Swain Build Guide by Gryphonscout
Not Updated For Current Season
Ap Mid Caster
Threats to Swain with this build
|Katarina||Pretty easy, like Ryze, has to get into range farm, except with her Q. When she gets close to farm, just do the basic E and Q and harass.|
This Guide is A Rough Draft
This guide is still in rough draft. I will still updating constantly. Still, feel free to leave some advice for things I could do better. This is my very first guide, so please don't hate on it, but feel free criticize, just please do so nicely. It isn't pretty, I am still learning how to edit and make it fancy. But, despite all that, hopefully it will still have information that you find helpful for playing Swain.
Terms and Abbreviations
In this guide for the sake of time and space, I will be using many abbreviations.
AA: Auto Attack
These are the basic attacks your champion does by clicking on the the enemy
ADC: Attack damage carry
Often the marksman in the bottom lane who focuses on their AA to do damage.
Ulti: Ultimate Spell
This is the spell that is the automatically bonded to your R. It often is the most powerful spell a champion learns and often has the longest cooldown.
CDR: Cooldown Reduction
This is a stat that some items have that reduce the casting time of spells and abilities.
MR: Magic Resist
This is the stat that you get that reduces the damage you take from magic and spells.
AP: Ability Power
This is what mages and most mid laners rely on to do damage to the enemies.
APC: Ability Power Carry
Often the mid laner that relies on spells and AP to do damage to the enemies, and often in bursts.
MP: Magic Penetration
This decides how much magic resist your spells will ignore when you hit someone with a spell.
Pros / Cons
|+ Amazing health sustain
+ Good harass with E and Q
+ Great passive for mana regen
+ Good wave clear late game
+ Great all-in potential
+ Good crowd control
+ Good DOT
|Swain is a very powerful champion who is good at health sustain in a fight. Late game, he can walk into a fight and come out fine due to his Ulti. He has good harass. He can walk up close to someone and E and Q, which gives great damage. His passive gives him good mana if you are at CS, meaning if you do good lane, you will sustain and harass to no end. Once you reach 6, you gain big all in potential with all your spells and ignite. You also have good crowd control with Decrepify and Nevermove.|
|- Major mana problems with Ulti
- Runs out of mana in fights
- Hard to CS with
- No burst damage, all DOT
- No gap closers
- No built in escapes
- Susceptible to early ganks
- His W is hard to land
|Swain is a mage through and through, but sacrifices the bursts you see on LeBlanc and Kassadin for better health sustain and good DOT. Swain also has no way to escape ganks except hopefully hitting a Nevermove, which is a very hard task to do under pressure.|
The main two I always use are
Since Torment increases all damage Swain does to a champion, including Summoner Spells, it also increases Ignites damage In this case, Ignite goes above and beyond, do huge damage to someone you have already Tormented.
Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration
Greater Mark of Armor
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
For Marks, I like marks of armor. Swain can be very squishy early game, so in order to help prevent that, I took some armor marks to add a little armor to make him more tanky.
For Glyphs, I think the Magic Resists is the best. I take them for the same reason that I take the armor marks. Swain can be squishy, so these small glyphs can work wonders.
For Quints, I like pure AP. This will help you all throughout the game. Swain starts with a mere 15 AP, so this doubles his AP and just make him that much stronger.
For the masteries, I think a 21-0-9 will serve you the best.
Although the attack speed might seem weird on a mage, it helps his poor laning phase.
More attacks = More CS. More CS = More Money. More Money = More kills. More Kills = More fun (for you).
This one is obvious for any mage. The cooldown reduction is the only one you might get with your build except for blue buff, so it helps, a lot.
c. Spell Weaving
This one is also obvious for a mage. It may seem like a small boost, but it helps you more damage. and the more damage you do with Swain means the more you get healed.
d. Arcane Mastery
This one just gives you a little more ability power, which is something Swain lacks early game.
This is just something to help you lane slightly better in lane. The increased damage makes more harass, and you can force your opponent out of lane quicker.
This is just for the same reason of Arcane Mastery. The extra AP just helps Swain do better everywhere, from lane to team fights.
g. Dangerous Game
Dangerous game is an amazing mastery. Every time you kill a champion, you restore 5% percent of mana and health. Wow. As I said, Swain has mana problems, and this really helps.
h. Devastating Strikes
Although the armor pen is not that helpful, the magic pen is. You just do more increased damage, especially against enemies stacking magic resist. So an overall good mastery for Swain.
i. Arcane Blade
Since Swain is a mage champ, he has terrible auto attacks. So unless you want to be Q'ing minions, it helps make the laning phase just a little easier.
a. Fleet of Foot
Although the link is Sivir's Passive, the mastery states 1.5% movement speed increase at rank 3. Since Swain is a very slow champion, this helps him get around just that much faster, maybe being able to secure that Siege Minion that you otherwise would have missed.
Critical, just critical that you get this. I can't repeat enough that after he gets his Ultimate, Swains problem is Mana, not health, so get this and you can stay into a fight longer and go back into another faster.
c. Strength of Spirit :
Another mana regen mastery, making it very important to have in a game.
This just helps you sustain with your potions longer in lane, letting you get more health, and more time in lane to harass and CS.
e. Runic Affinity
This is another critical one for Swain. The blue buff is amazing on Swain, and making it last 20% longer is just great, giving you better sustain and combat potential.
Items are very important on any champion, and a good build makes the difference between life and death in a fight. Swain is no different, relying very heavily on items to be powerful in combat.
These items are very important, and necessary to have a good start. For Swain, there is a couple different paths that you can build, depending on the matchup.
Basic Start: This is the start i take on almost every game. It is very consistent and gives both sustain and damage.
1x Doran's Ring
2x Health Potion
Defensive Start: This is the start I would take against melee champions like Zed and Yasuo.
1x Cloth Armor
4x Health Potion
Mobile Start: This start is good against skill shot oriented champions like Ahri and Xerath.
1x Boots of Speed
4x Health Potion
If you die in lane, or get low on health or mana, and go back to base, you should also shop to get ahead of your laning opponent. You will have a different amount of gold in different games, depending on how hard you pushed your opponent and how well you CS'd.
With 600 or less
With 850- 1000
If your opponents are stacking MR, this might be a better pick than Rabadon's Deathcap due to its MP. This item gives ok AP, but its MP is one of the highest in the game. With this, you can tear through anyone, whether it be ADC or the Tank, with nearly the same efficiency.
Passive: Carrion Renewal
This is a good passive. It is not the best passive, but it is not the worst. It makes sense with Swain's character and helps him a lot during laning. After going all in, and have half your mana gone, this passive can get you back up to full by the your opponent comes back into lane by just CS'ing, which is what you would want to be doing anyway. Late game, it is still helping, but in another way. If you have a big minion group pushing down your mid, just pop your ulti, and often you will crush the whole wave with only losing a sliver to no mana, and losing no health. This also helps in team fights. Go in, and if it goes well, you have an good possibility to come out looking better than did when you went in due to the regen of this passive and the Valor passive from the Rod of Ages and the health regen from Ravenous Flock.
Although this may not seem like a lot, and when I first started playing Swain, I thought the same thing, but with good CS, it really adds up to give you the mana you need to keep going and winning.
This is a pretty good spell. It does good damage over time, and has a good slow. And when combined with Torment, it makes a huge part of Swain's damage early game. A couple good Torments and a Decrepify can chunk away half a targets health quite efficiently. This spell also makes a tether from where you are, and if your opponent gets to far away, it will break, not doing maximum damage. Because of that, I recommend doing from closer than max range, or combined with a Nevermove. I max this spell second because it locks on, not a skill shot like Nevermove.
This is your one and only skillshot. It is a very good skill shot due to the fact it does good damage and a snare. I would be maxing this first only if it weren't so hard to hit with. This spell has many tells that announce you are going to be casting it. For one, it casts a circle on the ground where you are going to cast it and it makes a screeching sound that says you are going to cast it. It also has a short delay to add to the difficulties of hitting.
Often times when I cast it, I either use it in the middle of a fight when everyone is pre-occupied with fighting each other, and not really paying attention to a circle on the ground. Another time I cast it is after a Decrepify. Unless they are packing major move speed, or you place it badly, you will nail them with it. Although it has good harass potential, it cost to much mana and has a to long of cooldown to just spam many and hop one hits. So, if you want to be the best and maximize your mana efficiency, you need to save this spell for when they get very close to you or moving in a predictable pattern.
This move is also useful for escaping from ganks. A well placed Nevermove can stop a jungler in their tracks or force them to go around it wasting time. Combined with the slow from Decrepify, Swain is semi-good at escaping from ganks. Not the best, but definitely not the worst, either.
This is Swains best regular spell. Not only does it do good damage, it also increases all damage you do to the enemy champion for the duration of the spell. That includes activatable items and Summoner Spells. This is the main reason I go for Ignite over another spell like Exhaust. With this, Decrepify and Ignite, early game, you will leave them almost dead, forcing them to go back and miss farm or stay and be very easy to kill in the future, just for a summoners spell.
I max this spell first because of the damage and the utility it has. It also helps you heal more with your ultimate. Despite the fact it is your least damaging (though not by much), it is still your best to max because of its utility and its damage becomes the biggest when you add the damage of the 20% boost from the Decrepify damage.
Another great thing about this spell is easy to hit and do max damage, doesn't require the opponent to stay within its range, like Decrepify, or placing and hoping it hits, like Nevermove. So overall a very powerful spell, and definitely the one I would max first.
Laning and Combat
In order to CS successfully, you have to wait till the minions are very low, lower than you would wait for most other champions. That makes it very difficult to judge when to go, to soon, it will survive with a sliver of health, to late and you will miss. This is a fine art that takes a bunch of practice. But don't give up on Swain just because he is hard to CS with, stick with him and you will have a mid game monster that will be hard for anyone to take on.
Roaming VS. Pushing
Also, where you choose to fight is very important for Swain. It is always best to engage in a chokepoint. There are a few on the river, and any narrow passage in the jungle. Not only can you place your Nevermove where the opponents have a choice, either run into it and be snared or wait back while your ADC is tearing into them. After that, you go near the front, forcing them to run through you to get to the back. This will damage greatly, when combined with other CC from your support, you can take people out of the fight before they can even do anything.
This is it for my Swain guide. This is not done by a long shot. I am still constantly updating this guide. If you would be so kind to just leave your opinion and advice, because if this does good, I am planning to make another guide.