League of Legends - Swain Guide

Posted by Jindooo on Dienstag, November 01, 2011

Swain is a tanky-nuke style caster. He has a strong slow and a snare as well as means of mana regeneration and health regeneration, making him a powerful caster capable of absorbing damage and holding a lane.

This Swain guide aims to be a basic and simple introduction on basic strategy that should be adopted when playing Swain, it is recommended for people just starting to use Swain.

Swain's Abilities

  • Swain Carrion Renewal (Passive): Swain's passive gives him an incredible laning presence and is also useful during the entire game to some effect. This skill makes last hitting minions an extremely important focus for Swain as it allows him to constantly harass with minimal mana lose.

  • Swain Decrepify: This skill offers little in terms of damage but its utility on Swain comes from working well with his combo. Decrepify is best used solely for the slowing effects it gives, allowing you to land Nevermove and Torment.

  • Swain Torment: Gives Swain 20% increased damage at max when cast on an enemy, thus this skill compliments all of Swain's abilities and is best maxed first.

  • Swain Nevermove: Swain's snare has a reasonable duration and casting range while also having the ability to snare multiple enemies. The duration does not increase with levels, making more than one point a waste.

  • Swain Ravenous Flock (Ultimate): Swain's ultimate has a hefty mana cost if it is left on and requires careful timing to minimize mana consumption, At level 6 you should be able to use your ultimate to regain health from the minions in lane. And from then on you have a very powerful lane presence combined with your passive.

Ability Order

swain _skills
Generally the best way to level your abilities is: Ult > Torment > Decrepify > Nevermove

Torment scales the best of all Swain's skills early and also allows you to deal extra damage with his other abilities, making it your priority. Unlocking all your skills by level 3 is preferred for the utility they offer (slow and snare). It is recommended that you grab Decrepify and Nevermove at level 1 and 2 to give you early crowd control power for early ganks, level 1 team fights and protection against an aggressive lane opponent.
Decrepify is maxed 2nd as the slowing % increases with level while Nevermove only reduces the cooldown.


Red (Marks) - Magic Penetration
Yellow (Seals) - Mana Regeneration Per Level
Blue (Glyphs) - Flat Cooldown Reduction
Purple (Quintessences) - Health // Ability Power

Standard caster runes work best on Swain, Magic Penetration allows you to hit harder and gives you decent magic penetration when combined with Sorcerer Shoes and masteries. The mana regeneration helps alot early-mid game and cooldown is standard on any caster as you rely on spell casting. Depending on your playstyle you can run Health or Ability Power on Quintessences.

Summoner Spells

Best Summoner Spells:

Flash and Ignite are two amazing summoner spells on Swain, Flash gives you the escaping ability you need and can also be used to Flash into range to nuke an enemy if needed. While Ignite compliments Swains burst damage potential and deals extra damage if the enemy is tagged with Torment.

Other Good Summoner Spells:

Ghost can also be used on Swain if you prefer it over Flash, Flash is generally better though as it gets you out of the immediate danger allowing you to slow and snare enemies that may chase you. Teleport is another option for Swain but with your passive and ultimate you generally don't need to recall during laning phase. Although it is a nice team addition if your team lacks Teleport.


Swain follows a standard caster mastery setup of 9/0/21.

The offensive tree provides you with ability power, cooldown reduction and the all important magic penetration mastery.

While the utility tree offers mana regeneration, increased buff duration, movement speed, cooldown reduction and improved summoner spell cooldown.

Item Build

Final Item Build:
-Sorcerer Shoes
-Rod of Ages
-Rabadon's Deathcap
-Rylai's Crystal Scepter
-Abyssal Scepter
-Zhonya's Hourglass

-Doran's Ring is your best starting item as it provides health, mana regeneration and some ability power. Your other option is a Mana Crystal & 2 Health Potions
-First trip back you should build towards your Sorcerer Boots and your Rod of Ages. Build the Catalyst first if you need some survivability and grab the Blasting Wand if you are dominating your lane and need more damage.
-Your next item should be Rabadon's Deathcap, this gives you a massive Ability Power boost, giving you great damage output mid-late game.
-Rylai's Crystal Scepter is your next core item, giving you increased utility through powerful slows as well as giving you even more survivability when combined.
-From here you will have to boost your defenses so look towards a Zhonya's Hourglass or Abyssal Scepter depending on the resistance you need. They also offer good utility (magic resistance debuff aura and invulnerability).

-Banshee's Veil (If the enemy has lots of hard crowd control [stuns]).
-Moonflair Spellblade (Good against soft crowd control teams, [slows/silences]).
-Void Staff (Best against magic resist stacking teams).
-Will of the Ancients (Good if your team is AP heavy).
-Death Fire Grasp (Adds to your nuking power).

General Swain Tips

  • Minimize the time you leave your ultimate active for, the mana cost quickly builds up. Using it in short bursts is often most effective.
  • Swain's primary combo is Decrepify > Torment > Nevermove > Ultimate. First you slow the enemy to ensure an easy Nevermove, if you can cast Torment before Nevermove it is more beneficial damage wise. Finally finish with your ultimate while in range of the enemy for the extra damage. You can also combine Ignite and Deathfire Grasp.
  • Your ultimate gives you some survivability but don't rely on it 1v1, its best used when minions are around or multiple enemies (provided they aren't all targeting you).

Level 1-6

  • Lat hitting is vital on Swain more than any other champion, this provides you with massive mana regeneration which ensures you can keep harassing your enemy.
  • Harass with Torment, Decrepify and auto-attacks constantly. Torment allows your auto-attacks to deal decent damage.
  • Decrepify can force your enemies backwards to break the chain.
  • If your laning with a champion that relies on your snare to do damage, make this your top priority.

Level 7-12

  • Now that you have your ultimate for health regeneration and your passive for mana regeneration you have a very strong laning presence.
  • Get blue buff when appropriate, this will help you manage the high mana costs of your ultimate early on.
  • Use your ultimate sparingly, you can use Torment on a minion wave and then activate your ultimate, replenishing your health and mana while allowing you to farm.
  • Stick to the back of any fights, use the utility of your abilities (slow and snare) to assist your team. You only want to enter the fight (with your ultimate) towards the end to cleanup low health enemies.

Level 13-18

  • You now have more survivability and your ultimate is stronger. This allows you to take a slightly more offensive role in fights (you can also use Zhonya's Hourglass).
  • Continue to grab blue buff when available and when appropriate.
  • Nevermove has a hefty cooldown, make sure it is always available for team fights, snaring 2 or 3 enemies is very powerful. 
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