Swain Build Guide by x0Grimm0x

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.

League of Legends Build Guide Author x0Grimm0x

I make it Swain!

x0Grimm0x Last updated on August 27, 2011
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 9

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

Expanded Mind
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 21

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Update August 27, 2011: Got rid of original build and only have the more advanced build.

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History of Swain

The earliest account of Swain's existence comes from a Noxian infirmary doctor's notes. According to them, Swain limped into the ward without cry or complaint; his right leg was snapped in half, with bone protruding from the skin. A small, scowling bird seemed affixed to his shoulder. The doctor gawked in horror as the young adolescent answered questions about his health and age with a calm, even stare. Even behind the echoing crack as the sand counterweights reset his tibia, Swain's measuring gaze never flickered, nor did his eyes twitch from the pop of his fibula. He refused the doctor's recommendation of magical treatment for the leg's inoperable damage, requesting only a spare crutch before shuffling away. He next surfaced in documents from the Noxian military, although it is evident that they are incomplete. Normally a crippled boy would be turned away in shame from Noxus' proud legion, but the records indicate his first designation was that of a ranking officer.

The men who've served under him (and survived) have remained in his charge with unshakable faith and loyalty. He leapt through the High Command's hierarchy, often ascending when superiors requested demotions to join his unit. A cunning strategist, Swain was decorated after every battle he fought, regularly hobbling in contemplation at the front of the assault. His rise to power seemed unceasing until he was suddenly relegated to inactive status prior to the Ionian Invasion - a bewildering decision which reeked of bureaucratic subversion. If Swain was upset by the events which unfolded, he never belied it. His face was so implacable that it was popularly rumored to be a mask, disguising something utterly inhuman beneath. More controversy surrounded the bird that never left his shoulder, whose name he whispered only to it. When Demacia escalated its presence in the League, Swain was immediately returned to active duty.

''If you haven't yet lost the ability to ask, you may not yet ask for relief.''

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Swain Champion Spotlight

Here is the Champion Spotlight hosted by Phreak. Watch it if you think you want to learn more about Swain after reading my guide or just watch it for your own entertainment. Enjoy ;)

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Playing As: Swain

* If you're having trouble rooting an enemy with Nevermove, try using Decrepify to slow them down first.
* While laning, try to gauge the strength of your opponents to determine the right balance of aggression with Ravenous Flock. If they're stronger, it might be more beneficial to stay back and cast Nevermove or Torment.

Playing Against: Swain

* Swain can easily disable a single attacker. Coordinate with your allies when ganking him.
* High mobility counters all of Swain's basic abilities: moving away from the Raven will break the slow, it is easier to dodge Nevermove, and you're able to escape focus fire while tormented.

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Pros / Cons


    Good harasser
    Can lane for long periods of time with his ultimate
    Torment increases damage of all his spells
    Gains mana whenever he kills an enemy unit
    He can just "morph and eat them!"

    Targeted a lot in team fights
    No real escape mechanism
    If stunned he can't use his ultimate to get out alive

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Hello, here I have put together my ideas on how to build/play Swain. I've been playing him for a while now and this is what I have come up with. Please up vote my guide if you like and if you decide to down vote it please leave your reason or question in a comment.

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Swain's Spells

Carrion Renewal- Whenever Swain kills an enemy unit, he recovers 10 mana (+1 each level).

This is pretty just a shadow of Karthus's Defile passive. A lot of people don't think it's very good because it doesn't give very much mana, but I have really grown to like it. If you already like to last hit minions you don't even notice that you're also activating this passive which is pretty much just a bonus. If you want to use it to its full potential you need to make sure you're last hitting minions and making as much money as possible.

Decrepify- Swain sets his raven to cripple an enemy. Over the next three seconds, the target takes 25 / 40 / 55 / 70 / 85 (+30% of ability power) damage per second over time and is slowed by 20 / 23 / 26 / 29 / 32%.

This is a good move if you want to get some quick harassing done. In combination with your Torment it does decently good damage, and while they are running away they are being slowed so you can just auto-attack for a little bit of extra damage.

Nevermove- Swain marks a target area. After a short delay, mighty talons grab hold of enemy units dealing 80 / 120 / 160 / 200 / 240 (+70% of ability power) magic damage and rooting them for 2 seconds.

This will usually be your first move when you are trying to initiate a fight. By the way, try to only initiate a fight when it's 1v1 or maybe 2v2. If you don't get them with this, don't bother jumping in spamming all of your moves.

Torment- Swain afflicts his target, dealing 75 / 115 / 155 / 195 / 235 (+80% of ability power) damage to them over time and causing them to take 8 / 11 / 14 / 17 / 20% increased damage from Swain's attacks for 4 seconds. Damage increase applies to summoner spells and items used by Swain.

This is Swain's main damage move and should be maxed out first for maximum damage output, because it will also increase the damage of your other moves. Also good for turret diving someone with low health then flashing out quickly.

Ravenous Flock- Toggle: Swain transforms into the form of a raven, during this time up to 3 lesser ravens strike out at nearby enemies dealing 50/75/90 (+20% ap) damage each second. Swain is healed for half the damage dealt by the Ravens.

This move might be the reason you got interested in Swain in the first place. This will be what keeps you alive in a team fight, unless they all decide to focus you which happens often to me when I'm carrying my team. You will want to use this at the beginning of every team fight after using your Nevermove for some crowd-control. And always remember, YOU CAN STILL CAST SPELLS IN THIS FORM. A lot of people seem to forget this and just run around randomly with it on.

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First off you will want Marks of Insight for some magic penetration.
Next, what I like to have are some Seals of Clarity to help with my mana regen. Although you should be getting blue buff whenever you can, this will help you when you don't have it.
Some Glyphs of Force to help you out throughout the game and then some
Quintessences of Potency for some extra Ability Power early game.

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I like to build 9/0/21 instead of 21/0/9 because there's not much to offer in the offense skill tree besides the extra 4% damage in the end so why waste points there? Just put enough for Archaic Knowledge and then put the rest into the Utility skill tree as directed above. You'll want to get Utility Mastery to be able to keep blue buff for longer periods of time.

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Summoner Spells

I like to use Flash for some survivability out of being targeted in a team fight or to catch a champion running away.

I also like to use Ignite as it deals very good damage in coordination with Torment.

Some other spells that I've seen others us is Teleport and Exhaust. These spells can also be good for Swain, but I prefer Flash and Ignite but again it's all about personal preference. You can also use instead of flash, I believe flash and ghost can usually be switched for most champions so it is mostly based on preference.

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In a game you will usually want to go for solo top or mid lane to get the most farm and kills as possible. On your first trip back it will be ideal to pick up your Mejai's Soulstealer as it should be easy to pick up a kill on most champions even if you are top 1v2. Try to last hit most of the time and if you do decide to just push the lane hard then you have to push it with all you got. Usually i like to just last hit to give my team's jungler a chance to gank and give us a free kill. Next time back you will want to try upgrade your boots to Sorcerer's Shoes and if possible buy your Hextech Revolver. The Hextech will give you the early ability power you need. Next buy your Catalyst the Protector and try upgrade to your Will of the Ancients. Now you'll want to get your Rod of Ages as soon as possible then rush your Rabadon's Deathcap. After that just get a Rylai's Crystal Scepter or whatver else you feel like you might need e.g. a Void Staff, a Zhonya's Hourglass, a Banshee's Veil, or even a Guardian Angel if you wanna change things up a bit and have some fun.

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My Swain Playstyle

The skill sequence is one the most important things when playing Swain. Although, I do have a few different skill orders. My first skill order is Q-W-E-R, although I usually wouldn't recommend this order as it doesn't use Torment's damage bonus to its full extent, but it is good if you don't feel confident enough to hit them right off the bat with your Nevermove. If you do however feel confident you might want to do this, W-E-R-Q. Again I want to make this next point clear, all of your skill sequences are SITUATIONAL.