Swain Build Guide by Saikomachi
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.
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.
Welcome all, this shall be my first guide! Please try first before you completely shut it down. This guide might be missing a lot of content for now. Put a question if you want in the response box if you have a question.
Thanks to xlPainlx, I found out how to add pictures.
-Amazingly good at staying in a lane.
-Able to catch/kill enemies easily.
-After he gets a kill, he can easily get ready for another gank.
-A really good tank/mage caster.
-Takes on 1-2 people
-Cannot take on more than 2 people.
-Has to last hit or else you have no mana.
-Cannot nuke someone down in seconds. Takes some time to kill someone.
-Blue rune dependant.
Flash - Still good even after the patch, just one button away from freedom!
So, which do you think is better? With the new changes to Cleanse, its a tough one because now, you can remove Ignite! All Swain's HATE Ignite, but now that Cleanse removes it.... Your only worries are on the rocket girl and the pirate bounty hunter, as well as the little fish of the sea. But Ignite is also still pretty good because it does more true damage with Torment.... So its your choice, I preferly chose Ignite over Cleanse.
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration - I grab these because it makes Ravenous Flock heal for more and makes you other spells do more dmg.
Greater Seal of Replenishment - I grab these because Swain needs some MP5 if he cannot last hit (in times when you get zoned). After you get catalyst, you shouldn't have mana problems if you have been using your spells wisely.
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction - Good for early game mostly, you can try different glyphs if wanted. I just never have enough ip to try out a lot of new stuff.
Greater Quintessence of Health - Helps Swain survive until he turns level 6 as well as if you are facing someone, you have enough hp to survive their burst.
Start off with Amplifying Tome and a Health Potion, this should supply you for now only if you last hit. Depending on who you face depends how hard you harass, build, etc. You should have at least enough money on your first back to buy a Hexteck Revolver, or a Catacalyst the Protector. If you don't have enough money for Catalyst the Protector or Hextech Revolver, just grab a Boots of Speed and continue to farm in order to get the main early game items.
Something I don't know of too much, but by the end of mid game (I'm going to take it before 18) you should at least have a Will of the Ancients and a [[Rod of Ages. (If you don't have Rod of Ages, you will not be able to stay in bird form as long.)
Abyssal Scepter, Will of the Ancients, and Rod of Ages? What can kill you at the moment? Pretty much nothing, unless it's a huge dmg dealer, if you do find yourself taking serious dmg, Nevermove, Decrepify'em and run. This is the part where you usually stick with your team, so you will usually not be running away.
Q. Why not grab a Rylai's Crystal Scepter?
A .What does Nevermove and Decrepify do again? Ohh yea, CC, so what is the point of Ryjal's Crystal Scepter if you got an AoE root and a single target slow? 500+ hp? Might as well go grab yourself a Warmog's Armor.
Q. Well what about Spirit Visage? It increases health gained from my ult.
A. Other items can give you better stats, for example, Abyssal Scepter. It gives magic resist, AP, and reduced enemy magic resist, making your ult do more dmg, you can survive ap nukes,also it heal you for more because it has AP.
Q. So what do you think about Deathfire Grasp?
A. The point of Swain is to be a off-tank/ap caster, dealing a lot of dmg while being able to suck in a lot of dmg. An item like this is more for a complete nuker such as Veigar.
While the AP/MP5 is good, you could get other items that could help a lot more. After the change on Swain's passive, MP5 is not all that great. CDR isn't that great of a stat on Swain because Swain's abilities have low CD's and you don't need CDR to keep your ult up, you need mana and because of his ult, you have to keep that up in order to survive.
Q.I am running oom all the time, I should grab a Archangel's Staff shouldn't I?
A. A mistake most Swain players make. So it gives 1400 mana, 45 ap, and 25 mp5 as well as 3% of mana into ap. The problem with this item is that it doesn't help Swain stay in combat very long, especially when getting focused. Rod of Ages should keep up your mana unless you use your ult too often.
Q. Yea but it helps me stay in my ult while being able to use my other spells, doesn't it?
A. That's true, but as I said before, Swain is a mage/tank, if you cannot be durable, you cannot be useful. Most of Swains spells have short ranges (besides Nevermove) as well as Ravenous Flock won't be useful if you are not in range. Other items give more AP/Defense. Furthermore, Rod of Ages should keep your mana up if you have been last hitting.
Q. Why start with an Amplifying Tome?
A. So what do you get with a Doran's Ring? 100 health, 15 ap, and 5 mp5. Now think of it this way, you get right into your Hextech Revolver, you get 5 more ap. Now most think this is a very bad deal but here is what you really get from Doran's Ring +100 hp, -5 ap. Why did I not mention the mp5? Simply put it mp5 is useless on Swain while you are in a lane last hitting getting mana from Carrion Renewal.
Q. What if the enemy is going all tanky? Won't I need a Void Staff?
A. Well first off, Swain is not a pure ap caster, he is off tank caster. If the enemy goes defensive, defened right back in their face. Void Staff only give ap and magic penetration, no defense whatsoever, even though it will give more of a heal to Ravenous Flock, other defensive items will keep you alive longer but won't give you as much damage.
So you have your Zhonya's Hourglass and Rod of Ages and hopefully some kind of boots.
Banshee's Veil - If you are finding yourself focused a lot or there is an annoying cc such as Null Sphere. This is a great item for that, once they cast it, they won't be able to cast it for a while now, however, they may just use it to pop the shield so.... not the greatest alternative
Lich Bane - I don't see how it is broken atm, will look into further detail.
Mercury's Treads - Exchange for Sorcerer's Shoes if you find too much cc on the other team.
Sunfire Cape - Come to think of it, if you need the extra armor and hp, this would be the perfect item to do that! Since you are always in range with Ravenouse Flock, the burn effect from Sunfire Cape also comes in! You only need this item though if you need the stats. If you are looking for a damage item, there are better ones out there. (Thx Xichi!)
If you have guys have any other alternatives, list it in comment because there are not a lot of alternatives.
Better be last hitting or this passive won't go into effect. If you don't, you have to preserve your mana. Also if you don't know how to last hit, this is probably not the guide for you.
(aka lazer birdy)
Slow, good for getting away-ish and also just part of a combo. Max this ability second cause once Nevermove is up, there is no hiding from the lazer bird.
Haha! Back people, back, or I shall make sure you never set foot in mid again! This is the "I caught you!" spell, when an enemy is close in mid, or just running away to the river or something similar. Cast it when you know you can get them, then do da combo!(Combo is mentioned below.) If they Flash out of it, they won't next time.(Be careful though, sometimes they want to be caught, and it could be a big gank.)
Why take a point in this skill first? Better yet, why max this skill out first?
1. At level 1 you cast it on the enemy, then start basic attacking, you will be surpsised how much dmg you do, you are practiacally a ranged ad carry at lvl 1!
2. If you level this skill up, they take more dmg, so more overall dmg!
*swain toggles ult*
Swain:CAW CAW CAW!
Enemies: Kill him!
*swain starts to heal himself while nuking enemies*
Enemies: Run away!
Announcer: An enemy has been slain!
Announcer: Double Kill!
I love this ult for so many reason.
1.Use it in a lane just to get all your hp back, last hit after so its like your personal fountain.
2.Enemy 1v1's you, oh wait you can heal thourgh their dmg! (unless they are veig or something)
That's pretty much all the reasons. Just be sure not to keep it on too long or else....
Early, mid, and end game
You are best mid, no mid=you probably going to be underleved= Ravenous Flock is going be less effective=you go splat. Moving on. May differ depending on who you face but against most ap casters or ranged ad mid, use Torment for harass and basic attack them. Be careful though not to take too much minion damage, you have to survive until you get your ult. When you Nevermove at level 2 or 4(you may have to grab this skill seconds), start to catch them off guard with Nevermove. Once you do cast Torment then Decrepify on them then basic attack, usually they do not retaliate. However, if they do, you will probably do more dmg to them than they did to you. That's pretty much it for lanning phase.
Go around ganking if you want, that's probably what you want to do. More items=more survivability with ult=not a big squish for now. Also, Crest of the Ancient Golem (aka blue buff), take it when possible. CDR= you may cast your spells more often and you are going to be able to be kept in your ult more.
Stick with the team. If you try to 1v1 someone chances are someone else is going to come. Since you are all dot, you cannot kill someone fast enough before their allies show up.
Also feel free to jump in after tank goes in, chances are they find the tank first then see you, but only 2 will jump on you or so. If 3 of them start focusing you, back out a little.
Champions you can 1v1
Also, most supports are easily killed, so i didn't mention any because Swain can kill them with no problem. (note these champs can only be killed 1v1, if the jungler and champ gets you, your caught in a rock and a hard place.)
Well, she used to be op, but even when she was op all it took was a Swain to throw her off her game..... Dodge Command: Attack and stay away from the ball, you can easily harass her with your combo because like all Ori's, they love to harass. Also beware of her basic attacks, Clockwork Windup is easily underestimated.
She is a very easy champion to kill. Just make sure you are at a decent amount of hp and mana, or else she will Enchanted Crystal Arrow and crit you with Focus. Other than that, try to deny her and try not to take too much damage from Volley.
Yet another champion you can easily kill. However, when you harass, you might just want to go with Nevermove, if it lands, combo up with Torment and Decrepify then move back, his auto attacks are his strength.
She is easy stuff, dodge Flash Frost, even if she uses the combo Glacial Storm then Frostbite, it won't do enough dmg (if not feed) to kill you and your ult will heal you up to full again.
Just be careful not to fall for this if she has Flash Frost because then she will kill you that way. If she is going after you and she has all her spells ready, Nevermove then either engage or run away depending on the situation.
If you ever do face a Brand in mid, I find it very helpful to start with Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potion, that way you can dodge Pillar of Flame and Sear.
So you just got Nevermove off, what after? Well, he can't Arcane Shift out of there, so combo off and him try to do a lot of dmg before he shifts away. Also avoid his Mystic Shoot poke, it can hurt sometimes.
Karthus: God dam it Swain! stop moving!
Swain: My destination is absolute!
Announcer: An enemy has been slain!
Yea nothing hard about a Karthus.... just keep moving to avoid Lay Waste while killing him, his Defile does as much damage as you heal with Ravenous Flock.
Same as Brand but less painful, you can get caught once or twice and not die, but seriously dodge her Light Binding and Lucent Singularity.
Yea... she can't do much to you, just don't take massive dmg from her spears. Also don't engage for sure if you are low on hp, one Javelin Toss/Takedown will annihilate you.
Is it just me or is it weird how Sion never mids? Even when people build him as an ap caster.... Anyway if you ever gank a Sion, activate Ravenous Flock early, Cryptic Gaze will keep you stunned for quite some time. Make sure when you fight him, he doesn't hit you with basic attacks, Cannibalism really hurts....
Well he is easy to 1v1... just his Noxious Trap will hurt like hell when stepped on if he is an ap Temmo. If he goes ad, just watch your health bar, it could be gone before you know it.
Its situational. If he grabs an Ignite he is not so easy, if he grabs Exhuast then he is 1v1 able. Just make sure when he is charging up to you, you activate Ravenous Flock before he Cutthroat's you, then root him, if he uses Shadow ***ult then you either chase him if you can catch up to him or stay back if you know you cannot catch him.
Very easy stuff... once you get Nevermove off its an easy kill from there. He has no escape built in, besides his 3 seconds Destiny.
Surprisingly I never found her that hard to kill as Swain.... She kills you over time and so do you but she can't kill you as well because Ravenous Flock heals for a **** load. She can only kill you if she is feed and you are near a rock... (aka collision)
Don't nuke the Decoy, wait until his Decoy is over then nuke him. He is easily caught because he will Nimbus Strike then Crushing Blow, in that time he will either transition to Cyclone or Decoy. Either way he shouldn't be able to kill you and there is no way he should be attacking you.
Very easy to kill, just don't get low and run away from her, your either supposed to not engage at all or go in and grab a kill. Just watch her Yordle Snap Trap so she doesn't get away. Sometimes, its better to save Nevermove for after she uses 90 Caliber Net.
I know, most Evelyn players won't hit you unless they have a teammate or if you are low, but anyway as soon as she breaks out of stealth, use Decrepify or manage to land a Nevermove to stop her then just nuke her down.
She can be a hell of a nuke by how does she ussualy kill someone? She ussualy has to use Shadow Dance two times, which ussualy give you enough time to drive her back. When she engages you, get out of her Twilight Shroud or else you won't be able to hit her and you won't get any healing from Ravenous Flock because you cannot target her. Afterwards there are 2 situations, if you are quite low from Akali's first combo, Nevermove and Flash away, if you are at about 70% hp because there were some minions to heal you, engage her, but the chances are she will Shadow Dance to a minion.
Don't let her harass you too hard early game or else she can easily poison and spam Twin Fang on you, like some casters, she is all about dot. Also, when you two do turn lvl 6, be careful of her Flash and Petrifying Gaze, if she gets stuns you, you are a bit screwed.
His Rupture and Feral Screech may be harmful, but true of the matter is that he is a slow champion and someone like Swain can stay near him until the silence is over. Just becareful in case you are low and you look like a tasty Feast. But when you lane agianst him, you either
A. Keep him back and use Torment and last hit to scare him off.
B. Let him farm and play passive until your jungler has come for a gank.
Hmmm..... well he can't do much to you but you can't do much about him...... If you encounter this guy in a team fight leave him for last, since he is based of Magic Resist due to Runic Skin. You can't really do much to him in lane though, just farm if you see him in lane or if you think you won't get ganked by their jungler, you can try to keep him at bay with Torment.
Swain: I'm 5 steps ahead of you! (literally)
Its all about kiting with garen, while you can't really kill him, you can kite him to his doom by using Decrepify and Nevermove. Just remember that Garen has Decisive Strike to get a speed up spell that will cause him to move faster.
If he is able to land all 3 spells (those being Barrel Roll, Body Slam, and Explosive Cask, then you are pratically dead..... if you are able to dodge 1 or 2 of these the chances are that you are going to kill him. When he uses Explosive Cask, try not to washed twards him, sometimes it is a good set up gank.
WARNING DO NOT FACE!
Alright there is a limit on who you can kill though 2 champs in general that can annihilate swain.
Her Impure Shots makes Ravenous Flock heal you for less so if you don't heal yourself for as much, that means you cannot survive! And if you cannot survive.... Then you are dead! Also, because she has Strut, she can easily move out of Nevermove. If you see her picked on the opposing team in ranked matches, don't you dare pick Swain unless you are a huge troll...
Like Miss Fortune, Tristana also has a bleed effect called Explosive Shot. This can anihlate Swain easily, because like I said about Miss Fortune if you cannot heal yourself, you are dead. Also she can knock you back with Buster Shotso you cannot heal with Ravenous Flock so keep in mind if she has Buster Shot or not.
This little shark guy really does hurt, his Seastone Trident can greatly hurt your Ravenous Flock heal as well as he can dodge Nevermove by using Urchin Strike or Playful/Trickster. If you come accross one, I reccomend you lane swap with top.
Heroes&items%Spells to be cautious around.
Bouncing Blades+ Preparation=bleed, along with Shunpo, she is super close to you as well as she has just made Ravenous Flock useless. If she has just pulled this combo off on you, you are doing something wrong. You have to be aware while fighting her and never get too close, especially when she becomes level 6. When you harass her, just throw down Nevermove first and make sure it hits. Then just cast Torment and Decrepify, then move away.
He shall take your soul if you are not careful. Couple of hints lanning agianst him.
1.If he harass you down to like 70% and he is level 6, only heal with Ravenous Flock when he has pushed the minions near your turret. If you don't, you are going to get nuked to the ground.
2.Try to kill him first before he turns level 6, if you can become level 6 and he is level 5, you are going to kill him.
3.Late game, don't EVER get caught by him. Primordial Burst will kill you unless.... you cast Zhonya's Hourglass right before the projectile hits you! It is hilarious to watch them fuss over that.
Honestly, why did riot need to add another Veigar? Anyway, the difference between LeBlanc and Veigar is that LeBlanc can kill you early-mid game. Veigar always kills you in seconds late game. Just try not to get caught by her, the silence shall kill you.
Swain isn't the strongest early game, try not to get hit by Noxian Corrosive Charge, or else you won't be able to live until you get Ravenous Flock.
Hey guess what? She loves to run into Nevermove got a problem with that? Oh wait right, she has Spell Shield.... Be careful, you don't want to refill her mana bar for no good reason.
DARKNESS!!!.... Oh **** he targeted you. Guess what he will do first? That's right, put up Shroud of Darkness if you ever get ulted by him, open up with Torment or Decrepify first, then cast Nevermove beneath you then run away, you cannot kill a Nocturne.
Her Black Shield will completely block you out. No Nevermove and she can easily charge as you with Dark Binding and Tormented Soil, hard to harass so just stand back and farm unless you get your jungler to gank her.
Just don't do it... his Sadism heals him for way too much, you are a dot champion not a huge nuke, your dots are not able to kill him, also he can easily catch you so when you can, run away from him.
Fiddlesticks: Let's see who dies first!
Swain :You're on!
Announcer: You have been slain!
Surprised? Didn't think you were, as you could probably tell Fiddlestick's Drain is a little too much for Swain, if he gets Crowstorm off on you, you are double screwed...
Okay I know I used to put him as easy, but after some playing around with him, there are 2 things you HAVE to look out for.
1. If he is leveling up Hextech Micro-Rockets, be wary, these things are very deadly and can force you to go back many times.
2. If he is leveling up H-28G Evolution Turret DO NOT get stunned by CH-1 Concussion Grenade while caught between them, it leads to very dangerous results in which he can kite you with easy and kill you from afar with Hextech Micro-Rockets.
The only way I was able to kill this guy is by luring him in near your turret, and place a Nevermove where he is going to go forward to try and launch a Hextech Micro-Rockets at you, from there its an easy kill.
Q. Wait what about Executioner's Calling?
A. This is not really a counter because once they cast it, they will be in range for Nevermove also, since Executioner's Calling is a melee item, guess what happens when they are caught in Nevermove? You guessed it, they cannot move forward to attack you.
Q. Hold on, what if someone like Caitlyn grabs an Executioner's Calling?
A. Simple, it won't do much because once Caitlyin uses it, she will be in range from Nevermove. On top of that, she is squishy so once she casts it, she will be caught AND killed.
Q. Isn't Swain weak because every single caster grabs Ignite?
A. It depends when they use their ignite, most people use it after their burst which is a bad move on their part.... If you are facing someone like Brand just make sure you move out of his abilities, only 1 of them are locked-on target.
This part i need to do more research on, I am sure there are more counters for Swain.
I thank you all for visiting my first guide, I hope to see more Swain players because of this guide, this is close to the final product, I still might make changes. Also, I may have time to look at what you guys have to say about the guide, suggestions, comments, etc.