League of Legends - Swain Guide and Build
League of Legends - Swain Guide and Build
Are you looking for a Swain guide or a Swain build? This page covers the basics of playing Swain effectively including skills, runes, masteries, tips and includes custom skins.
Swain is a durable mage that can be played either in the top lane or mid lane. He offers a strong slow and a snare which provides his team with good crowd control. Swain also has a abilities that allow him to recover mana and health giving him great ability to hold a lane.
This Swain guide aims to be a basic and simple introduction on basic strategy that should be adopted when playing Swain, it is recommended for people just starting to use Swain.
Don't own Swain? Or want to get a Swain skin from the Riot Games store for free? Learn how to get free Riot Points for LoL.
Guide current as of: Release Notes v18.104.22.168 (October, 2012).
This Swain guide is also available in summary format (thanks to LeagueCraft.com).
Images on this page are sourced from the official League of Legends website and the game client. They are used for review, commentary and educational purposes.
Is Swain Over Powered?
Do You Feel Swain Is Over Powered?
Carrion Renewal (Passive): Swain's passive gives him an incredible laning presence and is also maintains its usefulness during most of the game. This skill makes last hitting even more important on Swain, it also allows him to recover some mana when using his ultimate on minions to recover health.
Decrepify (Q): This skill offers little in terms of damage (unless you can get the full duration on an enemy) but it offers incredible utility and helps Swain complete his combos or help his team secure kills. Decrepify will especially make landing Nevermove much easier.
Nevermove (W): Swain's snare has a reasonable duration and casting range while also having the ability to snare multiple enemies. The duration does not increase with levels, making more than one point a waste.
Torment (E): Gives Swain a massive increase to damage against a single opponent which includes summoner spells and items. This skill is your best harassment tool and should always be maxed first. Even combing this with auto-attacks early can put some serious hurt on the enemy.
Ravenous Flock (Ultimate): Swain's ultimate has a hefty mana cost if it is left on and requires careful timing to minimize mana consumption, At level 6 you should be able to use your ultimate to regain health from the minions in lane. And from then on you have a very powerful lane presence combined with your passive.
Swain Skill Order
As Swain your skill order should be:
Ult > Torment > Decrepify > Nevermove
It should be noted that if your team is planning to invade the enemy jungle (or the enemy team invades yours and you want to fight) you should grab a point in Nevermove at level 1 for the snare it offers. If not you'll want to grab it at level 2 for the protection it offers.
Torment scales the best of all Swain's skills and also allows you to deal extra damage with his other abilities, making it your priority when leveling up Swain's skill set. Next you'll want to max Decrepify for the damage and increased slowing effect, leaving Nevermove to last.
If you need more pushing power against the enemy team then consider maxing Nevermove second for the area of effect damage.
Bilge Water Swain
Red (Marks) - Magic Penetration
Yellow (Seals) - Armor // Mana Regeneration Per Level
Blue (Glyphs) - Magic Resistance // Ability Power Per Level
Purple (Quints) - Ability Power // Health // Movement Speed
Swain has a few rune options depending on your playstyle, your lane opponent (if known) and which lane you will be in (top or middle). Magic Penetration Marks is a must have while Armor Seals should be your default choice to reduce incoming damage although mid lane Swain can get away with Mana Regeneration Per Level (only recommend for new players who still struggle to last hit effectively).
Glyphs should generally be magic resistance to reduce incoming harassment in mid lane but can be swapped to Ability Power Per Level in the top lane (against an AD champion).
Quintessences always offer a number of options and Swain is no exception. Depending on your playstyle you can run Ability Power for more damage, Health for more defenses or Movement Speed for the utility (allows you to harass with Torment easily).
To learn more about making effective rune choices, visit the Rune Page Guide.
Best Summoner Spells:
Flash and Ignite are two amazing summoner spells on Swain, Flash gives you the escaping ability you need and can also be used to Flash into range to nuke an enemy if needed. While Ignite compliments Swains burst damage potential and deals extra damage if the enemy is tagged with Torment.
Other Good Summoner Spells:
Teleport and Exhaust are two other possible options for summoner spells when you are playing Swain. Teleport allows you to port back to base early to gain an item advantage and can be used to aggressively push towers and secure objectives for your team. Exhaust can be taken against area of effect lane match-ups to shut down their damage.
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Swain Masteries - Masteries For Swain (21/0/9)
Swain has a few mastery options available to him. I prefer to use a 21/0/9 setup for the extra damage it offers but you can run 21/9/0 or 9/21/0 if you want to play a more passive and defensive Swain (or if you are going up against an opponent you struggle against).
The offensive tree offers all the important caster masteries such as ability power, cooldown reduction, magic penetration and overall increased damage. This is combined with the utility tree to offer Swain some more maximum mana, movement speed and increased buff duration. If you have trouble managing Swain's mana consider grabbing the mana regeneration in this tree instead.
To learn more about masteries and your mastery options, visit the LoL Masteries Guide.
Final Item Build:
-Rod of Ages
-Rylai's Crystal Scepter
-Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potions is your standard opening on Swain (both top and mid) as it gives you some healing and good movement speed to help you harass your enemy.
-First trip back you'll want to grab 1 or 2 Doran's Ring and build towards your Rod of Ages. Also consider upgrading your boots into Sorcerer's Shoes.
-Your core item build for Swain should always be Rod of Ages and Zhonya's Hourglass (Top) or Abyssal Scepter (Mid). (Then complete all 3 items).
-From here you'll want to consider Rabadon's Deathcap for more damage or Rylai's Crystal Scepter for the utility and health it offers.
-If you need more durability then you'll need to consider the alternative items below. Generally a top Swain needs to become more tanky compared to a mid lane Swain.
-Void Staff (If the enemy team starts stacking MR).
-Frozen Heart (If you need more armor, also gives mana and cooldown).
-Banshee's Veil (When you need to build more MR or the enemy is CC heavy).
-Will of the Ancients (When your team has 2 AP champions).
-Deathfire Grasp (If you need more burst damage, works well with Torment).
-Guardian Angel (Balances your resistances and provides a strong passive).
Related League of Legends Pages
Swain Champion Spotlight - By Riot Games
General Swain Tips
- Minimize the time you leave your ultimate active for, the mana cost quickly builds up. Using it in short bursts is often most effective.
- Swain's primary combo is Decrepify > Torment > Nevermove > Ultimate. First you want to slow the enemy to ensure an easy Nevermove, if you can cast Torment before Nevermove it is more beneficial damage wise. Finally finish with your ultimate while in range of the enemy for the extra damage. You can also combine Ignite and Deathfire Grasp.
- Your ultimate gives you some survivability but don't rely on it 1v1, its best used when minions are around or multiple enemies (provided they aren't all targeting you).
- If you get in trouble don't forget to use Zhonya's Hourglass it gives you a few seconds for your cooldowns to reset and for your ultimate to heal you.
- Last hitting is vital on Swain more than any other champion, this provides you with massive mana regeneration which ensures you can keep harassing your enemy.
- Harass with Torment, Decrepify and auto-attacks constantly. Don't forget that Torment allows your auto-attacks to deal decent damage and can mean the difference for an early game kill.
- Decrepify can force your enemies backwards to break the chain.
- Now that you have your ultimate for health regeneration and your passive for mana regeneration you have a very strong laning presence.
- Get blue buff when appropriate, this will help you manage the high mana costs of your ultimate early on.
- Use your ultimate sparingly, you can use Torment on a minion wave and then activate your ultimate, replenishing your health and mana while allowing you to farm.
- Stick to the back of any fights, use the utility of your abilities (slow and snare) to assist your team. You only want to enter the fight (with your ultimate) towards the end to cleanup low health enemies.
- You now have more survivability and your ultimate is stronger. This allows you to take a slightly more offensive role in fights (you can also use Zhonya's Hourglass).
- Continue to grab blue buff when available and when appropriate, the cooldowns can really make or break fights during the late game.
- Nevermove has a hefty cooldown and as such you want to be careful when you decide to use it in teamfights, snaring 2 or 3 enemies is very powerful during the late game stages.
More Swain Guides and Related Pages
- Swain Build Guide - Jericho Swain; In-Depth Guide (Solomid)
This Solomid Swain guide by Eowor offers a great run down of how to play Swain effectively and includes a great analysis of lane matchups.
- Swain Build Guide - Boss Bird (Solomid)
Another popular Swain guide over at Solomid that is just bursting with information.
- Mobafire: Swain Build Guide - Raven Metamorphosis ~ A Comprehensive Swain Guide
CasterMaster offers one of the most in depth Swain guides available and provides plenty of insight for Swain players (both old and new).