Swain Build Guide by Catalci
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
First Major Buy
Your second item
Second major buy
If your team is doing well
Against MR stackers.
Your Last item
General Full Build
Against Full or Heavily AD Team
Against Full or Heavily AP Team
If your team is kited too much
If you are your team's only frontliner
Your optional item choices
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Threats to Swain with this build
Hi, I'm Catalci (it is not my summoner name). I am a platinum elo player started playing at the end of season 3 and i mainly play in the top lane thus this is my first guide on Mobafire. In this guide i will try to explain the basics and advanced knowledge about Swain and how to utilizing it in top lane. And of course, i mained Swain :)
I want to make sure of that, this is not like the common "ok guys the champion is X, your abilities are Q, W, E, R. Just build a Y and Z and thats it" type guide. Sadly, in mobafire there are alot of guides just fits this simple formula. I detailed "over 50" match-ups (52 at the moment and i'm constantly updating), different build styles (building a Frozen Heart on Swain) and detailed ability combos.
Feel free to left any comment, your opinions and ideas in the comments section. I will constantly uptade this guide and i'll glad if you guys contribute :)
Also, don't just stick to this guide only. I believe it will help you for learning and improving your Swain playstyle but watch streams and videos too. For example Quas from Team Liquid is a Swain main top laner and you can watch his videos for a visual lesson also. Although he is using Swain in mid lane (normally), Scarra is also a very good Swain player and his videos are very helpful for learning.
What is Swain ?
Swain is an ap based champion mainly used in mid lane. He excells at locking down his targets with his 2 cc's and extended duels with his Torment and Ravenous Flock
In top lane, you can build Swain as a pure ap caster, a tanky ap caster or even a full tank and everyone of them works. I will explain item builds later on.
Why do i play Swain in the top lane ?
Before learning Swain, I used to play bruisers and tanks mainly and honestly tanks didn't helped me neither carrying games nor gaining elo. Even i get fed with a tank, i was still a "tank" and wasn't dealed enough damage for securing teamfights. Then i told myself "don't play tanks if you want to carry, play carries for it". No matter how good you are with tanks, if your other lanes are not good, the opposite laner will deal more damage and carry their team. Your chance for carry a game with a 6-0 renekton against a 5-0 syndra is significantly lower than syndra's chance for carry. This was why i quitted tanks but it isn't our story. The Swain part is in the next paragraph.
With the changes in the season 4, Ryze top had became quite popular in solo quenue, teamrank and professional play. Ryze has a safe laning phase against typical bruisers and a monstrous late game. This left me with two choices: Banning Ryze every single match i play or...
...find a counterpick
I chosed the latter and with a couple games i noticed that although it doesn't fit the meta or mainly used in top lane, Swain is also a strong and safepick for top lane.
-Very good lane sustain after lvl 6
-A safepick for top lane, counterpicking him is hard
-Very good duelist after lvl 6
-Good harassment against bruisers
-Passive is very good for laning
-Very good at locking down caught targets.
-Very versatile in item choices
-No standart skill sequence. Every skill has it's own advantages. Generally, you will want maxing your Torment at lvl 9 but maxing Nevermove or Decrepify at lvl 9 won't put you a disadvantage compared to other champions. (I will explain them later)
-Good ap ratios
-Very good teamfighting
-If your lane opponent doesn't have any kind of healing reduction, your chance of winning your lane is very high and with a large mana pool you can even secure a double kill from an enemy gank.
-Very good kiter.
Swain's 500 autoatack range gives him an edge over the typical bruisers, your range grants you safely harass them from a distance, closer distance to your tower for ganks and giving your lane opponent a hard time for catching and damaging you if it is a melee champion.
His high health sustain from Ravenous Flock will often make you win trades and even securing kills if it is an extended fight. In teamfights, due to the nature of Ravenous Flock leeching life from 3 targets, you will be extremely hard to kill and wreak havoc massively. And if you manage his passive Carrion Renewal with Doran's Rings your health and mana problems are done.
Pros (advanced, i will explain everyone of them)
1) If you picked Swain before your mid laner picked his champion, the enemy team probably think you will go to mid lane.
*By picking Swain before your mid laner picks his champion, the enemy "mid laner" will try to counterpick Swain, but you are a "top lane Swain". This will give your mid laner an advantage in picking phase. Also the enemy top laner probably pick a champion which won't give you a hard time. 2 birds, 1 stone. How many times, the enemy team thought i will go to mid and picked Ryze for top lane and got a fed enemy Swain ? I lost count :D
2) Very strong blue side pick.
*Most of Swain's counters are extremely dependant on getting a blue buff (for example: Anivia). But in the purple side, the enemy top laner is closer to his red buff. It makes impossible to get a blue buff for them easily. (going to their blue buff, returning to top lane... meh...) Even in your team are on the purple side and the enemy team decides to give their blue to their top lane, it denies their mid lane the blue buff. This situation narrowes their picks. And one of this situations will occur:
-Their mid laner will play without a blue buff (a clear disadvantage)
-Their mid laner will forced to pick a less blue buff depended champion
-Their mid laner will get the blue buff and enemy top laner will forced to play without a blue buff. (he will mana starved, and counterpicking will become meaningless)
3) By picking Swain, you will force the enemy team to get minimum 1 kind of healing reduction.
* Swain has a "massive" sustain in teamfights thanks to his Ravenous Flock. If the enemy team doesn't cripple your healing, your effective health will ramp up. (if Swain is damaging 3 champions with his Ravenous Flock, he will be healed 270 + 60% his ap per second without reduction and it is "huge") Even with a healing reduction your healing will keep you up a fair amount time unless they bursted you down. That means your adc may not be ignited in teamfights because they will save their one Ignite for you, or you may disrupt the enemy top laner's build (if its an ap, mana resourced champion) by forcing him buy Morellonomicon (although rushing morello for ap champions is current meta) as his first item. Even with Morellonomicon, you must below 40% health for Morellonomicon's passive to working.
-Although Swain has 2 kinds of ccs, he hasn't got any kind of escape mechanism.
-His waveclearing is poor before 6, and medicore after 6
- Ravenous Flock and Nevermove pushes the lane.
-Struggles against early game stompers, heavy pushers, dashes/blinks and long range champions.
-The mana cost to sustain Ravenous Flock increases every second.
- Nevermove needs practice to land.
- Ravenous Flock needs proper management. If kept too long it depletes mana quickly.
-As Swain, you must buy at least one item for granting yourself a large mana pool.
Although Swain has many advantages in top lane, it also has disadvantages too (well, otherwise Swain would be op as every oher champion). 2 of your skills pushes the lane. This may lure the enemy jungler to your lane and even puts you a further disadvantage if your laning opponent is good at last hitting under his turret (like Irelia for example). As a lane bully, if your opponent is a heavy pusher, you will hate Swain's waveclear and your laning phase will probably goes like: opponent pushes you in, you will try not to miss any minion, opponent pushes you back, you will cry "yo jungler! why u no gank !" ...meh... And also your kit makes you a duelist. If your opponent is a bursty champ and can 100-0 you, your laning phase is done. Seriously.
1) Swain lacks initiation and hard cc. At least one member of your team should be a tf initiator type and your team needs champs which has hard cc or ccs.
* Swain is good at locking down "caught" enemies, not catching them. Your team needs a good initiator and hard ccs for Swain to dive into enemy team and pin down the caught enemy. If your team hasn't got any, your team's tf starting ability is crippled down. Also channeling abilities ( Death Lotus etc) will become a problem. Swain's tf is briefly "someone dives and disrupts the enemy team, Swain opens his ult and dives in, locks some one down..."
2) doesn't benefit from Teleport compared to other bruisers in top lane.
*In current meta, top laners usually pick Teleport as their summoner spell. As Swain, you are a lane bully. Your aim is killing, denying or zoning your opponent (ofc in soloq). Swain's late game is good but he is not one of the "farm up and carry late game" type champions like Nasus, Jax, Tristana etc.
3) Some champions you counter in mid lane, won't give you an easy laning in top lane.
*In mid lane, you will often get your blue buff. But in top lane, you should adapt playing Swain without blue buff. Some champions like Vladimir and Mordekaiser don't benefit much from blue buff as you do. Without it Ravenous Flock's usage will be limited. As they are manaless champions unlike you, this kind of match-ups will be tougher in top lane rather than played in mid lane. If the laning goes too long without you securing a clear advantage (a kill or making your opponent b), or your mid-jung intervention, mana starvation may become a problem and your lane opponent may get the control of the lane.
Hybrid penetration runes increases our magic damage, grants us easier last hits and better auto atack trade for an ap champ.
You will probably lane against an ad champion and an ad jungler. Armor runes will help you for reducing damage from your lane opponent, enemy jungler and enemy minions.
Against ap opponents, Greater Seal of Armor runes are less effective. Instead of these, use Greater Seal of Health runes.
Simple. More ap = more damage.
Why do i use hybrid penetration marks over magic penetration marks ?
With these you will get 8.1 armor penetration and 5.58 magic penetration over flat 7.83 magic penetration. By sacrificing 2.25 magic penetration, you will easier last hit and better harass with autoatacks.
Swain's common lvl 1 laning skill is his Torment and his main harass in lvl 1 is + AA .
With 8% damage amplification from Torment + 8.1 armor penetration from runes, your AA will hit harder.
Makes sense right now, isn't it ?
-21-9-0 page: We will use it most. It's for agressive playing style and maximize damage.
-9-21-0 page with 21 defense points focussed on defending against physical damage: In some games you will need to play passive at early levels and start play agressive after level 6, 9 or more. There is a bunch of champions which have superior early game over but weaker mid and late game. This mastery page will help you for not giving them any advantage in early game that may cripples your mid game.
-9-21-0 page with 21 defense points focussed on defending against magical damage: We will use this against an ap laner which either counters us or has a better early game than ours.
I won't explain all of the masteries i adviced you above. Instead, i will detail the key ones in them because we give some points to some masteries just because unlock the key ones.
, , and : , and increases our damage, also they have a good synergy with our . penetrates enemy armor and magic resistance for increasing our damage further more. If you chip down your opponent enough increases our damage more.
, and : Simple. They grant us ap.
: Our basic attacks deals 5% of our ability power as magic damage and also have one extra bonus. If you buy , it's also trigger with your basic attacks.
and : Gives us hp. Helps us early game.
: Has a great synergy with our
: Reduces cc effects. Also stacks with if you buy it. They grant us 45% reduced cc effects.
, and : Gives us armor against ad opponents and reduces minion damage when we draw agro. Last one also gives magic resistance.
: Gives us magic resistance.
: Reduces enemy aoe spells' magic damage. It won't work on single target spells.
I personally don't like and prefer utility masteries. is a battle oriented champion and benefits offensive and defensive stats and bonusses more than utility masteries. If you like the utility masteries, you can use them. Its your choice.
I will advice you to use one of these 3 duos i will explain below.
1) + : Your main set. Ignite for offensive power and Flash for instant repositioning. Helps securing kills in lane, reducing opponent's healing and also has a funny side effect. Throw your Ignite and Torment to an ulted Tryndamere and start counting :)
Taking Ignite also gives this message to your opponent: "i came here to drink milk and look for kills. And i've just finished my milk."
2) + : In some lanes you will need to use this to survive or get kills. (i will explain which lanes with detail in the match-ups section.) Some examples are below:
- : When she activates her Blade of the Exile and starts her combo or if you have enough reaction time use it at the start of Wind Slash's animation starts.
- : Needs quick reflexes. Use it just before Unleashed Power
- : When he ults you (most Zeds don't notice they are exhausted when they ult even good ones make this mistake sometimes)
- : When he ulted. Kennen is kinda easy lane for Swain and you may get more kills with Ignite. But in the long run, Exhaust is better than Ignite for its teamfighting utility.
- : This one needs monstrous reaction time. Fiddlesticks's tf combo is Crowstorm > Terrify > Zhonya's Hourglass and you must exhaust him right before he hits his Zhonya's Hourglass. Take Exhaust if the enemy team has a Fiddlesticks no matter he is jungler, middlesticks or top laner. Don't trust your support. If s/he misses his/her Exhaust during Crowstorm, a fully executed Crowstorm will devastate even most stomping teams.
- : During Death Lotus. Katarina is hard to catch thanks to her Shunpo. She will wait to use it when you placed your Nevermove. Thanks to Exhaust you will cripple her ult damage and also you will have a chance to pin her down.
- : When he throws his Primordial Burst. Needs good reaction time. (They need to change Veigar ult's desctiption. It's more like this: F*cks every ap champion instantly and every non-tank champion probably if they don't have a Banshee's Veil)
3) + : Although Teleport had became standard in top lane, i personally don't like it on Swain. I only take Teleport against hard match-ups in soloq and in 5 vs 5 ranked matches.
It is Swain's passive and it has two parts.
1) Each time Swain kills an enemy unit (minion, netural monster, champion etc) Swain restores 9+ 's level mana.
Its a lane sustain passive rather than a battle oriented one. Swain's abilities cost a hefty amount of mana and this passive kinda balances Swain's mana issues if you can last hit "above average". This passive also has a good synergy with Doran's Ring(s).
2)On a champion kill or assist, he regains an additional 9% of his maximum mana
Its rather simple but i'll give a couple of tricks which make you understand what it means and how to use it on your benefit.
is a targeted ability which damages its target and slows it by a percentage (depending on how many points you invested in Decrepify) over 3 seconds.
-Altough Decrepify also deals good amount of damage, consider it as a soft cc in laning.
-With even 1 point invested, Decrepify slows the target by 20%. It makes it easier to land your Nevermove in lane, ganks and teamfights.
-Dont solely rely on Decrepify's damage. Your opponent can get out of Decrepify's range (625 cast range and 900 tether range) and 2 out of 3 times Decrepify won't deal its full damage because your opponent will try to break the tether.
- Decrepify is very good in kiting. Against a melee opponent, Decrepify + Ravenous Flock can easily turn the tide.
-You can also use Decrepify for getting cs you will miss otherwise. If the minion barely survives from your AA, you can cast Decrepify on that minion for get that cs.
- Decrepify has a "very" brief casting time. You will notice it when you try Decrepify + AA harass. Decrepify will delay your AA's execution time.
- Decrepify's cooldown is 8 seconds in all levels. My advise is max it last since Torment is your main harassment and putting points in Nevermove significantly reduces it's cooldown.
Nevermove is an of effect skillshot ability. After a short delay, enemies inside of the are will be damaged and rooted for 2 seconds. Its Swain's hard cc and this is what makes Swain good at locking down caught targets.
- Decrepify + Nevermove is a very strong pinning down combo. Its even stronger against targets without dashes and blinks. Use this combo when setting up ganks, escaping from enemy and/or catching escaping enemies.
-Burning enemy dash and (if able) Flash before using Nevermove, will ensure that it will land.
- Nevermove has 900 cast and 125 radius = 1025 effective range. It is your longest ranged ability. You can use it for farming (but not advised) in desperate situations. (for example a heavily lost lane.)
- Nevermove is your only waveclear before level 6. If you have a lane opponent who has a lvl-2 all-in ( Riven, Rengar for example) and you want to get lvl 2 before him/her, you can start Nevermove. With proper landing you can hit an entire wave with it.
-Don't use Nevermove recklessly especially before level 6. Nevermove has a long cooldown. It starts with 18 seconds cooldown and every invested point drops it by 2. Your lane opponent can punish you heavily for a missed Nevermove.
-You may want to max Nevermove first instead of Torment versus long ranged, heavy pusher opponents ( Lissandra, Syndra etc.). Nevermove is your only answer to a safely pusher opponent before level 6.
-When pushing a lane try to gather all minions into one place for Nevermove. With some practice you will get used to land your Nevermove to all minions. Nevermove + Ravenous Flock are your main waveclear abilities.
-You can use Nevermove for bush checking. When Nevermove catches a target, it makes a distinctive sound. For safety, check suspicious bushes with Nevermove instead of face checking.
-Since Nevermove has a delay, try to anticipate your target's movement. In some situations, you won't need to land Nevermove for getting a kill. Throw your Nevermove to your target's escape rotue. Your opponent will be forced to rotate around Nevermove's area. This will keep him/her in your Ravenous Flock's range a bit more.
-You can use Nevermove for denying farm (especially siege minions) against melee champions in lane. When the minion is about to die, cast Nevermove on it, if he wants to farm it badly, he will take a full combo. You can fully apply Decrepify against a rooted opponent easily.
Torment is a single targeted damage over time ability. It also amplifies all kinds of damage except Ignite dealt by Swain by a percentage
- Torment is your main harassment ability. In most lanes you will prefer to max it first.
- Torment also amplifies its own damage.
- Torment has a cast range of 625. Its more than your AA range. At earlier levels, try to poke your opponent with autoattacks as much as you can without putting yourself in danger. With Torment's damage amplification + your hybrid penetration runes, even withouth much ad, your autoattacks will chip down your opponent.
-Your typical level 1 harassment is + AA. With some practice, you will do it easier. Its important to execcute this harassment fluidly in order to lane with Swain effectively.
- Torment draws minion and tower aggro for its duration. Enemy towers warn you when you draw aggro but minions don't and minions deal significant amount of damage at earlier levels. Always make sure the enemy minions are not targeting you for too long.
-In lane, try to bait out your lane opponent's shield if your opponent has one ( Riven, Rumble etc) if you maxed Torment first. Shields nullify most (for some champions all) of Torment's damage.
-Since Torment amplifies your damage, always try to use it first in your trades and all-ins.
Ravenous Flock is your ultimate and its a toggled ability. When you activate it, you transform into your raven form and damage 3 enemies in 625 range prioritizing champions. You also healed 75% damage to champions and 25% damage to minions.
-Always by saying always i really mean always watch your mana bar when you toggled on your Ravenous Flock. It's mana cost to sustain increases with every second. As like every mana resourced AP champion, a manaless Swain = a dead Swain
-When you toggled on Ravenous Flock, it sends 3 lesser ravens to enemies. The ravens are purely cosmetical. It doesn't damage when a raven reaches to its enemy nor you dont get healed when a raven returns to you. The damage and healing are calculated every second.
-If there aren't any champions within Ravenous Flock's range, Ravenous Flock randomly choses it's targets.
-When csing under your turret, you can use your Ravenous Flock for last hitting.
For melee minions: 2 turret shots + 1 AA
For caster minions: 1 turret shot + toggle on your Ravenous Flock and wait for 1 damage tick then quickly toogle off Ravenous Flock + 1 AA.
Just wait for there are only caster minions left. Activating Ravenous Flock while there are melee minions may make you miss melee minions thanks to Ravenous Flock's auto targeting. After some practice you will get it.
-As Ravenous Flock heals you for 25% damage dealt to minions, do not think that "healing from minions are more than enough". Always try to leech health from an enemy champion without putting yourself in risk. Heal from minions only in desperate situations.
-What differs between "good swain players" and "bad ones" is good ones know or feel when toggle off the Ravenous Flock. It has a cooldown of 8 seconds and your lane opponent may retaliate when you toggled of Ravenous Flock. You are vulnerable while Ravenous Flock is on cd.
-If you are a beginner in Swain and don't know when to toggle off your Ravenous Flock use it like this:
Throw your Torment and activate Ravenous Flock. After 4 seconds ( Torment's duration), reactivate Ravenous Flock. After a couple of games with Swain you will get the feeling.
-When running away from your opponents, toggle of your Ravenous Flock. It will massively help your survival. In some situations it will also turn the tide of the battle. Especially against melee champions you will suprise how many kills you will get while escaping. An escaping Swain in his raven form is not less dangerous than a Singed :D
- Ravenous Flock needs sight of enemies for damage. It damage stealthed enemies or enemies in bushes. Throw a ward if you can when your enemy run into a bush while your ult was active.
- Ravenous Flock is not a channeled ability. Silences and stuns won't deactivate it.
As you'll start 9 out of 10 lanes with . Thanks to 's damage amplification you are one of the best autoattack trader AP champions. Against an ranged champion just throw one AA and wait for 's cd. Against a melee one you can throw 2 or even 3 AAs with one .
If you are against a melee opponent without dashes ( , etc) You can take instead of . Since its a melee opponent, it will be hard for him/her to break the tether and because of 's slow you can throw AAs freely.
Its your "locking down" combo. 's slow make nevermore land easier. Use this combo when setting up ganks. If your team has a carry or snowball type jungler ( , etc) you can take at level 3 for securing the kill in a gank attempt.
Its your typical damage combo between level 3 and 6. For it's damage amplification, cast first. Since you cast last, your opponent will be rooted for 2 seconds and you can throw 2-3 AAs.
It is more advanced version of previous combo. This is your max damage combo before level 6. The aim is fully apply 's damage. It is harder than previous one because this time you need to land nevermore without 's slow.
Its a safe combo. While your opponent is rooted, you can use and throw AAs while keeping your distance.
As you can see, its an all-in combo. But you will notice that we toggled on first and you may ask "why we didn't start with for maximum damage". The answer is has a brief casting time but while we casting , we are also damaging our opponent with . Yes its only one tick and not much but think like this: That one tick is the difference between an escaped opponent with 20 hp and a dead one
One last thing: Watch your mana bar
As you can see has different combos for different purposes. You don't have to strictly follow these combos. You can create your own ones as well.
: It has become a standard for ap champions as opening. I personally prefer buying 2 of them at early game. Together they will grant us 120 hp, 30 ap, 6 mana regen per 5 seconds and 8 mana per kill. The last one is also synergising extremely well with our Carrion Renewal. With this we will get 17 + our level mana per kill. You may like lane with only one ring for completing your Rod of Ages earlier. Its a personal choice.
+ 3x : A safe start againts a heavy pusher and harasser champion ( for example). hasn't got his monstrous health sustain before he gets his Ravenous Flock. This start gives you less offensive power but a safer laning phase before lvl 6. Crystalline Flask also refills each time you based.
+ 5x : A safe start against a heavy early game ad harasser like . The aim is same as the Crystalline Flask start but that kind of lane needs more defense and sustain before lvl 6. Cloth Armor is also part of your Seeker's Armguard (one of your core items). So no money will be wasted.
: An invaluable item for . It gives 450 health, 450 mana and 60 ability power at beginning and on leveling up, restores 150 health and 200 mana over 8 seconds (who doesn't want more sustain in lane ? ). After 10 minutes it's stats will become 650 health, 650 mana and 80 ability power. The health makes us more beefy for fights, the mana will make us keep Ravenous Flock open more, cast more spells and the ability power will increase our damage and healing. It ramps up our effective health and dueling power. Rod of Ages is also 170.5% gold effective at max stacks. You'll probably complete it around minute 15.
: There are few other champions who benefits Zhonya's Hourglass more than . It gives 120 ability power and 50 armor (more damage+healing and tankyness). But the crucial power lies within Zhonya's Hourglass is it's active. Champion becomes invulnerable and untargetable for 2.5 seconds, but is unable to move, attack, cast spells, or use items during this time . Basically you can safely dive in the enemy team and with this active drop the enemy focus from you in teamfights, save yourself from fatal enemy skills ( Death Mark, Requiem, Chum the Waters and so much more), make plays and so on.
But what makes one of the most benefiting champion from Zhonya's Hourglass ?
Ravenous Flock heals Swain during the statis of Zhonya's Hourglass as long as you can sustain it's mana cost. Basically:
dive into enemy team > open your ulti > damage them > they will damage you > use Zhonya's Hourglass's active > after 2.5 seconds get into the fight again with full health. (do i need to mention that the enemies will still get damaged from Ravenous Flock if they waited within your range during zhonya's statis ? )
: I'm not used to build this on but after couple of games i tried it i've noticed that this is an extremely effective item on Swain. Nowadays i build Liandry's Torment as my third item. Also when the enemy team has 2 or more tanks (more is extremely rare) this item's passive will shine. 50 ability power, 300 health and 15 magic penetration could be seem not enough for an item that costs 2.9 k gold but its passive will make you a tank-melter. For it's full effect, the enemy's movement must be impaired and 2 of your skills fits in this description. Also your Ravenous Flock resets it's duration every tick. As you want to stick your target and with Liandry's Torment's passive, you will do monstrous damage to your target.
Why do i used the word "extremely effective" ? The answer is this: Liandry's Torment's damage tick resets whenever you dealt magic damage to enemies and you got 2 dps type abilities and one dot. That means, with just a single Torment, Liandry's Torment's passive will burn enemies for "7" seconds (4 from Torment's dot and other 3 is its own) and 7 seconds means "14% of current hp + Torment's amplified 20% = around 16-18% hp damage".
Also, 2 of your basic abilities impairs enemy movement for doubling the effect of Liandry's Torment's passive and with a good positioning (hitting with Ravenous Flock to 3 targets) will skyrocket Swain's teamfight impact. Say welcome to the best peeler ever.
: At first sight, this item sounds weird on Swain isn't it ? But believe me it is not. Against an enemy team consists heavy ad, a overly-fed adc and/or aa based champion (i also count Kayle in this category despite that she is an ap based champion. Because reducing her atack speed by 15%, also reduces her dps by nearly 15% and it is cheaper way of doing it. Compare this two and you will understand. A team stacks mr or one member gets a Frozen Heart, see ? ) That member is you. You will benefit every stat Frozen Heart gives you. More armor ? You are diving into enemy team in tfs. More mana ? More Ravenous Flock. 20% cdr ? Hell yeaaa.
When i'm against a full ad team, i built this item as my 3rd item choice and sometimes 2nd. Lets detail the stats it gives.
100 Armor: 100 armor is exactly same with the green mushroom in Super Mario. Example: You have 2000 hp and 0 armor. That means the enemy team needs deal 2000 physical damage to kill you.
2000 hp 100 armor: They'll need 4000 physical damage to kill you.
2000 hp 200 armor: They'll need 6000 physical damage to kill you.
I suppose you get the thing, for every 100 resist, you multiply your max health against that kind of damage. And one of your core items is Zhonya's Hourglass. Combined with a Frozen Heart, you'll get around 220 armor at level 18. Also Rod of Ages will make you beefy. That means the enemy team needs to deal around "7000" physical damage to kill you even without zhonya's statis and constant hp sucking from Ravenous Flock. You'll became nearly unduelable against physical damage with it.
400 mana: More mana= More spells + more Ravenous Flock = more damage. Thats it. No need to add more i suppose.
20% cdr: Typical Swain builds lack cdr. Frozen Heart gives you 20% and it's "huge". More spells + less intervals between Ravenous Flocks.
Overall, Frozen Heart is invaluable against heavy/full ad team comps.
Standard Ap Caster Items
: Every mage's dream. 120 ability power and increases your total ability power by 30%. Huge damage (and healing) steroid on . If you are doing good or ok, and there aren't any heavy mr stacker yet consider buying it.
: 70 ability power and bypasses enemy magic resistance by 35%. And also cheaper than Rabadon's Deathcap. If the enemy team starts stacking magic resistance, penetrating it becomes a priority. A good late game item. 9 out of 10 games you will build it as the game goes on.
: 70 ability power, 45 magic resistance and reduces the mr of nearby enemy champions (not minions, monsters, dragon nor baron) by 20. A good mid game item and also easy to buy. If you are against an ap opponent and you aren't doing bad its a very good item. Increasing your damage + reducing enemy damage. Win win situation. The 2 downsides of this item are:
1) It works well against sustained damage mages like Ryze and Vladimir but not effective against burst damage champs like LeBlanc and Syndra. For saving your hide against this kind of champions, consider an item that gives you also health besides magic resistance.
2) Flat magic resistance reduction falls of late game if the enemy team stacks magic resistance. 20 magic resistance reduction won't make any difference against a Sejuani with 3.5 k hp and 150 mr. Percentage penetration works better against that kind of opponents.
: This is not a laning item. If the enemy team has strong and game changing ccs ( Rocket Grab, Death Sentence, Dark Binding) and/or heavy ap burst damage, blocking a key skill at right time, this item's passive could save the game.
: If the game goes to late-late game, you will probably see this item on everyone. It's stats is kinda low for its cost but it revives it's owner. Ravenous Flock also has a great synergy with it. will still leech life when reviving himself like Zhonya's Hourglass
: I personally don't like this item on but as the title says, this is a "situational item". needs a large mana pool rather than mana sustain. If your last hitting is above average, your passive and Doran's Rings will keep you enough for lane. I build this item (actually i usually left it as Chalice of Harmony and complete it later on) only in two occasions.
1) My lane opponent is a heavy pusher ap champion which trades often ( Vladimir, Ziggs) the ap, cooldown reduction, magic resist and mana regen passive are welcomed.
2) Too long teamfights: Athene's Unholy Grail has a unique passive which is an upgraded version of our Carrion Renewal 's second part. With two of them combined, we will restore minimum 24% of our maximum mana on champion kills or assists. I said "minimum 24%" because although Athene's Unholy Grail's 2 passives won't stack with itselves, it's mana regen amplification stack with Carrion Renewal. If you scored a kill or got an assist in a fight with 0 mana , it will restore 15% (from athene) + 2x9% from Carrion Renewal = 33% of our maximum mana.
More mana restored = more Ravenous Flock
In season 5, Athene's Unholy Grail has nerfed drastically. Rush an Abyssal Scepter instead.
: If the enemy team consists of slippery champions and your team is constantly kited, even without you'll never get it's full effect this item's passive will help you and your team to catching them up. 100 ap and 400 health also nice and if your enemy had burnt their escapes, when you aproach them and activate your Ravenous Flock the constant 15% slow will make it impossible to escape from you. It's hp and slow also makes you a very strong frontliner.
: When the enemy team is heavy ap but sustained damage rather than burst, i love this item on . The hp and magic resist makes you more tanky, cooldown reduction allows us throw spells more often, reactivate Ravenous Flock with less intervals and "20% increased healing" will make you nearly impossible to kill without healing reduction (Remember, you are still "hard" to kill even without it).
: You will need this in 1 out of 100 games with . Heavy ad, slippery champions or your team is dumb enough for not picking any champions can lock someone down. (yes i played a "ranked" game fits this category perfectly thanks to our mid , support and jungle . The interesting part was we won clearly. Dumb team vs dumber team story)
Update: After a couple games i was experimenting different builds on Swain and i noticed that Iceborn Gauntlet and Frozen Heart are actually very viable on him, if your team hasn't got any tanks and opposing team is full ad. I generally build Iceborn Gauntlet as my 3rd item (after Rod of Ages and Zhonya's Hourglass). If the opposing team consist heavily of ad caster type champions build a Iceborn Gauntlet, if they are dps types build a Frozen Heart instead. The results are better than i imagined. And moreover, in some matchups (like Riven, you may even consider building one of the items i mentioned just above as your 2nd item.)
: Not much to say. It is a must if one of them is in the enemy team: Warwick, Fiddlesticks, Veigar.
: Fun item but has its own place. This item will turn you from "a good duelist" to "best duelist ever". But again its a fun item. Please don't build this in ranked games :)
: If you build this on , that means the enemy team has a "monstrously fed adc" and even you forced to build this. Well not much to say, even your chances are low on wining that game is low, hope is hope. Try your best.
: This item has became a core item for nearly every AP champion with mana. The stats this item grants are 80 ap, 20 cdr, +100% base mana regeneration and an unique passive. Reduces healing of enemy champions to half if they are below 40% health. Lets find some champions which we must cripple their healing at "all times" i will give you some examples: Dr. Mundo, Nasus, , Swain, Warwick, Fiddlesticks and more.
An interesting part or this item is your basic attacks also trigger Morellonomicon passive if you put a point in mastery (21-9-0 tree).
As a top lane
, you will be either a "peeler
" or "diver
" in teamfights.
Peeler : If one or more situations in below occurs, you will use as a peeler.
-Your carries had scaled better into late game than enemy carries.
-If the enemy has assassins which can burst down your carries easily without protection.
With his 2 cc and tankish nature can be a good peeler as well. As a peeler your role is simple: Protect your carries. If your team got a fed or well scaled adc and/or apc ( , , a well stacked etc) just protect them and they will win teamfights for you. Also thanks to damages 3 enemies and is an aoe ability, you will be damaging not only your focussed target but also another 2 enemies as well.
-You are fed and/or one of the main sources of damage
-Enemy carries are fed or scaled into late game
-Your team has assasins
As you allready noticed, diver is complete opposite of peeler . With proper positioning, can wreak havoc in teamfights and the enemy team may try to burst you down since chipping you is not easy thanks to your healing from . By diving into the enemy team, you may create enough distraction for your assasins to burst down their carries. Also with and you can lock several targets down so your team can focus the key targets. When you get focussed, you can activate if you have and lose the focus. I will repeat it again because its a key factor while playing : Watch your mana bar :)
Against Jungle camp + Teleport at level 1
Unfortunately Swain cannot clear a jungle camp at level 1 unlike most top laners. This puts Swain a great disadvantage like:
-Your opponent will have an experience advantage over you. That means s/he will get level 3 first and ofc lvl 6 first unless a gank occurs.
-Your opponent will come to the lane with more potions and maybe a Vision Ward. With more potions, you may get yourself outlaned.
-Since you'll be in lane unlike your opponent when the first wave comes, you will push the lane against an opponent who has more potions and more experience than yours.
So what to do against it ?
The most viable tactic i use is asking a level 2 gank. If i'm sure that my lane opponent will jungle camp + Teleport and our team has a jungler with strong early game and/or cc ( Jarvan IV, Xin Zhao etc) ı ask a gank after the first buff or camp. If we managed to get a kill, i get a "huge" advantage over him/her since s/he just died after s/he Teleported back into the lane. The exp, potion advantage is gone. The summoner spell i choose for that kind of lane is typically Ignite.
Also, you can change your skill order for securing that kill in gank. Against a Teleport + Ignite (or Smite) lane opponent like Hecarim or Shyvana, i often get my Torment at level 3. Since my opponent lacks a viable escape mechanism, the gank will result with a kill 95%.
Lane Match-ups (easy)
I didn't write a "laning section" because every lane needs a different approach. Instead of it, in this section i will detail some match-ups. The difficulty ratings are my personal opinion and i graded them based on my personal experience. You may find some opponents easier and some opponents harder thus, since
and it's upgraded version
are nerfed heavily in season 5, you will have an easier time versus some ap champions. Some champions are not detailed in here (for example a Swain vs Aatrox lane) because i haven't played Swain against these champions yet and i don't want to misguide you. I will update here as soon as i've played missing match-ups.
I graded this match-ups as "easy" because:
-Against most of them, you'll get complete lane dominance starting from level 1.
-Your kit makes your opponent to make a move near impossible or very hard. (for example Volibear
-Even your opponent gets some kills early or jungler aid, you'll outscale them etc.
When you are unsure about picks and counterpicks or new into this, i can give you a basic trick. Think the picking phase as a math equation. The first and main component of this equation is "champion's nature". Basically, there are 3 types of natures in this point of wiew and these are: Poke, Burst and Sustain and this three works exactly like rock-paper-scisor as this:
Poke >> Burst >> Sustain >> Poke
For example: Nasus is a sustain type champion with his passive. Riven is a burst type. Riven is considered very good against Nasus because of her heavy burst won't let susan to sustain enough for laning. So basically Riven >> Nasus. On the other hand, Kennen is a poke type champion. With his range and spammable abilities, he chips down Riven and kites her all day. Result 2: Kennen >> Riven. How about Kennen vs Nasus ? Kennen will poke Nasus in the entire laning phase but due to Nasus' tankyness and natural sustain, Nasus will just lifesteal Kennen's damage and eventually scale to the late game. Of course these are just basic assumptions and player skills are ignored.
But some champions have "2" types (sometimes even all of them) in their kits and Swain is one of them. He got "sustain" and "poke". Let's lane it against Kassadin whose got "poke" and "burst". In this case individual skills and champion kits comes into the equation as variables. In theory, Kassadin can burst you down before you can sustain yourself or you can sustain his poke and counter-poke him all day. The result depends on how you both answered the other's tools.
The other variables are cc's, team comps, ganks, objectives etc etc and these are what makes League of Legends. I cannot explain all of these in here guys, sorry :D
In conclution, analyze champion kits and summarise them as like "poke + burst" or "pure burst" then think a counterpick and use it for yourself ;)
Against these champions, you can pick Swain without second thought.
Ryze is an ap caster scales with his maximum mana. In season 4, Ryze top with Teleport was quite popular in both soloq and pro-matches. (It was the reason why i started to play Swain as i mentioned) Ryze can scale monstrously into late game if not prevented.
-As his passive Arcane Mastery and Overload gives him cooldown reduction, don't do extended trades with Ryze at earlier levels. He will probably take Overload and max it first. Ryze's typical start is Sapphire Crystal + 3x Total Biscuit of Rejuvenation. And he will rush a Tear of the Goddess + a Rod of Ages. At level 1 Torment + AA outdamages Ryze's Overload + AA. At level 2 Ryze will probably take his Rune Prison. Try to get level 2 before him and take Nevermove. Here is the trick:
- Ryze will want to throw an Overload after a Rune Prison. Cast Nevermove directly under him when he throws his Rune Prison at level 2. You will outdamage him.
-The only level Ryze can outtrade you is at level 4 since Spell Flux will reduce your magic resistance.
After level 6, play completely aggressive. If both sides have full hp and mana, Swain wins the all-in easily. That means when you get your ultimate, do your lockdown combo ( Decrepify > Nevermove) and all-in him. If you can get the kill your lane is done. You will snowball out of control. After every landed Nevermove all-in him again.
- Ryze can spam his skills but you can't. Do short trades with him before lvl 6.
-His late game is monstrous but you have better early and mid game. Use your advantage in that stages.
-Your waveclear is better than his. Push him under his turret. Ryze is extremely item dependent. Make him miss cs.
- Ryze has no escapes before level 6. After 6 he gets a small movespeed bonus from his ultimate. Its an easy champion to gank.
Akali is an ap based (actually hybrid but more ap than ad) assassin. She is usually played in mid lane but you may encounter her in top lane also. She is manaless (energy resourced). Thanks to her passive Twin Disciplines she has some sustain and her favourite first major item Hextech Gunblade will enhance it remarkably.
Akali's main harassment is her Mark of the Assassin. It damages its target and leaves a mark for 4 seconds. Her burst and main damage source is detonating that mark with autoatacks. (she could detonate it with Crescent Slash also before 5.2 update.) Since you are a ranged champion never ever let her come close to her AA range. Harass her with Torment and AAs whenever you can. She can do nothing but throw a non-damaging kama before level 6. After level 6 she will get a dash but since you want her to come closer after 6, you can say "come at me bruh" :D. When she dashes to you, just activate your Ravenous Flock and all-in her. You win lvl 6 all-in.
-Your early game is stronger than hers. After 6, you will get stronger even more. ( Swain is usually counterpicked against Akali
-All-in her whenever she dashes to you.
-Stay bach while your Ravenous Flock is on cd. She may retalliate.
-She will have good sustain after she gets her Hextech Revolver. Don't let her restore her health freely.
-Carry a Vision Ward whenever you can. It is Akali's most fearsome counter. Also you need to "see" her in order to damage her with Ravenous Flock.
-Always call mia whenever she is not in lane. She is an assassin and she will looking for free kills whenever she can.
Fiora is an ad based champion which has characteristics of both assassin and fighter type. She has 2 gapclosers Lunge, natural sustain from Duelist, ad and attack speed steroids from Riposte and Burst of Speed and an ult which makes her untargetable Blade Waltz. But she hasn't got any cc nor escape mechanisms.
When the lane starts check her ad first. If it is more than usual (more than 85) she has taken Riposte (her ad steroid and an AA blocker). You will win this lane by "listening" the lane. Riposte has a distinctive noise, when she activates it you will hear it's sound. Don't AA her while its active (1.5 seconds). If she has Riposte in level 1, take Torment. Bait it with your Torment's projectile is similar to your AA's. If you baited it, harass her with your AA's as much as you can.
If she hasn't got unusual amount of ad, she probably started with Lunge. Start with Nevermove. Throw your Nevermove whenever she used her Lunge. Without AAs, she cannot outtrade you and you can lock down her easily. In order to have a chance against you, Fiora must max her Lunge first instead of Riposte
Either way have Nevermove in level 2.
The lane is simple before level 6. Harass her with Torment and use Nevermove defensively. After level 6, you will get complete lane dominance and you can (and you should) start playing aggressively. And here is one more vital thing you must know when playing against a Fiora:
Ravenous Flock damages her (also heals you) while she is ulting you. While she is ulting she is untargetable but not "invulnerable".
-She cannot outtrade you if she cannot AA you. Always kite her. Even she dodges your Nevermove with her second part of Lunge, you still have Decrepify
-After level 6, toggle on Ravenous Flock whenever she dashes to you. Even with her ult, it won't make any difference for her.
-She hasn't got any escapes besides Flash. If it is on cd, nearly every gank and roam will be resulted with a dead Fiora since she hasn't got escapes but you got 2 cc.
-Your jungler and mid laner will love ganking her and that will put her even behind. An underfarmed Fiora = a nearly useless Fiora
-She has no cc. That means she is bad at setting up ganks.
- Zhonya's Hourglass completely screws up her ultimate. Completing it will make her impossible to duel you.
- Lunge is a targeted dash. If there aren't any minions, Fiora will become more predictable.
Garen is an ad based tank. He has sustain from Perseverance, a movementspeed boots and silence from Decisive Strike, a defense steroid from Courage, an aoe from Judgment and an execution move Demacian Justice. He is rarely played thanks to his horrible scaling into late game, low damage from basic abilities, he is kiteable and there are more than enough tanks who does his job better but anyway, lets detail this matchup.
Garen's Perseverance will start healing him if he is not damaged from a champion, natural monster (until he is level 11) or an epic monster (dragon and baron) for a time. Poke him periodicaly for preventing his healing. After poked down to low hp, Garen will probably turret-hug anyways.
Decisive Strike will remove slows (your Decrepify and give him a movespeed boost. Bait it before you use .
Garen's typical combo is Decisive Strike > Judgment. You can easily counter that by your pinning down combo.
Demacian Justice has a base damage + a percentage of target's missing hp. The lower hp you got, more damage it will deal. Always careful for a Flash > Decisive Strike > Ignite > Judgment > Demacian Justice combo when you are low on hp.
And also never facecheck bushes, there might be an angry Garen inside.
You'll gonna love this guy: No dashes, no ranged damage abilities, no waveclear, completely AA based, ugly, easily zoned tank.
- King's Tribute will heal him by percentage of nearby enemies whenever they die if Trundle is within approximately 1000 range. It is his build in sustain before level 6.
- Trundle hasn't got any direct gapclosers besides flash and he is very predictable. He will throw his Pillar of Ice behind you for cripple your movement and cast Frozen Domain for getting a movement + attack speed boost. Just throw your Decrepify and Nevermove when he does that.
-Never let him AA you. Especially when Frozen Domain is on the field. As Swain you have enough tools for kite him.
- Subjugate will steal a percentage of your hp and stats. He will forced to use it on you as a last resort to sustain if you can chip down him enough.
-Rest is simple. Literally Torment him before level 6. Harass him everytime you can and try to zone him. Since he hasn't got any ranged damage abilities, he will be heavily underfarmed. His late game is above average. Delaying it will be benefitical to your team. It is a very easy matchup and he can do nothing to you alone. But know that he is a good peeler. He will probably try to protect his carries.
In terms of kit, he is similar to Trundle. Again, no dashes, no ranged abilities, very predictable tank. Also you got complete lane dominance from level 1. I will detail things only you should know about him.
- Volibear's typical engage is Rolling Thunder > Majestic Roar > Thunder Claws after a couple of AAs Ignite > Frenzy.
-When he activates his Rolling Thunder he will get a ms bonus. Just use your Decrepify. Decrepify is probably enough but don't hesitate to use Nevermove just in case.
- Volibear is famous for baiting with his passive Chosen of the Storm. Calculate extremely carefully before tower-diving him.
- Frenzy is an execute move (it means it damages more to low hp targets). Also it's damage scales with Volibear's max hp.
- Volibear is extremely kiteable, his late game is above average and his waveclear is poor. You are one of the hardest counters to him. If you know what you doing he won't give you a hard time in lane.
- Ignite will cripple his passive.
- Thunder Claws bounces to nearby targets within 300 range and it doesn't prioritize champions like your Ravenous Flock. He will probably peel for his carries and if your team don't clump into a narrow place, your backline won't be harmed from him.
In season 5, Hecarim top with Ignite + Teleport had became quite popular in soloq and professional play. With is good initiating, split pushing power, mobility and good kit versus melee bruisers made Hecarim quite famous. But... but... Let's screw the meta and pick Swain against him because Swain literally demolishes him.
- Hecarim scales with movement speed due to his passive Warpath. This is also his one of key weaknesses. Hecarim is extremely weak against slows and ranged champions with slows are nightmares for him. And yes, you got that ******* Decrepify.
-His only advantage against you is he can clear a jungle camp at level 1 and Teleport back to top lane with more potions.
- Hecarim has a strong level 2 with Rampage and Spirit of Dread. Sadly for him, you are a ranged champion with a slow and a root. He has a hard time to get in to the melee range before 6.
- Rampage is a spammable ability and it makes Hecarim a very good Sheen procker. But in lane, he will forced to use it for farming if you aren't zoned him. Hecarim is a pure melee champion. If you managed to zone him, he'll be underfarmed and Hecarim is extremely item dependant.
- Devastating Charge has a distinctive noise. Save your Decrepify for it. It completely foils Devastating Charge in lane. Also know that it is very deceptive for aiming Nevermove. It increases Hecarim's AA range to 325 and it will knock back you. In lane, especially after 6, just let him knockback you before aiming Nevermove
- Spirit of Dread is an aoe damaging ability and it also heals Hecarim. In teamfights, its a strong ability but in lane it's healing is just average.
- Hecarim is very good at clearing waves and he is a very good tower destroyer with constant Sheen procs if left alone. He is also very effective roamer. Always keep an eye on Hecarim and make sure your team knows when he is missing.
- Onslaught of Shadows is his jail free card in lane against ganks. Think of it like an Unstoppable Force with fear instead of knockback. Even without Ghost or Flash, Hecarim is hard to catch with his Devastating Charge and Onslaught of Shadows. He can use his ult to escape ganks.
-Before level 6, even with wolfs + Teleport, Hecarim cannot sustain himself against constant Torments (plus Decrepifys if he tryies to return some damage). After level 6, you get complete lane dominance over him. When he tries to come into the melee range, just activate Ravenous Flock and say "come at me horsie". Play extremely aggressive in this lane. Hecarim hasn't got any chance against you in lane.
Alistar was used mainly as a support champion with a well scaling ad carry as his lane partner thanks to his kit is very good for babysitting his carry. But he became quite popular in top lane also and he has the highest pick/ban ratio (100%) of the Season 4 World Championship (5 times picked, 61 times banned and 80% win rate).
Alistar is famous for his Headbutt + Pulverize combo and an ultimate which gives him 70% damage reduction and massive ad boost ( Unbreakable Will). If the player has good mechanics, Alistar can throw a Malphite ultimate in every 13 seconds without cooldown reduction. He is used as an initiator or peeler for his adc.
Alistar has 2 viable builds in current meta.
1- Trinity Force + Statikk Shiv build: Very offensive build. With ad steroid from Unbreakable Will, Sheen proc from Trinity Force, Alistar can burst down a squishy target with his Headbutt + Pulverize combo + a couple of AAs (may crit). And thanks to Unbreakable Will, he is extremely hard to kill even without any defensive items.
2- Full tank build including a Iceborn Gauntlet: This Alistar will rely on his cc. He still gets a Sheen proc from Iceborn Gauntlet and he is "impossible to kill".
-He has a rather poor waveclear and mana issues. If he is not building mana sustain, push him hard under his turret. He will get mana starved.
-Harass him a lot. This will make him spam Triumphant Roar for healing and deplete his mana bar. Triumphant Roar also slowly pushes the lane by healing his minions.
-His ultimate will make him near-unkillable. Don't expect to snowball on him. He won't die easily after level 6.
-Force trades. You outpush him, outtrade him, outscale him.
-He is medicore at setting up ganks but if he messes up his combo, you can escape that gank by just walking.
-His cooldowns are very long. Punish him whenever he uses . He cannot escape from you without that.
- Unbreakable Will removes all ccs applied on him.
Maokai was primarily used as a jungler prior to season 4. In season 4 and 5, he is considered as a tier 1 tank and a strong top laner. He has a built in sustain ( Sap Magic), his all basic abilities are also have cc effects ([arcane smash]] and Sapling Toss slows the enemies on hit and Twisted Advance is a 525 range targeted dash which roots it's target and he is untargetable while travelling), high base damages and finally he becames extremely tanky while his ultimate ( Vengeful Maelstrom) is toggled on. So, he is a very popular pick in professional arena and 5v5 ranked matches.
- Sap Magic gives him natural sustain but it is better versus short cd spamming champions ( Pantheon, Yasuo etc). Your long cooldowns will make his passive less effective against you.
- Maokai usually takes his Sapling Toss at level 1 and maxes it first. It is his main ranged csing ability, waveclear and poke. It damages when it lands and also when explodes. It is a rather slow projetcile so try do dodge it all times.
-His usual engage is Sapling Toss + Twisted Advance > AA + Arcane Smash > Vengeful Maelstrom (past 6). This combo will ensure that Sapling Toss will damage you twice. Your full combo outdamages and outsustains his. Don't hesitate to retaliate. Just toggle on your Ravenous Flock while he is mid-air and kite him.
-He is better than you when it comes to setting up ganks. But you are better at escaping them due to Nevermove's aoe root.
-If timed right, Twisted Advance can be used for dodging your Nevermove if an available target is presented nearby.
-You outdamage him if you are not eating Sapling Tosses into the face all times. After level 6, you will outdamage and outsustain him further more.
-After he finishes his Rod of Ages, the lane will probably turn into a farm lane. He will turrethug and just throw Sapling Toss all day. 2 of them can clear an entire wave easily. You can do nothing about it but try to zone him.
-You will outscale him in terms of damage. But he is better at initiating and sticking to his target. Thanks to your aoe abilities, you have a bigger impact in teamfights than him.
-He will probably take Teleport as a summoner spell. Nevermove disrupts it. Try to not give him a free tp to another place if possible.
Udyr is primarily used as a jungler but you may encounter top lane Udyrs also (thanks to Trick2g, he made Udyr quite popular.). He is good against some champions in lane (not Swain, dont worry) but his main purpose is splitpushing. He is extremely good at this. This lane should be very easy. Treat him like a less tanky Volibear.
-His main trick is level 1 double tiger. When starting, he will take his Tiger Stance and activate it immediately. After that he will hide in the bush which closest to your turret. When the minions and you come to the lane, he will try to AA you for applying Tiger Stance's dot (damage over time) and he will immetidately activate Tiger Stance again and AA you once more. This is called level 1 double tiger. If you fall for it, it will deal s**tloads of damage and you'll lost your lane dominance. Also Udyr can easily get a lvl 2 kill with it. Know that trick when playing against an Udyr.
- Monkey's Agility and Bear Stance gives him ms boost. He is a rather mobile champion which makes him a safe splitpusher. Don't expect to catch him with Nevermove without Decrepify's slow easily.
- Turtle Stance will nullify Torment's damage. Try to throw it while Turtle Stance is on cd.
- Udyr has mana issues. He may build a Tear of the Goddess (and will upgrade it into Manamune). Before it, harass him a lot. This way he will spam his Turtle Stance and will get mana starved.
-Typically he will max his Tiger Stance. Phoenix Stance Udyr is very inferior compared to it's ad version.
-Since you are ranged and have 2 cc, Udyr will have a hard time to catch you with Bear Stance. But take care of Flash + Bear Stance when the enemy jungler is nearby. Always have a ward coverage (it is a vital rule also)
-Don't use Nevermove and Decrepify devensively at the same time. Always keep one while the other is on cd for safety. Bear Stance has a low cd. Udyr may punish you for that if both of these skills are on cd before level 6. Turtle Stance will soak up Torment and Udyr will damage you heavily with his spammable Tiger Stance.
- Udyr has no ranged abilities. If you got an advantage, you can easily zone him from minions.
-Sooner or later, he will start to splitpush and if your team cannot organize properly, a good [[udyr] can stall the game no matter how far your team leads the game. Try to find an answer for that.
-Since Turtle Stance grants him a shield and it has a rather short cooldown, he will probably survive with 10 hp from an all-in if you took Ignite as a summoner spell. My advice is take Exhaust instead of Ignite. With that you'll get an extra cc in your sleeve and with it's 2,5 seconds slow, you can damage him with Ravenous Flock more. Thus, Exhaust is better than Ignite in the long run due to it's utility in teamfights.
If you are playing mainly in top lane, i assume you are familiar with Jax. He is a "pure" fighter and anti ad-carry. He had a godly lategame and he is an extremely good splitpusher.
The main problem against Jax is he outscales nearly everything in the game and in lane even you make get him behind, he somehow starts to scale and wreck havoc in the field. But good news for you. After some games i played Swain against Jax, i start to believe that Swain is an extremely effective counterpick against a Jax. Details are below.
- Jax's only advantage over you in lane is, like other bruisers, he can start with clearing a jungle camp then return to top lane with Teleport. But in order to win this lane or go to toe to toe with you, he "must" play aggressively with an offensive start, Ignite as a summoner and maxing Leap Strike first. Jax with Teleport completely loses his kill potential against you in lane.
-No matter what he takes at level 1, he will have his Counter Strike at level 2 and Jax' main engage and burst in lane is Counter Strike > Leap Strike > AA. There are 3 things you should know about Counter Strike other than it dodges AAs and it is a stun.
First one: Counter Strike deals 20% more damage (capped at 100% more damage) with each AA Jax dodges. Jax' typical level 1 burst against melee opponents is, when he comes in lane he immediately AAs his lane opponent and activates Counter Strike. Minion aggro will charge Counter Strike's damage, stun his lane opponent "and" minions and Jax will chunk his lane opponent quite a good amount. Also, due to minions will focus you (but deal no damage), and stunned + damaged from Counter Strike, Jax will get level 2 first. Know this when playing against a Jax with a melee champion as a general rule.
Second one: Counter Strike makes Jax take reduced damage from aoe abilities for it's duration. It means, you'll deal less damage to Jax with your Nevermove and Ravenous Flock when he activates Counter Strike.
Third one: Like a Kha'Zix and Udyr, Jax can also bushcamp in the tribush at level 1 if you are on the purple side. Walk to the lane from lane route for just safety.
-As i said, Jax need to play extremely aggressive for getting an advantave over you in lane. So, he'll need to Leap Strike to you at level 1 immediately, trade some AA's with you, then get level 2 first. Don't take any skill at level 1. If Jax tries to be "smart" with a Leap Strike start, just immediately take Decrepify and slow him in the middle of your minions. Let the creeps + Decrepify demolishes him. Congrulations, you haven't noticed it yet but you've allready win the early game.
-At level 2 take Torment and spam it whenever he wants to farm. Jax has no built-in sustain and he cannot deal with constant harassment from Torment + AAs. Use your Decrepify whenever he jumps to you. After 1-2 levels, just harass him with Torment > Decrepify + AAs.
-Rest is easy. After level 6, Jax will try to AA minions twice then Leap Strike to you for procking Grandmaster's Might's passive. Just activate Ravenous Flock and kite him. He cannot duel with you.
- Jax is kinda good at setting up ganks with his Counter Strike + Leap Strike combo. Leap Strike has 700 range.
-You outdamage him, outsustain him and you can easily kite him. Play aggressive in this lane and see with your own eyes that Swain is an unknown Jax demolisher.
In the past seasons, Olaf was quite popular in both top lane and jungler, nowadays he is an underplayed tank/off-tank but don't make this misguide you. Olaf has a very strong early game, very good dueling abilities, sticking power and Ragnarok (un-ccable for 6 seconds).
-Despite this abilities, this lane is suprisingly easy. In order to win or go toe to toe with you, Olaf should max his Vicious Strikes first. But believe me Olaf players literally "never" maxes this first. The main cause is Olaf is allready a rare pick. Swain is even more rare.
-Your main goal should be making Olaf max his Undertow first and using it just for farming. Olaf has mana problems and if you force him to use it for farming, he will get manastarved easily. Reckless Swing maxed Olafs are the most dangerous ones but luckily, you are a ranged champion with 2 ccs. If he makes that mistake, he'll punished for it heavily.
-Your kit is very strong against him. After couple of Torments, he'll hug his turret and farm with Undertow only
- Undertow has a 7 seconds cooldown drops by 4.5 if he picks up the axe. If he lands the axe to you and comes for a trade, lock him down with your Nevermove. You'll outdamage him heavily if you can kite him for avoiding a Reckless Swing in the face.
-After level 6, the lane dominance will shift to you even more. Both of you got built-in sustain but yours is much more stronger. After level 6, play much more aggressive. ıf you can drop him to half hp, he'll burn his Ragnarok for avoiding Nevermove. No Ragnarok = no all-in chance for Olaf.
-Although i rated this as an easy lane, don't fight Olaf in an open area straight head on. As i said earlier, Olaf is a very good duelist and has good sticking power also thanks to Ragnarok, you cannot kite him while it is active. Your lane strategy should be typical harass ---> retreat and wait for cds ---> harass ---> wait --->all-in.
- Olaf will pobably build full tank and in teamfights, he will just activate Ragnarok and dive to your carries. Don't burn your Decrepify and Nevermove while Ragnarok is active.
Dr. Mundo is a late game hypertank and also a strong safepick for top lane thanks to Infected Cleaver lets him sit back and farm with it in lane an entire game. He has no dashes but extremely hard to kill due to his ultimate Sadism restores most of his health.
- Dr. Mundo's early game is weak. Harass him often with Torment and AAs.
-Push him to his turret. Dr. Mundo is rather good at csing under turret but his skills cost health. This way he will chunked down to low hp if he spams his abilities for csing.
-Always take Ignite as your summoner spell. After level 6 Dr. Mundo becomes frustratingly hard to kill because of Sadism. Ignite will cripple his ultimate.
- Dr. Mundo has a built in tenacity with his Burning Agony. Aim your Nevermove carefully when Burning Agony is active.
-You outpush him, outsustain him, outdamage him and outscale him. Press your advantage.
-He will rush a Spirit Visage. After that the lane will turn into a farm fest. He will sit at his turret and farm only with Infected Cleavers. Try to block these without chunked down too much for starving him cs even more.
Kassadin was a permabanned champion before his rework. If he was't banned, 99 out of 100 games he would be picked and terorised the other team thanks to Riftwalk. After rework, Kassadin lost his impact greatly. But still, he has a very good late game.
- Kassadin's typical start is Crystalline Flask + 3x Health Potion. Kassadin will play extremely safe before level 6 and probably farm with his Null Sphere often.
- Void Stone makes Kassadin takes 15% less magic damage and Null Sphere gives him a shield which absorbs magic damage. He is designed as an anti-ap assassin.
-His level 1 is stronger than yours. Void Stone + Null Sphere will make Torment nearly useless against him. Harass with AAs a lot.
-Even your combo outdamages his after level 2, he'll have more sustain than you before level 6 because of his starting items, play the lane rather passive until level 6. Kassadin's damage may suprise you.
-Ask for ganks before Kassadin gets his Riftwalk. After that, Kassadin will become nearly impossible to gank.
-You will get the lane dominance after you get Ravenous Flock. Even Kassadin has defensive tools against ap champions, he cannot match your dps and healing.
- Riftwalk has a cooldown of 6 seconds at first level. Whenever Kassadin uses that, punish him for it. You can even all-in him. You win the all-ins.
- Nether Blade restores a percentage of his missing mana. With that Tear of the Goddess isn't a must for Kassadin anymore. Amount of mana restored quadruples against champions. Don't let him AA you freely. If you can, punish him when he wants to sustain mana with it.
-[force pulse]] needs 6 spells cast before it to charge. After that he can use it and since you are not a spammy type champion, he cannot use it often.
-His typical engage is Riftwalk > Null Sphere > AA + Nether Blade > Force Pulse > Riftwalk (away)
-After level 6, push him, harass him and trade with him often. Even Riftwalk is not as terorising as it's past version, don't let him freely roam.
- Kassadin scales very good into late game. Use your strong mid game to delay that.
He was an irreplaceable pick in season 2 world championship as you can notice that he has a TPA Skin (Taipei Assassins won the Season 2 World Championship). In season 3 WC, Shen was still quite popular (94% pick/ban ratio).
After a brief Shen history, lets detail this match-up. Shen is primarily used as a tank. Usually he takes Teleport as his summoner spell and with Teleport + Stand United, Shen can apply very good global pressure. With his 2 globals, Shen can also used as a splitpusher, but his waveclearing is extremely poor without items.
- Shen has natural sustain with his Vorpal Blade. Prevent him attacking the marked minion or target for cutting off his healing.
- Feint is a shield and it will soak up your Torment. Bait it before using your E.
- Vorpal Blade has a range of 475. It is even shorter than your AA range. Use this as an advantage. It's Shen's only ranged damage ability.
-Be wary of his Shadow Dash. Shen can set up ganks well with it. Although it is a slow dash, carefull approach will be benefitical.
-A good Shen can suprise the enemy team with his Shadow Dash + Flash. Reverse version of this combo is very predictable and your team can react it but Shadow Dash + Flash is very risky but fast and unpredictable combo. Followed with a [[randuin's omen] active, your teammates may get themselves crippled for quite a time.
- Shen is one of the few melee champions which don't get magic resist per level.
- Shadow Dash does not deactivate your Ravenous Flock. Shen will probably use it for escaping from Nevermove. It has a very high energy cost (100). Combo him when he is low on energy so he cannot escape from your Nevermove.
- Shen is horrible at csing under his turret. Push him all times but be wary of his taunt. Taking free turret shots isn't a nice thing in lane but since you are a ranged champion, it won't be easy for him to do it. Also pushing him will prevent him to help his team with Stand United since he will forced to defend his turret.
- Nevermove disrupts his Stand United. Always keep an eye on him in lane. A well timed Stand United can easily change the tide of a battle in another lane.
- Shen's damage and late game scaling is "bad". He is used for solely his utility. It is a very easy lane for you.
In the beginning of season 4 she and Renekton were the most popular picks in the top lane in professional arena. Like Maokai, Shyvana was also primarily used as jungler but shifted to top lane. She has natural tankyness with Dragonborn, very good base damages, no resource dependency and an ultimate which grants her a 1000 range dash ( Dragon's Descent). She also scales very good into late game and with items, she can become a problem for your backline.
- Shyvana will probably max his Flame Breath against you. It is a pass-through linear skillshot with a good base damage and it marks the enemies it hits. Shyvana's autoattacks will do extra magic damage 2.5% of their maximum hp. Since you are ranged and have a very good kit for countering Shyvana, she will play passively and farm + poke you with Flame Breath.
-Don't stand near to low hp minions. If you do otherwise, Flame Breath will get the cs and poke you at the same time.
-Harass her often with Torment. Shyvana has no built in sustain and cannot trade with you with just 1 ranged ability.
- Shyvana has no dashes before level 6. Burnout gives her a movement speed boost but your Decrepify and Nevermove will prevent her to damage you with 2 of her skills. Always kite her.
-After level 6, if Shyvana tries an all-in with Dragon's Descent, just lock her down with Decrepify and Nevermove. After that Torment followed with Ravenous Flock will secure your lane dominance.
-Ask for a gank (or ganks) before Shyvana gets her Dragon's Descent. Shyvana is not a hard champion to gank before level 6 as you can easily lock her down just by yourself but after 6, she can dash away and foil gank attempts.
- Shyvana players have a tendency to proxy minions. If she is doing it before level 6, punish her with your jungler and/or your mid laner if they are available.
- Shyvana hasn't got a single cc in her kit but Dragon's Descent's small knockback. She is bad at setting up ganks before she gets some items.
- Shyvana has a very good late game. Harass her often for delaying her late game.
Tryndamere is a high risk-high reward champion and he is very good in soloq. He is a melee fighter with a kit based on critical strikes. He may crit early or he may not but sooner or later, he will crit. He is also one of the best splitpushers in the game.
-In lane your main goal should be burning his fury. If you harass him alot, Tryndamere will be forced to waste his fury for healing by Bloodlust. A furyless Tryndamere is a harmless Tryndamere.
-Never, ever underestimate Tryndamere, especially in early game. 2 lucky crits and you are done. This is not an impossible scenario.
-Start with Decrepify or Nevermove if you want a safe level 1. If you have confidence in yourself, then start with Torment.
-Never let Tryndamere attack minions freely. If he can gather enough fury, he will start to play more aggressively. Harass him with Torment + AAs often.
- Mocking Shout reduces your ad and if your back turned to him, you will also slowed.
- Tryndamere usually takes his Spinning Slash at level 1, good Tryndameres will slow you first. They use their Spinning Slash after you use your escape mechanism. If Tryndamere gapcloses you with Spinning Slash first, immetiately cast your Nevermove under yourself. After that kite him with your Decrepify. You'll win the trade.
- Undying Rage makes Tryndamere immune to death for 5 seconds. It has a distinctive sound (a cry). When he activates it, count to 2 then throw Ignite count 1-1.5 more then throw Torment + AA. 90% you will get the kill.
- Ignite is very good against an ulted Tryndamere but for safety (especially if you are new into Swain) Exhaust is also a viable choice.
- Tryndamere can use Undying Rage offensively as well. Undying Rage also grants Tryndamere fury depending on how many points he invested in it. He may activate it for instant fury gain but it's a very rare occasion.
- Tryndamere has a monstrous scaling into the late game. Deny him farm at all costs. A well farmed Tryndamere will be an unstopable splitpusher. He is also one of the best (probably best) late game duelists in the game thanks to Undying Rage.
-He can activate Undying Rage while cced. Know this.
-Force teamfights and tell your team to focus Tryndamere first. You may burst down Tryndamere before he can activate Undying Rage. Even he activates it, he will have doubts in engaging further for surviving.
Another champion which primarily used in jungle. But since Swain is rarely used in top lane, a top lane Warwick shouldn't sound strange either. He is primarily used as a tank and famous for his Infinite Duress. It is a ******* blink which suppresses and damages it's target for 1.8 seconds. And there is more... After 5.1 patch, suppression is no longer affected by tenacity. (Man i hate that ult)
- Warwick has a good sustain with his Eternal Thirst and Hungering Strike but he has mana issues. After 2-3 Hungering Strike, he will go out of mana.
- Warwick usually starts with his Hungering Strike and maxes it first. It is his main sustain and damage ability.
- Warwick has no mobility and escape mechanisms. Infinite Duress can only be used on champions. Ask for ganks. Warwick is one of the easiest champions to gank especially in top lane.
- Warwick cannot trade with you. Before level 6, his only damaging ability ( Hungering Strike) has a range of 400. Your shortest ranged damage source has (your autoattacks, 500 range) 100 more range than Hungering Strike. He should be a punchbag for you.
-After level 6, Warwick becomes one of the best champions when it comes to setting up ganks. The enemy jungler and/or mid laner will love to gank you whenever Infinite Duress is available. Get used to ganked often. (sad but true)
- Warwick is very good at late game. Deny him farm at all costs.
-You can still damage him with Ravenous Flock while suppressed. But you cannot activate or deactivate it while he is ulting you.
Yasuo is often used in mid lane. He is an ad assassin + fighter and his kit is based around critical strikes.
- Way of the Wanderer gives Yasuo a passive shield. You can break it with AAs. Always break his shield with AAs whenever you can.
- Way of the Wanderer doubles Yasuo's crit chance but reduces his crit damage by 10%. Because of that, Yasuo has a great late game. Denying him is extremely important.
- Steel Tempest's third charge creates a distinctive sound when it is available. He will throw a tornado when it uses it. Try to dodge.
- Yasuo's typical harassment is Sweeping Blade (to a minion for gap closing) > Steel Tempest > Sweeping Blade (to a minion for backing off). His skills have riddiculously low cooldowns.
- Wind Wall blocks your AAs, your Ravenous Flock and your Torment but not your Decrepify and Nevermove. Use this for an advantage when he uses Wind Wall.
-(My personal opinion) Take Exhaust instead of Ignite. When Yasuo ults you, immediately throw Exhaust. This will turn the tide to your favor. Yasuo cannot continue the fight while exhausted.
- Yasuo doesn't need Steel Tempest's tornado only for knocking you up. He can also use Sweeping Blade + Steel Tempest (3rd charge) for getting a knock-up.
-After level 6, you will get the lane dominance if you didn't give Yasuo an advantage before. His damage cannot match yours and your healing. Just fight with him with your Ravenous Flock after level 6. Yasuo is a squishy champion and you can easily chunk him down.
-Never escape Yasuo straigt through a lane. Creeps come as a line and Yasuo can easily use multiple Sweeping Blades for gapclosing. Use jungle routes or river instead.
- Last Breath will give Yasuo an armor penetration buff (50%, bonus armor only) for 15 seconds. He will penetrate armor of not only who he ulted, everything he hit. (Yea, he does damage)
The infamous dunker... Darius is famous with his ultimate Noxian Guillotine as known as Darius dunk. He is a fighter/tank and he is a lane bully. He excells at extended duels with his passive Hemorrhage, his AA + ms slow Crippling Strike and of course his "dunk". But believe me this is an easy lane.
-The only thing you should know in this lane is Darius' ability ranges. Decimate's range is 425 and Apprehend's is 550. You clearly outrange him.
- Darius naturally pushes the lane whenever he uses Decimate. As i mentioned, it has 425 range. Its even shorter than your AA range. Never let him Decimate you easily in lane.
- Darius will (and should) take his Apprehend at level 2. This ability is which you should avoid most. Apprehend has 550 range. Its 50 longer than your AAs but Torment and Decrepify have 625 range. Don't try to poke him with AAs after level 2 for preventing him to pull you. Its a common mistake when playing against a Darius with a ranged champion.
-In lane, the only thing you should do before level 6 is, just poke him with Torment (and Decrepify if you want) constantly. He cannot answer that with his short ranged abilities and if somehow he manages to pull you, just cast Nevermove and retreat. Be careful, Darius may start the lane with Boots of Speed + 4 Health Potions for a movement speed advantage. If he does so, just give 2 points in Nevermove before level 6 and farm safely.
-Also, Apprehend has a 24 seconds cooldown. It is way longer than your Nevermove's. Just save Nevermove for Apprehend and you are ok.
-After level 6, this lane gets even more easier for you. Ravenous Flock has 700 range. When he pulls you, just activate Ravenous Flock and retreat. Yes both of you will damaged but you'll heal some of it with your sustain. Other than Ravenous Flock, constantly poke him with Torment and save Nevermove for Apprehend.
- Darius struggles against bulky opponents and Rod of Ages is very effective against his dunk. Hp counters burst damage ;) He cannot kill you alone in lane if you don't do a big mistake.
-Also, Darius has no escapes. He is one of the easiest champions to gank. Only Hemorrhage gives him 5% ms bonus for each stacked champion.
- Darius falls in late game. He needs to snowball in lane to be effective. His roams are below average, his mobility is zero so he is not effective in teamfights compared to other tanks and bruisers. You outdamage, outsustain and outscale him. He is also bad at setting up ganks :D.
This guy loves late game with his infinite scaling Siphoning Strike. Nasus is quite a problem in soloq because he can just max cdr, stack his Siphoning Strike (2.6 seconds cd with max cdr), build full tank and wreck late game. Yes you heard it right. In late game, This guy will have over 4k hp, very high resistances and unlike other tanks, this guy hits hard if not kept under control.
-As like the other late game gods, Nasus also has a "horrible" early game. Just harass him with Torment whenever you can. In lane your first priority should be denying his Siphoning Strike farm. If you can poke him well, he'll forced to farm with Spirit Fire and its a very good thing for you.
- Spirit Fire is an aoe damage ability and it reduces the enemies armor standing in it. It pushes the lane by a good amount. It's a win-win situation for you. Nasus is not farming his Siphoning Strike and he is pushing the lane at the same time. Just continue to force him to do so.
- Wither... I hate that slow when playing against a Nasus. Its one of the most powerful slows in the game and its a targeted ability. It also reduces attack speed. Attack speed slows are not a problem for you but its a "huge" problem for your adc. If he manages to Wither your adc in teamfights, your adc is literally "done". No dps, immensely slowed and just waiting for slaughter. I also recommend a Quicksilver Sash for removing Wither in teamfights.
- Nasus has a good and scaling sustain ( Soul Eater), his Siphoning Strike also benefits from lifesteal and naturally, he will rush a Spirit Visage. After that Nasus will become hard to kill alone. If he feels he is in danger against you, he will just Wither you and gtfo. As a Nasus player also (i mained him for quite a long time), my advice against Nasus is, organize 3 men dives against Nasus. He has no escape and Nasus players always take Teleport. Poke him, push the lane and call your mid laner and your jungler for diving him. Ofc, you'll be the one who is tanking the turret because of your sustain.
- Nasus cannot duel you without well stacked. If he just activates Fury of the Sands and all-ins you, don't panic. Just answer him with your Ravenous Flock and kite him. Soon he'll understand that he cannot fight against you alone.
-Take Ignite as your summoner and try to play very aggressively in this lane. You can kill Nasus with enough poke and good landed Nevermoves. If your team can snowball early, there will be no late game for Nasus. Its a general rule. If the enemy team relies of their late game, try to pick early game stompers and finish the game as soon as you can. Nasus is an easy lane for Swain. But i cannot say that you'll outscale him in late game. Unfortunately, nobody can outscale a stacked Nasus in late game.
Yes this is Teemo the most annoying champion in league of legends. He is primarily used as an annoyer to frustrate the opposing laner thanks to his heavy harassment with Blinding Dart and Toxic Shot empowered autoattacks. He is a rare pick and even his team will probably flame to him for just picking Teemo. Anyway, lets get started.
Teemo has 2 viable builds in the current meta
1) DPS Teemo: Primarily damages with his autoattacks. Core items are Nashor's Tooth and Runaan's Hurricane. It is a teamfight oriented build and it's main damage source is Toxic Shot.
2) AP Teemo: His DPS is not as much as DPS Teemo, but this build also has considerable damage since Blinding Dart has a 80% AP scaling and Toxic Shot has 70%. But the main purpose is utilizing Noxious Trap (450 base + 50% scaling). With enough AP and supported with a Liandry's Torment, that mushrooms will hurt. A squishy target without magic resist will be forced to go to base with one mushroom only.
Fortunately, either way you are the favourite side of this match-up.
-If Teemo started with his Toxic Shot, Toxic Shot + AA will slightly outdamage your Torment + AA (will miss). It is the only interval which Teemo outtrades you.
-Started at level 2, you will outtrade Teemo. Force trades.
- Teemo is hard to gank because of Noxious Traps. He'll place them in every bush and river for safety. Ask your jungle to smite crimson raptor before ganking Teemo for the true sight buff if possible.
-DPS Teemo or AP Teemo, no matter what he builds, it will be impossible for him to trade with you after level 6. After level 6, force all-ins. You'll win.
- Teemo's scaling is above-average but there won't be a late game if you play this lane right.
Lane Match-ups (medium)
I've called it medium because of this match-ups will need some knowledge, patience and key-timing. Against easy match-ups, even your opponent gets some early kills your kit and scaling makes up for it, but in this match-ups, if you missplay or your opponent gets help alot, you may have a horrible lane. Against some champions, you'll need to be at certain level to start trading. Against some of them, you'll gonna need jungler assistance and some of them are just farm fest. You may disagree at difficulty of a couple champions and you may ask questions like "why Vladimir and Mordekaiser are classed as medium difficulty ? Swain counters them". Yes it is true to a some degree but Swain counters them easily in mid lane where he can get a blue buff. In top lane, you won't gonna get it probably.
And again, these are my "personal" opinions. You may find them easier or harder based on your experience and calculations. I respect that.
Prior to 5.2 patch, Fizz was a quite popular assassin in mid lane but he is kinda crippled at this role. Instead of it, he is used as a jungler or in top lane with ad builds. It used to be a little bit harder match-up for Swain because of Fizz's bursty nature and grievous wounds effect on Seastone Trident. Now, with his arguable weak early game and reduced base damages, this lane had become easier for you.
-When starting in lane, just throw a Torment to Fizz. In order to survive, Fizz should start with his Playful / Trickster for avoiding Torment. If he didn't, punish him as much as you can with your Torment.
-Unfortunately, Nimble Fighter allows Fizz to take reduced damage from AAs. Its also included minion aggro. Since you'll start around 52 AD, even with Torment, your AA harassment won't do significant amount of damage.
- Fizz will probably start with a Crystalline Flask and 3 Health Potions for lane sustain. Eventhough, you'll outdamage him, he can outsustain you before level 6.
- Fizz can use his Playful / Trickster for avoiding Torment and Playful / Trickster for engaging you. Fizz's typical engage is:
Urchin Strike > Seastone Trident enhanced AA > Playful / Trickster to safety. But Fizz can change his combo to whatever he likes depending on the situation.
-Always be the one who starts trades. If you do that, Fizz will be forced to use his Playful / Trickster for defense.
- Ignite will be good for applying lane pressure but Exhaust is a better choice in my opinion. Since he is an assassin, if he can't burst you down in one combo, he'll probably either die or barely survive. Denying kills from an assassin in lane will cripple his impact in teamfights.
- Chum the Waters has a different mechanic after 5.2 patch. It enhances Fizz's damage to whoever it stickes like your Torment. You can use your Exhaust if he lands it to you. If he puts it into risk and throws his ultimate from a distance, you can either dodge it by moving or using your Flash. Fizz cannot do much damage without landing his Chum the Waters.
- Fizz can (and should) also throw his ultimate while he is gapclosing to you with Urchin Strike and/or Playful / Trickster + Playful / Trickster. Zhonya's Hourglass is a great item for all-ining a Fizz.
-After level 6, you'll outsustain Fizz and since you'll rush a Rod of Ages which makes you beefier, probably Fizz cannot burst you down in one combo.
- Fizz is great at harassing opponents under turret. Urchin Strike followed by a Seastone Trident auto then he will dodge a tower shot and retreat with his Playful / Trickster + Playful / Trickster. You can outpush him in lane especially with your Nevermove.
Pick Swain versus a Fizz Yes. Fizz is a slippery opponent and recent patches nerfed him. Also you are considered a counterpick against him.
Ahri is a ranged ap based assassin, she used to be very popular prior to removal of Deathfire Grasp (she were also a permaban in season 3 along with Kassadin and Fizz)
- Ahri probably max her Orb of Deception first in lane. It deals magic damage when it goes and true damage when it returns. Try to dodge that in lane.
- Essence Theft gives Ahri a little sustain in lane. After level 6, you'll win the sustain fight.
- Ahri's skills have less cooldowns and mana costs than yours. She will force trades before level 6. 2 of her skills are skillshots. If both sides hits their skillshots, Swain outtrades Ahri.
- Fox-Fire and Spirit Rush are auto target abilities. Eventhough, for maximum damage output, Ahri needs to land her Charm. Charm has a rather slow projectile and can be avoided by standing behind your minions.
-Assassins need to burst down their target in one combo. If they can't, their target will probably win the all-in. Since your first major item ( Rod of Ages) and Ravenous Flock will make you tanky, Ahri will have a hard time to burst you down.
- Ahri don't have an escape besides Flash. Ask for ganks before she gets her Spirit Rush. After that, if it is available, Ahri becomes very hard to gank.
-Even if your jungler or mid laner couldn't ganked Ahri before level 6, Spirit Rush has a whopping 110 seconds cooldown at level 1. Make sure that your jungler knows it when it is on cd. Ahri is extremely vulnerable to ganks without that.
-Activate your Ravenous Flock when Ahri uses her Spirit Rush and try to dodge her Charm. You'll win the all-in.
-Probably Ahri won't get a blue buff. If Ahri rushes a mana sustain item (like Morellonomicon), she will lower her chances to burst you down. If she rushes ap for damage, she will get mana starved in the laning phase if you can sustain yourself with Ravenous Flock and Carrion Renewal.
- Charm has a brief casting time and Ahri will probably reposition herself for hitting you with Orb of Deception,by using these two as distractions, you can land a Nevermove.
-As an assassin, if Ahri cannot get kills from either lane or roams, she will fall in late game drastically. You have enough tools to prevent that.
pick Swain vs Ahri ? Yes, you will stall her before 6 and with a couple of good plays, you'll win your lane easily.
Kennen is a ranged ap based hypercarry. He harasses his lane opponent alot (especially if it is a melee one) with his ranged AAs and Thundering Shuriken + Electrical Surge
-Take Exhaust instead of Ignite in this lane. In lane and moreover in teamfights, exhausting Kennen will cripple his Slicing Maelstrom and help your team secure the teamfights.
-Listen Kennen in lane like listening a Fiora. Electrical Surge's passive gives Kennen bonus magic damage and a Mark of the Storm in every 5th AA. It has a distinctive sound. Back off when you hear that. Charged AA > Electrical Surge is an easy harassment method of Kennen. His AA range is also longer than yours by 50. With an extra landed Thundering Shuriken, Kennen can easily stun you and land you one extra AA.
- Lightning Rush gives Kennen a massive ms bonus, but probably you won't have a hard time locking him down with your Decrepify + Nevermove.
-In teamfights, Exhaust Kennen as soon as he activates his Lightning Rush and starts to move towards your team. Lightning Rush > Slicing Maelstrom > Electrical Surge > Zhonya's Hourglass may devastate your team if he engages properly.
- Kennen struggles hard while farming under turret. Push the lane as much as you can in early stages of game for denying his farm.
-In lane, activate your Ravenous Flock and throw a Torment to Kennen if he tries all-in. You will win the all-in with your sustain and beefiness.
Pick Swain against Kennen ? Yes, you can manage this lane well and deny his late game.
Malphite is a tank. There were used to be AP Malphites also (prior to Deathfire Grasp's removal. (Yes, with a Deathfire Grasp and full AP build, this kind of Malphites were one-shotting anyone but tanks).
If your opponent is a tank Malphite, play the lane like you are playing against a regular tank. This part is about playing against an AP Malphite.
-This lane may probably annoy you because of the Granite Shield. Whenever it breaks, he will back off and won't return to lane until his shield is restored.
-Treat Granite Shield like Garen's Perseverance. Harass him often for preventing him restoring his shield. If he can renegrade his shield without problem, he will chip you down eventually.
- Seismic Shard is Malphite's main poke. It is a targeted ability and it steals movespeed from you (you'll get slowed and he'll get hasted). Unlucky for Malphite, Seismic Shard costs a hefty amount of mana and Malphite's mana scaling is under average (+40 mana per level).
- Malphite's typical harassment is: Seismic Shard (then gapcloses) > + > AAs. Use your Decrepify (and Nevermove if necessary) when he tries to fight you in melee range.
- Malphite is kinda bad at csing under turret. Push the lane as much as you can. Make him spend mana on minions. He will get mana starved. But be careful, Malphite is also very good when it comes to setting up ganks.
-If he rushes huge AP steroids (like Needlessly Large Rod), always make sure that you have atleast 2/3 of your max hp. Full combo of an AP Malphite may burst you down especially with Ignite.
- Unstoppable Force's missile speed is 1500 + Malphite's movement speed at the moment he casts Unstoppable Force. Malphite may throw a Seismic Shard for make Unstoppable Force near impossible to react.
- Unstoppable Force makes Malphite one of the best initiators in the game. Don't clump together when he is near. Wide your team's positioning for preventing him to knock-up more than one key target.
- Malphite scales with armor. Picking an Ap based champion (like Swain) against him will disrupt his core build.
Pick Swain against him ? It is a rather comfortable lane. If you play properly, he won't cause you any problems but even an underfarmed Malphite can contribute teamfights greatly.
After her rework (4.2 patch), bruiser Nidalee builds became extremely popular (of course they nerfed her after some time). Even though she lost her popularity after nerfs, Nidalee is still a strong laner. The winner of lane will be decided from how you managed her passive ( Prowl) (against ad Nidalee). No matter what she builds, both junglers will hate ganking your lane because Nidalee is extremely hard to gank and her gank contribution is also near zero (sorry nid, you got no built in cc)
There are two kinds of them:
-First one takes Bushwhack at level 1, instead of helping her jungler (she probably asked her jungler to start with opposite side buff), she will rush to the lane with Pounce and trap everywhere. The aim is reducing your maneuverability but the cost of that move is losing the level-2 rushing contest. You'll probably get lvl 2 first.
-Second one is regular Nidalee. Takes Javelin Toss at level 1 and as you've probably guessed it right, first type is harder to deal with.
- Nidalee will try to land her Javelin Toss or wait for you to set on one of her traps. If one of these two conditions are met, you will marked with Prowl.
If you get yourself marked with Prowl, Nidalee will get the following bonusses (bonusses you must know):
-Her cooldown of Aspect Of The Cougar will immediately reset.
- Pounce's range will be doubled (375 to 750. man...) and it will became a targeted dash.
- Takedown will deal 33% more damage.
These are why Nidalee will try to mark you with Prowl
And of course, dodging Javelin Tosses and Bushwhacks are your main priority while playing this lane especially before level 6.
- Takedown is Nidalee's main ability. It has a massive ad scaling and an extra missing health damage. Eating Takedowns over and over can easily make a snowball effect thanks to it's execcute part.
-Her typical engage is Prowl > Aspect Of The Cougar > Pounce > Swipe > Takedown. That combo hits hard. Don't get yourself marked at all costs.
-She will rush a Sheen and also thanks to Takedown converts her AA's damage to magic damage, she can proc Sheen as magic damage or physical damage. She is very hard to resist against.
If her opponent gets armor, she will proc Sheen with Takedown, if her opponent gets magic resist, she will proc it with Primal Surge (or Javelin Toss) + AA.
- Primal Surge gives Nidalee an attack speed boost for 7 seconds. This makes Nidalee a very good tower pusher.
-Since you are a ranged opponent, Nidalee will have a harder time with marking you rather than against a melee one. She will probably try to push the wave and batter your turret down with Sheen procs and Primal Surge. Maxing Nevermove first is a good idea for counterpushing.
-If you survive through the first 6 levels, Nidalee will lost much of her lane pressure. With your 2 aoe abilities, you can counterpush her easier and trade with her. If Nidalee spams her abilities (especially Primal Surge, she will get herself mana starved. The lane control will shift to you.
-She is also a very good splitpusher. If unanswered for too long, Nidalee can easily break through an entire lane to it's inhibitor in a very short time. Add an average teamfighting into that and guess what ? She will splitpush all day.
-Not much to say, if she lands her Javelin Tosses often, she wins. If not, you win but know that both of you can stay in lane for extended periods of time.
Pick Swain against Nidalee ? It is a manageable lane. Just play with extra care before level 6. You have better teamfighting abilities.
Very popular jungler in both soloq (everyone wants to be insec) and professional play (holds the hightest pick rate in season 4 world championship amongst junglers) and also have a place in top lane.
Lee Sin is a snowball type champion. He will seek early kills for it. He has a very strong early game and very good ad ratios but even though with that early game power and ad ratios, he falls heavily in late game. Also tank Lee Sin is very ineffective as a bruiser. Denying him early kills will shut him down and you have a very good tool for it:
- Lee Sin will probably rush level 2 for an all-in. Harass him often with Torment and AAs in level 1. If you manage to pressure him enough in lane, he will use his Sonic Wave for csing and use Safeguard for soaking up Torment's damage over time. Without these two abilities, Lee Sin losts his mobility entirely.
-As i mentioned, range is your most important asset for preventing him getting kills. His typical engage against melee champions is:
Safeguard (to a minion near his opponent) > Tempest > Cripple + AA (for restoring 15 energy) > Sonic Wave + AA > Resonating Strike (has a missing hp damage also)
Since you are a ranged champion, he cannot do the first part of the combo i explained above. So instead of it, he must to that combo:
Sonic Wave > Resonating Strike > Tempest + AA > Safeguard (back)
This combo deals less damage than the first one and moreover, you can safely cs from behind your minions. He needs to get a clear angle for landing his Sonic Wave.
-Around level 5, watch him carefully when he uses his Iron Will. If he regains hp fast, he is maxing his Safeguard instead of Sonic Wave. If so, Lee Sin's kill potential is done.
-Never let him gap close into melee range without Resonating Strike. If he comes, his combo will evolve into this:
Safeguard > Tempest > Cripple + AA + Ignite > Sonic Wave + AA > Dragon's Rage > Resonating Strike
This combo can easily give Lee Sin what he wants. Don't let him come close to you.
-With quick reflexes, you can throw Nevermove under yourself, when Resonating Strike's animation starts. When you root him, use your Decrepify for kiting.
-After level 6, you will get complete lane dominance but since Lee Sin is primarily used as a jungler, he is very good at contributing ganks. He can ward your behind > Safeguard to that ward (or use Flash for easier positioning) > Dragon's Rage to kick you out of your turret. Also make sure your team knows when Lee Sin is missing. He can easily gank other lanes.
-You will outtrade him (after 6), outsustain him (after 6 ofc) and outscale him (everyone outscales Lee Sin)
pick Swain against Lee Sin ? Yes, play safe before 6 and get lane dominance after that.
Another jungler in top lane. Rengar top was played sometimes but Ryan Choi increased it's popularity a lot with his 4x Doran's Blade build.
Rengar is using an unique resource: ferocity. When he uses an ability, Rengar gains 1 ferocity and generates 5 ferocity in 5 seconds when he exits stealth from Thrill of the Hunt. With 5 ferocity, Rengar can enhance his next ability.
Empowered Savagery : Attack speed buff + 10% AD bonus for 5 seconds.
Empowered Battle Roar : Heals him. (increases with his missing health)
Empowered Bola Strike : Roots the target for 1.5 seconds.
Also, when Rengar charges 5 ferocity, his abilities will reset their cooldown.
- Rengar has a level 2 all-in, but first he needs to gain 5 ferrocity for it. After that:
Empowered Savagery > Savagery + Bola Strike > AA > Ignite aaannnddd unhappy ending if you were unprepared.
So your first goal in lane is forcing him to burn his ferocity for healing himself.
-For effectively using his passive Unseen Predator, Rengar will be in bushes most of the time in lane. For securing the bush control, push the lane to his tower. He will lost his main gapclosing ability. It is easier said than done i know and you may think like "how can i supposed to push the lane when there is a mad kitty waiting in the bush to jump on me ?". The answer is, hit creeps at all times at level 1 and harass him with Torment + AA whenever he gets out from bushes.
- Rengar's Empowered Savagery combo hurts as hell, play the lane river sided. Staying away from bushes will give Rengar a hard time to catching you directly but do not think you are completely safe from him by doing that. Rengar can easily jump to a minion and throw you a Bola Strike and/or Empowered Bola Strike. Always be careful playing against a Rengar, especially versus a good one.
-With quick reaction, you can throw Nevermove under yourself whenever he jumps on you for kiting. But know that, he will return to the bush and gapclose you when you get yourself in range.
-If you managed to push the lane early and secure bush control, Rengar is less mobile than a Trundle. Harass him as much has you can with your Torment, Decrepify and AAs. He will burn his ferocity for sustaining himself.
-If you survive the first 6 levels, Rengar won't give you a hard time but never let your guard down. He may still try an all in with 5 ferrocity and use Thrill of the Hunt as a gapcloser. His ultimate will warn enemies when he is near (1250 range). In lane, if you see a warning symbol on top of your head, expect an angry Rengar will jump on you.
-He can also use Thrill of the Hunt for devensive purposes. Like escaping from a gank. With enough harassment, Rengar may escape with his ultimate for survival.
-Carry a Vision Ward all times when the laning phase is over. Youmuu's Ghostblade + Boots of Mobility build is very popular for Rengar. Combine the movement speed with Thrill of the Hunt and yes... he-runs-fast !. Throw that Vision Ward whenever Rengar activates his ultimate so your carries can react him.
-Call mias and make sure your team gets that. A roaming Rengo is extremely dangerous. He can easily burst a squishy target with his combo. He will seek free kills whenever Thrill of the Hunt is available.
-Tank Rengo loses impact in later stages of the game. By pressuring him enough, you can deny him items and force him to build tank. This will cripple his damage. (full ad Rengo is one of the most fearsome assassins in the game. Especially, late game)
Pick Swain against Rengo ? The lane is manageable. If you can survive the first 6 levels, you will get the lane dominance.
This is Singed, one of the most annoying champions to play against in top lane. You may think like this should be a very easy match-up but believe me it is not. I classified Singed as easy-medium difficulty because this guy pushes hard, he is one of the best proxy farmers and he runs. Seriously... Singed runs.
- Poison Trail is his main damaging and farming ability. Singed probably bushcamp in the early laning phase. He will come for poisoning minions and return to bush and will go out only last hit. You'll be amased with Singed's pushing power.
-He will probably start with a Crystalline Flask and 3 Health Potions. Before level 6, potions are his only sustain. Harass him with Torment and AAs as much as you can.
- Singed has no ranged ability besides Mega Adhesive and it is a slow (actually very powerful slow). You can harass him from a distance with Torment > Decrepify + AAs. Saving Nevermove for safety is beneficial.
-If Singed tries to proxy before he gets his Insanity Potion, try to punish him with your jungler and/or and midlaner. Under 6 Singed is easy to gank.
-Never let Singed get close to you without using Insanity Potion and/or Mega Adhesive. If he can manage to Fling you into Mega Adhesive, you'll get rooted for 1 second.
-Before level 6, he slightly outpushes you. After 6,he will probably proxy farm/splitpush all day. Collapse on him every chamce you get.
- Singed has no gapclosers. Only Insanity Potion gives him a movement speed boost but expect that he will probably using 3x movement speed quints. Decrepify is extremely effective against movement speed boosters.
-Never, ever chase a Singed if you are not sure about you will kill him. Good Singed players can bait his opponents very well.
-In terms of damage, Singed scales average. If he builds full tank, he will fall off but know that Singed is very good when it comes to applying map pressure and teamfight disruption.
Pick Swain against a Singed ? Yes but know that he will annoy you with his proxy farming.
Yes, another jungler. Also he was quite popular in jungle prior to removal of Feral Flare. Xin Zhao is a fighter. He has an armor reduction debuff ( Challenge), A knock-up ( Three Talon Strike), built-in sustain and attack speed steroid ( Battle Cry), a gapcloser which also slows it's target ( Audacious Charge) and finally an aoe knockback ( Crescent Sweep)
- Xin Zhao has a very strong early game, with armor penetration runes, his early game damage goes even further.
-He has a level-2 all-in and he will try to get a cheesy kill if he gets his level 2 before you do(second wave's first minion if none of the sides cleared or leashed exp from a jungle camp). Calculate well which side will get their level first and play accordingly to that.
-Although Xin Zhao has a very strong early game, he is also a very predictable champion.
- Audacious Charge > Battle Cry (he may not use it) > Three Talon Strike is his engage.
-When he engages on you with Audacious Charge, throw your Nevermove just under yourself then kite him.
- Xin Zhao's waveclear is below average and he is extremely bad at harassing opponents under turret but he is a very good tower destroyer. If you are under your turret, you are completely safe in lane. He cannot harass you.
- Challenge reduces your armor and Three Talon Strike will enhance his AAs. Do not let him execcute his full combo to you. As i mentioned, a well timed Nevermove will help you disengage.
- Three Talon Strike and Battle Cry create distict sounds when he activates them. He may try to attack a minion with Three Talon Strike for 1-2 AAs, then he may charge you with Audacious Charge for getting the knock-up. He may use Battle Cry for sustain but fall back immediately when he activates his Three Talon Strike. He will try to knock you up.
- Xin Zhao is very good at setting up ganks (as he is mainly used as a jungler).
- Battle Cry heals him on every third AA. If you can harass him well, you can also zone him from the minions for further denying his sustain. Pushing the lane also reduces her sustain. If Xin Zhao can freely AA minions, he will get a lot of hp back. If pushed to his turret, he will only last hit but unfortunately, he is good at csing under turret.
- Challenge marks the target which Xin Zhao attacked or used Audacious Charge. Crescent Sweep knock backs unmarked enemies.
-After level 6, you can (and you should) use your abilities with a more offensive playstyle. With Ravenous Flock, you'll outsustain him. Get the lane dominance.
-Don't clump together in teamfights. Crescent Sweep gives Xin Zhao 25 armor for every chamnpion it hits. Don't give him tons of free armor.
- Xin Zhao has a very good early game and above average mid game but he falls of heavily in late game. You'll outscale him. If he is not fed and not full ad, tank Xin Zhao is no more than an initiator.
Pick Swain against him ? A typical "play safe before 6, dominate after it" lane. And as you noticed, most of Xin Zhao's kit is built on his AAs. You can lane with Swain quite well against Xin Zhao but there are better choices.
After reworked Sion found himself as a high tier tank and was also a priority pick in professional arena before his Soul Furnace nerfed a bit. Still he is a solid top laner.
-The first thing you'll notice in lane is, Sion has a very good wave clear with Roar of the Slayer + Decimating Smash. Assume that he will do the jungle camp > Teleport, he will have upper hand in experience and wave clearing.
- Sion's main trade in lane is Soul Furnace (activates) ---> Roar of the Slayer (to a minion or you) ---> Decimating Smash (channels easier while you are slowed) ---> Soul Furnace (detonates). Sion has high base damages and this combo hurts. Luckily, you are a ranged champion and it will be hard to channel Decimating Smash for a good amount and damaging you with Soul Furnace is even harder. Try to avoid Roar of the Slayer in lane by flanking your minions.
- Sion cannot move while channeling Decimating Smash. This means a free Nevermove. If he still tries to trade after that, just kite him with Decrepify for preventing him to detonate Soul Furnace near you.
- Soul Furnace is a scaling shield. It's base amount is quite low but after Sion gets some hp, this shield will annoy you. Its cooldown is a bit longer than Torment. At earlier levels, you can chunk it down with Torment + AA but Sion will get cdr and hp. After some items, Soul Furnace will completely soak up Torment.
- Sion is quite good at setting up ganks with Unstoppable Onslaught. He is also good at starting teamfights and Teleport plays. Even though Sion has a quite good burst, he cannot match your sustain + dps in lane after 6. So the lane is play a bit passive before 6 and chunk him down after 6.
-Think twice about diving Sion. Glory in Death is a very strong passive against towerdives and 2 vs 2 fights. Try to kite him.
- Jarvan IV's Cataclysm, Anivia's Crystallize, Trundle's Pillar of Ice and Azir's Emperor's Divide are the only ways to stop Unstoppable Onslaught.
Pick Swain against Sion ? Yes, its a manageable lane and if you can get early kills, you can snowball on him. And since you are good against diving comps, teamfight potential will shift to your side.
Somehow a very underplayed champion. In my opinion Kayle is a very strong and solid top laner (I think it is caused by "ok she is nerfed so don't play her anymore because she is thrash now" approach). She is an excellent pusher and very good duelist. Also has a literally "monstrous" late game especially with popular Runaan's Hurricane + Nashor's Tooth build.
-Start with your Torment and force a trade in level 1. Kayle players usually take Righteous Fury at level 1. If you don't take too much AAs, you'll win the level 1 trade.
-Do not let Kayle intimidate you with her Reckoning > Righteous Fury enhanced AAs. Your combo outtrades her combo. But also don't be too reckless. Force trades with her and try to deplete her mana bar. Carrion Renewal is your best bet before level 6.
-Without cooldown reduction ( Kayle will max cdr unfortunately), Righteous Fury has 16 seconds cooldown. Deduct it's duration from it. Kayle is very vulnerable at that 6 seconds interval you need to wait and strike. A lot of players lost (and still loosing) Kayle match-ups just because they don't attack Kayle when Righteous Fury is on cd.
-Ask for ganks if possible. Kayle is a squishy champion with no dashes. Divine Blessing gives her a ms boost but you can lock her down with Decrepify + Nevermove. If you can get a big advantage over her, as a lane bully, you can keep Kayle underfarmed for a very long time. Probably, her only mana sustain will be from Doran's Rings. If you can zone her out, you can easily outlane her especially after level 6.
-After level 6, your lane will get tense. She has also a built in sustain and if she manages to land much AAs to you, she will win the trades. But overall, the laner which depletes other's mana pool will win the lane. Carrion Renewal and Ravenous Flock are your main weapons.
-Taking Exhaust over Ignite is a good choice. She can block Ignite's damage with her Intervention and can survive with Divine Blessing, but Exhaust will cut her dps "immensely" by crippling her damage and attack speed. She is kinda AA based champion. Exhaust is also a very unpredictable skill, you can use this on your advantage.
- Kayle can bait you to towerdive her when she is oom (out of mana). Know that Intervention has no mana cost.
- Kayle will start to outscale you once he completes her two core items ( Runaan's Hurricane + Nashor's Tooth), before that, you'll win the all ins.
-If not focussed, Kayle will deal "monstrous" damage in teamfights and Intervention has a massive impact in tfs. Try to burst her down first if she hasn't complete a Zhonya's Hourglass for at least burning her ultimate. Like Tryndamere, Kayle will also has serious doubts about engaging without her ult.
Pick Swain against Kayle ? Although early game stompers can shut Kayle down easier, you can also manage this lane quite well if you know what you doing.
One more jungler but he is quite good at top lane and he was used as a mid lane assassin in the past especially by Alex Ich but lost his popularity with nerfs to his Taste Their Fear (There was an extra missing hp damage).
- Kha'Zix is one of the few champions which has a "level 1 all-in". Opportunist players will bushcamp in tribush (if you are on the red side). With his passive Unseen Threat gives him extra damage and slowing effect to his AAs and Taste Their Fear has a very short cooldown, Kha'Zix can easily secure a kill in level 1. Go to the lane without passing the tribush.
- Kha'Zix' main mechanic is "isolation". Taste Their Fear will deal more damage to isolated targets. Never panic and try to run away from your minions or allies (if presented) in this lane. This will make Kha'Zix' job easier.
- Kha'Zix generally takes his Taste Their Fear at level 1 and maxes plus evolves it first. Unfortunately for him, he will struggle against ranged and bulky (post 6 Swain counts) opponents. Taste Their Fear has a very low mana cost (25) but if you can harass him enough, he'll forced to max his Void Spike to sustain himself and for last hitting. Void Spike is his only ranged ability and has a way much mana cost than Taste Their Fear, he'll get mana starved if he spams that.
- Kha'Zix will save his Leap for avoiding your Nevermove. When Leap is on cooldown, Kha'Zix is extremely vulnerable to ranged harassment. Harass him often with your Torment + AAs > Decrepify
-If Kha'Zix tries to use his leap for engaging to you in lane, a well placed Nevermove followed by your other abilities will be a good answer. Kha'Zix cannot duel with you post 6 and you have enough tools for surviving early.
- Kha'Zix may rush a Tear of the Goddess and max his Void Spike for turning the lane into a farm fest. If he does that, he will lost his offensive power by a great amount. Play the lane extremely aggressive. Force trades and all-ins without getting isolated. Kha'Zix cannot do much with his base damages only.
-Call mias whenever he is not in lane. Kha'Zix is extremely dangerous especially to your jungler due to his isolation mechanic. An unchecked Kha'Zix can snowball out of control. Deny him free kills.
- Void Assault has a different visual effect depending on which ability Kha'Zix has evolved. If you are unsure about which ability he'd evolved, click on him. You'll see it on buffs part.
- Leap makes Kha'Zix a very good towerdiver when evolved since it resets it's cooldown whenever the bug gets a kill or assist.
- Kha'Zix scales good into the late game as an assassin but since you can (and you should) bully him, his game will probably be all around searching for free kills. An assassin without enough items is an useless assassin.
pick Swain against Kha'Zix ? Yes. You are very good for dealing the pest problem.
Lulu is mainly used as support but she was also used in mid lane in pro matches. She has a place in top lane also as an ap harasser and fighter.
- Lulu's main harassment is Glitterlance. She can go deep with Whimsy followed by Help, Pix! + AAs and actually, it hurts ! Try to dodge that annoying Glitterlances.
- Lulu players usually try to outpush their lane opponents and harass them under their turret. Unfortunately, Lulu can outpush you before level 6. Try to counterpush her with your Nevermove. Putting 2 points in Nevermove at level 4 is a good idea.
-Think twice when investing too many points in Torment in early game. Help, Pix! gives Lulu a shield that lasts 6 seconds. It outlasts Torment and Lulu can punish you whenever Nevermove is on cd.
-This is a standard poke vs sustain lane but don't let your guard down. Lulu is a durable fighter with multiple shields ( Help, Pix! and Wild Growth) and enhanced AAs ( Pix, Faerie Companion). If you underestimate her, you'll get suprised by ap Lulu's damage. Play with care before level 6.
-After level 6, lane dominance will shift to your side. In the long run, sustain overlasts poke. Force trades but don't get into to melee range. A well used Wild Growth can turn the tide.
-Never towerdive a Lulu. Wild Growth + Help, Pix! will make Lulu suprisingly tanky and Whimsy will cost you a couple of towershots.
- Lulu is very good at setting up and contributing ganks especially if her jungler has a gapcloser. But her escaping skills are not that good. Whimsy gives her a movement speed boost but if he uses it as a ms booster, she cannot polymorph an enemy and Decrepify is very effective against ms boosters. She will forced to burn her Flash and/or Wild Growth for escaping if Whimsy is not enough.
-If you are struggling against constant harassment from Lulu, you can get an Abyssal Scepter as your second item.
-Both sides are very good in teamfights. You can provide damage and she can provide utility and defence and she can nullify your attempts. In terms of damage, you outscale her way more.
Pick Swain against Lulu ? Yes but she will annoy you especially early stages of the game.
Aaaahhh... Riven, the infamous snowballer... A lot of top laners agree that having good Riven mechanics is an easy way of gaining elo. And also they are arguing about whether she is broken or not. I haven't figured it out why this guy is manaless.
Remember what i said in the "cons" section ? Struggles against early game stompers, heavy pushers, dashes/blinks and long range champions.. Riven has "4" mini dashes, a bursty nature and of course she is an early game stomper. But there is one vital tool she lacks and you have.
You are a ranged champion. She is a melee one so Riven has to burn some of her precious dashes for just gapclosing. always keep your distance. The less dashes used as damage dealers, the less damage you recieve.
We can summarise this lane as "don't give her kills and win the lane". Although she has a rather good late game, she need to snowball. Denying her kills will shut her mid game down.
Also if you want to learn some Riven mechanics either for playing her or wanna learn playing against her, Wingsofdeath and Boxbox are very good Riven players. Also Faker popularised mid Riven and he is one of the few players who actually picks her in pro matches.
- Riven has a level 2 all-in. And before some nerfs, starting with wolfs (on blue side) combined with an Elixir of Fortitude, can reward Riven with a cheesy kill. Although it is harder now, if she'll get level 2 first (her waveclear is better than yours), fall back.
-Taking Nevermove first is a good idea for waveclearing and defense. Also you may want to invest more points in it. I generally win the level 1 trades with just rooting Riven in the middle of my minion wave when she uses Broken Wings' third dash (knock up one).
- Riven is a very slippery champion thanks to her dashes. Don't use Nevermove recklessly.
-Don't invest too many points in Torment early. Maxing it second is a good idea since Valor grants her a shield which lasts 1.5 seconds and scales with ad (rito, nurf !). But if you can harass her with AAs easily, maxing Torment first will also make sense. First decide if you are against a good Riven or not, then decide which skill you'll max first.
-I take (and advise) Exhaust in this lane. Throwing Exhaust when she activates her Blade of the Exile and starts engage completely foils her. Probably, she will get level 6 first and try to all-in while you are level 5 90%. Turrethugging is a good approach but if she catches you somehow, Exhaust will save you. Also Exhausting Riven in teamfights is a way better approach than taking Ignite for getting kills in lane. Even underfarmed, Riven can dish out a quite amount of damage.
-In early game, she outtrades you but around level 8, you'll start to outtrade and outsustain her. Also building a Frozen Heart or Iceborn Gauntletas your second item will make her give away her hopes for getting a solo kill from you.
-After level 11, you'll get complete dominance over her. Force trades and all-ins. You'll also outscale her.
-In teamfights, always have an eye on her. Riven likes to flank.
Pick Swain against Riven ? Yes, if you are trusting your Swain mechanics but i'll advice you a better champion against her.
Here comes Vayne, a tier 1 adc in terms of late game scaling and she is also one of the few adcs who can also lane in top lane. Although it is a very rare match-up, you can encounter either smarta**es who just thinks like "lets pick an adc, opponent team will get a bruiser thinking like i'll gonna bot and suprise!" or good top lane Vaynes (Quas is a good example).
Vayne is based on AAs and she is one of the most mobile adcs. Tumble resets AA timer and modifies damage, Silver Bolts adds extra damage with consecutive attacks and Final Hour is an ad steroid.
- Vayne will try to proc her Silver Bolts. She has different combos for applying third mark.
First one is standard. Just 3 AAs. If you are just letting her AA you freely, ummm work on your laning a bit more.
Second one is AA > Tumble + AA > Condemn. This is safest one but if Vayne does this whenever Condemn is available, well you are against a "bad" Vayne. Vayne has a little mana pool and this combo depletes a quite amount of it.
Third one is AA > AA > Tumble + AA. This is her regular and most used combo. Versus a regular melee bruiser, Vayne can execcute this combo often but you are ranged. Don't let her to apply 2 Silver Bolts marks on you with AAs. That marks last 3 seconds if she don't attack to a different target.
- Tumble has a short cd (starting with 6 seconds and every invested point reduces it by 1). She may save it for avoiding Nevermove or use it for attacking you. Either way, punish her with Decrepify + Nevermove.
-Keeping distance is key factor for winning this lane. Vayne's AA and Condemn range is 550. This is shorter than your abilities' range. Play safe until level 6. After 6, start to bruise her with your Ravenous Flock (700 range) and Torment (625 range). Save your Decrepify and Nevermove for Tumble. She may try to punish you when Ravenous Flock is on cd.
-Eventhough you'll win trades and chip her down, don't fight Vayne head on straight with both of sides are full hp especially on an open area. Vayne is an excellent duelist and a great kiter. Ravenous Flock needs sight and Final Hour makes Vayne invisible for 1 seconds whenever she uses Tumble (2 seconds cd when maxed). If you haven't got an advantage over her, she'll win the all-in. Carry a Vision Ward. If she is a bit more bruiser type ( Ghost + Flash and Frozen Mallet as her second item) you cannot escape from her.
Jayce was probably one of the best lane bullies especially before season 5 and he was also quite popular and strong mid lane pick in Season 4 WC (Pawn had played great games with Jayce), but since nearly all mana reneneration items converted to enhance base mana regeneration instead of flat mana regeneration, Jayce has lost a bit of his mana sustain from Tear of the Goddess. It is a medium match-up for Swain but know that he can snowball hard if you give him a reasonable advantage in lane.
- Jayce has one of the strongest level 1 engages in game. He can bushcamp in river bush (or tribush depending of his starting position) instead of helping his jungler for chunking you. His level 1 engage is:
Hextech Capacitor enhanced AA (in cannon form)> Shock Blast > Mercury Hammer > AA > To The Skies! > AA
and if you are chunked enough, Mercury Cannon > AA > Ignite > AA > Flash + AA will follow that. Disgusting isn't it ? You just gave a kill to him or burned your Flash and barely survived and he will get level 3 while you based. So how can you prevent that ? The answer is rather simple. Go to the lane with normal way sacrificing one minion's gold (not exp, exp is vital).
- Jayce's typical harassment is Acceleration Gate + Shock Blast and he can go further with Mercury Hammer > To The Skies! + AA > Thundering Blow. So dodging these Shock Blast's are your main goal in lane. These are like Nidalee's Javelin Tosses but they are faster and wider. Fortunately, you are a ranged champion and you'll have an easier time to dodging these compared to a melee champion.
- Jayce will outpush you. Since he is ad, his AAs will hit harder and he can clear waves easier than you especially before 6. Also he has a level 2 all-in (if you are level 1 when he is 2). Fall back when second wave comes if Jayce is closer to level 2 than you.
- Jayce has 6 basic abilities (4 of them are damaging) but hasn't got an "actual" ultimate like Nidalee. Your level 6 will give you a better powerspike than his.
-Whenever Jayce changes his form, his first AA will have an enhanced effect (bonus magic damage in hammer, armor & mr reduction for 5 seconds in cannon form) Jayce players have a tendency to throw an AA to their lane opponents when they come in lane. Usually they'll come in hammer form then immedietaly change to cannon form and attack. Avoid that.
-Take Exhaust instead of Ignite in this lane. After level 6, throw your Exhaust when he is using To The Skies! to you and all-in him. You will win the all-in. Jayce will probably rush a Tear of the Goddess which won't give him any combat stats. Yes you'll rush a catalyst the protector also but "mana" is a combat stat for Swain.
-After level 6, try to counterpush the lane. Jayce is a very good pusher and tower destroyer. Force trades and harass him with Torment often. He may outpush you but cannot outsustain you in lane.
- Jayce is bad at setting up ganks. Flashing behind you and Thundering Blow you back (mini insec) is his maximum contribution. You are better at setting up ganks and contributing them.
-Building a Frozen Heart or Iceborn Gauntlet after Rod of Ages is a good approach. If you want to play a bit defensive, build a Ninja Tabi also. This will make it impossible for Jayce to either get a solo kill or win a trade. Either way, try to not eat free Shock Blasts.
- Jayce is a very solid champion for siege team compositions. Have atleast one champion (like Xerath) for breaking sieges and force fights. He is better than you in poking but you are "far" better than him in direct combat.
Pick Swain against him ? You can stall the lane and even snowball on him with good Nevermoves but an assassin type champion can shut him down easier than you.
Although he is underplayed, he is a very strong pick in top lane. Mordekaiser is a extremely good pusher and his typical playstyle is by pushing the lane hard, he will charge his passive and harass his lane opponent under tower both and eventually choking them. Swain is considered a counterpick against Mordekaiser, but in top lane he'll have an easier time because you won't get a blue buff. I will detail his kit below because Mordekaiser is a rare pick and a lot of people don't know what is Mordekaiser and what he actually does.
Mordekaiser lanes are all about managing one thing: Iron Man. Its simple. If he can charge it freely, he will win nearly every trade.
-Good Mordekaisers push the lane. Bad Mordekaisers push the lane too. Summary, this guy will push the lane. Unfortunately, you cannot counterpush him before 6 and its still hard to do it after 6. But Mordekaiser lacks 2 vital tools: Escape mechanism and cc. Mordekaiser is the only champion which has'nt got neither mobility or crowd control. Now think about this: There is a champion which has no cc and no escapes. He pushes the lane hard and he is laning against a champion which has 2 ccs. What to do ? (Here is a tip: The first letter is "jungler"). Mordekaiser is extremely vulnerable to ganks. Ask for help before 6 since if he falls behind bad in early, he cannot survive in the lane after level 6. Its just a "yo jungler, help me before 6 and i will do the rest after that" lane.
-Generally Mordekaiser takes Siphon of Destruction at level 1 and maxes it first. Its his main harassment tool. It has a very quick cast time. You cannot react it in time. He will push the lane and spam his Siphon of Destruction. This is how a Mordekaiser lanes.
- Creeping Death is his most damaging basic ability. Its like a Sunfire Cape. If Mordekaiser loses trades in lane or he is laning against a dangerous opponent for him, he will invest more points in it and he'll just throw it to a minion for wave clearing and charging up Iron Man. Since 5.4 patch Creeping Death got an extra bonus. When he throws it to a minion, Mordekaiser "and" the minion will "both" get the damaging aura and the resists. If Mordekaiser and the minion are in the melee range while Creeping Death is active, it will deal massive amounts of damage. Never let Mordekaiser comes into melee range. Always kite him. And when he uses Creeping Death for waveclearing, burst that minion down immediately.
- Mace of Spades is an aa modifier. It damages the target Mordekaiser attacks and it arches to 3 nearby enemy targets. Also if the target is isolated, it deals 33% more damage. Since Mordekaiser is melee and this is an aa modifier, he should't be able to hit you with Mace of Spades directly. If you let him to do so in lane, you should work on your kiting. As you noticed, all of Mordekaiser's basic abilities are aoe.
-All of health resourced champions has built in sustain in their kits and Children of the Grave is Mordekaiser's. Fortunately for him that ability has 100% spell vamp even withouht a Hextech Revolver. And that ability allows Mordekaiser to fight 1 vs 2 in lane in some cases (Don't worry. Not against you.).
-Now that you have the basic knowledge about Mordekaiser's abilities, lets talk about how to lane against him. Your deadliest enemies are actually not Mordekaiser, not enemy jungler or mid laner. Your mana and waveclearing before 6. Mordekaiser will push the lane for his shield and making you farm under turret. Whenever Iron Man is full, he will force trades. Since his shield will block the damage you deal, you'll get chipped down bit by bit before level 6. My advice is don't trade with Mordekaiser when Iron Man is charged. When the shield is empty force trades whenever you can. Unlike you, Mordekaiser's abilities costs health and with the 5.4 patch, Mordekaiser's health regeneratin is lowered to 2.9/5 seconds from 8.4/5 seconds. He cannot sustain himself without pots before level 6. If you managed to get him low, he will forced to use his ultimate for sustain instead of all-in.
-Invest some points in Nevermove in early game. You'll need some way to counterpush the lane.
- Mordekaiser players tend to rush a Hextech Revolver. Unlike Vladimir, Hextech Revolver actually just compensate the hp cost of spells instead of sustaining him. After level 6, the lane will turn to a sustain battle. Carrion Renewal is your best bet in this stage of the game. Mordekaiser should't hit you with Mace of Spades and Creeping Death in lane. So you'll outtrade him but you "must" outsustain him in order to win this lane. Force short trades. By short trades i mean throw your Torment, activate Ravenous Flock, after damaging him for 3-4 seconds just back of and sustain your mana with Doran's Rings and Carrion Renewal.
-Do not think like this: "If i do short trades and back of, this gut will charge his shield. I should all-in him whenever i got my ult and landed my skillshots". No. If you play this lane with that approach, after 1-2 tries, you'll get yourself oom and forced to back. Just do short trades, chip his "health" down, back of and get your mana back and repeat this process. You both are sturdy champions in lane but you are mana dependent. Mordekaiser cannot regain his health with just a Hextech Revolver unlike a Vladimir or Akali.
- Mordekaiser is awful at setting up ganks and escaping from them but he is excellent at setting up dives thanks to Children of the Grave. If you are low on hp or oom and pushed to your tower, expect a towerdive.
Pick Swain versus Mordekaiser ? Yes but know that manastarving and waveclearing will bother you. Otherwise this is a manageable lane. Also jungler ganks will help you much.
In season 4, Pantheon was popular in the jungle. In top lane he is known for his early game damage and strong poke. In soloq, a quarter of games i blindpicked Swain, the enemy team picked Pantheon to top lane and although i rated this lane as a medium difficulty lane, i even don't know why are they picking Pantheon against Swain.
In top lane, Pantheon has 2 main counters: sustain and tankyness and you got the first one after level 6 so the main thing is surviving the first 6 levels.
-The first advice i give you for this lane is take Exhaust. I'll explain it later.
-Start with Crystalline Flask + 3 health potions. Pantheon does a way more damage than you in early game and you'll need sustain in that stage. If you start with Doran's Rings, you cannot sustain yourself against constant Spear Shots.
-When you come in lane, examine that Pantheon in level 1. If he starts his Spear Shot spam in level 1, congratulatinons... You are against a "bad" Pantheon and you'll wreck him after level 6. Good Pantheon players know that Spear Shot harasment do work with at least 2 points invested in it (min level 3) for good damage/mana ratio.
-Give points in Nevermove and Torment equal amount. In early game, don't trade with Pantheon too much. 1-2 creeps isn't worth half of your hp bar. Use Nevermove for caster minions if Pantheon tries to zone you.
-It is a simple "stay safe until 6" lane. The hard part is surviving early. Pantheon is a very strong harasser. ( Spear Shot only costs 45 mana and it has a 4 second cd) You'll farm with your Nevermove a couple of times in early game. Despite his early game harassment, Pantheon has a rather small mana pool and low mana regen. Manastarving is a typical problem for a top lane Pantheon.
- Pantheon has a level 4 all-in with 2 points in Spear Shot and one point in Heartseeker Strike. If you are at half hp, don't stay in lane around that level. Pantheon is actually a bad pusher and tower destroyer and getting level 6 first is not a problem since he cannot use Grand Skyfall in lane. Just back, refill your hp bar and return to lane.
-After level 6, you'll start to trade with Pantheon. Thanks to your sustain, you'll outtrade him and eventually outsustain him.
-Now this is the part why i advised you to take Exhaust. Around lvl 7-8, if you got a good reaction time, activate Ravenous Flock and exhaust Pantheon when he uses Aegis of Zeonia then all-in him. While exhausted, he cannot fight with you and you'll win the all-in since Pantheon doesn't have an excape and with Exhaust you actually hace 3 ccs. Chain them for maximum impact.
-As used in jungle, Pantheon is good at setting up ganks, he is a very good towerdiver thanks to his Aegis Protection and he is an excellent roamer with his Grand Skyfall(aka mandrop). Unfortunately, this guy has no excape mechanisms.
- Pantheon falls of late game unlike you. He relies on snowballing in lane. If you didn't give him an advantage in lane, you'll be fine later on unlike him.
Pick Swain against a Pantheon ? If you are sure about surviving early yes.
Although he fell from the meta and replaced by Maokai, Renekton is still a strong top laner. In season 4, he and Shyvana were the most popular picks in top lane.
Except range, Renekton has troublesome tools against you in his kit. He is manaless, he got dash(es), built-in sustain, tankyness and early game damage.
-In early game, Renekton outpushes you, outsustains you and outdamages you especially with fury. You'll probably play the early game under your tower. It's natural. You'll start to outdamage him around lvl 9-10.
-Use your Nevermove wisely. Good Renekton players save their Slice and Dice for avoiding Nevermove and while one of your abilities is missed, he will punish you for that.
- Renekton is an extremely good bruiser and as a bruiser, he literally "bruises" his opponents with his typical Slice and Dice > AA + Ruthless Predator > Cull the Meek > dice (away). When he does that combo, return some damage to him. While his skills are on cd, Renekton is very vulnerable.
-In lane, your main goal should be outscaling Renekton not killing him. He is good at escaping ganks with his dashes and natural tankyness. Getting a solokill is even harder. Don't waste too much mana for trying to get him low. He will sustain himself with Cull the Meek. You'll outscale him in late game.
-After level 6, you will get the lane dominance. If you have survived the early game, the rest is simple as that: activate Ravenous Flock when he uses Slice and Dice. He will combo you but while you are stunned, he will still be in range of Ravenous Flock. When he dices away, use your Torment and Decrepify for returning some damage. You'll outtrade and outsustain him.
- Renekton has a kinda bad late game. Just do short trades with him since you'll outscale him. Don't overcommit. Getting yourself oom is what you should avoid.
picking Swain vs Renekton ? Although there are better picks against him, Swain is also ok. So, yes.
You are famous for your very good lane sustain but Vladimir is the definition of lane sustain. You are considered a very good counterpick against Vladimir but in mid lane with blue buff. Its kinda like a Mordekaiser match-up. Damagewise, you outdamage him. After 6, you outsustain him but the problem is same with Mordekaiser: mana. Vladimir is a manaless champion with very good sustain. You need to manage your mana very well in lane.
-First advice (it is vital): Take Ignite versus a Vladimir all times. Vladimir has a monstrous late game but a rather bad early game. You'll need to snowball on him and for that, you'll need every bit of damage and healing reduction of Ignite.
- Transfusion is Vladimir's main sustain and harassment tool. Unlike your Ravenous Flock, it's healing isn't dependent on the damage it deals without spellvamp. It starts with a 10 seconds cooldown and reduces with every point invested in with a final cooldown of 4 seconds. Also give a second point to Torment at level 3. Around level 5, every free Torment will cost Vladimir a healing potion. If you can manage to hit Vladimir with constant Torments, you can secure a solokill from Vladimir at level 4 with one landed Nevermove + Ignite. Vladimir's early game is veak. Try to abuse that.
-As Swain start with your Torment and force trades with Vladimir whenever Torment is available. Even with Transfusion's healing, you'll outdamage him. But keep an eye on Vladimir's starting items. Vlad players tend to start with 4 or 5 Health Potions in lane for suriving early game. If Vladimir started with too much pots, play more cautious. He can chip you down bit by bit with his potions and natural sustain from Transfusion.
- Vladimir can use Sanguine Pool for avoiding Nevermove but Sanguine Pool costs 20% of Vladimir's current health. Another tip you should know about Sanguine Pool is "you can still damage Vladimir with Torment, Decrepify and Ignite. Also Vladimir will still be slowed by Decrepify while pooling."
- Tides of Blood is Vladimir's waveclear tool. It has a stacking mechanic also. With every stack (max 4), Vladimir's healing and damage of Tides of Blood increases (25% damage, 8% healing). Care for it's stacks. With 4 stacks of Tides of Blood, combined with Hemoplague, Vladimir can dish out suprising amount of burst with 32% more healing. The best way to trading with Vladimir is waiting for an unstacked Vladimir
- Vladimir can outpush you especially in early game with Tides of Blood. My advice is investing 2 points in Nevermove for counterpush.
-If you have full hp and mana, with Ignite, your lvl 6 all-in is much stronger than Vladimir. Just care for Tides of Blood stacks.
-After level 9, this lane gets tense. Transfusion's cooldown is 4 second when maxed and probably Vladimir will complete his Hextech Revolver. Now your lane becomes a sustain battle with a handicap for you: mana. Try to burst Vladimir down. Vladimir is very good at prolonged lanes with his massive sustain. Manastarving will become your major problem. But if you managed to get a kill or kills in early phase, this lane will entirely go one sided.
-Unlike you Vladimir is bad at setting up ganks with no cc but he is very good at diving an enemy with Hemoplague and Sanguine Pool (drops tower aggro). If you are low on mana and pushed to your tower with for example half hp, ask for help or base. They will set up a towerdive probably.
-Getting an Abyssal Scepter after Rod of Ages is a good idea in this lane. Think Hemoplague like a mini Death Mark. Beefines is good against burst damage.
- Vladimir is an excellent farmer and scales very good to late game. In terms of damage his scaling is better than yours. With proper playing and/or 1-2 good gank, you can snowball easily. Vladimir's only escaping tool is Sanguine Pool and Decrepify kinda nullifies that. Try to delay his late game as much as you can.
Pick Swain vs Vladimir ? If this match up was in mid lane, i'll definetely say "yes, you are one of his hardest counters". In top lane, you are still good against him and you can win this lane easily. If you are not sure about your Swain, pick a champion with heavy burst. If you trust your Swain mechanics, yes pick Swain against him.
Back in early season 4, this fatboy and his counterpart Orianna were irreplaceable mid lane picks in pro matches and disrupting enemy positioning was main meta. After a rework on Gragas, he shifted to top lane as an ap bruiser for a brief time. Nowadays, he is considered as a top tier jungler with full tank build. His ultimate Explosive Cask is very good at disrupting enemy positioning but it is a very tricky skillshot. He can be either "man of the match" or "the one who throwed the game" with just 1 ultimate.
- Gragas takes Barrel Roll at level 1 and maxes it first. It is his main poke and farming ability. Gragas will try to burst you down in lane if the lane goes even and if he can't, he will just sit at his turret and just farm with this. Unfortunately, Gragas is very good at farming from distance.
-His starting items will decide what is his strategy in early game. If it is Crystalline Flask + 3 Health Potions start, he will try to outsustain you. Happy Hour gives him sustain in lane. You get your sustain at level 6. If he starts with these, just farm.
If he starts with Doran's Ring + 2x health potions, then he will seek for brawls. You outtrade him in lane. Harass him whenever you can. With Doran's Ring start, he cannot outsustain you.
- Drunken Rage is an AA modifier and it also gives Gragas damage reduction. He can use it defensive also. It's cooldown is short and fatboy can spam it for sustain himself with Happy Hour.
-His typical engage before level 6 is:
Drunken Rage > Barrel Roll + Body Slam + AA then he pops the Barrel Roll. Or a easier version of this is:
Drunken Rage > Body Slam + AA > Barrel Roll. First combo damages more but harder to execcute.
- Body Slam will hit the first enemy he collides. Staying behind minions is a good way to avoid that. If you can do it, only Barrel Rolls will be a nuisance but Gragas needs to charge them a little for doing a considerable damage.
-He will probably save his Body Slam for avoiding Nevermove. It has a shorter cd than Nevermove. Unfortunately, you'll have a hard time to lock him down.
- Gragas will try to all in you around level 9. Around that levels, keep an eye on him. Whenever he charges Drunken Rage, stay back. Full combo of Gragas can easily burst you down. If he fails that, he will just farm with Barrel Roll. Sorry guys, it has a very long range (850) and you don't have much options for aggressive playstyle. You lane just turned into a farm fest.
- Gragas is good at setting up ganks and escaping from them. He got 1 slow Barrel Roll, 1 stun Body Slam and one knockback Explosive Cask.
-Ask for ganks especially before 6. Gragas will be very hard to gank after 6.
-In terms of scaling, with his bursty nature and disrupting enemy positioning, he outscales you.
Pick Swain against Gragas ? Not advised. Gragas is hard to snowball against. He can safely farm against you with Barrel Roll and sustain himself with Happy Hour. My advices against Gragas are Mordekaiser or Nasus. You can outpush Gragas with Mordekaiser and harass him under turret (watch out for ganks). Or, you can pick Nasus against him for turning this lane into a farmfest. And you know, Nasus wins every farmfest. Gragas naturally pushes the lane but Nasus can farm under turret wery well and sustain Gragas' damage.
A very popular pick in top lane. Irelia is an assassin/tank hybrid (yes it is a rare combination but eh, she is like that) with a very good scaling. Just a Trinity Force and Irelia is done for good.
- Irelia's typical start is Crystalline Flask + 3 Health Potions. Irelia's early laning phase is like Nasus'. Nearly everyone outtrades and outpushes her. She will try to sustain herself with potions and Hiten Style's passive for the entire laning phase. Your early game is much stronger than hers. Try to abuse this as much as you can but know that Ireliais very good at farming under turret.
-Against melee matchups, Irelia takes Equilibrium Strike at level 1. But against you, she will mostly take Hiten Style (for sustain) or Bladesurge (for easier farming). Hiten Style has a distinctive sound when leveled up or activate. Listen to this lane.
-In early game, Irelia has no chance against you. If she tries to engage, just throw a Nevermove under yourself and kite her. You can distinguish a good Irelia by usage of Bladesurge. Good Irelia players wait for a low hp minion near you for gapclosing.
- Irelia's typical engage in lane is Bladesurge (to a minion) > Equilibrium Strike > Hiten Style empowered AAs > Bladesurge (to back, or to you depends on position). Without Sheen, you outdamage her. Preventing this engage is simple. Stay away from low hp minions. She will forced to use her only gapcloser to you and you have enough tools to kite her.
- Irelia will max Hiten Style for damage output and with a Trinity Force her fighting capacity increases exponentially. She is one of the best Sheen proc champions in the League of Legends.
-She will play very agressively after level 6 or 9 depending on the lane. And her all-in becomes like:
Bladesurge (to a minion) > Equilibrium Strike + AA > Transcendent Blades + AA > repeating this Transcendent Blades + AA 3 more times > Hiten Style empowered AAs > Bladesurge
Imagine how many times she will proc the Sheen ? The answer is: more than you can handle if she succesfully execcutes Transcendent Blades + AA procs more than 2 times. Irelia has suprisingly high burst with Sheen and her ultimate.
- Irelia has no escapes but Ionian Fervor gives her tenacity (against a gank, 25%). Ask for a gank for cripple her allready weak early game a bit more.
Pick Swain against Irelia ? Not advised. If you cannot manage to snowball, she will outscale you and probably burst you down in lane. And a fed Irelia is a nightmare for squishy targets. Try other champions against her.
- Olaf is a nightmare for her with his spammable true damage. (fight true damage with more true damage)
- Darius is also very good against her. He also got a monstrous true damage burst and Crippling Strike lowers the enemy's attack speed. No attack speed = Useless Hiten Style
For countering her kit:
-Attack speed slows work wonders against her. Nasus is my second favourite pick against her after Olaf. With a built-in and scaling sustain, natural tankyness and attack speed slow, Nasus can nullify all of Irelia's kit. Also nobody scale better into the late game than a well farmed Nasus.
A popular pick in professional play. Rumble is an effective lane bully and he can devastate teamfights with a well placed The Equalizer.
- Rumble is not resource dependent and he has a unique mechanic called "heat". Over 50 heat (danger zone, yellow), all of his abilities will have an empowered effect. At 100 heat, he will silenced but his AAs will do massive amounts of damage.
- Rumble generally takes Electro-Harpoon at level 1 for safe csing but maxes it last. Rumble has a terrible level 1. If he started with Electro-Harpoon, try to punish him as much as you can with Torment.
- Rumble has no natural sustain but that annoying yordle has a shield and he will probably invest more than one point in Scrap Shield for nullifying Torment. Try to bait out his shield before trading with him. Scrap Shield is kinda weak compared to for example Feint of Golden Aegis but a shield is a shield.
- Flamespitter is his main harassment tool and this is what makes Rumble a lane bully. He will try to land at least one Electro-Harpoon for slowing you and dish out big amounts of damage with Flamespitter. If he is on danger zone, Flamespitter hurts. Really.
-A good way to avoid Rumble's early game damage is, (even you get hit by Electro-Harpoon) when he is chasing you with Flamespitter, just throw a Nevermove between you and Rumble ( Rumble's chasing route). Save Decrepify. If you managed to root him, then use your Torment and Decrepify for chunk him down.
- Rumble naturally pushes the lane with Flamespitter and he loves to harass his lane opponents with it. Rumble is average at escaping from ganks and he struggles heavily when he is behind in lane. (yes, i also know that every champion struggles when behind but Rumble struggles "more")
- Rumble is literally "terrible" at farming under turret. Especially after 6, try to push the lane. (actually he is bad at farming in lane either thanks to Flamespitter.
- Rumble's level 6 (and later) all-in is will result with depending on how long you sit on The Equalizer. The Equalizer deals "massive" amounts of damage. And with it, Rumble is very good at setting up ganks. Also he will rush an Abyssal Scepter against you. And unfortunately, Rumble snowballs hard.
-After level 6, play passive. Rumble can easily all-in you with The Equalizer + danger zone Flamespitter. Your dps + healing cannot match his in an all-in. Play pasive and wait for ganks.
Pick Swain vs Rumble ? Not advised. I've also played Rumble against Swain and this lane is Rumble favored. If you want to pick a more effective champion against him, try Mordekaiser. No special stragegy. Just be Mordekaiser.
Zed is primarily known as a very strong assassin with high mobility and very high burst damage. He generally used in mid lane but he is also viable in top lane. (fun fact: he is designed as a "jungler")
- Zed's main mechanic is using his shadows. This is what makes Zed extremely mobile.
- Razor Shuriken is Zed's main harassment tool and ranged farming ability. It deals it's full damage to the first enemy it hits and 60% of it's damage to the enemies thereafter. So stand back your minions. Even you cannot manage to dodge it, at least receive reduced damage.
- Living Shadow makes Zed very unpredictable when used offensive. Zed's favourite combo in lane (before 6) is:
Living Shadow + Shadow Slash > Razor Shuriken. If you chunked down to below 50% then he will switch places with his shadow and try to proc Contempt for the Weak + one more Shadow Slash
- Zed maxes his Living Shadow last and it has a 18 seconds cooldown without cdr. Whenever Zed uses it, immediately return some damage to him ( Torment + Decrepify > Nevermove)
- Living Shadow combos are hard to react and unfortunately despite you outdamage Zed, he can outmaneuver you. Play the early game relatively safe. He can easily switch places with his shadow for avoiding Nevermove and gapclosing to you. Win-win for Zed.
-Think analytical in this lane. Positioning is always a key factor but in this lane think a little bit different. I suppose everyone learned atleast basic geometry eh ? If the answer is yes, the trick is below:
Position yourself as forming a triangle with 3 points of you, Zed and Living Shadow. This way, even Zed switch places, he will still be out of melee range. Zed's only ranged ability is his Razor Shuriken.
- Death Mark makes Zed one of the most efficient and deadly assassins in the league. Zed will mark you that lasts 3 seconds. After 3 seconds it detonates and you'll receive percentage of damage he dealt to you while the mark was active. Also there will be an extra shadow where he cast Death Mark and it has the same mechanic with Living Shadow. So, Zed will try to chunk you down enough for finish you with one Death Mark.
-Take Exhaust in this lane and use him when he activates Death Mark. Taking Exhaust against Zed is very popular nowadays. Zed will try to bait out your Exhaust before using Death Mark. If you have good ward coverage, you'll have the lane control.
-Stay atleast 60% of your hp in this lane. Rod of Ages will make you beefy and Zhonya's Hourglass completely screws him. When you take free damage, atleast suck hp from minions. As you know, heavy burst >> sustain.
-Try to bait his Living Shadow before a gank and/or using Nevermove. Zed is very vulnerable to ganks without his Living Shadow
- Zed has a very good late game and amazing splitpushing power. After 6, play this lane aggressive as much as you can for delaying his late game.
Pick Swain vs Zed ? Being untargetable, damage reduction and heavy cc are best tools against Zed. Although you are lacking these tools, Swain is a sturdy opponent against Zed. If you are unsure about ßwain against Zed and thinking about what is good against him in top lane, i'll give some examples:
Lane Match-ups (hard)
Here we come to the "ugly" section of the guide. Sadly, like every other champion, Swain has counters too. This time i won't write a "pick Swain against X ?" question because as you've allready guessed, the answer is "no, never" for all of them. When you are against one of these champions, farm safely as much as you can and ask for help if possible.
If you guys've read "THREATS TO SWAIN WITH THIS BUILD" section in the begining of this guild, you can notice that except 2 of them, every Swain counters are mid-lane champions. (exceptions are Jarvan IV and Lissandra) As i mentioned in the "pros" section, Swain has advantages over typical top lane bruisers.
Also, a very helpful advice i can give you against these champions is reverse your skill sequence. Instead of Torment, max Nevermove first for reducing its cooldown and increasing base damage. You have very low kill potential against these champions and farming + waveclearing should be your main goals. Also max Decrepify second for increasing it's slow. Torment won't save you against these champions but in a gank, a stronger Decrepify will change alot.
Before i finish the introduction of this chapter, i wanna make sure that Swain maybe has more counters (or champions which gives Swain hard time) than these i mentioned. These are which i laned against with Swain.
Lets get started. (from hard to nightmare)
Jarvan IV was a very popular jungler starting from season 1. Even more, in the begining of season 5, he and Vi were the most popular junglers in both soloq and competetive plays. Although Vi is unpopular in top lane, Jarvan IV is actually a very strong and solid top laner.
Struggles against early game stompers, heavy pushers, dashes/blinks and long range champions. Remember this in the "cons" section ? Because Jarvan IV is exact definition of these combined.
-If you are against a Jarvan IV know this: that guy will build "pure AD". Don't expect a tank Jarvan IV in top lane. Jarvan IV has a very good Ad scalings, a current hp damage passive ( Martial Cadence) and armor reduction ( Dragon Strike). Tank Jarvan IV falls of late game but ad Jarvan IV can burst down a squishy target with just one combo.
-Even with all that gapclosers, burst damage and other stuff, Jarvan IV has still got weak points against you in lane: He is melee and he hasn't got any built in sustain. In order to sustain himself early game, Jarvan IV should start with a Crystalline Flask and Health Potions. Whenever you get a chance for dealing free damage, do it.
- Jarvan IV's famous combo is Demacian Standard + Dragon Strike > Martial Cadence AA. Your main priority should be dodging this knock-up. While your armor is reduced, Jarvan IV can chunk you down.
- Dragon Strike has a 770 range. It is longer than all of your abilities except Nevermove. It is Jarvan IV's main ability. It has a good base damage, good ad ratio and an extra armor reduction debuff.
- Jarvan IV players typically start with Dragon Strike and gives one more point to it in level 3. First 2 levels will be a farm fest but in level 3, Jarvan IV will probably poke you with Dragon Strike. He will start his Demacian Standard + Dragon Strike at level 4 with 1 point in Golden Aegis. (yes this guy also have a shield which also slows you. Meh...)
-As mainly used in jungler, Jarvan IV is excellent at setting up ganks with a knock-up, slow and lock down. Also he is a very good roamer.
-At level 6, Jarvan IV can easily all-in you with Demacian Standard + Dragon Strike followed with Cataclysm especially if he got Ignite as a summoner. While your armor is reduced, Cataclysm and Martial Cadence will burst you.
-I recomend getting a Frozen Heart after Rod of Ages. If you are not sure about surviving in lane, you can actually "rush" a Frozen Heart. With extra 100 armor, 400 mana and 20% cdr, you can safely farm against Jarvan IV.
-After level 9, farm with Nevermove. One succesful knock-up may cost a lot.
What to pick against Jarvan IV ? Martial Cadence and Dragon Strike are very effective tools against tanks. My advice is don't pick any tank against him. If your team insists for a tank, Shyvana is the safest choice with his ranged farming ability. If not, Irelia and Jax works well in this lane. Jax is more "high risk high reward" of the two. Just play safe until level 9.
She was quite popular in professional play in the beginning of season 4 along with Gragas and Ziggs. Although she lost her popularity in competetive play, she is still one of the best champions in terms of providing utility. I think Orianna fits to nearly every team composition. She is good in siege comps, she is good in hard engage comps and she is good at disengage comps.
All of Orianna's abilities are related to her ball. Also this his one of her weak points. She can only impact the area where the ball is.
- Orianna is one of the ap champions which has better AA trade than Swain at level 1. Clockwork Windup is very strong passive (also scales) and Orianna players love to trade AAs with their lane opponents. Sadly she has 25 more AA range than you.
-If you check her skillset, you'll see that Orianna has a clear range advantage over you. Command: Attack is Orianna's backbone and it has a 825 range. Also usage of this ability is the difference between good Orianna and a bad Orianna. Bad Orianna players just throws them and it has a rather slow projectile speed. But good Orianna's use Command: Attack for zoning their lane opponents. She will throw her ball to near your caster minions in lane and left it in there. When you come close to the ball, she repositions the ball and chunks you. Thats how Command: Attack works. And one more bad news about Command: Attack is, it has a fixed 50 mana cost and when maxed it has a 3 seconds cooldown.
- Command: Dissonance is her main waveclear ability. It has a good base damage, it gives Orianna's allies movement speed if used for utility, and slows it's targets if used offensively. Orianna can instaclear a wave with Command: Attack + Command: Dissonance with a little bit ap.
- Command: Protect this is defensive ability. It's duration is 4 seconds. (exact same amount of your Torment) It also deals damage to enemies it passes through.
-The problems against Orianna are her waveclearing and zoning potential. All of Orianna's abilities are aoe and with Clockwork Windup, she can also farm with her AAs easier than other ap champions. Starting with Torment is not advised in this lane. If you start with Torment, Orianna will just shield herself (if she has saved her skill point at level 1) and trade AAs with you. Unfortunately she wins the AA trades. Just start with your Nevermove and take Torment at level 4.
-A vital thing you should now about Orianna is Command: Protect does not break the target ally's stealth. That means, if the enemy champion has an jungler with invisibility ( Rengar, Evelynn, Shaco etc) she can just throw the ball to her jungler and easily combo you. If enemy team has a jungler like that, after 6 don't play aggressively unless Orianna makes a mistake.
-One handicap for Orianna is mana. Orianna is extremely dependent to blue buff. You have built-in both mana and health sustain. Orianna hasn't got neither of these. If you can manage to dodge her abilities, you can manastarve her and start playing more aggressive.
-The enemy team probably want to utilize Orianna with a good diver champion (mostly a tank). Never clump together in teamfights. A well execcuted Command: Shockwave followed with Command: Dissonance may be the end of your team. Orianna can ult your team with several ways. She can Command: Attack + Command: Shockwave directly or Command: Protect (to an ally) + Command: Shockwave.
-Unfortunately, in terms of both damage and utility, Orianna outscales you.
-Play passive, farm with Nevermove and wait for a gank. Orianna has a slow, a shield and a ms booster but no direct dash or blink. In a gank, you can lock down Orianna. Just don't stay too close with your jungler for avoiding Command: Shockwave.
What to pick against Orianna ? Syndra is most popular pick against her with her superior range and waveclear. She can also disrupt a team with a knockback and stun. Before the rework, Gragas was picked against her in every match for completely reversing Orianna's utility. Other than these 2, pick champions which can safely farm from range and have good waveclear abilities ( Ziggs, Xerath etc)
An extremely popular pick in top lane in both soloq and competetive play. Since in season 5, the current meta shifted to ap utility based champions later than tanks, she had really shined in top lane and also became a perma ban in soloq. This grumpy frigid lady is a goddess in terms of cc and waveclearing.
- Lissandra isn't actually a counterpick for Swain. But the problem is you cannot bully her easily. Her waveclearing is immense and she has very good tools for kiting. Instead of bullying her, you will actually get bullied by her and forced to play most of your laning phase under your tower and dancing for avoiding Ice Shard spams.
- Ice Shard and Iceborn are her main weapons in lane. Like you, Lissandra also has a mana sustain passive (actually its a free spell passive but works the same way). Lissandra isn't famous for her ap scaling. But spammable