoner spells, but you might want to replace Exhaust with Flash and move the point from Summoner’s Wrath into Brute Force.
I touched up on this a bit earlier, but it is important to remember that blue buff is not that necessary for you, so the 10% armor penetration goes a bit further than what Runic Affinity would do. Just give the blue buff to your AP critters as much as your time and use the red buff early on (but it should go to your AD carry once the laning phase ends).
Nothing Else to See Here
Due to Shyvana’s horrible ganking potential, there are probably better early game junglers but her late game and her ability to counter jungle probably outweighs the sacrifices your team has to make early game.
This should give you a pretty good start on how to jungle Shyvana, so after you play a couple games, you should let me know how you did. More importantly, if there is something I missed or that I am way off base on, yell at me in the comments below.