Brand Build Guide by zjozwiak
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Hello, and welcome to "Brand: The Burning Nuke"; a guide on, obviously, Brand. This is my first guide, so I apologize if it's not as crisp or well-designed as some other guides, but I think the content is what's important, and from my experience, this is what works.
Try it BEFORE you talk about how it's bad. Everybody that has said it's bad has said it's bad, in theory. The few that have actually tried it (friends as well as people from Mobafire) have liked it. So please, try it before you judge it.
I mention early game a lot in this guide. In my opinion, early game is vital to Brand becoming a force of absolute doom. A lot of what you do revolves around becoming fed off of the poor sod on the other side of that mid-lane in the very beginning. Tear him apart in the beginning, and everyone will fear you by the end.
First off, a little preachy section to those considering Brand, but aren't sure if they wanted to play him. Brand was literally the first character I bought when coming to League of Legends. Using him for most of my games from level 1 to 30, he has yet to let me down, and he's still my favorite character. The way he can change the order of his abilities to alter his effectiveness is absolutely amazing. The very first Ranked game I played, I went 19 and 4. If you learn to play him well, he's an incredibly powerful champion.
If you disagree with my build, feel free to say so, but have a reason. Let me know why you disagree. I've tried a lot of different stuff with Brand, and this is what I've found that works. That does not mean I've tried everything. If you think you've found something better, let me know. I will try it out and then add my thoughts to the guide.
Thanks to jhoihoi for her guide to making guides. She asked for credit many times, so there we go. :)
Yay pictures! Here are some of mine, to prove I'm on a complete moron.
I'm rather proud of this one. It's my very first ranked game.
Admittedly, Swain left partway through this next game. However, I was laning against Gragas, and the game didn't last much longer once he left. His leaving didn't affect me very much.
Notice the items I had when this team surrendered.
Best Ahri I've played against - she dodged like a pro. But once it came to team fights, nobody was trying to dodge, so I smashed 'em.
More to try and convince that the Lich Bane build works.
I focus on the offense tree to cause as much damage as possible. +3 Ability Power is a small boost, but when you think about it, it's near a Greater Quintessence of Ability Power. I also go with Summoner's Wrath because, even if you lose out on a consistent 1 AP, you gain 5 when Ignite is down.
4% cooldown reduction is absolutely necessary for Brand, considering the long cooldowns on his abilities.
If you get fed early game, the other team is going to build magic resist. This is where 10% magic penetration comes in to save the day.
1.5% total damage is always fantastic, especially in a nuker.
+5% ability power is something that will be very useful late game. Say you end up building like crazy and end up with 500 ability power total, not counting that mastery. When you add in the extra 5%, you're suddenly up to 525 ability power. That is fantastic.
Executioner is fantastic for finishing off weak enemies with a Blaze Ignite combo.
The first thing I go for in the Utility tree is Summoner's Insight . Flash is a very useful spell, especially useful for Brand. I will explain why later on. I also go for Enhanced Recall because, assuming you're midlaning, you're going to want to go back to base as fast as possible.
I go for Swiftness over Meditation . The reason is that 3 mp5 doesn't seem overtly useful to me when you can just go with mp5 Seals instead. However, 2% movement speed can be useful when it comes to dodging the enemy mid-lane carry's skill shots.
Runic Affinity is useful for pretty much any mid-laning champ. Blue buff is a powerful tool for harassment and can leave the enemy champ going back to base while you farm minion kills like mad with Pillar of Flame and Conflagration.
Greater Seal of Replenishment
Here's where you can really switch it up, depending on what you want. I go with Greater Quintessence of Ability Power. These will give you almost 15 ability power to start off the game, which will give you plenty of early game damage. You can also try out Greater Quintessence of Spell Vamp, but this would likely hurt your nukability early game.
I've gotten a decent amount of feedback regarding rushing Lich Bane. You can check the first few comments, see for yourself. I've tried out suggestions, and while they do work for nuking, I personally don't recommend the other builds. It may work for some people, but even with 9 Greater Seal of Replenishments, I still feel mana hungry. The change in nuking is definitely not noticeable enough for me to recommend rushing Rabadon's Deathcap over Lich Bane. However, feel free to try that instead of my build, and report back with the results. Try out my build, and if it doesn't work, feel free to say so.
A great first buy for Brand. Health, a good amount of mp5, and your best friend - ability power! Try to stay in lane until you have enough money for both of your next items - another Doran's Ring, as well as Boots of Speed.
The first major item should always be Lich Bane. This has everything a mid-lane AP champ needs: magic resist, to protect yourself from the enemy champ; ability power, to hit them harder; movement speed, to dodge skill shots or gank; magic, to spam more spells. Change the order you buy the components in. Losing the lane? Go Null-Magic Mantle. Tearing him apart? Do it even more so with Blasting Wand.
I've also seen people come out of the gate with Hextech Revolver, but from my experience, it's not as good for nuking or fighting, because you won't have enough magic. The resist from Lich Bane is just as good as the spell vamp.
of Finish off your boots after that; faster movement speed, as well as some fantastic magic pen.
Next is the AP champ's best friend: Rabadon's Deathcap! Best mage item, ever. The 30% AP passive, with the flat 140, will increase your damage by probably over 100 per spell. That's nice.
I normally go for Rod of Ages after Rabadon's. More health, more magic, and huzzah, more AP!
This is where the standard build stops. At this point, you can go with pretty much anything. There are plenty of good options. Here are some examples:
Your best option if they're building magic resist. 40% magic penetration won't stop them if they built stupid Force of Nature (hate that item), but it'll definitely make it so you can put a dent in them.
Like I said earlier, it's nice if you're slowly being taken down. It also helps if you have a team of AP and nobody else has bought it. Suddenly, everyone has more AP and more spell vamp.
This is a nice one, if you're being focused. The magic helps, but isn't the main benefit. +99 (why isn't it 100?) is super helpful, as well as an amazing 20% cooldown reduction. This means more Pyroclasm. That means you'll win. Boom.
This is in my perfect build, if I'm not being focused too hard. 20% cooldown reduction and 75 ability power is a great combination. If you're gonna be out in the fight a long time, you're going to want the mp5 as well. Cooldown and regen mean you can spam down minion waves while still being ready for team fights. Also, with the new active added, you can actually kill people like Dr. Mundo when ignite is down. Huzzah!
Now, something that I don't suggest: Zhonya's Hourglass. I'm sure it works for some people, and I've seen it on a lot of major builds, but it hasn't ever helped me that much. It fits some people's play styles, I guess. I'd rather take armor from Frozen Heart or ability power from an item with better side effects.
Remember: These are only some of the options. You should switch up your build depending on the other team's items and behavior.
The Case for Lich Bane
So as you can probably tell, Lich Bane is what most of the talk about this build has been about. So I've decided to make a section specifically for explaining A) why I use it, B) other options, and C) why I think it's better than those options.
Why use Lich Bane?
The reason I began using Lich Bane in the first place was because I was constantly mana hungry. I tried Archangel's Staff, but it took too long to build up to a good damage output and offered no defense. After that, I started using Lich Bane, and had amazing results.
Lich Bane has everything you need, as I stated in the Item section. The key to winning mid lane is to harass. To harass, you need mana. Lich Bane gives you that (as well as mana for farming), as well as the ability power to make your harassment count. With that harassment, you shut the enemy out of the lane, causing them to lose out on farm and experience, which gives you the upper hand. It also gives you the magic resist you need to ignore their attempts at harrassing you.
There's 2 other major options that I see a lot, and here they are:
NO, it does not offer the mana and MR you need to harass. If you try to farm minions with your spells, you won't be able to whip a full combo at the enemy champ. You'll really need your mana, and Rabadon's won't get you there.
valuable time that you need to use, not spend waiting. The 10 minute factor is the reason I pick Lich Bane over Rod of Ages.
Flash/Ignite is the standard spell combo when it comes to higher level AP casters. I guess I follow the crowd and use these too, for good reason.
Extremely useful for Brand. His long cooldowns mean that this scenario comes up often:
A team fight breaks out. "Yeah, I got this!" you think to yourself. You run in, toss out a Sear, use Conflagration on whoever got hit, drop your Pillar of Flame while they're still grouped up, and boom, Pyroclasm! "...And now I'ma wait 5 or 6 seconds to do anything. Oh ****, they're aiming at me!"
THIS is when you flash. You'll likely be in a jungle, or too close to the team fight. So you Flash over a wall like a boss. Then they either hunt you down while your team smashes them, or you jog back and have a couple of abilities up by the time you get there. Brand has no way of helping the team and only 1 crowd control ability, so you've done all you can do. If your team yells at you, tell them to shut up. This tactic has won many team fights for me. You'll be a massive source of damage, so you need to live as long as possible, so you can do as much damage as possible.
Your passive makes this spell a nightmare. Blaze is 8% of their maximum health (affected by magic resist), and Ignite is a lot of true damage (unaffected by magic resist or armor). If the enemy is low, but might make it away, hit them with this, and pray that the kill feed pops up. Do not be stingy with this spell. If you get into a battle with the enemy mid-laner, this can mean the difference between you gaining 300 gold or having to deal with the enemy being more fed than you.
Those 2 summoner spells are the best for Brand; I have absolutely no doubt of that. Other options include Clarity, Exhaust, and Surge. Clarity is nice for sustainability in the lane, but loses usefulness later in the game. Exhaust is fine if you like it, but seriously dents your nuke-ability, and if you want it for team fights, someone else will probably have it.
Surge is definitely a great option as an offensive tool. Plenty of ability power for fights and attack speed for dropping enemy turrets. However, I find Ignite's power to dent healing is too nice to ignore, even though the ability power boost from Surge and the extra damage from Ignite are comparable.
This is what turned me on to Brand in the first place. His abilities all have a secondary power based on whether or not the target is Ablaze, explained here: Blaze. Suddenly, Sear stuns, Conflagration is an AoE, and Pillar of Flame hits for a fourth extra damage. Pyroclasm bounces quicker, which changes its usefullness depending on the situation. In a massive team fight, it won't be that great, but in a gank, it can be great. You konw someone is Ablaze if fire is dancing around their feet. It'll only last a 4 seconds, so don't let up; hit 'em again!
Your strongest laning ability is Pillar of Flame. The range on this ability outdoes that of most other abilities, making it a powerful harassment tool. After 2 or 3 hits, your opponent will be wishing they could go back to base. If they don't, and come out a bit too far, it could be the end of them with an easy combo.
The standard combo in a 1v1 is E-Q-W, and if necessary, R. That means you open up with single damage Conflagration, and then, if you hit the Sear, a stun. Assuming you hit that stun, they won't be able to dodge the Pillar of Flame coming their way, with an extra 25% damage. Then, if you know it'll get you the kill, you drop Ignite and Pyroclasm. This will get you a kill almost every time in the mid lane fights. Even if it doesn't, they'll be running scared, giving you time to farm and gain exp while they get nothing done.
So, to recap (with something new), your best mid-lane killing technique is this: Flash-> Conflagration-> Sear-> Pillar of Flame-> Ignite-> Pyroclasm. Get near them while surprising them, stun them, nuke them.
Now for team fights. This is where it gets complicated. You'll have to change your sequence depending on a lot of things. Are they being carried by 1 strong damage dealer? How grouped together are they? Are they focusing you brutally?
You have to remember your Ablaze secondary effects. If you have the time and they don't have a brutal carry, then the best combination is Q-E-W-R. That means you'll hit for damage, which is fine. Then, you spread that damage to the group as well as setting everyone Ablaze. After this, the Pillar of Flame will do a whopping 25% extra damage to everyone that is getting hit. This is best done when everyone is grouped together. If they're too spread out to get hit with a Pillar, you'll want to drop your Pyroclasm.
Reading it and doing it are 2 very different things. In a real game, you'll probably be firing spells for 2 to 3 seconds, and then you'll be useless. This is where you take the Flash advice and get outta there ASAP. Once you're ready, get back in there and throw some more spells around.
Farming minions is pretty basic: Pillar of Flame, Conflagration. Congrats, you just killed 6 to 7 minions. Not very difficult, and you'll end up 1 shotting minions with Pillar of Flame anyways, so I'm not gonna spend much time on it. In fact, I just spent more time talking about the fact that I won't talk about than actually talking about it.
In conclusion, remember the power of nuking. Here's a couple of stories that demonstrate this.
I'm in a bush alone, ready to gank a Master Yi. Oh no, Trynd is with him. Sad face. They charge into my bush before I have time to escape. I fire (ha, it's a pun) a Pyroclasm immediately, noting how close they are to one another and the fact that it will bounce quickly. As it hits, I drop a Pillar of Flame, knowing they are both Ablaze by now. Master Yi dies so quickly that I didn't know he was dead right away, and Trynd survives only because of his ulti, running away, tail between his legs.
As we're chasing the enemy team down the middle of a lane, an Ezreal flashes through a bush to try and gank me quickly. I turn, Conflagration, Sear, and hit him with the passive from Lich Bane. He goes from full health to dead immediately.
Often times, 2 or more enemies will be fleeing from a team fight. Flash and Pyroclasm; the ability bounces between them, killing usually 2 or more.
The first 2 are real stories. The 3rd is something that I'm sure you will experience if you try out this hero.
I hope this guide is as good as I want it to be. Again, this is my first guide, so please leave helpful feedback on A) how to play Brand and B) how to fix my guide, if it's not that great.
This is for personal entertainment, and because I wanna see what people have to offer. I feel like Brand has too few skins, and the ones he does have, I don't like. Blue fire is sweet, but Cryocore's armor is kinda lame. The other ones just don't appeal to me. So here are my ideas for skins, and feel free to add yours in the comments section.
Same style Brand, but with charcoal skin, purple fire, and black pants. I think it'd be sweet.
Brand with some sort of golden, angelic armor, white angel wings, and white fire. Like Kayle+ Brand.
The opposite of holy - a demonic Brand. Give him horns, dark-red fire, maybe a demon tail. Make him in general a darker color, with black spots on his body, as if Hell is so hot it burned even the Burning Vengeance.