Build Guide by LordPicklejar
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Not Updated For Current Season
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Swain is often underestimated by his enemies and overestimated by his players. While he is not quite the "OMFG AWESOME NUKER" that some people believe him to be, or the "OMFG UNKILLABLE CASTER-TANK" that even dumber people believe, this build allows him to bring a lot of the table in the form of:
A- Consistent, hefty magic damage that can stay in the fight.
B- Buttloads of CC.
STUFF SWAIN IS NOT
1. A good solo mid champion. He CAN solo mid, but not nearly as well as other mages and imo he's wasted there as I will explain later.
2. A tank, or even "tough". If Veigar and TF are glass cannons, you're a fiberglass cannon.
3. A burster. We've all been blown up by a Ryze with 10 health because he got the drop on us. Swain can't deliver that kind of immediate firepower.
STUFF SWAIN IS
1. A fantastic lane partner. Laserbird and Nevermore can stop ganks dead in their tracks. Nevermore can initiate. And perhaps best of all, Swain's damage CREEPS on you. Because your damage is not burst, foolish opponents will often stay in the fight longer than they should, allowing your partner to push them past the point of no return.
2. A great kiter/chaser. Laserbird and Nevermore make you difficult to catch and should enable you to pimpwalk in and out of battle. Once you have your Rylais, you become a slow machine. No champion in range of your ultimate will ever escape you again.
My first item is always Tear of the Goddess. Swain's improved mana regen has lead a lot of Swain players to buy things like Chalice of Harmony, but because Ravenous Flock's cost increases every second, you need an immense mana pool to draw on in order to keep it up for as long as possible and still unleash your spells. Your ultimate is basically what makes you great. It lets you chase, it saves your life, and it gives you massive amounts of gold in the form of assists. Not being able to keep it up for the full duration of every team-fight is unacceptable.
After tear and basic boots, I rush a Rylais. This is THE essential item for Swain, and outside of Singed I can't think of a champion that benefits more from it. Rylais will proc twice for both Torment and Decrepify, turning your dots into mega-slows. With your ultimate on, you will be slowing their entire team, all the time.
Boots of Swiftness lets you maximize the utility provided by Rylais, making you extremely difficult to catch and extremely good at chasing. If the enemy team is stacking MR you might want to get Sorcerer's Shoes instead, but I think these are more fun.
Deathfire Grasp is the other Swain-specific item, and I think we all know why. Not nearly as sweet as Rylais, but still worth grabbing.
The rest is standard caster stuff, but a small note: Ravenous Flock will continue to work through an activated Zhonya's Ring.
I choose Ignite and Flash. Ignite has great synergy with torment. I can't tell you how many times I've drawn first blood with torment-laserbird-ignite.
Flash is simply the best escape mechanic in the game.
HARASS- Swain is difficult to last hit with, but very easy to harass the enemy away from their gold and experience. Especially when you get your Tear of the Goddess, you want to harass as often as possible.
GRAB GOLEM- With Tear of the Goddess you should rarely have to worry about your mana. With Tear and Golem, you will never have to.
YOU ARE SAFER WITH THEIR MINIONS THAN WITHOUT THEM- In order for your ult to be effective, you have to be able to eat something. Think about it!