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Swain Build Guide by cablecarento

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League of Legends Build Guide Author cablecarento

Swain - "I bet you taste like CHICKEN"

cablecarento Last updated on July 3, 2011
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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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 9

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

Expanded Mind
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 21

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Welcome to my guide featuring Swain, the Master Tactician!

This is my first build, so please give constructive criticism!

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Pros / Cons

Pros: Strong laning prescence after he gets his ultimate
Sets up great opportunities for ganks
Ability to escape ganks easily
Great ratios
Your E amplifies your damage
Cons: Ignite kills any early game healing
DoT effects (health potions, hp regen)
Leash which can break immediately
Very mana dependant
Recent nerfs to his healing

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What is swain's role in the team?

Swain fills the role of a tanky AP caster. His role is similar to those such as Rumble, although it can differ greatly. He can't take nearly as much damage, but he heals it all back during a teamfight. He has good initiation with his w, and has a lot of single target burst with his eq combo.

The best part about swain is that with blue pot and blue buff, your cooldowns are all 6 or under. This allows your combo to be repeated endlessly in a teamfight, with no worry of running out of mana.

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My runes are rather straightforward caster runes.

Magic Penetration for early game damage (extremely useful)
Flat Mana per 5 for early game lane sustainability
AP per level for good end game damage
Flat Health quints for a good laning presence.

Note: Runes are not required on swain. I actually only have mp5 runes, and I can still do great with him.

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I run a standard 9/0/21 build, grabbing EXP bonus, mana regen, and buffs for teleport and flash. You can also go 0/9/21 or 0/21/9 although i dont recommend this unless you will be required to do heavy tanking.

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Doran's Ring Provides what swain needs the most, Health, Mana Regen, and Ability Power. Helps with your early game suckishness.

Boots of Speed Any explaination needed?

Tear of the Goddess This can be shifted around in the build, although I like to build it early as that's when the mana regen is most useful.

Sorcerer's Boots These can be built sooner or later, depending on preference.

Catalyst the Protector At this point in time, you will rape your laning enemy. Very Very Hard.

Rylai's Crystal Scepter This is an amazing item on swain. Health and Ability Power? Hell yes, that's EXACTLY what we need.

Now you might think "Swain already has a slow and a snare. Why does he need more slowing?"

His ultimate can be used to slow three people at once every second. He becomes a slow machine once he turns his ult on.
Rod of Ages Obvious why we get this, AP, Health and Mana. Core item on Swain.

Archangel's Staff The extra mana from tear carries over, so we have no need to get this until later. The unique passive + Rabadon's Unique Passive gives a large boost in AP, as well as more mana regen! Yay!

Rabadon's Deathcap AP stockpiling. Be prepared to have at least 500 AP after you get this thing and loads of health.

Abyssal Mask Standard defense item, helpful against MR and for defending yourself against their AP

Other Items:

Will of the Ancients Great Spell Vamp, but other things are better.

Banshee's Veil Another MR item that boosts damage and gives you MORE health.

Zhonya's Hourglass The fun you will have with this item. Low on health? Turn on your
ult, pop this baby, and you'll be full health in no time. The armor is also awesome in this case, along with even more ability power.

Spirit Visage I dont get this item ever, although i do sometimes see swains who get it. In my opinion, We dont need any more health, and the amount it provides is small. We'll have max CDR from blue buff/pot, we will have mr if we need it, and the healing boost isnt all that great.

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Skill Sequence

You get a point in everything first so that you have your full combo.

The priority is Ravenous Flock > Torment > Decripify > Nevermove

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Early Game

Early Game makes or breaks Swain. While its not awful, it's definitely the worst part.

Once you get your full combo, most enemies will take large amounts of damage from it. Snare with W, run in, do a quick EQ, and run out. Last hit until you have full mana, and repeat the cycle.

Once you get your ult, you'll probably be low on health. Pop on your ult, heal a bit, and turn it off. Don't leave it on for farming early game.

Keep popping your combo. Dont be overaggressive yet, your ult wont save you from everything.

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Mid Game

Swain shines when he gets to level 11. His ult starts healing for substantial amounts.

Ask for blue buff now. Whenever it's up, get it. If you have a jungler on your team, make sure to ask if it's okay, especially with someone like udyr as your jungler.

Small skirmishes will start happening around this time. If there arent too many people, you can get close to them in order to ensure your ravens will hit. Hit as many people as possible with your w when you're fighting, and choose a target to focus with your eq combo.

You should be starting on your Rylai's about now. Just follow the item build until you finish your rabadon's.

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Late Game

Swain should be stalking around now. Push a lane, and go back into sneaking around.

If you manage to catch someone by themselves, punish them and do it hard. Anyone without mr is food for you, and they'll learn eventually.

During full-on teamfights, stay on the edges of the teamfight. Any Tanky DPS that catches up to you will murder you. Keep them away with your slows and snares, and then pounce on them when they're low health.

Swain will get a lot of kills in any given teamfight. His ravens are unpredictable - which can be a good thing or a bad thing.

Dont buy a mejai's this late into the game. Swain will start to fall off, and you'll regret buying it.

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How to mid against these characters:

Akali She shouldnt be too much of a problem. The instant she dashes to you, you combo her and she's dead. Be careful of her burst and spell vamp though, she can be underestimated easily.

Anivia She tosses her skillshot at you? Move to the side. Does she E you? You'll heal it all back before she can do it again. She ult you? Turn on your ult and laugh as you casually walk out of it taking no damage. The only hard part about her is getting a kill with her egg.

Annie Be wary once she gets her ultimate. After you get a catalyst, which i recommend you getting ASAP, she wont be as much of a problem as you wont die from one burst. She can easily kill you in one burst later however, so PLAY IT SAFE.

Ashe Squishy enough to be free kills. In the time her stun lasts, you wont take too much damage to die, so just turn on your ult and heal it back. Her harassment is amazing as far as AD carries go, but you're SWAIN.

Brand Has good damage on relatively low cooldowns later, but your ult makes his passive rather useless in getting kills. Be cautious if you're low on health though.

Caitlyn A.K.A. The ***** you dont want to lane against. Her e will make sure you never land your snare, and have fun getting out your 500 range combo while she attacks from 650 range.

Cassiopeia Did she poison you? Turn your ult on. Is she E'ing you? Attack her back and laugh at her futile attempts to kill you. Did she stun you while your ult was off? Yeah dont let her do that.

Corki Good AD carry, but squishy too. His range is small, so if he ever autoattacks you, just use your combo. His ult makes him rather annoying, although you can heal pretty well while his missiles are recharging.

Ezreal Hits hard, just be careful what you're doing before Level 6. After level 6 it should be a breeze.

Fiddlesticks Caw brothers? Swain is superior to him. Fiddlesticks doesnt do enough
damage in the amount of time his fear/silence is, and once you're unsilenced you really rape him.

Heimerdinger Pitiful Turret Damage, just w his turrets or e one and q the other and they die. His rockets are painful harrass, but have an average cooldown.

Karthus Oh no he ulted you... run into a minion wave and press r. His early game is the only thing to be worried about, make sure you're not caught in his passive though.

Kassadin This guy is painful. He breaks your tethers, ults out of your snares, and silences you for 3 seconds and he rapes you. Just turn your ult on the instant you see the death bubble coming towards you, and try to heal out his burst.

Katarina Her Ultimate and healing reduction hurts swain, quite a bit. Do the usual run away thing when she ults, heal it out, and reenter, harrass her, and attempt to kill her.

Kennen He does a lot of damage, but you cant overestimate him too much. Dont run when he ults, it's futile as you wont outrun him. Just try and do as much damage back to him as possible. I hate it when people run from kennen and know they cant get awaay.

Kog'Maw Annoying, nothing else. No escape mechanisms and super squishy.

LeBlanc Play defensive, wait until midgame, and then laugh as her damage is pitiful and you kill her in 2 seconds.

Lux Long range bananza, dodge all her skillshots to win the lane.

Malzahar His ult isnt that good at level 6. Dont overestimate it. Make sure you have your ult on during it, or you will die though.

Master Yi Endgame he just rapes you. Period. Try and time your snares right when his ult is on, or you are assured to die.

Mordekaiser Deal damage and get him to half health/ get his shield down. Laugh as you heal back all his damage from his ult.

Morgana Can easily match your amount of heals and outheal you. Be careful, she's more
dagerous than she looks.

Nidalee Not hard to beat. Doesnt do great damage, only thing is she will pounce out of your snare.

Orianna Haven't played against her yet. Just be careful of her ball, its the only way she can protect herself.

Ryze Dont have a problem while laning, his damage output is rather bad. He is also squishy earlier, so take advantage of that.

Sivir She will come into your range and autoattack you. You will faceroll all over her, and then you realize she had her shield up and she runs away with mana now.

Swain I've never had to go mid against another swain. Keep him AWAY from your minions and you will win the fight.

Teemo This bundle of joy and happiness. He's squishy and doesnt do too much damage against you, so feel free to kill him.

Tristana You will rage hard when you go against her. Her e is a DoT and reduces healing, so it practically negates your ult. If she's dorans stacking, which she probably will be, be prepared to die a bit.

Twisted Fate Not so bad to lane against. Make sure you press your r when you see that gold card though.

Twitch You will die a few times, just sneeze on him once he unstealths though. Once he gets his ult, just run around him and laugh your *** off.

Urgot League of Harassment. This guy is tough to get with a combo, try and coax him into getting in range of his e, so that you can snare and combo him.

Vayne Be careful. She has amazing utility, jumping out of your snare, and if you do land it, she will just e you away. Get a gank on her if you can, otherwise just snare her after she's already tumbled.

Veigar Careful of his ultimate. Try and build utility first before you build AP, and get some early magic resistance. After that, just have your ult up when he stuns you.

Vladimir You pretty much outheal him, although he's tanky too so you will have to harrass him quite a bit more than other mages.

Zilean League of Endless Bombs and Revives. I cant tell you how much i hate this lane. If he does get a bomb on you, dont run away, there's nothing more he can do besides autoattack you. Just combo him and he'll be dead.

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Please give me feedback on this guide, and I hope it served you well.