Swain Build Guide by Rasmus H. Nielsen

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.

League of Legends Build Guide Author Rasmus H. Nielsen

Swain the undying

Rasmus H. Nielsen Last updated on April 4, 2012
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Swain AP

Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
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.



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 0

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 9

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Hi guys. As you can see, I've created builds for two versions of Swain. In this guide I will describe various factors when playing Swain. This includes movement, how and when to place Nevermove, when to enter and exit ulti and so on. I made this build, as I couldn't find any corresponding builds, which suggested buying these items.

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Pros / Cons

Well, there are a lot of pros and cons for picking Swain.

This is a rough description of those:
High damage output
Good laning passive
Good farmer
High survivability
Good CC (Roots and slow)
Excellent ultimate
Good 1v1
Good in teamfights

Low burst
Mana-dependent ultimate
Needs blue most of the time
Enemy mid champ will hate you :(

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Words you should know

For those of you, who are new to League of Legends:
I use different abbreviations in this guides, and as such I have created a description:
AP = Ability Power
CDR = Cooldown Reduction
CD = Cooldown (The refresh time of your spells or useable items)
MP = Magic Penetration
CV = Clairvoyance
OOM = Out of mana
IMO = In my opinion
DMG = Damage
DOT = Damage over time (Usually used to descripe a spell)
HP = Hit points

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I use two different sets of runes:
One set with Magic Penetration Marks and Flat AP Glyphs, Seals and Quintessences.
The other set is Magic Penetration Marks and Quintessences and AP pr. LvL Glyphs and Seals.

I use the first set for an early-game advantage and the other set for Mid-game advantage.

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I use a offensive 21-0-9 Mastery-page, with a point in Runic Affinity, which is really important for using ult with blue.

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Summoner Spells

Most people who play Swain chose Flash/Ignite, which is a perfectly fine combo, it just lacks one thing: Laning-factor. With laning-factor I mean a summoner spell that can either increase your time in lane, or one that increases survivability in lane; such as these: Heal, Clarity, CV, Revive or Teleport. Out of all these spells, the best for Swain is Clarity.

Heal is worthless because of your ultimate.
CV is.... dude? CV is for support... get back in the game.
Revive is for tanks and/or noobs.
Teleport is a fine spell, that increases yur teams chance to win, as you can get almost anywhere in a matter of seconds. But it isn't worth discarding Clarity or Ignite for this one.
Now. Clarity! That is a good one. You can use it to "cheat" a nooby enemy, ex. if an enemy think that you are OOM, you can easily get them to play too agressively, and thereby kill them. Also: If you've missed your blue buff, you can keep your ultimate on at a longer interval.

Note though: I do recommend choosing Ignite as it is better: Ignite can help you kill a champion that relies too much on lifesteal/spell vamp, and because it stacks with your Torment (20% increased DMG at lvl 5) it's an extremely useful dmg-tool.

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I have only one thing to say: Without Torment you are dead.

Torment is, IMO, the best skill in this game. It does some psycho DMG, it increases the DMG of your other spells and it is a DOT. The first two points are pretty easy to understand, but what about the third?
A DOT can do several things: It can make your enemy think that they have more HP than they do, which a burst spell can not. This means that the enemy may force an attack on you, or that they will run sooner than normal.

Decrypify is also a great spell. Again DOT, but this time also a slow.

Nevermove: The most important spell to hit with. It can ensure a kill just as easy as it can assure you getting away. I'm getting back to this later.

Reavenous Flock is, in truth, a double-edged sword. It can help you just as easy as it can kill you. My tips are: Use it one second before a teamfight, because stuns doesn't interrupt it. and don't take it off unless you are far away from your enemies or you've won the fight. But beware of your mana!!! (Use Clarity if you chose it)

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Okay guys. Swains hardest-to-use spell is Nevermove. It's a great spell with multiple uses.

When you are going for a kill, where you aim to initiate with Nevermove, there are some tips/tricks that can help you.
1. Look at your enemys movement pattern. Does he zig-zag when laning? Does he stand back, and run forth to cast a spell on you? Whatever he does; memorize it! You can easily land a Nevermove if you can foresee his next move.
2. Don't go for the obvious Nevermove. Some people are smart. And Swains don't like smart people. These bastards know your character and will try to get you to cast nevermove to early. This could easily mean your demise, since Nevermove has a long CD because you're maxing this spell last. The only advice I can give you against smart people is: If you wait one or two seconds to cast, because that can make them pop their flash and/or teleport abilities (Eg. LeBlancs Distortion). If they do pop this ability but still are in range: Use Nevermove!

When you're escaping one or several enemies, it is crucial that you can cast a perfect Nevermove. Tips/Tricks:
1. Never cast it behind you! This will make you turn around and waste approxximately a second. Cast it beneath you, or in front of you.
2. If you can make them kill a non-carry ally by casting it, do that. Eg. You are chased by two enemies, a Morgana is a little bit slower than you, cast it slightly to the side, so that your enemies will need to go to Morgana to avoid it. This will mostly make them change target.

Helping a teammate:
When helping a teammate escaping, never put yourself in danger. Do not get in range for you to cast Q or E, stay at the utmost range of Nevermove and spam it. Land it beneath or behind you ally, even if you know it won't hit. This will make the enemy alert of your presence, and they may back up.

In teamfight (4 or 5 mans) never initiate with you Nevermove. Remember: Nevermove can be a great way to escape a lost fight, or chasing an escaping enemy. If you cast it anyways, cast it in front of you initiater or carry, because they will be the ones to be attacked, and you can easily save them, and thereby remove their melee abilities for the duration of the root.

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Make it your goal to hit 100 minions at aproxximately 15 minutes. From there on minion kills shouldn't really matter that much, unless you are playing ranked. In ranked hitting 100 is even more important. Use spells to farm if you have blue buff, or use ulti to last hit several minions at a time if you don't.

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Chapter 10

If you are using build 1 do it like this:
Start with Dorans, and don't come back untill you have enough money for Catalyst and Mejai's. After this you follow the build until Rylais. After Rylais you sell Dorans and buy one of the defensive items or Archangels. Finish with some elixirs.

With the items of build 2(20 stack Mejai, blue flask) you should have ~900AP. These items give you survivabilty and dmg, and you should be able to go 3v1 and win (Again: 20 mejais).
You should start with Dorans, and, if played right, don't come back untill you have enough money for Catalyst and Amplifying Tome. After this you follow the build until Rabbadons. After Rabbadons you sell Dorans and buy Rylais. If you can't afford it buy Giants Belt first. Finish with an Archangels Staff and some elixirs.
All these items gives you either survivability or AP, which both boost your ultimate/tank-form.

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Blue Buff

From lvl 6->18 take blue buff whenever you don't have it. If you forget it, your ultimate lost half of its potential, DON'T FORGET!
Just ask your jungler - they are normally nice people :)

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Enemies that are hard to fight against

There are a few methods in this game to counter healing, the first and most obvious is the summoner spell Ignite. Now pay attention: You can not, I repeat CAN NOT, do anything about this. It sucks, Swain hates it etc.
But fear not! You just have to play smart. If you are Ignited in your ulti form, you run (Unless enemy is low and you can win anyway). Go "Run-Forrest-ruuun" mode.

There are a number of champion's abilities and one item that will also cause this same debuff, here is a list of those who do:

Katarina: Killers Instinct's Active(W)
Miss Fortune: Impure Shot(E)
Tristana: Explosive Shot(E)
Executioner's Calling (Active)

Unless you are really fed, you NEVER go 1v1 with these champions. They will counter you ultimate, like butter is countered by a warm knife. You will melt to their damage and die. But! As you may have noticed one of the four champions is Katarina. Katarina is annoying, but can be beaten, as she has a super-long CD on her Killer Instincts(E)-Bouncing Blades(W) combo. What you need to do is this: Wait for her to cast it, and then (after the de-buff wears off) land Nevermove and destroy her. If you do not kill her, pull back, rinse and repeat.

Another important thing about these champions are:

Against champions that stun or silence, a good idea is to cast ulti if you think they will attack, this way you heal through most of the dmg done while you are silenced/stunned.

To other champions that are annyoing are LeBlanc, Morgana and Mordekaiser.
She can really piss you off, as her bursts and harasses deal more damage than yours. She can melt you health away fast, ignoring your ulti. This means that you need to have either Magic Resist or health to win. If you have neither, don't engage on her.

Her stupid shield makes you Nevermove and harasses useless. Use a low-CD spell to make har pop shield, and then use Nevermove when shield is away.

You really need to be on top if you want to fight a Mordekaiser. The most important thing is zoning. Keep him away from your minions by harassing, this will keep his shield down. If you can't, don't use spells unless his shield is gone, and don't try to take it down manually. Let time destroy his shield, and then attack