Brand Build Guide by DeviousDumplin
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Threats & Synergies
The fish can easily dodge your stun, and nuke you afterwards. You'll need to play very conservative in this lane, and consider getting an early banshees.
Brand does poorly against very long range opponents. Xerath can poke brand out of lane, but can get nuked if brand manages to get in range for his combo.
Heavy dive is good against Brand, and mobility can make Brand's skillshots difficult to land. Ekko has it all, and can punish brand in lane, but holding onto your stun can help dissuade him.
Brand's heavy %health damage can punish Anivia early, and landing his combo on her is easy. She can out clear you, but you reach your power-spikes much earlier than her and can punish her power troughes.
Talon may be OP right now, but Brand is one of his strongest counters. He makes it impossible for Talon to farm, and Talon's dive just sets up an easy stun. Brand's ult can bounce to Talon even in his stealth, and often will kill him as he tries to stealth away.
If you build Morello you can punish Swain in lane. As a low-range mage with low mobility he's an easy mark for your combo. Swain is notoriously difficult to kill, but you can make his life hell in lane.
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.
Yasuo is difficult to lane against because of your skillshot dependence. He can dodge most of your abilities, and he can wind-wall your ultimate. Very frustrating to play against.
A diver who can punish you if he gets ahead. Hold onto your stun combo against him because it's the only way you survive his ult dive.
A large immobile dragon who's easy to combo. You can punish him in lane, but his roaming can cost you the game. Keep track of him.
A classic skill matchup. Annie has a slight advantage because of her easy to combo kit, but brand can win lane if he keeps her at range.
Like Xerath, Brand has a tough time against enemies who outrange him. Lux can punish a brand easily with her q, e, r combo. Her shield also neuters brands passive damage so be careful against her.
Kat is countered hard by CC, and her positioning is rather telegraphed. If you can land a Q stun, she's dead.
Viktor isn't nearly long range enough to properly punish Brand. His short range ult means a free ult for you, and you do more damage. He'll out push you, but you'll outkill him.
Who am I?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.