Build Guide by korvis
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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.
Hopefully this guide will help you understand that Swain is much more than your run of the mill mage/caster.
Why do you want to use Swain?
-Huge damage per tick spells
-The ability to shut down melee dps completely
-Control the flow of battle with slows and stuns
-Turn a fight around from losing to winning in seconds
-Literally scare away opponents with your imposing ultimate.
Why would you NOT want to use Swain?
-To spite all his leech healing and CC, he is squishy.
-He is very mana dependent. In my guide, i play this down with clarity, carrion renewal, and frequent trips back to base, but it is an issue, as he chugs mana.
-You will never be front lines with Swain. You will hang behind your tank(s) and must know when to run.
-Your ability to destroy will be directly proportionate to your team's progress. You can stun and slow and heal yourself all day, but if your team doesent have the dps and survivability to take out your targets, it simply isnt going to work. You are there to make things easier for your team. Catch runners and isolate targets.
Your summoner spells for this build will be:
- Clarity: You simply have to have this extra reserve of mana. They say heal saves lives and clarity does not, but in this situation, clarity can easily save your life. Swain without mana is an easy kill, and thats not even considering his life-saving ultimate.
- Ignite: Let me count the ways... but seriously, ignite has several uses. Firstly, a squishy will be relatively easily taken out with your abilities alone, but add another DOT, and you will be taking down heavier targets much easier. You dont want to be running after targets with Swain, as i stated earlier, he is quite squishy. Ignite is one tool to help you avoid that situation. Life steal targets can be especially problematic, as most of your abilities are DOT, however, ignite will solve this problem as well.
Your summoner spells for this build should ESPECIALLY NOT be:
- Heal: You have your ultimate, and as long as you have that precious mana, you can heal to your heart's content. Oftentimes, if you arent healing fast enough to survive, then heal wouldnt help you anyway.
- Exhaust: This would really just be redundant. Smart use of your own CC with eliminate the need for exhaust.
- Cleanse: This may be debatable, but if you cannot stun and slow your way to a clean escape, while healing, then just like heal, you arent going to be able to do it regardless.
You may disagree with my selection of runes, which is fine... but i find that with Swain you feel the weight of every point of AP in his abilities. He is healed for that much more in his ultimate, and is that much more deadly soloing and in group combat. I dont see much need in cooldown, and if you find yourself needing penetration, feel free to grab a Void Staff.
Carrion Renewal: Swain's mana regen is increased 300% after killing a unit.
Decrepify: This is Swain's mid-ranged slow and DOT which will be your main way of denying exp and last hits early game. KEEP IN MIND: an enemy afflicted with this ability merely has to walk out of range of the attack to break it, and if they chose not to, for some reason, they will end up taking a good amount of damage. a win win for early game. Mid and late game, use this ability to set up for Nevermove.
Nevermove: This is Swain's third skill. Do not forget this move is not only effective against enemy champions, but also minions. You will be using this skill to check bushes frequently as well. Do not be afraid to use it liberally as your passive and clarity will cover your mana needs.
Torment: Early game, DOT can be very effective, especially when combined with decrepify and ignite. Late game, your damage over time will serve to soften up targets for your dps's to tear into and finish off.
Ravenous Flock: This is the biggest thing that makes Swain unique. He is squishy... yes.... BUT! he can take enough damage to bring him to the brink of death, and ult, and be good as new, ready for more fighting. There are a couple things you must keep in mind about ravenous flock. A: It is scary. Yes, scary. You will find that often enemies will run ****less from your ultimate. Do not underestimate the power of fear, especially early game before people get overconfident. B: You dont have to still have it toggled to be healed by the birds you sent out before turning it off, and when you have a good amount of ap, those 3 birds carry alot of health. C: The cooldown is very short. Dont hesitate to activate it if you think you need it at all. D: The longer you keep it on, the more mana it eats. eventually, you WILL be left manaless if you keep it on all the time. E: I cannot begin to tell you how much people underestimate the actual damage of your ultimate later game. They see that you have no health, and chase you for miles, while you are regenerating, and they are slowly dying. Before they know it, you are healed, they are hurting, you turn around, and they are stunned, and dead. Never forget this yourself, and you will find that you get many kills this way.
Your most effective combo will nearly always be Q (to set up for..) W (and simultaniously...) E+R (dont forget ignite).
Your core items will be Zhonya's Ring Rod of Ages Deathfire Grasp Abyssal Mask Archangel's Staff
You will start with Doran's Ring and 1 Health Potion keep them away from the xp/lasthits with decrepify and harass with torment. IF you get the chance to safely Q+W+E+Ignite, do it, and most likely you will have first blood.
If you are doing well enough, stay in there long enough for Needlessly Large Rod... if not, just grab Blasting Wand. If you can manage the large rod first, you will notice a great difference in power, and can easily start ganking, when you push up to the tower. WATCH FOR GANKS. You are not invincible, and to spite what people say about Swain's ultimate, it will NOT make you into a tank. One good gank can throw your whole game off, and possibly lose it for your team.
Grab Zhonya's as soon as possible, and continue pushing until midgame (level 6+). Ganking at this point will be very easy for you, and i suggest getting Boots of Mobility. The faster you can get around, the better you can gank. If you are having problems with magic resist, grab a Void Staff. It builds off of blasting wand along with most of the other core items, so a last minute decision to get it wont throw you off track so much.
When you get your Deathfire Grasp, DO NOT forget that its active ability is GREAT for taking a chunk out of more tanky targets. Use this ability AFTER using torment to do a percentage more initial damage.
Late game, remember that you are a support. Yes, you have increased survivability with your ult, but you will NEVER be a tank. Ive heard of Swain tank builds, but havent heard good things about it, and wouldnt suggest it. Your ability to get kills early game and soften enemies late game is directly correlated to your ability power and sometimes magic penetration.
Note: Another good way to go, is instead of going for zhonya's ring first, get mejai. i dont go for mejai, because i like the tangible feeling of being stronger after getting zhonya's. it A: takes to long to build mejai, and B: mejai stacks are too easily lost... however, if you prefer mejai, it will be a stronger build in the end.
Also, rod of ages is optional. i like that it gives me a bit more health, i get ROA on all my mages. you can opt for rylai's instead.
Keep in mind that your auto attack is pretty weak. Do not depend on it while your spells are on CD. You make sure to keep your distance, and when they come at you again, you can be ready.
The more enemy minions around, the better YOUR survivability. Your ulti throws 3 crows out at a time, and you need at least 3 minions, or 2 minions and a champ, or any combination of 3 targets, for maximum survivability. In some situations, if you have your ultimate up, it may be better to stay closer to the action if your health is low, simply to have more targets to leach from... The more you play, the more you will understand when to run and when to fight in relation to your ultimate.
Remember that if you arent being constantly harassed, it may be smarter to activate your ulti for 2 short periods of time, instead of 1 longer period, to save mana, and get yourself healed up.
DO NOT be afraid to unload EVERYTHING on a single target if they are alone, especially melee attackers. By the end of all your DOTs, they should be nearly dead, and easily finished.
!!I welcome comments and suggestions, and this is my first build :) thank you for your time :D!!