Mobafire League of Legends Build Guides Mobafire League of Legends Build Guides

Swain General Guide by Bathrobebeast

Not Updated For Current Season

This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.

Rating Pending
Like Build on Facebook Tweet This Build Share This Build on Reddit
League of Legends Build Guide Author Bathrobebeast

Swain - mid lane domination and teamfighting.

Bathrobebeast Last updated on January 30, 2013
Did this guide help you? If so please give them a vote or leave a comment. You can even win prizes by doing so!

You must be logged in to comment. Please login or register.

I liked this Guide
I didn't like this Guide
Commenting is required to vote!

Thank You!

Your votes and comments encourage our guide authors to continue
creating helpful guides for the League of Legends community.

LeagueSpy Logo
Top Lane
Ranked #16 in
Top Lane
Win 48%
Get More Stats

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

Guide Top


Hello and welcome to this teamfight guide to my favourite broken champ - Swain. Sorry, I'm definitely not as qualified as others to make a guide, but I thought it was worth a shot! :) Also sorry that my HTML skills are very... limited :P My account's name is Bathrobebeast and my ranked ratio is 19-14, with a 7-1 ratio on my Swain. My ELO is not high, at exactly 1150. :/ My ranked games involve a lot of "trolls" and "feeders" and just people with bad attitudes towards the LOL community, so I am working my way out of this hole! Please feel free to leave screen caps of your best Swain games or suggestions on how to make this guide better (or on a new name, mine is pretty lame). Be nice though!

Swain is often known as a squishy AP mid that relies heavily on Blue Buff and early babysitting. However in this guide, I will be showing you not only how to own your lane, but to command in every teamfight.

This guide will allow you to get kills, have teamfight presence and draw attention completely away from your ADC. This ensures that even if you die in a teamfight, your team has the upper hand. This guide also works amazingly as it turns swain into an initiator and generally a replacement off-tank with your sustain from your ult. Anyway, on to the guide!

Guide Top


The earliest account of Swain's existence comes from a Noxian infirmary doctor's notes. According to them, Swain limped into the ward without cry or complaint; his right leg was snapped in half, with bone protruding from the skin. A small, scowling bird seemed affixed to his shoulder. The doctor gawked in horror as the young adolescent answered questions about his health and age with a calm, even stare. Even behind the echoing crack as the sand counterweights reset his tibia, Swain's measuring gaze never flickered, nor did his eyes twitch from the pop of his fibula. He refused the doctor's recommendation of magical treatment for the leg's inoperable damage, requesting only a spare crutch before shuffling away. He next surfaced in documents from the Noxian military, although it is evident that they are incomplete. Normally a crippled boy would be turned away in shame from Noxus' proud legion, but the records indicate his first designation was that of a ranking officer.

The men who've served under him (and survived) have remained in his charge with unshakable faith and loyalty. He leapt through the High Command's hierarchy, often ascending when superiors requested demotions to join his unit. A cunning strategist, Swain was decorated after every battle he fought, regularly hobbling in contemplation at the front of the assault. His rise to power seemed unceasing until he was suddenly relegated to inactive status prior to the Ionian Invasion - a bewildering decision which reeked of bureaucratic subversion. If Swain was upset by the events which unfolded, he never belied it. His face was so implacable that it was popularly rumored to be a mask, disguising something utterly inhuman beneath. More controversy surrounded the bird that never left his shoulder, whose name he whispered only to it. When Demacia escalated its presence in the League, Swain was immediately returned to active duty.

''If you haven't yet lost the ability to ask, you may not yet ask for relief.''

Guide Top

Swain's Abilities; what they are and what to level:

Carrion Renewal is Swain's passive. This allows him to gain mana for each kill he gets. Last hitting minions will effectively regen mana, thereby allowing swain to harass his opponent hard with his Es and Ws without running out of mana. In my opinion, one of the best AP Mage passives in the game. Allows a basically unbeatable champ to get heaps of damage on you.

Decrepify is Swain's Q. This ability sends a raven to a nearby champ of your choice and deals damage while slowing them. This ability will allow you to land your W ( Nevermove) and is a great tool to deal damage and zone. People debate whether or not to level this or your W second, but as this is more of a teamfight based build, I find the additional AOE damage better than decrepify. Plus the Q only deals 255 + 30% of your AP if you stay in the whole time, whereas the W deals 240 + 70% of your AP instantly.

Nevermove is Swain's W. This ability puts a trap on the ground that has a short delay before stunning enemies in the area for 2 seconds. This ability is great hard CC in lane, and will allow you to kill your laner, stun when your partner(s) gank and also allow you to stun and get out of the other team's gank attempts. If hit, deals off the charts burst damage and amazing lockdown in a team-fight. I level this second.

Torment is Swain's E. This ability puts a damage over time dot on an enemy champ. This ability also amplifies 20% of swain's damage at max level, including his Ignite and items such as Deathfire Grasp. This ability is what makes swain have so much damage, which allows him to slack on some heavier AP items and go for tanky items like Rod of Ages and Rylai's Crystal Scepter. I max torment immediately.

Ravenous Flock is Swain's R. Swain's ultimate turns swain into a raven, and sends up to 3 lesser rsvens out to deal damage and heal swain. Swain's E amplifies the damage and healing of his ult. The sustain from his R allows swain to take damage but heal a significant chunk back. Activate this as you go into a teamfight as it continues to work through stuns and silences. Be wary of the mental mana usage though. Level whenever available.

Guide Top

Pros and Cons to swain the champ:


  • Farms very well with W + R
  • Provides unmatchable ganks
  • Heals very well off creeps/champs
  • Good utility most of the game
  • Amazing CC


  • Mana... issues
  • Needs blue buff
  • If you miss your W in lane, GG :(
  • Ult mana usage grows per second
  • Silence/Stun (medium-hard CC) = GG
  • Spells have a fair C/D

Guide Top

Summoner Spells:

Ignite is an essential spell on swain, as combined with his E it deals huge damage if they escape your other abilities. Also good for when spells are on cooldown and for finishing enemies.

Flash is another essential spell on swain, as he is a champ with minimal mobility and skillshot hard CC (not guaranteed). Good for chasing or escaping nasty situations. A must have.

Teleport and other summoners like Exhaust, Barrier, Ghost and Cleanse are definitely not as viable on Swain but they can be used. I highly recommend flash ignite though.

Guide Top



Here i run Flat AP Quints, Magic Penetration Marks, Flat AP Seals, and Scaling AP Glyphs. I take the quints and seals to help with early game damage. I run Magic Pen Marks as a standard AP Caster pick, and the scaling AP glyphs to increase mid-late game damage. You can swap out a couple of things here. First, you could swap the quints out for Movement Speed, Flat health or anything else to benefit him. I haven't tried either of these as I prefer the AP, but I imagine the MS would work. The second thing you could swap out is the seals for Mana Regen/5. I however find that Carrion Renewal and an early TOG provide enough mana regen, especially with second blue. Lastly, if you prefer flat damage, you can swap out the scaling AP for flat AP. You can be quite versatile here, but those are my preferences.

Guide Top



Here I go down the offensive tree mostly on the AP side, taking a point in Summoner's Wrath for the Ignite bonus. I also take 3 points in Sorcery for some CDR. I take 4 points in Blast to maximize late game damage output, along with 1 point in Arcane Knowledge for the magic penetration. I put 3 points into Havoc to increase all of my damage by 2%. I work my way down to Mental Force with 3 points to add extra starting AP and Archmage with 4 points to increase AP by 5% (awesome mastery). To make 21, I put a point in Executioner to further increase my damage output. I then go into the utility tree, putting 3 points in Wanderer for the extra MS, 1 point in Summoner's Insight for the reduced cooldown on Flash and a point in Meditation for the mana regen. You can swap out the wanderer points for the extra meditation points, again this is preference. I finish with 3 points in Mastermind for the CDR on his spells and 1 point in Runic Affinity for the extra duration of blue buff and baron. You will need this point, it is amazing early game. If you already have an AP carry and are going for more of a tanky swain, run a 9-20-1 or 9-21-0, making sure to pick up Arcane Knowledge in offensive and considering summoners insight in utility. Travel down the defensive tree to counter your opposition. If going for more utility, run a 9-0-21, again with Arcane Knowledge .

Guide Top

Starting Item Options:

Boots of Speed + 3x Health Potions are my standard opening items on Swain as this gives you mobility to dodge skillshots and the mobility to gank other lanes, along with some sustain.

If you spam or are against an AP carry such as LeBlanc, Malzahar or AP Master Yi with early damage, you can run Faerie Charm + 5x Health Potions + 3x Mana Potions for extra sustain.

I dont recommend Doran's Ring on Swain as he will be getting fairly tanky early and it means no Health Potions (less sustain early). I prefer pots+faerie charm over crystalline flask as it builds into TOG.

Guide Top

Early game pickups:

Tear of the Goddess is a great early item on swain because of the mana regen and stacks. Also, builds into Archangel's Staff - Seraph's Embrace, which adds to swain's epic damage later.
catalyst the protector

catalyst the protector is a must-have item on swain, as it provides health and mana, along with building into Rod of Ages which is great for health early. Also more sustain in lane when levelling.

Sorcerer's Shoes are the boots to take with swain. He needs the magic penetration over magic resist that Mercury's Treads offer. You can get this before or after Rod of Ages, i change it up.

Guide Top

Heading into mid game:

Rod of Ages should be swain's first AP main item. This gives him some of the tankiness and sustain this guide focuses on. An amazing item on swain, wouldn't miss it.

Try to pick up your Giant's Belt as your first part of your Rylai's Crystal Scepter over a Blasting Wand as it gives you the extra health just as teamfights break out.

Don't get greedy here and swap out Rylai's Crystal Scepter for more damage! Be patient! The deathcap is coming soon! By this point, you should be tanky enough to stand in the front lines of a fight.

Guide Top

Mid game with near 550 stacks on TOG:

Picking up Archangel's Staff here will increase your damage, as you will evolve it into a Seraph's Embrace soon. Grab this before the deathcap in this situation.

Needlessly Large Rod should be the part you pick up over Blasting Wand, just for better damage. You almost have your hat! Just a little more waiting!!! :)

Rabadon's Deathcap! You now have epic damage. You should be at 411.7AP + the AP gained by seraph's passive *1.32 with your Rabadon's Deathcap, Havoc and Archmage . OUCH!

Guide Top

Mid game a bit off 550 stacks on TOG:

Grab this to add to your amazing damage! If below 450 stacks on your Tear of the Goddess then start popping ult and immediately switching off whenever you wont need in the next 5-8 seconds.

Rabadon's Deathcap will give you the necessary spike in damage to start being a huuuuge threat. You'll be at the point of taking on their most fed or multiple people. Just beware of CC.

Slacker, didn't get your stacks up early! You can still get your Archangel's Staff now and own the enemy team! It'll upgrade to Seraph's Embrace and then you will have a legendary mana shield.

Guide Top

Late game options (in order of my recommendation)!

[[void staff] is basically a must have against teams that think you are a threat (cause you owning). This will tear through their MR and shoot your damage back up. Recommend when you have <3 AP carries.

Deathfire Grasp is an alright item on swain. Would pick up if they had one specific fed ADC/APC or to once again deal super damage. Would only pick if they lack magic resist.

Abyssal Mask is the item I would recommend especially in situations where your team has a bit of AP and the enemy team has a lot of AP. Great for more tankiness and a little magic pen.

Will of the Ancients is an item that would scale well with his ult, but i would prefer the support got it to give them an AP boost and I still get the passive in a teamfight. Dont recommend.

Zhonya's Hourglass is another great teamfight item for swain, as his ult heals him a little through it and if you start being focused too heavily its a good get out of jail card. Great pickup :)

Liandry's Torment looks like a great item for swain, the only reason it is here is because I am yet to trial in multiple games and situations. Athene's Unholy Grail is also here and untested. Will update.

Guide Top

End game you should have:

Sorcerer's Shoes, Rod of Ages, Rylai's Crystal Scepter, Seraph's Embrace, Rabadon's Deathcap and then a situational item which i will say a Void Staff as it is the most common in my builds. Enchant your boots situationally but I prefer the alacrity bonus. Also remember to have elixirs once you hit full build, and even throughout the game.

Guide Top

Swain's abilities; various combos-pre 6:

>> >> >>

The E--->Q--->W--->ignite combo is swain's assassination skillset at level 4. Open with Torment to lay heavy damage and amplify all other damage you deal. Quickly put Decrepify on them for the slow, so it is easier to land Nevermove. Finish the kill off with Ignite if low enough. If you know you will get the kill and want to do quicker as others are arriving, try E--->ignite--->Q--->W instead. Or even better, save the W for any others that try to gank you.
>> >> >>

The W--->E--->Q--->ignite is for a laner who does not get that close to you. Nab them as they come in to last-hit with your W, then open fire on them. By the way, if you happen to miss your W, back away a bit as you lack hard CC for 10s or so. This combo requires more skill than the first, but is for a more cautious laning oponent (not all laners are going to run at you with the sign "free meat" pasted on their head). This is probably my most used combo, but takes a lot of practice and predictions.
[nextxol width=30]
>> >> >>

This is swain's worst combo, as you don't lay down the E early enough. However, this could be the most reliable combo, as you dont worry about anything much until the CC has landed. Also, would give 4 ignite ticks a boost rather than the 1-2 of the first combo. Risky if the target is high health but probably swain's easiest combo. Would not recommend unless losing the lane.

Guide Top

Swain's teamfight tactics:

This Swain guide is centered around teamfight dominance. This means that you and your team must have excellent synergy (20%ish of the time I find) or you must initiate (80%ish of the time). Landing your W or wading in are the two options I see here, the first being a better idea. Try to catch one member out, giving your team the advantage or making them disengage. When in the teamfight, as you start pop your ult and your W if you havent already. Aim your E and Q at their ADC or APC, to zone them. Even if you die, your team should have the advantage with your massive AOE raven damage along with W damage.

Your role as an APC is to deal as much damage as possible. Do this WHILE protecting your ADC. He is the person you want standing behind you, cleaning up and getting gold. Basically you are a second support. Don't worry if you go 9-8-30. I have done this many times, but next to it almost always is the word "Victory".

Guide Top

Mid lane Match-ups:

This is work in progress at the moment, and I will get back to this section hopefully soon.

Guide Top


This guide to teamfight-based Swain should've shown you:
  1. How to zone your laner.
  2. How to use your combos to assassinate.
  3. How to give yourself presence in a teamfight.

Remember, although this is a teamfight guide, you can most certainly 1v1 almost anyone because you are swain. Just CC their fed Vayne and kill her before she gets to CC you. Just remember, practice hitting your Nevermoves. If you don't your win rate will drop fairly rapidly.

Have fun playing who I feel is one of the most broken champs in the game!


General Guides

League of Legends

More Guides

The Charts


30 Days

All Time

Top Guide by Champion