Swain Build Guide

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Swain, The God of War and Strategy

written by Khazok

Swain Build

Starting items

Core Build

Late Game / Luxury Items

Situational Items

  • OR
  • OR
  • OR

Skill Order

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • Carrion Renewal
  • Decrepify
  • Nevermove
  • Torment
  • Ravenous Flock

Runes for Swain

Masteries for Swain

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

    Swain is an fun champion, yet many people often choose to overlook him and choose Veigar, or Anivia. This is often because Swain, being a DOT champion, does damage more subtly and needs better timing than many other champions. I am Khazok and my main is Swain and in this guide, I hope I may help teach you how I play Swain in hopes that you may like this style of play and find it useful.

  • Abilities

    Carrion Renewal
    This passive gives you nigh infinite mana, as such, Swain can pop his combo off with impunity, obliterating the health of a squishy and regain mana by the time his spells are off cooldown again

    This is Swain's most damaging spell, and this one's timing is the most important of all his spells. If possible, use this only while the enemy is rooted or chasing you, so they can't run out of its range.

    This is an excellent and unique ability. The only other spell like this in the game is Lux's light binding, and that can only affect up to two enemies. This is what will allow you to pick partners and teams apart and release the ravens into your enemies. Nevermore will be your most used spell, for farming, harassing and starting a battle. The opponents are running away and breaking Decrepify? Quoth the Raven: Nevermove.

    This is what makes you a nuke. The huge increase in damage output this gives allows you to eat up the squishies that you do. This buffs all damage coming from you, including that of Ignite, Nevermove and decrepify, the two most common ways you will nab kills.

    Ravenous Flock
    This is what sets Swain apart from the likes of Fiddlesticks, Malzahar, or from being a dps Veigar. This makes Swain nigh unkillable. The fact the this is a toggle on a 10 second cooldown makes Swain never have to leave the lane except to buy items. This can be kept on for up to 7 seconds without being a huge drain on mana and due to Swains passive, he can gain the mana right back. Pop this during every fight. It adds damage and heals you. It is also excellent for farming. That said, if you are ignited, get out of damage taking area before coming back, because ignite reduces your healing potential.

  • Play Style

    You are a tanky caster. Your job is to eat dps squishies like Fiddlesticks, Caitlyn, Miss Fortune, Cassiopea, Tryndamere and Lux for breakfast while outlasting them with a 10 second toggle ultimate. You excel in the laning phase, with or without a partner. Your combo is Torment into Nevermove + Decrepify. When rooted there is nothing they can do to stop your decrepify from hitting them for the full duration. Your torment will add to the damage of your decrepify and, if that fails to kill them. An Ignite will. This is doubly effective since torment's damage bonus even increases the damage from ignite.

  • Masteries + Runes

    With masteries I go 9/0/21, I use pretty standard caster masteries, if you choose not to pick flash as a summoner spell, you could get a point in greed, utility mastery or expanded mind, whatever floats your boat.
    for runes I use
    9x Greater Glyph of Force
    9x Greater Mark of Insight
    9x Greater Seal of Clarity
    3x Greater Quintessence of Force

    These are chosen to maximize the damage of your combo.

  • Skilling Order

    I normally pick Nevermore first, as it often leads to a quick first blood with a laning partner, and without one, it is still needed for your other spells to be effective anyways. I then get Decrepify to flesh out my CC and add survivability. After that I level up torment first, as it is needed to do the damage necessary to get your kills. After that I level nevermore, because nevermore is the initiator of your combo and you need it to get your combo off.

  • Items

    I usually start with Doran's Ring or Sapphire Crystal due to Swain's high need for mana early game. Of course, after that, I vary my build with my opponents, but the items I consider to be my core items are Sorcerer's Shoes, Rod of Ages, Rabadon's Deathcap and Zhonya's Hourglass. If their team has heavy CC, I may switch out the Sorcerer's shoes for Mercury's Treads. Spirit Visage can be replaced or delayed by getting Frozen Heart, Zhonya's Hourglass or Rabadon's Deathcap

  • Summoner Abilities

    Ignite is a must. It is buffed by Torment and is great for finishing off those squishies.
    I always get either Flash for the mobility that Swain lacks and to escape after killing an enemy or to chase that squishy down.

  • Build Examples

    This is my favourite build and is the one I like to use most games if I am doing well:
    Sorcerer's Shoes
    Rod of Ages

    Rabadon's Deathcap 

    Zhonya's Hourglass

    Athene's Unholy Grail
    Will of the Ancients, Spirit Visage or Deathfire Grasp or Abyssal Scepter

    If the enemy does not have as much magic resist or if your team has alot of magic users, you may want to get Frozen Heart instead of Abyssal Scepter.

    and here is a caster build with extra nuke:
    Sorcerer's Shoes
    Rod of Ages
    Deathfire Grasp
    Athene's Unholy Grail
    Abyssal Scepter or Will of the Ancients
    Rabadon's Deathcap

  • Pros / Cons

    Great 1v1 or 2v2
    Underestimated damage
    Excellent CC
    A Nuking Caster with Survivability
    Timing Focus adds fun
    Great team-fight healing
    Great versus AD carries

    Vulnerable to Burst Damage
    Vulnerable to healing reduction
    Vulnerable to CC reduction
    Needs Perfect Timing

  • Working in the team

    Your job is to serve as an ap carry, do not initiate unless superfed, but get in there in the middle of the fight as soon as your tank initiates. You excel in 1v1 situations and small skirmishes result in the death of many enemies. In team fights, use your CC to pick their team apart and take them out 1 by 1 starting with the squishiest one (usually the ad carry). Remember, your ultimate is only on a ten second cooldown, just use it!

  • Good teammates

    Great teammates include:

    Jungle Fiddlesticks: One of the best partners for Swain, root them in his ult and watch them die. Fiddle also can silence those scary burst champions for you.

    Garen: Demaciaaa!!!. Root them slow them, and watch them crumble to the pair of you.

    Amumu: Good solid jungler with strong ult and good initiate

    Blitzcrank: Pull, then root, then dead, all to be said.

  • Bad Enemies

    Healing Reduction: Do not solo these champions. They essentially make you as squishy as Veigar, but you kill them less fast. Also watch for characters with ignite or Executioner's Calling.

    Long Duration Stunners: Against these enemies, pop your ult before the stun, that way, you will still be alive when it ends.

    Long Range CC: These characters make it difficult to get close enough to get your combo off, ganking may be necessary to take them down.

    Burst Nukes: If your ult does not have time to heal you, you are a very dead squishy. Do not let them get close enough to bring the pain.


    Fizz: Bloody Fizz. I cannot stand going against a Fizz. Very hard to fight, very little you can do. He has not one, but two dashes. If you ever land your root on him, it will be a miracle. He can realistically jump in and jump out after hitting you once, and there is very little you can do to stop him. Just try to farm this lane and avoid combat. Fortunately, Fizz is not highly played.

  • Conclusion

    Swain is the often under-rated master of DOT, I hope you have fun playing this often overlooked character and have great success in your games. Feed your hungry bird and remain five steps ahead of your enemy while playing this master of war.

Do you have your own
Build Guide?

Submitted by Khazok

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