Swain Build Guide by Adreon

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 Adreon

Ravenous Craven

Adreon Last updated on July 3, 2013
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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.



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 0


Utility: 9

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Hi im Adreon IGN - NeoKorean and welcome to my Swain guide. Basically my second guide that I will be actually working on and putting effort into. You might recognize me from my TF Build
Be sure to check that guide out and rate it up. :)


Ok now back to the guide. Swain is another champion in mid that I am coming to like now. I like the fact that he is an underplayed champion yet he is still pretty strong even though he's underplayed. He's one of my favorite champions now in mid and I have come to love him. He is an awesome champion I love his kit and everything.

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Pros / Cons





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I take these runes because they give me good MS, AP, HP, and Magic Penetration. You might think MS isn't needed on Swain, but I have been experimenting with it and I just love having MS quints on Swain it makes him so much faster and it really helps him more then you think. I also took Greater Seal of Scaling Health because the items I build, I don't really put a HP defensive item in there and having Greater Seal of Scaling Health helps with HP A TON It's so good on Swain combined with Durability . Magic penetration and AP is pretty self explanatory so no need to go over them. Mostly though if im against AP carries that can poke really fast like Lux Syndra Ahri etc. The MS helps dodge their skillshots.

I use this when the mid is either AD or I'm either going to be eating a lot of AA's or if their jungler is a very scary AD jungler that can unload a quick amount of burst really quickly via Vi Hecarim Lee Sin Shaco. Mainly because of the armor seals it helps with you surviving. Everything else is pretty straight forward.

I take this page if their mid isn't AD and is based on more of their kit rather then more AA's and if their jungler isn't that scary and doesn't unload a lot of burst AD damage quickly via Skarner Cho'Gath Dr. Mundo Rammus. The extra HP seals help late game if you wanted to have more HP.


- This is also very good to have on Swain if you just want that extra AP early and all to do more damage. I just like having MS cause they help so much early and late. It's your choice though.

- This is okay but I think Carrion Renewal is enough to keep my mana going and plus I get Seraph's Embrace anyway, but still it's okay, but I'd rather have Greater Seal of Scaling Health.

- This can be chosen if you were against an AD mid or something and if there whole team is heavy AD, but in the end I still think Greater Seal of Scaling Health rules all.

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So I get these masteries because I think Swain benefits from it more then anything cause you get your magic penetration via Arcane Knowledge and your scaling AP via Blast . At the same time getting good amounts of tankiness from the defensive tree and some mana regen and CD on Flash in Utility tree.

Overall I think it gives a great diversity and helps you out a ton. You can still choose to go 21/0/9 for more burst and AP but I like adding some diversity to it. Plus this mastery page setup has been working wonders for me I just love it.

Another good mastery page to use giving you more offensive rather then defense. I use this one quite a bit as well.

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As you see there are 2 starts and build options I personally have been using the 1st one because I feel like going Rod of Ages is to boring now and doesn't do as much damage as it used to and Swain doesn't benefit as much as he did in S2.

My goal here would be to give you a very good indepth way to build Swain while giving you a nice bit of diversity too.

Main Start: x2 x1
This is your main start for Swain as of Season 3. I find it the strongest and safest start for him rather than going Doran's Ring or Boots of Speed and x4 Health Potion. You can also choose to ditch 2 extra pots and get
sight ward

I usually go this most of the time. later turning Haunting Guise into Liandry's Torment


If you branched into the Abyssal Scepter rather then going into the Liandry's Torment because the enemy team was really heavy AP or something. CORE 2


If you went the alternative standard build order. Also if you wanted to get an extra fast catalyst the protector you could of started with a Sapphire Crystal and x2 Health Potion rather then getting the Crystalline Flask and pots. CORE 3

After you have one of the 3 core builds.

After getting the core 1 build you should either start branching into your Liandry's Torment or Archangel's Staff (If you are close to maxing your stacks on your tear) only get the archangel if your close to the Seraph's Embrace. Also don't build Liandry's Torment when you have very little AP get like an Abyssal Scepter before it so the passive it does actually does good damage. Now start building some defense like a Zhonya's Hourglass this gives you nice amount of armor as well as a lot of AP, after that you can either choose to go more defensive or branch into something more devastating by building more AP.

Next choices to build - Randuin's Omen Frozen Heart Banshee's Veil Rabadon's Deathcap ETC.

So the reason you probably went this route was probably because you wanted to survive and be more tanky cause your team needed the extra tank power. Going this core build will make you more tankier while still doing a good amount of damage. Obviously finish your Archangel's Staff when you are close to maxing the stacks.

Next choices to build - Zhonya's Hourglass Banshee's Veil Randuin's Omen Liandry's Torment Rylai's Crystal ScepterETC.

This would be the standard build any Swain would build which leaves you with Sorcerer's Shoes and Rod of Ages. This build is popular for a couple of reasons. It gives you good amount of AP and makes you tanky as hell. It's a nice core but I find that going Tear of the Goddess turning it into Seraph's Embrace is better overall and deals more damage. Although this is still a good build route to go for a couple of reasons if you were to far behind or if you could of just 1 bought a catalyst the protector on your first back.

Next choices to build - Rabadon's Deathcap Liandry's Torment Zhonya's Hourglass Banshee's Veil Abyssal ScepterETC.

Final Builds

Would sort of look like what your end game build is suppose to look like. Rabadon's Deathcap can be switched out for maybe a defensive item like Banshee's Veil or Randuin's Omen.


If you went the core 2 build and went more tanky rather then going more AP and carry.


If you went the standard route of building your Rod of Ages your final build would look something like this. Though it can differ between other choices you can build into. Like instead of getting Liandry's Torment get a Rabadon's Deathcap.


If you aimed for more late game.


- I never get this item for Swain many reasons. 1 is that it is a waste of money. 2 is that it won't branch into anything you need into late game like Rod of Ages or Tear of the Goddess. It just defeats the whole purpose of going the main build. Don't get this.

- Basically the new item for Swain it works really well for him now that stacking Tear of the Goddess is now easier. It gives him everything he basically needs (AP,Mana,Mana Regen,and a nice active shield). The only thing it lacks is HP, which my runes and masteries cover and Liandry's Torment covers as well as just getting Banshee's Veil or Randuin's Omen.

- Still a great item to get on Swain though I don't think it's as great anymore. Still though you can go the other standard build route and still succeed.

- A very good item, I love getting this item over Rabadon's Deathcap cause it gives you armor and still decent amount of AP as well as the active. I get this almost in all my games.

- I think this item is debatable it's a great item it gives you a huge chunk of AP, which is nice but then you lack your survivability. I do get this item sometimes though maybe when I'm facerolling my lane and if my team needs more damage.

- Another good item for Swain it gives him MR and AP as well as reducing MR of nearby champions. I also get this item almost everytime I play Swain.

- Probably the best item for Swain that was implemented in S3 it gives Swain everything he needs it procs with his ultimate and it's all around great for him. I don't really need to explain much here you should know it's basically the bread and butter item for him. Although if you went Rod of Ages you don't really need this item as much it would be better to build a Rabadon's Deathcap or something after Rod of Ages then later going more defensive/offensive items.

- Still a great item though I don't get it much now cause I feel like it kind of got nerfed in S3, but if you need that extra armor and all if it synergizes well with your team by all means go ahead. Comparing it to Randuin's Omen is a little hard but if no one else has it on your team you should probably get it because most of your teammates will build a Randuin's Omen and not Frozen Heart.

- Another great item if you needed the extra armor against a heavy AD team. It has a nice active and it's still a great item even with the changes in S3. Get it if the enemy team is heavy AD and if you just need that extra armor and such.

- An item that is debatable I sometimes get it if you just need that big pot of HP. Though there're better choices other then it. Get it maybe when your facerolling and for laughs.

- I usually never get this item cause you already get your magic penetration from Sorcerer's Shoes and Liandry's Torment and you already have enough AP and all. I used to get this, but not anymore and especially with changes in S3. I would rather get more survivability then magic penetration and more AP. Zhonya's Hourglass for example would rather get that then this. Maybe if there team was just completely went full ****** on MR but that won't really happen.

- I don't actually really get this item ever and I don't know why maybe because it just costs so much I really don't know. However it is a very nice item gives you a nice slow as well as a lot of HP. It's not a really bad item I just don't get it that much.

- I don't get this item that much but it can be useful at times for the extra HP regen, HP, and the MR. Just don't get this item when you only have like 50-70AP because then the bonus heal you get isn't noticeable. So get this when you have a fair amount of AP like in mid game


- Decent you get more MS but I'd rather get Furor.

- I get this quite a lot on Swain makes him faster and all around great to have.

- If you want that utility by all means go ahead for an extra CD on Flash

- I get this sometimes as well if you really needed it but I'd rather get another enchantment homeguard is still great though.

- Great enchantment helps out your team and all I highly recommend this one.

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Skill Sequence

Swain has probably one of my favorite kits in all the game I just love it all. I love that fact that he has a snare and his ult procs things and heals him, not to mention is great passive that gives him mana back.

Your skill sequence can vary but here are some.


They all vary between how you can catch your enemy in your Nevermove. Just make sure you always use Torment first or very quickly so you can get that bonus damage.

- A great passive probably one of my favorites. Since I like to have sustain of mana (you probably know since I play a lot of TF). But yea in the end I love This passive gives Swain so much good sustain and I LOVE champions with sustain they do so well.

- This is a pretty good spell too. It has a very nice slow, which is mainly what it is used for. This just goes along with his whole kit. This spell helps you land your Nevermove and Torment. All around great spell doesn't do as much damage though.

- This is a beastly snare, which is what makes people love Swain. This aoe snare is just godlike. If landed correctly it gives you such a huge advantage and allows you to chunk off so much damage in lane phase. Determining how players land this spell separates the bad Swain players from the greatest.

- Swain's bread and butter skill this is what makes him hit like a truck. The bonus damage it gives you is ridiculous it allows you to do so much damage its diabolical. This also is a great poking ability. If your laning phase enemy goes into CS don't be afraid to go at him AA him and poke him with Torment. Overall great spell.

- I love this ultimate this ultimate is pretty rad it makes Swain have so much sustain and do so much damage. The HP you get back from it is great. Make sure your smart when you use this cause it does have a 7-8 second CD when you toggle it off. Once you get your ultimate your lane can change dramatically. Use this to clear waves and help you CS as well. Make sure you be careful when you use it cause keeping it up for long amounts of time can drain your mana incredibly fast.

Overall I love his kit.

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- Greatest spell for Swain because it goes incredibly well with his E Torment. Torment increases the damage of Ignite so yeah pretty OP.

- Another great spell that you need since Swain has no good gap closer or escape mechanism except Nevermove, which is a snare and even that can't be reliable on.


- I never really use ghost theres not reason to you don't need that speed if you have a snare so it's quite useless. Unless you don't have Flash yet.

- Depends solely on your team. It can turn out really well, but only if your team can cooperate correctly with it.

- This spell is pretty useless in lane though sometimes it can be useful to help land your snare but I'd rather have ignite then this. If you are supporting then go ahead and grab it but who really supports Swain.

Not really worth going over the rest.

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Farming as Swain can be difficult due to his very low base AD. Though they changed his AA animation it's a little easier but still hard to CS since his AD is just sooooo low. It does take some practice.

Also Swain kind of sucks at pushing a lane so keep that in mind. People that out push you like Twisted Fate can just have free reign over map, which isn't good.

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Lane Match Ups

Swain actually doesn't really have a LARGE counter compared to other champions because of his kit and sustain.

- Fizz is probably the hardest counter you will face because of his E can dodge your attacks and spells etc. Although the Fizz has to be a good Fizz player if he's not, your gonna rape him badly. Determining whether he's good or not is all in the lane phase. You have to poke him when he goes into CS with your AA and Torment fake out that your trying to E too by just AA him so he can waste his E as well. This will test Fizz as a whole. After poking him you will find yourself winning the lane to cause the only thing he can really do against you is Urchin Strike to you but then when he does that he needs to run away cause you will Torment and Nevermove him. It's a skill matchup depending how good you or and how good the Fizz is. DECENT MATCHUP

- You are actually pretty good against Kha'Zix because you can poke him with Torment and AA him when he tries to CS. The only thing you really have to worry about is ganks from the jungler. Other then that you will out DPS him. When you hit 6 and out sustain him as well. Overall you should win this matchup if you don't get ganked. YOU SHOULD WIN THIS MATCHUP

- You are pretty decent against her I'm not going to say you counter her but you both are considered pretty even. Since she is melee you do need to harass her with Torment and AA's. Though she does have Bouncing Blades which can be annoying. When both of you turn 6 however you can win because when she tries to ult just Nevermove her and you should win. Although most Katarina's are to good and just Shunpo away and never die. Plus you will probably get camped by their jungler as well so buy wards. DECENT MATCHUP

- Karthus is a little boring. It's basically a farm lane since he can CS by using his Lay Waste. His Lay Waste has an absurd amount of range and he can just farm safely by using it. Other then that you can kill him head on it's just that you might not ever get to since he stays back all the time farming and he has Wall of Pain. You have to land your Nevermove otherwise you won't ever get to kill him. Try and harass him with Torment but be careful you have to dodge his Q too. Overall it's a farm lane so ask for ganks if you want to win and watch out for ganks. DECENT MATCHUP

- This has become increasingly popular now that S3 has hit the scene. This matchup must be the dumbest matchup I have ever faced in awhile. I swear it's ANNOYING AS HELL. What will happen is that you can deal tons of damage to him but then he has this skill called Meditate and that heals him for absurd amounts of HP. Then later on, you find out his Alpha Strike nukes you for a **** ton of damage, it just isn't fun. You will never really be able to kill him ever unless you get help from your jungler. If you do try and face him on, you do chunk off his HP but then he will just use Meditate and you will have to run cause it out heals your damage. In the end you will find yourself losing to him in a 1v1 cause he will eventually roam and get kills then come back with a Deathfire Grasp, by then he will just 1 shot you. DECENT/HARD MATCHUP

- You might win this matchup although it depends on player skill. Actually you might have the higher end cause your poke is better. Once you hit lvl 6 and get your ultimate you should be able to kill him because your damage out does his and you also get HP back so he's basically ****ed UNLESS he gets help. If he gets help from enemy jungler and you get ganked once he's going to zone you all day. Overall you should still beat him just AA and Torment him whenever he tries to CS. DECENT MATCHUP

- You might get raped in this lane. Reason why is because her balls are OP. What this ***** does is basically throw down a bunch of balls near you and barrages you with them and kills you. She can harass you from afar and basically chunk off your HP before you even try and attack her. You might need to ask for help from your jungler for this one. Even once you hit lvl 6 since she is a burst champion she might 1 hit KO you before your ultimate can even heal you. Plus her balls are hard to dodge and it can be annoying you have to be moving around all the time and it's just really hard for you. HARD MATCHUP

- So this trickster basically OUT PUSHES YOU which is not good cause you are then forced to farm under tower and Swain SUCKS at farming under tower because of his low AD. You have to try and harass him with your AA and Torment when he goes into CS but be careful cause he can pull a fast card and **** you over and then a jungler might come and gank your ***. Overall you get kinda zoned in this lane cause he totally out pushes you and then he is free to roam and ult which sucks for your team. DECENT/HARD MATCHUP

- This is a pretty even match up, but I think you have the upper hand in this because of the amount of sustain you have. Brand is a bursty champion though which isn't good for you. However you can out sustain him and poke him with E,Q,W ETC. You do have to be careful and not get hit by his Pillar of Flame and definitely by all mean don't get stunned by his Sear because if you do, the lane goes entirely in his favor. He will be able to unload tons of damage on you so don't let it come down to that. However at the same time he has to be careful of your Nevermove because if you get that off you can unload tons of damage on him as well and you will always come out on top of trades because of your Ravenous Flock. Do buy wards as well so you don't get ganked and if you do find yourself a little pushed and not doing so well ask for a gank. I don't think this lane is that hard though even for an average Swain player. DECENT MATCHUP

- Oh good old Soraka. She is a pretty annoying champion to lane against because of her spamming of Starcall and you might think it doesn't do as much damage but when you stay in the range of it, it can tear your HP apart. You basically just need to be careful pre 6. Once you hit 6 you will win the trade and can just all in her and combo her down. you can poke her as well pre 6 and try and out sustain her mana cause she can go oom pretty quick. You also need to be careful of their jungler cause chances are, your going to get ganked a lot just to keep Soraka from feeding you. In the end though you should win just be aware of ganks. YOU SHOULD WIN THIS MATCHUP

- This is a pretty easy match up for you because of your sustain outdoes all his damage. Sure he has some burst, but it's not enough. All you really have to do in this lane is just dodge his bombs and to be completely honest there pretty easy to dodge. Pre 6 just harass him with E,Q and if you get a snare off thats even great cause if Ziggs ever gets hit by your Nevermove punish him for it cause he will regret it. Once you hit 6 it becomes basically a rape lane you will basically win every fight unless you get camped by their jungler. If they have an aggressive jungler like Shaco that can cause a problem. But in the end you will win every trade cause of your sustain and ult. YOU SHOULD WIN THIS MATCHUP

- Lux is a pretty annoying champion to me this lane is mostly a farm lane since she can just farm with her skills from afar, but at the same time she can harass you from afar and it does do some damage to you early in the laning phase. You do have to be careful with dodging her skills as well as ganks from their jungler. In a 1v1 you should win if you land your snare and all she is basically ****ed. She is just very annoying and you might not be able to Nevermove her cause she will just play all passive the whole game. DECENT MATCHUP

- She is pretty easy to beat to be honest. In lane you will win and late game you will win. What happens is since she's melee you are able to harass her so much easier with your combo via Torment Nevermove Decrepify ETC. While you combo her down and harass her with AA the only thing she is able to do is Crescent Strike you, which doesn't even do much damage to Swain in general because soon you will have your ultimate. You pretty much win in every aspect because if she does Q you and ults in she still gets ****ed because you will just go all out combo her down with everything. Your Ravenous Flock will basically just heal all her damage and you will always come out top on every trade. Swain is a very good counter and safe pick against Diana. If you don't get camped by their jungler consistently you should always win this lane. YOU SHOULD WIN THIS MATCHUP

- Nidalee is actually pretty easy for you as a matter of fact I think Swain is a pretty good counter to her because his harass E,Q ETC can just dominate her early. The trick to this is early lvl. That is when she is at her most vulnerable you basically need to be harassing her 1-6 and if you get a snare off and she's at half health or so you should be able to kill her, if you use your full combo correctly including Ignite. After 6 you are pretty dominant in this lane and you should win every trade unless you take to many spear shots, if you suck at dodging her spears and her traps and everything else you deserve to lose this lane and need to practice more on that, but to be honest it shouldn't be that hard to dodge her skills. In late game you should find yourself ahead and the only thing you need to be careful at are the spears cause everyone knows that Nidalee's spears hit for a **** ton, so just be careful of that. Overall you should be able to win this lane every time unless you get ganked, if you get ganked by their jungler it could cause some problems and you could possibly lose this lane so be careful of aggressive junglers like Hecarim and Shaco etc. YOU SHOULD WIN THIS MATCHUP

- Orianna is actually, to me an easier version of Lux. She has the same kit like Lux because she has a shield and similar poke attack except her Command: Attack is easier to dodge because of it being shorter range then Lucent Singularity. Her ult Command: Shockwave though can be a little scary since it can set you up into a horrible position vulnerable for a gank. Overall though she is much easier I would consider to poke her after she's missed her Q and try and Nevermove her if possible. In the end you should always win a 1v1 unless you get really far behind from like a gank mid otherwise she could faceroll you all game. If that does happen just tell your jungler you need a gank and if its successful you should be back in the game easily. DECENT MATCHUP

- This is a very good match up for Swain, I'd even go as far as Swain is a perfect counter towards Kassadin. What happens in this lane is pre 6 you both harass with your spells. Kassadin uses his Null Sphere, but thats it. You can harass him much better and do much more damage so he loses his trades via Torment and Decrepify and if possible Nevermove. You will always win the trades no matter what. Once you both hit 6 you still win just make sure you cast your spells like Torment and your Ravenous Flock before he silences you, which is pretty damn easy if I say so myself. In a 1v1 you stomp on him because your whole combo can totally **** on him. He will be forced to Riftwalk away. You will probably never be able to kill a good Kassadin since he will just avoid you and Riftwalk away. The only thing you must be careful of is ganks from their jungler. via Hecarim, Vi, Amumu ETC. YOU SHOULD WIN THIS MATCHUP

- This is entirely in Swain's favor. Since Rumble is melee you can harass him freely without taking much damage back because the only thing Rumble has is his Electro-Harpoon and even that doesn't hurt you that much and it's easy to dodge. Just harass him with E,Q,W ETC whenever he comes in to CS. You will win every trade even at 6 and beyond. You do however got to be careful for ganks, but even when you get ganked you can still come back in the game if you play it right. Never fight him in closed spaces because The Equalizer will **** you over entirely and your team. So just remember that. YOU SHOULD WIN THIS MATCHUP

More coming soon...

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Match Up History

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Overall I think Swain is a great AP carry and a very safe pick too since he's underplayed he doesn't get countered much and people don't even know how to counter and play against him that much because of his low playability.

This guide is still in progress, it is definitely not done.

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Update Log

1/16/13 - Guide is made and published
1/19/13 - Added Soraka and Brand to lane match ups.
1/20/13 - Added Lux and Ziggs to lane match ups.
1/26/13 - Added another built route and matchups, also added Diana to lane match ups
2/12/13 - Added Nidalee to lane matchups
3/9/13 - Added Orianna to lane matchups, more match results, and more rune pages
3/18/13 - Added Rumble and Kassadin to lane matchups