Champ of the Week: Brand Wrapup


This week got cut a bit short thanks to a certain hurricane, but I think I had plenty of time with Brand to assess his power level, play around with his build, and as with any Champ of the Week, lose enough games to see some of the champion’s downfalls. For Brand there are few, but they can make a game with him just as frustrating as any other character.

First, the good things. Really, the OP things. Brand’s lane harass is absolutely filthy – probably the best in the game. The range on his E skill, Conflagration, needs a nerf and has since day one. With the big burst and the passive proc, this skill alone can push an opponent off the lane. It’s also amazing when used with his passive effect. Missed your Pillar of Flame? No problem – just Conflag that caster minion and watch the damage bounce when your opponent gets too close. Brand is one of those characters that is such a huge threat that his presence is enough to push an opponent back. He doesn’t even have to be in position, just there and he’s terrifying.

I did have a little bit of trouble against Malzahar, really only because his Malefic Visions allowed him to keep me pushed, which meant I couldn’t exactly stand in the creeps and force him back. Obviously Brand’s ability to do that to most characters is pretty OP, but so is Malzahar’s ability to farm at my tower from his tower. It’s a mess.

Brand is sort of unique in that his passive doesn’t scale with AP. It does, however, scale with penetration, which poses something of a build problem. If I’m rocking early game I like to pick up a Haunting Guise, just to utterly dominate my opponent. With Guise and Sorc Boots, only the best casters in the game will be able to hold you down. Brand churns through creeps, freeing him up to go and gank other lanes.

Unfortunately, that build doesn’t scale particularly well into the late game if your opponents are building magic resist. Basically, there are two routes as I see it. If my team has plenty of sticking power, I go with a Rod of Ages, Deathcap, and then Rylais or Void Staff or Will of the Ancients. If my team is lacking that sticking power, I’ll opt for a Deathcap to Rylais rush, which usually means stacking a couple Doran’s Rings for early survivability. I’m much more comfortable with the RoA build, and I like the survivability and growth it provides into late game. The other build is still quite strong, though, and definitely worth it if your teamfights will be sprawling affairs.

If I could change one thing…

If I could change one thing with Brand it would be to reduce his cast range on just about everything. Brand is powerful because he can land his spells easily from a distance. He can harass well from a distance and use the massive range on his stun to secure the kill.

If Riot did reduce his range, though, I think they’d have to compensate with a little movespeed. Brand feels woefully slow and vulnerable once an opponent is stuck to you. I know every champion needs a weakness, but because his stun is a directional cast, it’s almost too punishing for someone to get in your face, especially if he got a range reduction.

On the whole, I have a blast playing Brand. He’s one of few champions that feels like he has some variety to his casting rotation, and as with most of my favorite champs, he rewards aggressive play early in the game. If you’re looking to expand your AP carry roster, definitely give Brand a shot.


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