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Swain Build Guide by Razsagoth
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I am a long time League of Legends veteran player, I've been playing since Season 1, my highest rating has been somewhere in mid Platinum due to not having enough time to pump into ranking up. I have lived in the jungle of the Rift for about 3 seasons now, man has it grown.I am also happily married. I plan on reaching at least Diamond this season (current season 8), as soon as my 4 months old son gives me the time to do so hehe, but for now a couple of games a day shall suffice. My current jungle main is Warwick and my go-to secondary junglers are Skarner , Swain ,Udyr and Kayn.
Now about our jungler ,Swain, can be played in the jungle as a Tank dishing out magic damage if your team's in need of one ,if your team lacks an ability power magic damage dealer, play him as an AP carry, and enjoy the results as you maw down the enemy team. Think of jungle Swain as a Tank Gragas or how Tank Elise used to be back in its days of glory.
This is my first guide, so try to be patient with me in the comment section.
Note: Make sure to always read the Guide Update Notes down bellow to always know what has recently changed in the Guide. Also please feel free to ask questions in the Discussions section of the guide regarding Swain,his builds or this "Guide" as I am open to all.
Always max Death's Hand (Q) first because of it's low base cooldown at max rank being at 2.38s. This is your primary source of damage.This ability also acts like a shotgun so in order to get the maximum amount of damage you need to basically be in melee.
Max Nevermove(E) second ,never Vision of Empire(W), because it's the best choice out of the two due to W having a high cooldown and it's slow meaning it's easier to dodge.This ability always grants a little bit of vision when it hits ,so it can be used to scout for jungle camps or the enemy jungler.
Vision of Empire(W) should always be your last ability to max due to it being hard to hit with.
Put a point in your ultimate Demonic Ascension(R) when you have the level for it.
Sorcery + INSPIRATION give us +12 attack damage or +20 ability power, adaptive.
Our first rune path is the Sorcery path:
We want Phase Rush as it maximizes our damage in a fight together with Nimbus Cloak , Celerity and Waterwalking for maximum damage and mobility during fights and river control.
Recent changes to the runes give us some flexibility on Swain but this is ,in my opinion, the best way for him to jungle efficiently and be viable in fights.
Phase Rush gives us movement speed after 3 unique separate attacks on an enemy champion while Nimbus Cloak gives us a movement speed boost after activating our ultimate. Celerity, while it's true that the movement speed % was nerfed, the AD/AP it gives was buffed by a lot so this is the best rune for Swain,and most champions really, due to synergy with all the movement speed we're going to get from all our other runes and also Spellbinder. Phase Rush together with Nimbus Cloak are the main focus here as they're going to be increasing our damage output by a lot during the bursts of movement speed we're going to get while fighting due to the AP increase from Celerity.
In the Inspiration path we're taking Cosmic Insight due to recent cooldown nerfs on Swain's Q Death's Hand and it also helps with our ultimate R Demonic Ascension.
Magical Footwear is just another juicy rune due to synergy with all the movement speed we get and also, it's a free pair of boots with even more movement speed, who can say no to that? This is also the best rune as we're not going to need Stopwatch until later into the game.
You start with Blue buff as your first jungle camp because of the need to spam abilities since your basic attacks are slow to begin with. Second camp should always be the Gromp and skip Wolves for Red buff because the enemy jungler might try to steal it.
Note: Ask your team to ward your red buff if you do start with your blue.
Note2: If you're confident and have a decent team to pull for you , start red buff and don't use your Q more than twice, don't smite, rush at Blue then clear that side of the jungle and Recall.
Alternate start as of "Guide Update 2": Swain can now also start easily with his Red Buff to prevent enemy junglers from stealing it and securing himself a safe jungle clear. Raptors are not recommended as a secondary camp to clear as they are hard to deal with at this level, skip them and go directly to Wolves then Blue buff as this is an easier and safer route.
Pay attention to gank opportunities,Swain has little to no CC and as with every jungler that doesn't have much CC you need your allies to provide them for you, unless you can hit your E and pull them towards you ,then Smite-slow them with Chilling Smite from a Stalker's Blade upgrade.
Note3: Your W is hard to hit because it's very easy to dodge due to it being a slow ability to pop off, this makes it unreliable but you can still apply pressure with it from within the jungle due to it's long range ;it can also be used for sieging turrets.
Swain is a durable champion, usually you're not the one starting a teamfight due to your lack of hard CC; you want at least one team member to have hard CC abilities, like Leona , or Malphite for example. As a Swain you want to dive in the middle of a teamfight, be prepared for death and face it with dignity as you maw down the entire enemy team with your Demonic Ascension(R).
Note4: Dying 1 for 3-5 is always good, look at it as a win because it is.
- Really low cooldown on our (Q)
- You can pull champion closer to you for a small distance if they're immobilized
- (E) is also a root on the return hit
- Your ultimate has in-built life sustain, hits 3 champions,does sustained damage and also has a burst of damage at the end based on the number of Soul Fragments and AP you have
- Strong teamfight presence
- Once you're hit by (E) it's extremely hard to escape from him
- Has no escape ability
- Usually wants to be in the middle of the enemy team to get the most out of his ultimate
- Can't contest Dragon's and Baron's easily
Update 1 (8/02/2018)
- Biscuit Delivery has been switched out with Future's Market in the Inspiration Tree
This switch was bound to happen, in order to give Swain a better,stronger and earlier mid-game power spike due to Swain being weaker than expected in the jungle due to lack of sustained healing.
Update 2 (10/02/2018)
- Runes Chapter updated - details on newly added runes
- The Sorcery path has been completely removed and switched with the Precision path due to the added +20% Attack Speed increase it gives us for a healthier jungle sustain and faster clear, this now makes Swain a true "META Jungler" as it allows him to keep up better and stay strong;
- Hextech Gunblade is now a HIGH PRIORITY Core Item due to the added extra sustain and power it gives Swain in the jungle with the extra +20% Attack Speed increase from the Precision path, also this allows us to gank better due to the item's Active Effect which allows us to slow our target and collapse onto it be it in a 1v1,a gank or a teamfight scenario
- Mercury's Threads removed from Boot Choices as the newly added LEGEND: Tenacity rune gives us a stacking tenacity bonus which means having both would be a bit overkill
- Updated Pros/Cons section
- Updated item builds for the newly added runes
- Hunter's Machete now added as a First Buy in place of Hunter's Talisman
- Updated Core Items
- Added Runic Echoes enchantment for the jungle item as with the newly added attack speed it helps Swain reach new hights
- Added new jungle path
- Updated Introduction (12/02/2018)
Update 3 patch 8.4 (3/3/2018)
- Updated Rune paths and explanation
- Updated Items - The new buffs and additions to the ability power items are a direct buff to our build
- Swain has now become a strong pick as of this patch , decent first clear and strong presence on the map, extremely good early-mid game damage and strong late game
Update 4 Patch 8.7 (4/4/2018) - Wanted to let everyone know that this still works and is as strong as ever, especially with all the buffs Swain has been receiving over the patches, and the damage+cdr nerf on his Q this patch doesn't affect us much in the jungle as we're using more basic attacks than spells for our first clear anyway
- Waterwalking has been switched out in favor of Gathering Storm
- Updated Pros/Cons section
Update 5 Patch 8.13 (7/6/2018)
- Rune paths changed
- Runes switched to better suit the current meta
- Jungle Swain is still an extremely viable pick, you still need a team though
- Added some situational items into the mix