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Swain Build Guide by YourCut

Support S11 Swain Support Guide

Support S11 Swain Support Guide

Updated on January 28, 2021
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League of Legends Build Guide Author YourCut Build Guide By YourCut 28 0 48,045 Views 1 Comments
28 0 48,045 Views 1 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author YourCut Swain Build Guide By YourCut Updated on January 28, 2021
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Runes: Conq+Dom: The 1v9

1 2 3 4 5 6
Presence of Mind
Legend: Tenacity
Coup de Grace

Taste of Blood
Ravenous Hunter

+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+6 Armor


1 2 3
Default Flash+Ign
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite


Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
Extreme Major Even Minor Tiny
Show All
None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies
Ideal Strong Ok Low None

Champion Build Guide

S11 Swain Support Guide

By YourCut
Why Swain?
So let's ask the big question first: Why play Swain? What makes him a worthwhile pick? Well, as of patch 11.2, he's one of the stronger champions in the game and a very oppressive support into most meta picks. He's an amazing counterpick, a very versatile flex pick (Playable in Toplane, but strongest Mid, APC and Support), has extreme 1v9 potential and provides a one-of-a-kind experience ranging from his Battlemage playstyle to his absolutely unique utility through his W. His kit is extremely satisfying and is a very rewarding champion to master.

Swain's individual spells and the best way to use them + runes explained
Pros and Cons
Swain's biggest strengths and most exploitable weaknesses
Swain's trading patterns, ideal spell usage after first rotation
Swain's passive is Ravenous Flock. This is a 2 part passive. I'll start with Flock as it plays a part in Ravenous.
    Flock: Enemy champions leave Soul Fragments behind when dying. If Swain gets close to these Soul Fragments, he absorbs them. This heals him for 4-7% of his max HP and gives him 5 bonus HP permanently.
    Ravenous: Swain can click on immobilized enemy champions to pull them 290 units closer and deal a bit of damage to them. Activating Ravenous grants Swain a Soul Fragment.

Soul Fragments are Swain's bread and butter. As his health per level is rather low, he's very reliant on obtaining these Soul Fragments to scale hard into the lategame. And he scales hard, given he's played well. Important thing to remember now, Soul Fragments heal Swain even in stasis, just like Vladimir R would.

The best way to use your passive is going to depend on the state your game is in. Generally, you shouldn't use it if you know you're going to get a gank, since it reduces your follow up.
In teamfights, you're going to have to decide who the number 1 priority on your team is. If you have some AoE hard CC like Aatrox Q's, you should try to wait until the priority target gets knocked up. Your passive is extended to 0.5 seconds in duration no matter what so you can easily target the enemy carry to pull them in. Your pull brings them very close to max E range.

Swain's Q is Death's hand :
    It shoots 5 bolts of eldritch power in a cone, each dealing damage. Enemies can be hit by multiple bolts and they take extra damage.
This is your main spell as Swain. The cooldown goes from 9 seconds to 3 while maxing, and this is what makes you such a strong Battlemage. You can fire these mini-nukes every 2 seconds and absolutely obliterate people with them.

There's no specific way that'd make using Death's Hand more optimal than others. Since the bolts collide where Swain stands, it pretty much deals more damage the closer you are to your enemies. Keep in mind though, these are lasers. Yasuo and Samira W do not interact at all with this spell.

Swain's W is Vision of Empire :
    Vision of Empire is a very large range (almost global by level 13) AoE nuke. It reveals a target area for 2 seconds. After 1.5 seconds, an explosion occurs, dealing a massive amount of magic damage, slowing enemies, revealing all neutral or enemy units hit and slowing them by a significant amount.

    Champions hit by Vision of Empire get revealed for up to 8 seconds and Swain gets a Soul Fragment for every enemy champion hit.
This is my favorite spell in Swain's kit, just because of its versatility. It deals heavy magic damage from midgame and slows for a huge amount, making it an amazing zoning tool.

You can help allies escape from danger by forcing enemies to take a detour, you can prevent enemies from escaping in a straight line by placing W to cut them off, you can place W on multiple enemy champions in a teamfight, activate Zhonya's and watch as they heal you to full, use it to check objectives across the map, check the enemy jungle without ever leaving lane, check brushes without actually having to facecheck, cancel backs, confirm kills and really anything you can think of.

This spell is one of the most versatile and one of the strongest in the game.

Swain's E is Nevermove . This spell makes his entire kit all come together:
    Nevermove is a projectile fired from Swain. This projectile flies a fixed distance and deals some damage to enemies it passes through. Once this fixed distance is reached, it'll turn back and go back to Swain. If it connects with an enemy on its way back to Swain, it'll detonate, dealing damage again and rooting in a small AoE.
This ability is what makes Swain's laning phase so dominant. It has decently high base damage especially level 1, and effectively it gives Swain 3 ways to deal AP damage from the first minute of the game. If placed perfectly, his level 1 E+Passive combo (much more on this later) will deal around 100 damage completely on its own.

Swain's Ultimate is Demonic Ascension . This is the spell that makes Swain an amazing frontline carry Battlemage.
    Swain frees the demon within him for 12 seconds, healing himself for a certain amount, becoming ghosted and gaining a draining aura. In this aura, all non-ally units are drained, healing Swain (reduced for minions and monsters). After 0.5 seconds, Swain can recast his ultimate to cast Demonflare. Demonflare is an AoE nuke that deals massive magic damage based on how much Swain has healed from his Ultimate. Demonflare is automatically cast at the end of Demonic Ascension's duration.
The longer the game goes, the more crazy Swain's healing gets. While he is no Vladimir in terms of instantaneous nuke, he is even more crazily sustainable in a teamfight than Vlad is. If Swain can just live long enough to get into the enemy team, Ult, then use Zhonya's once he gets low, he becomes nearly immortal. You can use his Ult just as a healing tool if you're the frontline or as a nuke if you're also a/the carry.

Keep in mind that as I've said, Soul Fragments heal him in stasis too, meaning that the more enemies die around him, the more instantaneous bursts of health he gets. Support or not, Swain scales like crazy. If you let him get level 16, there's pretty much no winning outright 5v5s ever again.

So that's Swain's abilities explained, but what about runes? Well, there's 2 main paths you can take. Electrocute or Conqueror.
    Electrocute gives you these extremely cancerous short trades from level 1. Your level 1 is also the most important stage of the first 20-30 minutes of the game. To just lightly touch upon why Electro is good on Swain, you can proc it level 1 in under 1 second. That combo will deal roughly 250-350 damage.

    -Secondary choices are simple: Presence of Mind and Coup de Grace for the meatiest trades possible, Biscuits and Stopwatch into lanes where you're going to chunk the enemy multiple times before a kill, Second Wind Revitalize if you get Seraphine and Nimbus Transcendence if you're going to be 100 to 0-ing multiple enemy champions one after another.
    Conqueror is your lategame scaling option. It gives Swain everything he needs for the 1v9. Presence of Mind for infinite mana, Legend: Tenacity to allow him to be in melee range of 5 enemies and Coup de Grace/Last Stand (depending on if you have other frontline or not) lets him either absolutely obliterate enemies so he can stay alive thanks to Soul Fragments or Last Stand so he can clutch it out until an enemy finally dies.

    -Secondary choices are simple once again: Taste of Blood and Ravenous Hunter into most lanes (ToB can be swapped for Cheap Shot into free lanes), or you can opt for the more 5v5 carry oriented Manaflow/Nimbus and Transcendence. Only take the second option here if you trust your team, you can't 1v9 with this rune page unless ridiculously ahead. This snowballs hard and works very well with other snowballed allies but its worthless when behind.
Pros and Cons
+ Moderate skill floor, rather accessible.
+ Easy to follow learning curve, taking the next step is never too difficult.
+ Extremely strong in the current meta and a powerful carry.
+ Not hard to transfer skills from one role to another, makes mid/APC Swain much easier to pick up.
+ Great gank setup and follow-up.
+ Versatile, multiple available playstyles. Apparent in amount of rune choices.
+ Great DuoQ champion with pretty much any role.

Swain is an extremely powerful Battlemage in the current meta. He's very strong against tanks and bruisers due to his usage of Conqueror, Liandry's Anguish and Demonic Embrace, and all AoE abilites letting him apply Grievous Wounds easily.
He's a very prominent champion in the early, and lategame. Swain is the definition of a scaling lane bully. When played well, he can literally win a 1v5 even while having an item slot wasted by Relic Shield/Shard of True Ice.
Swain is also very good when paired with strong carry top laners, as Swain pretty much forces the entire game to be played around bot, one team because the game is won with a snowballing ADC and APC, the other because they have to prevent this snowball from getting started. He's a very prominent DuoQ pick, as he has amazing combos with numerous ADCs, Junglers and some top laners.
- Lack of mobility.
- Can be snowball reliant.
- Extremely low range, hard countered by high range champions.
- Not a great blind pick.
- Harder the higher you climb with him.
- Taking the wrong runes will cost the game most of the time.
- Isn't the best at playing around a hard carry besides himself.
- Isn't a good primary engage champion.
- Needs a source of income, mage items are expensive.
- Has an extremely strange power curve which takes getting used to, similar to Camille (strong very early on, weaker midgame and a strong late).

That botlane focus I mentioned earlier doesn't always benefit Swain though. He's very susceptible to ganks from junglers who aren't even the best gankers such as Olaf, because he's a slow champion with 0 escape tools. When put behind, which can be done by just picking Seraphine for example, he's going to have a hard time coming back in the game.
One thing very unique to Swain is how necessary it is to take the correct runes. You're going to have to understand his rune theory extremely well to win consistently. Taking the wrong runes, such as Electro into a Conqueror game will not only lose games, but highlight that aforementioned strange power curve as well, where he dominates level 1-3, then 6, then falls off if not snowballing until 11-13.
Let's start with the most basic of combos and we'll slowly build into more and more complex combos. (P stand for Passive, AA for Autoattack)
Basic combos:
    The basic: E+AA+P.
+ This is your bread and butter default combo from level 1. If you have Electrocute, you can chunk enemies with this. If not, you can still get 5 Conqueror stacks from this tiny combo.
    Level 2: Death's hand: E+AA+P+Q+AA.
+ + This is about as extended as your combo can get with Q level 2. This is either a huge Electro proc or 8 Conqueror stacks.
    Level 2: Vision of Empire: E+W+P+AA+AA.
+ + Generally this combo is going to take a couple of tries to master as the timing is important. You're going to want to use your Passive the last possible second before your root wears off to pull enemies into your W. This is going to allow you to actually extend the CC duration and 100% ensure your W connects. This is an Electro only combo, so only do it when taking Electro.
    Level 3: Full combo: E+AA(cancel)+Q+W+P+AA+AA.
+ + + This combo deals massive damage. You can cancel your AA animation halfway through with Q, so you're going to want to do that to maximize damage output, although it is quite difficult and mostly unnecessary. This combo already almost gets you to a procced Conqueror at only level 3. Most champions don't get to do that.
    Post-6: Your defaut combo becomes pretty simple at this point. E+Q+W+P+Q.
+ + + + Depending on the stage of the game, your CDR will change due to Liandry's Mythic passive. Squeeze in AAs every time you have downtime between your spells.

    The simplest Flash combo: Flash+E
+ . You should do this if you can already tell that your target is going to be able to dodge your E. Not extremely hard but you should get a feel for it in practice tool before ranked.
    Long hands: E+Flash
+ While this might sound like the one I mentioned just a moment ago, it serves a completely different purpose. The previous combo changes the trajectory of Nevermove. This doesn't. This simply makes it reach further. It could be game losing to mix them up.
    A solo Flash combo:E+Flash+P+Q
+ + + Nothing especially outstanding, you fire your E, you flash the root in, you pull them then you shoot them.
    A sudden nuke: R+Flash+Q
+ + Demonflare and Death's Hand both deal damage in an area based on where Swain is at the end of casting. This means if you flash during the 0.25 second cast times, these spells will deal damage from where you flashed to, not where you originally cast them. You can't buffer more than one of these at a time, but it is unlikely anyone will be able to react in 0.25 seconds to this combo. It can easily deal 1K damage in an instant.
Team Comps
Swain is a very versatile pick in this context. He can serve multiple roles even as a support and it all depends on Rune choices, support items choice, both ally and enemy team comp. The roles Swain can serve are:
-Primary AP Carry with Conqueror if you're solo AP
-Secondary AP Carry and frontline with Conqueror if you're not solo AP
-Heavy frontline with Conqueror
-Heavy Antitank with Conqueror

-Primary AP Carry (burst)if you're solo AP
-Burstmage with Electrocute if you're not solo AP
-Anti-ADC with Electrocute
-Anti-dive with Electrocute
-Secondary backline with Electrocute

As you can see, Swain can serve multiple purposes both on and against teams depending on what he needs to be. He can sit with an ADC and protect them from being dove, frontline himself, shred tanks, burst assassins, whatever role he needs to serve, he can.
Generally the only time Swain is an outright bad pick into any comp is when he's
-Severely outranged
-3rd, 4th or 5th AP champion
-Easily gankable against good gank setup/follow-up botlane
Laning phase
Laning for Swain is a very methodical experience. Pretty much every lane should be played the same way:
    If the enemy bot lane has any threatening engage (particularly for level 1 and 2) you should ward either the middle or the farthest brush from your tower.
    Take the safest brush you can and wait for the enemy ADC to autoattack the wave. Do your most basic combo. You have the strongest level 1 in the bot lane. If your ADC can just AA, nothing more, there's no way Electrocute Swain can possibly get out traded, and even with Conqueror your damage is nuts.
Level 1-3 you're going to want to contest the push, more specifically you're going to want to crash the wave. Because all of Swain's damage is AoE, its pretty much unavoidable for minions to get caught up in the action during the whole game. (This is definitely one of Swain's biggest weaknesses but it can be overcome by not trading if fighting looks bad.) If the enemy ADC has stronger push than yours feel free to help the push yourself, especially if you or your ADC have enough gold for a good back.
After level 1-3, your lane becomes a bit more varying. If you managed to deal substantial damage and either send the enemy laners home or zone them from the wave, you can still trade quite a bit. If they were able to heal it up/avoid your trades, you should be backing off by now. If played well, the wave is in a decent spot to play defensive. Swain's E and W are amazing for disengaging and even trading back, so just make sure this part of the lane is played on your terms.
Level 6 is your second strongest point during lane, especially with Conqueror. From this point on you can turn 2v2s extremely easily especially if ahead. You should try to use your ult around half HP as the instant self heal you get is the strongest around there. Your 2v2 presence depends on your ADC, but generally it is stronger than most other bot lanes.
Post-6 you should be backing off, at least until level 9, but generally, when you're even, you're not going to very strong in 2v2s anymore or in teamfights yet. If you're even a bit ahead, try to use that money you have to let your ADC scale safely. Both of you are scaling.
Mid and Late game
Level 11-13 is when you start becoming relevant again. Your teamfight is crazy strong now (bonus points if you have Zhonya's), your W is a tactical nuke and Electrocute begins to get outscaled by Conqueror. At this point in the game you can begin to become frontline but you're still better off with a tank in front of you. Don't be frontline if you have the option Never forget though, just because you're a teamfighting God doesn't mean you don't have incredibly solid pick making potential. You're still going to become stronger, so if you have another pick maker on your team like Elise, stick around with them to collect free money.

Level 16 and onwards is at that point of the game where Conqueror begins to spiral out of control. Your new objective is forcing teamfights. If anyone can engage for you, you can consistently damage at least 3 enemies. You should move as much between and during your spells as possible because you are slow and you want to be between as many enemies as you can. You're free to frontline now, although you should still be behind tanks if possible.
General ideas:
[*] Your movespeed is very low, kiting between AAs is hard, use W to facecheck and check nearby bushes if you suspect an ambush.
[*] Never lose focus of your priority target when following up an engage. This is also around that time when your R+F+Q combo begins to become ridiculous as a clean-up tool.
[*] If you're very fed (4+ items) you can also attempt to give your other scaling champs kills, but never flip a game over giving away kills. Its certainly in a good spot on you.
Situational items explained
    Spirit Visage:
Not even a situational item, but not an every game one either. 1-2 APs or 1 significantly dangerous AP champ and this becomes an amazing 4th item. Works incredibly well with Swain, bonus points if you have any shields on your team. MR+Healing is pretty much everything you could ask for.

    Gargoyle Stoneplate:
This one on the other hand is extremely situational. Only buy this if you have absolutely no frontline whatsoever and they have both large AD and AP threats (Jhin/Kai'sa and Karthus for example).

    Seraph's embrace:
Either if you don't have Presence of Mind or if you're looking for a 6th item and don't need anything in particular. This makes you hyperscale through the roof.

Against heavy healing, you apply heal reduction easily with your kit. Only go Putrifier if you're extremely behind and your only chance of applying heal reduc is CC (can't get enemies below 50% HP). Do note that Putrifier is being changed and I'm not sure if they're removing the CC part. For now Putrifier is fine but I'll remove it from the guide if this changes.

    Mejai's soulstealer:
Would only really recommend Level 13+ as that's where you start becoming immortal. Fine to get a Dark Seal before, especially if you're fed. Mejai's is only needed if you're barely winning teamfights and can't take more than towers after each fight is over/you get outscaled but barely win fights currently. Usually very unecessary and games rarely go to 6th item anyways.
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