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Brand Build Guide by unk87
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+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+8 Magic Resist
+8 ability haste
Threats & Synergies
A good Braum will use [[unbreakable]] to block [[pyroclasm]]. Brand must be careful when to use it. If Braum has isn't far ahead or stacked MR, it's fair to QWR him.
Similar range poke and damage, but far easier to land stun. Great roamer. Brand wins late-game.
Avoid [[enchanted crystal arrow]].
Much longer range. Brand is not much threatening to her early-game.
Can farm from far away, but before [[tear of the goddess]] it's possible to land a few spells and get a small cs advantage. Easy to shove under tower.
Easiest adc. Very vulnerable when trying to catch axes.
Can [[Relentless pursuit]] to dodge abilities.
Early game Brand only wins trades if landing a stun. Late game Brand far outdamages anything she can use to shield or heal.
Very vulnerable, but if properly protected can turn into a tough lane.
Be careful when taking combo's. Poke him down enough so he can't engage. If he engages without full hp it's often best to focus him down. NEVER stay too close to your adc.
Brand has slightly less range. It's possible to win this lane by controlling bush and landing a combo.
Don't get CCed in a bad spot. Brand deals FAR more damage single and AOE.
Many will pick Leona as a counter, but this match-up can be easy. Safely poke her. Eventually she will try to engage, most often forcing her adc to move out of minion cover. Either focus her or the adc, which is worst positioned. Leona isn't very tanky when [[Eclipse]] is on CD. Don't blow everything on her Shield of Daybreak unless she's already low. It's usually better to leave the hard hitting spells for after it ends.
Survive his early game and it's easy.
Difficulty depends largely on her adc. Lulu can protect from anything but a full combo, but late game Brand is usually stronger as her spells are mostly single target.
Generally easy, but a very good MF paired with an aggressive support can lead into an oppressive lane. After lane she doesn't have much except her ultimate.
Morgana is often thought as a counter, but I consider a skill match. Morgana is far better at engaging and disengaging but Brand has much more damage. Black shield doesn't really counter Brand but care must be taken to use either[pillar of flame or pyroclasm to remove black shield before stunning. Most Morgana's will fall to this technique because they tend to walk straight to you while ulting.
A good Jhin will use his movement speed boost to avoid taking poke. Lane difficulty will be defined by his support. It's often easy to shove him under tower.
Even match but I personally dislike this. She trades while healing and has significant kill potential on Brand. Winning requires careful movement and coordination with your adc. Landing a full combo on her is usually lethal, but so is Brand if caught.
As usual for tanky match-ups. It's very easy to poke him and quite hard for him to land an engage, but if he does it's deadly. Poke him safely so he can't engage. If Nautilus engages poorly he can't escape. He can be very vulnerable where Pyroclasm can be bounced.
Rakan has a lot of mobility which makes him dangerous. A possible play is to bait him into taking [[pyroclasm]] into his team.
By himself Shen is on the easier side. His ult is a great cue as when it will be a good time to pyroclasm. As usual, poke him so he can't engage.
Her shield can be annoying in lane if her she has a enchanter or mage support. In that case it's likely best to gank or ask for one. Bait the shield with [[conflagration]] then unload the remaining combo.
Sona represents the classic poke lane. Brand easily wins trades spell per spell. Her biggest threat is [[crescendo]] which although very obvious is often followed by a [[flash]]. Dodging it usually wins the fight.
Soraka main strength is being annoying. She will heal while poking with [[starcall]] and after a few levels [[astral infusion]] will quickly heal your harass. The key here is to NOT be hit by [[starcall]]. By putting pressure, hitting few spells but taking none you Will eventually win. Pressure the lane but don't get greedy. Later on with [[Morellonomicon]] Soraka simply can't do anything but run.
8 out of 10 times will jump on Brand. It's not hard to hit her just as she comes from her Hookshot, but do it just as she lands or otherwise she will usually Ult. Stunning just as ult animation finishes is also easy.
Immobile blob of health.
Huge blob of health.
Elise can easily Rappel to dodge stuff, has an easy stun and strong burst.
Blob of health.
Just don't get ulted.
Don't get stunned nor greedy. Turrets can bounce Pyroclasm.
Be careful during his early game. Safely poke him. During team-fights Brand is much stronger.
Slow and fat.
It's ok to be aggressive, but mind not cornering yourself to avoid stuns. He can easily burst Brand. It's important to have at least an even mid-game or otherwise Taric's ult will soak all damage. With enough damage Brand can often just burst him before his ult activates or leave his team low enough that they will flee. Taric's often buddy with a person for a dive and this is prime time for a Pyroclasm before Taric's ult is complete.
Poke him safely. Thresh is very dangerous if his jungler is nearby. Thresh doesn't have any strong escape and his lantern can be used for a good Pyroclasm.
A fed LB is dangerous, but an even one is not. A simple EW will often trigger her clone which can then be Pyroclasmed for an easy kill.
Vel'koz has too much range. Brand has to somehow close the gap which is very hard in lane. In team-fights isn't so much of an advantage.
Very hard in lane. Xerath has much more range and an easier combo. Survive/roam until mid-game. In team-fights Xerath won't have much advantage.
Fire>plant. Both have similar build paths but Brand does much more damage. Her spells are easily telegraphed. Careful that when dueling with a good Zyra she will often place a plant just in her front to block Brand's Sear. Use her plants to your advantage and Pyroclasm.
Vault's away easily from most of spells but is very vulnerable to Pyroclasm.
Don't get ulted.
Annoying. Sometimes will Blunder and ult from near teammates or minions. Brand can barely fit an ER and follow up with Pyroclasm's slow.
Careful if she's with an aggressive support. The key is to lead well a Sear into her jump.
Weak in lane. Will often roam for the better part of mid-game. Be careful when seeing his support alone as Twitch is usually nearby.
Zilean doesn't have much early game. Just don't get stunned. Easy to shove and either poke under tower or roam.
Mordekaiser is just too slow. Poke/shove him and get a Morellonomicon.
She can initiate. Brand can't. Otherwise it's about dodging skillshots.
Diana can get Brand instagibbed while she's protected by her shield.
You better not throw sear before he Q's
Nunu & Willump
Can't be CCed, can't be bursted, very fast, very strong.
Can be hard to poke.
Hallucinate's clone bounces Pyroclasm.
Janna will usually try poking you with Zephyr + AA for the early levels. Predict this and you can win a few trades. She will later stay behind her adc shielding him which makes it unlikely to get a kill. Shove and keep poking or roam.
Blue Kayn is very dangerous. Red Kayn can be dealt with, just don't get knocked.
Really? Brand is the embodiment of a living flame. Annie can't play with that. Avoid the stun, especially flash+stun. Brand has much more range. Every trade is favorable.
Daisy might be used to bounce Pyroclasm. Combo Daisy if needed. It's more dangerous than Ivern.
Weak in team-fights. Countered by Morellonomicon.
I've been playing Brand support for about 5 years back when it was an non-meta "troll pick". By now I've had hundreds of Brand games and have probably every match-up a dozen times.
The rationale was that Brand had a LOT of damage built in his kit but is too vulnerable and immobile as a mid-laner especially against the assassin meta that was and still is common. Brand doesn't really wan't to farm to get strong, he wants to burn people down.
A lot has changed in his kit since Riot officially accepted his viability as support, but the basic premise stays. Brand does a lot of damage even when limited to support gold and wins team-fights not by boosting his team but by presenting another carry level threat.
Now that Brand has become somewhat regular at bot-lane (and dreadfully played) I've decided on writing a guide to teach a few tricks.
Brand is a typical lane bully. His spells have good range and do good damage for mana spent. By focusing on harassment, Brand has great potential to make the enemy lose cs while also having good kill potential against most match-ups.
Brand really shines in mid-game and beyond. Brand may not be good at engaging or disengaging, peeling or even roaming, but at one thing he's nearly unmatched. He deals a LOT of damage in teamfights.
Getting Brand with even gold in mid-game is generally a very favorable game.
As a support, Brand really messes with people as his killing potential is far higher than the average support and is a very strong champion even alone.
A common misconception is that Brand aims to steal kills from the adc. While Brand may end up getting some kills, his immediate goal is to use his very strong early to mid-game to get his team and adc fed into the late-game.
|Cheap Shot got nerfed and it's damage is too low. Not too easy to proc with Brand.|
|Taste of Blood is very nice for extra sustain in lane. Improves trading.|
|Ghost Poro can work as an extra ward, but getting the extra AP can be a hassle.|
|Up to 30 free AP, but requires a lot of stacking and doesn't give extra map vision.|
|Relentless Hunter provides a lot of easy out-of-combat ms which is very important for roaming and backing up the whole team.|
|Manaflow Band is essential for mana sustain into the mid-game. The +250 mana alone is equal to a 350g Sapphire Crystal. At a minimum, Brand should poke enough to activate Manaflow Band so it doesn't stay off cooldown for long.|
|Transcendence provides free 10% CDR. The downside is that it does nothing until lvl10 which is far into the game. Not a bad rune for this build since we won't have nothing but Frostfang and 1-10% from runes for most of the game. CDR above cap isn't much of a problem since it goes into AP.||Celerity increases MS bonuses, which Brand doesn't have.||Absolute Focus provides a scaling AP bonus of up to 40 but only when health is over 70%. With Brand's range, lack of sustain and his tendency to be focused down, staying above 70% health is tough.|
|Scorch deals some extra damage on a 10s cd timer. Does increase poke a little, but the overall damage isn't so significant anymore after being halved for less burst.||
Gathering Storm provides increasing AP every 10 minutes. At 10 minutes (8AP) it's about even with a 30-40 damage Scorch (but less burst), but at 20 minutes (24AP) and beyond Gathering Storm becomes one of the most powerful runes in the game.
Brand sometimes falls slightly behind late-game because he didn't got enough gold, had to purchase more defensive items or simply because the enemy team also scales very well. Gathering Storm evens this out and provides damage to finish games off.
|Flash is just too good.||
Ignite increases Brand threat for the whole game and during early fights also gives vision and grievous wounds.
[Ignite] DOT stacks nicely with Brand.
Exhaust is great for managing late-game carries and some assassins with strong burst such as Zed.
It doesn't work very well for Brand for many reasons such as his high cooldowns and little CC.
It also doesn't help landing Sear if the enemy chooses to hide between his minions.
|Having threatening spells is essential for a vulnerable champion like Brand. Teleport doesn't offer much for a support.|
Blaze is the most important part of Brand's kit. It stacks up to 3 times each stack dealing 4% health over 4s so if fully stacked will deal 12% over 4s, but more importantly once reaching 3 stacks it will charge up and detonate after 2s.
- Blaze's detonation also stack Blaze. This is often what creates those chain explosions that everyone likes on to see on the other team.
- Targets that already exploded can't have more than 1 stack for 4 seconds. They CAN be immediately stunned with Sear because they will have a stack from the detonation.
- Blaze works on big monsters and is very good at taking the rift scuttler , dragon and baron . Brand w/ pots can solo dragon after at about lvl6 (it's tough) or earlier with a honeyfruit.
- Blaze procs effects such as Rylai's Crystal Scepter and Morellonomicon over and over.
- Blaze's DOT ticks will make invisible enemies shimmer every second.
Sear is the straightforward linear skill-shot and what your enemies are mostly trying to dodge. It's mostly used to stun enemies affected with Blaze, but can also be used to poke early on as Sear has slightly more range and using it might throw enemies out of their dodge pattern.
Brand is very vulnerable when Sear is on Cooldown so pay attention because enemies will abuse this and will often try making it hard to land a stun.
Landing Sear is crucial. Brand must hit at least 80% of his stuns to be playing decently.
Pillar of Flame is probably the most hated part of Brand's kit. A fairly cost-efficient AOE blast with good range. It's Brand's main poking spell and also highest damaging regular ability since it gets +25% damage on enemies affected with Blaze.
It has a slight delay so predicting enemy movement is essential.
- Early trading spell vs spell against another support can often lead into a stalemate. Unless you hit both ADC and Support with the same Pillar. That is completely winning the trade.
- Pillar of Flame has good synergy with adc's that have wave clearing abilities such as Jhin. When shoving the lane try to coordinate so you hit the caster minions first allowing the adc to finish them off easily.
- Pillar of Flame is decent at checking brushes with Arcane Comet.
Conflagration is an important spell for starting and spreading Blaze. Short casting time but no projectile.
- Unlike other Brand spells. Conflagration is relatively silent.. and deadly. Unwary enemies can be easily attacked if they get near a target affected with Blaze. It's not a bad way to poke and throw people off balance.
- When initiating with Conflagration enemies will usually start dodging madly because they assume a Sear is following. Don't. Throw people out of balance. Wait a while, follow with Pillar of Flame or Pyroclasm then Sear.
It's possible to start leveling Conflagration before Sear for better AOE and waveclear or mix them up. Both get reduced CD and higher damage.
Pyroclasm summons a bigger devilish Sear that bounces around spreading Blaze and trying to blow people up. It's important to remember that Pyroclasm only slows people if they have Blaze. Also, due to it's targeting mechanism it is much more effective at blowing people that already have some stacks.
Pyroclasm is the most important spell in Brand's kit and a must have for any fight in the late mid-game and after.
- Pyroclasm provides very high kill potential when facing 2 enemies.. or better, 1 enemy champion and some other fodder.
- There are many high IQ combinations possible. One of my favorite is dueling someone down by bouncing into rift scuttler or dragon . Once Brand reaches 6 the enemy jungler better not try soloing objectives.
- Enemies can easily kill their teams if you predict their patterns. Rakan's will often go in, knock someone up and then retreat.. with a Pyroclasm.
- Pyroclasm disappears into Wind Wall and Unbreakable.
- Pyroclasm has higher range than Conflagration. Don't be afraid of starting with Pyroclasm for the slow or just for the first stack.
So. Every Brand ability triggers his passive Blaze which also empowers his abilities which stack more Blaze and people blow up. We can all see that the real damage potential comes from combos and more importantly detonating Blaze.
Never think Brand has a fixed rotation. It doesn't really work. Unlike assassins and even other mages, Brand's basic stun is SLOW to pull off. Unless the enemy can't see your position or they have potato reflexes it's unlikely they won't react against an obvious Conflagration+ Sear.
Brand also has high cooldowns so it's punishing to miss.
Brand wants to land a stun? YES. And it's easier when people can't react against it.
Don't be predictable. The best order is what the enemy won't be ready to avoid.
Pyroclasm can be used just for the slow, even vs single-target. It helps engaging without rilay's.
To clear a wave QEW is the strongest.
A final trick. When the enemy has Flash up, you can often bait if off with Conflagration + Pyroclasm (may look like a sear or just panicks people) followed by a Pillar of Flame. Usually enemy will Flash then it's an easy Sear.
The goal here is to maximize his damage and threat to the enemy team. Brand wants to be strong enough to be able to win 1v1's with a successful stun. This creates a lot of pressure not unlike a fed adc.
Early on we're going fairly standard:
Frostfang is a very important upgrade and should be purchased ASAP (I prefer having my first back around 500-1000g). It increases damage dealt and most importantly gold generation a lot.
I don't usually upgrade Frostfang into Remnant of the Watchers because the upgrade mostly gives extra stats. The extra 1 ward charge is good but for mid-game 3 charges is plenty.
I'll upgrade when I have 950g lying around (late-game) or when the enemy team is fighting hard for vision control of objectives (mostly Baron). Having vision of objectives is extremely important and on tense games you can't afford going back to shop to restock and leaving Baron not warded.
|I prefer Refillable Potion instead of starting 3 pots. You start with a little disadvantage but more often than not your enemy will blunder it's pots and after first back and afterwards you will have a good advantage. Refillable Potion also has synergy with Dark Seal.|
The Dark Seal is a cost-efficient item that provides a lot of AP, essential mana for your early-mid game and about extra 30hp from each charge of Refillable Potion. Sell later on if you lose your stacks to either finish an item or free a slot for Control Ward.
My preferred 1st return gives me enough gold to finish Frostfang, buy a Dark Seal and a ward.
If early skirmish was bad and you had to go back before 500g. It's often good to take a Dark Seal.
|Boots aren't as important as the items listed before. Ward well, play smart and you won't need that mobility early on.|
Out of the early-game and into mid-game. Some lanes won, some lost and the strong players have shown themselves. It doesn't really matter if you did well or if everything went south. Mid-game is the strongest for mages such as Brand and you want to do a lot of damage.
First thing to do is to see who's strong on each team. If there's a fed assassin or anything that might instantly kill Brand, now is the time to prepare to fit some defenses in the build.
For most games just buying the Core Items will be enough as they increase Brand's damage a lot while also providing some extra health. I generally consider Brand to be strong enough when he's able to kill caster minions with a single Pillar of Flame.
You can mix and match Morellonomicon and Liandry's building items. I usually rush Morellonomicon because my matches often have enemies with strong healing, but you might buy Oblivion Orb and then start Liandry's. Or even halt both and go for another item. adapt.
|Negates a lot of MR which massively boosts Brand's high %hp damage.|
|Besides the valuable AP and HP it also reduces Magic Resistance so that together with Sorcerer's Shoes Brand will start doing nearly true damage to most enemies that don't build resistance. Also inflicts Grievous Wounds which is a very strong debuff that last's very long due to Brand's Blaze|
|Similar stats to Morellonomicon and may look redundant, but both have a lot of synergy with each other and Brand's Blaze. Usually purchased after Morellonomicon unless the enemy team is very tanky and has little heals.|
Build costs 8200g + wards by now. If modestly fed it's possible to have finished the Core by 20 minutes. Some games might end before completing the core. If not, no problem because Brand scales well into late-game.
Now it's important to decide which path to take.
- Full Damage is great in many situations especially when Brand already has the advantage. Ineffective if Brand is weak or the enemy has strong assassins that can't be bursted such as Diana, Akali, Fizz, etc.
- Tanky is generally a good way to build as the Core already provides decent health, Brand has less burst but doesn't get to be so vulnerable. Not so good if the enemy team thrives in DPS such as several carries or massively fed hyper carry or ranged tank-dps such as Ryze, Vladimir.
You can purchase one or two defensive items and still be mostly AP. This is many times the best path as often the real threat is posed by one or two enemy champions and you might get a lot with a single defensive item.
Similar to zombie Karthus, Brand's teamfight tactic is to unload as much damage as possible. This works very well when the enemy team also does a lot of damage, but mostly has little HP and resistances as a good Pyroclasm alone can win a teamfight.
Also good when the enemy team simply has no one that can reach Brand that easily.
|With core items and Void Staff every tank will think twice before getting near.|
|With core items and Rabadon's Deathcap every flame will take a chunk of a carry's health.|
Having a lot of offensive items means little if you can't survive long enough to press R.
Enemy teams with assassins that are very hard to land a combo ( Zed, Fizz, Katarina) or mages that either outburst Brand ( Cassiopeia, Orianna, Ryze, Elise) or outrange him ( Xerath, Vel'Koz, Zoe).
|Abyssal Mask provides great defensive stats, but the aura and CDR also benefit offensively. A good choice when needing that extra beefiness.|
|Zhonya's Hourglass provides AP and some armor. The active is very important against fed assassins such as Zed and Rengar, but I honestly dislike building this item as Brand has no mobility and is likely to die when out of stasis.|
Rylai's Crystal Scepter provides similar stats at similar cost to Morellonomicon and Liandry's Anguish but also a 20% slow that activates over and over on Blaze.
I currently don't like this item, unless to specifically counter certain fed-champions, because I think that the provided utility actually isn't so powerful especially against champions with a lot of mobility, but this is an item that I see rushed on 100% of Brand players so I'll discuss it a little:
It's a decent, maybe even great purchase, but a situational one.
It doesn't really matter if there's one or two fed enemies that can kill Brand in a few hits as long Brand can use his spells before as he will usually deal far more damage to the entire enemy team.
Brand Simply Cannot be tanked. alongside Cassiopeia and a few others with True damage. It's very hard to face Brand's Blaze repeatedly.
Obviously winning your own lane is a great way to begin winning the game so I'll go into typical bot-lane match-ups.
Bottom lane is much more complex than other lanes because match-up advantage isn't just determined by 1v1's but combinations of different pairs and skills. Sometimes two easily solo-able champions can be very tough to take down together.
Brand has very little utility/flexibility so it's important to understand when you have an advantage and press it hard.
Brand's damage comes mostly from Blaze detonations and Pillar of Flame in a combo. This is critical as it means fights are essentially decided by Brand's ability to land the combo.
Controllers which are subdivided into Enchanters and Catchers. These are the typical "true" supports as these champions have kits with generally high utility, but are rather weak alone.
||Enchanters are the traditional supports that provide a lot of utility for the team in the form of buffs, heals/shields and crowd control, but generally minimal damage and are typically vulnerable on their own so they will stick with their adc for the majority of the game.|
Catchers are supports that excel at engaging and immobilizing single targets. They have a strong early game and will usually try to engage a fight. Their relatively easy CC and high (early) damage makes it specially dangerous when receiving ganks. Catchers also are good at roaming since any their engage is so powerful.
Catchers are bad at extended fights and aren't burly enough to really tank.
Tanks are subdivided into Vanguards and Wardens.
Vanguards are more aggressive as they have more ways to initiate a fight and crowd control, but on the other hand they aren't so naturally tanky and usually if they use their abilities to initiate they won't have anything to disengage if the fight goes wrong.
Wardens are usually the really tanky stuff, have abilities stronger at peeling for their team, but aren't so strong at initiating. Being more tanky doesn't really make a difference against Brand.
A few general tips on what to expect from early lane:
- If Brand has an easy time poking the enemy ADC and an easy time poking/trading with the enemy support then it's a favorable lane. Example: Draven and Soraka.
- If Brand can win most trades against the support, but the enemy ADC is generally too safe/mobile then it's also a favorable lane, but requires more caution. Example: Ezreal and Alistar.
- If Brand has a tough time winning trades against the support and can hardly poke the enemy ADC then the lane is even. It will mostly be decided by ganks, roaming or blunders. Example: Lucianand Nami.
- If the enemy support is also a mage but with far superior range then the lane is bad. Brand can only endure into the mid-game, but preferably find an opportunity to roam. Example: Xerath, Vel'Koz.
General enemy team composition
Out of lane and into mid and late-game Brand can do very well even if lane was poor. Again, most damage comes from detonating Blaze and Brand needs to stay awfully close to enemies for that.
Brand has easy match-ups against tanky champions with limited mobility such as Garen, Dr. Mundo, Illaoi which also usually like to clump up together.
Brand also has an advantage against any shorter-ranged mage and most adc's for the same reason, he generally outduels them and does much more AOE damage in team-fights. Brand's poor utility is still more utility than most adc's have.
On the other hand, the worst scenario for Brand is to face several high-mobility tank-dps or assassins. Brand might have an advantage in team-fights, but if the enemy plays well they will avoid full engagements and focus on short fights, pick-offs and split-pushes which Brand simply can't refute.
If an enemy solo-laner is weak against Brand, punish him. Even if a few levels behind Brand usually can safely gank a melee top-laner.
If an enemy solo-laner is strong against Brand, harass him. Try getting vision of his lane so he can't receive help neither roam. Gank if possible, but don't feed. It's often easy to wreck an assassins lane with an early kill.
The worst the match-up, the more aggressive Brand has to play. He can't allow a snowball that can't be stopped later. Mind that aggressive isn't fishing for plays that can't be made. Being aggressive is having oppressive presence as to deny enemy plays while looking for that small tiny opening and then go all-in.
Favorable partner ADCs
Brand is best matched together with an aggressive, but fairly independent ADC with high burst damage such as Draven, Lucian, Caitlyn or Xayah.
ADC's that provide small pressure on their own or need strong peel/buffing will usually be more of a liability. Avoid pairing Brand with adc's such as Varus, Vayne, Sivir and especially Kalista because you don't want to throw yourself right into the enemy.
It's preferable that your remaining team be stronger on physical damage as to not encourage the enemy to build magic resistance early. Void Staff is a fairly expensive item that is best purchased later.
Also, as a means of breaking the enemy gold efficiency. Brand usually provides enough magic damage that he alone makes the enemy buy magic resistance items.
For Brand it's very important to assert dominance as early as possible. Hit the enemy every time they allow, spells, basic-attacks, everything.
Don't take neither allow your adc to take a single hit without at least equal retribution.
A good way to ensure you will be able to respond to ranged basic-attacks is to stick closer to your adc ensuring you both are equidistant to the closest enemy. Have sense, don't just walk into your adc's path blocking him and getting hit by spells.
Getting lvl2 first is a priority. The first side to get lvl2 will be that first kills the 3 melee minions of the second wave. So, when the second wave reaches the lane attack it. Use Pillar of Flame if necessary. There's little excuse for not getting lvl2 first when playing as Brand. Immediately push that small advantage trying to land a spell.
Don't overextend. Don't get greedy going for an obvious combo.
Poking with Pillar of Flame.
It's one of the cheapest pokes. The basic trick is to watch your minions and wait for the enemy adc to go for the last-hit. Up to platinum they will nearly always get hit. Keep piling pressure, auto-attack if possible to keep the adc far from you. Don't get picked off.
The same process can be done against the enemy support. It will usually try poking or just using his gold generator and it's usually an easy hit.
Early lvl2 and lvl3 enemies will strongly expect Brand to poke Pillar of Flame then Sear. Surprise them. Poke Sear then Pillar of Flame. This even does more damage.
If the enemy support is an Enchanter or Mage, Brand wants to reach every level with at least equal health until around lvl4 when it's possible to make significant moves and start chipping at those potions.
If the enemy support is a Tank or Catcher, Brand wants to reach every level nearly full health while the enemy is at most 3/4. It can be VERY dangerous if these supports are allowed to initiate, especially with a gank.
If allowed the chance to be on the aggressive dominant side, take it. Ideally you want to keep the enemy stuck between his tower and his brush while having good river vision yourself. Eventually an opportunity will present itself, but don't be greedy and eat stuns.
When on the dominant side you will want to exploit it. First objective is rift herald .
Having the Rift Herald strongly deters enemy jungler and mid-lane activity on the bot-side making it easy to push for bot-lane advantage.
Control Herald's vision either with a ward or constantly checking it as it takes a while to do it early. Brand can at least threaten most enemy junglers from lvl2 and above.
If your jungler is doing an skirmish top-side, most likely against the enemy jungler, it may be an opportunity to grab the rift herald yourself. At level3 and above Brand should kill it in little more than a EWQ. It will refund mana anyway.
After asserting dominance over bot-lane and river, you might still have nearly zero chance of getting a kill. You aren't tower diving Janna. Don't.
Expand your dominance, ward less near your brushes and more into enemy jungle, don't let the enemy jungler make successful plays through bot-side. React to mid ganks. Band together with your jungler to invade or gank.
Eventually your team will get a gold advantage or at a minimum a free dragon .
Playing on the defensive also gets kills and wins lanes. Most important thing is to avoid doing too much damage to minions if the enemy isn't. Don't want to play defensive far from your tower.
Keep working the poke when possible trying to make good trades. Wait for a gank or a bad play. Some enemy comps are very bad at sieging or diving and will easily mess up.
Brand only needs 1 combo to win a lane. Keep focused and an opportunity might show.
Try to keep some vision in the river. If playing left-side a good play to receive a gank is to walk through tri-bush first followed by the jungler. It confuses people. If both flee, Brand will already be in range unless they Flash (I usually don't use spells in this case because likely they will get a minion wave to block Sear).
If one or both stay to engage the adc (if they go for Brand, just stay alive) then usually the best play is focus the easiest one to stun.
3v3's can be hard before Brand has Pyroclasm, but very strong if playing a retreating fight.
I'll discuss a little about vision, but I won't go into specific warding spots because that should feel situational and fairly obvious. I also don't think it's a big deal if the ward isn't in the perfect sweet spot for certain bush. If the reader wants to see those, I'm sure there are plenty of guides out there.
What regular wards do?
-Isn't it obvious? Allow seeing the map through the fog-of-war.
There's usually a mini-fight early for lane-brush control. You get into the brush to poke, the enemy support wards, vice-versa. There's advantage to be gained here. Feint the enemy to ward your brush then either push the lane or retreat it.
That fresh ward is now useless. Early on they are quite precious and a ward wasted can mean a gank unavoided.
So 1. You NEED wards to give information that you DON'T already have. Wait. That's a fairly large amount of things and we only have 3 regular +1 control. All of them?
NO. You NEED wards for things you can do something about.
Can you leave the lane before that Lee Sin tryhards you? Yes. So we'll need a good ward.
Can the enemy do Dragon while you have RIft Herald . Not likely, but maybe if the jungler sneaks around and jumps into the pit. Is he likely to go into your jungle for that? No. Then we won't bother.
Can the unfed enemy do a 20min baron? Not likely. We won't waste a ward.
Do we need full vision to take a tower 5v3? No. We will focus on the weak spots.
So 1b. We NEED wards to give actually useful information that team might use.
But it's only 3 wards. What to prioritize? Ok. What we have less information about? Enemy Janna who was about a spell's reach away 5s ago or the enemy Lee Sin who got 3 kills in the past 30s in 3 different places?
Different game. Which deserves more having sight of, the enemy Bard support which leaves lane every 15s while you have a slow-*** Lux mid half into enemy tower or the enemy Veigar which is happily stacking his passive into oblivion?
So 2. We WILL prioritize having vision on what's CURRENTLY most important and threatens to develop into unfortunate situations so to minimize the odds that our plays go wrong.
This deserves extra examples:
What for? Playing Brand and dominating early if the enemy jungler even threatens to get near you will smoke him.
Shove that ward near you mid-lane so he isn't so likely to die. We want to win the game here, not win bot-lane just to so we have to win all the other lanes.
Your Top-lane is getting pulped. He got ganked twice and is barely holding tower. Bot-lane is okayish and you got your first back.
If it's me, I'll take a ward, go all the way up there, shove a few fireballs into whatever enemy champion is there and toss a ward.
It's hard for a support to carry a game. It's harder to make a comeback. Don't let things get out of hand if you can help.
Remember it's not Janna support, Brand's isn't babysitting a lazy carry.
And finally. 3. We NEED wards because it's extremely difficult to fight near a brush without vision inside of it.
We won't get juked into oblivion because no one has a ward.
What about control wards?
It might sound intuitive that since they are named Control, they like, help controlling stuff, but what I'll mostly see it people trying to "control" their OWN side. Things need to be very bad that we need to regain control of our own side of the map.
Many supports will walk around like they are rich smoking Control Wards on very obvious locations which they make NO effort at actually controlling and neither offer much tactical advantage at controlling.
Again, why the hell do you want to control your jungle if any teamfight there is easily won for you? You already HAVE control. Merely warding to know who's invading where suffices.
Using a Control Ward as a long-term way to save gold is totally stupid.
So 4. Control Wards are for FIGHTING to control an area.
We are shoving it where we are going to FIGHT for and anyone that wants to fight back will be blown to pieces.
We are shoving it at that Dragon because if the enemy wants to get it they will have to fight for it.
We are shoving it at brushes that are important to control lanes we intend to push (mostly first towers).
We are shoving them into a brush because right here, right now we're having a skirmish and the enemy can't fight without vision. Insta-win. (albeit a more uncommon resource)
Brand is doing all of the above in his early-game because it's the most effective way of using his early strength, especially against Enchanters as they can't easily fight back.
Also. As Brand, If the enemy support tries to take your ward. Be certain the enemy jungler isn't near then wait for the right moment to go all-in.
You probably spent most of the early-game trying to get near the support to unload your combo and there he is basic-attacking a stupid ward. Made up statistics - 4/5 of my games I win bot-lane as Brand by fighting for a control ward.
As a final note:
Generally, as in most games, controlling the middle of the playing field has more importance than controlling the corners. This is simply because there's probably more activity going on towards the center than obscure brushes.
So it's usually a good idea to keep some vision towards the mid.
Since the support isn't paying attention to cs, it's easier to spot enemy movements. It's important to ping them to the team as they might notice too late even if it's on their wards.
For specially imminent dangers I favor just spamming "danger" ping ASAP, favoring the incoming direction. For roams what I found most effective is to ping about 3 times "missing" then about 2 times the missing champion icon and perhaps the remaining "danger" at the incoming direction.
This reduced the chance of being ignored from about 80% of just "missing" to about 10%.