Swain Build Guide by searzocom
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.
*skip this part unless u enjoy history lessons*Ok my name is SearZocom (aka. feeder li aka. XxXxBRxXxX aka. MORDE ES NO.1) this is my first guide on mobafire but dont worry i'm a professional. I am a lvl 30 unranked player in the NA servers with over 700 games under my belt. a good 150-ish of them are with swain. I usually write my guides over on leaguecraft but never wrote one for swain, simply because there are too many good guides that i agree with already. however there is yet to be a great swain guide on mobafire.
V1.00 : the guide was added
V1.01 : added deathfires grasp to the build as a situational endgame item, added a "notable enemies section(unfinished), added general comments to better explain swains role"
PHILOSTONES gotta throw these fotm mo****ers in here
OK here we go, at a glance, swain seems to be a generic DOT-based caster (not unlike malzahar). but his skills have a greater synergy with his playing style than i daresay almost any nuker in the game. because of the fact that he is DoT based he can dish out unfair amounts of damage WITHOUT the enemy even noticing in most cases. he is a very weak charachter for anybody who is using him for the first time (hell i almost refunded the characther when i bought him). But later on i realised exactly how devastaating his skills are. I have never considered a charachter op before in my entire LoLing life (i never even thought locket udyr was op), but swain i gotta admit, is borderline broken (more on this later).
alright... the runes just use your standard caster runes (spellpen,mana/5) but swap out something for some survivability. the runesetup i use is as follows
if ur not very good at last hitting you might wanna get some mana/5 runes your passive wont help if you cant get any minion kills.
there are multiple trees that are available for swain
if you are finding it hard to get kills (the final offensive mastery stacks quite nicely with your e for a free 24% damage amplification)
standard caster build (as much as all my friends love this setup... i just dont take this if you are comfortable, but i feel that the final utility mastery is quite useless for that tier)
I find that i end up taking this more often than its brother (see above) simply because it allows for both the 15% spellpen AND the upgraded ignite which is kinda broken on swain. as well as getting the 9% cdr at lvl 1
9/21/0 or 0/21/9
not much i can say about this. it allows for swain to start off with over 700 hp without a dorans item, giving him obscene stats for a caster early game but this doesnt work so well late game as the other ones, take this if you know that you are gonna be in a really hard to handle duo lane (guess this would only apply to ranked XP)
OK there are literally thousands of possible item combanations but only like 4-5 of them would work on swain
ive narrowed it down to two simple paths you can take
OFFENSIVE(when you wanna lay down harrass like noones buisiness)
/ same idea as the dorans ring, gives more mana so you can lay down some more pain
+ / lets you move in quickly and out quickly while the pots give you some good staying power until you get some real survivability
Defensive(when you know ur f*cked untill lategame)
this gives 180 hp at the begging of the game, this makes your health bar quite intimidating, it will not only give you health, but it will also make the enemy feel like their harrass isnt doing anything and sometimes this will make the enemy less prone to attack you
gives 15/hp5 this essentially recovers 3 hp per sec its quite fun to use as the passive regen is barely noticeable but at the same time the enemys will be scratching their heads as they wonder why you can shrug off their harrass with ease
If you got regrowth pendant on your first trip back buy yourself a philosopher's stone this will give you 22.5hp/5 AND a hefty mana regen. this allows you to be really control how the lane is being played. this will give you hp regen enough to make their pathetic attempts to harrass you completely worth less and with the mana reg + ur passive you should never have to run out of mana. and you can be as agressive as you want with your skills. i'll admit i jumped on the philostone bandwagon and i have to say this was a severly overlooked item. with the hp/mana reg after lvl 6 the only thing you have to fear are ganks... and because ur swain u can get out of quite a bit of them easy.
NOW you will want to build your core as soon as possible, your core item build is basically this; and the immensely powerful . due to the recent buff it is a good idea to get this item ASAP so the catalyst buff is now a part of the ROA as well. So thats your core build
(if you got this within 20 mins, give yourself a pat on the back because that means you are ready to do some stomping if you got this b4 15 mins... ur fed and u should probably throw in and just rofflestomp these noobs) only costing you around ~3500 gold, unlike other guides here my core build isnt exactly having 6 items my core build is just these two everything else is built around how the game goes
ill give you a few suggestions as well as my personal favorites for what to build lategame,
at this point swain is capable of a few very diverse roles on a team heres the 2 paths i usually end up taking
hardcore carry role
(broken as hell, more on this later)
(makes you near godlike with your ulti, spell vamp synergises very well with ur ult.)
(when used with ur ulti active it will give you 2 seconds of free healing from ur ult)
(when used with your e you basically got morde's ulti in terms of damage. very strong item choice but i feel that lich bane is just generally a better choice because of it's versitility.)
(aoe slow with your ulti makes the game a bit too easy)
(ok this is much stronger in this build than the offensive one. the added cdr will help quite a bit with the role of offtank because you can spam more nevermores as well as giving you a better incentive for being there at the begginign of the fight as it scales off current hp.)
any combonation of these items will work just fine on swain, although some combonations will be better than others, the top three items of the hardcore carry build is what i get in about 70% of my games, and it allows me to deal some severe damage with just torment+autoattack.
General Laneing/Unique skills
*if u dont want to know how i play and just want to hear exactly how to exploit swain to the point of getting the nerfbat then just skip down to the quicktips*
your early game harrass requires you to be a teacher, teach the opponent a very important lesson: FEAR THE NEVERMORE, if u can make noobs feel a chill down their spine and make pros feel cautious every time they see that purple circle then you can safetly say that "I (insert name here) HAVE COMPLETELY MASTERED SWAIN" basically hit them with nevermore as a opener and then bombshell them with all ur spells, then dont walk away and keep auto attacking them, early-mid game this will blow off anywhere from 60-70% of their hp and they will feel scared, the best part about doing this is that there is a good chance that the enemy will panic and try do right-click back to the tower instead of fighting back so you will often sustain little to no damage.
this is quite straight foward, play it safe during teamfights, dont charge in like ur rammus, and support ur team and destroy the enemy team whenever teamfights break out, swain is powerful, but BE REASONABLE just because you might be strong enought to do a 2v1 doesnt mean u should, your w is one of the games best aoe disables on a quick cooldown and ur q can make enemies slowed down for quite a long time if you can run in a direction that forces them to go towards the bird. this is your IDEAL combo for killing someone e, q, w, (the reasoning behind this is that e amplifies the damage of other skills so it should be used ASAP to get the max benefit) but the problem is that e is quite a short ranged skill for a mage and in the short cast time required to cast it you are rooted to the ground for 0.3 seconds (believe me, i claim to be smart) during that time they may get out of range for your other skills, so mostly you may find that you will have to cast nevermore or decrepify first before comboing into the other two but it works just as well, if ur fast you will lose no damage.
*QUICK TIPS*(warning these arent quick)
-torment is your most damaging skill in laneing, i find that its quite possible (if your opponent is a really good player and can dodge all your nevermores) that you can output a signifigant harrass with your e + autoattacks alone
-torment amplifys all damage from swain this includes summoner spells such as ignite and smite
and all item abilities such as deathfires and gunblade and autoattacks, even procced effects such as madreds bloodrazor and lich bane(borderline broken on swain), and even the red buff gets a boost.
-swain's kit is perfect for taking down melee dpsers as well as the fact that his lockdowns and beefyness allow him to counter the game's meta quite well: the mother fking TANKY DPS
you can burst down tanky dps with large amounts of dots as well as lockign them out of the fight at crucial moments. tanky dps usually charge in head first right after the tanks so save your stuff for them. however if some noob squishy gets too close... yeah you know what to do
-nevermore has a timer of 1.2 seconds so brand players will feel right at home with swain, otherwise get used to it and get good with it, this seperates the pro swains from the noobs playing him on free week rotation, this is arguably the game's best aoe disable available, it is easy to land, has increible range, and is 2 second aoe lockdown on 6 sec cooldown (with some cdr)... ****ing broken as hell
-swain is a caster with these ap scalings
q:0.9 (1.08 with torment)
w:0.8 (0.96 with torment)
e:0.8 (increases the ap scaling of other skills)
r:0.3 (0.36 with torment)
it also gives lichbane a 1.2 ap scaling... thats like veigar's ulti on 2 sec cd right there
(yes i do know that q has an ap scaleing of 0.3 PER SECOND which means over the course of the full 3 seconds it gets 0.9 scaling 0.3*3=0.9)
short-med range Single target, DOT slow, upgrades damage and slow% on level up (more of a defensive spell than an offensive one)
long range, AOE delayed snare, has a 1.2 sec delay, upgrades cooldown and damage on level up(same range and timer as brand's pillar of flame)
short ranged singletarget debuff/DOT, upgrades damage and amplification% on level up.(very deadly max this out first)
3 target damage toggled skill (like katarina's ulti), manacost increases in a manner similar to taric's, inherent 50% heal per bird.
dont leave this on for more than 10 seconds at MAX unless you're running away and dont care about engagement, this skill takes a lot of skill to master, i cant properly describe how to use this skill, no matter how hard i try i cant think of anything to say that would accurately describe how i use this skill. all i can say is this dont shut it down too early and dont use it too early.
Notable enemies (unfinished)
Ok this is a (unfinished) list of enemy champs that you are gonna have to face and you better be prepared to face them. and thats the really the whole point of this list, who you are gonna have trouble dealing with.
Cassiopeia: Her kit can cause some serious pain for you. she will kite you at unfair ranges. and all you can do is just take her harrass up the *** unless you jump on her but then its all or nothing. (tbh u dont want to make these kinds of bets) tell your team to gank her if shes kiting you make her stick around for your team to stomp her. she lacks a good escape
Sivir/nocturne: im sorry but that spell shield is just too damn good, at least with banshees you can pop it ahead of time but these if the player is good im sorry you just wont be able to take these guys on... alone that is (note: sometimes that shield glitches out and it blocks 2 or more spells at once dont throw all ur spells at the same time... i found that out the hard way)
Tristana: OK this little munchkin is one mundo-sized pain in ur bird hole. Her entire kit is designed to kick your ***. a longass range to kit your sorry *** (swain sadly is quite vulnerable to kites). a healing reduction to royally screw over ur ulti. a superknockback which pretty instakill if she shoots you into the enemy team.
might just wanna stay away from her unless she was dumb enough to get caught in a nevermore. (try to use nevermore after she lands with dat jump)
Miss fortune: same deal as trist minus the knockback but has a more reliable slow and hits signifigantly harder. but is much easier to get away from and really easy to turnaround and own her if shes chasing you
Katarina: dat healing reduction if she used killer insticts on bouncing blades... this means she missed out on the upgraded shunpo which she pretty much needs to use her ult without dying in like 1 hit. if she KI+BB'd u then feel free to charge her *** as she will not live longer than you in most cases.
Amumu: 2sec lockdown that is quite easy to land? oh wait nvm its a 4 sec lockdown plus his ult. yeah huston... we might have a problem. the answer is simple dont engage this kid... let ur tank do that and for the most part ignore him. his damage is far from the best on his team.
Alistar: if he wants you to back off... you're backin off regardless if you want to or not. not to mention his headbutt+pulverize combo is basically a ****py version of malphite's ult on 10 sec cd. if he has his ulti up... forget it u arent gonna get him.
I would like to say a few words to you before i end this guide, please remember that swain is a diverse charachter, and everyone plays him a bit differently, if you have some insight that you would like to share, then PLEASE tell me, i will put it into my guide, i know that i am far from the best swain player in the world but i DO know a few things about it, perhaps later on ill add a FAQ section to my guide, if you have any questions at all or suggestions please do not hesitate to comment, i will get back to you as soon as possible.