Swain Build Guide by N I K O L A
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Not Updated For Current Season
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LoL Champion Lore: 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."
Well, after playing Swain for quite some time now, and trying several different builds, I have decided to put my own here for the low lvls. If you are new to Swain i highly recommend you try this one. It is the one which has worked best for me, and I hope it will work for others as well.
Pros / Cons
Swain is not a very squishy mage, but he is still deals great damage.
He can get easy kills as early as level four.
He's great at laning with a partner, soloing middle, and soloing top.
His ultimate is overpowered and has an extremely low cooldown.
ConsUsually targeted in teamfights.
Can't pop his ultimate if stunned.
There are many situations of which I could spend days typing, so I'll just summarize the main things I do as Swain.
As Swain, I personally recommend you to either mid or solo top. These allow you to level quickly, so you can help your teammates in other lanes and carry your team. If you play him correctly, you won't die at either.
At solo, stay as far away from the brush as possible while still being close enough to the minions that you get experience. I like hugging that little wall in between the river and your tower. Staying there means you're far enough from the brush to avoid a gank, close enough to the minion wave to recieve exp, and close enough to your tower to run into it's range before enemy champions can do anything lethal, but use good judgement. Don't try to hit minions from too far outside tower range, because it usually means death.
Mid is where Swain can really shine, though. Against most champions, Swain can get a few kills before mid-game. If your team is good with MIAs and you're careful enough, you shouldn't die.
Early game, whether soloing top, mid, or laning with a partner, you will want to harass your enemy with Torment while staying near full health (easy with your health regen) and last hitting minions. If he is dumb enough to harass you with an auto-attack or an ability that forces them to get moderately close to you (given that the ability won't cripple you too much), counter-harass with Torment. At level four, you should be able to get a kill if your opponent has around half health, usually (unless you're in the solo lane, in which case I would play it safe until level 6 and one of them gets within tower range). When your opponent is at the edge of the range of Nevermove, cast it slightly behind them, run in with your E as soon as you cast it, cast Q, and ignite them. After that, they should die either from the "burst" or the lingering DoT from Torment. If they dodge Nevermove, back off, you won't get them, and if you pursue, they'll be more inclined to base. If you have trouble doing this at level four, wait until you have your ultimate and just tack that on to the end of the combo or right after you E. It adds enough damage to usually guarantee a kill unless they have extra health or magic resist.
As the match turns into more or less constant teamfights, your survivability will depend on how well you can time your ult and if you're good at leading opponents into your snare. As a teamfight begins, I usually snare the enemies charging in, pop my ult, and nuke the nearest squish (provided that I see the opportunity to do so. You don't want to just run in to nuke one and then die, because they will probably survive if they're any good). If you get targeted, run. Although your ult heals you quite nicely, you are not a tank, therefore you can still be burned down pretty quickly in a teamfight. Even while running, you still do nice damage to the enemies with your ult anyway. Your W can also be used as a nice support. If you or a teammate is being chased, try to snare the enemy champion trying to kill him (Your Q can also work to this effect, though it's less effective). The same thing works the other way around: If an enemy is trying to run away, snare them to ensure the kill.
Also, just as a general rule of thumb for your own good, I would recommend turning off your ultimate when you are around 20% mana. This gives you plenty of mana left over for you to use to escape a gank with your W or finish off an opponent with E and/or Q if you need to. If you find yourself lacking mana at times or not being able to stay in raven form long enough, grab the blue buff whenever you see the opportunity. It really helps and is almost vital in long teamfights.
Note: If you think you are about to be stunned, suppressed, etc., don't be afraid to pop your ult. It may be your only chance for survival at the time, and you can't activate it while stunned. Better safe than sorry, and it has a low cooldown anyway.