The shape-shifting mechanic is quite commonly encountered in MOBA games nowadays, but in the old days of League of Legends, very few champions were equipped with multiple forms, or had similar mechanics.
Among the first of this kind of champions, Shyvana’s shape-shift remains to this day one of the most iconic, with the Dragon form being such an impactful Ultimate. Her kit provides a good amount of damage, with the possibility of building towards either more offensive or defensive items, and somehow be well-equipped for any scenario.
Despite a rather low play-rate, the Half-Dragon has long been notorious among players who got to experience getting one-shot by an AP Shyvana many Seasons ago. And with the Mythic system and new items, building ability power on Shyvana has become a viable win condition, as more players prefer playing her for the burst damage, rather than for the skirmish power.
Especially in the current Meta, where the damage and healing possibilities are seemingly way too high, one-shot AP Shyvana is perhaps experiencing her best time in League history, so do not hesitate to join in on the clown fiesta, deleting enemy carries with one ability in order to win.
Allow us to walk you through the essentials of playing Shyvana, followed up with the ultimate Jungle routes and clearing strategies, along-side some tips and tricks to boost your performance with immediately.
Flash + Smite
Despite the dash on her Ultimate ability, Shyvana needs more mobility than what her kit can provide, thus there is little room for alternative Summoner Spells, besides the classic Flash + Smite.
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AD Syvana goes with Press the Attack or Lethal Tempo as the keystone, followed by Triumph, Legend: Tenacity and Coup de Grace, as a rather standard skirmisher setup. The secondary Runes are Magical Footwear and Cosmic Insight, in order to help with some efficiency numbers.
As for the more chaotic AP Shyvana build, the Runes are as it follows: Dark Harvest for maximal one-shot potential, Sudden Impact, Eyeball Collection and Ravenous Hunter for some added sustain. And in order to boost those stats even more, the secondary Runes will be Transcendence paired with Gathering Storm.
- Starting Items: Hailblade + Refillable Potion
- Mythic Item: Frostfire Gauntlet
- Core Items: Defensive Boots, Blade of the Ruined King, Sterak’s Gage
- Finishing Options: Wit’s End, Thornmail, Guardian Angel
The AD build focuses on the core on-hit mechanics Shyvana can obtain through items such as Blade of the Ruined King and Frostfire Gauntlet.
The rest of the build focuses on providing Health and defensive stats in order to keep Shyvana alive for as long as possible for her to dish out damage through basic attacks, with some very standard Tank items.
- Starting Items: Hailblade + Refillable Potion
- Mythic Item: Night Harvester
- Core Items: Sorcerer’s Shoes, Nashor’s Tooth, Mejai’s Soulstealer (optional)
- Finishing Options: Cosmic Drive, Rabadon’s Deathcap, Zhonya’s Hourglass
AP Shyvana relies on the massive burst damage her Ultimate, Dragon’s Descent and Flame Breath (E) deal, due to the insane 100% ability power scaling. One Dragon form empowered Flame Breath (E) can absolutely delete the enemy team’s squishy carries, allowing your team to simply clean up the fight, unless you decide to do it yourself.
Nashor’s Tooth is a great first item, as it helps with Shyvana’s early trading power until she reaches her power spike in items, so feel free to leave the Mythic for second.
Players should also find a way to squeeze a Zhonya’s Hourglass in, perhaps by giving up on the Mejai’s Soulstealer, as once you go in with Dragon’s Descent (R) and cast your first Flame Breath (E), there isn’t much left to keep you alive if you don’t delete the entire enemy team.
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W > Q > E > R
E > W > Q > R
AD Shyvana uses the AOE damage from Burnout (W) and the auto attack enhancements she gets from it to clear camps, while AP Shyvana burst down most of the monsters’ Health bars with Flame Breath (E) before Burnout (W) finishes the multi-clear.
The Best Jungle Paths for Shyvana
As previously mentioned, Shyvana relies on the AOE damage from Burnout (W) and Flame Breath (E) to clear the camps as effectively as possible, since her scaling allows her to basically microwave the mobs using Burnout once she reaches a couple of items.
We are going to cover the most advantageous starts from each side, but players should keep a few factors in mind when deciding upon where their Jungle pathing should start. These are:
- Which laners are going to provide more help in clearing the first camp?
- Counter-jungle opportunities, based on where the enemy Jungler is likely to start.
- Which lane would you like to gank first, depending on both the allied and enemy champions.
In the following parts, we will focus on AP Shyvana, as currently the previously off-meta build seems to be the most promising and effective, a statistic supported through her pick rates.
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1. Red Side, Red Clear
Kicking things off from the Red Side, the first route starts with Shyvana slaying the Red Buff using Burnout (W), getting the maximum out of the ability by hitting as many basic attacks as possible, during her kiting.
From there, players will be heading towards the Krug camp, now having Burnout (W), Flame Breath (E) and Smite at her disposal. Use Smite on the larger enemy mob and allow the AOE damage from your basic abilities to do most of the work for you, while you simply land the enhanced auto attacks into the right targets.
Next on the list are two more multi-mob camps, which Shyvana can clear very easily. On your way to the Blue Buff, stop at the Raptors and Wolves. Both camps are easy to slay using the Half-Dragon’s basic abilities, and the Refillable Potion is always there to bring some extra Health regeneration when needed.
After clearing the Raptors and then the Wolves, Shyvana players should focus their attention towards the Blue Buff. Using all three of your basic abilities, burn through its Health bar until it reaches the 450 threshold, at which you are going to be using the second charge of your Smite to execute it on time.
Before entering the River, challenge the Gromp and burn it down using your basic abilities and enhanced basic attacks, gathering all of the resources your Jungle provides.
In the River, secure some additional gold, experience and vision for your team by slaying the Scuttler. Although you don’t have any hard CC or another Smite charge at your disposal, Shyvana can naturally clear this camp with ease thanks to the AOE damage dealt by Burnout (W).
This leaves players in a great position to gank either Mid or Bot from, depending on which lane seems to be most promising, before the first reset.
2. Red Side, Blue Clear
Switching over to the other side of the Map, the path begins with Shyvana securing the Blue Buff with the extra help provided by her Bot lane. This will speed up the process quite significantly, as Blue will fall dramatically sooner.
With the convenient placement of the Gromp, it should be the next objective to take it down using Shyvana’s basic abilities and the first Smite charge. Although the Half-Dragon can secure this camp without Smite quite easily, players should try to leverage the early tempo, meaning that Smite is invested only to save some time and keep up the pace.
On the way towards the Red Buff, the Wolves and Raptors are just as conveniently waiting for you to slay them. Burnout (W) and Flame Breath (E) will be more than enough to clear these camps, especially when also getting the most out of the basic attack enhancement.
The Red Buff will be secured using all three basic abilities in quick succession, until its HP reaches the 450 threshold. The second Smite charge should be invested to execute the Red Buff and immediately make your way towards the Krug camp, in order to finish the first full clear.
The Krugs will fall quite quickly, given Shyvana’s AOE damage output, allowing you to step into the River to check if the Scuttler is still available. If so, make sure to secure the extra resources before checking the Top and Mid lanes, trying to spot a window of opportunity for a gank.
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3. Blue Side, Blue Clear
Now switching over to the Blue Side of the Map, the clears and routes will be mostly identical, besides the mirrored layout.
Starting with the Blue Buff, restlessly attack it while Burnout (W) is active, allowing you to hit LVL 2 as quickly as possible in order to gain access to the Flame Breath, which will further boost your damage output.
Immediately head towards the Gromp and freely use the first charge of Smite on it, accelerating your tempo and regenerating some Health in the process, before heading for the Wolves.
The third and fourth camps on the list (the Wolves and Raptors) won’t pose much of a threat considering Shyvana’s AOE damage from Burnout (W) and Flame Breath (E), but do not hesitate to use the Refillable Potion when needed.
Once the multi-mobs have been cleared, it is time to secure your second Buff, by slaying Red. This will not be a difficult task, as the second Smite charge should be used to both heal up and to accelerate the process.
Now make your way south to the Krug camp and invest the extra bit of time to clear it as well, using Burnout’s (W) AOE damage to your advantage, before entering the River to slay the Scuttler and starting to look for ganking opportunities on either Mid or Bot.
4. Blue Side, Red Clear
As for our final starting position, the Blue Side’s Red Buff, players will once again benefit from having two allies’ assistance at the first camp, as it provides a considerable amount of tempo.
After you’re done slaying the Red Buff, make your way to the Krug camp and cast the first charge of your Smite onto the larger mob, using Burnout’s AOE damage to efficiently clear the rest of the camp.
It is then time to head towards the Blue Buff, stopping at both the Raptors and Wolves on your way there, slaying those accordingly. Flame Breath (E) and Burnout (W) will allow players to comfortably clear the multi-mob camps, but the Refillable Potion is always there to aid with the loss of HP.
At the Blue Buff, make sure to get the most out of your basic abilities, using the second Smite charge to execute it once it goes below the Summoner Spell’s threshold, allowing you to focus on the Gromp next.
Thanks to the healing granted by slaying the Gromp, players can enter the River without any real fear of the enemy Jungler coming to contest, as their Health bars will be rather full. Simply secure the extra resources by slaying the Scuttler, before making your way to either the Top or Mid lane for a quick gank.
Tips and Tricks
- Twin Bite (Q) is most effective on AD Shyvana, as its ability power scaling is rather low, especially when comparing it to her other abilities. However, hybrid builds using Lich Bane in combination with Nashor’s Tooth and Wit’s End have shown that with some even more off-meta decisions, Twin Bite can be a core dueling tool.
- We’ve already covered just how important Burnout (W) is in Shyvana’s kit, and here are some important aspects some players might not pay attention to. The ability provides bonus damage on basic attacks and a good amount of movement speed. This is meant to allow players to stick to their targets, and very importantly to land as many basic attacks as possible, because basic attacks also increase Burnout’s duration.
- Flame Breath (E) is the bread and butter for AP Shyvana enjoyers, as in the Dragon form, this ability has a 100% ability power ratio, which is further boosted with the help of the items. Landing the ability is rather simple, as the skill shot has relatively large hitboxes, but sometimes players will be required to predict their opponent’s movements in order to successfully land it.
- And for probably the most iconic ability in Shyvana’s kit, Dragon’s Descent, it gets two very different uses depending on the build. AD Shyvana will use the ability as an engage tool for the most part, squaring up the enemy team against a wall in order to decimate them with AOE damage. AP Shyvana on the other hand has to be more careful, as the lack of resistance items will have her dying more often than not when the engage is reckless. You can indeed use (R) simply to transform into the Dragon form, allowing you to land the enhanced Flame Breath (E) to annihilate the enemy team, as it is better safe than sorry.
Given Shyvana’s great clear potential and the fact her most impactful abilities are only unlocked once she reaches LVL 6, the early game will consist of mostly farming the Jungle and squeezing in a gank or two every few minutes, when the opportunity arises. This is to let players reach a few AP items safely, which will soon provide Shyvana with plenty of value in terms of damage output, marking the beginning of the real game.
Once Shyvana has completed two or three items, it is time to consistently pressure the Map, going for aggressive ganks simply to land your E ability and leave. This continuous pressure is supported by Shyvana’s rapid clear, allowing players to keep up in terms of farm with the enemy Jungler, despite the frequent roams.
As the game progresses, your job is to simply find picks and deal massive amounts of poke damage through Flame Breath (E), and when the fight breaks out, it is your task to jump in using your Ultimate ability and to cast one more enhanced Flame Breath, effectively deleting the enemy team if done properly.
Always remember that the enemy team will indeed be afraid of a three item AP Shyvana, as trying to take her down will likely lead to at least one ally going down in return, if not more. Use this pressure wisely across the Map, especially when it comes to harassing squishy enemies who are trying to push waves.
With this we will conclude our guide on Shyvana, the Half-Dragon. We want to thank you for reading this piece out of our vast library of League of Legends content, which we’re sure you’ll enjoy!