Burning Bright - A Guide to Brand Mid
Sun 2nd Dec 2018 - 10:02pm
Brand is a powerful mage that I find often flies under the radar in terms of the pick and ban phase of the game. Rarely do I see this Champion get banned or picked, and when he does get picked, it is often someone who got autofilled support that takes him. Brand is by no means a poor support. In fact, he is usually who I will take into the support role, but after taking this Champion into the Mid Lane, it has become apparent to me how powerful this Champion really is.
Brand has immense snowballing potential and when he does get ahead, you can wish the enemy team good luck as you hurl a massive Pyroclasm into their team and just watch them melt away while you claim Victory. Before we look at how to really heat things up with Brand, we should first take a look at his kit. Brand’s abilities are amazingly strong when used in the proper order and understanding the effects of each ability will help you better understand the order in which to cast them in certain situations.
Brand’s passive is Blaze. Blaze is applied to any Champion, monster, or minion hit by one of Brand’s abilities and burns for 4% of the unit’s maximum health over 4 seconds. If 3 stacks are applied within these 4 seconds, then the Blaze will explode after 2 seconds in an area of effect around the detonating target dealing more damage. This detonating effect only works on Champions and large monsters.
Brand’s Q ability is Sear. Sear is a basic skillshot fired in one direction dealing Magic Damage to the first target that is hit. If the target hit is currently affected by Blaze, the target will be stunned for 1.5 seconds on top of the initial Magic Damage being dealt. This ability has a decent range and the stun that can come with this ability helps Brand land all of his other abilities.
Brand’s W ability is Pillar of Flame. Pillar of Flame is an Area of Effect skillshot that damages all targets caught in the eruption. If a target that is hit by the ability is already under the effect of Blaze, then Pillar of Flame will deal 25% more damage. Pillar of Flame is Brand’s bread and butter throughout the game. You can deal a fair amount of poke damage to your opposing laner with this ability, and it is very powerful in teamfights.
Brand’s E ability is Conflagration. This is a point and click ability that deals Magic Damage to the target you decide to cast this ability on. If the target you choose to cast this on is already affected by your passive, then the effect of Conflagration will spread to nearby enemy units. This ability is powerful in one-on-one skirmishes, but is also very powerful in teamfights as the ability can affect multiple targets, so long as the target you cast this on is already set ablaze.
Brand’s Ultimate ability, or R, is Pyroclasm. Pyroclasm releases a massive wave of fire from Brand that can bounce up to 5 times. This ability is one of the reasons Brand is so powerful in teamfights. Pyroclasm will prioritize stacking Brand’s passive to maximum stacks on Champions, meaning even more damage will be dealt in a teamfight when Brand’s Passive is applied to multiple Champions. If the target is already under the effect of your Passive, then they will be slowed by 30% when hit by this ability. You can also use this ability to engage from a bit further away when the enemy thinks they are safe by casting it on a minion and, if they are close enough to the minion, Pyroclasm will prioritize jumping to the enemy Champion.
When it comes to maxing each ability, you will want to max out Pillar of Flame first, then Conflagration, and then Sear, while of course putting a point into Pyroclasm every time you get the chance. The reason for maxing Pillar of Flame first is again for the fact that it really is your main ability. Increasing the damage of this ability by putting points into it first will help you better trade in lane, as well as to shove waves throughout the game. The reason for maxing Conflagration second is that it is guaranteed damage and that it will also help you shove waves throughout the game with Pillar of Flame. Sear is maxed out third because putting points into it only increases the damage it will deal. This is not a bad thing, but it is not guaranteed and it can be blocked by minions. Overall, it is just better to max out this ability last.
When it comes to Summoner Spells for Brand in the Mid Lane, there are few options to really choose from. Always take Flash and for your second Summoner Spell, you can look to take Ignite, Teleport, or Barrier. Ignite is usually what I will take, as it gives you much more early game kill pressure, but I will take Barrier if I see the enemy team is very aggressive and could all-in me throughout the game. Teleport is not bad either, but the other two options are often better. It can help you get back to lane obviously, but there is not much else you will do with it throughout the game. You will not really be split pushing with Brand as he is too strong in teamfights and he really is not a powerful siege Champion. You will already be in the Mid Lane as well, so you can roam when you need to. Teleport, again, is not bad, but it is situational, and Ignite and Barrier are often just the better options going into a game.
For Runes, you will go down the Sorcery Tree first, taking Arcane Comet as your Keystone. Arcane Comet synergizes really well with Brand’s kit, especially when you build a Rylai’s Crystal Scepter, as the slow from this item will almost always allow the Comet to hit after one of your abilities lands. Moving down the Sorcery Tree, you will next want to take Manaflow Band. Brand, being a mage, is a pretty mana dependent Champion. Manaflow Band helps to compensate for this issue and is all around just a better choice of the three options. Next on the Tree, you will want to take either Absolute Focus or Transcendence.
Transcendence is very good, as CDR benefits Brand due to the fact that his cooldowns are not all that low. This also aids Brand by providing more AP when overstacking CDR. I personally prefer Absolute Focus for the increased damage in the laning phase and when entering a teamfight with full health. The increased AP is overall very useful for Brand which is why I prefer this Rune, but both are equally effective in their own ways. Last, you will want to take either Scorch or Gathering Storm. Scorch is very effective early on in the game but falls off and Gathering Storm is the exact opposite. I prefer the scaling from Gathering Storm, but Scorch can really help you bully the opposing laner in the early game.
For your Secondary Rune Tree, you will want to go with the Inspiration Tree. In this Tree, you will want to take Perfect Timing and Cosmic Insight. Perfect Timing is just a really strong Rune and you can build it into a Zhonya’s Hourglass to help you survive when you get inevitably focused in the late game. Cosmic Insight is also useful for the reason your cooldowns are somewhat high and this compensates a bit for that. Lastly, for the Offense, Flex, and Defense Runes you will want to take +10 Adaptive Force in the Offense and Flex tabs, then either +5 Armor or +6 Magic Resist in the Defense tab depending on if your opposing laner is Magic Damage or Attack Damage heavy. Now that we know how to set Brand up before getting into a game, we are going to next look at how to really play Brand when you are in game.
Brand, being the powerful bursty AOE mage that he is, is pretty strong throughout the whole game, but he needs to hit his abilities. In the laning phase of the game, you will want to play a bit safer and using your range to farm and poke where you see fit. Use your Pillar of Flame on the Caster Minions, then follow that up with Conflagration. Since they are all affected by Blaze the effect will spread to all the Caster Minion, no matter which one you chose to cast Conflagration on. You can do this with the Melee Minions as well, but you will be able to take out all the Caster Minions pretty early one with just your W/E combo, and if the opposing laner is close enough, then Conflagration will spread to them as well for some free damage. When the enemy tries to trade with you, or if you are getting ganked, then make sure they are not behind any Minions and focus the bigger threat.
You will first want to hit them with Conflagration to apply a stack of Blaze, then follow up with your Sear to get the 1.5 second stun and apply a second stack of Blaze. After that, hit them with a Pillar of Flame. This will deal 25% increased damage as they are affected by your passive, and they will be hit with a third stack of your passive make them unstable and explode after 2 seconds. This will deal a very large amount of damage and, after you first item, this can often be enough to kill squishier targets. This is the combo that you will often want to do against enemy Champions as you get the stun off and they become an easy target to hit with your Pillar of Flame.
If they are standing near minions or more enemy Champions, feel free to drop a Pyroclasm on them for more damage if you know it will be enough to take them down. However, you will usually want to save Pyroclasm for a teamfight just because of how powerful this ability is in those situations.
When a teamfight finally breaks out in your game, stay calm and know that you have the potential to absolutely decimate the enemy team. Remember Brand is an AoE burst mage, and where better for a Champion like that to thrive than in a teamfight. As Brand, you can engage the teamfight with Pyroclasm. After this you can look to stun someone with a stack of Blaze on them with your Sear or look to hit them with Conflagration further spreading your Blaze stacks throughout the enemy team. You can then stun someone with Sear or look to hit as many enemy Champions as you can with Pillar of Flame if they are stacked close enough together.
The versatility and sheer power you have in these situations often allows you to hard carry a teamfight. If hitting all of this and your detonating Passive is not enough to take any of them down, then you have at least just chunked the enemy team's health and your team now has the opportunity to follow up with their damage. When you play these situations properly it feels amazing and your team will thank you for it too.
Brand is a Champion that only scales with Magic Damage, so you will only really be building items that provide Ability Power. When going to lane you have a couple of choices for your starting items. Corrupting Potion is not a bad choice, as it provides mana and health and the small amount of burn damage while you are under the effect of the potion, but I feel as though Dark Seal and Refillable Potion are the better way to go. I would not really recommend Doran’s Ring, as I have seen more success with the Dark Seal or Corrupting Potion starts. The bonus damage provided by the Dark Seal and the increased effectiveness of potions from the item are too great to pass up.
On your first back, if you have enough gold, you will want to buy Lost Chapter. Lost Chapter helps Brand with his heavy mana consumption through the early game. If you do not have enough gold for this on your first back, then you can look to grab the items that build into it or grab a Blasting Wand, as you will build this combined with Lost Chapter into a Luden’s Echo for your first item.
Your second item that you will want to build towards will be a Liandry’s Torment. This item synergizes amazingly well with Brand as his Passive will burn for a percentage of the enemy’s maximum health and Liandry’s Torment will add to this.
The third item you will want will be Rylai’s Crystal Scepter or Zhonya’s Hourglass. Rylai’s Crystal Scepter is powerful and synergizes well with Liandry’s Torment, increasing the passive damage dealt by Liandry’s Torment because of the slow applied by Rylai’s Crystal Scepter. However, if the enemy team is heavily focusing you and they have a strong pick composition or a lot of all-in potential, Zhonya’s Hourglass is the way to go. This will increase your chances of survival allowing you to continue outputting damage, which is pretty hard to do if you are dead.
For your fourth item, you may either want Rylai’s Crystal Scepter, if you grabbed Zhonya’s Hourglass earlier instead, or Void Staff. If they are building a large amount of Magic Resist, Void Staff may be the better option to help you get through their resistances.
Your fifth item will likely be a Rabadon’s Deathcap. You can choose to get this item a bit earlier if you are pretty ahead of the enemy team, but grabbing this fifth is not bad either. For Boots you will most likely grab Sorcerer’s Shoes for the Magic Penetration that they provide, but defensive Boots are not bad either depending on the enemy team. Hopefully you can take this information into your next game with Brand and really try it out. Brand really brings the fire to the table and when you try him out you will see how powerful he is! Now get out there and burn down the Rift with Brand while you claim victory over the ashes of the enemy team! Good luck Summoners!
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