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Swain Build Guide by princessmisery

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Not Updated For Current Season

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League of Legends Build Guide Author princessmisery

Swain: Mighty Morphin' Raven Time

princessmisery Last updated on February 9, 2012
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Team 1

Ability Sequence

4
8
10
12
13
Ability Key Q
2
14
15
17
18
Ability Key W
1
3
5
7
9
Ability Key E
6
11
16
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.



Masteries

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sunder
4/
Archmage
 
 
 
 
 
 
1/
Executioner
 
 

Offense: 21

 
 
 
 
 
Durability
Vigor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Honor Guard
Mercenary
 
 
 
 
 
 
Juggernaut
 
 

Defense: 0

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Strength of Spirit
Intelligence
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mastermind
 

Utility: 9


Guide Top

Introduction





Hello, and thank you for taking a look at my Swain Guide. Swain is my favorite champion. I love his ability to stay alive through rough team fights (and even ganks). I've always found it extremely easy to make kills with Swain. Maybe his abilities and play style just come naturally to me? I don't really know if other people have a hard time using Swain. To me, he is the Tactician of my heart and soul, because he is so very smexy. Besides, who doesn't like morphing into a giant raven, leeching lots of life, and laying waste to their enemies?


Why should I give Swain a Chance?


Great Crowd Control
Kiting with your ultimate = living (most the time)
Late Game tankability
Strong early game
He turns into a giant crow and eats everyone.
He has a pimp cane and walks with a gangsta swagger.
Add Anivia, Fiddle, and yourself. Flash over the wall and CAWCAWCAWCAWlulululululCAWCAWCAW!

Minor things that kinda suck about Swain.


Pretty slow movement.
Ignite dampens Ravenous Flock, and you often die if it's thrown on when you're low hp.
Not a great farmer until you can use your ult more often.


Guide Top

The Raven Toolkit of Doom


Not only should you be last-hitting minions for gold, but this will also help you keep your mana up.



This skill is great when someone is chasing you, and it's too hard to try to target them with Nevermove. Just slap this on your enemy and leave. Or better yet, use this to slow them so setting up a good Nevermove is easy! :)


A real life saver for sure! This also helps secure a kill.


This is your harassment skill. Level this before Nevermove and Decrepify and hit your enemy lane champ with this every so often. This skill is what will whittle their health down lower, so you can combo kill them. See my play style section for that.


One of my favorite ultimates in the game. Your bread and butter skill. Get that mana regen flowing, get blue buff, and use this baby A LOT! See the play style section for uses.


Guide Top

Runes



These are the runes that I prefer. I chose mana regen seals and ability power per level glyphs. My reasoning behind the seals is to get as much mana regen as I can during the game. We want to be able to use Swain's ultimate Ravenous Flock as much as possible during fights. Magic penetration to get more damage out of your spells, and ability power quints/glyphs for killing power.


Guide Top

Masteries

21/0/9

I'd call this the more "aggressive" AP caster mastery tree. I chose this for more damage, while still getting the move speed, mana/lvl, and buff duration in the utility tree.

I've seen some people take the 9/0/21 route. But I disagree with this. He doesn't need the cooldown reduction, he already gains spell vamp from his ult, you need MORE damage and MORE Ability Power. This mastery selection does that for you. You may wish to switch out the move speed in the utility for the mana regen instead. Both are great choices. Swain is pretty slow so I chose the additional move speed in the utility tree. With the recommended mana regen runes and taking advantage of my last-hitting with my passive, I really don't have to have points in Meditation. I think it' really preference.

These new masteries give you so many options, I really love them a lot. I feel that this selection I've made really helps his damage output, and that is what you need.

I have checked the other Swain builds as of today (11/17/11), and NONE of them have my current idea for this mastery set up. Give it a try and let me know what you think. :)

The other possibility is the 9/0/21 that I have suggested for my Support Swain Build #4. I feel this set up can also be used for any of my builds. The utility tree is really nice and adds some great perks like gold/sec, experience, move speed, etc. I really feel it's all to your preferences and how YOU like to play. The new mastery tree is just that, NEW. So I'm still working on ideas. But for Support Swain I recommend the 9/0/21. (click the 4th build to see it). :)


Guide Top

Viable Swain Summoner Spells


Exhaust
I think this spell is also viable on Swain. If you are about getting away from ganks/heavy hitters and staying alive, you might want to consider pairing this with ghost. If someone is chasing you and you know you can't 1v1 them, exhaust and leave them. If you need that extra oomph to 1v1 this certainly dampens them for a short duration. Some may argue that you don't really need exhaust though, because of your skill . I tend to agree with the latter, you have your slow that allows you to get away or catch someone, so you may want to skip this spell.


Ignite
I feel like this spell is necessary on AP carry Swain. This spell is great for finishing off fleeing foes. But more importantly it dampens healing and regeneration while it's in effect. This spell also helps with the heals on enemy Swains, Mundo's, etc with health regen/healing. But mostly, it's for laning and getting that first blood in mid with your combo. That DoT skill with ignite at the end will certainly finish off a fleeing foe. :)


Clairvoyance
This spell goes with my Support Swain build. Even though it has caught a nerf on duration with a higher cooldown after use, it is still a needed skill for competitive play. We need to know where the jungler is located to help prevent ganks. This is also great for checking dragon and baron. Plus if you're going into an area with no vision, it might be a good idea to CV and go put a ward there when the coast is clear. Again though, I recommend this for Support Swain.
_____


Flash
Right now I am not too sure how I feel about flash. They've recently reduced it's range and upped the cooldown on it. I still feel it helps with offensive attacks, and it still helps with getting away. A lot of people are throwing flash aside for ghost. I, personally still think it's a decent spell, it just takes more finesse to pull off escapes/offensive attacks with it. See if you like it. If not I recommend ghost.


Ghost
A lot of people are ditching flash and going with ghost now that flash has been nerfed in the last patch. This is another skill that can certainly be used on Swain for escapes and catching that fleeing-almost-dead-enemy.


Teleport
This skill can be great. Teleporting onto wards to quickly get to your team during fights can really change the tide in a battle. Tele really gives you more mobility and even make a quick gank happen. One of it's best uses is getting you quickly back to lane after going back to buy. Sometimes your opponents are HEAVY pushers and very aggressive in lane. So staying gone too long can make you lose your tower. In some instances, I think this spell can be a good choice as well. It's always nice to at least have one person with teleport on the team in case of back doors or tower saves.


Guide Top

Build Explanations & Purchase Sequence Suggestions

Build 1


I would recommend this build for people that are new to Swain, and will allow for some error when playing. It has great survivability.


Recommended build 1 sequence:
Item Sequence











Tear of the Goddess
750

Hextech Revolver
1050

Boots of Speed
300

Kindlegem
800

Sorcerer's Shoes
1100

Will of the Ancients
2300

Blasting Wand
850

Giant's Belt
1000

Rylai's Crystal Scepter
3200

Needlessly Large Rod
1250

Blasting Wand
850

Rabadon's Deathcap
3800

Archangel's Staff
3100

Build 2


This build integrates even more AP, but still adds survivability with the armor of Zhonya's, the magic resist of Abyssal, and HP of the Rod of Ages. (Tip: Remember if the enemy team has more magic damage, get Abyssal first. If they have more physical damage, get Zhonya's first.)


Recommended build 2 sequence:
Item Sequence











Health Potion
50

Health Potion
50

Catalyst of Aeons
1100

Boots of Speed
300

Blasting Wand
850

Rod of Ages
2700

Sorcerer's Shoes
1100

Needlessly Large Rod
1250

Rabadon's Deathcap
3800

Negatron Cloak
720

Abyssal Scepter
2750

Chain Vest
800

Zhonya's Hourglass
2900

Blasting Wand
850

Void Staff
2650

Build 3


This is the tanky "DISRUPTOR!" Swain. Basically you just get in the middle of team fights and ult and disrupt everything you can. The slow on Rylai's will cc everyone. Try to nevermove and decrepify their main carries to protect your carries. Just get in there and disrupt and cause a commotion!


Recommended build 3 sequence:
Item Sequence











Health Potion
50

Health Potion
50

Catalyst of Aeons
1100

Boots of Speed
300

Blasting Wand
850

Rod of Ages
2700

Mercury's Treads
1100

Hextech Revolver
1050

Kindlegem
800

Spirit Visage
2800

Will of the Ancients
2300

Blasting Wand
850

Giant's Belt
1000

Rylai's Crystal Scepter
3200

Glacial Shroud
1000

Frozen Heart
2700

Build 4


Still want to play Swain, but you have another AP carry in your team? Dual AP teams can be great. But instead of going balls-out super carry Swain, you may want to try out Support Swain! Complete with team aura items. *sparkle sparkle*


Recommended build 4 sequence:
Item Sequence











Health Potion
50

Health Potion
50

Catalyst of Aeons
1100

Boots of Speed
300

Blasting Wand
850

Rod of Ages
2700

Mercury's Treads
1100

Hextech Revolver
1050

Ruby Crystal
400

Aegis of the Legion
1100

Will of the Ancients
2300

Negatron Cloak
720

Giant's Belt
1000

Abyssal Scepter
2750

Blasting Wand
850

Rylai's Crystal Scepter
3200

Build 4 Alternate Final Items:

For one more Aura, and if you really need armor.


Or this, if you really need the spell block and magic resist.


Build 5


USE WITH CAUTION! If you know your way around the game, and feel that you're not going to go on a Tony Hawk's Pro Feeder Madness-Fest, then you could play Glass Cannon Swain! This is a very passive aggressive build. You'll really have to know when to initiate a fight, and when to keep your *** back. But if you wanna just melt everyone's godamn face off, then this is your build. Just please, handle with care. And please be sure to /laugh at them after they lie broken and eaten by crows. :)


Recommended build 5 sequence:
Item Sequence











Health Potion
50

Mejai's Soulstealer
1400

Boots of Speed
300

Tear of the Goddess
750

Giant's Belt
1000

Sorcerer's Shoes
1100

Blasting Wand
850

Rylai's Crystal Scepter
3200

Needlessly Large Rod
1250

Blasting Wand
850

Rabadon's Deathcap
3800

Archangel's Staff
3100

Blasting Wand
850

Void Staff
2650


Guide Top

How to Play Swain


Early Game:



First of all, you need to know how to last-hit minions. I would suggest a nice guide I found HERE.

So why do you need to know how to last-hit minions? Swain's passive, Carrion Renewal, returns mana to you each time you last-hit. Not to mention you need this precious gold to farm up gear. Farming is very important to being successful in this game. I use custom games and bot games to practice my last-hitting. It is essential for a great LoL player.

Swain needs to be mid lane, unless you're trying out Support Swain, in which you'd be bottom with a carry. Early game you want to keep up your last-hitting. But you can't let the enemy in your lane free farm. Free farming means he's just farming there with no resistance, gaining lots of gold the easy way with no threat. Throw your skill onto them every once in a while to start to whittle down their health.

A good early game combo after level three:

» »

Now this combo doesn't take advantage of Torment's additional damage proc. But it's such a great combo, that I often use it. Basically I just stand there farming minions, seeming like I'm too timid to move forward. Wait until they get close enough, hit them with Decrepify (lazer bird), that skill will slow their movement. So now they're slowed, which makes it easier to plant them in place with Nevermove. Then slap 'em with Torment. :)

====================================================================


Ok so are you level 6? Let's make a kill now! Have you been kinda working off some of their HP with Torment? Good now their health is down. This is what you need to use.

» » » »

Now let me talk you through this. Hit them with Torment, immediately hit them with Decrepify, then lock them in place with Nevermove. After this activate your ultimate, Ravenous Flock and stay up by them, follow them. Slap ignite on them, follow til' death, yay you got a kill! :)

Mid Game:



So hopefully you've been farming minions really well and got yourself a kill of mid. Now is a time you should try to catch your mid opponent off guard. Push up the minions where they're up into the enemy's tower. Then act like you're just walking back to your tower. But once out of site hurry like crazy to a side lane that has enemies pushed up. Ping that you're coming down there. Let them know who you're going to target. Then ping again when you're going to burst out and charge them. Use your laser bird to try and slow them and set up that lock-in with nevermove. Should be a pretty easy kill. Now get back to your turret and farm again. Do NOT neglect the safety of your turret and your farm.

Late Game:



Late game should be a lot of fun for you. Try to ask nicely if you can please have the blue buffs when possible. Swain with blue buff is SO GREAT! I know some people are jerks and steal blue from you. I also know that sometimes the enemy can take them. If you fore-see this trouble, then I'd recommend investing in an Archangel's Staff.

Once you have quite a bit of your build and a good amount of HP, team fights should be a lot more fun! Remember, some of your crowd control skills (nevermove, decrepify) can make for great initiators on stragglers and people that move out of a safe boundary. BUT! Please do not be the team initiator. The only time I'd suggest that is if you're playing the Disruptor Swain build I have here.

A really fun thing to do, if you're doing well, is get into team fights and activate your ultimate. But here is something important you should look into. Press "TAB" and be sure to keep an eye on which champs on the enemy sides are THE MOST FED. Who are the most dangerous to our team? YOU need to lock them down. Try to nevermove more than one person in team fights when they ball up. But more importantly, when a carry is coming for someone squishy on your team, laser bird his ***! If he really is a giant threat, laser bird him AND lock him up with nevermove. You either need to be disrupting carries as Swain, OR focusing down their squishies. For instance, if there's a Caitlyn just standing there shooting the **** out of your team, torment/laserbird/nevermove her ***. Chances are she's going to start backing up instinctively and that takes the pressure off your team.

In conclusion, it's important to really watch a team fight and prioritize who you engage. You are a great disruptor with those two crowd control skills. And if you bought Rylai's Crystal Scepter, you are even more of a disruptor. Know why? Your ultimate is shooting ravens all over the place hitting the enemies. And guess what? It's slowing them with the proc's off Rylai's! So basically you're slowing everyone, slowing their main carry even more with decrepify, and locking several in place with nevermove if they ball up.

====================================================================

Remember how I said to try to get blue buff as much as possible? Well a Swain without mana is a dead Swain if they're pursuing you. But take a look at just how unstoppable you can be in this youtube video. Also, can you spot the major mistake he made?


Guide Top

Questions Addressed



I found a particularly good question amongst the comments so I thought I'd include this in my guide to give a little insight into my Swain thoughts and item builds.

stars writes:

Hi im a new swain and im loving him not lvl 30 yet but out all of the champs I have tried he is my fav atm. and I have a few questions about him.So how big is the healing increse from spirit visage in a scale from 1 to a 100?How do you use the ult to heal yourself in lane do you hold it until your happy with your health or keep turning it off and on on cd? and this is my noob question can the ult heal me if I buy zhonya's hourglass and activate it? cause its my second option if you tell me the extra healing from spirit visage is bad or I feel I need the armor,ap and activate. and how imporant do you think arcangels is on him could I replace it for soemthing else like I would still build the tear but then later sell if for maybe more ap?


My reply:

I just leave the ult on to heal myself as much as needed. Swain is extremely mana hungry. If you can get your team to let you have blue all the time, then you don't really need archangels staff. I just really enjoy it because I love to use my ult a lot. You get so unstoppable and tanky if you have my first build WITH blue buff mid-to-late game, because you can leave your ult on forever. The only thing that really screws you is ignite. Zhonyas will indeed work if your ult is already up before hitting the active on it.

It's my personal preference to AT LEAST build tear on him. If not, you will either have to conserve and always last hit for mana, or just go back when out. But I find that many times I am in need mana if I don't get something with mana regen. You are so much more destructive if you can just keep casting everything AND have your ult up. It's so great to laser bird their carries and nevermove grouped up enemies during team fights. He truly is such a great team-fight-disruptor.

As far as the spirit visage. I like it for it's mag resist, hp, and the additional vamp. Now that being said. I've seen a very compelling argument that can lead to not even getting this item. Say SV gives you such and such extra healing/regen/vamp, ok? Well, on the contrary, if you just get a lot of ap, that too, will increase the amount of healing done. So in a way, you can just build as much AP as you can, to be a true (very strong) AP carry, and have a much bigger health return on your ultimate. My reasoning behind SV on some of my builds is the bang you get for the buck. This item can easily be sold off later after you farm for something better. But I like to be very durable and able to be super aggressive. There are quite a few ways to build Swain. I honestly feel that my builds are all very viable in certain situations. I think it's merely set upon how you like to play Swain. I strongly suggest you try several things out and get the feel for him. I just have a natural affinty for this champ. Sometimes I don't even get SV on him. It's usually the enemy team comp, how much farm I have, and how our team is doing, that makes my build choices.

I very much appreciate your comments, and thank you so much for looking at my guide. I hope I explained this well enough. I certainly do not think I'm the best Swain. And I hate math so terribly, so I have not actually done the math on SV versus more AP for greater health on hit. I apologize for that. Please let me know if you find something you think works great on Swain that I haven't thought of! :)


Guide Top

Special Thanks

Thanks goes to:



YOU! For looking at my guide right now! O__O Thanks! :D

EVERYONE THAT HAS VOTED/COMMENTED. Thank you so so so much guys, it means a lot! :)

Thanks to Searz for some coding ideas for my guide. He has an actual full template you can find here.

Galeforce556 and Staub for commenting and helping me realize I had my combo wrong in the playstyle section. xD

Plagueflow for commenting and helping me realize my skill table was wrong. >.<