SWAIN BUILD GUIDE: The Return of the Bird(not Anivia) by DreamyAnt

by DreamyAnt (last updated over a year ago)

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Greater Mark of Magic Penetration( +7.83 magic penetration)
Greater Seal of Armor( +12.69 armor)
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power( +1.53 ability power per level (27.54 at champion level 18))
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power( +14.85 ability power)
View Rune Details
Summoner Spells
View Summoner Details
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9 Utility
View Mastery Details
Player Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Carrion Renewal
RRavenous Flock
View Skill Order Details



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9 Utility

Skill Order

Player Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Carrion Renewal
RRavenous Flock

Champion Matchups


What's up guys, i am dreamyant, a new 2k elo NA player, atm i am 2.2k and continue to raise :D. I am in the new unRestricted team, was brutal force before. we do go4lol and small tournys. This will be my first guide on solomid, i will be making it on my mostplayed champion season 2 - Swain. I am looking forward to helping people out in playing the champions i know, i will be updating often and creating new guides. I hope i can get feedbacks and support :D. (i may have a lot of grammar/spelling issues lol, i am just typing whatever i am thinking, please don't mind that :P.)

Started messing with build alot more after 2200, win ratio and stats dropped by a lot but still w/e :P.

Full day of solo q after the swain buff, won the game that was possible lol, the ones i lost u know. 2300 elo hell, just going to blame that lol.

Swain's Role:

Swain is a quite unique champion, he is one of the few mages in game that can be build as a super brusier mage, kind of like cho, singed and ryze. He is great at top or mid, i recommand mid after 200 games. He is very underplayed and not many people knows how to counter him. He is a great viable champion overall i played him in many go4lol and small tournys.

Swain's Strengths and weakness:

Tanky and durable
High dmg possiblity
Win most lanes
Counter MANY MANY "viable champions"
cool skins

He also gets counter picked easily if you pick him first
weak from lv 1-3, if you go top, smart people will take adventage of this
blue buff dependent
W kind of hard to land if you are new

First guide guys, may have a lot of mistakes help me out :D k here we go.

Edit 1 - 4/22 (huge freaking update, did so much):
Sry guys forgot about this guide after a party lolz, will update and make.

Edit 2 - 4/23(top update)
Alot of top champions, more mid match ups and answer to comment.

Edit 3 - 4/24(jungler, more top and mid update)
I think i finished most of this guide, going to make more champion guide soon, leave in comment if you want to know anything special, i will update this every week or so, won't be like these 2 days with huge update. Hope this can be approved soon zz.

Edit 4 - 4/28(A lot of small stuff, more detailed early mid late game)
More stuff

Edit 5 - 5/1(more top update)
Added singed and udyr match ups. Btw please leave in comment what champ you want to see my next guide on, check my ranked stats if you want, i can do any champ that i played more than 15 games on.

Edit 6 - 5/2(more top and item fix after the patch)
Wota's basically useless now, maybe if you go double ap, it's not that great, too expensive. Replace it with abyssal, this item's just sexy.

Edit 7 - 5/4(ALOT OF NEW STUFF)
added patch stuff related to swain chapter, more item explanation, more bad grammar fixed.

Edit 8 - 5/22 (jax and new item)
Added the new favor of the month top lane - jax match up, new item too.

Edit 9 - 5/25 (lane match up and runes)
Added more lane match up requests, also a new rune page i like. Trying to get a high elo video atm, really not use to playing with 15 fps.

Edit 10 - 5/27 (more mid lane match up and notice)
Mid match ups.

Edit 11 - 5/29 (xerath, j4, item build change)

Edit 12 - 5/30 (first 1v1 video and naut, please post if u like it)

Edit 13- 6/1 (Brand 1v1 video)

Edit 14- 6/2 (draven patch update)

Edit 15- 6/15 (big update, a lot on ad and tank swain)

Edit 16- 7/2 (Back from a trip, will update and comment)

Edit 17 - 12/29 (Got lazy, didn't really feel like updating, I felt swain was really weak too. BUT NOW, I FOUND A NEW BUILD, AND THE BIRD IS BACK)

Updated for s3



The masteries's pretty simple and straight forward, typical mage setup, nothing special. If you want to be full tank 21-0-9, 9-21-0, 9-0-12 could be good too.

ok this maybe different from the first mastery page by a bit, fking this guy name norsechamp just force me to get the point in extra creep dmg. So w/e.

On ad top swain, you take the exact same thing except you get the bonus dmg instead of ap.

On tank top swain, you take 9-12-9 ish or just 0-21-9



Just regular mage set up, pretty simple.


or you can use this, it's really good against most mages, really safe page, using this more than the first one atm.

I use the second page for ad and tank swain, magic pen is still useful even if ur going ad.


Summoner Spells


Flash is self explanatory, it's still the best summoner spell in the game, so many uses even with swain, you can make big plays with flash or .

Ignite is so great with swain's , it does so much damage combined with swain's full combo, you can kill a pretty tanky character with ignite and all your spells.

: Really good if you are new with swain, it makes you stay in fights longer and do more damage LOL.

: Against karthus, kennen, or any big aoe mage that needs to use aoe skills to kill you.


whenever Swain kills an enemy unit, he recovers 10 mana (+1 each level).

This is a pretty nice lane skill, you get mana back so you can trade with others way easier.

Swain sets his raven to cripple an enemy. Over the next three seconds, the target takes 25/40/55/70/85 (+30% ap) damage (per second) over time and is slowed.

Cooldown 8seconds
Cost 60 / 70 / 80 / 90 / 100mana
Range 550

This is a great slow and harassing move, doesn't take much mana, have give synergy with your . You can use this and land a couple of autoattacks.

Swain marks a target area. After a short delay, mighty talons grab hold of enemy units dealing 80/120/160/200/240 (+70% ap) damage and rooting them.

Cooldown 18 / 16 / 14 / 12 / 10seconds
Cost 80 / 90 / 100 / 110 / 120mana
Range 900

One of the best cc skill in the game if landed, this skill has many uses. You can cut off short passage with it and root many people. Use it when somebody go for last hit and follow up with your other skills, this can get you many kills in lane.

Swain afflicts his target, dealing 75/115/155/195/235 (+80% ap) damage to them over time and causing them to take 8/11/14/17/20% increased damage from Swain's attacks for 4 seconds.

Cooldown 10seconds
Cost 65 / 70 / 75 / 80 / 85mana
Range 600

This is swain's bread and butter, it synergize with your whole skill set, you max it first and use it whenever you trade. It increase your autoattack and ignite. Op in my opinion.

Toggle: Swain transforms into the form of a raven, during this time up to 3 lesser ravens strike out at nearby enemies dealing 50/75/90 (+20% ap) damage each second. Swain is healed for 75% of damage dealt versus champions, and 25% versus minions. Prioritizes champions

Cooldown 15 seconds
Cost 25 mana

Swain's signature skill, he turns in to a bird and kill all while sucking life. No need explainations.

How nerfs and buffs relate to Swain (Items too)

League of Legends v. Hecarum Patch


Ravenous Flock upkeep cost reduced to 5/6/7 from 5/7/9
Basic attack frame speed increased

The Ult buff is not that big of a deal, it's pretty big if the fight last for a long time. I think adding small stuff like this once in a while for swain will make him extremely viable and high tier in competitive level.

The attack frame speed increased is HUGE, one of the biggest reason people doesn't like swain is because of his auto attack. I mean anivia has a reason to have slow auto attack because she's a frozen bird, swain doesn't. This is awesome and it makes laning phrase so much easier.

Spectator Mode Patch Notes Patch before Varus

Will of the Ancients

Now builds out of Blasting Wand and Hextech Revolver
Total cost increased to 2500 from 2100, combine cost reduced to 440 from 465

Deathfire Grasp

Now builds out of Blasting Wand and Kage's Lucky Pick (total cost reduced to 2600 from 2610)
Now grants 80 Ability Power and 15% Cooldown Reduction, from 60 Ability Power, 12 MP5, and 15% Cooldown Reduction
Increased cast range to 750 from 650
Active base damage changed to 25% +4% per 100 AP of the target's current Health from 30% + 3.5

Wota change is really big in my opinion, geting a blasting wand for something for something like wota is just not worth it. I don't think wota is extremely good on swain now, it's still okay with double ap, but most of the time abyssal is just better. Don't get it unless you have double ap, it's really not worth it, with 2500 gold you can even buy a void staff.

DFG is great now, the reason i still don't like it on swain is because it doesn't have any other stats than ap. The burst is great 1v1, but swain needs to be more durable, you can get it now but there are still better choices. This item is going to be extremely popular with other aps tho, so just be more careful while laning.

Draven Patch:

Range increased to 500, from 480.

Decrepify: Slow % increased to 20/25/30/35/40%, from 20/23/26/29/32%.
Rangeincreased to 625, from 550.

Ravenous Flock: Cooldown decreased to 8 at all levels, from 10 at all levels.

Ok, this is a little bit overkill in my opinion, i will explain why. Swain is only not played atm because he's like one of those unplayed mages, people don't want to try him and see what he can do. Everybody follows favor of the month champion, remember like a month ago cass was like holy shit op let's all play her. Then a month later, no nerfs, no buffs, people just play her less and less. Swain is already pretty balanced, maybe a little work with the ult cd is needed. I am definitely pretty happy about this buff, this buff really increase swain's top lane potential which makes me extremely happy. His mid is going to be insane too, i think he's one of the top 7 or 8 mages now. People WILL go try swain, they are going to be like, holy shit this bird is insane, that's really not because of the buff, he's already extremely strong atm. Well, that's my opinion, w/e i am super happy about this buff, inspire more people to play swain :D.

OK, when the item came out at the end of S2, people thought swain was going to be one of the best mage brusier in the game. But honestly, this item made swain weaker. People can disagree on that, but I think I am one of the best, if not the best swain in NA. made champions like lux, anivia, even brand stronger. The reason is that athene is for long range mages that continues to spam heavy dmg. Swain is not one of these champions, he's a brusier that does sustain duration dmg, this item does not provide alot of tankiness, it does not provide a great amount of ap, the mana reg is nice, but s3's new (i will talk about this later) is so much better.

Summary: Athene is not an item designed for swain, it is better with long ranged heavy ap mages. Swain needs tankiness or dmg, this item give mediocre stats. It could still be good with another item build path.


Here we go, I am so excited to talk about how all the new S3 stuff affects Swain. K, first thing's first, , this is absolutely amazing on swain first buy. You may think that this item benefited the ad casters the most, but swain got the biggest help. I will explain why in the item chapter. Now, . This is why Swain is now one of the best mid in my opinion, I will talk about why in the item chapter. Also just made him a beast. I will go in depth why these items made swain the strongest mid in my opinion.

Now, the biggest change to my swain build is, . Why this item is longer must have for swain? Item chapter ploz xD.

Item Builds


Start Items:


cloth-armorhealth-potion5(top or mid lane against bruisers)

Ok, crystal flask(bottle) is so freaking amazing laning phrase with swain. His old problem with laning phrase is still mana hungry problem, you have to continuously spam your skills while trying to last hit perfectly. This problem is completely fixed, now last hitting does not have to be perfect, you can spam as much as you want. With this starting setup, i don't go buy usually until lv 6, I can pick up a tear/boots or a haunting guise/boots.

Core Items:
tear-of-the-goddess liandrys-torment sorcerers-shoes abyssal-scepter or rylais-crystal-scepter

I replaced with tear because tear is half it's price and it's way better late game with . This is a medium size change, you could still go cata, but i don't recommand roa.

liandrys-torment: This item is absolutely fantastic, the huge reason is that EVERY TICK of swain's skill prok this passive. EVERY TICK is a huge deal, swain's q e and r all have 2-3 ticks. This item works so well with swain's skills. Your E also make the dmg higher, everything about this item is fantastic. It builds from haunting guise, a really good early game item on swain too. The ONLY issue with this item is that, you can't rush it, it's not great if you get it as your first or even second item. U need a decent amount of ap to make this item shine. I recommend getting it 3rd after abyssal/ryla, get it before zhonya tho.

: This is one of the sexiest new ap item in my opinion, I love baiting the shield. Also the stats are really amazing with mana reg. It is a natural upgrade from too. Just get this, it's awesome, self explanatory. Another cool thing is that, if you just toggle , the tear stack will continue to raise each time the cd is up. You can sit at fountain for the last 30-50 tear stack.

: Now this item is my new favorite late game swain item, i used to get deathcap over this every single time. But that was before me realizing how well this active works with your ult + . Late game, your ult plus all your skill's dmg potential is higher than any other mages in the game, I MEAN EVERYSINGLE ONE. Having a cooldown time is so helpful, you are also dmging with your ult active. Get this as your 4th item, it is so amazing, it will single handily win teamfights.

Items you should highly consider:

This is every AP champion's big damage item, most casters rush this after two dorans. Swain does not really need this item early on to do his damage, but if you are dominating, just get it after your roa. I usually go roa - abyssal - spirit visage - frozen heart - deathcap. But if you feel like you can do way more with deathcap, get it whenever you want. Getting it early makes you squishier but way more dangerous, it's a trade between damage or tank. I recommend getting it after 1 or 2 core though, because swain needs to get close in order to do damage, and this attracts focus.


This was a commonly used item around 8 months ago, every single caster would go deathcap and void, but it's kind of got overshadowed by items like abyssal. I don't get this item till the very end, sometimes i don't even get it because i feel like swain does not need to instant burst someone, zhonya is a better last item choice. Void is still great if you want to be your team's main damage late game, just consider the situation and do what's smart.


Some people may say this is a must get item on swain, it's insanely good and work so well with swain. But after around 70 games, i stopped getting this item. It doesn't give you as much tank as frozen heart , it doesn't give you more damage than deathcap. It's just got a bonus nice slow, but your q is already a slow. I only get it when i am laning against someone that i 100% can't kill, it's just a farm lane till team fights. That's the only way i will ever get rylai, it's extremely expensive for 80 AP and some health too. If you like the slow and it works well with your team, get it, it's not a super bad item.

This new item's aright, if you are against 2 ap damage champion(that includes jungler,top,even some ad like corki.) and you have mana issues just get an early chalice, and upgrade it later on after your roa or abyssal. This item is really not a core though, abyssal is a way better second item choice, also you should never get this against a heavy ad team. Just use common sense

ROA was the 100% core item one swain, it provided everything that swain needed. But here's the thing, with all the new items and champions that go mid and top. ROA is way too slow and it doesn't provide the key amount of stats. Getting a gives you lane sustain, but this is already covered with the new . If you go cata, your dmg will not be enough with aggressive counter jungling and 2v2 battles. Late game, the stats are still not enough, gives you everything roa give you but more dmg and reg. This item just needs a buff, it's outclassed by so many better items.


Self explainatory

Use common sense and be smart when getting all these situational items

Defensive items:

Spirit-visage is swain's best friend after the spell vamp nerf. This will dramatically give you more healing if you have decent AP. But do not rush it before you get any sort of AP items, what pisses me off the most is when a vlad or swain get visage with 50 AP. The healing bonus is barelly noticeable if you don't have AP, i recommand geting it after your roa and some dorans, that's when you begin to see the healing bonus effect. Always get this mid game, one of the best item for swain.


Frozen heart got nerfed on Swain on my opinion, it is not good as before, getting a + is way too much work and sets ur dmg back. But this is still an awesome item against 4-5 heavy ads team, get a glaical first and upgrade it when you feel is right. This item is not my core anymore though.


This is aright, the same reason why some cass and ryze get it, just a overall great item, but it doesn't give a great amount of stats.

sight-ward5 Wards are pretty important you go mid, swain has no hard escape, if you are ahead you can 1v2, but if you are even or behind wards are necessarily. Top swain always need wards.

What i get 80% of the times:
seraphs-embrace liandrys-tormentsorcerers-shoesabyssal-scepterrabadons-deathcap zhonyas-hourglass


Ok i am way too lazy to add starting items, mid games, and all those little stuff from the item build section. Here's the reason why ad swain is good, the biggest reason is people don't expect it, irelia would go 2 null magic mental, some top will rush a negatron. This is when you can transition in to ad even if you got a dorans or so.

This was inspired by xHazzard's nid build at mlg Anaheim lol, i love what he did with sheen frozen heart and mallet, i thought it retarded at first because u don't stack tri force and mallet, but i realize you don't even need to finish your sheen, the game won't last that long.

The thing with having a sheen is swain is always going to E Q and auto attack in lane, why not abuse that fact and get extra auto damage instead of geting a catalyst like ap? Next is frozen heart, this item is just beautiful on swain, if you are against irelia, wukong, or any autoattacker, you slow them so hard. Then mallet, this just fits ur item colors, it's nice, give a really nice slow. After that you get w/e u want, use your brain, build mr if against ap, armor if ad.

This item is insanely good on ad swain, i am even considering it on ap. In lane whenever you get a chance you just Q and E and auto attack them once, this increase ur harass damage significantly.

This item is even better on ad swain, you will be in the middle of everybody, tanking and doing sustane damage. It's core no matter what unless there's 3 ap on the opposite team, than you go spirit visage-fon.

unlike ap swain, spirit visage is a great item on ad swain. You probably ask why, you do less ap damage and you get less healing. It's because that ad swain rely on tankiness to do damage, you need to stay alive and keep using spell + auto. Spirit visage give you cdr, health, and healing increase, all the stats you need.


Swain has a great variety of item choices, you can even not get roa and get dorans-dc, this is a gamble tho, you do more dmg than cass early game with this build. Swain can also go full tank, he provide great utility and cc with blue, his base dmg is probablly the highest of mages. Be smart, build smart, win game :D.

Early Game

Swain's early game is completely dependent on who you are laning against. mid swain is usually safe till like lv 4, this is great, lv 4 is usually when swain gets strong and have high dmg potential. You always want to watch out for your lane opponets to last hit, you can try to land a easy w following with e q and autoattacks. This will win you trade and usually win your lane if you use it correctly at mid. The first few games you play with swain you should just farm till 6. Then get blue buff and do w/e you want, you should outfarm people and have potential to kill them. lv 6 if you can land w e q ignite you can easily get fb. Then you can snowball easily.

Early game: 1-15mins

In depth: Aright, you start the game, follow your team if you want to invade, or just help your jungler by leashing, do the standard stuff. Ok lv 1 in lane, if you are laning against a person with good early harass just farm till 4, if you are against a passive enemy just harass him starting from lv 1 with and autoattack. At lv 4, swain's probablly one of the strongest mage at that point. Only or has more dmg than swain at lv 4. Use your , , autoattack until he runs, then land a easy , you should get him below 40%, do this over and over again. After 6, you want to trade with your lane as much as possible. When you get your first or 2nd blue buff, base on your judgement try to see if you can force a dragon fight. Swain with blue buff can outdmg and outtank any other mages at dragon. Try to get some kills early and get adventages. At around 14 mins, you should have dorans boots and roa. this is when swain start to become a crazy bird, he is extremely tanky and can outdmg most mages. Push your lane and try to get ganks with , go for the harass at anytime. Same combo you use at 4 except with your ult, and ignite if you think you can kill.

Mid Game

Swain's mid game is the strongest part about him, he probablly have a better mid game than cass or ryze if played correctly. At this point, you should have roa some dorans and boots. You can easily kill mid lane by landing w, no champion will beat you at trading dmgs. Not even cass, but don't go too crazy cause ignite=your death. Your first dragon fight as swain is crucial, you need to kill whoever you can hit with your skills, nobody will be super tanky at 10mins. Try to get kills and snowball. Fed swain=scariest mage. Also swain's other strength is protecting your ad carry, you have so many ways to get ppl off your ad carry, you can increase the dmg you and your teammates are doing to them, you can slow them, you can root them. My ad teammate love it when i play swain.

Mid game: 15-25mins

In depth: Mid game is where you want to abuse this crazy big bird. You can group and push, do baron or dragon, or just force big fights. Swain's extremely versatile, his increased dmg with is really good for baron, he's probablly the 3rd faster baron killing mage after and . Mid game team fights are extremely important for the rest of the game. Swain's role in these teamfights is just do maximum dmg and do what you can, don't just flash away from ur teammates and go for their carries. Brusiers acually do more dmg than ad carry mid game, some at least. If you can get your hands on like any dps characters, just do it. You have enough mana to kill their carry after you kill their bruisers. Swain's pretty good at peeling off people for your ad carry, if you have another high dps mage, you can protect your carry only. Try to end the game at this point, i don't usually get games over 28mins. If you get past that, read the next section.

Late Game

Usually you don't want a game to go over 35mins as swain, his late game is not that promising, it's kind of like singed, you think he's going to be strong, but he does less dmg and he's less important. But at 20-35mins, swain's still a great ap carry, he can tank baron, help kill it fast with e, protect your ad carry. Just don't go too late and try to win it early. He's a mid game champion.

Late game: 25-80mins

In depth: Late game swain is okay, just okay, he's not anything super special, he's not that tanky later on, he doesn't do crazy amount of ap dmg like cass or brand. Swain is just ap version of something like gp. He does ok, but he can't do anything crazy. Just stick with your team and catch people with . Your not really a late game champion, don't go manmode all day, protecting your carry should be your main role after 30-32mins. Your carry alive = win :D

All about swain mid - match ups and things

Champions you hate and lose against if equal level

: Cass is swain's worst enemy, she outdmg your ult, she has a hard stun if you don't be careful. Here's how you deal with cass if you have to play against one. Go trade with her super early before lv 6, try to dodge her Qs, land a eq and autoattack, pressure pressure before 6. If you can get fb bully her and bully her. If you get to 6 with her without any adventage, build a early or , you can turn these 2 in to something useful. After you getone of this try to trade with her when you are 6+ be careful of her ult, don't get baited.
Summary: Just build mr and trade early that's the only way to go.

: Some people think fizz counter swain, this is partly true, his w is probablly swain's worst nightmare. Here's what you have to do. Early on, you have to harrass the hell out of him, don't even let him get over 10 cs, e autoattack don't waste mana on w because he will e away. At 6 you have to flash to dodge his fish, this is important without the fish he can't really kill you unless you make a mistake.
Summary: demolish him early, don't let him cs, dodge his fish, win :D

: Kat is one of those champions that is hit or miss, the best kat in NA is probablly scarra or Tiensnokuma(apologize if spell wrong). I played with both of these guys before, and let's just say it didn't turn out so well, Swain does not have a guarrente stun for kat's ult, they can wait for u to w before she ults or she can just zerg you and try to instant kill you if you are not paying attention. Build mr, this is the only choice you have. Her healing reduction is annoying too.
Summary: Build mr, get ur jungler to gank maybe.

: Galio is a huge counter to swain, his shield basicly make swain's little dot dmg look like nothing, just don't fight him when he shields and try to out farm him, you will do more than him mid game if he doesn't get 3+ ppl in ult. Galio is annoying to all mages, the only way is just to outfarm and win around mid game.
Summary: Out farm him, don't fight when he has his shield on, try to end the game around 25-30mins

Champions that go even with swain:

: Anivia in my opinion is safe pick, kind of like kennen, there's no hard counter to her. She do well against anybody. Here's how you deal with her as swain. Her early game harass compare to urs is kind of the same, it's not that easy to dodge a well placed Q from her. So i suggest just try to farm till 4 than land w and do your harassment. At 6 you have to trade with her as often as possible, she does not have sustane like you, she needs blue more than you. Don't overcommit and die because of ignite tho.
Summary: be extremely smart, trade after 6, she can't stay in lane longer than you, outfarm her.

: Brand is one of my favor mage to play mid, i love landing big dmg on this champion, and it's kind of hard to dodge them as swain i agree. Swain's slow and do sustane dmg, brand is big burst and have a nice stun. Jwarebee's brand make me cry everytime i play against him. You have to dodge those pillars, you can't sustane his dmg forever, he doesn't have that much of mana issues. Build mr, you have to.
Summary: Dodge his pillars, don't get stunned and get hit more than once by his ult. Trade when you have blue.

: I am doing this champ just for my teammate Juicyant, he wants to defeat my swain, but he can't because he bad. lol. Here's what you have to do against ori if you ever play against one. 1 sentence, dodge her big balls and trade when you hit 6.
Summary: dodge them balls trade when you hit 6 and abuse her.

: Lux against swain is the most boring mid lane in the world. There's no way either of you guys can kill each other if equal skill level. Usually lux go 3gp10 and just farm long range with blue buff. There's not much you can do about that except maybe catch her with a W, even if you do so, she will pop her shield and run away. The only chance you can kill lux and maybe snowball is early early game around lv 4. You HAVE to go aggressive at lv 4 and 5 if you want to win the lane, you either make her back and lose 5-20 cs or just kill her. If you don't do it, it will be a boring farm lane unless your jungler or team do something about it.
Summary: Farm lane after lv 7ish, go super aggressive early on and try get a kill to snowball.

: TF is one of the trickest mage, some people play a tf that will make you lose every game. He has so much farming ability, combined with his map control and ganking potential, he is one of the mage with great potential. Swain is not a hard counter to tf but he does beat him in lane pretty hard if played correctly. Ok a high level tf would probablly just want to farm with a swain, he wouldn't want to trade do big fights, abuse this fact. Do not push your lane, make him work for every single cs. Whenever he come up e q autoattack him, if you can land w that's great. Keep doing this, push him out of lane, get 15+ cs over him. When he gank with ult, if you can follow go, if you can't push mid hard.
Summary: trade with him, force him to fight with you, don't push lane, deny him cs, dominate your mid.

: Malz, you may think counter swain hard, this is kind of true, malz beat everybody if you have the thinking that he just use all skill and ult you. If you have any knowledge of malz, you would never let him do this. Swain acually beats malz in a way. Trading with him before 6 is bad because his mana recovery rate is always higher than yours. Try to beat him in cs land a couple of e w if you have to. At 6 this is where you have to harass. Always put your w near him so he can't ult for it's full duration, this is extremely important, if he gets a combo on u with ignite you are dead even if you are in ult.
Summary: farm till 6, use your w where you think he would ult, trade with him super hard every time your cooldown's up.

: Ryze is another one of those popular mage that's considered op. Swain vs ryze is kind of even, you have to extremely aggressive early on because he doesn't have tear or cata or blue buff. You can outfarm him and do your thing. But if you don't get a kill, you are in a weird match up, both of you guys do nice sustane dmg, he has more burst tho. And eventually he will outdmg you because he has more source of mana with tear cata and blue buff. At that point, it's kind of hard to win lane.
Summary: win early's best option you should have your roa dorans and boots before he has tear cata, if you have that you will win lane. If not it's even.

: Leb is extremely dangerous mid starting from lv 2, swain can't outheal leb's burst dmg, without mr at least. Here's what you got to do, no leb's going to build any tanky item, they are going glass cannon and just trying to instant kill you. Swain's base dmg is enough at lv 7 to kill a leb from full to 0. 2 Doran's all you need early for dmg. If you have enough buy catalyst, if you don't, just get a negatron cloak or 2 null magic. After you get some mr and health, you can trade with him all day, just be careful not to die early and ward the jungle. Leb set up a gank really easily.
Summary: Build mr and health than trade with him and demolish him.

: Sion against swain is another one of those boring match up where you both farm, sion mainly wants to gank, you want to follow him and catch him. There's really not much to laning phase except harass him after his shield is gone, you don't really have to build early mr, but merc tread and abyssal still recommended. Mid game after you both get some items, just harass the shit out of him whenever he use shield, you can blow the shield up and do damage. I put sion goes even with swain because you can't kill a good sion and he will just farm and gank.
Summary: Follow him when he gank, harass after shield gone early game, just rape him mid game, watch out for ganks.

: Okay zilean is on the edge of even and losing. I don't have much experience with this match up, but i kind of have an idea of how it will go. Zilean is going to bomb bomb and bomb you super early on. I think your early trade is even with him as long as you get your e and an auto attack off, unless he use his speed, than just let him waste mana. Be extremely careful early on, don't take unnessary damage, try to land a w and go for the kill if you can. Mid game just trade with him when you both have blue buff, don't overcommit and die after ignite. Try to land your slow and w whenever you can. Be really careful with his damage, also don't stay near creep and get double bombed, it's true damage.
Summary: Be extremely careful, trade with him midgame, be careful of true damage double bomb, care for ignite timing.

: There aren't that many top tier xerath player in na, but i did played with a really good na xerath player, and i learned alot from it. Ok, against xerath, you definitely need an early merc tread or negatron cloak, i suggest negatron. After one of those, you should be extremely safe and won't die unless ganked or act stupid. You have to try rooting xerath when he goes in to his W form, if he's at tower just dodge his crazy beams and back off. A good root on xerath will force him in to a huge trade against you, try to flash his first skill after his E to prevent the stun, then he should be dead with all your dots. Xerath is not a counter to swain, but swain definitely doesn't counter xerath. It's a pretty high skill match up, whoever makes a mistake will lose.
Summary: build early merc tread or negatron, root him when he Ws, try to dodge his first skill after his E, force trades.

Champions that get raped by swain:

: Ahri is one of the strongest and best mage in all elo and competitive play, if you want to counter her you may think of ryze or leb, but swain's a way safer way to counter and defeat her. With ryze ahri beats ryze early, leb is a gamble, Swain is a safe win in lane and do more in teamfights. Here's how it works, ahri CANNOT trade with you because she has skillshots and you have easy e q autoattack combo, you can hit w pretty easily before 6 too. Just trade, dodge her skillshots with your passive you shouldn't run out of mana. After 6 it's heaven, she can ult all she wants, you just stand there and spam skill. E q ignite with ult and autoattack she probablly will die. Ahri's strong point is her mobality, but swain cancel that with his slow.
Summary: You beat this champ all game, just abuse her, be a bird, only concern is dodge her taunt, you can't dodge her skillshots if you get taunted.

: Kennen is another one of those high tier champions that people use, like ahri swain is a big counter to him. The same thing with ahri, kennen is a mobality champion, but swain doesn't care if you jump all over the place, he's got one of the best slow and infinite sustane. Just do the samething you do with ahri but be care of the mark of the storm and don't get stunned.
Summary: samething with ahri, don't get stunned, do trades, win lane, o take exhuast for teamfights is smart.

: Karthus is a really strong mage with different play styles, swain is a champion that can bully him extremely easily all game tho. Swain can e q auto in lane, land w whenever he try to w to last hit. He can't really do much to you if you stick with your creeps and don't fight stupid fights. Easy win no need much explaination.
Summary: Don't have to do anything too special harass in lane, make it a living hell for him, dive him if he's low, easy win.

: Kass get countered by a lot of melee ad and some ap too. Swain does pretty well against him, but he is really annoying in lane and you have to take adventage of him while you can. His late game is insane after he can spam his ult. In lane starting from lv 1 whenever he try to last hit, hit him with an autoattack and a skill, let him burn his hp potions. Try to get a kill when you are 4, hit him with your combo and ignite if he's below 65%. After 6 you still beat him up, deny him cs, only let him cd with q. But if you didn't get too much adventage early on, build something like spirit visage early so he doesn't hurt you that much.
Summary: Deny deny deny early, force him not to get cs, trade when you are 6 and just force him out of lane.

: Morg is my favoraite champion to lane against as swain, morg cannot ever kill you unless you are stupid and got binded in to a tower or got ganked. If you guys are even, she can do her full combo and you will have higher than 30% health. She on the other hand would be dead or flash away. In land she can't do much except for pushing and trying to hit you with binding. Try not to get hit by like 10, it's fine if you get hit by one though. Just use your e q whenever you can autoattack, don't use w it waste mana and she can shield it easily. At 6, get your blue buff, go trade with her like she has no skill. She can't do anything but back. Easy win, but you do less than her in teamfight so try to get adventages.
Summary: Win in cs, beat her in lane by trading everytime you can. It's a really easy lane.

: Veigar is getting more and more popular nowadays. Swain is not the perfect counter to him, but he does beat him in lane if nothing bad happens. You have to go aggressive with your skills early on, take magic resist glyphs so you out trade him. Get an early negatron cloak if you are having some trouble, after this he should not be able to burst you. Remember to get merc tread, this is the most important thing about this match up, you should be able to beat him after you get merc tread. Go abyssal after roa and even if he use his dfg + full combo you should only be down to 40%.
Summary: Get mr glyphs, go super aggressive early on with combo and autoattack, get merc tread and negatron and don't get caught super early, he will snowball and rape you. Easy lane if you can out farm him to mid game.

: After the annie buff, she's more and more common now. Swain is not the hardest counter to annie, but he does do extremely well against annie. You build abyssal, merc, even new item, anything that give you mr. Be careful early on when you have little mr and health, don't let her snowball. Make sure you know her ignite timing and watch out for ganks. Should be easy after negatron and roa.
Summary: Watch out early game, build mr items, care for ignite.

Edit 1: Alot more ap i know, i will update more later.
Edit 2: more and more
Edit 3: more and more
Edit 4: more and more
Edit 5: Annie, sion, zilean
Edit 6: Xerath

All about swain top - match ups and things you have to know

Ok to begin this chapter, Swain top is not something you first pick or just spam. It's complicated still at this point to me. There are many champions that will abuse swain early before 6 or even after if you don't play him correctly. And there are champions where swain just can't deal with, skill doesn't even matter in some match ups. His early game before 4 is weaker than vlad top. Ok here we go.

Match ups that swain win against:

: Cho is one of the easiest top lane, he's kind of like nasus but with more dmg and more tank potential, all you have to do early is just farm and e q whenever you can. Watch out for his rupture and his silence hurts a bit. Swain can handle this lane pretty easily after 6 just trade with him often, deny his last hit and out farm him..
Summary: dodge his rupture, harass after 6, be aggressive but not stupid.

: irelia was swain's worst nightmare before the nerf, her sustane was more than swain, she also could of build like 5 null magic mantle. Now it's way easier, she still can go witz end which is annoying but easily dealed with. Swain beats her all game except when she activate her W, you don't have mana problem, she does. Whenver she activate her w, just back off and fight another time. Easy win if you do that she can't do anything to you in lane without her w.
Summary: pick smart fights, crush her early and trade often.

: people think that swain is a huge counter to vlad, this is not ness true. Vlad's mid game is equal with swain's if he's smart he pool every w you do. But how swain beat vlad is by constantly harassing early on, trading big dmg forcing him to ignite ult you after 6. Swain's sustane is overall bettter than vlad's if you play correctly. Build some mr would be great, you can outdmg him.
Summary: harder than you think, don't overcomit, just do nice trades and build mr.

: GP's an easy lane for swain, you just have to really careful early on, his parley does 20% of your health each time if you don't have over 40 armors. You gotta tower hug, do not trade and take too much dmg early on. Your w doesn't matter, cause he can just eat orange. I suggest building 2 cloth armor, if you are taking too much dmg early. Go 2 cloth- catalyst- roa. After around lv 7 and some armor. GP's your bitch, you can w/e you want to him, he does not hurt you that much, you can do your standard harassment every time you got cooldowns.
Summary: Build armor early, don't go for risky cs. After lv 7 harass, trade and kill gp whenever you have the chance.

: For udyr, you can choose either a farm lane or you get your jungler to gank him early. If you can get a kill early on, you will demolish him in lane and he can't do a thing except for turtle stance and farm. Whenever he goes aggressive just use your q, it cancels his bear stance. Make sure to last hit in lane so you don't run out of mana before he does.
Summary: get a gank or just farm. Harass when you can, use your q to stop his bear stance. Last hit!

: Singed's an underrated champion, he's extremely dangerous if you don't kill him once before he hit 6. You HAVE to kill him once before 6, or he's just going to ult whenever and farm fling and do w/e he wants. You will get oom if you try to kill him after he use his ult. You have to be extremely aggressive from the start. Spam E auto, do w/e you can to deny and kill him. Get a gank if you can't kill him.
Summary: do not let singed hit 6 without getting much adventage. Just abuse, harass, deny and do w/e you can to deny his cs. He will do more than you if you don't have 20-30 farms over him.

: Lanewick against swain top is mostly even, you beat the lanewick if he's not smart and doesn't build mr and just rush like frozen heart or something. But against a well played well build lanewick swain's even with him, both of you use your mana to regain health, but swain can get some back with last hits, and also lanewick's only source of harass is his Q, swain can do everything. If you let him get ahead of you and build like a spirit visage before you get your roa, you may be in trouble. Ganks against ww before lv 9 are extremely effective.
Summary: just harass him before he get mr, get a gank if have to.

Match ups that swain go even with:

: In my opinion, nid's like an ad version of swain, sure she can go ap. But this match up is dead even. Swain cannot kill a good nid, nid cannot kill a good swain, this top lane is going to be really aggressive tho. Both of you guys are going be spamming spell, the only chance you got is around lv 7-9 after your first buy. You want to catch him using pounce to farm creeps, than you use everything + ignite and auto auto. If you play it right, i think you can kill nid. In general, it's an even lane, but extremely aggressive from both champions. Get a gank before 6 will win it for you too.
Summary: Dead even lane if nothing crazy happens, get a gank before nid hit 6 or try to burst her with ignite around lv 8.

: Olaf top lane is insanely strong vs any champion. His true dmg will out dmg you anyday, and you will get slowed by the axe then a big true dmg shot. You have to go aggressive early on, a good olaf's first buy should be 2 null magic mantel against swain, 1 for merc and 1 for maw. At that point, you don't do much dmg to him. You have to try to kill him before 6. If you don't, it's going to be a farm off until you run out of mana. If you make a mistake he can even kill you. He does not care about your cc if he ults.
Summary: Kill him before 6 once, get gank if you have to. After 6, you can try trading, but don't go too crazy and burn all mana. He can just ghost ult and tower dive you if you are

: Yorick top is kind of like nid, but less dmg and more healing. Honestly there's nothing you can do against a yorick if you don't get a gank early on. You can't dmg him because he will have mana and healing, he can harass you back and those ghosts acually do a lot of dmg. Samething with nid, the only way is around lv 8, wait for a mistake than blow everything. If you can't get a kill just farm and push lane, it's really boring against a yorick.
Summary: Get a gank from jungler, try catching a mistake at lv 7-9, then blow everything.

: Jax is like the new irelia of top lane, he's extremely strong and nobody really hard counter him. Swain has to be extremely careful against jax, it can go either way with a slight advantage. Swain can actually hardcore shutdown jax 1v1 if he gets a lead ahead. If it's an even lane, swain has to kite jax around when committed in to a fight, try to dodge the stun radius whenever you can, there's really no way he can kill you unless you get stunned or gunblade slowed. Try to go aggressive before 6, both of you guys get stronger after 6 but jax gets way more annoying. Watch out for his third burst attack, also whenever he jumps you and try to run away, turn on him and use everything. He is forced to fight you or take a big amount of damage.
Summary: Kite kite kite kite, catch small mistakes and take over the lane, get some tanky items like giant belt if you are having trouble.

: Jarvan top is realy underrated, he's extremely strong and has a lot of big burst. He can easily get first blood on you if you are not careful. J4 is on the urge of even and crying. If you can live in the lane through lv 8 or 9 you should be fine after that. You really need dodge boots or an early chain vest(build in to fh later) against him, his EQ combo will drop you instantly if you don't have armor. Don't do too much trading with him before lv 6, just try to farm and land some harass and auto whenever you can, don't overcomit, you cannot survive 2 EQ. After lv 6, whenever he EQ you, turn your ult on and use everything back, force him to fight you and use ignite. Do this every time your ignite is up, he either run away with half health or he has to risk it. Try to dodge his Q, this is extremely important.
Summary: definitely needs to build dodge boots or chain vest early, don't trade too much before 6 and just last hit, after 6 take your chance to harass him after he use his combo.

Match ups that swain cry :

: Lee sin is swain's worst enemy in my opinion, swain does sustane dmg all game, lee sin's Q will melt you if you don't have over 100 armor. A combo from lee sin can kill you from 80% to 0. The only way is to get ganks and try to dodge Q, this may sound easy, but a good lee sin player abuse creeps and slow you than go for a easy q. This is a painful match up, voyboy 5-0 me in lane once. It's not that great.
Summary: Dodge Qs, get ganks, build armor, hope you get a mistake from lee sin.

: a well played riven in my opinion is the strongest top lane, i will make a guide for this champ soon. Okay as swain, your main source of dmg is your e, after that you use skill to follow up and do nice harass. Riven counter all this, she can shield your E, jump autoattack jump auto you every few sec, you can't trade because she can have a chance of killing you at all levels. There are really little things you can do against riven, get jungler ganks. It's extremely hard to stay even against a well played riven, don't pick against him.
Summary: get ganks and don't pick swain against riven

: Renekton top beats everybody, there aren't any champion that counter renekton, maybe some ranged ads. Do not ever pick this lane with swain, renekton will cream you if he knows what he's doing. After dorans and some mr you can never kill rene. Maybe ask a jungler to do an early gank, this is your only hope, of course if the renek is bad, you can pick w/e you want. A good renekton demolish swain in lane, do not pick.
Summary: Don't pick swain against renek, get a jungler to camp ur lane if you get counterpicked.

I think i got most of the commonly used top lane, leave in comment what other champ you want to see.

Tricks and tips on swain.

- Swain's new auto attack animation is insanely sexy, abuse this fact, use your e and autoattack, this is probablly the best harrassment in mid next to cass's q.

- Swain's not a complete ap carry, this is not ness a bad thing, you can build items like
and alot more too lazy to find all images.

- Swain is probablly one of the most underplayed mage, not many people know how to counter him.

- Swain has great carry protecting ability, if you have , you can get them off your carry forever.

- Swain's taunt is probablly my favoraite quote in the game, use this in lane, annoy your opp

- Swain's is instant cast and it's extremely useful in lane to last hit, you can get funny last hits.

Will continue update, there's alot more

Reacting to all Junglers

: 1st one, also the most dangerous/annoying one, Ali jungle is just camp mid do raids and some buffs, camp mid, do raids, camp mid, do something else, camp mid. With this champion jungling, you have to play defensive early on and stay on your side of the river. Doesn't matter how weak your lane opp is. Stay on your side until you can get wards, buy 2 and ward the 2 bushes, than you can go manmode and do w/e you want.

: Don't worry about this till 6, even if he get a fear on you, you should be able to flash away, after he hit 6, you have to be really careful, ward one side and stay on it. If you are beating your lane hard tho, you can honestly 1v2 them, but kill fid first with ignite.

: Lee sin ganks are really painful early on, he can just kill you from full to 0 with red buff if you overextend and get hit by Q. Try to this dodge this, hide behind creeps or something. After like lv 9, lee sin ganks are ok, he can't really kill you unless he has an aggressive mid like cass. Just do da warding and ur fine.

: Maokai is swain's nemesis jungler in my opinion. Swain's not like other mages with big aoes, he has a permanent aoe that does so much dmg if you want to heal, if maokai use his ult after he roots you, you have no option but to use ult which increase his ult dmg. This may look like a small thing, but it acually hurts. Try to ward both bushes and don't overextended, don't go too aggressive if you don't know where he is.

: Noc ganks are ok, they are not that big of threat all game, just don't tower dive someone when noc is on the other team and you don't know where he is after 6. His fear is not that big of a deal, just do the usual warding.

: This guy's gank get countered by swain, your slow negate his bear stance and slow him more. He can't stun you unless he flash, just don't get caught by your lane opp's stun and have them chain stun you. That's the only way you can die.

: Shyv's ganks are like udyr but a little faster but usually shyv won't do anything mid unless you overextended or you have little hp and you are sitting at tower. Just back off and be smart, he can't gank you unless you do something too crazy.

: Just ignore this warewolf until he hit 6, dominate your lane, if you are ahead even if he ults you you can kill the other guy and just run away. Don't mind him too much, but still be careful.

: Naut is like a tanky and more annoying version of maokai, swain can't kill him and the mid lane, he's way too tanky. You have to watch out for pulls from the side bushes, they can come any time after naut get blue, i have seen lv 2 gank from naut, or even no gank till 6. His ganks are extremely cc heavy, if you are laning against a guy with really high burst, you have to be extremely careful. Ward your side bushes and just try to dodge his pulls.
Edit: Samething with top and mid, leave comment on any other jungler you want to see.



Decent swain game, watch what i did in lane and how to land skillshots. This was 15 fps, painful lol.
it's watchable at least.

1v1 Swain videos, lane match ups:

Xerath: [own3d]http://www.own3d.tv/AlvinDream/watch/652476[/own3d]
(first video, post on comment if you liked it, also what do you want me to improve on.)

Brand: [own3d]http://www.own3d.tv/AlvinDream/watch/653741[/own3d]

Final Comments

Well this is my swain guide, i will continue to update this everyday, he has really high potential in being one of the most op mage in the game. I got myself to 2k elo with him easily, most people don't know how to counter him even in 2k, learn him, he's a great mage to play. He has many unique tricks and many things to offer. Show some support, i will be making many more guides on champions, tips, solo qs, and just dealing with bad people in general. Tys :D!

go support this :D http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?t=1158089

Well S3 has being a roller coaster in solo q so far. I finally got myself back to 2k, now i am bringing back the swain all the way to 2300. I will update this more later, there are still so many things i didn't mention. I think i need to redo all the match up + new champion like kha, zed. Giveme some time, i will try to update this. My ign is unR DreamyAnt. Not on unR anymore, no longer a team, everyone got life and school after mlg. See u guys around.


June 28, 2013 - 06:52 AM #1

update it - its far more complex & detailed than fresh guides

May 10, 2013 - 01:28 PM #2

I though archangel is good but roa is still better . Archangel drains needed mana with active and gives 0 hp . also roa is better early game.

April 30, 2013 - 04:27 AM #3

I noticed a couple of "flaws" (IN MY OPINION)

The most important is that you get health (cheapest thing right know) from only one item and your only mana item is archangel staff itself. I think it doesnt benefit from its passive correctly

Also, buying early tear gives no damage or tankyness. You are not Ryze and even ryze buys a Catalyst along Tear

I've been trying some stuff and getting both Rod of Ages and then Archangel later (like after Zhonyas). I think it works a bit better. It makes laning easier with health and mana and you get that heal from catalyst every level up

And then ARchangel will benefit from the mana from a fully charged Rod of Ages!

Im only gold. No pro here. Its just my humble opinion :D

March 2, 2013 - 07:40 PM #4

hey, you should change the starting items, you cant buy 5 pots ward and flask anymore, thank you

February 8, 2013 - 03:16 PM #5

The starter items are too expensive...

January 20, 2013 - 01:59 PM #6

So you say sheen is really good on Swain and one will occasionally build Frozen Heart, what about Iceborn Gauntlet?

January 20, 2013 - 02:50 AM #7

I don't understand how you could forgo RoA during a time when HP is worth more than resistances, and there are only 2 items that have HP and AP. Is Seraph's Embrace the saving grace there?

January 13, 2013 - 06:46 PM #8

i dont like this tear build very much. i keep feeling weak without the bulk from roa mid game.... i will try with hp per level seals, but i think roa build is still better anyways

January 2, 2013 - 12:39 PM #9

Have you ever considered Iceborn Gauntlet on Swain? Pretty much all the stats it gives benefits Swain, and a little CC never hurt anybody.

December 30, 2012 - 03:18 PM #10

Great guide.

Yet I'm still convinced that 9/17/4 is the best setup for Swain atm.

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