- Playing As
- If you're having trouble rooting an enemy with , try using to slow them down first.
- While laning, try to gauge the strength of your opponents to determine the right balance of aggression with . If they're stronger, it might be more beneficial to stay back and cast or .
- Playing Against
- Swain can easily disable a single attacker. Coordinate with your allies when ganking him.
- High mobility counters all of Swain's basic abilities: moving away from the will break the slow, it is easier to dodge , and you're able to escape focus fire while .
- Ability Usage
- Due to offering mana, and offering health, can potentially stay in a lane for a very long time. Note that cannot hope to offset the massive mana cost of , and his ultimate must be used sparingly. Combined with aggressive lane control, it is recommended takes a solo lane to amass gold and experience.
- Around level 4, you will have gained full combo. and followed by and some basic attacks will devastate unarmored enemies. If you are too far for his other two abilities, using first can allow you to close the distance.
basic abilities each have different benefits when leveled and maxed over the others.
- range. Ensuring foes stay trapped in the tether with or allied disables is key. Ranking it will also make it easier to land Nevermove. The downside is that you are either forced to choose between safely using it at max range, thus making it easier to break the tether, or going in closer to more reliably get the full effect. It is also not as useful when your jungler initiates a gank, because the enemy has a better chance of breaking the leash. grants moderate damage and has a good slowing effect, on a short cooldown and good
- As your main AoE and crowd control ability in one, leveling makes it more usable by reducing its cooldown significantly. Alongside the damage increase, Swain's farming/pushing becomes much faster and easier, and the snare is absolutely amazing for countering ganks and assisting during one of your own. However, it is unreliable against enemy champions if one is not able to land it consistently, and if they predict you leveling this first, they can grab early to counter the ability directly. It is recommended to begin ranking this skill if your laning is going absolutely horribly, and you do not believe you will be able to kill your enemy during laning phase. If you do not rank it and you are behind, the enemy will be able to out-push you and you will lose minions to your turret.
- By itself, harassment at a low mana cost. Even at low levels, you can take off 2-3 bars of health at a time using followed by autoattacks against a squishier champion. In combination with , Swain can provide fatal damage output early on. However the damage dealt by alone is slightly low, while your unleveled abilities will not benefit very much from the damage-amp effect. The best scenario in which you would level this ability first is against a squishy target that is more susceptible to the damage from it and . The worst case is against targets with high sustain or health. offers nice
- While laning, try to gauge the strength of your opponents to determine the right balance of aggression with . If they're stronger, it might be more beneficial to stay back and farm and counter-harass.
- While Swain has extreme killing potential, his main counters lie in targets who build large amounts of defense as well as having built-in sustain, such as or . Swain's exorbitant mana costs mean that if he cannot kill his target, he will be wasting his time even trying.
- For utility purposes, followed by makes for a nearly guaranteed root. The time taken to cast can cost you your disables, so choose based on the situation.
- health, as well as restore health on minions after the fight. With extra spell vamp and a , one can nearly be an unstoppable force.
is not channeled, and cannot be stopped by stuns, silences, or any form of crowd control. In fact, it persists during the active effect (it still continues to drain mana, and can automatically turn off during the active). You can use it during teamfights to drain the enemies'
- You should still be wary of disables preventing you from stopping the spell, especially if left on for longer durations; those few seconds more can quickly deplete your mana pool.
- Be cautious when using to farm, as it opens you up to ganks, as you will have no survivability beyond trying to keep one enemy away with > .
- While escaping, you can activate , as it will heal you as your enemies pursue you. This can be very effective because the projectiles prioritizes champions and heals yourself 75-88% of the damage dealt to them. Healing with your ultimate while throwing down your slow and snare gives Swain an easy escape.
- The best combo for mana more quickly than almost any champion, however, so make sure to buy some mana items to fuel your combo. is , , , . This combo is especially effective against melee champions near creeps, because you gain health from the creeps while you engage the enemy champion. This drains your
- If Crest of Insight buff can greatly increase his effectiveness, and even if he is doing poorly, the buff could allow him to make a comeback or at least get back on level ground with his team and the opposition. is doing well, giving him the
- With all the control and healing you have as , magic resistance is inherently more important and useful. This is because almost all physical damage is done over time, which your healing counters, and most of the significant physical damage is put off by squishy carries, who are almost free food to your combo.
- If you activated when engaging an enemy remember to stop the spell if the enemy champion escapes out of your range, if not you could not have enough mana left to use your spells when you reach him resulting in a counterattack, being ganked, or allowing the enemy to escape.
- A good harass method is launching immediately after casting , then approach and launch and some autoattacks before retreating, this combo should deal around 40-60% of a squishy enemy champ's health leaving him vulnerable to a final combo of your abilities.
- Mastery Usage
- makes very good use of since it synergises well with his DoT skills.
- gives more burst which can help against enemies who can sustain through your relatively slow damage output.
- Item Usage
- mana dependent due to the upkeep cost of , making an early purchase of mana sustain such as very useful for keeping up his mid game presence alongside .
- is practically a must have on Swain, granting him a generous helping of his two most important stats: Ability Power and Mana. The Eternity passive also works very well as using mana will heal him (on top of the ability's own healing) and taking damage will restore mana (which will likely happen since he will be in the middle of the enemy team). In addition, its Health stat works with any armor and magic resistance Swain might buy, improving his resistance to burst damage. Given the time it takes to reach full effectiveness after being purchased, you should aim to rush this item in most of your games.
- also builds out of and can be a decent purchase. Unlike Rod of Ages, the item gives its full benefits instantly and its active provides more burst damage and a slow to help set up Swain's other abilities. However, it doesn't have as much health and AP as RoA which will lower Swain's tankiness from healing and raw stats.
and on a dying-yet-retreating enemy will almost always ensure their death, even if they are healed by a moderate amount.
- It is also effective to throw this combo on a squishy carry like at the start of a team fight. The damage from this and other abilities is usually enough to put them into a retreat, cutting away their DPS, and may even kill them.
- With 's handful of useful stats, it will also negate any last-resort healing when near the brink of death.
- A AP directly translates into more healing, which in turn allows for more damage. After these items, it would be wise to build and to provide massive AP and the invulnerability from the latter. This build is perfect for protecting your carry and being an anti-carry yourself. build that is centered more around team-fighting and staying alive is , . With a build initialized by these items, building
is one of Swain's most core items: the AP is very much appreciated, the armor allows him to fulfill his role of wading into fights and draining health with , and most importantly of all, he has perhaps the best synergy with the active of any champion in the game, as his 's life-drain continues to work through the stasis (assuming you have the mana for the upkeep cost), allowing him to pop it and just steal health for 2 seconds while invulnerable.
- works through the active component of , allowing to use it for up to 6 ticks' worth of damage and healing.
- As almost all of skills rely on positioning, can be invaluable to keep foes in range of and , and ensure landing . Only and will benefit from it however.
is a viable item on , as all of his abilities save his W fall within the aura range. Take if you need some more MR, or if the enemy's building some.
- Like any other mage, you may have to switch out for a if they build too much MR.
- is a viable item for mana sustain because will increase the max mana. When recalling, activating the ability will grant from 20 to 50 bonus mana. Upgrading it into will greatly increase the mana sustain and, due to , also the life sustain.
- can be effective on Swain as it gives magic penetration, moderate AP, minor health increases and his moderate CC/AoE from his kit (especially when paired with for and ) have decent synergy with its passive. As Swain's abilities are mostly DoT, he can also continuously reapply the burn.
is a niche option. Besides offering a lot of armor, this item has mana (allowing Swain to maintain his ultimate active for a longer time) and cooldown reduction. Because Swain usually stays on the middle of a teamfight, this item is used to its full potential, and the passive benefits your entire team too. This item will allow Swain to be effective against ADCs; the only drawback of this item is not offering any damage at all, unless when combined with .
- Of course, is not an substitute, but an addition alongside if Swain is in dire need of more armor.
- mostly deals magic damage, investing in magic resistance will mitigate his damage.
- Use healing reduction effects such as or the passive from to prevent him from healing a lot of damage from his . This strips of his primary sustain ability and makes him much easier to kill.
- Avoid going on a 1x1 battle against Swain as a melee or short-ranged champion, since
lets him heal for most of the damage done. This allows Swain to win trades against almost any champion, unless they have a lot of sustain themselves.
- Using a champion with higher range than Swain is a good idea. For example, an ADC with very high range such as or can kite Swain and avoid being hit by his spells, thus allowing them to kill him easily.
- There are other 2 alternative methods of dealing with Swain. One is quickly bursting him down with an assassin such as and . Another is calling your teammates to focus and kill Swain. This is viable because while Swain is tankier than other mages, he is still not very tanky, and being bursted will prevent him from dealing enough damage and healing himself. Keep in mind that Swain can buy items such as and , which will prevent him from being quickly assassinated. If you somehow fail to kill him, don't bother trying and just run away.
- Do not underestimate damage; although he only has one burst skill in , he can dish out massive damage over time if you allow him to. If you believe that you will be able to survive Swain's initial 4 seconds of damage, such as due to your own high lifesteal stat, (as well as out-damage his ultimate's healing) you may be able to tank his damage and turn the fight when he is waiting for cooldowns.
- Swain is very weak early game against champions that can push the lane, due to his poor farming capabilities without . Being pushed to his tower will likely make Swain miss some lasthits, so pushing is a viable strategy, but be very cautious of enemy ganks, as Swain is one of the best gank followers.
- Avoid getting hit by to remove a large part of his damage combo.
- Move away from
if he uses his . This will waste his mana and force him to put it on cooldown.
- Attacking right after he cancels is the best time to attack him.
- Get out of his spell range when you are in effect of his as you will take more damage while affected by . When his birds target you, his ultimate will also heal him more.
- can save you from a well-placed .