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Solofrg Swain Guide

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Solofrog's Guide to Swain

**Revolt for better picture adding methods!**

This Guide is for the poor neglected Swain. 75% of the time when i pick up Swain in a game i hear "swain is trash repick", and then i proceed to go 9-0-1390. If your like me and want to pick up a neglected hero in need of a psuedo Buff then look no farther! Its a good day for Swain, lets have some fun.

Remember: ''If you haven't yet lost the ability to ask, you may not yet ask for relief.''

I feel its important to get into the characters mind before we start to play.
The earliest account of Swain's existence comes from a Noxian infirmary doctor's notes. According to them, Swain limped into the ward without cry or complaint; his right leg was snapped in half, with bone protruding from the skin. A small, scowling bird seemed affixed to his shoulder. The doctor gawked in horror as the young adolescent answered questions about his health and age with a calm, even stare. Even behind the echoing crack as the sand counterweights reset his tibia, Swain's measuring gaze never flickered, nor did his eyes twitch from the pop of his fibula. He refused the doctor's recommendation of magical treatment for the leg's inoperable damage, requesting only a spare crutch before shuffling away. He next surfaced in documents from the Noxian military, although it is evident that they are incomplete. Normally a crippled boy would be turned away in shame from Noxus' proud legion, but the records indicate his first designation was that of a ranking officer.

The men who've served under him (and survived) have remained in his charge with unshakable faith and loyalty. He leapt through the High Command's hierarchy, often ascending when superiors requested demotions to join his unit. A cunning strategist, Swain was decorated after every battle he fought, regularly hobbling in contemplation at the front of the assault. His rise to power seemed unceasing until he was suddenly relegated to inactive status prior to the Ionian Invasion - a bewildering decision which reeked of bureaucratic subversion. If Swain was upset by the events which unfolded, he never belied it. His face was so implacable that it was popularly rumored to be a mask, disguising something utterly inhuman beneath. More controversy surrounded the bird that never left his shoulder, whose name he whispered only to it. When Demacia escalated its presence in the League, Swain was immediately returned to active duty.

Damage 49 (+3 / per level)
Health 385 (+78 / per level)
Mana 240 (+50 / per level)
Move Speed 310
Armor 12 (+4 / per level)
Spell Block 30 (+0 / per level)
Health Regen 1.35 (+0.13 / per level)
Mana Regen 0.86 (+0.09 / per level)


Decrepify - Swain sets his raven to cripple an enemy. Over the next three seconds, the target takes damage over time and is slowed.
Swain sets his raven to cripple an enemy. Over the next 3 seconds, the target takes 25/40/55/70/85 (+0.3) magic damage per second and is slowed by 20/23/26/29/32%.

Cost: 60/70/80/90/100 Mana
Range: 550

Nevermove - Swain marks a target area. After a short delay, mighty talons grab hold of enemy units dealing damage and rooting them.
Swain marks a target area. After a short delay, talons grab hold of enemy units dealing 80/120/160/200/240 (+0.7) magic damage and rooting them for 2/2/2/2/2 seconds.

Cost: 80/90/100/110/120 Mana
Range: 900

- Swain afflicts his target, dealing damage to them over time and causing them to take increased damage from Swain's attacks.
Swain afflicts his target for 75/115/155/195/235 (+0.8) magic damage over 4 seconds. During this affliction, the target takes 8/11/14/17/20% increased damage from Swain's attacks.

Cost: 65/70/75/80/85 Mana
Range: 600

Ravenous Flock - Swain inspires dread in his enemies by temporarily taking the form of a raven. During this time ravens strike out at up to 3 nearby enemies. Each raven deals damage and heals Swain for half of the amount.
Toggle: Swain transforms into the form of a raven, during this time up to 3 lesser ravens strike out at nearby enemies each second. Each raven deals 50/75/90 (+0.2) magic damage and heals Swain for half of that amount.

The cost to sustain Ravenous Flock increases by 5/7/9 mana each second.
Cost: 25/25/25 Initial Mana Cost Per Second
Range: 20

Carrion Renewal - Swain's base mana regeneration is increased by 300% for 5 seconds after killing an enemy unit.

Ok i know that cluttered the guide but some people like it and what not. So lets move on to the meat and potatoes. Im going to put the next bit into a format i like to see close together. My suggested item sequence and skills/Talent tree.

Mastery Tree:

Tier 1
Deadliness - 1/3 , Archmage's Savvy - 3/3
Spatial Accuracy OR Ghost Walk - 1/1

Tier 2
Sorcery - 4/4
Expanded Mind - 4/4

Tier 3
Burning Embers - 1/1 (This is a MUST for Swain. Ill explain later), Archaic Knowledge - 1/1
Greed - 1/1, Meditation - 3/3, Utility Master - 2/2, Quickness - 3/3

Tier 4
Intelligence - 3/3

Summoner Spells:

1. Ignite - REQUIRED. This is the only summoner spell i feel is absolutely needed on swain. One of Torments side effects is that damage done to enemies under the effect of torment is increased by 20%. YES ignite counts on this. This usually nets me a first blood early on.

2. Ghost Walk - Very good for getting in close with your ulti or gain distance on enemies. Swain has his AOE stun, but thats about it for gaining distance or escaping. So ghost walk supplements him very nicely.

3. Teleport - This is my 2nd summoner spell of choice. I like being able to go back and get my Boots ASAP because Swain has very short range abilities and needs to get in quick.

4. Others - You could stray away from the Mastery Tree i suggest and perhaps get Exhaust or something, but it kinda of ruins it and thats not what THIS strategy guide is about . Swain doesnt need a mana spell or anything or healing really so no need there.

Suggested Ability Importance:(ill edit this soon to put it in a list format)

Ravenous Flock > Torment > Nevermore > Decrepify

Torment taken first is a must for a potential First Blood with Ignite. I have heard of alot of people taking Decripify first for the slow, but once you get Nevermore you will be ok.

Recommended Item Build:

1. Dorans Ring
2. Health Potion
3. Sorcerors Boots
4. Lucky pick > Deathfires Grasp
5. Based on the game :
Zhonyas Ring > Rylais Scepter > Archangels Staff
Zhonyas Ring > Abyssal Scepter > Void Staff

I explain later...

Starting Items:

1. Dorans RIng
2. Health Potion

The health combined with the Health runes i use makes Doran awesome. It seems that in most games that health makes all the difference early game in regardence to firstbloods and staying in your lane as long as possible. The 1 health potion usually keeps you in the lane untill you can go back and get your boots.

On your first trip back to the base get this:

Sorcerors Boots

I personally like the early Magic penetration, and then going straight for the next item on the list. I will be experimenting with a build that gets Boots of mobility and Mejais for a gank build.

After this start working on:

Deathfire Grasp.

Preferably get the Lucky Pick first for the extra gold coming in. This item, like ignite, is AWESOME with Swain. Like i said before with ignite, this item will coincide with Torments 20% damage increase.
The rest of the items i like to say go depending on the opponents builds and your teams composition makeup. If your team is mostly AP based then assume that your team will build up magic resist. In that case get Magic Penetration items or Magic Resistance Reduction.
All in all i think these are the best cookie cutter builds for the two main situations you might run into. Im just starting out as Swain in the grand scheme of things, so i might start trying out some more crazy stuff. Ive been mulling over some cool ideas based off of Torments increased damage side effect. Perhaps doing attack speed AP based items. Not trinity force or anything but like Stinger > Nashor and Manamune and Malady and Lich bane mmmmm tasty.... idk i think i might try it out or some of the readers could do it and report in on it...
moving on...

{EDIT} :
I tried the attack speed/Ability Power Item build and i think that i ended up doing a bit less more damage. Although Torment increases damage, its not enough to supplement the attack speed. I was playing against subpar enemies so i did well still but maybe if there was another item to make this better perhaps... Lemme know what you guys find out.
I will try out a more robust meta build soon with perhaps frozen heart.

In Game Strategy:

Early game (roughly lvl 1-6):
First off i usually ask immediately in champ selection to go to middle lane solo. This is only because he is so good at crippling people like Ashe and melee mid players like Nasus and Cho gath. I might get some problems against Teemo or people that can throw quick poisons on you and what not. The biggest problem is being sent back to heal before you are ready to get boots. Once you hit level 6 though you can stay in the lane indeffinantly. If your playing gank style deffinantly go mid first to get your ultimate and then switch if you want. First blood should be yours unless someone on your team or the other team gank in the bushes. If your teaming up with someone on the sides then i suggest someone that is usually more weak in the beginning but can stun like Nunu or Amumu and so forth. This will let you get some hits in while you Torment and Ignite someone. With the Torment + ignite with a partner usually ends up for fun in the bushes in the beginning.

Mid Game ( roughly 7-14ish):
This is where i usually go one of two ways. Dominate whoever lanes against you enough to where they switch with someone or push your lane so far in that you can travel to another lane and promptly kill someone. By the end of mid game you will start putting points into your bird (one level of it should be good) so you can slow someone while you hit them. (ill put more into all these sections once ive played around with more stuff and documented play styles)

Late Game (14-18):
Here you start to slow down as everyone has mass HP now. Make sure to grab golem whenever you can to get nearly unlimited Ultimate in fights. I usually have the tendecy to initiate fights because of the ultimate I have but this is a BIG NO NO. You are still fairly squishy. But dont get me wrong you will kill the **** out of the one person that pissed you off during the game. I wait untill their carry or big dps (whoever seems to be doing the best on their team) starts to target out initiator then pop your Ultimate and Torment > Ignite > Deathfire Grasp > Decrepify> eat.

General Strategies and Advanced Swain Techniques:

1. LAST HITTING! - Do not AUTO ATTACK the enemy creeps in the beginning. This is what seperates the good players from the Really good players in the beginning. Keeping the battle closer to your tower is key to denying your enemy XP and Gold.

2. Swains passive is AWESOME combined with his ultimate. You should NEVER be low on Mana while spamming your skills nonstop. This is why last hitting is more important on Swain.

3. Ill repeat this if i havent drilled it into your brain enough = IGNITE AND DEATHFIRES GRASP ARE MANDATORY. I have really bad luck with other AP based heroes and i get scared going into late game with everyone gaining more and more HP. Heres an exert from the game i just got done playing.
Exert :: Enemy Mundo is 5-1 and I am 3-0 soloing mid. We end up about the same level 13-14ish. I have Deathfire and Ignite of course. Hes talking smack so i hunt him down while he rushes bottom and his team is top, so i pay a visit. I lay on lvl 1 Decripify for the slow hit him with Nevermore, he does some cleavers pops ulti and i hit him with Torment and then Deathfire (this does at LEAST 200 damage plus more for people with more hp Smiley face...) and then pop my ultimate and ignite and auto attack him till he is running and i pick up nevermore for the kill. I repeat this rest of game.

Conclusion and thereafter:
I will updating this weekly as i play more and more. This is my first guide so PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE critict POLITELY and give me some of your suggestions and tell me what you liked about the guide. Do not take Swain lightly he takes some getting used to and i dont think Riot would leave him as it is very lightly either. Hes not an easy mode guy by any means and i think with the right items he very nasty. I will start writing guides as i play more champions.
Hope you guys enjoy!

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Saved for expansion

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Senior Member


Do you have a build to integrate more HP. I like being tuff with Swain and taking alot of focus because he alot of times it is assumed he is an easy kill but you keep living while your carries mop up the team.

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Thats a good idea as well, I do usually take most of the heat in a battle but only because i was controlling mid so well the whole game people usually aim for that guy. But in a team battle i over concentrate on making sure im behind the tank or buff guys and that im not gankable. But i should test out a build that incorporates Frozen heart. ill let you know how it goes.

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Senior Member


I have hard time last hitting with him. His atk animation is a pain.
How do you farm your gold? Because I just last hit until lvl 6, and I ult in the waves to kill them all since then. But it's bad, because it pushes.

How do you farm gold?

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Well im used to DOTA where you can kill your own creeps when they are about to die, preventing xp to the enemy. So i usually kill every creep with a last hit. Also I usually get FB netting me enough gold before level 6 to go back and get boots. At level 6 after i push creeps into the tower, i go in to the woods and kill a creep camp with his Ultimate, then go back to the lane (or get Golem if open).
Also to supplement my guide i would like to say that you should try and put pressure early on your opponent. SPAM your skills non stop. Try and hit ranged creeps and the hero if you can. If the enemy goes back to heal thats free roaming in your lane.
Also VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: This is what i think seperates the good players from the VERY good players. DO NOT AUTO ATTACK. Click around, move around. And when you see a creep about to die attack him and get the last hit.
THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. If you auto attack you will beat the enemy army back into their tower, and if you are in their tower the enemy has the power. So let the enemy auto attack and take the fight into your tower denying him XP and gold.
Keep the questions coming.

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Junior Member


First off, swell done sir! You wrote a very useful guide glorifying one of my favorite champions. I just have a few questions that sort of went unanswered during the guide.

Most important, how does Swain get the first blood when dealing with enemies who are smarter than the average bear? I have a hard time with players who don't exactly like getting torment + ignite one-two punched. One usually begins to fear me so they run when they see me coming. That and I find Nevermove is hard to land once someone learns how diabolical it is. If I get a carry kills and my ult, I neverless achieve an amazing lane presence. Why Archangel Staff? I personally don't find enough time/mana to spam abilities as Swain. Is Burning Embers worth it in comparison to getting 15% more availability on ignite? And what are your rune choices?