Brand Build Guide by FeartheStampede
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Not Updated For Current Season
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.
I created this guide with the intention of being as in-depth as possible. If you would like to just try out the build order and items, please feel free to do so. For those of you wishing for a different perspective on how to play brand, I intend to offer my insight on as many areas as possible. Keep this in mind as I might deliberate more on each subject than you are used to.
Thanks and Enjoy!
Brand is by far one of the most versatile AP carries in the game today. His high area of effect damage and low cooldown stun make him very powerful, while the difficulty of landing his skill shots keep him from being OP enough to require a nerf.
This guide is made with the intention of showing players how to optimally use brand in higher level normal play(20+) and ranked games. Knowing that you will face good players on the other team should factor into your item and spell choices as much as their team comp and who is carrying. With this in mind, this guide will focus on optimizing damage-NOT doing the most damage possible.
I will go through the items-runes-masteries in-depth and explain my reasoning behind each, followed by some Early game/Late game instructions.
Items & Spell Combos
Many of you reading this guide have probably played brand before and seen the other guides that have been made for him. This may lead you to conclude that mana regen and cooldown reduction are necessary. While this type of build may work in certain cases, I firmly believe that increased damage and survival trump sustainability every time.
The first item is core to every game and must be completed after Sorcerer's Shoes. Rylai's is important for many reasons. The stats are great, health for surviving and AP for damage. But the most important aspect is the slowing effect on spell hit. This makes landing brands main anti-champ combo a breeze. Simply lead with Conflagration into Sear and Pillar of Flame. While other combos do more damage, this is the easiest to land. In the world of LOL where everyone should have some level of anticipation, it will be very difficult to land any other combo.
On the Rare, and I mean VERY rare occasions where you find the enemy team sitting in a bush with a ward or something, you should show them their mistake and bombard them with a Sear- Conflagration- Pillar of Flame followed by your ulti Pyroclasm. Other guides tout this as brands main attraction, but be aware that trying to land this combo has made many a good player into a ****ty brand.
Onto the rest of the items. I play brand as a hit and run champion. By this I mean that I will isolate a potential target and stun them for the rest of my team while putting out moderate damage with the anti-champion combo and providing a slow. If you successfully aggravate the other team with this kind of play you should see their main AD or AP harasser( Be it Akali or Jax or Tryndamere) Peel off during every team-fight to attack you. It is important to kite them as much as possible while dishing out a stun everytime the cooldown on Sear is up. Even if you are doing the best possible kite, you WILL take damage. Half of the time this damage will be enough to kill you. These champions are built specifically to bypass team-fights and take out annoying mages.
This is where the Massive Spell Vamp comes in. I like to build this item second to provide superb sustain to Brand. With this item and a Golem Buff, You will be a terror to behold. The utility is simply amazing, you can heal during team-fights and keep pushes going by slaughtering minions for health. Not to mention this item buffs your whole team with the spell vamp and some AP.
The rest of the items are more game specific with the exception of
Which you should end up with at some point if the game goes on long enough. With the recent nerf of the base AP on this item it has become too expensive to rush early. Save it for later when the passive will give you a large AP boost from your other items.
Zhonya's is for that team with the Trynd and Jax that is getting a little too difficult to deal with. Grab zhonya's-burst them down-invuln-then finish them off when your cooldowns are back up. If you are the only carry on your team I would suggest getting this BEFORE you start getting targeted as it takes quite a bit of gold to buy. I've had many games where a single death turned the tides of the match.
As Phreak said in the Champ Spotlight, Brand's passive scales off of Magic Pen only, so this makes your Passive shred those health stacking tanks and makes punishing those MR stackers a breeze. Unless you have three AP on your team and they start the MR stacking early, I would save this item for last.
I absolutely LOVE this item on tanky caster, but it has limited usefulness for brand who should be keeping the range open. This makes the passive almost useless. I would suggest only getting this item if their AP is really wrecking you or they have an ******* Veigar.
A great all around item, it's essential for most support, but on brand it lacks that extra Umph like Rylai's slow or the Spell Vamp on WotA. The new patch makes it more powerful for those back and forth laning games now that the Catalyst passive stays around. If this suits your playstyle better feel free to go for it, but I miss the utility of other items late game.
Now you may be thinking, 'Why not Archangel's Staff?' The way I see it, it will be very difficult for brand to spam enough spells to make this item reach its full potential early enough to do much good. Since you should be the main AP carry, you should have every late game blue buff. This means you don't need the mana regen at all. There are better items in terms of pure stats for the gold out there. Additionally this guide has no additional items that increase brands mana pool to make Archangels more viable.
Flash is the most versatile and powerful summoner spell currently available. Every high level game has, with very few exceptions, 10 flashes. The reason for this is that it can be used offensively and defensively. For characters without a flash its the best escape, and for burst mages like brand it is a perfect way to close the gap on an unwary foe.
I personally like to use ignite as a supplement to brands already fantastic passive and to shut down those life-steal heavy characters or the ones with heal. An interesting side note is that most players wait until they are very low on health before they decide to use their escape or high cooldown flash, meaning that a well timed ignite will net you a kill on someone who thought they could get away. I have lost count of the number of times I have burst someone and had them die seconds later in the fog of war.
If no one else on your team has teleport and a few others have ignite this is a very good choice. It allows you to farm those big bubbles and protect your towers from either champion backdoors or minion damage. This is also good for the new brand player as it allows for more blue pills back to base for mana recharges.
Ghost is useful as another escape/chase mechanism if you are not yet confident enough with your stuns. Clarity is useful if you have a team comp that means you wont be getting the blue buff, and exhaust is an option in a ranked game when they have multiple in your face AD carries.
All of the other summoner spells have limited usefulness and do not go well with the type of play style this guide will promote.
Marks:Running magic pen is a must. There is no other option.
The rest of the runes just offer some room for customization according to your playstyle.
Seals:I run armor runes for my seals instead of MP5 because as brand you should be mid or solo and there is a very good chance of facing a ranged AD. Several ranged AD characters can give you trouble early game and this helps mitigate their damage and attrition capabilities.
Glyphs:I run cooldown reduction glyphs because I rarely buy any items that give me added CDR. With these runes, masteries, and the Blue Buff from Golem you should be close enough to 40% that you won't notice your spells on cooldown very often. Also the only other glyph that makes sense to me is MR, which could be useful, but I'd rather just out-damage their AP then outlive them.
QuintsI like having a good early health pool with doran's ring and Flat Health Quints, but you can really run anything you want here. Other good suggestions would be more Magic Pen, AP, Mana or Health Regen, or even movement speed.
I don't have much to say about masteries. If you are new, follow the ones up top. If not you know why.
I go up to Magic Pen in offense with the points in AP, then crawl up Utility for CDR, mana Regen, and summoner spell reduction.
Laning and Spell Order
The great thing about Brand is that he is a tailor-made mid lane or solo champ, but he can absolutely dominate a 2v2 as well.
Since this guide gets no extra mana regen outside of a doran's ring and the utility masteries, it is vital to make the most of brands spells. This means leveling Conflagration first to make sure the most damage is delivered to the champion. I happen to level Pillar of Flame at lvl 1 just in case the other team tries to gank your jungler. If you do end up in a 2v2 lane it might be more beneficial to lvl pillar at lvls 4-5.
Just concentrate on last hitting the first few waves of minions and avoid taking unnecessary damage from powerful early game champs like Urgot and Caitlyn until you hit level 3. Now is when you can make champions pay for being overaggresive. If you catch them out in the open past or outside their minions, land a Conflagration and shoot out a Sear. If the sear lands pound them with a Pillar of Flame and a few auto-attacks. The reason I don't initiate harass with sear is simply because you lose the stun. Good mid summoners will also be aware of your pillar and will keep moving to avoid being hit. Throwing wasteful pillars will just rob you of mana and allow them to be aggressive in last-hitting creeps and harassing you.
If the enemy champion is cautious(which they should be) vs Brand then you want to just focus on your farm. A good way to get some farm & harassment at the same time is to throw a Pillar of Flame at the caster minions-then wait for the enemy champ to dodge backwards-they then have a tendency to come back while blaze is still active and you can drop a Conflagration on the minions and it will bounce to the champion. This is also another reason to make sure Conflagration is your highest leveled spell.
Once you get used to the kind of damage brand can put out, and get comfortable with landing his skill shots, a good way to pick up an early kill is to get off one combo at level 3, then wait for your cooldowns. If the champion is weak, look to flash in and land a Conflagration- Sear- Pillar of Flame- Ignite combo. Even if you miss the full combo, ignite and conflag should have them low enough to back early.
A couple of notes on 2v2 and 1v2 lanes. If you are partnered with anyone that has some easy to land CC such as Taric or Sion, even Maokai, you should have no trouble dominating after level 3. Just be sure to designate the weakest target, then have your teammate land their CC and be in position to pounce with the anti-champ combo. If you are vs a couple of early game powerhouses or have another carry in your lane, just work to support them and farm. Hold your tower and wait until you see an opening to unleash some pain.
If you find yourself 1v2, don't worry. Just practice the patience I've been preaching throughout this guide. Be careful and stay away from them if they have more than one stun or disable. Your range should allow you to get exp and farm if they try to deny you. If they push the lane then just sit on your tower and farm away. Your level advantage should allow you to start harassing around level 5 or 6. Try to co-ordinate a gank with your jungler when you hit six as two ultimate's should be enough to get at least one kill on the lower level champs in your lane. If you are still laning after the enemies hit six go back to being cautious and make them pay for any attempted tower-dives.
If the enemy is cunning and remains cautious and out of reach of your spells, just focus on farming and stay on your side of the map. Do your best to avoid over-extending unless you are sure of the enemy teams position on the map. If you have superb lane control and are getting kills I would highly recommend warding one side of the river mid and sticking to it to avoid unnecessary deaths at the hands of gankers. Outside of warding outside of your lane, let the jungler and support take care of dragon and baron. Be ready to support your jungler if he is being chased or attempting to take dragon.
Edit:A few notes on Mana
I read that the majority of the community thinks brand has serious mana problems. While he does run low rather fast if you start spamming, you should have no trouble in a 1v1 situation with the Doran's Ring regen and masteries. There are some exceptions to every rule depending on how difficult your opponent is and your skill level at playing brand. For those of you having mana trouble I suggest incorporating different runes or maybe switch out an item until you get comfortable with him then try using this exact build.
While laning 2v2 and 1v2 I would actually recommend getting some type of mana pool item as you have two targets that you need to wear down and it will take considerably more spells, especially if you haven't mastered them yet. Another alternative is to lane with a partner that has clarity. This was usually how I went about it so that is why I didn't remember having any mana problems.
Mid-game into End-game
It's time to start getting aggressive once you get Rylai's Crystal Scepter. If you have to remain in your lane for a while keep farming but look to put out some more serious harass as you should be able to land your combo easily. Most champions should now have difficulty escaping you if you chain your spells to continuously slow them. Look for opportunities to gank the enemy jungler or isolate a lane and get a tower pushed.
It's about this time that you might enter some murky team-fights. These are the kind that materialize around dragon where each team has their champions slowly coming in by ones and twos. Do your best to pick off a carry and burst them down. Try and save your ult to use on more than one champ, but don't hesitate to use it to secure a kill. Keep an eye on your mana as you might start to run low in an extended battle. Concentrate on throwing out conflag-sear combos while retreating to a safer area where your flash can get you out of trouble.
It is now time to start taking every blue buff that is available on your side of the map, and actively trying to control the enemy teams blue. The other AP on your team should either be more of a support champion like Lux or Zilean or should have built mana/cdr into their builds. With this item build it is absolutely ESSENTIAL that you grab every blue to keep the spells flying and your mana/health up. The only exception would be if you are dominating the enemy team and have the leisure to go back to base routinely or you are running summoner teleport.
There are two ways to go about a late game team-fight. If you are confident in your abilities and sure of your safety from the other team you can attempt to initiate for your team by landing a good Pillar of Flame- Sear stun as the range on both of these spells is longer than Conflagration and will catch some enemies out of position. The other case is one in which you have to be wary of the enemy tanks/carry's and need to stay in the back of your team. Just be patient and wait for one of your teammates to CC a vulnerable enemy and decimate them with a stun-locked anti-champion combo. Rinse and repeat on the rest of their team in order of proximity/threat.
In some cases it may be possible or even necessary to lay out some massive damage. I would suggest only using the ultimate damage combo in a situation where you are sure your team can lock down the enemy for a few seconds. For example an Amumu- Galio ultimate will set you up nicely for a huge Sear- Conflagration- Pillar of Flame- Pyroclasm that should deal out more than enough damage to kill anyone that isn't a tank.
Brand is my main AP carry of choice for every game I want to win. He is well made and fun to play. I hope you enjoyed my commentary and that I helped you win some games.
Please comment and leave your suggestions below as this is my first guide.
Thanks for reading!