Swain is a champion I've always loved – but to be honest he's been pretty garbage for awhile. However, recently, he got a mini-rework, which boosted him into being both a viable support and midlaner.
In this post, I'm going to be focused mostly on my scaling build for Swain.
BASICS AND LANING PHASE WILL NOT BE DISCUSSED. But, you will always be maxing R > Q > W > E NO EXCEPTIONS
In his base kit, Swain has a huge amount of fundamental weaknesses that cripple his viability. Fortunately, League of Legends also has a wonderful rune and item system. On Swain, you should be taking runes, summoners and items which make up for these weaknesses.
In order to do that, we need to discuss Swain's weaknesses in his base kit:
- Big reliance on mobility while having absolutely none (along with low movement speed)
- Low early game damage
- Reliance on bread and butter E skillshot
- Heavy reliance on these 5 stats in order of importance (although situational): AP, Health, Mana, Movement Speed, CDR
- Very weak laning phase until 6
Here are some champions you should avoid picking Swain into until you have more experience on the champion:
- Vayne (High mobility and invis to dodge your hook, percent health damage that makes your stacking obsolete)
- Kassadin (Yeah this guy really sucks)
- Darius (Will kill you in teamfights if you're not careful)
- Fizz (Easy mid and late game but requires you to not get absolutely dumpstered in laning phase)
- Sylas (Takes your ult and becomes unkillable while doing what you do but better)
- Kog'maw, Vel'Koz, Xerath, Azir, Ziggs (Will poke you to death or shred your healthbar. Do not recommend)
- Cassiopeia (Shreds you also)
- Kled (Counters your healing and deals massive amounts of damage)
- Lucian (Absolutely screws you in lane, continues to do huge amounts of damage)
- Mordekaiser (Ults you and stops you from doing your job. If you have ghost, he can't kill you though. This matchup shouldn't be too bad.)
- Veigar (Stops you from advancing with cage, deals massive damage if you screw up.)
STRENGTHS (Based on the main build and runes and summoners)
- Monstrous midgame and good lategame (with the build provided)
- Relatively high amounts of consistent damage for a mage who has decent burst
- Good backline access
- Extremely strong when ahead (Damage and tankiness)
- Great survivability, especially in teamfights
- Good utility and long-ranged follow up with W
- Excellent at applying spell effects (Liandries, Morellos, Rylais)
- Loses to assassins in laning phase but heavily outscales and becomes unkillable
RUNES & SUMMONERS
On Swain, I take conqueror in 90% of matchups. It provides large amounts of sustained damage and Swain quite likes the precision tree.
You should go presence of mind to solve his mana issues, tenacity, and anything but cut down. Make sure to go one CDR rune. The rest is optional. Build based on what you think is best for the game.
With this rune page, you should be going ghost. Ghost offers extreme amounts of power and gapclosing in teamfights, while allowing Swain to hyperscale into lategame as it allows him to kill the carries in the backline with ease. In fact, you behave almost like AP Rhaast. It also allows you to land your E much more consistently due to your huge movement speed and it allows you to be exceptionally sticky, making it easy to land your R2 on those who you wish.
However, you must keep in mind that this weakens your laning phase. You should play lane phase simply to survive and to cs.
For secondary runes, I almost always go Ultimate Hunter and Eyeball Collection. Swain's R cooldown is so long (120 seconds at all ranks) that Ultimate Hunter has a huge impact, allowing you to use your R more liberally without being punished.
Ultimately, this build gives you almost everything you need, while allowing you to scale monstrously with Conqueror and Ghost.
- Start Doran's Ring (Most matchups), Corrupting Pot (Also most matchups) or Cull (Free matchups)
- Rush Rod of Ages in most situations
- Either go Sorcs, Tabis or Mercs depending on the situation
- Zhonyas, Protobelt and Archangels are possible candidates for first or second item
- Rylais is an extremely strong item due to a constant AOE slow for everyone in your ultimate. It lets your teammates also land abilities much easier (and your e in teamfights). Consider this as a second or third item.
- Liandries is equally powerful, as it procs constantly on your ultimate. Swain also loves extended fights.
- If the enemy team has a lot of healing, Morellos is also really strong. Swain has no problem using the passive whatsoever. His AOE healing deny is strong against AOE healing champions especially.
- Void staff, Deathcap, Banshee's, Mejai's, Spirit Visage (Underrated), Knight's Vow (Underrated), or Abyssal mask or almost any tank item also work on Swain (situationally, of course)
If you have any questions or comments, please let me know and I will answer them as well as I can.
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