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Swain General Guide by SlayFilet

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League of Legends Build Guide Author SlayFilet

Enemy Has Been Swain ~ Secrets of the Bird

SlayFilet Last updated on January 30, 2013
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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.



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 0


Utility: 9

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Hello and welcome to my first guide on mobafire. I would like to share my knowledge on one of, if not my favorite, champions in the League of Legends. Swain, the Master Tactician, is one of those champions that is easy to get the hang of, but hard to become a "Master" with. He is an exceptionally tanky mage with the ability to deal heavy DPS and devastate the enemy team. Swain can be used in a variety of ways to wreak havoc to the enemy team and in this guide I will show you some of the many ways you can achieve this yourself. As a side note - I AM STILL WORKING ON THIS BUILD. Please feel free to leave me any comments or concerns you may have and thank you for reading.

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Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Seal of Scaling Armor

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration is used to penetrate any of the enemy's magic resist. This is useful throughout early to late game and makes your abilities hit harder.

Greater Seal of Scaling Armor is used to scale into late game and make swain tankier against the enemy ad carries and bruisers. This can be very useful in team fights and lets you take a lot of damage you wouldnt be able to without these runes.

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist is used early game to resist most of the enemy AP Mid's poke. This can be used for sustain in lane and is very helpful to not get crushed by some strong burst champions.

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power is used as your main buff to all of your skills that scale of ability power. This extra damage can be enough to kill your lane opponent or at least shove them out of lane and make them back. This is great for early game harass.

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These are standard ability power mid lane masteries that provide the most damage output as well as good utility. These are common masteries and are used quite often, but if you would like to be the tank on the team, you can put more points into the defensive tree as another option.

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sight ward
Crystalline Flask paired with one Health Potion and one sight ward will be your three start up items. The Health Potion and Crystalline Flask are mostly used for staying in lane as long as possible with the most survivability. One sight ward should always be purchased to prevent early ganks, especially against early agressive junglers.

catalyst the protector
The main purpose of your start-up items is to stay in lane as long as possible and farm creeps. A Rod of Ages is one of the strongest items in your build. It provides, health, mana, and ability power and scales over time. All of which, are a NECESSITY for swain. At first back, make sure you can at least purchase catalyst the protector , Boots of Speed and another sight ward .

By this time you should be around level 8 or 9 or even higher. Combined with the spell vamp offered by your ultimate and with good farm, you should be on track towards a Rabadon's Deathcap. This will give you that incredibly devestating extra AP and can completely turn a fight in your favor. This is one of your core items, and is even better with its passive scaling with more AP added later. a Zhonya's Hourglass is a great tool to staying alive in team fights. Not only does it offer amazing armor and ability power, but its active, coupled with your ultimate can turn the tide of a fight. Activating Ravenous Flock before you activate Zhonya's Hourglass can completely heal your champion and put him in statis for 2.5 seconds, unable to be attacked, yet still dealing damage with Ravenous Flock. Soon after, Hextech Revolver can be purchased which will even further your ability power and survivability while adding an amazing spell vamp buff which is even stronger when combined with Ravenous Flock

To finish off your build, Void Staff adds even more ability power as well as 35% magic penetration to further your damage output and lower the enemies MR. Will of the Ancients is great coupled with your ultimate, and adds max survivability and spell vamp. Its also very beneficial if you have multiple ability power champs on your team. Elixer of brilliance or any buff you purchase can once you have a full build is always a great option. The AP boost and CDR can mean the difference between winning or losing a team fight, and overall the game.

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Skill Sequence

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Carrion Renewal is a perfect passive for swain. Naturally, swain runs out of mana quickly and is VERY mana dependent post-6. By last hitting minions (which you should be doing anyways), swain recovers a decent amount of mana scaling per level. This can also help your jungler because you may not even need blue if you are properly laning.

Decrepify is your slow. It does subpar damage, which is why I max it last, but it does provide a good tool to slow them right into your snare. This is a DPS skill and the enemy can walk out of range of this skill so be smart when casting it.

Nevermove is an amazing ability. This is your "bread". It provides suprising damage if landed, and roots the enemy for 2 seconds. This, coupled with a gank from your jungler, will almost certainly guarantee a kill. Not to mention, farming with this ability is a breeze. After leveling up this skill a few times and gaining some AP, this skill can take out an entire creep wave if placed properly.

Torment is also a fantastic ability. This is your "butter". This ability is used to poke the enemy laner with damage over time. It also raises the damage all of your other skills do by up to 20% at max level. This can get kills. Easily. Mark the enemy with this skill, place a slow on them, snare them, while having ultimate up and they're health is automatically at zero. -This ability also raises the damage of summoner spells, like ignite, and autoattacks-

Ravenous Flock is what makes swain, swain. If Nevermove is your bread, and Torment is your butter, this is the steak dinner. This is a toggle on/off ultimate that transforms swain into a bird that sends out ravens to attack the enemy and steal they're health. Although this is an amazing ability, this destroys your mana bar and has a couple second cooldown so be careful when you use it. This is great for faming as well as using spellvamp to gain back some health lost.

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Ignite is extremely useful to finish off champions, and coupled with Torment actually does a significant amount of damage. Adding ignite into your combo can finish off an enemy that would have gotten away without it.

Flash is the spell that everyone keeps close to heart. Its the difference between securing a kill or not, getting away from a gank, and dodging skill shots that would have killed you without it. This is usually a necessity on almost every champion.

Exhaust is another good spell, but I personally think its a waste on swain. Swain already has a slow built in and Ignite is just a better choice.

Ghost is a viable option instead of flash, but it lacks the utility of doing some crazy flashes over walls to get away. Ghost is best used for some junglers like Hecarim or on counter pushers like Fiora.

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Pros / Cons

+Swain's Decrepify and Nevermove is amazing for catching retreating enemies.
+Amazing farming abilities
+Never ending sustain post-6, can literally STAY IN LANE FOREVER
+Great nuking ability which astonishes the enemy

-Lacks mobility and is very slow
-Easy to be good with, hard to master
-Very short ranged spells and requires good positioning
-Requires you to land Nevermove which is a skillshot
-Crippled by ignite

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Team Work

Swain is amazing in team fights because he can be used for in a variety of ways. Nevermove can snare an enemy that gets caught out of the position and can easily turn a 5v5 into a 4v5. His abilities can also be used to nuke the enemy AD carry and AP carry with amazing effect. He can also be used as a somewhat offtank because of his naturally high health and amazing spell vamp. Make sure to toggle on Ravenous Flock when entering in to a team fight to deal maximum damage to multiple targets while healing the whole time. -Remember, Swain may be a bird, but he is not invincible. Do not engage an entire team alone without back up from his team-

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Viable Teammates

Swain pairs well with almost any team, but there are a few individual champions that, when paired with swain, truly shine. Maokai jungle and swain mid works perfectly. Maokai's Twisted Advance jumps to the enemy and roots them in place. This can be followed up by a Nevermove then a full out combo by both junger and mid lane and almost certainly guarentees a kill every time. Taric is also a very strong choice when playing with swain. His main skill, Dazzle stuns the enemy in place and makes it so easy for swain to land Nevermove and pull off a full combo.

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WATCH OUT! ~ Counter Picks

Swain is an excellent mid laner and can out lane any mid laner when played right, but there are a few champions that makes it hard to do that. Fizz is a hard counter for swain because he can jump dodge Nevermove easily and quickly get out of Decrepify with his amazing movement speed. Also, Seastone Trident activates grievous wounds and cripples the spell vamp on swain's ultimate.
Cassiopeia is also a good counter to swain because she can deal out more DPS then swain if either full on engages and her ultimate is INSANELY OP. Viktor is said to be a hard counter to swain because of his laser and long range skills. The key to this is dodging his lasers as best as possible, building some early MR, then owning him post-6.

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Thank you for reading my guide on one of my favorite champions in league of legends. Its been a pleasure writing this because I want everyone to experience just how fun the Master Tactician can be. Its quite funny when a low health jungler and mid laner turret dives you only for you to turn on Ravenous Flock and soak up all their damage and watch them die. I hope you all have fun playing swain and if you have any questions for me, please dont be afraid to ask. If you are thinking about downvoting, please try my guide out a few times and see how you like it. If you still don't think my build is perfect, please leave a comment and tell me why you didn't like my guide. After all, my purpose is to perfect this guide to be the very best and most instructive for everyone reading.


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