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Swain Build Guide by Zoose

Top [12.15] Swain Mid Ultimate Guide - Top, Bot & Support also covered

Top [12.15] Swain Mid Ultimate Guide - Top, Bot & Support also covered

Updated on August 11, 2022
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Zoose Build Guide By Zoose 94 4 202,242 Views 2 Comments
94 4 202,242 Views 2 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Zoose Swain Build Guide By Zoose Updated on August 11, 2022
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Runes: DAMAGE + SUSTAIN

1 2 3
Precision
Conqueror
Presence of Mind
Legend: Tenacity
Last Stand

Resolve
Conditioning
Overgrowth
Bonus:

+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+6 Armor

Spells:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash

Flash

LoL Summoner Spell: Ghost

Ghost

Champion Build Guide

[12.15] Swain Mid Ultimate Guide - Top, Bot & Support also covered

By Zoose

Hey guys, ZOOSE here. I started mid Season 3 and steadily climbed every season, playing mostly Mid, ADC and Support. I reached CHALLENGER in Season 8 and have reached MASTER TIER at minimum every season since. I enjoy climbing as it's always a challenge, but what I'm most passionate about is playing a range of Champions and Roles. Favorite champs on that journey were Ahri, Azir, Malzahar, Swain, Talon, Lucian, Miss Fortune, Jinx, Nami, Brand, Sona, Zoe, and so many more. So many unqiue playstyles. I love the variety League Champions provide, which is why I'm motivated to create guides on mulitple champions, testing all the best builds, pushing the limits of each champ, and then creating guides, whether it's here on Mobafire, or Ultimate Guides on Youtube.




Starting from the bottom, which was BRONZE 5 back then (equivalent to IRON 4 today), has given me all the experience I need, to know what it's like in EVERY Elo. I'm not always playing in higher elo games (MASTER TIER+). When I'm playing a weaker role or champion, I find out what it's like in different ranks. Which is why I try to create guides that anyone can follow. Completely new to League? Perfect. My guide covers all the basics and helps you understand some more advanced terms. Maybe you're DIAMOND or even higher, but you're trying a different champion or role? No problem! Skip through the abilities and go straight to the stuff you need RIGHT NOW, like Tips & Tricks, Combos and Gameplay.



I'm always willing to listen to feedback, so feel free to ask any questions about this guide, or let me know about ways to improve these guides in general.
Watch the Full Guide on Youtube, with plenty of gameplay examples from ranked matches.

Let's quickly cover each ability, then after each one, I'll show you tips and tricks you can use right now in your next game, to give you an advantage.



PASSIVE ABILITY
Ravenous Flock (Passive): His passive, Ravenous Flock, leaves behind soul fragments after enemy champions have died. Your ravens will automatically pick up nearby souls. These souls will heal you for around 5-9% maximum HP AND grant you 12 HP permanently.

These souls will make Swain naturally tanky throughout the game, making him a pretty good scaling champ.
We'll be able to pick up more soul from his W Vision of Empire and E Nevermove abilities, which I'll cover soon.



Q
Death's Hand (Q): His Q, Death's Hand, unleashes 5 bolts in front of him, dealing AOE damage to all enemies. What's cool about this ability, is the potential to hit a single champion with multiple bolts.
Get close up to deal optimal damage, kind of like a mini shotgun.
It will be your main tool to waveclear, with the amazing aoe, low cooldown and decent mana cost, as well as poke melee champions



W
Vision of Empire (W): His W, Vision of Empire, summons a demonic eye. It will grant vision of the area for 2 seconds and then explode after 1.5 seconds, dealing magic damage to all enemies, slowing them for 2.5 seconds. Enemy champions hit will then be revealed for 4 to 8 seconds and you'll collect a soul fragment for Ravenous Flock from every champion hit. This is one of the longest ranges in the game.

Be on the look out to assist your teammates or even snipe low hp enemies from across the map.
This ability alone is quite hard to land as most players can simply walk out of it, so try to time during specific events.
Use it to block fleeing enemies paths. They'll either have to walk backwards into your team, or run through it, causing them to take damage and be slowed. Aim for areas that are tight and narrow, especially in the jungle and river, or even between towers and walls.
When enemies are using abilities that have charge up or long cast times, like Xerath's Q Arcanopulse or Sion's Q Decimating Smash. They'll either have to rush their abilities or risk take the hit from W Vision of Empire.
If enemies are already CC'd, you'll have a much easier time landing this. Make a quick mental list of your allies CC abilities when your game starts, so you're ready to follow up.
While enemies are recalling. This one's great because even if you don't hit them, they'll still have to walk out of the range and therefore, cancel their recall. This could be game changing during the early laning phase.
The vision is amazing to check for objectives like Dragon and Baron. Even catch out the enemy jungler taking buffs, helping your team reveal their location, and you might even get some free gold and a buff. Think of it like a free Farsight Alteration, the blue trinket ward, except it does damage and has a much lower cooldown.
Use it to check brushes against enemy threats.
Although Q Death's Hand will be your main waveclear, the AOE from W Vision of Empire makes it great nonetheless, however, make sure you have a lot of mana or you're about to base. Look for minions when you're far away, that are about to die, so you can pick up some gold and exp.
We'll also be using our next ability, to increase our chances to land W Vision of Empire.



E
Nevermove (E): His E, Nevermove, throws out a demonic hand, damaging enemies it passes through. Once it reaches its max range, it will then return to swain, damaging and then rooting the first bunch of enemies it hits. If you've hit enemy champions, you can then recast this ability, pulling enemies towards you and you'll even rip a soul fragment Ravenous Flock out of them. If there's one ability you want to focus on, this is the most important skillshot to master on Swain. I'll cover the most effective ways in combos.

This is your main medium to long range poke tool in lane.
Landing this means you can follow up with all your other abilities. Once you land E Nevermove, throw out your W Vision of Empire in front of the enemy, and recast E Nevermove to have them as close to the center as possible. This gives enemies the lowest chance to escape before they take damage from W Vision of Empire. Landing E and W will give you 2 fragments.
Practice this E > W mechanic as much as possible until it becomes muscle memory.
Definitely don't E Nevermove pull them out of your W Vision of Empire range.
Since recasting pulls them closer to Swain, it has great synergy with Q Death's Hand, as they'll now take even more bolts to the face, possible a maximum of 5 bolts.
Throw E Nevermove diagonally in lane, aiming for the max range to catch enemies off guard. Most enemies will try to sidestep it, however, if you position yourself on the side of a minion wave and throw it out at an angle, instead of straight ahead, it has a great chance to deceive them and they're not always able to react to the trajectory.
This is another great waveclear tool for Swain, just make sure you're high on mana or about to base.
Against spell shielded enemy abilities (for example sivir w) or items (banshees, edge of night), you can cancel them with the initial part of E Nevermove, but still have the 2nd part damage and root, hit them.



R
Demonic Ascension (R): And finally, his Ultimate, has 2 parts. Demonic Ascension is the first part. Swain will start generating demonic energy, which is the red part under his health bar. During this time, Swain will drain enemies nearby, damaging them and healing himself each second. This ultimate will stay on, as long as Swain can generate demonic energy out of enemies. If you have atleast 1 enemy champion nearby, it will stay on the entire time.
R
Demonflare (R): Only after 2 seconds of Demonic Ascension, can he cast the next part of his Ultimate, Demonflare. Swain sends out a nova of energy, damaging all enemies in range and slowing them for 1.5 seconds, which decays.

Demonic Ascension does amazing AOE so use it when enemies are bunched up, before or during a teamfight.
It can be a great bait tool, having enemies believe they'll finish you off, only to heal up and have them quickly regret their decision.
It does heal from minions as well, but only 10% compared to champions. Still, we can use this during an all in against our matchup for slightly more healing.
It works even if you're CC'd or using items like Zhonya's Hourglass.
Demonflare's slow becomes a great tool to land our other 3 abilities. I'll go over this in combos.
You can hold on to Demonflare while enemies are still close to you, and as they try to escape, then use the active to slow them, forcing them stay within your Demonic Ascension even longer.




ABILITY ORDER


> > >

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


As for ability order, you want to max Q Death's Hand first. It's essential to waveclear, as because of it's low cooldown, it will be your main damaging tool during fights, as you'll be able to spam Q Death's Hand on a single or multiple enemies. You'll want to max W Vision of Empire for the increased damage, slow strength and lower cooldown. You'll max E Nevermove last, as it doesn't lower the cooldown and will be used mostly for utility, so you can land your Q Death's Hand and W Vision of Empire. And of course, level ultimate Demonic Ascension whenever it's up, which is level 6, 11 and 16.

As for which to take lv 1, you'll want E Nevermove. The long range and aoe is great for early lanes, and you can start healing and picking up soul fragments every time you start hit your matchup. If your team decides to invade, it's an amazing tool, to catch out 1 or even more enemies, recasting it to pull the enemy into your team. You'll want to take W Vision of Empire lv 2 against ranged champions, and Q Death's Hand lv 2 against melee champions.
When it comes to Major runes, there are 3 Top Runes to choose from, each with a specific goal. Conqueror and Phase Rush, for Mid, Bot Carry and Top Lane, and Electrocute, for Support.

  • CONQUEROR
  • Conqueror is the most popular rune taken. It really synergies well with Swain's kit, with the increase of damage the longer you're in combat, especially as you're able to spam Q Death's Hand and even auto attacks, to activate the maximum conqueror stacks of 12. Additionally, you've got the great healing from the max stacks, which is amazing on top of his healing passive Ravenous Flock and ultimate Demonic Ascension, helping you sustain in those fights where you're surrounded by multiple enemies.
  • PHASE RUSH
  • Phase Rush is specifically taken to counter faster and mobile enemies, helping Swain catch up and position with the burst of movement speed after 3 separate attacks or abilities. When Swain's able to get into enemies faces, he can dish out plenty of damage with Q Death's Hand spam. The movement speed also helps him stick to enemies while he's channeling his Ultimate, Demonic Ascension.
  • ELECTROCUTE
  • Electrocute is the final top major rune, specifically taken bot lane as support. As a support, you'll be efficient in quick fast trades, and electrocute will help you deal extra damage. It's also great for all-ins, anytime you hit an E > W > Q combo. Just for clarity, if you land e and recast it, it counts as 2 electrocute procs.





CONQUEROR

So quickly, just for clarity, Conqueror can be taken in most situations. It's best for extended fights, when you activate the 12 stacks. If you're up against mobile, squishy champs, take Phase Rush.
As for minor runes with Conqueror, you'll want to take Presence of Mind for the mana sustain, which will be especially important during the early game, before you finish lost chapter.
Legend: Tenacity is the second minor rune, for the obvious resistance to CC enemy abilities, that can either stop you from dealing damage, and even prevent you from entering fights and stick close to enemies.
The final option is Last Stand. When you enter fights as Swain, you'll usually be surrounded by multiple enemies, and therefore have a high chance of taking damage. We'll take advantage of this by gaining some extra damage at low hp. Remember, you'll gain plenty of hp while fighting, and even items like Zhonya's Hourglass, will allow you to stay low hp for a long time.






SORCERY

Just for clarity, take Phase Rush against very mobile champs, as we'll need the movement speed to get closer. If you're unsure, just stick to Conqueror.
Manaflow Band for the mana sustain, again, very important for his early phase.
Transcendence for some great ability haste, and potential to really snowball fights after level 11, when he'll receive 20% reduced cooldown on enemy enemies for his basic abilities. Your Q Death's Hand spam especially will be insane at this stage. Celerity is also worth considering, if you want even more movement speed.
All options are viable. Scorch is a minor rune worth mentioning, if you want more early lane pressure while poking. Waterwalking for even more movement speed bonuses. And finally, take Gathering Storm for one of, if not, the best scaling rune. This will really spike at 30+ mins. His passive plus this rune will allow you to have a dominating late game.






DOMINATION

And finally, Electrocute, as the final Major rune choice, specifically for Support.
Pick up Cheap Shot, activated anytime you land E, W and your Ultimate. If you're after a bit of sustain against some heavy poke, take Taste of Blood.
Take Eyeball Collection for extra AP after takedowns, however, Zombie Ward or Ghost Poro are viable if you want vision control.
Finally, take Ultimate Hunter, to reduce the cooldown of your ultimate. Treasure Hunter is viable if you have an early game champion you are looking to snowball with, for example Draven.





2ND PAGE OPTIONS


As for 2nd page options, the most optimal choice for Conqueror, Phase Rush and Electrocute, is from the Resolve tree.
A solid first choice is Conditioning, for flat and 5% bonus armor and MR after 12 minutes. The extra defensive stats will come in handy once you start joing skirmishes and teamfights. You could also take Bone Plating, against champs that have bigger burst combos, especially for laning phase. And the last to options are quite close. Overgrowth will be even more passive HP you'll be gaining. This on top of your passive really adds up late game. And finally Revitalize for the increase is healing. This can come from multiple sources as swain, his passive, w, e and ultimate, as well as any allies you have that shield or heal you.

There are some lanes you'll be dominant and want to pressure vulnerable champs, for example Kassadin. You can take Biscuit Delivery with Cosmic Insight or Time Warp Tonic combo, and pick up Corrupting Potion as your starting item. These combination will allow you to spam abilities early, and even your auto attacks will deal extra damage from the Corrupting Potion burn passive. You will sacrifice those tanky stats from resolve. You can even take Perfect Timing as an option over Cosmic Insight and Time Warp Tonic, especially if you're building Zhonya's Hourglass later on.




SHARDS


As for shards, Attack speed Axe as your first. This slightly helps you activate all 3 major runes faster. Adaptive shard Diamond as the 2nd choice. Then either Armor Shield or Magic Resistance Circle, if your against AD or AP matchups respectively.
FLASH: By far the best first choice summoner spell on Swain. Combos, escapes, outplays, positioning, sniping enemies, etc. Don't skip out on this. The next few are situational.
IGNITE: The default best spell for the 2nd choice. Increase your potential to kill your laner with true damage. You'll have a lot more pressure earlier in any skirmishes. Also, healing reduction will be necessary to counter some champs.
TELEPORT: A safer rune to help you out in tougher lanes. Heavy poke or faster pushers? Recall and Teleport back to lane to stay even in gold and experience.
GHOST: Good synergy with Swain's kit, especially his Ultimate Demonic Ascension, as you'll be able to constantly stay close to enemies.
EXHAUST: Definitely worth taking against high burst threats, negating most of their damage for 3 seconds.
BARRIER: A bit more niche against long range champs you can't Exhaust, but also great for baits. Enemies will think they have you killed, until you use Barrier and start healing up from your passive Ravenous Flock and ultimate Demonic Ascension. Counters Ignite.
CLEANSE: Heavy CC comps? Might need this.
BARRIER: Take this as a bot lane carry. With someone nearby, you'll Heal yourself and your ally.
Starting Items


Doran's Ring
Doran's Ring + 2x Health Potion for most starts. However, if you're struggling with mana and health, try the next two options.

Corrupting Potion
Corrupting Potion is best taken if you've taken Biscuit Delivery + Time Warp Tonic. Make sure to attack enemies with the burn passive to make this gold efficient. Still viable with other runes.

Tear of the Goddess
Tear of the Goddess + 2x Health Potion, this a rare start and only viable if you're going Archangel's Staff.




Components & Early Item Mention

Dark Seal
Dark Seal is cheap first back item. Provies some AP plus a chance to snowball by increasing ap per kill.

Doran's Ring
If you started Corrupting Potion, you can pick up a Doran's Ring early.

Lost Chapter
Lost Chapter is your first goal, as it will build into your Mythic. This resolves most of Swain's mana issues.

Stopwatch
This might be a game changing purchase, especially against champs like Zed, or in a early teamfight. Great if you're building Zhonya's Hourglass later on.

Boots of Speed
Pick these whenever you have the extra 300 gold or even prioritise it to dodge skillshots against heavy poke champs.




Mythic Choices

Liandry's Anguish
This is the most optimal and popular Mythic for Swain. The Mana, AP powerspike and damage over time, supplies him with everything he needs to pop squishies and 1v1 tanky champs. Unfortunately, there's no tanky stats, but we'll make up for it with our legendary items.




Legendary Options

Legendary items depend mostly on the enemy team comp and how they are building.
Let's quickly cover some scenarios and then solutions.


Mejai's Soulstealer
Mejai's Soulstealer is the cheapest legendary in the game. If you've already got stacks on Dark Seal and are confident you won't die, take this to snowball games.

Zhonya's Hourglass
One of the best playmaking, as well as safest choice for Swain. This has amazing synergy with his ultimate Demonic Ascension and healing passive Ravenous Flock. Anytime you are low and in the middle of multiple enemies, make sure to spam abilities and hit the Zhonya's Hourglass active for complete safety. You'll deal damage AND heal while enemies around you are burning.

Demonic Embrace
Another damage over time item on top of Liandry's Anguish. You'll gain 2% of your bonus health as Ability Power, which synergies with most of the following legendaries. And you get a nice chunk of HP too.

Rylai's Crystal Scepter
Although Swain has a bunch of CC in his kit, the slow synergies extremely well with his Ultimate Demonic Ascension, with the massive AOE. Enemies hit with your other abilities will now have a low to zero chance to escape.

Spirit Visage
The HP plus the 25% increased healing will help you become unkillable in teamfights, especially against AP champs, with the MR.

Morellonomicon
If you're against heavy healing comps then you'll need some sort of healing reduction item to counter them. However, you don't exactly need to finish this item right away and can simply choose to buy Oblivion Orb for 800 gold.

Rabadon's Deathcap
If you ever find yourself extremely ahead, you'll want purchase the biggest AP powerspike available. It will increase your total AP by 35%, so you'll gain much more gold value from this item, if you purchase it as your 3rd or 4th item.

Void Staff
Although you deal plenty of % HP damage from Liandry's Anguish and Demonic Embrace, sometimes it's just not enough, especially against MR stacking teams. Pick this up for the 45% magic penetration.

Frozen Heart
Heavy AD comp? Pick this up to reduce AD damage and attack speed of nearby enemies.

Force of Nature
A viable choice against heavy AP comps. Just make sure you have enough damage on your team.




Boot Options

Sorcerer's Shoes
Are your first main choice for the movement speed and magic penetration, especailly early game. However, you should consider 2 defensive boot options, especially when playing a close up champ like Swain.

Mercury's Treads
Are the best against heavy AP and CC enemy comps. You already have some tenacity if you've chosen Conqueror from the Legend: Tenacity rune, but this can be purchased on top of it.

Plated Steelcaps
Are the best against heavy AD and attack based champs. You can always stick to Sorcerer's Shoes if you just want damage and are the main carry on your team.
Pre-6 Combos


Main Trade Combo - E1 > W > E2 > Q



This is your bread and butter all game long. Master this and you'll be doing optimal damage with your 3 basic abilities. It might seem easy, but landing E Nevermove will be the hardest part. Once E Nevermove has hit the enemy, place the W in front of them, and then recast E Nevermove to have them pulled, as close to the center of W Vision of Empire as possible. This will give them the least chance to escape. Follow up with a Q Death's Hand.
Some enemies with mobility can dash or blink out of W Vision of Empire, even if you land E Nevermove, so you'll have to instantly cast W Vision of Empire. Try to get an AA in, If you're within range.



Catch Out Combo - W > E



Here's a useful combo to catch out enemies from further away. The strategy behind this is to either force enemies to get hit by W Vision of Empire first, and when they are slowed, follow up with an easy E Nevermove. However, most players will walk around the W Vision of Empire. This opens up an opportunity to now go for an E Nevermove towards the edge of W Vision of Empire enemies have sidestepped. The worst case, is the enemy is now forced to walk into you, which you can now use Q Death's Hand or engage with your ultimate. This is best used in tight areas of the map where enemies have little choices to manoeuvre.





Ultimate Combos


Full Ultimate Combo #1 - E > W > R > E2 > Q > AA > R2



This combo starts with landing E Nevermove, then ultimate. This is important to make sure mobile enemies are locked in while they are taking damage over time from his ultimate Demonic Ascension. Landing E Nevermove first could also save you from wasting Ultimate Demonic Ascension, for example, if you miss E Nevermove against a mobile champ, don't use Ultimate Demonic Ascension and try again later. If you were to use ultimate Demonic Ascension straight away against a mobile champ, you would spook them and they can simply just dash or blink away, until your demonic energy bar has run out, pretty much wasting your ultimate. Btw, after Demonflare, you should keep spamming Q Death's Hand and following the enemy for as long as you can, making sure they take damage over time.




Full Ultimate Combo #2 - R > Q > AA > R2 > E > W > E2 > Q



Against immobile champs, you can initiate with Ultimate Demonic Ascension, so you can have Demonflare ready quicker. Once they are slowed from Demonflare, it will be much easier to land an E Nevermove. We're also taking advantage of the 20% reduced cooldown of E Nevermove, while Demonic Ascension is activated. Again, keep following the enemy so they're in your Demonic Ascension, spamming abilities when they come up.




Even if you don't remember these 2 ultimate combos off by heart, just remember the important reason behind them. Your goal is to keep enemies as close to you as possible, so they take as much damage from Demonic Ascension as possible, all while spamming your other abilities. With both these combos and depending on our items, you'll have potential to 1v2 or even more enemies.





Flash Combos


Q Flash



A quick and simple combo to finish off enemies using flash to close distance.



Flash E



Not exactly an amazing combo, but you should attempt it to catch an enemy further away, mostly if they are in a narrow area so they can't just simply side step it. E Nevermove is a very easy skillshot to dodge for most players, so best used on immobile champs. Just for clarity, E Nevermove > Flash does not extend the range of E.



E Flash



You'll be using E Nevermove, then Flashing to reposition as the E Nevermove is returning and catching enemies by surprise. Great for those clutch moments.



Massive AOE Slow - R > Flash > R2



If you ever want to engage on multiple enemies, use this. Best used when the rest of your team can follow up. Look for opportunities when enemies are bunched up, like around Baron and Dragon pits, or areas in the jungle.



Quick Burst - R > Flash > R2 > Q



For a small burst of quick damage from Demonflare and Q Death's Hand. Best to finish off enemies, using Flash to gap close. The closer you are, the more damage you can get from Q Death's Hand. This combo assumes you already have Demonic Ascension on, perhaps during a teamfight or skirmish, and now that 2 seconds have passed, you see an opportunity to quickly finish off an enemy further away with Demonflare and Q [death's hand]].





Item Combos


Full Ultimate Combo or Main Trade Combo then hit Zhonya's Hourglass


There isn't any optimal combo, as the Zhonya's Hourglass active is best used whenever you're at risk of dieing or being CC'd. The worst case is hitting Zhonya's Hourglass while you're full health and then having enemies run away. The best case is your about to die, but you're able to unload all your cooldowns, enter the safety of Zhonya's Hourglass stasis, then have enemies burn and die around you, then come out alive. With a full ultimate combo, you'll be healing and damaging enemies nearby while in Zhonya's Hourglass stasis.

EARLY GAME
Invading with Swain is recommended, and you'll want to take E Nevermove. It's quite a slow skillshot, so it's better as a follow up CC, after your teammate has landed theirs. If you end up having a lv 1 teamfight 5v5, Q Death's Hand is much better, for the AOE damage and low cooldown at such an early lvl, just make sure to AA as well. You'll want to start E Nevermove for most lanes, for the long range and chance to pick up soul fragments. Start to AA minions asap, especially against champs with strong waveclear. You can take Q Death's Hand at level 2 against melee champs, or W Vision of Empire against ranged champs. You can look for E > W combos. To save mana, only use W Vision of Empire if you land E Vision of Empire, as well as it having a big cooldown. At lv 3, go for E > W > Q combos. Look to all in most champs if you land 2 of these combos.

Mana can be an issue if start spamming E Nevermove and W Vision of Empire without it landing. Most of your mana problems will be over once you finish Lost Chapter. Pushing in waves early will help you get to fights in the jungler and river quicker. You'll have priority in those important skirmishes with your jungler. You may want to freeze waves if you want to encourage ganks. Try to chain CC with your jungler. Unless your confident you'll land E Nevermove or W Vision of Empire, let them use their CC first, then follow up.

Once you're lv 6, you don't need to push waves in as much and can look to freeze next to your tower. Apart from encouraging jungler ganks, it allows you to deal more damage in all ins with greater distance to chase enemies, as they're far from their tower. As already mentioned earlier, the longer you're in a fight, the more damage you can output with Q Death's Hand and Ultimate Demonic Ascension. Swain doesn't exactly have the best roams, however, he does have pressure in the river. Ward up and hang around areas other champs might look to roam and catch them out. You should be on the lookout, whether it's bot, top or in the jungle, to help your team with a long range W Vision of Empire, or even try to snipe a low hp enemy.

Skirmishes or teamfights around objectives like Herald or Dragon are perfect for Swain. There's more chance enemies will be bunched up, allowing you to deal aoe damage.


MID GAME
This is Swain's time to dominate. You'll usually have 2-3 AP items, which is more than enough to burst most squishies and even shred tanks, so be ready to catch out enemies. At this point, you should be looking to make picks with, or without your team. A single pick can really open up the game, giving your team the advantage to take objectives. This is also the time where you have amazing potential to 1v2 even 1v3, especially if you camp a brush and CC an enemy before they even have time to react. Even if you take out 2 enemies and get killed, it will hopefully allow for the rest of your team to pick up objectives and farm around the map. Fights around the river, jungle or epic monster pits, are great for Swain. There is plenty of brushes and lack of vision to catch players. Pick up a Control Ward and swap your trinket to Sweeping Lens for extra vision denial.

Swain has strong seiging and dive potential, especially with items like Zhonya's Hourglass and Spirit Visage. Look to engage, spam all abilities and then spam Zhonya's Hourglass when you start taking damage from enemies and the tower.

Sidelaning is a great option if your falling behind or just want some extra farm. You should be able to fight most enemies. Swain has greater potential to land abilities and deal more damage when he is being chased. Again, if you can attract 2 or more enemy players to deal with you, it might open up an opportunity for your team to take a dragon or even baron.



LATE GAME
A lot of the mid-game still applies to Late game with Swain. Most enemy teamcomps will have healing reduction at this point, so keep this in mind. Again, look for picks is one of your strengths, as a single pick with W Vision of Empire or E Nevermove can change an entire teamfight, and ultimately win you the game. Keep an eye on enemies who have flash or any important abilities on CD, as you'll have a greater chance to wipe them out early in a fight.

Like most Mages, you'll have a much harder time 1 shotting squishy champs, as they'll constantly be grouped and finish their survivability items. Again, fights around Barons and Elder Dragons are great since there's tight narrow areas and brushes to play around. Anytime you hit an E Nevermove, look to start a fight and engage.
Remember to finish with Void Staff if you're going to have any chance of chunking tanks who stack MR. However, if that's not a problem, focus on more AP items. If you're tank is lacking a tank, just focus on more defensive items, mentioned earlier, like Spirit Visage or Frozen Heart. You'll want to soak up pressure is some cases, so the rest of your carries can output damage safely.



TEAMFIGHTING
Swain excels in teamfights with plenty of AOE damage and CC. Chase down enemies, spam your Q Death's Hand and look to land W Vision of Empire and E Nevermove on fleeing enemies. It's important to stay close enough to enemies so you're Ultimate Demonic Ascension is constantly generating demonic energy, however, just jumping straight into 5 enemies will most likely get you killed. This changes when you have your defensive items, especially Zhonya's Hourglass.

Look to burst or atleast chunk enemies before a fight starts if possible. With 1 squishy dead, you'll now have a 5v4 advantage. Although not exactly easy to pull off, you'll want to aim all your basic abilities when enemies are bunched, for the AOE damage. Hitting 3 or more enemies can seriously turn most fights in your favor. Swain does a decent job of peeling, especially when you have a fed member on your team and you're slightly behind. Save your W Vision of Empire, E Nevermove and Demonflare for them. Some fights you'll want to simply stay back until you've landed a W Vision of Empire or E Nevermove, as mobile enemies can simply just escape if you just engage with your ultimate first. Swain does a solid job at cleaning up and finishing off low hp targets with your W Vision of Empire and E Nevermove.

Zoning with your W Vision of Empire can also prevent enemy carries from getting to close for a few seconds. Simply place them in tight areas, so they are slowed. If things turn bad quickly in a teamfight, for example, 2 of your carries get wiped out, just get out safely. Surviving allows you to waveclear and hopefully give your team a chance to stay in the game and win the next fight.
STRENGTHS


+ 1. Massive AOE
+ 2. Snowball Potential
+ 3. Dominates Teamfight
+ 4. Naturally Tanky
+ 5. Solid CC

1. With every single ability dealing AOE damage, you'll deal plenty of damage whenever enemies are bunched up. This also means he has great waveclear.
2. If you ever pick up 2 or more kills early on, you'll now have potential to 1v2 enemies. If they can't finish you off quickly enough, you'll be unkillable as you heal up using your passive and ultimate.
3. Leading on from the Massive AOE strength, is the ability to dominate teamfights. This is where Swain really shines. The more enemies nearby, the more damage and healing.
4. With a passive that heals and permanently stacks HP overtime, along with items that provide HP like Rylai's Crystal Scepter, Demonic Embrace, and even the defensive active from Zhonya's Hourglass, you'll become another tank on your team, except you'll be a much bigger threat. Complete items like Spirit Visage and you'll become unkillable.
5. With CC from 3 of your abilities, with E Nevermove technically having 2 (the root and pull), Swain is make picks and lockdown most enemies throughout the game.
WEAKNESSES


- 1. Mana Issues Early
- 2. Outranged
- 3. Skillshot Reliant
- 4. Mobile Champs
- 5. Crows Reveal Location

1. One of the main issues you'll find early when playing Swain, is that you'll go oom pretty quickly if you spam your abilities. If you're landing them consistently then that's no problem, as you might even pick up a kill.
2. Although his W Vision of Empire and E Nevermove have decent range, he still needs to get pretty close to deal the most damage from Q Death's Hand. Most mid lane mages will outrange you.
3. This is especially true with E Nevermove, which is fairly easy to dodge.
4. Enemies with dash or blinks can prevent you from ever getting close.
5. Although only a small issue, his crows will reveal his location, anytime you land W Vision of Empire from long range, as enemies will be able to estimate your whereabouts depending on where the crows travel. This can even get you killed late game if you try to catch enemies in dangerous areas, especially around baron or dragon.

Quick Solutions to Weaknesses

1. Choose your moments carefully. Wait until enemies are about to last hit a minion before you throw E Nevermove. Only go for W Vision of Empire if you're E Nevermove lands. Don't use Q Death's Hand on the minion wave early unless it's to finish off 2 or more minions, or you're going back to base anyway. If you still have mana problems early, check out the rune section for more options.
2. Against those long range poke champs, make sure to pick up early Boots when possible. Pick up runes for sustain. Even consider Teleport as a rune against long range champs you'll rarely be close enough to Ignite.
3. There is an interesting quality to note about his E Nevermove. Landing the Root is actually easiest when enemies are at the maximum range. Enemies in your face will have a much easier time dodging the 2nd part of E Nevermove, as it has to travel all the way back. Use the E Nevermove> Flash combo if you need to reposition. Check out the tips & tricks mentioned earlier, and combos to increase your chance to land these important abilities.
4. You'll be forced to go for W Vision of Empire or E Nevermove only when they have used their dash or blink. Items like Rylai's Crystal Scepter could be useful, as the slow will make it easier to land your long cast time abilities.
5. There's no real solution to this, as it's essentially punishing you for landing a skillshot, but it's important to know it exists.

Most tips from this guide can be applied, but let's cover specific tips for Top Lane.

Since you'll be against most melee matchups, you should look to start Q Death's Hand.
Just like Midlane, Conqueror and Phase Rush are optimal runes to choose from. If you want damage and sustain, which is probably best against most top laners, take Conqueror. Otherwise, if they're squishy and mobile, for example a Vayne top, take Phase Rush, for the chase potential.
Teleport is best taken as your second summoner spell, for the safety it provides to come back to recover from any bad trades or deaths, as well as the global pressure it has. Unleashed Teleport after 14 minutes will become critical when it comes to joining fights while you're split pushing.
You can even take Ghost Teleport if you don't feel the need for Flash. Ghost will help with the important goal of staying close to enemies while your ultimate Demonic Ascension is active.
Lanes will be way more punishing, and you have close to zero escapes. Unless you land W Vision of Empire and E Nevermove to peel enemies away, you're chances of surviving are close to none.
You'll also be a target for dives. Early Stopwatch or picking up some defensive stats like Plated Steelcaps against heavy AD, could help sustain you through a dive. Defensive runes from Resolve as your second page is recommended.
Look to join skirmishes with your jungler when possible. Try to chain CC with your junglers, and as always, its best they land theirs first, as W Vision of Empire and E Nevermove are quite slow and easy to dodge.
Take Rift Herald with your jungler when there's an opening.
At lv 6 you're a much bigger threat and most of the lane vulnerabilities are gone. Even dives are risky for enemy teams.
You should only look to Teleport to Dragon if the enemy top laner has also teleported down, AND you are confident you can win the fight. Otherwise, ping your teammates back and just take tower platings. An early dragon is not worth risking the loss of multiple waves and tower platings.
Be on the lookout to use your W Vision of Empire to scout for junglers and on enemy midlaners.




Pick up the Electrocute rune and Start with Spellthief's Edge.
Poke consistently to proc your Spellthief's Edge passive, until you have 500 stacks to place Vision Ward. You'll then want to switch your ward trinket, for Sweeping Lens. Pick up a Control Ward when you can as well.
Look to poke enemies with E Nevermove. Try to synergise with your ADC. If they have slows or hard cc, use it to land an E > W > Q combo.
Use your W Vision of Empire to check for enemy jungler ganks in the tri or river brush, or see if the enemy botlane has placed their Control Ward's in the tri brush.
Your main goal should be to pressure and poke enemies, so your adc can feel safe to walk up and CS. Even just walking back and forth can force enemies to back off, as they'll be anticipating your next E Nevermove.
At lv 6, you'll want to initiate with an E Nevermove, then ultimate Demonic Ascension. You should be the frontline and let your adc feel safe.
Anytime your adc is focused, look to use your W Vision of Empire, E Nevermove and Demonflare for peel.
Look to use W Vision of Empire to scout for junglers and use it on the enemy midlaner.
Join skirmishes around dragon and river when possible.
Remember, with less gold and experience, you'll behind on items in general, unless you snowball lane, so you're ability to just go in and sustain will be a lot weaker. You can still go in pretty deep during teamfights, but only after another teammate has engaged.








Basically follow this entire guide from builds to gameplay. Except now you'll have a teammate in lane. You'll really dominate lanes with heavy CC champs like Alistar. Just time your CC after theirs, or you'll have the worst case happen, where he'll W Headbutt enemies out of your W Vision of Empire or E Nevermove. This is the same with hook champs like Blitzcrank and Thresh.
I'm currently working on making guides of all the Champs I've played over the years. Appreciate the time you've taken to read upto this point and please leave any feedback. If the guide has helped you or you've simply enjoyed it, consider giving it a like or just a quick comment to let me know! Good luck in your ranked games and see you in the next guide! For all video guides w/ gameplay examples, check out my Youtube.
League of Legends Build Guide Author Zoose
Zoose Swain Guide
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[12.15] Swain Mid Ultimate Guide - Top, Bot & Support also covered

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