Braum Swain: The Forgotten Meta Counter?
Braum Swain is a mix of two archetypes with a long history: Braum Vladimir and Swain Twisted Fate. Both used to employ damage-based synergies to deny the opponent the tempo until they ourselves turn the corner and close out the game.
Currently, the metagame is a mix of highly-synergistic pressure decks like Ahri Kennen, and board-oriented midrange strategies like Pantheon or Twisted Fate Nami. All these decks want to build up and push on the board to win the match.
In this environment, Braum Swain is conceived as a counter that aims at countering those strategies, focusing almost exclusively on slowing down and clearing the opponent’s board. The archetype is equipped to deal with swarming strategies like Ahri Kennen, and with single big units like Pantheon.
This deck saw some popularity right after the Magic Misadventures release but was forgotten after the hotifix. With Kennen Ahri and Ahri Lulu both being Tier 1 contenders right now, it felt like a good time for Swain Braum to try and make a comeback – especially in a Bo3 environment.
We are piloting an off-tempo deck here – meaning we are mostly looking to break our opponent’s rhythm rather than enforce our own. Braum Swain is built to slowly take over the board while making sure our opponent cannot develop its win condition. Over time, the pieces of our plan will come in place naturally for us to finish the game.
Against swarmy decks with low health units, like Kennen for example, the Avalanche and Blighted Ravine will be our preferred answers. ‘Go tall’ decks with a lower amount of buffed units can be dealt with the help of Arachnoid Sentry, Ravenous Flock, and Scorched Earth.
In terms of units, we only really have our champions and The Leviathan which can be considered a premium threat in the list. Braum serves as a blocker who generates Mighty Poros, letting us build a board while keeping our mana to spend on spells.
The endgame is the classic Swain plus The Leviathan setup, completely stopping a large portion of the opponent’s board. And in order to reach this lategame, we are using a flurry of damage spells and disposable blockers like House Spider, Avarosan Sentry, and Kindly Tavernkeeper.
To fight against control decks, we additionally have The Howling Abyss as a value engine. This landmark isn’t a part of the core gameplan, but occasionally, when facing off against Darkness, for example, being able to jam a level 2 champion onto the board every turn is a pretty strong mechanic to have access to.
We have to be real, Braum Swain will not shake the ladder metagame in its current form. Even if it does sport some good matchups against a couple of popular decks, its overall power level feels too low.
Also, with the flexibility the best decks in LoR have access to nowadays, an experienced opponent will find soft spots in our armor that they will exploit – and we are giving them a lot of time to do that with our low-pressure plan.
Still, this is the kind of a deck that can shine in Bo3 lineups, helped by a ban and a cohesive targeting plan.
With a patch to be announced very shortly, and considering that both Noxus and Freljord could be in line to receive some buffs, this archetype could even rise in the upcoming Tier Lists. For example, a simple extra point of attack for Braum would increase the overall deck capacity against swarming strategies even more.