Swain Build Guide by Rikell
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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.
Hey everyone, Rikell here. This is my first build on Mobafire, even though I've been on this
site for quite some time. I do not in any way claim that I am a professional at this game, as
most other Mobafireers are. I am going to attempt to show you my take on Swain after seeing
him played in the championships. Read the entire guide please, and feel free to post
For runes I take 9 Greater Mark of Magic Penetration for obvious reasons. If you don't know why then it is
because flat penetration is going to give you more penetration early and late game than
percent penetration will if you have none in the first place. More Magic Penetration means
more damage, more damage means more kills, more kills means happy Swain.
I do not see any other Marks viable to replace these ones.
For my seals I take 9 Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration because Swain can become VERY mana thirsty. I mean
VERY. Anyone who has played him knows this... I mean damn... Even Riot knew it when they
made him... "So guys... passive? Something bird like?"... "Nah he needs more mana." But I
digress; He is very mana thirsty late game so I decide to give him a little bit of passive
mana regeneration because of this.
If you do not have mana issues I recommend taking 9 Greater Seal of Scaling Ability Power (AP per
level) because late game the AP from them ends up being quite useful. I never end up taking
these because the regeneration allows me more harass early.
For my glyphs I take 9 Greater Glyph of Ability Power. The Early harass on Swain is very strong
(However farming is the number one priority-See Laning for harass and farming). Having a lot
of starting AP will allow you to harass and last hit safely while you keep your opponent at
If you are having a hard time last hitting or harassing due to the other mage in lane
harassing you back you might need to invest in 9 Greater Glyph of Magic Resist which will
allow you to withstand more of that early harass and get the very important last hits in. I
do not take them because with Swain it isn't hard to push your enemy off of the minions.
For my quintessences I take 9 Greater Quintessence of Ability Power. While the glyphs are
something you can change I strongly recommend NOT changing these. The 15 AP you get from the
start is very strong seeing as though you will not be taking any items with AP on them from
The Masteries I take with Swain are 9-0-21, leaning heavily into the Utility Tree for the
regeneration, experience and cooldown reduction. All of these things help you win your lane if
you use them to their fullest potential. It is a pretty standard mastery build so I will not
go into detail.
If you want more detail about why i choose them post a comment and I will edit this build.
Items... This is why you all come here. And most of you are probably like... "OMFG NOOB L2P
UNINSTALL" because I choose to start the game with 13 health potions. It works. That is all
I am going to respond to that with. If you are already planning on commenting negatively on
that fact without trying it then please hit your backspace key now and click on a different
I begin the game with 13 Health Potion because it allows so much sustain for Swain. His
passive allows you to regain the mana you use from harassing and last hitting with your
Nevermove. By the time you use up all 13 Health Potion you should have enough gold
in your pocket to go back and buy Catalyst the Protector, Boots of Speed, and
Hextech Revolver in one shot, which means your mid game is about to get a heck of a lot
scarier for the enemy team.
I get Catalyst the Protector for the lane sustain, giving yourself mana, health, and a
passive that heals both on level allows you to stay in lane longer which means less time away
from your farm.
Hextech Revolver is something I do not see many Swains taking because they already have
health regeneration from their ultimate which can be spammed whenever they feel like they
need to stay alive. In my opinion why not make it that much scarier with more AP and the
Spell Vampirism will heal you EVEN MORE when you ult in there and they instantly focus you
I put level 2 boots at the end of the build but I do get them on my second time back to
shop. The reason I have 2 is because your choice of boots depend on what your enemy team is
building and how your lane is going. If you are doing well, but your enemies aren't ganking
and focusing you then get Sorcerer's Boots because they WILL make them regret not
focusing you down. The Mercury Treads are there in case the enemies realize you are a
major threat and focus you in team fights or their jungler thinks he is going to be clever
and gank the middle lane every twenty seconds(See Laning for my way to avoid ganks).
The first big ticket item I finish off is Rod of Ages to get started early on my
tankiness with a bigger health pool. Everyone who has every used Rod of Ages knows that
if you don't get it early don't get it late. The bonus to your health, mana, and AP will
help, I promise you. You will be jumping in the middle of the fight with your Ravenous Flock
on, Combined with Spell Vampirism your tankiness with keep you alive and make the enemies
not so much alive.
After the rod I start towards my Rylai's Crystal Scepter. It is important to pick up the
Giant's Belt before Blasting Wand, and that before Amplifying Tome. Again, this
is because at this point of the game you will need more tankiness. Rylai's gives you much
needed health, AP, and an overpowered passive that makes your enemies not be able to run away
from you when you hit your Q key( Decrepify, LAZAR BIRD)
When Rylai's Crystal Scepter is completed you move onto finishing up your [[Will of the
Ancients]]. Not much to say here except more AP, more Spell Vampirism, and you also give
some to your teammates.
After that you will notice the enemies building against you or focusing you down. This is
when I grab Zhonya's Hourglass because the armor will make your enemy carries very upset a
at you(more than they already are). As soon as a team fight begins you just pop your ult,
walk into the middle, and use Zhonya's active ability to go invulnerable. You will deal
MASSIVE damage and live to hit Shift+4 multiple times.
The last few items I get are COMPLETELY dependent on what the enemies are building. I choose
Force of Nature if the enemy mage decided to give up his lane early and get super fed off
of ganking your other lanes, which in most cases in Single Queue what they will do. That
Brand will not let you get out of a Team Fight alive unless you tell him to shut up with some
Magic Resistance. If I am still doing just fine I will pick up a Guardian's Angel last
for obvious reasons. More tankiness, and a passive that BRINGS YOU BACK FROM THE DEAD FOR
MORE RAVEN THROWING.
Other options for end game items are Rabadon's Deathcap, or Abyssal Scepter. I do
not normally go Deathcap because it gives up some tankiness. While I play Swain I am a
gungho monster late game that ruins team fights. With the Deathcap I can't necessarily go in
there and just kill everything and walk away laughing. Some players might make it work
though. If I decide I do not need a TON of magic resist I pick up Abyssal Scepter rather
than Force of Nature because it will both make me tougher to kill to the enemies and make
them a lot less tough for me to kill.
My skill sequence is fairly standard, I think. The strongest spell Swain has is his
Torment, next to Ravenous Flock. So I max this first. Nevermove does a
considerable amount of damage to multiple targets so I max this second. Decrepify is
kind of just meh. I like the slow, but with Rylai's Crystal Scepter I do not NEED to use it,
though it helps.
That being said remember that your Torment will make all of your other spells stronger so
always ALWAYS open up with it on one of the carries.
I always set up my Summoner Spells in a 3 tier system. Tier 1 being Spells I would never use
with a given champion, Tier 2 being Spells which can be changed out, and Tier 3 being Spells
that are completely necessary.
Tier 3 Summoner Spells
Ignite- Ignite synergize with Swain a lot. Swain's Torment increases his spell's
power by 20%. Now look at Ignite. It increases that too. Everyone loves True Damage.
Increase the damage on this True Damage DoT and add it to your other three DoTs
( Decrepify, Torment, Ravenous Flock) and you will be dealing TONS of damage.
Tier 2 Summoner Spells
Flash- Post nerf Flash is still viable, It allows escapes over walls and early kills
by jumping on your lane opponent. This is no longer a Tier 3 spell because of how much the
Range got nerfed.
Teleport- This you should only pick up if your team does not have one already or if the
enemy team has a champ that can backdoor like there is no tomorrow(Master Yi, Sivir). When
picking Teleport tell your teammates that you can Teleport to team fights if they put
a ward down in the middle of the fight or before they initiate.
Ghost- I do not take it because Rylai's Crystal Scepter and Decrepify normally
make it so enemies do not get away from me, but it is good for escapes and to catch up to the
Cleanse- You will get focused. Grab this if you see your enemy team full of crowd control.
Heal- Not bad by any means, now that it got buffed. It does not hurt Swain's life gain
from Ravenous Flock anymore so it is okay to take this if you feel you need it.
Clarity- I personally would never use this because Swain can just last hit minions to
regain mana, but if you are a good team player you will allow your teammates the ability to
spam their abilities that much more.
Promote- Swain does not have an issue pushing a lane. If you want to surprise your
opponents pick up promote and push lanes aggresively.
Tier 1 Summoner Spells
Exhaust- A great Summoner Spell, just not for Swain. Your AD Carry should have it, not
Revive- Unless you are Zombie Swain(in which case, leave this build) revive is a
completely useless spell.
Smite- Jungler, nuff said.
Surge- Use this on backdoor champions or hybrids, not Swain.
Clairvoyance- Support, nuff said.
Farming is the name of the game. FARM FARM FARM.
During the laning phase you will need to focus on last hitting. Swain's auto attack response
time is relatively low so practice it if you are not skilled at it. Use your Torment and
Decrepify to harass, not to kill minions. Use your Nevermove to clear a minion wave
too close to your turret, or to stop the enemy jungler from his annoying gank.
Some players will tell you to keep the minions in the middle of the lane to allow you last
hits. With the new jungle, I prefer to push the minions ahead all the way to the turret and
go into enemy jungle and kill wraith camp, then push the wave to the turret again. Then I go
and take my wraith camp. I do this whenever Wraith's are up.
Make sure your jungler gives you blue buff. Unless it is a jungler who does not need blue
buff, you should let them have the first one, but then make sure you get it for yourself the
rest of the time. If the jungler refuses to let you have it... Take it. They might rage at
you for taking their sexy blue floating tablets around your body, but they will learn to
forgive you when your Ravenous Flock the entire enemy team down because you can sustain
The Health Potion you start with should last you a long time in lane while you last hit
to get your mana back. If you harass hard enough you will probably send your lane opponent
back twice, get ganked twice, and take blue once, maybe a dragon, all before you have to back
for your first time.
In conclusion I just want you guys to know I am greatful for you taking the time to read through this guide.
This guide will continue to get edited when I learn more of the features I can use to make this more presentable.
Please leave a comment on the build and guide.
If you have messages for me not pertaining to the guide itself, please just send me a private message and I will get back to you.
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