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LoR Deck Guide: MF Swain (Domination)

How to Play MF Swain

Time and time again, Bilgewater and Noxus find their way back to each other. It’s like peanut butter and jelly.

They were made to be together. Except for this time, we’re mixin’ up the flavor!

It’s Trevor “Shugo” Yung here and today we’re looking at the latest iteration of “Pirates”; MF Swain!

MF Swain (LoR Deck)


[See MF Swain deck details]

Deck Overview

MF Swain is a hybrid list that takes Pirates and Swain, then combines them together. It’s an evolution of the two archetypes, allowing for aggressive go-wide draws, while still packing the late game dominance of Swain + Leviathan.

It’s a slower variation without the top-end Decimates, but in exchange, it opens up a lot more options to help outplay the opponent!

Mulligan Strategy

Just like any other tempo deck, we want to find a solid curve or aggressive opener. However, there are a few cases where we may want to mulligan more aggressively.

Against decks that rely on spot removal to halt our aggression (typically Seraphine/PnZ decks), prioritize units that line up favorably against their removal. For example, Legion Rearguard and Marai Warden are great against Mystic Shot as it’s very inefficient for them to spend two mana killing a one-mana target.

If we simply played Legion Saboteur -> Ionian Hookmaster (assume not 3 health) -> Miss Fortune, it’s not hard for them to match us with one-for-one removal on the spot. We aren’t likely to win those games.

Miss Fortune isn’t quite as insane with only nine 1-drops (compared to the usual 12), but still a very solid keep against decks with smaller units.

Keep as many Legion Rearguards as possible.

  • Always Keep:
    • Crusty Codger
    • Legion Rearguard
    • Ionian Hookmaster
    • Marai Warden
  • Situational Keep:
    • Miss Fortune: Always keep unless lacking a good early curve.
    • Legion Saboteur: Always keep unless attacking on evens against decks with Make it Rain or Vile Feast.
    • Fortune Croaker: Only keep alongside Crusty Codger.
    • Ravenous Flock: Solid keep against Vayne, unless lacking a good curve.
    • Make it Rain: Keep against decks with multiple one health units.
    • Eye of Nagakabouros: Solid keep against slower matchups where card advantage is vital.

Example Hand 1:
MF Swain (LoR Mulligan 1)

Example Hand 2:
MF Swain (LoR Mulligan 2)

Game Plans

Swain is one of the most, if not THE most, powerful 5-drop in the game. He can single-handedly push eight nexus damage and wipe the enemy board in one swing. The combination of Fearsome + Overwhelm makes him a nightmare to block. However, this does require a bit of setup.

Swain 1 (LoR Card)

While we do sacrifice some aggression, we make up for it with Swain. With help from cards like Crusty Codger and Fortune Croaker, we can still play moderately aggressive while simultaneously contributing level-up progress. Don’t forget, the aggro staples Legion Saboteur and Miss Fortune both help too!

Fortune Croaker can be a bit awkward to play, and in most cases won’t typically function as a 2-drop on curve. Choose the target wisely to avoid giving the opponent an easier window for their removal. Notably, Fortune Croaker turns on Ravenous Flock, so be careful!

Fortune Croaker (LoR card)

Miss Fortune allows the deck to bully the opponent in combat. When holding her in hand, we may want to consider avoiding early trades before she comes down. This puts the opponent in an extremely tough spot as one health enemies can no longer trade, and even those with two health are at risk of being punished by Make it Rain.

Miss Fortune level 1 (LoR Card)Make it Rain (LoR Card)

As we approach the mid to late game, it’s important to consider how we can win. We won’t always have the luxury of an aggressive start, so sometimes we’ll just have to slow things down and pick the right moment. Zap Sprayfin and Eye of Nagakabouros help ease us through some awkward turns until we can draw into a better position.

Zap Sprayfin (LoR card)

In some cases, we’ll need to preemptively cast Make it Rain or block appropriately to enable Ravenous Flock. The deck does lack pings, so outside of combat damage or Swain’s stuns, they can feel clunky at times. However, Flock plays an important role of slowing the game down and bailing us out of tough situations. This time it just requires a bit more planning.

The Leviathan is an incredible force in the late game alongside Swain. The pair together will essentially lock down the entire board until we punch through for a ton of damage. However, in many cases the opponent will be prepared to answer at least one of them.

The Leviathan (LoR Card)

If possible, try to play The Leviathan when they’re mostly tapped out of mana. If not, it’s often still worth playing unless there’s another solid alternative. Swain is the real threat, so if they waste removal on The Leviathan and can’t answer Swain, we’re in a good position to win!

General Tips

Ravenous Flock is extremely prevalent in the current metagame, and is Ezreal Seraphine’s primary way of dealing with big threats outside of Disintegrate or randomly generated spells. Aim to play Swain at the end of the opponent’s turn. If they can’t preemptively damage him, we’re free to open attack and force some specific answers in order to survive.

ravenous flock jpg

Noxian Fervor is our only direct burn since we aren’t playing Decimate. While it’s best used in response to the opponent’s removal, it can also help level-up Swain in a pinch as three mana for six damage is extremely efficient.

noxian fervor jpg

A lot of our units are better-developed post-combat. If our open attack is already favorable and would force committing valuable removal to answer, that’s usually good enough.

Other than our triple 1-drop and/or Marai Warden openers, there’s not a lot that’s worth developing beforehand. This is a good way to push chip damage or force the opponent’s removal earlier than they would like, thus opening the window for more powerful turns later.

Shugo’s Productivity Thought of the Day

If tomorrow was the start of the new year, what would your resolutions be?

What’s holding you back from starting them now?

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