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Swain Guide


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#1 ThaggleS

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 06:28 PM

So you wanna hear about how you have just Swain an enemy? Good, and you’ve chosen the right champion to do so. Firstly, there are some big no-no’s that I have found with Swain, so I am going to touch on these first.

1) Those building Swain as a single target nuke, similar to Phreaks champion spotlight, are not going to find a high damage build in this guide. Instead, you will find a build that I have found to be highly Swain friendly.

2) Swain is NOT a great duo lane champion. His passive grows better with levels, your mana regen per 5 per level seals grow better with levels as well. He is great at fighting a single champion, but not great at fighting you vs. ONE other enemy. Rather than fighting a 1 on 1, try fighting vs. ONE other champion around minions. This means quit pushing your lane, quit fighting near a turret, keep the minions alive. Fighting near your turret is fine as well, just keep an eye on the minions’ progress in YOUR lane, because it will be the same on your opponents side, so get the timing down right to be most effective when counter-pushing and attacking an enemy champion.

3) As said in the champion spotlight for LeBlanc, The Deceiver (who is also a FUN champion. If you enjoy Swain, pick up LeBlanc, you won’t regret it), Swain is better suited for tanking. This was no freaking joke. Rather than trying to get small heals from high damage, try getting massive heals from small damage. I will cover this soon.

REQUIRED items on Swain:

Spirit Visage – I cannot stress the importance of this item. You can live in the heals for what seems like forever. This item early game will change your opinion on getting this item. Trust me, it works wonders.

Rylais Crystal Sceptre – Rylais adds crowd control to every one of your spells. Why in God’s name would you NOT get this item? It gives good HP and AP and is just an all around item that really complements all of Swain. Rod of Ages is a great item and also gives mana but the slowing effect from Rylais really makes it an exceptional item.
Spell Pen boots – Merc Treads are great for high CC teams, but the extra damage you get from the boots is great. I NEVER buy any other boots on Swain, just remember to pop your ultimate earlier than you would think to just in case you get CC’d. If you get stunned or silenced prior to using your ultimate, you could really get into trouble to the point where that stun/silence will be the death of you. Just play smart, pop it early, and go from there. It is better to leave a fight mana-less then to leave a fight due to expiration, if you get my drift.

Doran’s Ring – There should be no other starting item. If you’re starting with a meki, fix that issue. Getting even TWO early-mid game instead of an Amplifying Tome (because of the Doran’s recent buffs) works really really well.

GOOD items on Swain:

Tear of the Goddess – Yes, Swain loves mana. Mana = health. In my opinion, Swain does not really need Archangels quickly. In fact, Swain is beastly with just a handful of early-mid game items. Upgrade to Archangels later game.

Catalyst the Protector – Great early game item. Some people really like it on champs. If it works well for you, good for you, but I think that Spirit Visage and my constant snagging of blue buffs keeps my green and blue bars up at all times. Consider upgrading to Banshees Veil instead of Rod of Ages. Swain is beast tanky, just try it. You never know til you try, right?

Chalice of Harmony – Great item on Swain. Great item with blue buff, too. Living in the heals, living in the mana, living in the winning. If you are having mana issues, pick one up. If your opponent in the laning phase is AP, get it early. You don’t need ZHONYAS/ARCHANGELS/VOID STAFF/MEJAIS to be effective. Small items really do add up quickly.

Zhonyas Ring – Don’t forget to use this. Don’t forget to use this WHILE in your ultimate form. This item ALMOST got put under “REQUIRED items” but I do well without it, so I guess it’s not a requirement, but it’s a FANTASTIC item.

Banshee’s Veil – If you got Catalyst earlier, get Banshee’s, not Rod. Please take this advice because if you do get spell pen boots, which you should, then you want to prevent that annoying CC/Silence.

Abyssal Sceptre – Why not Void Staff? Simple, because Swain is beastly when tanking, and Magic Resist makes him survive against other casters. It also gives the MR reduction aura, helping your teammates more (assuming at least ONE other person on your team is AP in any way) rather than making Swain deal more damage.

Always good items:

Guardian Angel – Oh yea, GA wins on lots of champions, and Swain is no exception. Respawning and spamming mana via ult to deal damage and heal quickly is fun. The extra armor and MR for survivability is nice, too.

Randuins Omen – As if slowing with Rylais and your ult isn’t obnoxious enough, add a LOT of survivability via health and armor and ANOTHER AoE slow and you’re rolling. Randuins is great for those pesky IN YOUR FACE melee champions like Tryndamere and the armor is good for those other “melee” (physical) champions like Ezreal and Miss Fortune.

Summoner spells:

I run Flash and Ignite. Flash is REQUIRED. On casters with no “outs” like Swain, Ghost should NEVER BE TAKEN (over Flash). Did you read that? GHOST SHOULD NEVER EVER EVER BE TAKEN over Flash. “Waah waah waah Flash doesn’t “pop” projectiles anymore,” so? Flash gets you around corners that Ghost won’t get you out of. Flash and Ghost are ok, but the way I play Swain, I much prefer the early game true damage that Ignite provides with Torment (E), and I will explain that very soon. Flash and Teleport are acceptable as well. Teleport is almost never a bad skill to take, even on Shen.

Masteries:

9/0/21

No exception. The 15% spell pen is HUGE late game. Make sure to take the increased healing, increased mana regen, increased cooldown reduction, and increased neutral buff duration. Reasoning: Swain heals, Swain needs mana, Swain is a caster, and Swain loves blue buff. Pretty self explanatory, right?

Runes:

Marks – Spell Pen
Seals – Mana regen per 5 per level
Glyphs – Cooldown reduction (optional – mana regen per 5 per level, magic resistance)
Quintessences – Either flat health or flat ability power. I have run both, both work well. The way that I play Swain I think I benefit more from the AP. I will explain my Swain playstyle next.

Early game:

Call mid. Swain likes mid. Swain benefits from hitting 6 as soon as possible. If you have a Gangplank on your team, ask him to deny a minion or two mid lane. Hit 6 first and you can easily get either first blood or a kill. Play defensively early game. Swain can harass, yes, but you will lose your mana. SAVE YOUR MANA. This is important. I have gone against people mid who laugh at my choice of Swain and end up /all’ing “Swain is gay,” just a few minutes in. Focus on last hitting until 3 and until 6. Take E Q W or Q E W. Either skill order works. If you’re roaming the jungle with your team early, Laser Bird is great for a single target slow and a nearly guaranteed kill; Laser Bird is great at level 1 against your opponent anyway just in case he/she is feeling aggressive early. Regardless, play back and once again, focus on last hitting. After hitting 3 and having all of your base skills, go in for serious harass. By playing back, your opponent won’t see the aggressive move coming and will allow you to catch them off guard. I suggest combo’ing with W E Q Ignite. Make sure you Ignite during Torment to increase its effectiveness. Also, make sure you move TOWARD the path they are going to move PRIOR to using Laser Bird. Using Laser Bird from its maximum range will allow them to move out of it quickly and not allow it to do its maximum damage. You’ve blown all of your cooldowns and ONE of your summoner skills so what’s your next move? Yup, go back to playing back and farming. ONLY LAST HIT. If you’re auto attacking all the time, you need to quit it and only last hit. Keep your lane pushed back until you hit 6. When you hit 6, your Ignite should be back up. Save it for when you go for the kill. In between 3 and 6, hit a couple of Torments (E) then back up. You do NOT want to full combo again in between 3 and 6. Think to yourself, why don’t you want to? Because you don’t want them to back and fully heal. Now, if they do end up backing and healing, you should have a level advantage, which might even be better than them having half health, you just need to know how and when to take advantage of the increased level. If they have not gone back, they should be about half health by the time you hit 6. Make sure you have a good supply of mana. Hopefully 75% - 100% of your mana before going in for the kill. IF you hit 6 first, go in for the kill immediately when enemy minions are present (assuming you have a good supply of mana). When going for the kill, try the W E Q R and ignite combo. If you need to get the last hit for the small amount of health, go into the turret a little. Remember, Swain heals, so taking ONE, MAYBE TWO tower hits shouldn’t kill you. You need to be the judge of this, I cannot. Stay in the lane until you need to go back. If you kill your opponent, take the time to push your lane and then head on back. If possible pick up the Spirit Visage immediately. Leaving the boots for another trip is fine if you can afford the SV. If you cannot afford the Visage, grab boots, ruby crystal, wards, and a mana potion.

Mid game:

Head to your blue buff, it should be up. Ask your jungler for help. If he says he needs it then he’s an idiot, unless he is Amumu. Amumu, Swain, Sona, and possibly Karthus should have priority over just about any other champs when it comes to blue. Ashe and Ezreal like the blue too, but should give it to the aforementioned champs. Go ahead and snag blue and head back to your lane. Your opponent should tremble in their boots after seeing you come out with a fresh blue buff. Continue your last hitting, place your wards, and harass like there is no tomorrow. Just throwing Torment (E) on your opponent whenever it is up will frustrate them. Watch your side lanes. When one gets pushed (to your tower) and is prime for the gankin’ push your lane, walk back to your tower, and head on down (or up). If the enemy mid is smart, they will try and follow you, this is why it is important to head BACK TO YOUR TOWER before moving to the gankable lane. Start ganking and then head back to your lane. Keep your eye on your opponent. Follow them wherever they go. If they try to gank a lane, it’s probably because they think they have the upper hand. But they might not if you follow them without them seeing you and pop out to help the lane they try and gank. Just focus on farming and helping your team wherever they need help.

Remember: call MIAs, not just yours, but any that you see on your map. Your teammates WILL BE STUPID. If you keep that in mind you’ll be set. Call their MIAs, because 99.99999999% of the time, they won’t. Help your jungler. If you see them going for Dragon, move down into the lone bush just southeast of your lane. Don’t necessarily help your jungler kill Dragon, but be more beneficial by keeping an eye out for him and giving him vision. Place wards. Vision is invaluable. If you don’t purchase and place wards, there should be an option in your computer, under your control panel, to uninstall the League of Legends client. Do everybody a favor and either uninstall or buy wards. They are cheap for such a luxury as vision is.

Late game:

Work with your team. Quit solo farming while your moronic team fights 4v5 and dies. If you have an idiot on your team who keeps solo farming, follow him around as he does so. If he complains, screenshot him (F12, then located under C:\Riot Games\League of Legends\game and report him for being a game ruining faggot.

This guide will be updated as I remember things or as I see fit.
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#2 ThaggleS

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 06:30 PM

I will update with pictures when I get home. I am currently on my way from California to Arizona and on T-Mobile internet, which is really unreliable, so when I get on a legitimate internet connection I will update with more stuff, but for now you just have to bear with me and live on (my wall of) text.
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#3 BouncyBalls

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Posted 27 December 2010 - 01:22 AM

I just purchased swain, went with your suggestions and item builds. I went 11/1/10 first game. I never thought about using spirit visage mixed with hp/ap items, it is the perfect and only way swain should be played. Very good.

+2 thumbs for this, thanks.
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#4 ThaggleS

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 04:58 AM

I just purchased swain, went with your suggestions and item builds. I went 11/1/10 first game. I never thought about using spirit visage mixed with hp/ap items, it is the perfect and only way swain should be played. Very good.

+2 thumbs for this, thanks.


Ya, getting survivability before getting damage makes people truly underestimate Swain. Thanks.
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#5 Tykkiduf

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 02:21 PM

What about will of the ancients as a first real damage item?

80AP, 20% Spell vamp.

Edit: I mean, SV, boots 2, ROA/Rylais, Will of the Ancients

In that order
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#6 lipton

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 06:54 PM

What about will of the ancients as a first real damage item?

80AP, 20% Spell vamp.

Edit: I mean, SV, boots 2, ROA/Rylais, Will of the Ancients

In that order


No real point as going for spell vamp, AP is more important because your ults heal is based off damage. Rabadons hat is probs the best late game investment. I usually go for >cat>merc>chalice>Bveil>Rylais>Rabadons hat.
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#7 Caddy

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 08:50 PM

No real point as going for spell vamp, AP is more important because your ults heal is based off damage. Rabadons hat is probs the best late game investment. I usually go for >cat>merc>chalice>Bveil>Rylais>Rabadons hat.


I'd never get chalice on Swain. There is absolutely no need. Beyond that; Rushing a Rylais after your cata is the best bet, unless you are doing good, stop for that mejais. Then SV, into a Raba.
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#8 ThaggleS

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 05:45 AM

Over 1k views and 5 replies. Yay.
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#9 Bukojuko

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 03:12 AM

This is a really good guide...

I usually start my games off with tears, sorc boots, and cat before deciding what to do and even tho it seems weak you still do really well..

I usually get rylais first. If im doing well I'll go for rabadons before spirit visage but usually will get it afterwards...banshees is also really accessible if needed since you already have the catalyst..

I always start with dorans ring it is absolutely amazing...I dont get the chalice because i feel the early tears and cat are sufficient. Flash/Ignite, I feel, are great spells to have although sometimes I take teleport if I feel that my team may be a little bit squishy and may need help covering towers or pushing lanes. Mid is super important. I feel that swain is just terrible in a dual lane. I cant seem to make it work.
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#10 Neraje

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 07:24 PM

Hello,

I don't have problems with my manapool... the most important thing is, that you don't waste your abilities - use w only for pushing/harassing.

If you concentrate on last hitting, you shouldn't have any mana probs (especially solo lane).

So i wouldn't waste my money on tear, too much doran (or any doran, i prefer boots or mana gem).

My Build so far:

Boots
Rush for Catalyst (lane survivability)
Sorc Boots (dmg output increase)
RoA (survivability, dmg)
Spirit Visage (better heals, def)
Rylai (def, dmg, more cc)

last 2 items depending on the game (void staff, ap hat, more def items, cc reduction like frozen heart)


:-*
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#11 p0wn

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 02:22 PM

I rly love Swain and build him like that:

marks: mpen
seals: mp reg/lvl
glyphs: AP/lvl
quints: AP ->for more early game dmg

pretty std 9/0/21 masteries with flash and ignite

items: dorans or saphire crystal+2 HP pots
catalyst -> build into RoA
boots -> build into MPen boots
Rabadons
after that it depents on my team and the enemy team.
if doing well -> WoA for more AP and even more heal.
if i need more defensive items i build either zhonyas hourglass (vs heavy AD/AS) or Abysall Scepter against heavy AP/Casters

i don't like to rush rylais because swain alrdy has a stun+slow
i don't like to rush spirit visage because swains heals are alrdy ridiculous high.
i never had any mana probs with Swain.
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Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to look more like?