Brand Build Guide by DeusDevoid
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.
This'll be my first attempt at a build, and I hope I laid everything out properly :/
I want to point out that I am currently level 25, and that this build is somewhat theoretical. But that's what I'm aiming for by level 30, and so far, it works well for me.
So! Seems you like playing with fire. Well so do I. with this Brand build, you're guarunteed to see fireworks brighter than the fourth of july, or the first if you're Canadian. Whatevs. This build is simple. It's all in the item sequence, and a little bit of deception on your part, but believe me, it's easy as pie. Let's get this started!
Very briefly, this set of runes, I find, are the most straightforward combination to bring you early game superiority. The AP and MP will allow for BIG damage in the opening gank of a 3v3, or solid harassment in 5v5, and the extra Mana Regen will keep you in lane, harassing longer, and earning more money if you're farming.
You may be wondering why a caster build is using the Burning Embers mastery and sacrificing Presence of the Master. Well, it's quite simple. That early game is key. If you have the right target, you can open with Exhaust, Ignite, and W, while getting as many auto attacks in as possible. Most of the time, you'll score a kill, thanks to having both your natural DoT and the Ignite DoT. And if not, you'll have an extra 10 AP at your disposal for a longer period of time. If your opponent is overzealous and doesn't retreat immediately, your W cooldown may be up in time to cast again, and this time, with an extra 10 AP on ya ;).
**Updated: June 24th 2011**
Now here's where you need to be precise.
Doran's ring at the beginning is nice. the extra health, AP and regen allows for extra presence early game, and a fair damage boost.
I've seen many builds not using Meijai's Soulstealer....and I can't fathom why. I find it to be a marvelous item, and super cheap for what it can do. I've ended many games between 16 and 20 stacks. For 1200 gold, a potential 180 AP is definitely worth it. Just don't die :P
You'll want the meijai's as early as possible, but not before your Rod of Ages. The Rod has worked its way into my early game, as I've noticed that while the damage isn't as high, you're around longer to harass. The catalyst first will keep you laning and regening on your level-up. Finishing the rod will give a nice damage boost and of course its stacking effect is nice too.
Now bust out the Soulstealer. This way you can start earning more than just gold for your kills. Also, if you happen to have a DoT on a champ that is about to kill him, and you die before he does, you will gain 2 stacks. This is quite hilarious, if you've got a dot on multiple targets on the verge of death. Dying and coming back stronger is always a nice touch. It's situational, but you can create that situation rather easily.
After you've built a Void Staff, trade in your Doran's Ring for a Fiendish Codex. More AP, more regen, and a little extra CDR too. Worth it.
Round everything out with Rabbadon's at the end to cement your seat of dominance. The amount of AP empowering you by mid-late game is staggering, especially if you get your kills/assists, and keep your deaths to a minimum.
Looks like I forgot to add the "situational item" section in this explanation. Sorry about that, and here it is.
Endgame can be a *****. You will need to adapt yourself situationally according to the enemy team's item builds. Fortunately, you have a sixth slot to play with.
The Fiendish Codex can be built into a Morello's for a good damage boost, more CDR and more Regen, which I'd recommend if the enemy team hasn't counter-built against AP. (Noobs, you'll say, and sure you'd be right most of the time. But, there are cases where this is legitimate. You being the only AP on your team being one of them.)
Rylai's Crystal Sceptre is good for a nice chunk of health and the utiliy, though I don't find that I particularly get much use out of it. I'm usually good with positioning. In your case, this is suggested if the enemy team has mixed its defenses well. The additional health may be the difference between your death or theirs.
Lich Bane. Many people wouldn't bother getting Lich Bane as its most powerful aspect is its passive. I tend to disagree. You can easily get off a stun and attack your opponent, then cast Pillar of Fire, causing insane damage. By the time you've built Lich Bane, you should have somewhere between 600-700 AP. This, as a physical attack is monstrous, and adds an amount of damage that can be considered as part of his rotation. With only 3 seconds of cooldown on the effect, good maneouvring can let you make great use of this. The downside to this is that Champs with high dodge can likely dodge the attack unless they're stunned. Also, Champs with high Armor spec will also greatly mitigate the damage. I'd recommend targeting squishies or champs that have specced some MR. You'd generally be avoiding MR champs, but unless they've got a Force of Nature, you can still get off some respectable damage, seeing as you've got Void Staff.
Ah. Here's the fun part :D
I always start W. It deals the most damage, relative to its cooldown time. Comboing this after Exhaust and Ignite while auto-attacking at the beginning of the game will usually net you a kill, if your target is squishy enough.
Then E. This will allow you to greatly improve your rate of farming creeps. Using W first, you "paint an area" with the minions. E on the minion with the most enemies within the spell's radius. this will deal maximum damage, and usually kill or nearly kill all minions within. Auto-attack the rest to finish them off.
Then Q. You are now able to "crash n' kill". If you had a lucky opening game, you may have Boots of Speed and an Amplifying Tome by now, or can get one after a few more mnion kills. Your opponent may be a level below, or equal to you, but should not have items. Running in on the opponent, and opening with Exhaust, then E, then Q, then W (all within the duration of exhaust) then finishing with an Ignite (if it isn't already on CD, in which case, the extra AP will have probably killed the opponent).
Finally, R. And man, this Ultimate is hit or miss. If there are enemy creeps around, this ult suffers greatly. If, however, you have only 2 champs side by side, it's one of the deadliest ults in the game. Opening with R on two champs (that aren't MR specced :P) will usually mean their end. Get this happening as much as possible. With your Meijai's, double kills are a VERY welcome occurrence ;). The remaining champ that survives of the two can be stunned with Q and finished with W if he isn't dead already.
Exhaust and Ignite. Both, enhanced by Cripple and Burning Embers, allow you to unleash untold destruction very early game. This extra bit of cash and XP will prove to be a major factor in your performance, and with the summoner spell combo, you're close to assured of it. This combo also works very well throughout the entire game as a matter of fact. Slowing your opponent and reducing his MR further may totally negate whatever resistances they may have acquired, while Ignite is dealing True Damage. (for those who don't know, True Damage is damage that is dealt which is totally unmitigated by any resistances, whether inherent or acquired by the target champion).
Pros and Cons
Excellent early game ganking
Meijai's at early game with stacks deals a significant amount more damage, allowing for superiority
Balanced build, at the right pace, you will always have enough money to buy your next item by the time you feel you need to buy it. Just be sure to get farming done.
As devastating in team fights as in 1 on 1 fights.
Heavy DoT damage with Brand's Passive and Ignite
You will be the main target most of the time, unless someone on your team's stealing your thunder >.<
Not much room to counter build. Buying counter items will severely hinder your power progression.
Not having Flash means you need to be smart and not give in to greediness.
A constant con that goes without saying, but his Ult will disappear if it's launched and you die during its travel. This is ridiculous to me. I don't see how this is due to a balance issue, if at all, because Brand dies. Let the fireball travel after death Riot! CAMAN
Not much to this. Try to stun the team's main target. 2 seconds is a decently long stun, and you get those 2 seconds right off the bat! Then burn down the target with your team, or begin focusing another!
If the enemy team is bearing down on your team, opening with an Ult with no minions around means you can deal upwards of 300 damage per champ at level 1, if you've got the items in time, and a few meijai's stacks. Otherwise, this will also set the enemy team ablaze, meaning one well placed W can hit many champs, and deal a lot more damage to them, allowing your team to mop up with ease.
Alternatively, you can cast a Q on one target, and then E to spread the blaze. A well placed W will produce the same effect as above, and you can then claim the kills with your Ult. (provided no minions are around)
Strategies, Tips, Tricks
As Brand, you enjoy a passive DoT cast from all of your skills. This is a great benefit that often nets you kills by the skin of your teeth. Prolonging the DoT duration on an enemy champ keeps their healing to a minimum, as well as ensuring constant damage, if the target isn't healing. Coupling this "blaze" with Ignite can lead to massive DoT damage early game, often killing enemy champs.
Keep away from an enemy champ's reach. Often you'll be the main target, so if you're behind your team, you ensure survivability. That said, be a team player. Favour the team attack over the personal gank.
Always check for enemies in bushes using your W. Big damage one or more enemies can't usually escape, and it'll reveal whether enemies are actually there. Remember, you're often the target; be paranoid.
Try to use your skills through terrain. your Q and W each have sufficient range to hit the target through terrain, and can sometimes net you a DoT kill on a champ with low health.
Try to bait your opponent into moving near a minion that's set ablaze. You can then E the minion and hit the opponent with the splash hit. This'll deal some damage, and leave a DoT. A great way to farm and harass at the same time.
Strategies (will be updated)
Once the game reaches the point where team battles become necessary, a good way to cripple the enemy team is to lure them into an area where it is difficult to maneouvre, and open with an Ult. This will cause massive damage to whoever is following you. If two champs are following you (and they're squishy, or lacking MR), it's probable that the ult will kill one and severely damage the other, if they don't run away from each other. This is a great way to cripple the enemy team, and to start building stacks on your Meijai's.
Overall, this is a solid, well-paced build that I find produces very effective results at all stages of the game. With some smart thinking, good positioning and a little fearlessness, you can dominate the game early. Brand's damage output is massive against the right targets, and a fed Brand early game usually spells destruction for the enemy team. I've played a few games where just my performance was enough to force the team to surrender. And we're talking maybe 3-4 kills. Not much. His damage output at that stage of the game can be THAT demoralizing. Sure, MR will do a number of Brand's performace, but if the rest of the team is balanced, your enemies can't afford to simply spec against you. If they do, you've got a guarunteed win, as you can then play support and mop up, while your team dishes the damage.
Please rate this build and give me your feedback. Let me know how it works for you! Any feedback is appreciated, except the douchebag kind ;).