Teemo Swain Deck Guide

This guide by Agigas is dedicated to Teemo Swain - an archetype that emerged as a counter to Zed Poppy and is showing impressive results so far on the ladder.
Teemo Swain created by Agigas • last updated 2 years ago

Hello, Agigas here!

Teemo Swain is a new archetype that emerged recently alongside Riven Swain as a way to combine the powerful Bandle City midrange package with Swain. The deck performs well on the current ladder, largely thanks to its great matchup against Zed Poppy – the most played deck of the meta.

This archetype’s main game plan is to set up Swain. You have a lot of ways to deal non-combat damage – Ravenous Flock levels Swain particularly quickly. Once Swain levels up, your numerous direct damage effects (Pokey Stick, Death’s Hand, Poison Dart, Lecturing Yordle, and shrooms) all transform into stuns, making it very hard for the opponent to survive if they can’t remove Swain.

The Leviathan‘s combo with Swain is particularly deadly, and sticking both on the board will certainly tilt the game in your favor thanks to the multiple stuns.

The shroom package with Teemo, Poison Dart, and Lecturing Yordle, goes really well alongside Swain. Poison Puffcaps will accelerate Swain’s level-up, as well as activate his stun effect when he is level 2. Moreover, they also synergize with your burn effects, punishing any opponent that would go too low on Nexus health or let Teemo hit them a couple of times.

This whole synergy package fits into a solid midrange shell, using the best tools Bandle City and Noxus have to offer.

Conchologist and Loping Telescope form early defenses for the deck, all the while generating value. Arachnoid Sentry is a key unit to counter threatening attackers and it combines really well with Ravenous Flock.

Your removal package is particularly good at removing fragile units, and Ravenous Flock and Scorched Earth will complete it to bring down bigger threats.

Later in the game, Hidden Pathways and Aloof Travelers, alongside The Leviathan and Pokey Stick, help you to never run out of value and find your key cards.

Captain Farron contributes to your burn win condition – if the opponent can’t kill you fast enough, they’ll surely succumb to your shrooms and burn spells.

Techs and Options

  • House Spider can replace Loping Telescope, or even fit in as an additional 2-cost unit. While it doesn’t generate value, this card offers a better matchup against burn decks by summoning two blockers in one action.
  • Buster Shot is a solid removal to deal with mid-sized threat granted that you can discount it, a fits particularly well in a deck that aleady excels at removing small and big threats. However, is not easy to activate the discount in Teemo Swain – but you can consider it if you’re also playing House Spider.
  • Riven is another champion that is regularly paired with Swain. The Riven Swain archetype is very similar to Teemo Swain and replaces the shroom package for more imposing statlines. Riven doesn’t have many synergies with Swain, but can give him Overwhelm to make him more threatening, and has an impressive turn 3 statline, making her great against aggressive strategies.

General Tips

  • Understand your role. Depending on the context, your role in the game will drastically change.
    • Swain is your default game plan – you usually want to stick a Swain on the board, and use your synergies to leverage his stun effect and close games this way. However, this can be a tricky plan to fully execute in some situations, and you will regularly have to deviate from it.
    • If the opponent loses too much health, you can quickly burn them down with your numerous cheap face damage effects and shrooms. Recognize when you should start targeting the Nexus with your direct damage.
    • Some matchups can be won on the value axis – look to remove the opponent’s key threats with your removals. If you can counter the opponent’s win condition, you won’t have to rush your own.
  • Plan turns ahead. This is a very general advice that I would give to every player, but it applies particularly well to Teemo Swain. Planning the game ahead, thinking about the follow-up moves like a chess player allows you to build a more cohesive game plan. It will also avoid you some awkward situations – for example, using of all your mana in the first 3 turns and then playing a Lecturing Yordle on turn 4 with no leftover mana.
  • Find the right timing for The Leviathan. The Leviathan is an extremely powerful unit – it will lock the opponent’s board with Swain, and can even win games on its own thanks to the burn damage. However, it is also a very high investment – make sure you’re not giving the opponent an opportunity to come back in the game when you make that play.
  • Use removals wisely. Your removals work in synergy with each other – Ravenous Flock and Scorched Earth need damaged targets. Don’t carelessely use your 1-damage spells to deal with easy targets when you have many Ravenous Flock’s or Scorched Earth’es in hand – you might need your pings to deal with the opponent’s key units. This doesn’t mean that you should never use 1-damage spells on small units though – find the right balance depending on the matchup, your hand, and the overall context of the game.

General mulligan tips:

  • Teemo, Conchologist, Loping Telescope are all great early units – look for them in your starting hand. Teemo is the only one of them not generating a card in your hand, but the shrooms in the opponent’s deck also have an important value.
  • Poison Dart should be kept when you need something to remove an early 1-health unit.
  • Lecturing Yordle is a good keep if you already have a good early hand.

Be aware that these are just the general guidelines to help you understand the deck’s game plan. Mulligans are very matchup-dependant – please refer to the matchup section below for more specific advice on mulligans against different meta decks.


Mulligan for: Teemo, Poison Dart. Keep Ravenous Flock if you have a damage spell or Arachnoid Sentry. Keep Lecturing Yordle if you have a good hand.

Matchup tips:

  • Zed Poppy struggles against your numerous 1-damage spells – SharpsightNopeify!, and Twin Disciplines all are a large investment, leaving them with only Ranger’s Resolve as a somewhat good answer. Therefore, you can rapidly clean their board thanks to Poison Darts (both maindeck and generated from Lecturing Yordle).
  • Ravenous Flock is particularly good at finishing a unit after they try to protect it from a removal with a combat trick.
  • With your numerous cost-efficient removals, you can make it very hard for them to stick a threat. Zed is their most reliable threat thanks to his 2 health points and quick pressure.
  • If possible, look to use removals during your offensive turn, so if they protect their unit with Sharpsight it doesn’t also help them push more damage.
  • They don’t have an answer to Swain or Leviathan – if you can resist their aggression, the game will be easy to close. Be careful though to not commit all your mana on a Leviathan play when they could use that turn to Rally and kill you, unless you have to.
  • You don’t even always need to find your finishing tools, even just a pair of Lecturing Yordles can sometime snowball games on their own.

Mulligan for: Teemo, Scorched Earth, Swain. Keep Conchologist, Aloof Travelers, Lecturing Yordle, and Death’s Hand if you have a good hand.

Matchup tips:

  • Bandle Tree looks to stall the board with its board flood and removals, until they win with The Bandle Tree win condition. Scorched Earth is particularly good against the Bandle Tree, and Aloof Travelers can come clutch as well – and if you discard a Minimorph instead, it’s a pretty good outcome too.
  • The very vast majority of their units have 2 or less health – Poppy and Bomber Twins are their only units capable of blocking Fearsome units in their starting deck (note that they can generate some with Manifests). Therefore, Swain is particularly dangerous for them. Their best answer to him is Minimorph, which will net them a tempo loss, and is also very important to deal with The Leviathan and Captain Farron.
  • Look to kill Bandle City Mayor on sight. They can snowball the game fast when he sticks on board, but if you remove him, their deck is nothing special and will struggle against your numerous threats and high burn reach.

Mulligan for: Teemo, Conchologist, Ravenous Flock, Death’s Hand. Keep Arachnoid Sentry if you have Ravenous Flock. Keep Aloof Travelers or Lecturing Yordle if you have a good early hand.

Matchup tips:

  • The Darkness archetype looks to snowball and leverage the Darkness spell, growing its damage and diminishing its cost. Senna and Veigar are the payoffs for this strategy. Ravenous Flock is great at dealing with both champions, preventing the opponent from snowballing too fast and cutting their value.
  • Twisted Catalyzer needs to hit to grow the Darkness spell. Look to use Death’s Hand on him to prevent the hit and get the opponent stuck with 2-damage Darkness.
  • If you get to remove their champions with Ravenous Flock and Scorched Earth, the Darkness archetype doesn’t have a very high amount of value for a control deck. Trying to rush them down will likely fail because of their control tools, however fighting them in a value war will often be the winning strategy – you have a lot of draw and threats, and they only have 2 Minimorph.

Mulligan for: Teemo, Conchologist, Loping Telescope.

Matchup tips:

  • Lurk looks to snowball its Lurkers’ attack stat as the game goes on, making them more and more threatening. Swain and The Leviathan can be hard to set up, because of the time they need, but also because their high health will often not be meaningful.
  • Because they can manipulate their draw, and because even the smallest of their units become serious threats in the late game, Lurk can be difficult to control. You ideally want to push damage quickly enough so you don’t take too much time on the finishing line.
  • Their champions are their core units. Look to remove Pyke as soon as possible, and be careful about Bone Skewer. Look to keep Arachnoid Sentry in hand to prevent their Rek’Sai from leveling up.

Mulligan for: Teemo, Poison Dart, Conchologist. Keep Lecturing Yordle or Aloof Travelers if you have a good hand.

Matchup tips:

  • The mirror can play out in various ways depending on the hands of each players. Teemo Swain is a versatile deck, able to control as well as it can burn, so you will have to find in which area you can gain advantage over the opponent.
  • Be very conservative with your Nexus health. The game can be long, and if both players manage their resources properly it will regularly finish with one player dying from burn damage as neither can stick a key threat on board.
  • Try making it as hard as possible for the opponent to remove your key units. Don’t precipitate your Swain and The Leviathan – instead, try to force the opponent’s removals on less important units.
  • Manage your own removals efficiently, and set up ways to remove the opponent’s Leviathan and Swain on sight. Aloof Travelers is a particularly strong play to get rid of a Leviathan without using a removal.

Mulligan for: Teemo, Conchologist, Loping Telescope. Keep Lecturing Yordle if you have a good hand.

Matchup tips:

  • Draven Sion is an aggressive midrange deck, looking to leverage Discard synergies and push damage before finishing games with Sion and/or burn spells. You must be conservative with your nexus health so you don’t end up burned down – you have more threats and burn than they do, but it takes you longer to set those up.
  • Try to keep an Arachnoid Sentry for there Sion play, especially if they will have the attack token on turn 7.
  • If you can set up your Leviathan Swain combo, you can lock them out of the game with Sion already on board. Their removals are all damage-based, making it hard for them to remove such large units.

Mulligan for: Conchologist, Aloof Travelers.

Matchup tips:

  • Gangplank Sejuani is a midrange archetype that leverages Plunder, and quickly levels up its champions to win games. You want to prevent them from hitting your Nexus as much as possible, first of all to slow down their champions’ level-up condition, but also because they have a high amount of burn when they combine The Dreadway with Kegs and Warning Shot.
  • Because of Make it Rain and Parrrley, 1-health units tend to struggle against them. Avoid setting up a good Make it Rain for them, and try to play 1-health unit after they’ve already triggered Plunder so that using Parrrley this turn doesn’t get full value for them.
  • Use Arachnoid Sentry to prevent Gangplank or Sejuani from attacking.
  • They don’t have as much value as you and their pool of threats is actually quite limited – as long as they don’t Nab your Leviathan. Look to use Aloof Travelers to take down a Dreadway or a champion, and manage your removals to remove their key threats on sight.

Mulligan for: Teemo, Poison Dart, Conchologist, Loping Telescope. Keep Arachnoid Sentry if you have a great early hand or Ravenous Flock.

Matchup tips:

  • Yordle Burn is a very aggressive archetype, looking to push damage with aggressive untis and to finish the game with its high burn reach. You need to be extremely conservative with your Nexus health, and match their curve out to not fall behind.
  • Play around Noxian Fervor. In this matchup every one of your Nexus health points counts, and the 3 damage from a Noxian Fervor will often make the difference between a win or a loss.
  • Look to play Aloof Travelers right before they would like to switch to their burn and play Decimate, so you can cut some of their burn damage without losing early tempo.
  • If you can prevent them from pushing too much damage, they don’t have a good midgame nor strong defenses, and you should be able to kill them quite easily with Swain as they can’t remove him.

Closing Words

Teemo is often considered a meme champion, but alongside Swain and a midrange burn plan, his mini shroom package really gets to shine.

The deck surprised me in my playtests and it is impressive on statistics. As someone who’s always been a big fan of Swain, I’m really happy to see him take a Tier 1 spot once again.

If you have a question, want to share feedback, or discuss this guide, I’ll be happy to answer you in the comments below! 😉

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Thanks for reading!


LoR player with multiple tournament wins and #4 ladder peaks. Ascended Seasonal top 4. I love writing guides to share my experience with the game with the community!

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