Brand Build Guide by DeviousDumplin
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Let's Set the World on Fire
+11 Attack Damage or +18 Ability Power, Adaptive
Threats to Brand with this build
|Ryze||Sure Ryze is bad, but you punish him so hard it's unfair. He's short enough range that you'll almost always land your combo. He stacks health you shred, and he has super late powerspikes you can punish.|
Who am I?
My name is DeviousDumplin, and I've been mid-laning since summer of 2009, Season 1. I'm certainly no mechanical god, so I've needed to rely on my game knowledge to carry myself out of that elo-hell from whence we all come. They say those who can't do teach, and those who can't teach write guides. Hopefully I can offer some insight into the mind of a control mage, and perhaps teach you how to 420blaze420 with the best of us.
Pros / Cons
Extremely high DPS
High Impact Ultimate
Skill Shot Dependent
Slightly Below Average Wave Clear
Why pick Brand?
Brand, behind perhaps Veigar, is one of the most underestimated mages in the game right now. Overall, Brand likely puts out the highest total damage of any mage in the game thanks to his passive. With health stacking an increasingly popular strategy (chogath, darius, jarvan) Brand's enormous %health damage can absolutely shred bruisers, and with a voidstaff properly devastate Tanks as well.
In lane Brand is middle-of-the-road. He can CS from range quite easily with his W, and he can engage/disengage with his E-Q combo. His major flaw is his aggressive immobility, but his abilities have long enough range to make poking not too difficult. You should be careful picking Brand into heavy assassination, but a properly timed E-Q can shut down most dive attempts.
Summoners and when to pick them
Because Flash is the best summoner in the game.
As an immobile control mage, Brand benefits greatly from Ghost for engage and disengage. The short CD, and enormous utility make it core for most games.
Exhaust is good into dangerous mid matchups such as Yasuo or Zed. If you need to cut someone down a peg, exhaust is what you pick.
If you're really confident in your early game pressure, feel free to pick ignite. It loses its utility as the game goes on so it's best if you're confident in your matchup.
If you're worried about extremely large burst, such as a Syndra ult or Veigar ult Barrier is the way to go. It's more reactive than Exhaust, and has a shorter CD.
Season 8 and Brand
Season 8 will undoubtedly lead to a number of meta changes we wont for-see. Removing runes and masteries changes alot for how the early game is played out, since runes affect laning phase more than anything else. Most important is the loss of defensive runes from damage dealers. Granted there is some loss of flat pen as well (given the popularity of both MPen runes, and lethality) but without resists early pen items will hit like a TRUCK. For Brand this means that AD assassins will likely be a nightmare this season. But this also means that Brand's MPen heavy build will hit even harder. So this change will be a bit of a double-edged sword for Brand. While his kit will hurt more early he will also be bullied hard by AD assassins. Typically Brand has issues playing into Assassins like Zed or Talon, but he has strategies to employ against them. Hold onto your stun combo and make sure to land it once they go in. Rush arm-guard and farm with your W. If you don't feed in lane you will punish them late game. With electrocute Brand will hit HARD if he lands his combo, but you'll deal slightly less passive damage. Overall I'd say Brand plays better into mages and worse into AD assassins. Consider banning zed most games.
Brand's kit is relatively straightforward, but loaded with hidden damage.
What allows brand to melt tanks. The %health this puts out is absolutely massive, and with the 3 shot explosion can turn their health against their teammates. Learning to stack this passive with his interactive abilities is absolutely essential.
Brands Q is strangely not his most spammed ability. This long range skill shot is single target and can be blocked by minions which makes it difficult to land. When cast on a blazing target it stuns for 1.5 seconds, which is a very long stun. Best to hold onto your Q until you know you can land it because it's your primary method of self-peel. We max this second because it not only provides impressive damage, but it helps reduce the CD on your primary CC. The more CC the safer you are.
Brands primary damage spell and your first max ability. I often play against Brands who throw these out liberally for poke, but if you level this first it will end up costing 100 mana each cast! Since this combos so well with blazed targets I like to hold onto it for comboing, unless I have a CCd target or I'm sure to land the W.
Brands E is a strangely boring ability, but also essential to his overall kit. It's a medium range point and click damage ability. If it's cast on a blazing target it spreads that damage to surrounding enemies. It has poor AP scaling so it's not exactly intimidating, but early game it can win you the game. The classic early game cheese is to take E first, AA-> E then walk away. The flat damage with passive from E is difficult to trade with, and it can't be dodged. It does close to the same damage as his other level 1 spells, and it's a nearly guaranteed won trade.
Brand's Bouncing Ball of Burn. Timing this ability is essential. Because it benefits greatly from closely packed enemies it's typically best to either ambush a packed group with the R, or wait until the frontlines dogpile. Couple this with Brand's other AOE abilities and you can delete an entire team.
What to build and why?
Brand's play-style is dictated by two wrinkles in his kit.
1.) Brand applies a %health DoT with his spells lasting 4 seconds.
2.) Brand's spells are empowered when applied to a champion afflicted with his DoT.
These two factors mean that Brand benefits greatly from on-spell effects, magic penetration, and CDR. Because of Brand's passive re-design a large amount of his damage is built into his 3 hit spell combo, so landing his stun is a huge boon.
Rylai's offers a huge power-spike to Brand even after the nerf. Though it only offers a 20% slow, it lasts for all of Brand's passive duration, and it helps you land your stun. As good as Rylai's is, you should only build it second item at the earliest. Most likely you'll build it third because the early magic pen off of Liandry's is just too good in most cases.
Liandry's is what turns Brand from napalm strike into a hydrogen bomb. Liandry's is a taylor made item for Brand, with pretty much everything he could want. AP, flat pen, and percent health damage. The on-spell effect refreshes with his passive, so it will absolutely melt health stackers. Since the damage doubles on CC'd champions it is always best to build Liandry's shortly before or after Rylais.
Haunting guise is the perfect early-game item for Brand. Even if it delays your Morellonomicon it often pays to build guise early if possible. This is because flat pen is stronger the earlier into the game you build it. Since it reduces a flat amount of MR, the less total MR your enemy has, the more total damage it contributes. My typical build order is Lost Chapter into Haunting Guise and complete Morello. This provides a very even series of power-spikes you can use to snowball your lane, and lets you leverage your relatively cheap core-build.
The standard first item for nearly every mage. Morello provides alot that Brand needs early. Mana for lane sustain, AP for earlygame burst, and CDR to ensure you have abilities up for your combo. I see a number of Brand guides that don't include CDR as part of the core-build, which seems short-sighted to me. Granted, liandry's/rylais is incredibly strong on him, but as a Combo Mage CDR helps ensure maximum up-time on your abilities. And the more often your abilities are available, the more chances you'll have to land your key combo. Additionally, with long CDs Brand is at a risk of getting dove if his stun combo is down. Finally, morello's debuff passive is hidden OP in a meta full of self-healing and utility supports. The morello debuf also refreshes with Brand passive, so it gives even more utility on Brand than with the average mage.
or Brand has a common dilemma in the late game to decide between penetration or raw AP. Both can be good, but that benefit usually depends upon the scenario. Brand deals a large amount of his damage through %health damage, and because that is most effective against tankier characters it often makes sense to choose Void-Staff for it's relatively cheap powerspike, and synergy with Liandry's and his passive. On the other side of the coin Rabadon's will let your W absolutely explode squishy characters. With good scaling on most abilities, and an AP scaling on his passive, there is certainly an argument for a lategame Rabadons. I typically build Rabadons when I'm either heavily ahead, or facing off against a squishy team.
What we talk about when we talk about Combos
Brand is a very combo reliant champion with a number of interactions that can be played around.
E-> Q-> W: Nuke Combo
This is your bread and butter. It takes advantage of nearly every spell effect and procs your 3 hit passive damage. Late in the game this will one-shot most squishy champions.
Q-> E-> W: AOE Clear
This is your fast push combo. If you absolutely need to delete a wave this is how you do it. You Q a minion in the center of a wave, E it to spread the conflagration, and W the wave for the increased W damage on the blazing minions. This can also work well in a packed teamfight, but it's an all-in that can be dangerous.
Q-> W: Long-range Poke
Sometimes you can't quite get close enough for your E stack, but you still want to push them away. This skill-shot combo can make them think twice before CSing the wave. Because it takes advantage of the W bonus damage it can seriously chunk. It's hard to hit though, so only use it if you're very confident in your positioning, or they're already CC'd.
W-> Q: Long Range Stun
Sometimes you need to play the team player, and this is the selfless combo. You're not utilizing the damage bonus on your W, but it's very long range stun you're team can take advantage of. Especially useful on support brand.
R-> Q-> E-> W: Spirit Bomb-o Combo
When you have their team packed into a narrow corridor this is how you pentakill. R first for the blaze stack, Q for the stun then E for the aoe blaze proc. This aoe stack coupled with the bouncing R will typically proc the 3 hit passive on most of the packed team. Finish them off with a quick W, and walk away from that explosion like the badass you always were.
R-> E: Budget Bomb-o
Sometimes you've got mana problems, but you need to teamfight anyways. Usually this is a counter-engage scenario, but it's more common than you think. In a packed fight this can ensure those precious triple stack passives, at a fraction of the cost!
What to do without DFT? Well there are a number of options, but I think given the playstyle of Brand Electrocute fits well. While most people pick Brand for his R, his bread and butter is his 3 spell combo. Not only is this combo super bursty, but electrocute can allow this to be a true oneshot combo. We take cheapshot because it provides reliable damage ontop of his combo which always includes CC. Ghost Poro is a good pick for mid lane just for convenient vision, but eyeball collection is also viable. Ravenous Hunter is nice because it helps him in trades, and provide some small but nice sustain in lane.
We go sorcery second to help him scale into mid/late game. Manaflow is nice because brand has surprisingly expensive spells. A full rotation will set you back to near 50% so having the ability to refund one spell even can keep you in lane for much longer. Since so much of midlane is throttled by mana-bottle necks I think this is a nice option. If not, ultimate hat is incredibly strong too, and is just as strong if you have alot of mana discipline. Gathering storm is just strong if the game goes longer, so I suggest this. Scorch is also an option with his easy poke, but I prefer gathering storm.