Build Guide by stevo11101
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Not Updated For Current Season
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Here is a Support/DPS/CCer AP build for Swain.
This build is no longer a hybrid Swain build. With the AP scaling buff in patch .103, Swain is more capable of dishing out the damage with straight AP. I have updated the guide to reflect what I now feel is the best build for Swain.
Item purchase order modified!
Ive decided that Rylai's is more important that Guinsoo's in the item order...it lets you land your Nevermore much more reliably after casting Q -> E or E -> Q.
I also decided that Hextech Gunblade is really strong on Swain. Its active damage gets boosted by Torment, and the Spellvamp and Lifesteal make you more survivable in Raven form. Therefore, get the Gunblade as your 4th item if the game is in your favor and you have a bit more cash on hand.
Reasons for this build:
Swain, when played well, is a powerful CCer. With a DoT/Slow for his Q and an AoE Snare on his W, he is capable of manipulating the battlefield in a powerful way. He is especially good as a counter to melee carries such as Poppy, Yi, Xin, Trynd, etc. He is also an excellent chaser. The focus of this build is to maximize your ability to drop CC on your opponents, and put out lethal damage to enemy carries.
Swain is strong in any lane. He is not necessarily the best mid pick, even thought he is likely stronger than most other mids, because he is not a carry, and doesnt benefit hugely from being ahead in levels, or getting his ultimate early. Try to lane with a burst dps carry. Your double CC will help improve the odds of grabbing an early enemy kill. Since Swain is ranged, take control of the brush in your lane and use it to zone your opponents from the farm. Dont be stingy with your mana...Swain's passive, in conjunction with the mana/5/lvl seals and the Tear of the Goddess, will keep you topped off. When you have the cash, go back and buy boots 1 and Tear of the Goddess. You want to begin growing your max mana pool ASAP for when you have to use your ultimate.
lvl 6 till end of laning:
A trip back to base for Boots and Tear of the Godess should be priority. Getting tear working early ensures you will have a big manapool by lvl 11. This is important to sustain his R. Swain benefits from Blue Buff more than most champs because it lets him use his R for long periods of time without worry. So try to grab this often. Because Swain has multiple CC's, he is a powerful assist ganker. Right before going back to buy your first time, let your team know you intend to gank mid, and to fall back to tower. Your mid should work either the top or bottom of the lane, to try to push his mid to either side of the brush. You want this so that you can drop nevermove from the bushes without revealing yourself. Flash out (if need be), cast Q -> E -> Ignite -> R, and watch them die.
lvl 11 through 16:
Depending on how the game is going, you will have to decide how you will itemize. Rylai's is always first in my opinion, since it drastically improves your CC functionality and buffs your HP. After that though, if you are crushing them, going for an early Zhonyas and AAS is preferable as it will boost your DPS and survivability considerably. Foregoing DFG will set your burst DPS and CDR back a bit, but this is ok when your team isnt relying as much on you for CC. If the game is in somewhat of a tie, you should go for the CDR from Fiendish Codex early, and most likely build the DFG before Zhonyas. This will give you more burst and more spellcasts, helping to maximize your team utility. If, however, you are losing, then I recommend going out of the core item build and getting Spirit Visage after Rylai's. The aura helps the team, and the healing buff helps you stay alive longer and drop more combos on them. Pick up DFG next and your CDR will be maxed, giving you 100% maximum CC ability. Additionally, you may wish to prioritize leveling Nevermove over Decrepify, as this increases Nevermove's damage and decreases its cooldown for even more snaring and damage from a distance.
To be a powerful Swain, you will need to focus on CCing enemy carries. Swain is NOT a tank killer. Good lord...quite the opposite; Swain sucks at taking down a properly geared tank. So, you will need to use your ultimate, combined with your big manapool and golem buff to simply ignore enemy tanks, and go straight for snare -> combo on the enemy carries. Your best position in a teamfight is off to the side, separately initiating after your tank initiates. This increases the surprise factor and effectiveness of Nevermove as an initiating snare, and puts you in position to damage the carries. The better you are at positioning yourself at the start of the fight, the more effective you will be. By no means should you be in the middle of the battle though, until the end. By this time if the fight went well your enemies will be low on hp, and although you may also be somewhat low, you are able to get in there with your ult turned on, and drop some CC on them. You arent a tank, and you cant expect to defeat the enemy by soaking up all their attacks. But you can heal off some of what they dish at you, and you still have double CC. Make the most of them and you will be able to finish off the fight in your favor.
Swain is a pretty fun character to play. He has an interesting set of skills that, with practice, will really slow down the enemy team. It does take a fair bit of practice to get the hang of his W, and also getting the hang of comboing his moves in order to maximize his damage output, but it is worth the effort. Swain is a lot like champs in the same category as Nidalee....more learning curve, but rewarding to play.
Have fun with this build! I had to repost this build because I forgot a few things and I wasnt logged in when i posted it, but its the same build as Hybrid Swain - Something Totally Different.