Brand Build Guide by Haedrix
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The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Welcome to my Brand guide!
My IGN on NA is Phaetox. I was Platinum in Season 3 Solo Queue and I placed in Platinum this season as well. I have over 2600 Normal Wins and have played LoL since it was in beta.
In Season 3, I had a 100% Win Ratio on Brand, though I only played 8 games with him in Solo Queue. I plan on playing him more this season to provide a larger sample size for success statistics.
I am the Head of Coaching for the DWAI Gaming community, do color and PBP casting for tournaments, and am the captain of team Auxiliary.
DWAI Gaming has a community base in both NA and OCE, holds prized monthly tournaments, offers coaching, has a team of streamers and casters, sponsors teams, has weekly community events, and is overall a friendly community that strives to provide members with a comfortable environment to play League of Legends, Counter-Strike, Minecraft, and many other games.
If you are interested check out any of the following links to seek more information:
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Before we begin to discuss Brand it is important for everyone to understand the vocabulary and abbreviations that I will be using in this guide.
- AP = Ability Power
- AD = Attack Damage
- HP = Hit Points / Health
- AS = Attack Speed
- ADC = AD Carry / Marksman
- CS = Creeps Slain / Creep Score / Farm
- MR = Magic Resistance
- AA = Auto Attack
- MPen = Magic Penetration
- Armor Pen = Armor Penetration
- CD = Cool Down
- CDR = Cool Down Reduction
- CC = Crowd Control
- Hard CC = Crowd Control that can interrupt channels (stun, silence, fear, taunt, knock up)
- Soft CC = Crowd Control that cannot interrupt channels (snare, root, brief immobilize, slow)
- AoE = Area of Effect (abilities that can hit multiple targets)
- DPS = Damage Per Second
- DOT = Damage Over Time
- Q / W / E / R = References to a champion's abilities via default key bindings
- Ult / Ultimate = Champion's "R" / 4th ability that is not available until level 6 and tends to have a long cool down
- OP = Over Powered / needs to be nerfed
Hopefully that covers everything.
Why Play Brand?
Brand has a lot of tools in his kit that are highly valued in the current meta. He has percentage max health damage, a single target 2 second stun on a short CD, 3 AoE abilities, large front loaded burst, good consistent DPS over the course of a fight, and good range that when combined with his kiting power allows him to cast from an advantageous position. This champion has a very high skill ceiling which also means he has tons of raw out play potential. If you master this kit you can beat almost any champion 1 on 1. All of these things make him sleeper OP.
His main downfalls are that he tends to be a glass cannon and lacks an escape. For this reason, if you plan on playing Brand, you should either pick him later in the pick / ban phase once you see the enemy team develop or just simply ban champions such as Vi that have strong diving via a powerful gap closer, single target lock down, or hard engage because they can ruin you in team fights.
Brand has a lot of AoE damage which can be good for tower siege and team fights but he lacks mobility and demands to be peeled for. He excels at killing the enemy front line so it's easy to form a domino style team fight comp with him using other champions that focus the front line first such as Vayne, Lucian, Ryze, Trundle, etc.
He also has pretty good match ups versus a few popular mid laners right now. He does very well against Lulu in particular. He can hold his own against LeBlanc and abuse her clone for Pyroclasm bounces. He can also easily out push Nidalee and is good at forcing fights against her team if they're trying to poke.
Pros / Cons
- Ranged AA
- Percentage maximum health damage on Blaze
- 4 second DoT on Blaze
- 2 Second stun on Sear which only has a 3.6 second CD with 40% CDR (meaning opponents only have a 1.6 second window in between each stun, not taking tenacity into calculation)
- 3 AoE spells that can collectively pump out immense damage
- Itemization variation and easily adaptable build paths
- Can have very large front loaded burst...
- And/or have strong and constant DPS due to low CD spells that are easy to spam
- Good wave clear when pushing / defending
- Strong tower siege potential / good in poke wars
- 50% skill shot oriented (Q + W)
- Squishy / glass cannon
- Situationally Mana hungry
- No gap closer / escape
- Lacks overall mobility
- High mechanical skill cap
You'll always want to be running Flash. It has the most versatility out of all summoner spells and is pretty much a requirement on every champion unless Ghost has stronger synergy with a champion's kit. In Brand's case, Flash is definitely the way to go.
9/10 times I use Ignite as my secondary spell. Ignite's DOT ticks alongside Blaze and Liandry's Torment, yielding huge amounts of Damage Over Time so that you can walk away confident in your opponent's impending death. The healing reduction also allows you to skip purchasing Morellonomicon so that you can grab Athene's Unholy Grail instead which will help fix your Mana problems.
Teleport can also be a good choice if you can obtain the team coordination to capitalize on Tele-ganks or if you don't have kill potential in lane regardless of having Ignite or not. If you plan on focusing heavily on farming then you will want to take this spell so that you can gank the side lanes when the opportunity arises without wasting the time roaming around wards and lurking for catches for long periods of time.
Runes Versus AP Opponents
These are the runes I normally run on Brand.
- 3 Flat AP Quints
- 9 MPen Marks
- 9 Flat Armor Seals
- 9 Flat MR Glyphs
I run flat Armor on my AP Mids even when against AP enemies because of minion damage when creep trading / harassing enemies and pulling minion aggro. The amount of minion damage you take can be the difference between getting or giving up First Blood.
I prefer flat MR Glyphs over flat AP when facing AP opponents. If you're up against an AD opponent you can swap these to AP Glyphs. You can also run AP Glyphs if you're not going to be taking much return damage when trading for some reason.
Runes Versus AD Opponents
- 3 Flat AP Quints
- 9 MPen Marks
- 9 Flat Armor Seals
- 9 Flat AP Glyphs
Against AD opponents, I switch out Flat MR Glyphs for Flat AP Glyphs. This will help improve your early wave clear and dueling potential.
These are the Masteries I almost always run on Brand.
You get good offense from this page in general and nice sustain specifically from Feast , Strength of Spirit , and Meditation .
Summoner's Insight can be really good, especially if you run Teleport. I'm personally not willing to give up any of the points I've chosen for it though. I believe the flat Movement Speed from Fleet of Foot keeps you safer than the reduced CD on Flash. I'd also prefer to have the extra damage from the Offensive Mastery Points than a reduced CD on Ignite. If you have a different preference feel free to slightly alter the page.
I have played around with all sorts of different skill sequencing on Brand and the displayed order is what I have found to be most optimal.
At Rank 1, Sear has the highest base damage, has the highest AP Ratio, has the shortest CD, costs the least Mana, and can be used to check bushes. These facts make it an uncontested choice at Level 1 for defending the jungle, invading, looking for Level 1 fights, and even for the first few minutes of the lane. I like using the spell that costs the least to leash a buff for my Jungler so that it has the least impact on my Mana sustain early on in the lane.
Sear is also your only ability that is not AoE though so maxing it first would cause you to miss out on very important damage in skirmishes and team fights. To better suit this line of thinking we max Pillar of Flame first overall. Pillar of Flame's base damage actually becomes higher than Sear's at later ranks. Pillar of Flame also has a damage amplification aspect if the target is already affected by Blaze which further increases its de facto damage.
While some people prefer to max Conflagration second in order to maximize your AoE damage, I always max Sear second in order to increase the amount of stuns I can get off in a team fight by lowering its CD. Sear has a VERY potent 2 second stun which provides great utility and I feel it is too important to miss out on.
In fact, if you can get a CDR item (like Athene's Unholy Grail or Morellonomicon) + Blue Buff you can hit Max CDR pretty early and Sear will get down to only a 3.6 second CD by Level 13. Blaze stays on a target for 4 seconds. This means that after the first time you land Sear, you don't even have to hit another ability on that opponent besides repetitive Sears to keep them stunned. The stun lasts 2 seconds and the ability gets to a 3.6 second CD. If they do not have tenacity they will be stunned for 2 seconds, free for 1.6 seconds, stunned for another 2 seconds, so on and so forth. This means that they will be consistently CC'ed for more than 50% of the fight. Your opponent will find this extremely annoying.
While you miss out on some AoE potency by maxing Conflagration last, Sear does significantly more damage on a per opponent basis. The reason this implication is important is because your first objective of the game is to win laning phase. Sear will far out damage Conflagration in 1 versus 1 situations. Lowering the CD of your stun will also help you escape ganks and survive jungle pressure. As mentioned earlier, Sear is also your cheapest spell Mana wise so relying on it instead of Conflagration for damage will increase your sustain potential. Using your shortest CD spell more often will also help stack your Tear of the Goddess faster if you are aiming for an early Seraph's Embrace.
There are some situations when I actually max Conflagration first, although very rare. The most common opponent that would cause you to make this change is Fizz. He will almost always dodge your damage from Pillar of Flame and Sear via Playful / Trickster. Conflagration is instant however and the DOT still ticks while he is on his staff. You can max it 1st to bully him out of lane early and zone him from CS. Just be careful not to get blown up when he hits Level 6.
You should start with this. It gives you the best mix of damage, defense, and sustain. Some people start with double Faerie Charm and three Health Potions in order to get a super early Chalice of Harmony but Doran's Ring is usually superior.
These items are what you build every game, just not always in the same order. You switch out purchase order depending on the situation and may occasionally have to swap in a situational item early on such as Zhonya's Hourglass to beat Zed or a Tear of the Goddess to start stacking Mana if you plan on finishing with a Seraph's Embrace as your 6th item.
This core build gives you a large amount of AP, solid CDR, decent Mana sustain, great Magic Penetration, and % Max HP damage. This build has the best synergy with your kit and gives you the strongest well rounded Mid Game most of the time.
Seraph's Embrace is great for games where you will need tower siege / poke potential. It guarantees that you don't run out of Mana before the fight even starts. It is also good in games where team fights last a long time to ensure that you will have the Mana pool to keep going until the job is done.
Zhonya's Hourglass may be a necessary buy against certain assassins / snipers such as Zed, Lux, etc. It also gives good Armor if you are having to fight / kite an enemy bruiser with physical damage in team fights.
Deathfire Grasp gives you more CDR and additional anti-tank damage. If your team composition requires you to take out the enemy front line first, I recommend buying this item. When combined with Blaze and Liandry's Torment you can absolutely melt bruisers / tanks.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter is always good on Brand in theory. It improves your kiting thanks to the Slow and doubles the damage from Liandry's Torment. The HP is also nice. In general though, I find it much more effective to build one of the previous options. There are some situations where I can see the viability of grabbing it though such as against bruisers / tanks that don't have gap closers.
Mechanics / Strategy
Always look for opportunities to get multiple bounces on Pyroclasm. It's very usefull against LeBlanc when her Mirror Image pops, when Annie has Tibbers out, when Elise is in spider form with her spiderlings around her, and when Malzahar is by his Voidling
Pyroclasm is also great for deterring the enemy Jungler from ganking your lane since having a second opponent to bounce spells off of only increases the volatility of your damage combo.
At Level 1, you'll want to take Sear so that you can check bushes when invading, get the most damage possible at Level 1 in case your team has to fight, and so that you can leash Blue / Red for your Jungler while expending the least amount of Mana possible. If you stay to get off auto attacks you will miss a minion or two so just throw Sear and head to lane.
You can tell where the enemy Jungler started from how the enemy Mid runs into lane. If your Jungler started at the enemy Red, take the extra time to enter the lane in a manner which makes it appear as if he started Blue. The best way to do this without missing any minions is after throwing Sear to leash, run to the side bush by where you leashed, go into it the furthest away from where your Jungler started that you can, and angle your character's pathing so that it appears you are walking away from your Blue. When your opponent sees the angle you are running into lane from most of the time they will be tricked into thinking your Jungler started Blue.
Likewise, you can play more mind games with your opponent to assist your Jungler. If your Jungler is starting your Blue and wants to go invade the enemy Red at Level 2, after leashing Blue you can try to make it look like you just came from leashing the enemy Red. This will more than likely make the Mid lane communicate to the Jungler that their Red is already gone and to not bother going into their Red side jungle. They'll likely just try to counter invade your Red or gank Bot / Top depending on what side they are playing on. This will hopefully allow your Jungle to invade the enemy Red without being noticed.
While these tricks don't necessarily work at the highest levels of ranked due to it being countered by wards and vision control, it's always a good habit to pick up and practice just in case the enemy didn't spam wards at the start.
Moving on to laning. Brand is really good at punishing opponents who assume the trading stance in Mid lane. If your opponent is in the farming stance, last hit with your auto attacks. If they are in the trading stance (standing close by their minion that is about to die so they can harass you when you go for a last hit), then you can use Pillar of Flame to get the last hit via ability while simultaneously hitting them with harass.
You can also use Pillar of Flame on the enemy ranged minions and then hit them with Conflagration while they are still affected by Blaze if your opponent stands anywhere near them. This will cause Conflagration to spread to the opposing champion as well as apply Blaze on them.
It is also important to time your harass for when they are coming in for a last hit. This is especially easy versus melee opponents. Whenever they come in to last hit a minion just hit them with Conflagration and/or Pillar of Flame. The latter ability has longer range and will be easier to land safely for free damage. If you can manage to hit a Conflagration on them first however then your Pillar of Flame's damage will receive the 25% boost. You can harass your opponent whenever but if you time it for when they are going for last hits, it will be much easier for your to land your skill shots since they will stop moving for a second to last hit. They will either take free damage or choose to miss out on a last hit. Either way you come out with the advantage.
It is important to either push with wards up or keep your lane center. You don't want to farm under your tower because it alleviates pressure off of your lane opponent and gives them the option of farming jungle camps to obtain a gold advantage, roaming to a side lane to gank your allies, or helping the enemy Jungler invade your Jungler while you are stuck farming under tower. Brand has really good wave clear and you should press this natural advantage. Keep wards up and keep the lane center until you want to roam, farm jungle, assist your Jungler, go pick up Blue, or roam down to Dragon. You can force an opponent to farm under tower which will allow you to harass them for free or simply zone them completely out of farm but it will attract a lot of attention to your lane. The enemy Jungler will notice your extension as well as the fact that his Mid is obviously struggling and will more than likely begin paying closer attention to you. So I only recommend doing it if you are confident in your Jungler's capability to counter-gank or your ability to get away clean.
How you combo your abilities will change with what your objective is. Basically your aim tends to be one of the following:
1.) Get off as much AoE damage as possible
2.) Assassinate whatever target is most readily available
3.) Get your damage off on high priority targets.
If you are looking to maximize your AoE damage, you can use Pyroclasm first to put Blaze on everyone and then follow it up with a boosted Pillar of Flame and Conflagration which will spread onto nearby enemies while hitting Sear defensively to stun whoever is a threat to your team's back line.
If you are concerned about simply assassinating whoever is easiest to hit, you'll probably have purchased a Deathfire Grasp. You'll want to hit that on an opponent first followed by a Conflagration + Sear combo to stun them in place so that you can easily land your Pillar of Flame. You may not need Pyroclasm to kill them and they may be separated from their team due to their attempts to dive your back line so your Ultimate might not hit them for a lot of damage anyway. You can try to save it for the remainder of the team fight or you can just use it on them if you need to.
If you want to try to melt the enemy carries, you'll want to use Conflagration on the enemy front line and then launch Pyroclasm. This ensures that your ultimate prioritizes champions and will hopefully make it to the enemy back lines. You can throw Pillar of Flame deeper into the enemy team to get off more damage once they are hit with Pyroclasm and are affected by Blaze so that your W receives the 25% damage boost. Depending on the positioning of the fight you might be able to even hit Sear on the enemy back line.
Try to coordinate with your team to remove any Banshee's Veil shields off of the enemy team with poke before hard engaging. Doing so will dramatically increase your damage in the impending team fight.
Use Seraph's Embrace similarly to Barrier. Bait opponents with it and block high end damage with the shield. Use Zhonya's Hourglass to dodge CC / big damage that would get you killed or zone you from being able to get your damage off.
You have a short CD 2 second stun and can kite very effectively because of it. Abuse this mechanic and pump out consistent damage while keeping the enemies at bay. You can use Conflagration + Sear on the enemy front line to stun them and then pump Pyroclasm + Pillar of Flame into the enemy back line while their front line is stunned. Resume the kiting position as the enemies are about to regain control of their champions and will try to kill you before you can land another stun. You can rinse and repeat this process for the majority of the team fight.
Both of these can completely negate your Ultimate or stop you from stunning a target.
Brand has quite a few bad lane match ups and is a risky first pick. I usually don't play Brand unless I am able to pick it after already seeing their Mid.
Since Brand relies heavily on landing skill shots he is weak to very mobile champions who can dodge his damage. Since he is squishy he is also weak against burst assassins. Add these two qualities together and you can counter Brand pretty heavily.
Most mobile assassins are melee farmers so just try to punish them early game by harassing them every time they go for a last hit.
There are also champions who can counter you by having a method of avoiding your damage (especially your Ultimate). Fizz and Zed can both due this via Playful / Trickster and Death Mark and are mobile assassins. Vladimir can Sanguine Pool to dodge pretty much all of your combo. Lissandra can use her Frozen Tomb on herself to completely ignore Pyroclasm. She'll be hesitant to do this unless she is right on top of you though so just try to keep your distance from her. Elise can use Rappel to jump into the air to avoid Pyroclasm but she is not often played mid and you out range her so just punish her with the rest of your kit instead of relying on your ultimate. Kayle can use Intervention to make herself immune to damage for a short duration. She can time this whenever she wants but it does not make her immune to CC. You can still stun her to try and make it so that she at least does not get free damage off on you during this duration.
Of course anyone who buys Zhonya's Hourglass also makes your ultimate worthless in a 1v1 but if they rush it during the laning phase then their MR should be pretty low since they didn't itemize against you stat wise so you can punish them with the rest of your kit.
I hope this guide helps to improve your Brand play as well as give you better insight as to how to play against a skillful Brand. I have played this game for a long time so there might be some things that I overlooked in my explanations because it is second nature to me but not to others. I try to elaborate on everything I see fit but I don't always do the best job of making it easier for newer players to apply the knowledge. I'll be happy to discuss theory crafting, itemization, further explain my choices within this guide, etc. Just leave a comment or message me on here!
If you want to check out any of my other guides you can find them here:
DWAI Gaming: LoL Guides
Anything posted by "Phaetox" is my work and you can find links to my guides embedded in the thread.