Swain Build Guide by ilfamosoporco
Not Updated For Current Season
The Good Mid Swain
Example Full Build #1
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 and welcome to my Swain guide!
This is my really first giude and I'd like to apologize for my BAD ENGLISH.
I wrote this guide to share with you the true potential (sadly underrated) of this amazing champion.
If you like to have a great early kill potential, lane dominance and a key role in teamfight. Well, you are reading about the right champion!
In this guide I'll explain my personal way to play Swain.
Swain is a really viable mid/top AP carry, if you can play him in the right way, and my purpose is to share with you THAT way.
I'd like to recieve constructive feedbacks and opinions about the giude, items, runes, masteries and everything else.
And, as always, TEST THAN VOTE. :D
Please be gentle about my english :3
Pros / Cons
+Great early harass potential and lane control especially against melee champions.
+Amazing skirmisher at all stage of the game.
+Very durable due to Ravenous Flock.
+2 CC in his kit.
+ Torment increase ALL your other font of damage.
+ Swain can easily manage a 1v2 if used properly.
+ The enemy jungler will think twice before gank you after level 6.
+ You will totally dominate teamfights if the enemy team underestimate you.
- BLUE BUFF DEPENDANT (especially in the early/mid game)
- Really low wave clear potential before 6.
- Nevermove is surprisingly hard to master.
- Ignite can easily bring you down in the early stages of the game.
- Baitable by ranged champions with decent escape mechanism.
- Needs good positioning in teamfights to be effective.
- He moves fast as a stone uphill.
- I've already said BLUE BUFF DEPENDANT?
|Another DoT for your kit. It benefits from Torment abiility and most of the times gives you the little damage you need to secure a kill.|
|Really nice for escape, chase and to reposition during teamfight. Useful to dodge deadly skillshots. You should pick flash everytime.|
|Really useful if you're playing toplane. Allows you to change the tide of a dragon fight, helping bot or mid lane securing kills or take turretts.
|Pretty useless. Swain runs like a stone but with Decrepifyand Nevermove in his kit, he doesn't really need Ghost to chase down enemies or escape. Flash fits this perfectly.
|Please. You have all the healing power you need. Heal scales also horribly in the mid/late game. Save a spot for another summoner's spell.|
|Let me say that again: Please. If you manage your spells wisely, you don't need Clarity even in the first minutes of the game (you are not a Veigar). Around minute 7.00 you will even get your blue buff. Save a spot for another summoner's spell.|
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
- Greater Mark of Magic Penetration: early magic penetration in addition to your Torment ability gives you alot of early damage and lane control.
- Greater Seal of Armor: ideal to mitigate some damage from the enemy (especially against AD champions). Also gives you more chance to survive ganks and retaliate.
- Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration: a valid choice to mitigate early mana problems and spam your spells a little more.
- Greater Glyph of Magic Resist: very nice glyph to mitigate damage from enemy AP champions. Also gives you more potential in the early trades. (It's a lie, there's no trades here. It's only you harassing them :3).
- Greater Quintessence of Ability Power: There's no need to explain. We just want MOAR ability power :D
|I found 9/21/0 great for Swain in Season 4. It sinergies really well with his kit and mechanics.
Enchanted Armor , Hardiness and Resistance gives you a little boost on defenses, helping in early trades.
Oppression works really good with Swain, because a properly use of both Decrepify and Nevermove will impair a single target movement speed for 5 SECONDS.
Last but ABSOLUTELY not least, here we go with Second Wind , that gives you a 10% bonus on Ravenous Flock self-healing when you are (relatively) low with HP. This talent simply gives you a great trade potential, chance to get a GREAT edge in 1v1 (if the enemy fails his ignite on you he's probably doomed) or 1v2 (no ignite = pls no gankerino :3) and even more durability in teamfighs! Simply AMAZING!
From the Offense tree Mental Force and Arcane Mastery for a chunk of bonus AP and Sorcery for a little bonus CDR. Expose Weakness works well in teamfights because Ravenous Flock deals costant damage up to three enemy at once.
First point in Nevermove if you want to prevent lvl 1 ganks from enemy jungler. If you feel confident you can just take Torment first to start harass ASAP and take Nevermove as 2nd or 3rd. It's up to you.
|Carrion Renewal: Swain gain 9 (+1 per level) mana whenever he kills a minion or monster.
It works well with Doran's Ring passive ability, allowing you to spam your Torment without running out of mana. Also it gives you and additional 9% of your total mana on kill/assist.
Decripify: Slow the enemy target and deals damage over 3 seconds.BE WARE:The crow will spawn at Swain's location. If the enemy moves away from the crow, the ability is immediately interrupted. Don't use Decrepify at maximum range, because it's easily breakable.
|Nevermove: Swain's AoE snear. It lands after a brief delay damaging and snearing all the units in the area.|
|Torment: Swain's bread and butter ability. Deals damage over time and place a 4 seconds debuffs on the target that increases all the other Swain's sources of damage! ( Ignite, autoattacks, items' ability and even Torment itself). This ability allows you to poke your enemy safely, giving you an advantage since the first mninutes of the game.|
|Ravenous Flock: Swain's ultimate ability. It gives extreme durability (until you got Ignited) during trades and teamfights. It can hit up to three targets at once each seconds, healing Swain for 75% of the damage deal to champions and 25% of the damage dealt to minions and monsters. Ravenous Flock costs mana per second to remain activated and it could drain your mana pool really fast, so use it wisely!
Ravenous Flock prioritizes champions over minions and monsters.
Well well, let's get to the fun part.
I will explain here my opinion about Swain's itemization.
Swain it's a really versatile AP carry, he doens't need tons of AP to be effective.
Build him as a glass cannon it's just a waste of his true potential.
|catalyst the protector|
Always aim to an early catalyst the protector + Boots of Speed (1525 Gold), because the bonus HP, mana and the amazing passive from catalyst the protector allows you to stay in lane really longer, even after a bad trade or an opponent's gank.
Go for Seeker's Armguard + Boots of Speed(1485 Gold) only if you are having troubles with the enemy AD champion.
If you are facing Tryndamere top lane and you are zoning him as hell, there's no need to buy armor, he cannot even come close to you before he gets Undying Rage. Just go for catalyst the protector instead.
These are my core items on Swain in the 99% of games I've played with him.
Rod of Ages is a must because it gives you everything you need: health, mana and ability power. Also it preserves the passive ability from catalyst the protector, that proc will save your *** more than one time I swear. It's an expensive item, though, but it worths all the money.
Zhonya's Hourglass gives you a huge bonus Ability Power and a good amount of armor...
Don't forget to use it during a teamfight.
Charge in the middle of the action with your Ravenous Flock popped up. When the enemies realize that you are totally erasing their health bars, they will be forced to focus their attention to you and than...*POP... they are just aiming at an invulnerable, golden raven statue.
This allows your team to:
- take a break from the damage (even for you).
- reposition and take an advantage on the enemy team (specially for you ranged carry).
- breach trought the bruisers to focus their carries.
Last but not least Sorcerer's Shoes, best choice for an AP carry.
If you are facing a strong CC enemy team ( Leona, Amumu, Annie, etc...), buy Mercury's Treads. You can always get your magic penetretion with an early Haunting Guise.
I'll give you a brief items exposition and I'll explain when you should buy one instead of another.
| Athene's Unholy Grail: gives additional ManaReg, Magic Resist, CDR and bonus Ability Power.
I suggest to buy this when teamfights are extremely long or you take some time to breach the enemy frontline. If you run out of mana in the middle of the action, you will be killed in no time and your team will probably loose the teamfight.
I DON'T suggest to buy this when the enemy team has low chance to take you away from key targets (unefficent bruisers, low CC, etc...). You will probably breach trought them easily and a blue buff is enough to keep your mana pool healty untill you bring them to their death.
| Liandry's Torment: gives additional HP, Magic Penetration and bonus ability power. Also the damage over time works really well with Swain's kit.
I suggest to buy this practically everytime. Torment will hurt alot (yeah, Torment amplifies even Liandry's damage over time), even more if followed by Decrepify.
Nevermove and Ravenous Flock will deal a lot of bonus damage in teamfight, making Swain even more deadly.
I DON'T suggest to NOT buy this. It fits perfectly with Swain's kit and mechanics. You should buy Liandry's Torment everytime.
| Rabadon's Deathcap. A huge boost to your Ability Power, what else?
I suggest to buy this when the enemy team is stacking Macig Resist or Health to mitigate your damage or you need to shut down key targets faster.
I DON'T suggest to buy this when your damage output is enough to burst down key targets.
In this case you should spend your gold to become more tanky.
| Void Staff: Gives you bonus Ability Power and Magic Penetration, really useful in the last stage of the game.
I suggest to buy this when the enemy team is extremely tanky and the game is going really long.
I DON'T suggest to buy this when you can break down the enemies without much effort.
| Deathfire Grasp: alot of bonus ability power and another version of your Torment. It allows you to burst down a target in no time.
I suggest to buy this quite never. You don't really need another full AP expensive item to your build.
Build this when you whan to have some fun busting down people in pub games or when you REALLY need to burst down an enemy (maybe a fed Riven or that annoying Mordekaiser).
I DON'T suggest to buy this quite everytime. You have enough burst damage with your Core + Liandry's Torment.
I'll give you a brief items exposition and I'll explain when you should buy one instead of another.
| Spirit Visage: CDR, health, HealthReg, Magic Resist and 20% improved healing by your Ravenous Flock.
I suggest to buy this when you need more survivability during teamfights or while facing strong AP champions. It synegize perfectly with your Ravenous Flock and Second Wind talent.
I DON'T suggest to buy this when you want to benefit from ability power even with defensive item.
| Abyssal Scepter: bonus Ability Power and a good bonus magic resist. The aura helps you dealing more damage in the middle of the action.
I suggest to use it when you are the main intiator of your team and when you spend most of the time in the middle of the action during teamfights. Also it helps if you have other AP based champions in your team.
BEWARE: if you manage to buy Abyssal Scepter be sure none else in your team is doing the same, because the Aura effects doesn't stack.
I DON'T suggest to buy this if anyone else in your team already bought it or you need more health instead of bonus Ability Power.
| Rylai's Crystal Scepter: bonus Ability Power, nice amount of health and a good passive to chase down enemies.
I suggest to buy this when you want to benifit both from healt and ability power. Try to buy this for an OFFENSIVE item, because Rylai's Crystal Scepter doesn't work well on Swain as unique defensive item.
I DON'T suggest to buy this when you don't need additional health and want to biuld a stronger ability power item.
I'll explain my personal way to play him during all the stages of the game. (supposing you are playing mid lane)
You'll find yourself in the spawn pool, grab your items and reach the bush behind blue or red buff (according to your jungler's playstyle).
I suggest to place your trinket ASAP to prevent enemy team to invade and ambush you and your team (another good reason to pick a first level in Nevermove).
Help your jungler getting his buff than reach your lane.
Untill 6-7 minutes mark you have to do 2 important things:
- LAST HIT, LAST HIT, LAST HIT!!!: Your Core is expensive, you haven't a great wave clear potential and without a decent Creep Score you won't go far away.
- Harass your enemy whenever you can and zone him: with Torment you can safely harass your opponent without much effort, its mana cost it's relatively low and with Carrion Renewal you won't run out of mana just because you are spamming your E.
Keep an eye on the minimap: enemy jungler could invade. You should help your frienldy jungler getting the kill or simply save him from death. You have to farm, it's true, but we don't want to give Fisrt Blood to the enemy, do we?
Don't miss the chance to get an early kill: if your oppenent is low, you should try to kill him. Torment > Ignite > Decrepify > Nevermove > and some auto-attacks will do the trick. If Nevermove lands, there's a really low chance for the opponentt to run away with his life.
If you don't kill him, he probably used flash, it's a good thing anyway.
BEWARE: most of the times you will push the lane a bit during early game, a good chance for the enemy jungler to come and try to kill you.
If you get ganked before level 6 DON'T PANIC: most of the times a well placed Nevermove should be enough to save you.
Buy a ward, save a life.
If you get ganked AFTER level 6 and you already wear your blue buff, you could even try to get a kill or two. Don't take risks if:
- Enemy in lane has more than 50% HP.
- Enemy in lane has is Ignite ready.
- You are low on health.
- You can be stunned by both of them.
Don't forget to claim your blue buff: with blue buff and level 6 you can easily push your lane and take a chance to gank other lanes (with the help of your jungler maybe), to take some kill/assist and maybe an early dragon.
Champions leave the lanes, trying to take dragon or turretts.
Don't forget to take an eye on the minimap: your team need you to win a dragon fight, don't AFK farming while they are fighting to take the dragon pool!
Keep farming, help other lanes if your teammates need your help, keep snowballing and again, DON'T FORGET TO CLAIM YOUR BLUE BUFF: without blue buff you'll find yourself in a great disadvantage during early teamfights.
LATE GAMES & TEAMFIGHTS
Some turretts are gone, carries got their cores, teams play togheter to take dragon or Baron Nashor, someone will win, someone will loose... WELCOME TO LATE GAME.
It's time for Swain to shine.
Winning a teamfight right now can lead your team to victory. Loosing a teamfight right now can lead your team to defeat.
KEEP IT IN MINDyou are the AP Carry, your purpose is to CARRY your team to victory.
Swain is a skirmisher, his place is IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ACTION. Ravenous Flock should hit as many opponents as possible.
YOUR PURPOSE is to break the enemy frontline: your ultimate can keep you alive while damaging everything around you.
[*]Use your Zhonya's Hourglass if the enemy is trying to shut you down.
PLAY AGGRESSIVE, DON'T BE SCARED.
I won't say it enough: Swain has a lot of survivability, AoE damage and decent CC.
You have to reach the enemy backline, snare carries, focus and shut them down.
Please don't do that, NEVER. Don't give them a chance to bait you down.
The enemy Renekton engages poorly and now he's running away with 50 HP?
Well. One less between you and their backline!.
Your Amumu lands a perfect Bandage Toss followed by a great Curse of the Sad Mummy, stunning 4 enemies. You have all the time to follow up with your Nevermove, snearing the enemy backline and release your power against the poor enemy Tristana.
Sadly she casts barrier and Rocket Jump away with less than 50 HP.
YOU DID IT!: she's alive but she has no chance to come back, because your team will kill her with a blink of an eye.
Switch your attention to another target and so on, untill there's none left to kill.
- Swain is a skirmisher, your place is in the middle of the action.
- Play aggressive, don't be scared. Ravenous Flock gives you a lot of survivability. Don't forget to use Zhonya's Hourglass if you get hard focused.
- Your purpose is to break the enemy frontline and reach enemies key targets.
- NEVER,NEVER,NEVER chase enemies. Your place is in the middle of the fight, nowhere else.
- Use Nevermove wisely. Use it to prevent enemies from reaching your backline, reposition or run away from the rest of your team.
Welcome to the Matchups section! Here's a list of Champions you'll usually find midlane. I'll give you a brief explanation of their abilities and help you deal with them during lane phase.
If I've skipped some champions, it's because I've not enough informations/games against them or I've never played against them before (yes Karma, I'm looking at you).
|It's not a great matchup. Stay behind your minions to avoid Charm+ Orb of Deception combo. These skillshots are pretty easy to dodge, even with Swain's movement speed. Use your Torment whenever you can, you shouldn't waste mana for anything else. Your purpose is to zone Ahri and negate farm, not drain your mana pool trying to grab an early FB (if you feel confident you could try anyway).
Keep zoning and harassing her. She has to pay for any single creep and if you have a chance to grab a kill, take it.
BEWARE: enemy jungler could babysitt midlane. Ahri really needs to snowball to be effective and without help, she won't go far away.
When Ahri becomes suddenly aggressive, she isn't alone (quite intuitive).
If a gank comes true, don't let Charm reachs you. Stay behind your creeps, back off and use your Nevermove to keep them away.
After level 6, if you don't make any mistake, Ahri cannot trade with you, specially if you get your Blue Buff; she's not enough tanky and her combo is too unreliable.
But you have to pay attention: Spirit Rush allows Ahri to quickly move everywhere she wants, making Charm easier to land and ganks momre dangerous (and you will be ganked, trust me. None wants a weak Ahri in his team).
Place your trinket/wards in both side of midlane to prevent a bad time.
If she's behind, she could try to gank other lanes: you should help your team in this case, call MIA's and if you can, don't allow her to leave the lane.
|Really easy lane. Akali is really weak before level 6, she's melee and has no trade potential against you.
Your purpose is to negate farm. If she's able to get creeps only with Mark of the Assassin you're doing good. Harass with Torment and auto-attacks, zone her all the time. Don't worry about ganks, Akali has neither gapcloser (before level 6) nor CC; a well placed Nevermove will do the trick.
Before level 6 you will dominate the lane, afret level 6 you will dominate the lane too. You can easily trade with Akali but don't underestimate her damage anyway.
After level 6 Akali's combo is pretty standar: Mark of the Assassin> Shadow Dance>AA> Twilight Shroud> Mark of the Assassin> and so on.
How to counter this? Easy: Vision Ward!. After the first Shadow Dance quickly place your Vision Ward on the ground, than release your combo:
There's nowhere to hide now and she's too close to back off safely without flash. If you are quick enough with your combo and she has no time to flash, she will hardly survive.
Congratulations, you have countered Akali!!!
Don't forget to buy some ward, there's no reason to take risks.
|Prepare to have a bad time.
Anivia's attack range is higher than yours, Flash Frost can hit you from afar and Crystallize won't allow you to come closer.
Anivia totally outranges you and Swain's low movement speed add insult to injury.
Before level 6 you should focus last hitting and dodge Flash Frost. If Anivia miss Flash Frost you should strike back with Torment and Nevermove, she will be forced to retreat or waste mana to set a Crystallize between you.
If possible, ask your jungler for an ealry gank: Anivia's movement speed isn't higher than yours, and you have a good chance to kill her (or just activate Rebirth) or force her to flash away (it's worth anyway).
After level 6 things go south. Glacial Storm+ Frostbite combo hurts alot and with blue buff, Anivia can spam it forever.
Don't try to get close!!! The closer you are, the easier for Anivia land a safe Flash Frost followed by Glacial Storm+ Frostbite.
Keep playing conservative, use your Ravenous Flock to freeze enemy creeps away from your turrett hits, harass with Nevermove and don't forget to claim Blue Buff.
Stay alive, farm and it'll be ok.
Keep asking for ganks, Anivia has no chance 2v1.
Don't forget to Ward your lane, you don't need trouble from the enemy jungler, you have yours already.
|This lane is a coin flip. Disintegrate is a nice poke and Pyromania is quite annoying.
During the early stage of lane phase Annie will charge Pyromania, than stun you with Disintegrate and follow with a final Incinerate, this is Annie's bread and butter combo. If she can do it fast enough, you'll have no time to retaliate.
Break down this combo is pretty easy: anytime Annie is about to cast Disintegrate, just anticipate it with a Nevermove. Even if you're stunned she cannot come close to cast Incinerate because of snare. Nevermove = COMBOBREAKER. Without CC Annie is vulnerable: cast Torment+ Decrepify followed by few autoattacks and you'll win the trade. You have to gain an advantage in this stage of lane phase, because...
...after level 6 things become more complicated.
Annie is able to deal a great amount of damage after hitting level 6, her burst is higher and faster than your. Summon: Tibbers( Pyromania)> Disintegrate> Incinerate>AA could ERASE your healt bar and Ignite add insult to injury. Keep the distance is a good idea but Annie can simply Flash before release the combo.
Annie has a great burst but NOTHING ELSE, after that she's totally defenseless.
Buy some extra health after catalyst the protector to increase your survivability and try to activate Ravenous Flock before you get the stun from Summon: Tibbers, this could make the difference! Annie has to kill you in this 1,5 seconds window and if your able to take some life back during this time it'd be great. Now 2 thing could happen:
Don't forget to Ward your lane: enemy jungler could gank you, for the same reason your jungler could gank Annie.
|Let's play with fire again! Another coin flip here. A good Brand can trade well even in close fights. Pillar of Flame is quite annoying due to its range and Blaze can wear your health bar out pretty easily.
Brand is aggressive, he won't miss th chance to hit you with Pillar of Flame (NEVER) and some auto attacks; luckily it's pretty easy to dodge.
If Brand miss Pillar of Flame you should strike back or at least pressure him but don't do that if you're NOT BEHIND your minions: Brand can still cast Conflagration+ Sear for a good amount of damage, a 2 seconds stun and some bonus damage from Blaze.
You have to be careful with Pillar of Flame, Brand has to be carefull with Nevermove aswell. Don't miss the chance to land a safe Nevermove, followed by Torment+ Decrepify.
Keep in mind: Brand's a great pusher. He'll push creeps under your turrett, threatenig you with Pillar of Flame if you come closer to take soome creeps. He can zone you easily by pushing the lane; on the other hand he's more susceptible to ganks. Since this is a close fight, you can easily get the upper hand 2v1.
After level 6 mark any mistake leads to death most of the times (from both sides). Don't forget you have Ravenous Flock! Abuse it! Pillar of Flame won't hurt you some much as before. Avoid Sear; if he can't stun you, he cannot trade against you.
Ask for ganks to get the upper hand and don't forget to ward your lane too. Brand wants your head aswell.
|You won't find her beautiful at all.
Cassiopeia simply outranges you, Noxious Blast will keep you away most of the time and Deadly Cadence add insult to injury. She can poke, she can spam and she can push the lane while harassing at the same time. Dodging Noxious Blast gives you a chance to strike back but you have to be fast! Noxious Blast has a very low cooldown; cast your Nevermove under her feet and follow with your Torment+ Decrepify combo. Don't abuse it so much anyway, you'll run out of mana in no time.
You have to farm and dodge, strike back if you have a chance but don't take risks, you are very vulnerable before level 6 mark.
Ask for ganks whenever you can, a little babysitting isn't that bad.
Above level 6 mark you can take a breath. You have more sustain and trade potential right now, keep dodge Noxious Blast and whenever a close fight comes true:
TURN YOUR BACK!!!
Petrifying Gaze cannot stun if you're not facing Cassiopeia right in the eyes. Your kit is full of DoT and Ravenous Flock hits targets around you. Cast your spells, pop Ravenous Flock up and turn your back. This is not ensure the victory, but helps ALOT trust me, isn't easy to do but it works. She won't use Petrifying Gaze only to slow you down.
Keep farming, dodging and harassing whenever you can. Ask for ganks and ward your lane as always.
|This lane is a piece of cake.
Diana is a melee, (early) low damage champion. She can mitigate some damage with Pale Cascade but nothing more.
Crescent Strike is pretty easy to dodge because it's a CRESCENT STRIKE: from righ -> to left. Just move left when she's about to cast and you dodge it.
Harass and zone. Diana can't trade with you, never ever.
After level 6 mark be careful about ganks. Lunar Rush+ Moonfall combo won't leave you escape and a 1v2 with an Ignite on your head is not the best scenario.
If you are ahead you could even try to take the double but don't take any unecessary risk (aka Ignite up).
Ward your lane and don't bother your jungle (unless he wants an easy assist ineed :3).
Nothing more to say, easy peasy.
|Many players think Fizz is a counter for Swain. Well, many players are wrong. But Seastone Trident put a 50% Healt Regen debuff on you!!!
As well as Ignite, Explosive Shot, Death Lotus, Morellonomicon, Executioner's Calling etc. Therefore anyone who build or have something with greivous wounds can kill you without effort? No. Ravenous Flock is just the top of the iceberg in Swain's kit.
Beating Fizz is still up to you, anyway. You have to be careful against that little, ungankable piece of fish. If you let him strike back or farm, you'll regret it.
What is the best, fastest, easiest and safest way to win against Fizzerino]?
Harass him as if it was the last thing you'll do in your whole life!!!. It's not just spamming Torment, you have to auto attack him whenever comes close to your minions. Frustrate him, exhaust him and annoy him, that's the way ( Crystalline Flask and pots as starting items to increase your durability in lane).
Sometimes Fizz could Playful / Trickster on your Torment to prevent some damage: if it comes true, try to anticipate the landing spot and cast your Nevermove than auto attack him until the snare end, than follow with Decrepify+ AA until he's forced to hug his turrett.
Don't forget to ward your lane!!! You'll push a lot, you are susceptible to ganks.
Above level 6 mark, let's suppose you've just harassed him (he's behind in CS obviously), without taking or giving kills. In short, he's just behind a little.
This is the algorithm in this scenario:
Keep warding to prevent ganks from enemy jungler (he will gank you trust me).