by Cassius Sonoda
YouTuber, blogger, channel founder, and PC gamer.
Swain personifies a good balance between tankiness and damage at the expense of mobility. He generally builds items that make him tankier so he can survive long enough to set off his R. His ult mechanic can work very similarly to that of Morgana or Fiddles. During his ult, he becomes a high-profile target who will draw the fire of enemies, and Zhonyas is designed to make him immune from this. Linadry’s Torment will allow him to inflict increasing damage over time. Swain is a damage-over-time mage that can be played mid or top. His butter and bread ability is his Q, while much of his itemization is built around his ultimate.
Q consists of forked lightening in a cone – the more branches of lightening connect, the more damage it does. Hence point blank Q is incredibly potent since the entire fan of lightening will hit the enemy. When a Yasuo dashes into you, you can Q him point blank for maximum effect. (Note that Yasuo’s windwall has no effect on Q.)
Q does refund 3% of your maximum mana, and to maximise this, you need to last hit multiple minions in a line. You can set this up by autoattacking multiple minions to low health and last-hitting them all in the zone of your Q cone. One build variation capitalises on this by taking advantage of Archangel’s staff’s max mana stats. Similarly, Rod of Ages also synergises by increasing your maximum mana, and therefore maximising Q’s refund.
Swain’s Q counters Malzahar’s Void Swarm, as it is capable of instantly removing them.
W can be used to zone an escaping enemy whose pathing is being constrained by terrain in a particular direction. It can be used to block an escape path, forcing them to either take the damage, or go around, allowing your allies to catch up.
Granted W’s delay makes it almost impossible to land without prior CC, there are situations where W in and of itself can be landed to good effect. In particularly, W can be landed semi-reliably on the slower mages.
The trick to landing W is to cast it at the start of your laning opponent’s auto attack animation, especially if they have a slowish animation.
For example you can attempt to land your W if you catch out a pre-boots Azir at the start of his AA animation, or whilst he is impeded within a wave of minions, you can land W fairly reliably.
Arcane comet synergizes with W to create a long-range snipe of sorts.
R requires no mana but is subject to a longish cooldown.