Swain Build Guide by DawnofMeat
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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.
Thanks to Searz for the awesome guide format! You can find it here.
Hey guys, Paz here. I've been playing Swain for a while now, and he's by far my favorite champ. He can carry hard, 3v1 like a bawss (when fed a little), and is just all around a huge badass. He snowballs pretty hard, and beats out most people at mid (if you play smart). I'm not really satisfied with the guides here on Mobafire, so I thought I would make my own guide, and hopefully help out anyone trying Swain for the first time, or maybe teach an old hat something that they didn't already know.
See this great Legend by Matt for any abbreviations you don't understand.
Pros / Cons
-Great burst damage.
-Snowballs really well.
-High lane sustainability.
-High survivability and all around tankiness.
-Can dominate mid and gank other lanes quite well.
-Large threat in teamfights.
-Unfazed by CC as his ult keeps going through stuns and the like.
-Mana starved throughout the game (can be somewhat ameliorated through items/blue buff).
-Shut down by ignite.
-Susceptible to high burst damage.
-Focused a lot in teamfights, especially if fed early on.
There is really no substitute for the standard 9/0/21 build.
Archmage's Savvy: Extra AP is always nice.
Deadliness: You need 1 more point point and it's hilarious when you see Swain crit for like 200 dmg.
Sorcery: Why not? Free CDR? HELL YES
Archaic Knowledge: You NEED that extra mpen or you'll do meh damage lategame.
Nothing in here because most of the stuff is useless for Swain, however if you REALLY want to you can get some extra armor, mres, and strength of spirit. It will help a bit during the laning phase, but if you play smart you shouldn't really need to regen much health, and if you do you can just morph and eat them.
Good Hands: Why Good Hands over perseverance? The health and mana regen you get from it ends up being around 1 Hp5 and Mp5 END GAME. Also, regardless of how much you try not too, you WILL end up dying at some time or other, and endgame when the death timer is 70 seconds, respawning 7 seconds faster can be game breaking.
Perseverance: You need 1 more point and Swain doesn't really use ghost or teleport.
Awareness: 5% more EXP is freaking amazing... even if you have even CS, it can help a lot being just a little faster in leveling up for those early game lane battles. Also, the sooner you get to level 6, the better, because Swain isn't really the most sustainable champ until he gets his ult.
Meditation: Swain chugs mana like a boss, and every little bit of mana regen helps.
Utility Mastery: Swain is freaking imbalanced with blue buff, because it means his ult can last for a loooooooong time. More duration on it is just amazing.
Quickness: Moving faster is always beneficial, and it can help when you have to chase someone in your demon-bird form to ensure a kill.
Blink of an Eye: I always take Flash with Swain because he desperately needs the mobility, and along with Presence of the Master the cooldown will be rather short.
Intelligence: YAY MORE CDR WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOP
Presence of the Master: Swain really depends on his Ignite to ensure a kill early game and his Flash to get him out of sticky situations, as his movement speed is pretty bad. Having this mastery is a huge boost to his survivability and deadliness.
Shuts down champions like Señor Mundo and opposing Swains, and can help ensure kills early on. As well, ignite works with your torment, doing more damage while the DoT is on them.
Mobility is one of the things that Swain lacks, and Flash can really help him in this regard. He can flash in and morph to gank, or he can flash out of any sort of sticky situation. Great spell.
Can be a good surprise factor when people think you're too low and then KAPOW you clarity and burst their ***es down. However, I think ignite is just more effective, and you shouldn't have mana problems while laning unless you're getting starved by your opponent.
W > Q > E > E > E > R > E > W > E > W > R > W > W > Q > Q > R > Q > Q
Get your CC up early with your snare and slow, and then max your E ASAP. It does a lot of damage and makes all your abilities do even more damage, so you're indirectly leveling all of your abilities by leveling E. Neat, eh? Then get your W because the cooldown is really long at the start, and then finish with your Q for some more damage. As with anyone except for maybe Udyr and Poppy, level your ultimate every level it is available.
Gives you some health, mana, MR, and overall more survivability from your special anti-spell bubble. Great defensive items if there are several casters on their team, or if their caster is getting their snowball on.
I ADORE this item. Freaking fantastic. Gives me a ton of armor and mana, while also decreasing the ATS of my enemies. So what you're saying is, while I'm in the middle of everyone healing, taking no damage because of my armor, I'm also decreasing everyone's attack speed as well? Hot. But cool. Get it? Because it's froz- Never mind.