Build Guide by KrYoS
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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.
Unlike most Swain builds, this one moves a bit away from the AP focus and more towards survival and staying power. Because Swain is not as powerful a nuker as some other casters and has mediocre AP scaling, this build opts for some survivability as opposed to pure AP. This build has a decent amount of MR and will help you hold the lane and survive attacks by others. So this is not an AP or an AP/AD hybrid build. This is focused more on being alive and helping your team mop up, while keeping the other team at bay. With this build, many opponents will be fearful of engaging Swain and his teammates because of the danger of Nevermove and Ravenous Flock and the fact that Swain is not an easy target to kill. This will help you to better control the fight and keep the enemy rooted with Nevermove.
Early Game: Pick up a Doran's Ring and health potion and head to the center lane. As soon as you get the money, grab a Tear of the Goddess for the mana regen and increased mana. Once you get enough money, grab a pair of Sorcerer's Shoes for the much needed mobility boost and MP. If the other team is heavy on CC, you may instead elect to grab Mercury Treads.
Mid - Mid/Late Game: As the game progresses, grab a Blasting Wand and work your way up to an Archangel's Staff. This will give you some nice additional mana, mana regen and AP as you level up and progress towards the late game. At this point, you should be holding your own and helping your team melt face. Next, grab a Abyssal Scepter, as it will not only give you more AP, but also some much needed MR and also help your team out with the 20 MR for nearby champs. Next, try to pick up a Rylai's Crystal Scepter for the extra health, AP and snare.
Also note that you should try to grab the golem buff whenever possible for the mana regen. Swain's ultimate eats through mana like mad if left on long and because this build does not provide a ton of mana regen, this will help you in that department.
Late Game: At this point, you should have a Doran's Ring, Archangel's Staff, Sorcerer's Shoes or Mercury Treads, Abyssal Scepter and hopefully a Rylai's Crystal Scepter. To finish out the build and hopefully your opponents, work on getting a Zhonya's Ring. This will give you a huge AP boost and the active ability will allow you to burn all your abilities and activate the Stasis if you are being focused or think you will die. If the game is somehow not over by now, sell of the Doran's Ring and get a Guardian Angel for the armor and MR.
Doran's Ring - Great early game item, 'nuff said.
Archangel's Staff - Nice mana, mana regen and AP and has a nice "snowball" effect as the game progresses.
Sorcerer's Shoes - MP and movement
Abyssal Scepter - More AP and much needed MR are going to be nice to help Swain stay alive and dish out the damage
Rylai's Crystal Scepter - Big HP boost and AP as well as a nice snare effect.
Zhonya's Ring - By this point in the game, the massive AP boost is going to be great and the active will let Swain swoop in and bring much pain to his opponents without dying if focused.
Guardian Angel - At this late stage in the game, it's good to have some MR and armor to help stay alive. You could always opt for more AP and damage, but a dead Swain does no damage.