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Swain 101

...and a bit of mind game

"I have killed more men with words than by my own hand. Not for lack of trying."

Best Overall Runes


Spells

Skill Priority

Q

W

E

Best Overall Build


Intro

Welcome to the guide. I can't say that I am the best Swain player out there, I just think that I have fair enough experience with the champion to write a small (4fun) guide. I'm an average Plat/Diamond all-role player and just picked up Swain as support/bottom since season 11. I think this champion requires a lot of predictions and precisions, you can use his kit to mind game with the opponent, and use that to win the game.

So, why Swain? Well, his kit allows him to control enemy movement. They have to either dodge the skillshots by moving to a bad spot, or get hit. This will benefit you and your team either way. Do this successfully multiple times will also affect the opponent's mental during the game, they will be frustrated because whatever they do will always end up to be good for our team.

Runes (Loadout)

Here are two rune pages I usually run with Swain. In some cases one can be better than the other, but it's pretty much just preference.

  • Glass cannon
  • Tanky DPS


This champion can do a decent amount of burst damage in very short time, and with enough gold ahead, he can go everywhere and just 1-tap people, snowballing to the win. The glass cannon build will help you snowballing harder, and is quite hard to pull off. On the other hand, the DPS setup will allow for more room of error, and less snowball potential.

Summoner Spells (Loadout)

Here are the basic summoner spells on Swain depending on the role. You can of course try other things and see if they suit your playstyle.

  • Swain

Skill Path

Swain's skill path is pretty much always like this, no exception.

We level E and W early because those skills have more damage than a level 1 Q, and they also provide more CC and can help you stack your passive early on.

Q is your main damage source. Once you have early items with some Ability Haste, maxing your Q will allow you to spam Q in teamfights and deal a ton of damage without any hesitation.

Maxing your W second will benefit you the following things:

  • More cast range. Leveling up W will increase its cast range.
  • More % slow
  • More reveal time
  • And of course, less CD and more damage.

Because maxing E will just give you more damage, I think it's better to max W before it for more utility.

  • Skill Path

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Item Builds



  • Glass Cannon
  • Tanky CC DPS

Whatever build you choose is up to you, it's preference. But in some games where there are 3-5 tanks you should probably not go for the glass cannon build. The DPS build will be more well-rounded and stable. The glass cannon is more fun due to it's snowball ability an it will allow you to deal some ridiculous amounts of damage when you're ahead.

The Main Course

Finally, the things that make Swain viable. I'm gonna share my experience about this champion, as well as some mind game tricks that I use to get into the opponent's head.

First of all, here are some standard combos you can use with this champion:

  • E -> W -> Passive -> Q
  • W -> E -> Passive -> Q
  • R -> Q
  • R -> Flash
  • R -> Flash -> Q
  • Q -> Flash
  • E -> Flash

Your W - Vision of Empire is usually very hard to hit if the opponents are focused on their positioning, so you should only use it when they are not looking at their character, or when they are already CC'd to make sure that it will hit. Additionally, when you are fed and strong, they're gonna be afraid of getting hit by your abilities, then you can use your W aggressively to force them to move towards a specific direction, they are forced to choose between getting hit by your W or walk to a bad spot. Either way, it's a win-win for us, if you place your W in the right place.

The most important part of the E-W-P-Q combo is the E part. Your E is a medium-ranged skillshot that deals some damage when it flies away and roots enemy on the way back. The first time an enemy get hit by your E on the way back will cause it to explode, rooting all enemies in a small radius. So you should be wanting to hit your E on the way back to root enemies to start the combo chain with W, Passive and Q following up to dish out all of your damage without missing any skill. After hitting your E, you should place your W immediately after that to make sure that the enemy will get hit by it because your W need 1.5 seconds to explode, and your E roots enemies for exactly 1.5 seconds. You will also want to place the W slightly off the center of the rooted enemy, because you would pull them back with your passive.

The W-E-P-Q combo is usually used when you have allies around you to add more damage to the opponent. You will use your W to force them to make a moving decision. If they dodge to the side, you will E them at that direction and it will most likely to hit. If they decide to get hit by your W then they're slowed, it's super easy for you to hit your E. This combo is more about hitting your E by using W to affect the opponent's movement to make sure they are CC'd and take damage by you and your allies.

Swain's Q fire up 5 separate bolts dealing damage and piercing enemies, including skills that block skillshots like Yasuo's Wind Wall and Samira's Blade Whirl (except Braum's E), The closer they are to you, the more damage they will take because they will get hit by multiple bolts, so when needed you can Q-Flash at the enemy to burst them down.

The R-Q is just a faster version of Q-R, meaning faster burst, better chance of finishing off an enemy. You can also chain that combo with flash to surprise enemy, same with Q.

The E-Flash is very rarely used, the goal is to redirect your E on the way back to ensure the root on the enemy so that you (and your allies) can follow up with other skills.

Another thing about Swain is his passive will give him 5 HP whenever he got a stack of it. When you activate your ultimate you will get another 5 bonus HP for each stack you have already gotten, so it's very important for you to get as many of those stacks as possible, you will be very tanky when you have your R because of those stacks. Swain will get a stack after pulling an enemy, hitting W on each champion or when standing near an enemy that just died (After they die there will be a soul right at their dead spot waiting for you to pick it up, after around 15 seconds it will disappear). Your E-W-P combo will give you 3 stacks, an additional one if they die, so this combo is very useful to accumulate your passive stacks.

Final words

Swain is a fun champion to play, but it's hard to execute him properly. After 10-20 games you should be able to use him well and have fun with this champ. I hope you learned something new in this guide, and good luck on the Rift!



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