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All Guides Swain Guides The early bird GUTS the worm - Swain 6.18 Guide [TOP/MID] (#75 Swain - World)
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2 years ago
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Swain Statistics for Salemba

Author's performance with Swain compared to the ranked average.

Value
Average
Games Played
128
5
Win %
56
43
Kills
5.2
5.1
Assists
7.5
7.3
Deaths
4.8
6.1
KA:D Ratio
2.6
2.0
Gold Earned
11.4K
10.5K
Creep Score
188.1
159.8
Average
  • Author Champion Statistics
  • Guide Details

Summoner Spells Back to Top

|| WHY ARE THE IMAGES BUGGING EVERYTIME  babyrage ||

You should always take Flash as your first summoner spell for obvious reasons (Flashy plays, no gapcloser in your kit, escape from ganks, chase over walls, etc.). It's possible to substitute it with Ghost but personally I wouldn't recommend it.

As your second summoner spell, Teleport is the go-to one if you choose to go toplane because it allows you to have more map presence as well as allowing you to freely backport after a bad trade or getting ganked and leaving with low HP without losing EXP because you can just port back to the lane. 

Ignite, Exhaust and Ghost are other options for your second Spell, probably more viable for midlane though since you'll have more opportunities to roam or to get kills on the map without the need of Teleport but TP is still fine for midlane for the same reasons as stated above.

New Runes Back to Top

Masteries Back to Top

18/12/0 is my standard mastery setup. You can take Double Edged Sword over Feast if you feel you have the upper hand in your matchup and you don't need that little bit of extra sustain in the lane. Vampirism is also viable but it doesn't actually give you a lot of sustain because most of your damage is AOE and Spell Vamp doesn't heal much from AOE damage. Go for Bounty hunter if you think you're gonna snowball hard but I would recommend to almost always take Oppressor.


Personally I find 12 points in Cunning more beneficial than 12 points in Resolve for the following reasons:

  • Savagery is really great on Swain, it makes your last hitting So Much Easier which otherwise might be really really challenging because your Auto Attack damage is so low. With this mastery you have a little bit bigger window to get the last hit which will usually get you a lot more CS than if you go without it.
  • Secret Stash obviously gives you more sustain which makes you really oppressive in the early game to midgame whenever you have potions up, if you have one left and you're in the middle of a fight, don't forget to use it, it makes your trading a lot stronger and allows for some surprise power which your enemy might not expect.
  • Meditation allows you to stay in lane way longer because of the always active Mana Regeneration. I always take this over Merciless because you benefit from it 100% of the time, while Merciless gives you a very slight Damage buff, only when your enemy is already low and swain really needs Mana since your ult drains a lot of it.
  • Dangerous Game for more in-fight sustain, you will usually get a lot of assists and probably kills too in a teamfight so this will help you keep your ult up longer and it will keep you alive longer.
12/18/0 is also viable with Precision and Thunderlord's Decree in the Cunning tree, it makes your early trades very superior, especially if you go for the Hybrid-Pen build in your runes. You will be able to bully way harder but it's not as strong as 18/12/0 later in the game so you should only go for that if you have a matchup you can bully early for more kill pressure. Thunderlord's is really easy to proc from lvl 2 on, 1 tick of your E + 2 ticks of your Q is already enough but I will get back to that in the "Spell Usage" section of this guide.

Abilities Back to Top

E
Q
Q
W
Q
R
Q
W
Q
W
R
W
W
E
E
R
E
E
Passive
Q
2
3
5
7
9
W
4
8
10
12
13
E
1
14
15
17
18
R
6
11
16
You can start either with Q or with E, usually E is better because it's better for level 1 trades by amplifying your Auto Attack damage as well as Deathfire Touch/Thunderlord's Decree. You can start with Q in a matchup where level 1 trades are really hard and you want to avoid them but those matchups are very rare.

Skill Q again at lvl 3 instead of W because W damage at lvl 1 is not quite high but costs a lot of mana for that, the 1 second root won't help that much yet if you're even able to hit it but you usually don't want to go for that heavy trades yet.

Why max W before E?


Most of the people do the mistake and max E second (as you can see here for example) but I can't really grasp why, maybe they're not confident in hitting their W's and they just want to have safe damage? I'm not sure, but there are so many reasons to max W before your E:
  • Firstly it increases your damage output way more than maxing E (if you're able to hit it, which actually isn't quite that hard but I will explain in the combo section) because it scales way better and at the same time decreases the cooldown of it.
  • The root duration gets longer, 1 second at rank 1, 2 seconds at rank 5, which is quite a long root actually for being AOE. Your teamfights will get a lot stronger by maxing W second, which will be maxed around the time, teamfights are actually starting to happen. Also makes catches way easier with the longer root duration.
  • Easier waveclear. Sometimes you don't wanna go for bullying in your lane and instead just clear the wave to seek for other opportunities around the map and to do that you wanna clear it as fast as possible. Maxing W second makes it really fast and I will add a video to show you the fastest way to clear a wave with and without using your ult.


Further Description of your Abilities:


Passive: Carrion Reneval


"Whenever Swain kills an enemy or structure, he restores 13 - 30 (based on level) mana. On enemy champion takedowns, he regains an additional 9% maximum mana."

Swain's Passive gives you crazy good Mana-Sustain during your laning phase but also in Teamfights due to the 9% Max Mana restore on Champion kills. Combined with Doran's Ring and Meditation in your Masteries, you're able to use your abilities a lot pre-6. It also allows you to clear waves with a combo of W-Q or W-Q-R without losing too much mana.

Q - Decrepify


"Swain commands Beatrice to fly to the target location, where she remains for 4 seconds.

Beatrice will attack enemies within the area, prioritizing the target of Torment, other champions in range and then any target in range. Beatrice's attacks deal magic damage and Slow icon slows. Beatrice deals double damage against minions and executes them below 10 health."


This is Swain's bread and butter skill as it has so many different uses:
  • Safe farming from distance, as it executes minions below 10 HP. Your enemy laner might deny your farming by standin inside the range of your Q because it prioritizes champions over minions but he would take free damage so it's kind of a win-win situation.
  • Easy kiting. The slow on this spell is really oppressive if your enemy doesn't have any spells to get out of it. It makes it really hard to chase you or to escape from you if it's used on the right location.
  • Very strong trading tool. Always use it in a way that your enemy has the least possibilities to get out of the Q-Range. If it's a melee opponent, try to stand inside of it yourself post-6 when you're brawling and you're able to use your ult so he has to decide if he stays inside and takes tons of damage or tries to get out of it by wasting resources and still taking free damage.
  • Scouting - your Q gives vision, so you can use it to check brushes instead of facechecking them.
  • Waveclear, together with your W. Your Q alone can't clear waves but it makes it very easy combined with your other spells.
Always max your Q first as it's just his best spell to max.

W - Nevermove


"Swain marks the target area. After a 0.875-second delay, talons grab onto enemy units within, dealing magic damage and Root icon rooting them for a short duration."

Swain's W separates the good Swains from the great Swains. It may be pretty hard to hit at max range due to it's delay but combined with your Q it's not that hard at all. It's also a really good follow up spell to your teammates CC. This spell brings great utility to your team and very strong teamfight potential when used right, especially when it's maxed as the root duration increases.

E - Torment


"Swain afflicts the target enemy with a curse that deals magic damage to them over 4 seconds, amplifying Swain's damage against them by 20% for the duration."

His E is a single target DoT (=Damage over Time) spell which increases your damage output on the affected target by 20%. It's a great 1-point-wonder as the 20% damage increase doesn't get higher when you level up the ability. It only increases it's base damage slightly (and also the mana cost, which doesn't make it very efficient imo), that's why I prefer to level up W before E as it gives you more utility, more damage potential and more wave clear. This spell also determines your Q's targeting as it will always attack the enemy that's afflicted by Torment (if it's in range).

Side note: Ignite's damage output as well as any other form of true damage (for ex.: Red buff) doesn't get increased!

R - Ravenous Flock


"Swain assumes the form of a demonic raven. During this time, lesser ravens strike out, one every 0.2 seconds at up to 5 nearby enemies and dealing magic damage to them, prioritizing champions. Each enemy can only be attacked by one raven at a time and only once per second.


Swain heals himself for a small amount against minions and monsters, and for a bigger amount against champions."


This ability is what makes Swain..well..Swain. It allows you to stand in the middle of a teamfight and damage their whole team while healing yourself up (if you have enough resists). It makes you really oppressive when you're ahead but also when you're just even with your lane opponent, especially in mid game. The short cooldown of 20 seconds (which used to be 10 seconds before the nerf) makes it a great trading tool as you can just force trades and often you can force your enemies ultimate which usually has a way higher cooldown than yours.

Your ultimate has great synergy with the core items you want to build. Rod of Ages helps a lot with the mana problems that might be caused by your R as it drains a lot of it and even gives you a little bit of HP back just by using your ultimate as it restores health by using mana. Zhonya's hourglass allows you to continue damaging your enemies and even restore your health while being invincible for 2.5 seconds which is really OP in teamfights. Spirit visage increases your healing even more while making you a lot more tanky so you'll be really hard to take down after you have your items finished while still dealing a lot of damage.

Items Back to Top

Starting Items

Core Items

    Best item to get on your first back, builds into RoA
    Mandatory items on Swain, great Synergy with his kit

Situational Items

    Against Magic Damage
    Against AD heavy teams
    If you lack damage
    other viable boots
    If you need extra peel and a bit more beefiness

Always get Rod of Ages first and 90% of the time follow up with Zhonya's hourglass. Those 2 items just synergize so well with your kit, especially with your Ultimate. Get spirit visage second instead of Zhonyas if you're against heavy magic damage and you really need the Magic Resist early on.


If you're against a heavy AD team, you can skip the Spirit visage completely and go straight for a Frozen heart for some extra mana pool, extra 20% CDR and tons of armor, which makes you practically unkillable against those kinds of teams while still having a relatively high damage output due to your base damage. It also gives you more utility due to being able to snare and slow more often with your Q's and W's which also gives your team a lot of zoning potential. You can continue with a thornmail so they even get punished when they try to get you down which makes you extremely obnoxious in teamfights but as I said, you should only do that against full AD teams but with this build, it's pretty much a free win. Go for Magic Resist/level in that scenario since they most likely will have some secondary magic damage (supports or other spells in their kit) so you're also a bit beefier when it comes to eating that in lategame.

Usually i finish off with Void Staff for more endgame Damage output since they will most likely have Locket of the Iron Solari and some other Magic Resist Items. You can also go for Rilays for a pretty good slow with your ultimate or for Rabadon's if they don't have a lot of Magic Resist or if you're snowballing hard to expand your advantage even more.

Get Ninja Tabi or Mercs if you need them to survive longer or if you get behind early instead of Sorcerer's but usually the latter are more beneficial for you due to your already high base damage.

Matchups Back to Top

Click on a champion below to see the author's notes on that particular matchup.

  • Aatrox
    Medium
  • Akali
    Medium
  • Cho'Gath
    Medium
  • Darius
    Easy
  • Dr. Mundo
    Medium
  • Ekko
    Easy
  • Fiora
    Medium
  • Galio
    Hard
  • Gangplank
    Medium
  • Gnar
    Medium
  • Illaoi
    Medium
  • Irelia
    Medium
  • Jax
    Easy
  • Kennen
    Medium
  • Malphite
    Easy
  • Maokai
    Easy
  • Nasus
    Easy
  • Olaf
    Hard
  • Quinn
    Hard
  • Renekton
    Medium
  • Riven
    Medium
  • Rumble
    Medium
  • Shen
    Easy
  • Swain
    Hard
  • Teemo
    Easy
  • Yasuo
    Hard

VS

Aatrox

Medium

Don't get cheesed early and you should be fine, his level 2 all-in is actually scary but not a lot of people play him since he's considered to be very bad. Wait for his aatroxQ.png and hit your combo on him after that, he won't be able to reach you anymore after you snared him. If you get hit by it, try to disengage as fast as possible and not eat too much damage, if he fails it, it's a free trade for you.

VS

Akali

Medium

Abuse her as hard as possible in the early game, she won't be able to trade back except hitting Q at you but she needs it to last hit already. She shouldn't be able to do anything pre level 6, after level 6 you have to be careful if you go too far away from your turret, she gains a lot of burst damage and can actually kill you if you're not careful enough. Her shroud "cleanses" directs the target of your Q to nearby minions, if there are any, except you place a pink ward BEFORE she actually uses her shroud so always get a pink ward if you're planning on all-inning her. If you play it right, it's actually an easy lane since she can only trade with you, if she manages to have a sucessful shroud to block your Q damage as well as your ultimate damage. She can still be a hard threat later in the game but pink wards are the best counter to her.


VS

Cho'Gath

Medium

His feralscream.png and vorpalspikes.png are pretty annoying early but you can outtrade him with your basic combos. This is mostly a sustain lane but be careful of his level 6 all-in. feast.png deals tons of unexpected damage. Just try to avoid his rupture.png and you should be fine.

VS

Darius

Easy

Really easy matchup for you, just don't let him get too close, which shouldn't be that hard with your swainbeam.png and swainshadowgrasp.png. Just kite him and you will win without any problems.

VS

Dr. Mundo

Medium
Bully him pre 6 and try to get an early lead to transition well into midgame, after level 6 this lane is resident sleeper, farmlane only and he actually scales better than you into lategame, but you're stronger than him in midgame teamfights so you should try to get an advantage off that.

VS

Ekko

Easy

Bully him early, fairly easy matchup for you. Just try to net get jumped on with his ekkoE.png when your spells are on CD. Use your swainbeam.png after he used ekkoE.png so he can't dodge it. Be careful of him using ekkoW.png in a brush for surprise stuns.

VS

Fiora

Medium

Pretty even matchup, she can block your swainshadowgrasp.png really easily with fiorariposte.png, so be careful to not get stunned when you use it. After level 6, she's really strong in 1v1's, the best way to handle her is to kite her and safe your W until she used her W.

VS

Galio

Hard

He will just heal through your damage and build Magic Resist, try to avoid this matchup. If you actually have to play it, try to farm up and force teamfights in midgame, don't 1v1 him. 

VS

Gangplank

Medium

Skill matchup, he can cleanse your swainshadowgrasp.png so try to use it after he used his removescurvy.png to heal or something. Try to destroy his barrels right when the countdown goes to 1 so he can't outtrade you, barrels deal OP damage. You're stronger than him when he doesn't have his ult up for a fight after level 6.

VS

Gnar

Medium

Not sure about this matchup post-nerf but before it was in favour of swain before he finished his frozen mallet and/or hexdrinker. When he engages on you with his mega-form, make sure to have your ult running so it will drain him when he chain CC's you with gnarR.png and gnarW.png. Don't trade when you don't have swainbeam.png up.

VS

Illaoi

Medium

Try to dodge her spells at all cost! Don't use your spells before she has used her illaoiQ.png and illaoiE.png as it's easier for her to hit them while you're in your animation for swaintorment.png or swainshadowgrasp.png. If she manages to hit E, try to use your spells on her and run out of range of it to take as little damage as possible and you should still be able to outtrade her. Be careful of her illaoiR.png as it can deal massive damage and gets even stronger in a 1v2 scenario for her, so if she already has a lead, don't ask for jungle help but just farm safely as you will outscale her in midgame and she can be easily kited later on. Also as a pluspoint - killing her tentacles gives you free mana due to your passive. Overall the most important thing about this matchup is dodging her spells.

VS

Irelia

Medium

Don't let her snowball off a gank or a bad trade and you should be fine. If she ever manages to get ahead in EXP or gold, try to avoid fights and just kite back and farm. If you're even you can force trades but be careful of her counterengaging on you when you already used your Q, it can backfire hard. 

VS

Jax

Easy

You can abuse him early, the only way he can trade with you is if he manages to go into melee range to autoattack you and activate his jaxcounterstrike.png. You should be able to avoid this with your swainbeam.png and swainshadowgrasp.png. Don't 1v1 him later in the game as he scales really well into mid-lategame, especially in a 1v1 scenario.

VS

Kennen

Medium

Kennen can be really annoying in Early-Mid Game as he's really strong at that point. Pre-6 you wanna trade only if he misses Q because he outtrades you otherwise. Try not to get hit by his empowered Auto Attack with $. Stay behind your minions as much as possible to not get hit by $. With kennenlightningrush.png he can easily dodge your swainshadowgrasp.png. Care about his level 6, $ is exceptionally strong and can even turn 1v2's in his favour. Whenever it's on cooldown, you're a lot stronger though, so try to abuse this.

VS

Malphite

Easy

Abuse him early game and force trades. Your kit forces him to build Magic Resist which will already make him a lot weaker than he should be. Only way he can deal with you is if he gets a lead by ganks with his ufslash.png as an engage tool, so make sure to ward and be careful about that, otherwise it's an easy matchup for Swain.

VS

Maokai

Easy

Don't let him get in range to use maokaiunstablegrowth.png AFTER you used your combo on him, he can actually outtrade you like that, but if you manage to stay at range, it's really easy.

VS

Nasus

Easy

Easy to abuse early, scales really hard into mid-lategame though but you should be able to deny him enough to not make that happen. Just be careful about ganks since his wither.png makes it really easy for a jungler to follow up.

VS

Olaf

Hard

Olaf got an immensly strong early game, you should probably start Q in this matchup to keep him at range as his level 1 and level 2 all-ins are devastating. If you don't let him snowball early, he will fall off hard. Be careful about his level 6 as he can block the root of your swainshadowgrasp.png with olafragnarok.png and also avoid the slow of your swainbeam.png. You might ask for jungle help in this one so he won't be able to snowball.

VS

Quinn

Hard

She has really strong early trades, which makes it really hard to CS in early game. Her ability to roam after level 6 with quinnR.png makes her really hard to deal with as your only way to follow up is with Teleport which has 300s cooldown. You scale better than her though so tell your team to be careful whenever she's missing as she can snowball off successful ganks and be a huge threat in midgame which is your strongest phase in the game.

VS

Renekton

Medium

He can outtrade you with a succesful combo but it has higher cooldown than yours, you should use that for your advantage. Renekton got a very strong early game but doesn't scale as good as you, so try to not let him get any free kills and stay at range, use your swainbeam.png after his renektonsliceanddice.png.

VS

Riven

Medium

Riven kinda decides how this lane will be played, as she has the options to either play safe and disengage with her rivenfeint.png everytime you're going for a trade or to play aggressive by engaging with her dashes but you should be able to outtrade her, just make sure to use your swainbeam.png on top of yourself when she goes aggressive so she takes the full damage if she decides to keep on trading. If you fight at level 6 you should also keep this in mind and stay in the range of your swainbeam.png so you should be able to beat her. Don't ever go near her after 6 when your swainmetamorphism.png is on cooldown and rivenfengshuiengine.png isn't, she will devastate you in that scenario. Try to keep your swainshadowgrasp.png until she has used her dashes or use it on top of you when she goes for an aggressive trade.

VS

Rumble

Medium

Be extremely cautious when he's level 4-5 and has already poked you, his all-in with overheat is really strong at that point as his Q damage scales so well with levels. Just try to keep him at distance and you should be fine, if he manages to get an early lead you should ask your jungler for help as he can snowball really hard but is kinda forced to push with his Q so he's usually easy to gank. His rumblecarpetbomb.png deals tons of damage, always try to get out of it as fast as possible and as Swain this shouldn't be too hard as you don't "need" to kite with auto attacks like most other champions so you don't really lose DPS by just repositioning. Whenever his rumblecarpetbomb.png is on cooldown, force trades with swainmetamorphism.png as you should easily win them.

VS

Shen

Easy

Kite him with swainbeam.pngand he should have no chance to trade with you. Be cautious about jungle ganks, flash taunts can easily engage such and he might snowball off that.

VS

Swain

Hard

Pretty OP champ, avoid this matchup but shouldn't be too hard in rankeds.

VS

Teemo

Easy

You outrange him and he has no way to escape your swainbeam.png-swainshadowgrasp.png combo, after 6 you can outtrade him really hard and just force fights against him. Shrooms can be annyoing to deal with.

VS

Yasuo

Hard

His yasuoW.png allows him to win trades as he can block your Q while it's flying. His yasuoE.png makes it easy to dodge your spells and to force to trades when you don't have your cooldowns. After 6 you should be able to beat him as long as you get your Q off in a fight.

Introduction Back to Top

Hey everyone, I'm Salemba from EUW (currently Dia 2) and I'm Swain addicted. :> Played over 190 Ranked games with him already in this season, you can check out my stats here. #75 Swain in the World atm, according to Lolskill.


I will add more and more stuff to this guide whenever I find the time or motivation to do so and I will try to keep it up to date. I hope I can help some of you in improving to Swain your enemies (sorry for bad pun).

If you want to leave me some feedback or if you have any questions, feel free to write in the comment section. You can also add me if you're playing on EUW (Username: "Salemba").

I decided to write this guide because there aren't any really good or in-depth guides about Swain and personally I think he's pretty strong at the moment and he has a lot of favourable matchups on toplane and very few that are hard to handle and even those are usually not that bad at all, they're just less favourable.

Spell Usage Back to Top

Swain doesn't have very versatile combos and most of the time you will see yourself using the same combo over and over which is the following:


  1. Use E on the enemy you want to burst down, followed up by a Q. The positioning of your Q matters a lot regarding how much damage you will deal in your trade. Always place it in a position that your enemy has the longest way to escape from it, so if someone's chasing you, you can use it right in front of him so he has a really hard time catching up and if he still decides to continue, he will eat a lot of damage and will lose distance really quick. If you're not sure, where he wants to escape or if you think he might turn on you, you can just use it right on top of him.
  2. Use W while he is slowed, either on top of him or if you know where he's heading, slightly in his direction. I'm saying slightly because he might turn around to dodge it otherwise and if it's just a little bit ahead in the direction he's going, he will actually have no chance of dodging it except if he has a mobility spell or if he uses flash, it's like a guarantedd root. Make sure to use it very quickly after Q if you used it on max range so you will still benefit from the slow which makes it way easier to hit W.
  3. Use R after level 6 and Auto attack the enemy as you don't have any spells left to use on him. Sometimes it might be more beneficial not to Auto attack him, for example if you're chasing to keep your distance as low as possible but most of the time it's just some free damage you don't want to give up.


This is pretty much your basic combo. You can also try to straight up engage with your W before using Q but it's not very reliable as it's easy to dodge.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Easy trading with Thunderlord's Decree at level 1/2 if you decide to go 12/18/0 masteries:

  • The fastest combo at level 1 if you start with E is the following: Autoattack - E - Autoattack. As your E - Torment only counts as one damage source you can't proc Thunderlord's with only your E spell. You can also Autoattack twice after your E as it will deal more damage due to both attacks getting amplified by the 20% damage buff from your E but it's a bit slower and if your enemy runs away from you, it's harder to pull off.
  • If you start with Q, you can proc it with the abilitie's DoT alone if it damages the enemy 3 times.
  •  At level 2 you can just use E into Q to almost instantly proc Thunderlord's as you almost always will get 2 hits off your Q, otherwise 1 Autoattack is enough.

Swain doesn't really have any fancy Riven-like combos to pull off montage-plays, he relies mostly on the Q and W placement as those spells have huge zoning and damage potential if they're placed right.

Early Game Back to Top

I consider Early Game as the time until you have your first item (usually Rod of Ages) finished, so until around level 9 where it slowly transitions into Mid Game.


Pre-6:


Your early laning phase is pretty strong against most matchups on Top Lane as you're able to bully a lot of your opponents due to being ranged and having abilities that make it fairly easy to kite your enemy. Usually you can just spam your E on your lane opponent to continuously damage him without him being able to avoid it since it's a targeted spell. Use your Q according to your matchup, if it's someone that likes to brawl with you in melee range with a gap closer, try to use it after he used it so he won't be able to dodge it. There are some special cases which can make this kinda hard, like Renekton who has 2 innate gap closers and if you use your Q too early, he'll be able to dodge it with the second cast of his E.

Mana problems should be very small to non-existent due to your Passive + Doran's Ring + Meditation. Just don't spam your W too much and only use it if you're sure you're going to hit it and only if you don't need it to disengage in that situation as it's a great spell to disengage and can safe your flash a lot of times if you use it right.

You might even be able to get a kill here and there if your enemies are out of position but usually it's kinda hard pre-6 as your damage output is not that high yet. Just be very cautious about jungle ganks as they might set you really behind and you don't have the mobility to escape easily and you're not tanky enough yet to just walk back to your turret.

Always try to stay in lane until you can afford a Catalyst (1100 gold) because it's simply the best item you can get at that point of the game as it gives you great sustain and makes you able to trade way more often and more easily.

Post-6:


At this point you're outtrading most of your opponents even without any real items, only a catalyst is enough at this stage of the game. You're able to outsustain almost everyone and you're all-ins with a full combo are devastating if you manage to Snare someone inside if your Q-Range with your ultimate on. Just be careful of some champions with very strong ultimates, the trick is to force it with continuous trades so they won't have it for the next fights whereas your ultimate only has a 20 second cooldown and is kinda spammable. 


If you managed to get a lead already just go on and force trades but be careful if they have a strong early jungler as you're not really tanky yet to survive easily. In some cases you might be able to 1v2 them as you have lots of AOE damage and in-fight sustain but you don't want to risk it since you can fall behind hard if you die and lose out on farm.

Mid Game Back to Top

This is Swain's strongest phase in the game as you'll have your Q maxed by now and your W is getting some love already so you'll be able to have a huge impact in the fights that'll occur and you'll deal massive damage due to your insanely high base damage. Additionally you're really hard to take down as you'll have your Rod of Ages and maybe already your Zhonya's hourglass. With those 2 items you're a huge threat to the enemy team so you should try to push that advantage and force fights all over the map, maybe by roaming mid or teleporting to bot lane. 


Try to get your team ahead as much as possible as you will fall off after Mid Game and you want your team to be strong at that point. Keep on building according to your enemy team, if you need Magic Resist, get a Spirit Visage or Abyssal (depending if you need more damage or more survivability), if you need more Armor, get a Frozen Heart. Don't ever forget to use your Zhonya's in a big fight as it probably doubles your impact on that fight due to drawing aggro of your enemies, healing back up in an invincible state, continuing to damage them and disrupting their focus. 

The only thing you should be cautious by now is your mana pool. Your ultimate drains a lot of your mana and even with Rod of Ages you might have Mana problems due to that. Don't ever fight with little mana as you won't be able to do much in that case (your ultimate also still drains mana when you're in Zhonya's state).

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On this graph you can see that Swain's strongest time in the game is around the 25-30 minute mark, which means you should try your best to end your games around that time as your impact will decrease rather hard after that caused by several reasons which will be explained in the "Late Game" part of this guide. (Source)

Late Game Back to Top

You won't be as strong anymore as you rely mostly on your base damage. You can still pull off some really good fights but it's just getting harder and harder as lots of other champs just scale better into this phase of game (usually when you have 5 or 6 items) as they started building penetration items and you won't be that tanky against them anymore. It might even happen that get burst down immediately in this stage of the game if you're in a wrong spot or get caught out which usually doesn't happen that easily in Mid Game.


So your main goal here is to stay grouped with your team mostly as you still have good utility and your damage can't be ignored either but you rely a lot more on your teammates to deal damage to your enemies while in Mid Game you can force fights by yourself. Try to end as fast as possible if you're still ahead, if you're behind, try to get catches with your Q and/or W.

Pros and Cons Back to Top

Pros:

  • Extremely strong midgame (probably one of the strongest of all champs)
  • Snowballs very hard
  • Lane bully in lots of matchups
  • Very few counterpicks (so in it's a pretty safe first pick)
  • Very strong teamfighting (especially after you completed Zhonya's)
  • Good zoning potential
  • Good at catching people offguard and even solokilling them with a full combo
  • Deals lots of damage while being tanky
  • Actually able to fight in huge minion waves as you can drain life off them

Cons:

  • If you fall behind early, you're really weak throughout the game
  • Falls off lategame (because you rely on your base damage mostly and you won't be as tanky anymore because people started building penetration items)
  • very immobile, no in-built mobility spells
  • not the most reliable waveclear
  • Healing reduction items are relatively easy to get which hurts you a lot in your ultimate
  • Predictable gameplay pattern
  • Hard to CS

Tips on becoming a Swain Main Back to Top

  • Practice last hitting! This is actually really important as it's not only the gold you get but also the additional mana you will restore with your Passive that is really beneficial for you.
  • Practice Q and W positioning. Even after hundreds of games on Swain I sometimes find myself not using those spells optimally as they have a lot of potential when used in the right way.
  • Watch your R-timing. Due to its 20 second cooldown, enemies are able to abuse this if you're using it carelessly because it opens a window for them to outtrade you when you're out of position. Also try not to use it before a big teamfight as you're by far not as useful in that if you don't have your ultimate.
  • Always be aware of jungle ganks as you're kinda vulnerable because of your lack of mobility. It can set you behind really hard if you get ganked early and the enemy toplaner manages to get a lead over you and it can cost you a lot of games, so Map Awareness is key.
  • Learn from your matchups. You can get an idea of how they look like from my matchup section in this guide but you still need to experience them yourself to really get a grasp on how they work. This is more of a general tip than a tip on becoming a Swain Main but it's still part of it, that's why i mention it here.
  • Don't be afraid of your enemies. Even if you have a hard matchup, often times you're still able to trade efficiently and once you completed RoA and Zhonya's, you're stronger than most other champs in that part of the game, you can even turn fights that firstly look bad for you with a right timed Zhonya's, which leads me to the next point.
  • Practice Zhonya's timing. This can make or break your game as a well timed Zhonya's can easily win teamfights for you and in conclusion can win games for your team. Try using it when you feel you're getting focused in a big fight and some enemies are near you to drain them while being invulnerable. Optimally they're snared by your W or locked down by your teammates so they can't even protect themselves.

Change Log Back to Top

16/09/2016

  • Added Change Log
  • Added Illaoi Matchup
  • Changed from #87 Swain to #75 Swain :) (Climbed up to Dia 2 again, yay)
  • Added small information on runes

17/09/2016

  • Fixed images and videos yet again

Gonna add more video material soon, going to contain more gameplay and tips, especially for specific matchups! Stay tuned for it.
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