Sven - A Cut Above the Rest
April 28, 2012
Once upon a time there was a Sven who was a tank with a mean stun. The end.
Well, now that that's out of the way, let's talk about why you're really here. You didn't pick this guide because you want to learn Sven. No. You came to learn how to be a cut above ALL SVENs. Are you tired of getting dissed by your teammates who call you a useless tank and nothing more? Let Shadowfiend do the hatters gonna hate walk for you, you don't have time to listen to such nonsense, you're Sven!
It's time to take your 180% damage ultimate and show them what that red glowing beefcake can REALLY do!
This is what makes Sven so special; storm hammer is a unique targeted stun which creates a splash that stuns anyone who dares to stay near the poor fool who got hit. What makes this ability so great is that it's practically almost unavoidable. This ability must be upgraded to it's max ASAP. This is because Sven does poor melee damage early game and has a very hard time standing toe to toe with magic or ability based champs who can out do his slow chuck. Don't worry, your Sven will chew through them once he gets his armlet going. For now, use Storm Hammer sparingly and only for ganks/initiations early game. This ability cost a whopping 140 Mana from Sven's small mana pool, making this a clear indication to not use for farming until you get arcane boots.
Sven's very own built in Battle Fury; causes a ripple effect with each swing of his sword which damages anyone who is in a 200 radius. This excellent farming tool works great mid/late game, but shows very little effect in early game. That's not to say you should avoid putting a point into it and leaving it in the dust for stats. Combined with your items, you can easily clear out lesser jungle camps to get your farm going and chip off some enemy health in a lane. There is nothing wrong with putting your points into stats over this though. What I like to do is put 2 points into GC and then the rest stats until I have to level the ability. We want to level this after we have Sufficientnly put all points into storm and warcry.
Sven let's out a mighty roar that shatters mountains, and at the same time he gets some pretty freaking sweet laser eyes. This and Storm Hammer are what make Sven such a great initiator. Warcry buffs you and your allies with speed and bonus armor for a short duration. Combined with the Mask of Madness, this ability makes the blink dagger almost pointless; almost. This ability should be the 2nd thing to upgrades on your priority list. You'll find it works great for both defensive and offensive situations.
There's an old saying, send a soldier into a room full of people; one man is left alive. Send Sven into a room, the whole ******* room and the 16 stories above it are gone. God's Strength on the right kind of build is an absolute menace. Most builds that I've seen do NOT take advantage of this, and tend to build towards a tanky/late game Sven instead. Show the respect that this ultimate deserves! It gives you 100%/140%/180% bonus damage, and practically sends your enemies fleeing from your big red hunky self. The cool-down is rather short for such a powerful ability, and you can use it fairly often; even if it's not for a team fight. If you're being taken 'lightly' in a team fight while this ultimate is active, the enemy team is asking for you to decimate them and start the 'Sven Train' up. However, if they're not, then I'll go into further details on how to use this to your advantage as well.
Right off the bat, Sven is very item dependent. Don't expect your Sven to do atrocious amounts of damage at the start. What Sven should do is focus on last hits and getting his farm going.
Pick yourself up a Quelling Blade, Magic Stick, and 3 GG Branches. The Quelling Blade will help you get your last hits for a quick in and out gold farm, and the wand will make sure you keep some health and mana in a harassment lane. Turn it into a Magic Wand when you get the chance; the restore is far greater than that of a stick. Feel free to either take Tango/Healing Salve or Clarity Pots afterwards.
The answer to all of life's greatest questions; "How do I keep my Sven sufficiently full of Mana?". Arcane are simply the way to go for Sven. Once this bad boy is purchased, you can harass your lane with storm bolts; as well as get away from nasty ganks without having to leave your lane. Pair this item up with someone who uses a lot of abilities themselves, and you're bound to give them what for. The only argument that is valid here is if you want attack or mobility speed with Phase Boots/Power Treads.
Doing the Math
Let's break down the mana cost of each item and ability that Sven has to use mana for.
Storm Hammer: 140
War Cry: 25
God's Strength: 100/150/200
Mask of Madness: 25
Add the early game mana of Storm Hammer, War Cry, and God's Strength, you're looking at 265 Mana. Sven does not have a lot to go around, and we don't want our boy being a one-pump-chump, so taking arcane boots will not only benefit you, but your teammates as well.
Mask of Madness
This is just one of the stepping stones to becoming an unstoppable Sven. Mask ensures that you stay in your lane (thanks to the lifesteal) and you stay up close and personal with your enemy. Paired with Sven's warcry and boots, you gain a tremendous burst of speed, and initiating as well as chasing becomes a cinch. Just add your ultimate for the final touch, and no one puts Sven in the corner; no one. Just be sure to take care using this item against heavy nuke heroes, you do take 30% extra damage
Now we're talking! This doo-dad will give us some nice HP regen as well as plenty of good ol' red blooded attacking damage, with a side order of attack speed. Once Sven has both Armlet and Mask, he can start hitting like an absolute truck. Not fighting? No problem, go clear out your jungle with just a couple of swings of your mighty sword. Armlet is what keeps Sven from dying in practically almost every team fight, practice up with using this item. A bad armlet trigger can mean death or a very vulnerable Sven. If you're getting yourself killed and can't seem to get enough money for that Mask, switch to the armlet; the survivalbility will greatly help.
Black King Bar
Bread and butter for any tank or carry; BKB is (and always will be) the best counter against a heavy magic team. Take caution though, your BKB needs to be recharged after every use. However, the cooldown as well as the duration becomes shorter with each use. For me, I like to use my BKB sparingly. I find that the full 10 seconds of BKB while Sven has his ult and items on give him more than enough time to kill everything on the screen. It's best to activate BKB right after you nail a stun and start charging up your ultimate.
Heart of Tarrasque
What's that? Got some dosh leftover after that Triple Kill? Don't mind if I pick myself up some extra tank-age! HoT will provide you with insane amounts of regen that comes with great damage as well. With HoT, you can practically keep your armlet on at all times and never ever have to turn it off. Although, I like turning it on at the start of a fight; just a force of habit. Lead the charge and dive those towers once you got this bad boy! THERE'S NO STOPPING YOU, YOU'RE A TRAIN FULL OF PAIN! THE SVEN TRAIN! RAAAAAAAAAAH!
Laning/Mid-Late Game Phase
If you're the only Strength/Initiator on your team, you are in TROUBLE with this build. DO NOT PRAY IN HOPES OF GETTING FARM WHEN YOU'RE THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN TANK DAMAGE. DO NOT BUILD SVEN THIS WAY UNLESS YOU ARE CONFIDENT WITH YOUR TEAMMATES. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Pick a lane with a ranged support/initiator who is willing to give you more of the farm in lane. Tell them you're getting arcane boots first so you can dominate your lane, they'll be more subjective to protecting you while you farm. Let them do the pulling while you stay in lane and get your storm bolt leveled up to do more damage. Get your wand first and then start working towards your boots. The speed from boots as well as warcry can ensure either a safe kill or a safe getaway. Once your Arcane boots are done, harass the hell out of your lane, this is where Sven can completely change the way laning phase is played out.
Throw a storm hammer just 15 seconds before you re-use your arcane boots, and warcry your creeps to give them an edge when pushing. If you're getting out harassed and pushed back, stay at the tower and hover your hand over Storm Hammer; most enemies won't even dare try diving you with your Q still up. Play passively and get as much farm as you can, deny the tower when you can and retreat back if all else fails.
The important part of playing Sven with this build is not to get shutdown early. Sven sadly cannot come back if he's cut down. His armlet and mask require him to get a good gold farm. If you are shutdown, take a look at the enemy team and invest in the situational items. Bottle to replace arcane, vanguard to protect yourself against carries, and blade mail to return some damage to them. At this rate, you won't be able to carry as Sven late game. Play smart and do the job of being a stunner/savior, wait till you get some money going.
If you got this far with your Armlet/MoM, then you're doing good! Start jungling and getting your BKB ASAP. Roam and gank when needed, but stay in your lane if there is nothing going on. Gotta keep that farm and XP up, if you just so happen to find DD or a Haste Rune, now is the time to find some poor sap and send him to the grave. If you're the only initiator, then you're in a bit of trouble. Sven is a great initiator, but initiation usually means 'death'. Fake out your enemy by stunning them first and then retreating back or kiting them, activate your items and powers once you're out of harms way and take out what you can. Retreat when necessary, as well as stick around to stun or boost a teammate out of an uncomfortable position.
How's that BKB looking? Working on your HoT? Then you're doing a good job, keep at it. If you just so happen to be using your BKB more than often and have a 5 second duration on it, then chances are its going to be a bit harder for you to storm in and kill everything. If your enemy is hiding behind their turrets and are afraid to push, go for aegis. The trick with Aegis while playing Sven is to NOT use any abilities or items when you go storming in. Instead, bait your enemies and let your allies stack behind you for a push.
Try not to push too far into their base, you need to be near the turret as well as the entrance to give your allies a chance to grab one of their own. If you do push too far, then chances are you'll end up wasting Aegis and they'll just run away from you and push back afterwards. If you successfully got yourself killed in an attempt to push, activate everything you got and cut them down from the back!
+ Can take a hit and still give more than a 'hit' back
+ Lots of juicy mana and speed to get out or into situations
+ Accessibly easy items that don't require too much farm or time away from team fights
+ PURE RAW DAMAGE
+ Can push towers/clear out creeps like a MOFO
+ More than just a support, but a man now!
- Requires a change in role if you're shutdown early
- Very risky gameplay is required
- Dependent on his Ultimate to do proper damage
- Very dangerous to play against heavy nukers
Well hey, thanks for reading this little guide! Go out there and show those punks what for! Remember,