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Swain Build Guide by Ss95

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Not Updated For Current Season

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Ss95

Swain: the tanky killer full guide

Ss95 Last updated on October 12, 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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Hello and welcome to my guide. Here is the first Swain rule. A good Swain is a dangerous Swain. A bad Swain is a Swain who's gonna feed. ALOT. I will try to show you my way to play Swain. So try it out and feel free to rate/comment. Will answer all your questions and I am ready to discuss my build. If there are resomething you don't like it go ahead and tell me. btw my spelling isn't very good so feel free to correct me if you find any mistakes :)

ps. the build isn't complete yet. Will add more pictures and videos soon.

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Pros / Cons

Can take alot of damage
Can nuke champions down in seconds
Can counter a gank and instead kill the gankers
Your going to have alot of fun
Have a cool russian skin

Need to control your mana use
Need to able to land your nevermove
Ignite is effective against you
Periods where you can't do anything because of long cooldowns
Will hear: OMG Swain is just such a noob champion and way too overpower very often.
Very hard to kill steal :(

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Skill Sequence

--> --> --> -->

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Swain in early game is very overpower. Against a squshy champion (Ashe , Teemo etc.) Your nevermove, torment and decrepify combo will get them to around 50% hp. So actually two Swain combos (and use your ignite 2 time you hit the target with nevermove) should finish off any squishy champion. When you're level 6 you still nevermove, torment and decrepify but now you also move in close with your ultimate

The champions who's hard to counter (1-8):
In early game you can counter almost all squishies and some less squishies too. But there is some exceptions.

Annie with stun:
Don't go anywhere near Annie because Annie's goal is to harras you down to about 50% hp and then flash in and stun/burst when she's lvl 6. And then you'll be dead :) but Annie without stun is free meal. Just make the Swain combo and she'll go down in no time.

Veigar : Be careful when playing against Veigar. If he throws in his stun and your standing in the middle of it, don't just panic and run in and get stunned. Wait till he gets closer, then nevermove him and avoid Dark matter. Then the Event Horizon should disappear and you'll be able to burst down Veigar.

Vladimir :
If Vladimir doesn't fail you shouldn't be able to kill him because he heals alot and can use Sanguine pool each time you try to nevermove him. So don't play too aggresive against Vladimir since you might regret it.

Akali :
It requires some skill to play against Akali. She bursts alot and you should therefor avoid her untill level 6. But keep harassing her because she's VERY squishy and be ready for chasing if an opportunity should occour.

Anivia :
Make sure to avoid her stun and Anivia shouldn't be a problem :) Just don't forget her egg and try to turret dive. You'll regret it.

Garen :
Avoid him. ALWAYS avoid Garen. He's impossible to kill and he'll just silence you and then spin around :) But if you have to lane against him play safe unless you have some experience as Swain.

Gangplank :
Play safe. His parley take a HUGE chunk of your health when he crits. Harras but NEVER underestimate him.

Pantheon :
Be careful. He'll try to Aegis of Zeonia and heartseeker strikeheartseek strike you all the time. Try to avoid it but if he succeeds make sure to make him pay for it. Nevermove him and then use torment, decrepify and auto-attack (depends if your standing close to your turret or not. If you're not then just make the Swain combo and get away from him. Fast.

Xin Zhao :
Play safe. If he succeeds to hit you with all 3 hits from Three Talon Strike your dead. Simple. Don't underestimate him or you're going to pay.

Cho'Gath :
A very annoying champion. You won't be able to kill him unless he fails. Try to avoid his skill shots and just farm.

Sion /renekton :
NEVER and i mean NEVER move close to Sion/renekton just to harras if you team partner isn't close as backup. He'll just stun you and his team partner will jump in and kill you.

Cassiopeia :
Harras you and in level 6 she'll just use her ultimate and burst you to pieces. NERF HER.

Kassadin :
When he's level 6 he'll just utli/silence you all the time. You can heal it all up again so don't worry. He's annoying but nothing more. Still you won't be able to kill him.

Brand :
It requires skills to counter Brand. You'll have to avoid getting hit by his skill shots else you'll go down fast.

Malzahar :
Malzahar is easy if countered properly. Make sure to engage him with enemy minions around you. Then, when he tries to burst you, you can easily survive it and then kill him.

The champions who's hard to counter (9-18)

Anivia :
A pro Anivia is hard. She'll keep her stun ready for your nevermove and her burst hurts. ALOT. But play safe and always be ready to avoid the stun and it's possible to kill her.

Cassiopeia :
Only 1 word... NERF!!!!!!!! Nah serious, be careful. She'll burst you down even when you've used your ultimate. Never engage her when she has her ultimate.

Garen :
He's the biggest anti-caster champion ever. He takes no damage at all and will just silence you. Try to avoid him.

Katarina : Her ultimate will destroy you. Sometimes its worth to burst her down instead of running. Depends on, if the enemies minions is close to you, so you'll heal and it also depends on if she used ignite on you.

Veigar :
He bursts you down fast.. VERY fast. The only way to kill him is to nevermove him, flash close to him and then hit him with all you got. When he starts running just kite him. He should go down in around 4-6 seconds if he doesn't flash .

Else you should be able to handle everybody else by now if you just play smart. When a melee champion engage, nevermove them fast and then move out of range and destroy them. Squishies shouldn't be a problem anymore.

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Laning: Mid

Normally you'll always go mid and it's very easy as Swain. First you want to harras your enemy so you can get an early kill. Use your nevermove each time you see an opportunity. Like when you can see they're running forward or haven't moved for a few seconds. Then, even before you know if you're gonna hit your enemy, move forward and use torment and Decrepify and auto-attack. When you're level 6, land a nevermove and move in close. Use Ravenous Flock and pop Torment, Decrepify and ignite. Now kite your enemy back to the turret. The enemy now takes increased damage from Decrepify, Ravenous Flock, Ignite and your auto-attack. Most enemies will either be dead by now or will have to use a summoner spell.

Champions you're strong against: Annie because she's only dangerous when she has stun ready, Ashe , Caitlyn , Corki , Ezreal , Heimerdinger , Gragas , Kogmaw , Orianna , Teemo , Tristana , Twisted fate , Miss fortune , Ryze , Sivir , Urgot , Vayne , Karthus , Lux , Leblanc , Karma .

Champions who's even to you: Kassadin due to his ulti/Silence combo. Kennen due to Slicing Maelstrom which is ****ing annoying but play safe and make sure he doesn't get the opportunity to burst you down! Brand due to hardcore harrasment and he might burst you down when you try to move forward and heal. Vladimir because he heals alot. Fiddlestickfiddlestick because he heals alot.

Champions you just don't wanna play against: Katarina due to her death lotus which gives way too much dam and almost have no cooldown and Swain lacks stun to cancel it. Veigar due to insane burst against AP champs. Cassiopeia because she's way too overpower

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Laning: top or bot

Keep harrasing as it is described above and make sure to work together with your lane partner.

My best Swain combo is, believe it or not, Swain /Malphite . We play passive until lvl 6, then Malphite useses and we ALWAYS get atleast 1 kill.

Else combos like Swain /Xin Zhao is very effective. The combo is simple. Land a nevermove. Then your partner should attack and you use torment and slow with decrepify and if you're level 6 you use Ravenous Flock and Ignite if needed.

Those 2 are my favorite laning combos. But every combo with alot of damage or with alot of stun is effective.

Those could be combos like Swain /Sion , Swain /renekton , Swain /Lux etc.

In lane you should always be sure to coordinate things with your lane partner. Mark who you're going to attack so he's ready. Then hit him with a nevermove. When a heavy damage dealer like Swain and another heavy damage dealer like Xin Zhao attacks someone with their combos it hurts.
Always focus the squishies first (Ashe , Teemo , Annie etc.) because they'll destroy you if ignored. Other less squishy champions like Xin Zhao and Yorick should be your target right after the squishies.

Never try to engage (unless he's alone):

Alistar , Amumu , Mordekaiser , Leona , Maokai and Rammus . It takes way too long to kill them and their lane partner will destroy you while you focus the tank. It should be logic but some still fails :)


1. Squishy (i can make a list of the squishies but think its pretty obvious)
2. Other damage dealers
3. Tanks

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You would not want to go dominion as Swain (i think) because you get some healing reduction. But give it a try if you want. Haven't tried it myself yet so feel free to comment and tell me how it is :)

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Team Fights

When a team fight begins make a fast analyze of the fight. Where is the carry (AD and AP), who's the most fed, who can CC etc. You should always walk into the fight right after your tank. When he engages you should throw down a nevermove on their carry (make sure it hits!) then move in close and burst him down.

Your priority should be:

1. the fed carry
2. the AD/AP carry
3. the other damage dealers
4. the tank

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Ranked Play

Ranked play as Swain is just like normals but you'll always go mid in those. So make sure to have alot of mid experience from normals before trying ranked matches.You need to be able to time your nevermoves properly and know how and when to engage as Swain .

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Swain is a solid ganker and its very important to gank (if your team is getting pushed somewhere) to take the heat off your allies.

Ganking as mid Swain is the easiest. Wait untill you pushed your opponent out of lane/killed him. Then your enemy will recall and won't pay attention to the lane for maybe 20 seconds. Get outside minions sight radius and start running either up or down (the lane who has the most problems should be your target, in ranked it will most often be bot because top will always be 1v1 because of junglers) and get into the bush. Make sure your team is ready because things can get nasty fast if your discovered alone. Now aim with nevermove AND MAKE SURE YOU DON'T MISS. Wait untill your target stops running around for just a few seconds. They won't expect it and therefor can't react fast enough to avoid it. Then you move in and perform the Swain combo. Always ping before you cast your nevermove. If your team mates aren't ready you either miss the kill or you die.

When ganking be aware of:

1. Can you see the enemy champions? If not whats the chance that they're standing in the bush your walking right in to.
2. Is there a ward? Ask your allies if they have any information about wards.
3. Is there a stealther on the enemy team (in the lane your ganking). If so don't enter the bush alone because you risk getting spotted or attacked before you're ready to launch the gank.

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Early game:

Get those as early as possible. Now you'll see how your damage is already insane.

Mid game:

Those will increase your survivability alot. You'll heal way too much now and you can start turret diving squishys now.

Late game:

get rabadon's if your enemies don't have high MR. If they have get Void staff. Get Force of nature if the enemy team has alot of AP and thornmail if the enemy team have alot of AD. Get Zhonya's if its mixed. Zhonya's works with your ultimate so you'll heal while using it. In late game Swain will be a killing machine and you can solo almost everyone.

Alternative items:

I'm not really a fan of this item, but it definitely has it uses. It only block a spell every 45 second but you'll always be going in to the fight right after your tank and therefor it'll block a CC spell (stun, snare etc). Take it if you want

I don't care what some might say. This is not a core item for Swain. It gives no survivability at all. But just as Banshee's veil it does have some uses. If you're not getting target at all then you can go ahead and grab an . It'll remove any mana problems you might have.

You might take these if you want. I don't really see any reason but if your tired of seeing your enemies escape with 10% hp because they're faster than you are, then go ahead:)

If you feel like getting focused alot and want some more survivability then grab these.

Playing against some champions who just have way too much hp/resistance? Or maybe just want to nuke down enemies EVEN harder? Then grab and see how that annoying Garen just goes down in seconds.

It's actually a very good and very underrated item. In team fights, you'll always be close to the enemy team and slowing their melee/carry. Therefor you'll reduce the enemy teams damage output alot.

A very good item if you feel like you're being nuked down every ****ing team fight. It'll give you a chance to pop your ulti, land a snare or flash out of the fight.

If you're getting alot of kills early then buy it :) But find out if it's going to be a good game before you do it.

It's an underrated item which people forget. It removes all stuns, snares etc. so buy this one if you feel like getting stunlocked every team fight.

A very good defensive item and the unique active is very effective because you'll always be in the middle of every team fight.

You can get this one instead of ROA if you want. It gives alot HP and your ulti will slow 3 persons. But ROA gives mana, ability power AND even more hp.

Get this for ALOT of hp. I would prefer more resistance but you could maybe replace it with spirit visage. It depends alot on the situation and what problems you might encounter.

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Farming with Swain is easy. First you target a minion wave with your nevermove. Then you walk up close with your Ravenous Flock and start last hitting. Last hitting with Swain is very important due to your passive. If you last hit properly you'll never run out of mana but remember hold to use your ultimate for a few seconds when farming.

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Creeping / Jungling

Don't even try jungling with Swain :)

Get blue buff fast. It's effective on Swain because you can sustain your ultimate much much longer. In my opinion blue buff is more effective on Swain than on any other Champion. Blue buff spawns every 5 min. GET IT EVERY TIME ITS POSSIBLE.
You'll be able to solo it when you're level 6. But get some help so you won't loose too much hp.

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Summoner Spells

Another useful dot. It's really useful, combined with your own dots, to get kills and used with torment it will give increased damage. A must have im my opinion

. A good chasing tool and an effective way to escape troubles. You can use it to flash over a wall or flash and ignite/torment someone who's about to escape.


You CAN take this one and it can really be a lifesaver but i just find ignite more effective. Cooldowns is the problem for Swain and ignite just add the ekstra damage which often leads to a kill.

If you like Cleanse go ahead. Personally i find Flash alot more effective. It can save you from alot of situations but when you Cleanse you don't have any other escape tools and will often get chased down. But sometimes it'll give you time to pop your ultimate and therefore survive.

A nice escaping tool. Use it if you want.

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I go for early ability power to land some kills, magic resistance for some survival and Magic penetration which is really effective with your Ravenous Flock. More dam = more healing

Some may choose to get some survivability which is good, but this build should provide more than enough. You can also get some runes which improves per level but i use my runes to get kills early.

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9/0/21. The only special thing here is that i go for 2 points in utility mastrey instead of 2 points in awareness . That's because i get blue buff as often as it spawns and the 30% increased duration is really a must have.

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Thanks for reading. Feel free to rate/comment and if something is missing please leave a suggestion so i can add it. If you don't like the build, tell me what you don't like so I'll have a chance to tell you why i have chosen as i have, before you down vote :)

Ps. If you like to play either Akali or Cassiopeia then try these builds out :) They're the best out there right now (the Cassiopeia build still need to be finished but its still very good)



Now get out on the battle field and wreak some havoc :)