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Swain Build Guide by iwillblessu

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League of Legends Build Guide Author iwillblessu

Swain-cacaws when he pleases( an in-depth guide)

iwillblessu Last updated on January 24, 2012
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Top Lane
Ranked #16 in
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Win 48%
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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

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 9

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Hello and welcome to my fourth guide here on Mobafire. I spent quite a while on this guide and as such, I would appreciate no troll votes pleas =D and if you don't like my guide, tell me why in the comments! I can't improve if I don't get any feedback.

First off, Swain is a mage champion, dealing on killing enemies down with magic damage. Unlike alot of mages, he has more DoT like abilities than nukes. Don't get me wrong, he can still burst people down just as well, i'd just thought i'd let you know. He is exceptional at shutting down one or even multiple targets with Nevermove and severely crippling another with Decrepify. I give you... MY SWAIN GUIDE

Credits to lacorpse for doing the wonderful pictures and credits to jhoijhoi for the wonderful template. <3 y'all.

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Hall of fame!

In these games, I did exceptionally well. I out healed all the supports while dealing the most damage. I also was either second or first on the damage taken charts. THATS RIDICULOUS FOR A MAGE!!!

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+ He transforms into a not even fair to the other champs
+ Damage amplification from Torment
+ Strong snare with Nevermove
+ Can out heal alot of things with Ravenous Flock
+ Slow and DoT from Decrepify
+ sustainable with Carrion Renewal and Ravenous Flock

- He's an old man
- Not as bursty as Annie or Brand
- snare is hard to land at times
- Can't keep Ravenous Flock up forever. Eventually not even the fountain will be able to give you enough mana
- people can run out of your Decrepify

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I choose these masteries for Swain because in the season two patch, they made the offense tree pretty much the standard caster tree. I go 21/0/9 taking the mana from the utility and also the increased buff duration.

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Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration

Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
  • : I take Flat AP quints on swain because he has a natural tankyness about him. While health quints are a good option, I perfer these over health.

  • : I take this for any mage I use. Its standard for every single mage. No questions asked.

  • : I take AP per level blues because these runes are excellent late game, where most mages shine. You could get flat ap to have a better early game, but they wont be of much use late game.

  • : I take the mana regen per level yellows because I feel that Swains passive, Carrion Renewal, isn't enough to sustain me.

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Summoner spells

In teamfights, your goal is to focus down the ad carry ( Vayne ) or the mage ( Brand ). Lay out all your skills in the form of Nevermove than Torment into Decrepify and lastly, finish it all off with Ravenous Flock. After you pop your ult, you should use Zhonya's Hourglass. Again, its the health regeneration from his ult that makes Swain so good. You can pop Zhonya's Hourglass earlier, but it will depend on how hard the enemy team focuses you. After zhonya's active is done, just wait for your cooldowns to come up. Also, don't forget to ignite them! It might not do alot of damage, but the healing reduction can be very valuable. The combo should look like this.

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Swain's skills and how to use them

Carrion renewal: This passive is so amazing. Late game, you wont have much use with this, but in the early game this will make your lane sustainability shoot through the roof. ONLY LAST HIT MINIONS!! This will allow this passive to shine in the laning phase. Each minion kill giving you mana? I think yes.

Decrepify: This is the second skill you should max. Provides a much needed slow to land your Nevermove easier. You also get a 3 second DoT if the enemy stays in range of the actual bird (because they can move out of it. much like nocturne's Unspeakable Horror.

You're going to want to max out Decrepify after Torment and before Nevermove .

Tips and Tricks
  • You can land Decrepify making it easier to hit them with Nevermove.
  • People can move out of it, so dont rely on it to kill people. (although it can)
  • Skill is also known as lazer bird

Nevermove: This is your main form of hard CC. Nice damage paired along with a 2 second snare. IT IS NOT A STUN! don't use it on a Katarina and than rage when she kills you with her ult after you casted Nevermove. Somewhat hard to land if you're not used to it.

You're going to want to max out nevermove after Decrepify.
Tips and Tricks
  • Nevermove is NOT A STUN. DON'T FORGET THAT
  • Learn to lead with this. If you don't, you probably won't land it
  • This is a great farming ability combined with Ravenous Flock

Torment: This is your bread and butter. Deals an INSANE amount of damage over time. On top of that, it applies a damage increasing buff! This works with Ignite,auto attacks, even Deathfire Grasp

You're going to want to max out Torment before Decrepify.

Tips and Tricks
  • This will be your main harras ability combined with Decrepify
  • When trying to kill a target, make sure to use Torment as your first skill so you can get the most out of the damage amplification.
  • If trying to kill a low health target and only have enough mana for this, use Torment combined with ignite. It will do more damage than you think

Ravenous flock: This is what makes Swain , Swain. This ability will be very useful in lane. If you have blue buff past level 6, you almost will never recall due to the infinite mana from your passive AND blue buff, and the health from Ravenous Flock. Always turn this on when fighting, but remember that it WILL drain your mana if you leave it on all the time in a team fight. So learn when to turn this off.

You're going to want to max out Ravenous flock at level 16, taking it whenever you can.

Tips and Tricks
  • When getting ganked, turn this on. It will save you 9 times out of 10
  • If you feel like your going to get cc'c ( Infinite Duress, cutthroat) turn it on before and heal some of the damage you take.
  • Again, DO NOT KEEP THIS ON ALL THE TIME. Only use it when you need health or when your bursting someone down.

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Skill sequence

Ability Sequence Order

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

> > >

I max Torment first because it is your main damage output. Some other guides max Decrepify while maxing nevermore which is really dumb. The damage amplification benefits are too good to not max first. I max Decrepify second because it gives the most damage returns for leveling it than Nevermove does.

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Item choices

  • : Pretty basic item for any mage. Allows your spells to hit even harder.

  • : I find this item to be mandatory for Swain. Swain should be played as a tanky mage, healing while bursting. This goal can only be obtained if you rush Rod of Ages.

  • : This item is essential to Swain. I get this after Rod of Ages instead of Zhonya's Hourglass because more AP turns into bigger heals from your ultimate. Regenerating health will almost always be better than 50 armor. And its fun to make your opponets say WTFFFF when you run away from a 5v1 unscathed.

  • : This is also a must on swain. Pop this in a teamfight and literally gain free health. Make sure to use Ravenous Flock before you use this otherwise you wont get the free health.

  • : This item is great for Swain because you will basically perma-slow the entire enemy team.Ravenous flock will hit 3 enemies at a time ,so there is 3 enemies perma slowed. Not including your main target if your ult doesn't hit them. It also gives health to make you even more tanky. Just a great item for him overall.

  • : Enemies already mad at you out healing them? Get this and piss them off even more. No, but in all seriousness this item is like swains baby. You might be asking "if its swain's baby, why not get it earlier?" well first of all your ult will make you have an "in-built" Will of the Ancients. In late game team fights your ult won't be enough so this item accentuates his healing even more.

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Other items

Other Items

  • :I honestly don't know why some people get this on swain. It's horrible for him. Sure, it might be good for champions like Karthus, Ryze, or casiopeia but they all have short cooldown, easily spamable spells. THAT is what makes a good Archangel's Staff champion. Swain's cooldowns are WAY to long for this item. Plus, he isn't mana hungry at any stage of the game. And if those reasons aren't enough, you should
    ALWAYS have blue buff. No exceptions. <3

  • : This is a great item if the enemy is AP heavy. Replace this item with Zhonya's Hourglass or Will of the Ancients depending on the situation.

  • : Only get this item if you are doing really well. And I mean REALLLYYY well. Even than, this item is very risky. Get this with your own caution

  • : I try to stray away from this item in games. Why? because Randuins will have a much better effective output in team fights, while Thornmail is really for a one vs one scenario. Randuin's Omen will always be a better choice in my opinion. Just a good item overall.

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In lane, I play Swain passive agressively.Meaning that if the enemy doesn't try to harrass me, Swain will feel like this

But if they get close to me, I give it all I have(metaphorically speaking of course). You should feel something like this

levels 1-3

At level one, Swain can pull off some decent harrass but its not worth the mana cost. Focus on last hitting. With swains auto attack animation, it shouldnt be that hard. Remember to try to get all of the last hits possible to make use of Carrion Renewal. The laning phase will also be the time where most of your farming takes place. Make use of this time. AT level two, you should be harrasing your enemy with your harass combo.

This will be your main harras combo. Torment will most likely always come first in the combo because it has the highest range of the two abilities. Although if they are in range, use Decrepify first.

Levels 4-6

This is when Swains harass becomes deadlier. You still need to prioritize farming over harrassment, but if they get close or try to harass you, try to land Nevermove than Torment into Decrepify.

level 4+ harassment combos

If you can land nevermove

If you cant land nevermove first

Harass combined with ravenous flock

This is assuming you get the first ability off

Harass if you DON'T get the first skill off

You want to cast Ravenous Flock before using your other skills because if you don't get the first skill off, you could potentially take alot of damage. The healing from Ravenous Flock will help immediately.

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In teamfights, your goal is to focus down the ad carry ( Vayne ) or the mage ( Brand ). Lay out all your skills in the form of Nevermove than Torment into Decrepify and lastly, finish it all off with Ravenous Flock. After you pop your ult, you should use Zhonya's Hourglass. Again, its the health regeneration from his ult that makes Swain so good. You can pop Zhonya's Hourglass earlier, but it will depend on how hard the enemy team focuses you. After zhonya's active is done, just wait for your cooldowns to come up. Also, don't forget to ignite them! It might not do alot of damage, but the healing reduction can be very valuable. The combo should look like this.

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While Swain is a great champion, he could potentially be outclassed by other mages such as Annie, Ahri, Brand. But I believe if you can overcome the small con's Swain has, he can be as deadly or even deadlier than said champions above. It's all a matter of if you really TRY to be good with Swain because it is VERY easy to fail as Swain. Go into a normal game and if you see a swain, he will most likely be good because the other people that have played Swain, suck with him. Like alot... Now thats not saying you won't see a bad Swain because you will. But, it is very rare to see a Swain in the first place, so if you're good you will scare the **** out of everyone. =D those are just my two cents.

If you made it this far, you get imaginary Swain cookies. They're not real, but if you believe hard enough, you still wont get them =P. I hope this guide will do good to Swains everywhere.

you have any suggestions, please leave a comment on telling me what I can do to improve. If you don't like my guide PLEASE tell me why! I can't make it better if you dont tell me!

Also, i'd thought you guys would like this video by McR00sterDota!