Brand Build Guide by Padrepio
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+12 Attack Damage or +20 Ability Power, Adaptive
Threats to Brand with this build
|Cassiopeia||Low range, low mobility, low HP. Usually you're out of her ulti range so you can kill her without problems.|
|Quinn||Low health pool, a single combo can take 75% hp. Care of her roaming playstyle.|
Hello! I'm |
This will be an in-depth guide, but you can have "ready-to-go" tips by reading notes. This is my first real guide, so I'd like to receive comments and suggestions. If you find this guide useful, feel free to upvote to let me know I am doing a good job. English is not my native language, I'm going to spell-check every word but if you see any mistake please let me know.
Brand is a good pick for soloQ. He is a control mage with medium range and high damage output, that can kill squishies with a combo and shred tanks with his passive. He has a lot of damage single and multi target, a stun and a bouncing ultimate that could decimate enemies if they don't play organized. Even if it's mostly played support nowadays, I feel that you can still play him midlane without problems.
If there are terms that you don't understand, you can check this glossary.
I really want to thank jhoijhoi for How to make a guide, this guide is almost completely based on her suggestions.
Pros / Cons
+ Good early-mid that scales pretty good into lategame.
+ Has a stun.
+ Multi-target/AoE damage.
+ BURN ENEMIES!
- No real escape or mobility tool.
- Your main damage spell is a skillshot.
- Your stun is a condition-related skillshot.
Brand has two possible paths for runes.
I prefer Sorcery + Inspiration, but also Sorcery + Domination is viable.
Sorcery is your main path because gives you exactly what you need, with a powerful keystone and a complete three. Other branches just cannot compete with this one.
Inspiration gives you some welcomed utility during the whole match, and the option to have a single use invulnerability. It's something you cannot skip without at least thinking twice.
Domination, instead, is useful for some extra damages and sustain.
Stopwatch can really be a life-saver!
|Ignite is the main summoner spell for aggressive midlaners. You can add a bit of damage to your combo and your enemy will only gain 60% of healing effects.||Ghost should be chosen if you don't like Ignite and you need ganks potential and fast positioning. Keep in mind that you will have to buy a Morellonomicon if you need grievous wound.||Flash is your only escape tool, and can really save your life. MANDATORY! You can also use Flash offensively if you need to reach your opponent for a couple of spell.|
Other summoner spells aren't really useful. You can think about Exhaust if enemy team is full of assassins, Barrier versus burst or Teleport if you're in a split-push composition, but they don't give you same kill potential as Ignite or Ghost do.
When you hit an enemy with a spell, you deals damage over time and your spells gain additional effects. It synergize well with Rylai's Crystal Scepter slow and Liandry's Torment DOT, and greatly benefit from Magic Penetration. It stacks 3 times and then explode for a BIG amount of damage in a large area. This explosion proc a passive stack on other enemies hit and can provide you the right finisher for an escaping enemy.
It also refunds some mana if you kill an ablaze enemy. Not really game breaking, but can be useful when you need to use spells on minion.
High base-damage skillshot with the lowest cd of Brand spell set. Your main target is to hit enemies ablaze, so you can apply your stun. After your Rylai's Crystal Scepter you can use it to slow enemies if you're not sure you can hit them with other spells first. Usually a slow is enough to combo Q with an empowered Pillar of Flame
You will usually max Sear just after Pillar of Flame but sometimes you can choose to max it after Conflagration: Q gives you more direct damage and a low cd stun, but E is powerful for AOE damage in teamfight and for reduced CD on your "set him ablaze" spell.
You are really vulnerable if you miss your Q, so try to predict enemy movements before trowing it and play defensively if it is on CD.
- With 35-45% cdr you can use Q twice in less then 4 seconds, so your second Sear will stun your enemy. It works better against rift scuttler : he will be stunned for 3 seconds every 3.3 seconds, suffering a lot of damage! (This build won't reach enough cdr for this if you skip Luden's Echo, but you can try it for fun!)
- If you need some little damage, you can Q to a minion and then Conflagration on him: he will explode dealing aoe damage and if you're lucky enough you can hit enemy champion.
- If you want to save your mana but your target is ablaze, Q + one autoattack is usually mana worth and risk-free.
Your main damaging tool. It deals good AOE damage, that becomes even better if you use it on ablaze targets. Just care of his CD, if you miss this spell you will have to wait a lot before you can use it again.
It's not so easy to land, because Pillar of Flame has a casting time and deals damage only after 0.5 seconds, so if your enemy is smart he can avoid it. Try to predict their movements: players of medium-low ELO often use the same dodging pattern for the whole laning phase, if you understand them you can predict their dodges and catch them. In higher ELOs, sadly, they are aware of this and try to juke you alternating directions.
You're going to max out Pillar of Flame before everything else to increase his damage.
- During lane phase, try to use Pillar of Flame while your enemy is trying to last hit, he cannot move during attack animation.
- If your enemy is a melee, he has to move near to you: cast W on his back, if he tries to avoid it you will be in range to E-Q him for a bit of free damage.
- Gain advantage of terrain obstacles: minions and walls can block your enemy's path!
Karthus is between two minions and in the middle of his walk, he can't avoid this W
- After you have your Rylai's Crystal Scepter you can use your W on every slowed target: there is pretty much 0 chances that he can avoid it at this point.
- If you can E-Q someone, follow it with Pillar of Flame so you can full stack your Blaze.
- Remember that it deals 25% more damage against ablaze targets.
This ability is good for setting target ablaze and for farming. You can get a caster wave with a W+E combo even if you're really behind. Your best combo against champions is E+Q, it will easy stun your target if he is not ready.
Care: this spell has a very low range, if you feel like your enemy can kill you avoid Conflagration or you have to be too close to your enemy.
You want to max out Conflagration for sure after Pillar of Flame and, as before, you can choose if max it before/after Sear.
- If your enemy is not smart, he will be near to minions even if they're ablaze. You can punish him for this by pressing E on a minion and watching the fire burn your enemy!
- This means that your best poke combo in lane is W on caster minions and then E one of them! WARNING: this will burn your mana too!
Blue buff means that you can spam spells. So why don't deliver some damages as well?
- If you fell lucky, you can even Sear to a minion, Conflagration on him when your enemy is near and then Pillar of Flame under your ablaze enemy.
- This means that your best poke combo in lane is W on caster minions and then E one of them! WARNING: this will burn your mana too!
- Primary target of this spell, out of big teamfights, is to put enemies ablaze. If you max this spell, you can reach this objective more often.
A bouncing fireball that can potentially reach 900 + (75% AP) damage on a target and 600 + (50% AP) on his friend? Yes please! When 1v1 this spell deals massive damage as long as it can bounce on enemy's minions, when in teamfight you gain a great AOE tool!
You're going to want to max out Pyroclasm whenever is possible.
- His ablaze bonus is just meh: you can start your teamfight with R without fear as long as you can follow it with other spells.
Anyway, it slows and applies other stacks, so use it when you see a chance
- If 1v1 try to avoid to fight where there are no minions/monster: your Pyroclasm deals less damage if cannot bounce.
- If you're being ganked, RW can be enough to kill one of your opponent so you can Q the other one and get a double kill, or drastically reduce their chances of diving you.
- Watch your incoming minion wave, so you know where enemy minions are. You can begin a fight a couple of second before they reach you: if your enemy run away, Pyroclasm will bounce on incoming minions and will reach him!
If enemies are far away, maybe your ulti can reach them!
- Only a single bounce will be absorbed by Spell Shield, and it will keep bouncing!
I'm sorry for you Sivir
Rylai's Crystal Scepter
|If you need mana sustain, check the next section: SITUATIONAL: MANA. If not, you can pick something from SITUATIONAL: DAMAGE after your core items.|
Main item, his passive synergize with your passive and it gives you AP and HP. With this item hitting skillshots will be much easier.
The recent nerf has overall reduced its impact, but is still core on Brand
|Haunting Guise is a good early game item, it gives you AP HP and increase damage over time for just 1600 gold. You want to upgrade it soon because Brand has poor AP scaling and he suits better with passive/utility damage than pure AP.|
|You can buy Boots of Speed when you want (or just wait for Magical Footwear), but don't upgrade to Sorcerer's Shoes until you have at least one of your core items. They can be switched for Ionian Boots of Lucidity if you really want CDR, but usually magic penetration is just more effective.|
|Very good item that provides the only source of grievous wound for a mage, as well as some magic penetration, HP and AP. Grievous wound is mandatory in some matchups (against Soraka or Vladimir for example), and useful in a lot of situations. You can build it just after your core items if you don't need Zhonya's Hourglass, and its magic penetration is useful if they are not stacking magic resist. It's ok to build it as a last item.|
|This item increase your AP dramatically. Buy it before Liandry's Torment only if you're really really fed and want to surf your power spike. Brand doesn't benefit from pure AP too much, so it's ok if you skip this item.|
|Brand would like to have some cdr in lategame, but magic penetration is much more useful. Buy Ionian Boots of Lucidity if they are the only source of cdr available for your build and you don't like Sorcerer's Shoes.|
|Great item if you're super fed. It gives you tons of AP but is really hard to keep stacked. You can try this if you're vs brainless team. The Dark Seal will help you to understand if you can keep stacks: buy it early and pray nobody focus you.|
farming combo. If you are fed, you don't even need E in order to get caster minions. Remember that your passive deals damage, so if you have time you can wait 2-3 tics before Conflagration.
main combo in every stage of the game is E-Q, autoattack then W. It deals a lot of damage and prevent your enemy to avoid Pillar of Flame and to counterattack you.
damage from a great distance, if you're able to hit enemies.
EW has a lower range, but is easy to set up if your Q is on CD for some reason.
all in combo in lane-phase. You will be able to kill pretty much everyone with this as long as your ulti can bounce. That's why we start Conflagration and land Pyroclasm after Pillar of Flame: enemy minions will survive to a single W but they will be ablaze, so your R will bounce between your enemy and those minions for maximum damage output!
teamfights you can switch order keeping high damage at lower risk. Starting R-Q will let you Conflagration over an ablaze stunned target, so you deal other AOE damage and (you should have Rylai's Crystal Scepter at this point) land an easy W under enemy team. During teamfights, if not necessary, avoid AA: they deal few damage and can cost your life. Try to reposition yourself while your spells are on CD instead. Remember to use this combo only if teamfight has already begun, you don't want to waste your Pyroclasm CD for poke.
Early, Mid, Late game playstyle
Early game is when you face your opponent in lane. Your main goal is to last hit minions ( mainly using AAs), manage your lane and poke your opponent.
Facing a melee champion|
If your opponent is melee you can abuse your range to make him suffer during the first levels. AAs on minions, and be ready to put a Pillar of Flame under his feet or slightly behind when he goes for last hits. Almost every melee champ has a ranged spell, if you force him to use that spell for last hitting instead of poking you're doing a good job.
Care for their power spikes. Melee champs usually are assassin that are able to all in at lvl 2 or 3. Don't get baited, and given that you will find yourself pushing, always ward one side of your lane. Which one depends on your knowledge of enemy jungler, but you can have some informations by looking at which time enemy ADC reaches his botlane: if he misses for some time than he is probably helping his jungler and you should ward the top-side of your lane when you reach level 3.
Facing a ranged champion|
Ranged champions are a completely different match. Brand does not have a long range, so you suffer against high poke champs like Lux if you don't dodge their skillshots. If they are good, they will try to push you under your turret, because Brand has some problems in killing minions under turret during the first levels. Knowing that, your aim is to keep your wave in the middle of your lane. You are even allowed to use WE under caster minions if you think it's necessary. Obviously, when doing that, always aim to catch your opponent inside either W or E explosions.
Don't get poked down, and if they are good at this then poke them back. If you can dodge their skillshots it's even better, you have a window of time for some free damages. Try to predict their movements, so that you can hit your Pillar of Flame.
Being pushed under your turret means that you can ask for a gank from your jungler. If he is able to snare your opponent, aim for a fast EQ followed by a W to secure your kill.
If you manage to farm and at the same time poke your opponent, that's good. Anyway, always be aware of your mana. Learn to understand when something is mana worth. You have to manage your mana expenditure, so for example an E on your lvl 1 will burn a lot of your mana dealing low damage, but if you're lvl 2 and you can E-Q, adding 1 or 2 AA to this combo, half or your enemy HP bar will be gone and your mana expenditure is worth because your opponent now has to play really safe if he doesn't want to die. Same thing for your W, if you use it only for taking minions it will burn your mana instead of enemy life, vice versa if you're able to get your opponent AND enemy minions, and then hit your enemy with your E, your combo is mana worth again! Coupling this with Manaflow Band is the key for not starving for mana: you won't need Lost Chapter anymore when you understand this important lesson.
Care of ganks, always keep one side warded if you are pushing, because you don't have any escape tool and you don't enjoy to be flaked. If you have an high pressure jungler like Jarvan IV, ask for a gank as soon as you reach your lvl 3: you will deal a lot of damage if someone can keep your enemy blocked for a couple of seconds.
If you gain blue buff, spam spells and try to get a kill if your enemy is low enough. This often put you in a dangerous position, you are pushing so you need to know where the enemy jungler is. Enemies will sometimes telegraph the jungler coming by moving aggressively, use their behaviour as a way to understand if you are in danger.
If you want to recall and your opponent is not in your lane, push your wave under enemy turret (just WE on a group of minions) so your enemy will lose experience and gold while you have time to recall and return in lane before his minions will reach your tower.
Midgame starts after lvl 6, when small teamfights start to happen and the laning phase is almost over. You should try to coordinate with your jungler to do some ganks botlane and then go for dragon, or gank toplane and then go for the Herald. When you are trying to do an epic monster, there is a little tip that can help you. Start E, then AA for a couple of seconds so your passive can proc and then W on him. Keep your Q and R off CD so if enemies try to steal, you can R-Q him for an easy stun.
Remember that your passive explosion works on epic monsters, so aim for 3 stacks if instead you need some burst.
This is a good example of gank + objective.
I was going to gank bot together with our jungler Twitch. After a double kill, we noticed that enemy jungler was top and their midlaner was mid, so we had a free drake
Little and unorganized teamfights will start now, you should be ready to do your combo if you see a window. Remember that you have 0 defense so you have to keep yourself away from enemies. Avoid AA if you think enemies can reach you. Positioning is really important: you should not go deeply inside the enemy team, and often you can deal enough damages by keeping yourself at max range.
During late-game a lot of organized teamfights happen, especially midlane. Your AOE will reach maximum effectiveness if you're able to hit your Pillar of Flame, but your life now is really important because respawn time is near to 1 minute, and if you die enemies will have time to get objectives and sometimes even a win. Play from the backline and keep your stun for those who tries to reach you. Don't try to AA if is not really necessary, use time between spells to reposition yourself. Remember that you're not the initiator, so don't expose yourself even if you think you can easily kill a misplaced enemy unless you have full vision of enemy team.
It's ok to focus only enemies that are in your range, don't overcommit following an escaping opponent if you have other targets near-by. You deals enough damage to tanks thanks to your passive, so -even if they aren't your priority- you can target them without shame.
Wards & Trinket
Wards are extremely important in this game. Wards save lives. You can avoid a gank from enemy jungler, steal enemy's blue or bait enemies, and in this patch wards are free!
However, if you have no ward with you, your spell and your keystone rune will help you to understand if someone is in a bush without the fear of face-checking: throw a Sear in a bush and you will hear a clear sound if it hits, or just use Q or W and watch if you get a comet, it's the characteristic trait of your keystone rune.
This is a map of most common ward points, yellow points are for trinket wards, pink points for control wards. Remember that you should avoid to move in a dangerous position, so don't ward to deeply in the enemy jungle if you are losing. If, instead, you are winning, you can and must ward aggressively.
During the laning phase, don't move too far away from your lane for warding, you need wards to check enemy jungler paths and prevent ganks.
Tips and tricks
There are two green points that can lead you to a "better then usual" vision.
If you're playing mid, you should alway place a control ward in the enemy team jungle on the green dot close to the middle lane. This bush (or the specular on right side) is often avoided from classic jungler routes, so you will have vision of enemy jungle at least until baron-teamfights start. Unfortunately some people know this trick and will often check this bush, if it happens don't put control ward in that point again.
There is also a green dot on toplane (there should be one specular on botlane, right-side). Assuming you're playing on left side, and enemies have an Evelynn, you can put a control ward on the green dot and a yellow ward on the pink dot in the river bush. Now you're able to see if Evelynn is coming from river without have to put a visible control ward in river! I don't know exactly why, but this things doesn't seem to work for checking enemies wards.
What trinket should you use? That's very situational. As now, best trinket to have is Farsight Alteration (even if they just nerfed it - and they did it again!), you should have at least one of this trinket in your team, but never ever have more then two blue trinket in your team! This trinket is really powerful because it can give you infinite wards with no life-timer, but blue wards give lower vision.
If you are winning, you can keep your entire jungle warded because enemies cannot clear them, and if they try you will see them and easily kill them. Even if you're not winning, this trinket is still very useful because you can safely ward points from distance without risk your life. By the way, place blue wards mostly in bushes, so if you're lucky enemies will not see them. The green dot near mid lane is still a good spot for blue wards.
Remember that your team should never have more then two blue trinkets, because they give your team only visible wards and sometimes invisible yellow wards are mandatory, so you can keep your Warding Totem not updated, it will work with no problems and can give your team the possibility of great baits. For example, small groups of enemies often try to invade your jungle and pick'n'kill single members of your team. If you have invisible vision of your jungle, you can group with your team and transform a 1vs3 in a 5vs3, gaining a great advantage.
You're not supposed to get Oracle Lens, but your team need at least a red trinket after early game so if nobody wanna buy it... you should do.
You can improve your play-style by changing your interface. After you have some experience with icons, you don't need a big HUD anymore and you can reduce it in order to have a better map vision. This is even more useful if you're playing on right side: your enemy will come from the bottom of the screen and if you have a smaller HUD you can see him before. Those settings should let your interface readable, but you can choose settings that suit your taste.
Timestamps used to be fundamentals to keep track of dragon respawns. Now Riot added it over your TAB menu, but timestamp is still good if you are ready to write when opponents burn their flash, or place a ward, or cast their ultimate. You should simply write in chat F / W / R and when you have time to read it, add to that time ~5 / ~2 / ~1 minute so you can know when they have it up again or when wards goes down. You can also click on their icons in the scoreboard, but I feel that this is more time consuming.
You should learn how to use quick cast. You become more responsive when trying a fast combo if you don't have to switch between keyboard and mouse-click. Try to play some custom games with QC enabled and learn how it works, I ensure you that you will become faster that before. When you're able to E-Q someone before he can even touch you, you will thank me :P
There is a tip to keep cast range indicator alive even if you have quick cast enabled:
I asked the creator of one of the best guide I've ever read, Orianna's Guide by Cubby1313, for taking those tips.
Change Log, ToDo
02/12/2015 Small edit and a new ToDo list.
27/12/2015 New items, little edit on masteries.
01/02/2016 Patch adjustment.
09/11/2016 Massive update for preseason.
17/01/2017 Last check before publishing for the season 7.
09/07/2018 Massive update for season 8.
Last results with this build
- Add gifs for teamfight rules
- Add gif for ward tip section