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[Guide] Swain, the unstoppable limping strategist

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Im On A Boat And



So, I was looking through the list of guides and noticed that there are none for Swain. Now, I know that nobody plays this champ and automatically calls him terrible. However, I recently picked him up and have (in my opinion) been doing pretty well with him. So, I decided I’d write this short guide to see if I can help out anyone who has wanted to play this champ but won’t due to him being bad. This guide is not for people who only want to play OP champs and insta-win, but rather people who like challenging themselves by playing underrated heroes and winning with them.

This build is not complete in that I am still testing out different items, yet I feel as if I am on the right track and have a solid build in place.

So, to start…

For masteries I run 9/0/21, grabbing the AP, CD reduction, and spell pen in offence and mostly mana regen, exp, and CD reduction in utility. Basically, standard caster masteries.

For runes, I have red MPen, yellow mana regen, blue CD reduction, and health quints.

For summoner abilities I run ghost/ignite. Note that I do not put mastery points into improved ignite, since the spell pen and top utility mastery are much more useful.

Start with W, then E, then Q. After having one point in each the priority order is R>E>Q>W. You want W first since an aoe snare if very useful to have for either ganking early or surviving a gank.
You want to leave W at 1 rank until everything else is maxed because the snare duration does not get longer.
Your R is obvious as to why you want to max it, but just in case you really want to know: more damage = more lifelink = more survivability = more kills = more wins = ??? = profit. (sorry, I know the joke is old).
Anyways, you want to max your E first since not only is it a targeted DoT, it also increases damage you do from all (well, most since I don’t think it affects ignite) sources. This is very useful since it means that you will actually do damage to people instead of causing them to laugh at you.
You want to max Q after E since the damage and slow on this ability go up as you raise it, and coupled with a maxed E you will do quite a bit of damage.

You will basically have the same combo when attacking people, although this can change depending on the situation. Basically, while laning try to harass with your W but place it somewhere so that if you miss you still do creep damage (unless you’re trying to not push out your lane, in which case just aim for the summoner). Try to place it either behind your enemy or someplace where it will get in their way and force them to either get snared or come to you. If they get snared/come closer case E and then Q on them and auto attack if you can. If you have your ult, turn it on for a second or two and judge the damage you are doing and your laning position. If you think you can safely secure a kill, go for it and cast ignite. Otherwise, just back off and be satisfied with your damage, then do it all over again when everything is off cooldown in 5 seconds. One interesting thing is that Swain is sort of like Mordekaiser in that he actually benefits from being near enemy creeps in a fight since if you’re in a 1v1 fight, you now have 2 more targets to leech life from.

Your item build goes as follows (subject to change based on testing):
Mana crystal – catalyst – rod of ages
Boots – sorc treads (I’ll explain why not merc boots later)
Hextech revolver – will of the ancients
Abyssal scepter
After this, I suppose just get survivability (I have never had a game last longer than this point)
Some items that seem decent are rylai’s, banshees veil, spirit visage, zhonyas (yes, Swain’s ult works through zhonyas).

Some items I have tried are Deathfire grasp (not that great), archangel’s staff (also not great), Lich bane (was fine, but I feel there are better items), Nashors (lololololololol, actually it wasn’t terrible but I wouldn’t get it), Void staff (Idk, a lot of people don’t seem to get magic resist when facing a Swain but if the enemy team is stacking it this isn’t a bad option).

So, I’m sure quite a few people read the item list and stopped at Sorc treads thinking “What a scrub, merc boots are way better”. Well, in my experience Sorc treads are actually better since as long as you get your ult off before being CC’d, you should be fine since it will still go off regardless of you being stunned or not.

Now, there is one more VERY IMPORTANT part to playing Swain correctly. This is completely essential for this build to work at all and if you do not follow this you will fail at playing Swain. You MUST own the Northern Front skin, since it is this skin that makes you unstoppable. (ok, I suppose you don’t HAVE to, but it is a really cool skin and its cool how the skin for the ultimate was changed as well for it).

If you have any questions or comments (constructive ones) I’d be happy to hear them. I’d also be happy to compare builds since in no way do I claim that my build is the only one or best one (but it does work and it works well).

TLDR: Lololololololol Swain lolololololol *Swain has scored first blood* wtf? Who dies to a Swain?!?

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Senior Member


Check out Gentle Casca's guide I prefer his, it's pretty good imo.