Brand Build Guide by ldn906
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.
Welcome to my Brand guide and first Mobafire guide. Brand is an extremely powerful AP caster, and is one of my favorite champs. There have been many similar guides made for him (with similar item builds/skill order/runes, etc.), but what I want to address is HOW to play him effectively.
I urge you to read through the entire guide instead of just looking at the cheat sheet because the latter part of the guide will explain situational items and play style.
- Very strong laning with a lot of harass capability
- High burst damage
- Good AOE damage
- DoT passive
- Easy to kite 1v1
- Often high priority target
Greater Mark of Insight
9 x Seal of Clarity
9 x Glyph of Force
3 x Quintessence of Potency
These are the standard runes I use for the majority of my AP carries. Some people may choose to use flat AP runes for their glyphs, but that is based on user preference.
For masteries I run 9/0/21 for all AP carries. Getting 9 points into the Offensive Tree to get Archaic Knowledge is a must. I put the rest of the points into the Utility Tree.
Ignite - I run ignite on Brand because it is extremely useful to finish off kills and can make a difference in whether you secure a kill or your opponent gets away safely. This is especially true when you use Brand's ult and it does not bounce as many times as you had anticipated.
Flash - This is the best escape spell for Brand and is essential for survivability. It can be used offensively (flash in for a kill) or defensively (escape when in a bad position).
The basic skill sequence priority goes as follows: Pyroclasm-> Pillar of Flame-> Conflagration-> Sear
I put one point into Conflagration instead of Pillar of Flame at level 1 because it is guaranteed to hit, costs 10 less mana, and the base magic damage difference is only 5.
I put one point into Sear at level 3, which is earlier than many people because I prefer to sacrifice the damage increase of leveling Pillar of Flame in order to have the ability to stun incase I get caught off guard. This is especially useful when the opponent team has a jungler who can effectively do a level 2 or level 3 gank. If you feel that you are in a good position and do not plan on trying to stun at this point then you should level Pillar of Flame at level 3.
I have seen some people level up Sear at level 1 or max it before Conflagration and I do not agree with this. I would not advise doing this.
First of all, there's no reason to get Sear at level 1 because in order to hit your opponent you would have to avoid all of the minions and it is not smart to use Sear as a farming tool because it is easy and cost effective to just last hit the minion with an auto attack. Sear is useful for targeting a minion if it has more health than your auto attack and your tower will kill it in the next hit, but I would not put a point in it at level 1.
Sear scales better than Conflagration and does more damage at every level, but it goes back to the concept that Conflagration always hits and Sear is a skill shot. In laning phase, I find that I use Conflagration to harass much more than Sear because the opponent is usually covered by minions. I think it may be viable to alternate between leveling up Conflagration and Sear around mid to late game.
For the most part I will build Brand the same way almost every game, but it is important to know that how you build a champ is situational and to be able to adapt to a certain situation. Various factors will determine how you build the champ.
In general, I will start with either a Doran's Ring or Boots of Speed + 3 x Health Potion. If you are laning against an opponent who you feel will out harass you then it would be better to get the boots and potions. Otherwise I start with a Doran's Ring.
If you are farming the lane very well and/or killing your opponent then you will want to save up enough for Sorcerer's Shoes. If you are doing okay, but need to blue pill before you have enough for Sorcerer's Boots then you will want to grab a second Doran's Ring and some Health Potion and Mana Potion (if you are running out of mana often).
Your next goal is a Rabadon's Deathcap. Depending on when you blue pill next you will want to build a Needlessly Large Rod or a Blasting Wand and then try to finish up your Rabadon's Deathcap the next trip back.
Your next goal item will be a Void Staff, Rylai's Crystal Scepter, or a Will of the Ancients. Normally, I will build a Void Staff after my Rabadon's Deathcap for the magic penetration, but there are times when my opponents have still not built any magic resist items and I find it possible to build one of the other items before needing to build a Void Staff.
You must decide whether to build the Rylai's Crystal Scepter or the Will of the Ancients first. I really like Rylai's Crystal Scepter because in addition to 80 AP it also gives you extra health and a passive slow that is very useful for kiting and survivability. Will of the Ancients is great for sustainability and can allow you to help your team longer as opposed to needing to blue pill when you are low on health. You have to make a judgment call as to what would be more useful for you.
The last item for you to aim for is Zhonya's Hourglass This item is very useful especially if you are a high priority target or if you get caught in all of the AOE damage / ults in a team fight.
An optional item for consideration is a Banshee's Veil especially if you are worried about CC such as Ashe's arrow, etc. Normally, I opt for Zhonya's Hourglass because I am comfortable with juking Ashe's arrow or kiting chasers for the most part. I find it harder to get out of a bad situation in a team fight if you are caught out of position or targeted and a Banshee's Veil will not save you.
In summary your final items should look something like:
Doran's Ring-> Doran's Ring-> Sorcerer's Shoes=> Rabadon's Deathcap-> Void Staff
and if you can afford then choose from these options: Rylai's Crystal Scepter, Will of the Ancients, Zhonya's Hourglass.
I have seen some people build Tear of the Goddess and Morello's Evil Tome on Brand but I do not think he has a mana problem or a need for cooldown reduction. Ideally, Brand should be given blue buff whenever possible anyway.
Skill Usage and Combos
1 Spell + Auto attacks:
In laning phase, the easiest way to harass is to land a skill on your opponent and a couple auto attacks.
Conflagration is the easiest skill to harass with because it is guaranteed to hit. One thing to note is that many AP carries also have the same or greater range to exchange harass with you when you step in for a Conflagration.
Example: Brand's Conflagration has a range of 625, Annie's Disintegrate and Incinerate have a range of 625, and Malzahar's Malefic Visions has a range of 650. Both Annie's and Malzahar's spells deal more damage than Brand's Conflagration. Therefore, it would be best to wait until Annie or Malzahar have cast their spells on minions to step into range for a Conflagration and a couple extra auto attacks.
It is almost always a good idea to throw in a couple auto attacks after casting a spell on an opponent because most people will react after getting hit by walking away towards the tower making them vulnerable to a few extra auto attacks. It is not a good idea to try to auto attack however if your opponent's cooldowns are short and they can hurt you more than you can hurt them.
Pillar of Flame is a great spell for farming and harassing. It has a large AOE radius and very good range. It is important to note that it does an additional 25% damage on opponents that are ablaze (from either Conflagration or Sear). Nevertheless, it does a lot of damage and is an effective harassing tool on its own. It is possible to hit your opponents even if they are camping behind the tower with Pillar of Flame because of its far range without taking tower hits.
Sear does a good amount of damage and can be used to harass an enemy if you hit them, but I generally do not use Sear unless it is to finish a kill or part of my combo to stun because it is a harder skill to land and I don't think its worth it because you might need it for a stun soon after.
For example, you might encounter cases when you use Sear to harass and then find your opponent has decided to jump on you or you get ganked and now you do not have it to stun your opponent, potentially forcing you to flash or causing you to die.
Two Spell Combo
Ideally, you want to take advantage of the additional 25% damage from landing a Pillar of Flame while your opponent is ablaze. So, the two spell combos you want to aim for are
Conflagration -> Pillar of Flame
Sear -> Pillar of Flame
These two combos will deal the most damage, but all other two spell combos are viable as well, you just won't get the 25% additional damage.
Three Spell Combo
The best combo would be for you to stun the enemy and then land a Pillar of Flames:
Conflagration -> Sear -> Pillar of Flame
This is combo is ideal because the stun will allow you to easily hit your [Pillar of Flame]] without worrying about being attacked back. You may also be able to land a few auto attacks in.
Other three spell combos that will do the same amount of damage:
Conflagration -> Pillar of Flame -> Sear
This is also a very good combo to hit because your opponent ends up being stunned so you will have a couple seconds to hit them with auto attacks or reposition yourself.
Sear -> Pillar of Flame -> Conflagration
This combo is probably the hardest to pull off compared to the other two combos because the first two spells are both skill shots and the final spell requires you to be in close range. Nevertheless, all three should give you the same damage output.
Using Your Ultimate
The idea combo is:
Conflagration -> Sear -> Pillar of Flame -> Pyroclasm
Conflagration -> Pillar of Flame -> Sear -> Pyroclasm
This combo is actually better than the first combo because the stun will pretty much guarantee you to hit your ultimate. With the first combo if you are slow and they are able to flash you may not be in range to hit your ultimate.
There are many variations as to how you can combine your skills together, but ideally you want to set your target ablaze and stun him so that it is easier to hit your skills and get the 25% additional damage from Pillar of Flame. Also it is worth noting that the projectiles from Pyroclasm travel faster when the target(s) are ablaze, which is particularly useful in team fights.
When using your ultimate you want to use it in a away that allows the projectiles bounce a few times on your target. For example if you cast Pyroclasm on your opponent and he is near a couple minions it will bounce between them and hit your opponent a few times. If you cast the spell on a single target and he is not near any minions or other champions you will only get one bounce.
When you are going for a kill you will want to toss your Ignite into the combo to secure the kill. It is better to use it and make sure you get a kill than to let you opponent escape with very little health.
Also, always be prepared to toss in a few extra auto attacks to finish off a kill.
Gameplay - Laning, Midgame, and Team Fights
Brand should take a 1v1 lane, whether it is solo mid or solo top (typically solo mid vs. another AP caster). I have seen people play Brand in a duo lane, but that is atypical in ranked games. The AD ranged carry will take bot lane and you don't want to compete with your AD carry for farm.
For every champ the main goal of laning phase to farm as much as possible and if it is safe then try to push your opponent out of lane by either making them blue pill or killing them. It is not worth it to exchange damage with your opponent if it will force you to blue pill (even if you both have to blue pill) because then you lose experience and farm putting yourself behind.
Focus on farming creeps and find opportunities inbetween farming creeps to harass your opponents with the various combos from above. After playing Brand for awhile you will get a feel of when you can get a kill and that is when you commit to it and try to land your full combo with ignite. Keep in mind that you are squishy and may be in trouble if your opponent's creep wave is much larger than yours because you will take a lot of minion damage.
If you want to clear a minion wave you will want to use Pillar of Flame on as many minions as possible and then Conflagration on the caster minions in the back. This will clear the caster minions and lower the health of the melee minions. Then proceed to last hit the melee minions with auto attacks.
Sometimes a creep wave will push to your tower and it is important to learn how to last hit at your tower. For melee minions, wait for the tower to hit them twice and then you should be able to kill them with one auto attack. For caster minions hit them once at full health and wait for the tower to hit them once and you should be able to last hit them with one more auto attack. Sometimes your minion wave will mess up this pattern and you can use Sear to last hit a creep. You could also use [Pillar of Flame]] => Conflagration to clear a wave at the tower.
In a 1v1 lane it is important to know your opponent. It is important to know what your opponent can do and this will allow you to time when to harass and when to wait for your opponent to make a move / waste a spell. For example, when laning against a Malzahar I will wait until he uses his Malefic Visions before coming in to attack. It is also very important to practice dodging skill shots. Going back to the example with Malzahar, even after I wait for him to use Malefic Visions on a minion he can still silence me with Call of the Void so I must be able to dodge this before I cast my spells.
If you are winning your lane and can safely push the lane to the tower or force your opponent out of lane you should begin going top or bot lanes to gank. Brand has so much burst damage and a stun so it is very easy to pick off at least one enemy when fighting a 2v1 or 3v2. Otherwise you should continue to farm everything you can and work towards completing your build.
Brand should try to land Pillar of Flame, Conflagration and Pyroclasm on the enemy team in a team fight. Sear can be used to stun an opponent to pick them off. It is important for you to try to get off your combo and get your Pyroclasm to bounce and do as much damage as possible instead of saving it for a kill because it can really determine the difference between winning a team fight and losing one. It also raises team morale when you see the entire enemy team fall to half health just from one full combo burst.
Survival: Stun, Flash, Creeps, and Wards
As I mentioned earlier one of the pros of Brand is that he can really effectively kite almost anyone 1v1 with his stun (some exceptions may be if you get exhausted or stunned/slowed yourself).
When you are running away from someone try to land either a Conflagration or Pillar of Flame and follow up with a Sear. It is crucial that you hit your Sear, but in a chasing situation it is pretty easy to hit because most people will run straight at you and won't be prepared to juke it. Conflagration-> Sear is a little risky because you might not hit your Conflagration so make sure you aim carefully.
It is possible to use this combo several times in running away from someone. There was one instance where I was able to land four consecutive stuns and make it safely back to a turret. If you have flash this is even easier because you can just stun and Flash over a wall (unless you feel comfortable that you will get away without using Flash).
Countless times I have seen people Flash straight in a lane and not get far away enough and end up dying. It is important to learn where you can flash over a wall because it will almost guarantee that you will get away safely (unless our opponent flashes to chase you).
When fleeing especially through the jungle you can auto attack a creep and it will follow you possibly slowing down enemies following you.
Since Brand is squishy it is important to keep wards up around the river in order for you to know when the enemy jungler is coming for a gank. Sometimes you can request your jungler or support to ward for you but every time you blue pill you should grab one or two Sight Ward. If you are facing roamers such as Twitch or Evelynn you will want to get a Vision Ward and plant it in your lane.
Videos of gameplay
Scorecard of Brand Games
Pictures of warding locations
This guide is still a work in progress and much more material is coming soon. I tried to show you guys how I build brand and some thoughts about how to play him, but I believe pictures and videos will be more helpful! Please feel free to give me comments and tips on how to improve this guide and what you want to see.