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Swain Build Guide by bonehead80

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.

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League of Legends Build Guide Author bonehead80

Did my bird just %^&^ on you? "- Swain -"

bonehead80 Last updated on September 30, 2011
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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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 9

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

Expanded Mind
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 21

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The feathered phenom, Master Swain is ready to bring the pain.

Are you ready to soar above your opponents, and drop your bird splat until they flee in terror? They cant flee, they can . Get ready to peck some eyes out.

Swain is one of my favorite champs. When they first came out with him, I tried him the free week, and he sucked horribly. Good thing Riot pays attention, because they fixed him and now he rocks. He is a semi-tanky mage with nice dot damage output. You are still a MAGE though, dont rush into 3+ people, or you will find that out really fast.

He is a great mid laner, but can do fine in any lane. Once you get the hang of his playstyle, he pulls some jaw dropping kill streaks and escapes from certain death.

He is very good at staying in lane because of his passive

Hopefully this guide will help others pull this champ out of the nursing home, and get his dusty behind back in the action.

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Basic Nuker masteries nothing special here. Feel free to customize to your style on the utility tree. I did the math 4/4 in adds 182 mana for this item build, which is only 5.46 AP from archangels staff. I think 3MP regen per 5 is a better choice. so Ill stick with 3/3 Swap a point for if you prefer it.

yeah you are a slow old man, you need all the help you can get.

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My preference is shown above. Other viable options include ]

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I know my starting items aren't how most guides start a AP character. I like some health regen before I get my ult & Swain isn't that amazing before lvl 6. With that said, I prefer to start with and build it into a Philosopher's Stone and on my first trip back. Philo Stone is only 365 more gold and will pay for itself quickly. That is unless I have a really good start and can get a as well. If you prefer a Catalyst the Protector to get a rush on your feel free to do so. Other viable starting items include or I switch up between getting RoA or Archangels first (probably for the same reason I'm not married..... I like change).
to finish of this build i usually use a combo of 2 out of these 3 items. I usually build either or next depending on how the game is going. I usually build a Zhonya's Hourglass last. The active is AMAZING on Swain continues to damage enemies and heal you while you are untouchable for 2 seconds. It is your get out of jail free card, if u get caught a second before your team is there. Rylai's slow is amazing, nuff said. Banshee's passive is great and the little mana boost adds a little AP because of

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Other Viable Items

Optional choices include nice to have extra Mag Pen with , but getting CC'd sucks and Swain isn't great at escapes.
Can be amazing once you are confident in your ability to play the Bird Man well. I would build this as a second item, right after RoA or Archangel's (whichever you built first).

Other items you could use, based on your playstyle would be

Can be a good item vs a high HP team, especially if you use the active after
Some people like healing items like or on him. I think that more AP = more healing anyways, but to each their own.

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Read this skill carefully and u will notice that you should multiply what the damage and AP% ratio actually say by 3x. That is if the enemy stays in raneg for all 3 seconds. Nice for the slow, helps to land but the bird stays when you place it and good players will run out of its range quickly. I take one point in it at lvl 2 or 4 depending on who i am laning against, and then swap between Nevermove and Decrepify once Torment is maxed.
Great AOE snare with good range good for farming minions. Helps to initiate or escape. Longest CD for any of Swain's abilities. Cant tell you how many times this ability has snared 2 or 3 people chasing me.
Swains best damaging ability. Max it first, love it. Try to use it as an opener for your skill combo. Don't get stuck into feeling you must start your combo with it though. You don't want to be predictable, and its range isn't amazing.
Amazing Ultimate. They recently made a change to this skill, it used to do 50% heal against all targets. So now you dont heal as much from minions(25%). Good thing you totally rip it up in teamfights now (75%) from champs. It is a toggle spell so dont waste mana by trying to heal off of 1 or 2 minions, it will drain your mana and leave you OOM and dead.

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Pro's & Con's

High damage output
Has 2 CC's (crowd control) abilities
Very nice passive helps you stay in lane longer.
Not as squishy as most mages (ex. Annie or Malzahar)
A caster with self healing and mana regen. What else could you want?
Ultimate has a very short CD

Focused in team fights (especially if you steamroll early)
Not great at escaping death (many other characters are worse)

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Summoner Spells

My personal preference for Swain is
I love flash and use it on almost every champion.
Ignite, I guess you could argue against, but when your adds extra damage to it. I can't see getting rid of it.

If you were going to replace either of these I would hope it would only be for one of these 3 spells

Exhaust: can shut down and AD champ that gets up in your face.
Teleport: helps map control, but not sure a carry should be the one with it.
Clarity: If you have played other casters, keeping Swain's mana up should seem easy in comparison.

I guess can be helpful with all the people like me that run ignite.
Ignite shuts down your ult's heal pretty badly.

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Tips & hints

My personal favorite skill combo to use is E,Q,W,R If you are fed, they are dead. If not so fed, is will still drop about 50-75% hp from most squishies.

Torment makes ignite better.

Once u get first main item or try to get golem buff whenever possible. Golem buff = more time with your ult toggled on. Which can get you kills and/or save your life. Try to predict the movement of your opponents, and you will get good at landing as an opener instead of having to slow them first with As with any champ, you need a bit of time with your character to know when you should stay in a fight, or get the hell out. Swain is pretty godly when played right, but no character is Superman. I guess that crazy bastard Mundo kind of is, when his ult is on.

In team fights, knowing when to toggle your ult on and off is KEY to playing Swain well. If you get focused (CC'd) before you pop your ult you will probably die. If you turn it off mid team fight and the focus turns to you, you will probably die. Try to time it just before any CC comes flying at you. If the team fight goes too long, turn it off once you are out of harm's way, wait for CD then come back in with your birds blazin.

I welcome any constructive criticism. If you have questions or comments please post them.