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Swain Build Guide by urmamasllama

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League of Legends Build Guide Author urmamasllama

Swain: The Noxian Supervillian

urmamasllama Last updated on June 10, 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: 7

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 14

Guide Top


Hi I'm urmamasllama, this is my third guide here on Mobafire (first one was junk, second one is tied for second best Taric build).

let me start off by talking about Swain. He is a total badass and when played well melts peoples faces off. He deserves the name "Master Tactician" most of his style is about deception making yourself look weaker than you really are to fool your opponent into committing to a fight. But he is greatly underestimated and rarely played this has a lot to do with his play style requiring good game play habits and too many people are lazy and don't want to always be playing at their best. If this is you Swain is not your guy.

To be really good with Swain you have to:
1. be good at last hitting (your mana requires it)
2. be good at smartcasting/comboing
3. know when to be aggressive and when to be passive
4. know how to position yourself in lane and in fights
5. be good at landing tricky skillshots
6. managing your health
7. managing your mana (very very important!)
8. managing your cooldowns (also very important)

so if you think you can handle all this at the same time, welcome!

Guide Top


Swains skills are mostly DOTS making him a DPS Mage which is rare in LOL. Ryze is actually fairly similar to Swain but offers less versatility. so anyway lets talk skills

your most important ability is torment, after you cast this all damage you do from everything you have hurts more i will explain how powerful this is in depth later

your next best ability is decrepify the ability is deceptivly strong its ratio seems low but if you get its full duration that .3 AP ratio translate into a .9 ratio and its slow is invaluable for landing your snare

the last ability you want to focus on leveling is nevermove it has the lowest AP ratio out of all three of your basics abilities, the longest cooldown and the highest mana cost. you want to put one point into it at four because that two second snare early on is very powerful and will very likely get you your first kill.

finally we get to his ultimate Ravenous Flock this ability is straight up insane, if you haven't gotten your first kill by the time you get this you almost certainly will now. looking at its ratios is deceptive because the damage shown is once again multiplied by three. however you can't single out a specific target but it does tend to go after enemy champs when they are in range. sometimes the damage from it will get you the kill, but really the point of this ability is to trick your opponent into entering a fight that they think they can win. if they commit to fighting you one on one odds are you are going to out heal whatever damage they put out. its actually quite common for a lvl 6 swain to walk out of a 1v2 gank alive and sporting a double kill

Guide Top

Numbers on Torment

so I want to show you just how deceptive swains abilities are because in actuality ]ALL of his AP ratios are lies!

Torment at lvl 5 adds 20% extra damage to all of your abilities including itself so here is a breakdown of all of his skills and ignite at lvl 18 before and after Torment

Basic Attack:
106 --> 127 (lol i know not much)

85x3(255) + .3APx3(.9) --> 102x3(306) + .36APx3(1.08)

240 + .7AP --> 288 + .84AP

235 + .8AP --> 282 + .96AP

Ravenous Flock:
90(270) + .2AP(.6) --> 108(324) + .24AP(.72)

410 --> 492

Deathfire Grasp:
30% + 3.5% per 100AP --> 36% + 4.2% per 100 AP

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I pretty much stole these masteries from the top Ryze guide and with good reason.

anyone who needs to build a ton of mana should put those three points into strength of spirit, because when you have over 3k mana strength of spirit gets ridiculous. and the extra 6 MR is really nice too

I went with the standard 9 in offense for spell pen nothing much to say about it

i'll explain a bit about the utility tree however because a lot of people misunderstand some things here. the reason i put my first three into good hands is not because i plan on dying but because numerically it as a better investment than perseverance especially late game. the reason i choose awareness over expanded mind is that swain needs to get to lvl 6 as quickly as he can as a matter of survivability. next the utility mastery... mastery YOU NEED THIS. swain with blue buff is so unfair words cant describe it. the longer you can hold on to it the better

Guide Top


starting items:
Doran's Ring: My preferred starting item. you have to be a bit passive for the first few levels

Sapphire Crystal 2x Health Potion: a good start for beginners can be built into a Tear of the Goddess or catalyst the protector

Amplifying Tome 1x Health Potion: good starting item if you want to rush kage's lucky pick or an early Hextech Revolver

how to choose your starting item:
if you are new to Swain I recommend starting with Sapphire Crystal or Amplifying Tome these two options are a bit more forgiving. If you get harassed out of your lane early you should at least be able to farm enough to get kage's lucky pick or Tear of the Goddess

once you have some experience with Swain in lane your options open up. if you know that you can handle staying in lane till level six and want some extra oomph for that moment
take Doran's Ring however before you decide to do that look at what the enemy has for summoner spells during the load screen. if three or more of them are rockin Ignite you should take Amplifying Tome to try and rush Hextech Revolver. the reason for this is spell vamp is not effected by the healing reduction.

First time back items:

with only a little gold:

  1. kage's lucky pick
  2. Tear of the Goddess
  3. Boots of Speed
  4. Negatron Cloak

decent amount of gold:
  1. Hextech Revolver
  2. Fiendish Codex
  3. catalyst the protector
  4. Quicksilver Sash
  5. Sorcerer's Shoes
  6. Mercury's Treads

20 min in and fed:
  1. Rabadon's Deathcap
  2. Lich Bane
  3. Rod of Ages
  4. Deathfire Grasp

the rest of the game:
your core items are Archangel's Staff Rod of Ages and Will of the Ancients.
its up to you to decide between Mercury's Treads and Sorcerer's Shoes.
the last three items are situational, but you should know early on which ones you need to build. if the enemy has 3 or more Ignites get Quicksilver Sash fairly quickly ITS THE ONLY THING IN THE GAME THAT GETS RID OF INGITE. if you are fed get Rabadon's Deathcap. if you see anyone stacking health or you want to do a bunch of damage and can't afford a deathcap get Deathfire Grasp
finally this is a rare item to need but if the enemy is nothing but casters and you don't have to worry about ignites too much get Force of Nature

the reason i never mention taking armor items like Zhonya's Hourglass is because as swain you shouldn't have any worries about dps since you can pretty much out heal it. what you need to be afraid of is burst. giant chunks of your health disappearing fast is hard to heal back in time