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Swain Build Guide by pinkboy16000
[S8] Fear the Power you do not see - Swain Mid GuideBy pinkboy16000 | Updated on June 22, 2018
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Threats & Synergies
If she hits her Q, it is very difficult to be able to hit your E. Because your kit in lane revolves around hitting E it makes the landing phase more of a farming lane.
Anivia does not have any mobility so it is easier to hit your E to then execute your combo. The only thing to watch for is her Q (Flash Frost), she has a lot of burst potential, but keep in mind while lanning that swain scales harder.
Annie can be frustrating to play against in the lane. You need to watch for her stacks, because you dont want to be stunned. Push the wave and try to roam faster, you have the advantage over Annie in that regard because of Swain's W.
Fizz relies a lot on his level 3 engage. You need to play very safe until 6, but you still need to be careful of his ultimate, because it can burst you before you can even heal with your ultimate.
Ekko before level 6 is fairly easy to lane against, and you can maybe even kill him. Even if Swain gets a lot stronger after level 6, Ekko can easily dodge your ultimate burst damage and create an opportunity to kill you.
[*] Can have good sustain
[*] Viable in every Elo
[*] A lot of burst
[*] Good constant multiple target damage
[*] Can 1v2 fairly easy
[*] Very impactful
[*] No mobility
[*] Fairly squishy while ultimate on cooldown
[*] Mostly short range
[*] Poor wave clear (except with the Lumen's Echo build)
Further look into his abilities
Swain's passive could almost be considered an ability. It has a lot of functions that you need to play around to be an effective Swain player.
By clicking on an enemy that has already some CC, you pull the champion towards you. That small pull can have a significant value to some chain CC in a major team fight.
Every time you click on an enemy that has already some CC, you accumulate a maximum of 5 stacks. Those stack are very important because the damage of your Demonic Ascension blast depends mostly on those stacks. You should never enter a major team without your 5 stacks. One thing to keep in mind is that if you have no stacks, you won't be able to cast your ultimate. You can even create your own CC by hitting your E. Your W also gives you stacks if you are able to hit an enemy.
Each stacks that you gain will heal a small amount of health. It can be useful in small trades in the lane or to vulnerably stay alive.
Death's Hand is Swain's primary source of burst damage. It is important to consider that just like most of Swain's abilities, his Q can be used for multiple purposes:
For multiple Creep kills. Not hesitate to use this ability to CS, yes it has a considerably high mana cost if used a lot, but during the laning phase, you should for the majority of the matchups/Masteries/Build play safe. Getting the most CS possible is an important thing to do with every champion in the game and Swain is no exception.
Burst damage. Pretty self explanatory, the ability hits in a cone and the damage will significantly vary depending on the distance between swain and the enemy.
Poke damage in lane. Poking in lane while using Summon
Vision of Empire is an ability that requires a lot of practice to master the timing. Even if it is not Swain's primary source of damage, it is a good addition to his kit to make him have more map presence and longer range.
When you are executing Swain's main lane combo, the W is excellent source of damage and if the combo is done correctly the W cannot be dodge.
Vision of Empire is an extremely long range ability. Roaming becomes a real strong point for Swain because he is able to impact a fight before the enemy can step in.
Mostly in lower Elo, the W can be used to finish off either backing enemy champions or just low health enemy champions that are not looking or are trapped by potential CC.
Taking buffs can be done with a bit of communication. While in mid lane, Swain can use his Vision of Empire to take the blue buff while he is still in the mid lane. Instead of going in the jungle and losing lane pressure, he can apply pressure and have the blue simultaneously.
Steals. It can happen quite often if you time your W perfectly. Not only Baron and Dragon, but you can also manage to steal the enemy buff if it is warded.
Nevermove is a really powerful ability that blends very well with the rest of Swain's kit. It can be hard to hit at times, but it is usually rewarding. Landing an E on a priority target during a major team fight can definitely turn the fight around. The ability can be hard to hit because when you cast your E it will stop after the first thing it hits going back, so make sure there's no minions in the way or a champion that you are not prioritizing.
Wave clear. It is important to remember that Nevermove goes through minions, and applies damage to all of them. While playing Swain mid, you do not want to be stuck under tower because you want to maximize your farm and have roaming possibilities. To do so, casting E on the minion wave can lower the health of all the minions to have a better push either in the planning phase or while split pushing side waves
Hard CC. Learning the cooldown of the stun is really an important aspect of either Swain's primary combo or just to be able to maximize the CC. Just before the enemy is free from the CC, use your passive to drag the champion towards you.
Demonic Ascension is a crazy ability if used correctly. While being a 1v2 ability, it has some really nice burst element that the old Swain was lacking.
Healing. His ultimate can restore a significant amount of health if you are in the middle of a team fight. Keep in mind that if you are looking for a build that will heal you immensely, spirit visage with the increase healing especially if the enemy team is strong on Ap can be an option. Zhonya's hourglass is however in most cases the better option in terms of healing and being a better item. Using the active to be Stasis (unvulnerable and untargetable) in the middle of a teamfight when healing and doing damage can turn a fight around.
Burst damage. To be very affective with the burst damage, you always want to make sure that you have max stacks with your passive (5 stacks) because it makes a big difference. An item to consider if you want more burst is spellbinder, I don't recommend this item in a lot of scenarios but it can be affective. Burst damage is really good against healing champions especially Adc's that have a lot of life steal in the late game.
Why Should I start E?
You should start with E for the majority of your games. Pushing pressure in the mid lane is really important and if you hit all the minions with your E, it is the best ability to clear waves early game. The only time I can see me levelling up an other ability first would be in specific invading scenarios :
Always keep in mind that even if you always want to start with E, only level up when the minions are in your lane or if you are sure that the ability that you are levelling up first is the best option for the specific invade.
NEVERMOVE : If your team does not have a lot of long range CC during an invade, you can provide that with your E. It is also the best ability to level up first in lane, so you are not risking a lot by picking E while doing an invade.
DEATH'S HAND : If your team has plenty of CC and you want to provide more burst your Q is for sure the best option. It is not terrible in lane, but it is not the best option, so there is a little bit of risk levelling up your Q while doing an invade.
VISION OF EMPIRE : If you are really behind in terms of positioning while doing an invade, your W is the only ability that can hit really long range. It is also good to finish off a low health enemy that either flashed or used an escape while doing the invade. Try to consider that W is the worst ability to start with in lane, so the risk of levelling up you Vision of Empire for an invade is quite high.
First we have to most common pick : Phase Rush
This is a great overall keystone. You cannot go wrong by picking Phase Rush and it's viable in every Elo, but is mostly affective in higher Elo. The extra movement speed that it provides can really the difference in a successful Nevermove that could change a fight around. With this keystone, the Rod of Ages rush is usually the way to go. If you are against certain champs that you need the pushing advantage or you already have a lot of tanks in your team, Luden's Echo rush is also a good option with Phase Rush. Because this keystone is more team fight oriented and less powerful in the landing phase, you want to have Teleport and Flash. With Electrocute, you will want to have kill pressure because it is an early game Swain keystone. Always pick Ignite and Flash to increase your early game strength.
Secondly we have the second most popular pick: Summon Aery
Summon Aery can be very affective if used correctly and against the right team composition. Playing Swain with this keystone will require better positioning because you won't have as much movement speed. Once again the Rod of Ages rush build is very affective because you need that extra tank to compensate with your lack of mobility. The Luden's Echo rush build can also be affective because it gives you great movement speed, but you will be significantly less tanky. This keystone is also a good poke in lane either with your auto attacks or even your Death's Hand. Remember that if you really want to carry in lower Elo in solo queue, this is good option.
Thirdly we have the ultimate burst Swain : Electrocute
This might seem like a troll pick, but in certain scenarios this is the best keystone, it is even used by some of the best swain players in NA in challenger Elo. To be very affective with Electrocute, you need to have your
Nevermove [->] Vision of Empire [->] Ravenous Flock [->] Death's Hand combo consistently. If you don't manage to pull off the combo, all of your damage is immensely reduced. With this keystone, the Rylai's Crystal Scepter rush is the most affective build. You won't be able to cast as much spells as with the Luden's Echo or the Rod of Ages build, but it will do a lot more damage and create slows with Rylai's Crystal Scepter that compensate for your lack of mobility.