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How to Counter Brand

By Remox - 16th April 2011 - 04:40 AM

A major factor in increasing one's experience and skill in any competitive game is the importance of countering. In League of Legends, this is no different. Be it adapting to the new characters introduced every two weeks or learning how to work around tried and true strategies used by older characters, countering is amazingly important. This series focuses on this element of the game by offering techniques, lesser known secrets and general tips to avoid getting dominated by that flavor of the month strategy.

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How to counter...Brand, The burning vengance!

Basic introduction

Brand is a traditional AP caster, specializing in AoE damage and spell combos.
The first thing you need to know about Brand is his passive:
  • Blaze - Brand's spells light his targets ablaze, dealing 2% of their maximum Health in magic damage per second for 4 seconds.
Things to pay attention to: it is our maximum health, not current health, so even when we are low, the damage is the same. It lasts for 4 seconds. Knowing this will prevent us from making positional mistakes and get stunned by his Q spell, Sear.
  • Sear - Brand launches a ball of fire forward that deals 80/120/160/200/240 (+0.65 per ability power) magic damage. If the target is ablaze, Sear will stun the target for 2 seconds.
The second most important thing to notice: he has two skillshots, one is a missile with long range (like moragana, lee sin, amumu) and the other is the traditional AoE circle (veigar's stun, miss fortune's aoe slow). He also has two targeted skills (hence, they cannot miss), which are Conflagration and Pyroclasm (his ultimate). The range of both skillshots is 900, way higher than 675/750 of the targeted ones. This is reason number one to stay far from him.

Countering in lane

Brand, as most AP casters, tends to work in a pattern. This is a set skill-chain to inflict the most damage to a target. As Brand revolves around his Passive and the secondary effects they gain while you are under it, things can get a little tricky.

The standard Brand combo goes like this:
Conflagration > Sear > Pillar of Flame > Pyroclasm.

The Conflagration will trigger the passive, so Sear can stun and Pillar of flame can deal and aditional 25% damage, finishing with Pyroclasm and possibly ignite.
When do we expect this combo? Conflagration is a mid-range spell, so in a standard mid lane situation, he should go past his minion line or, if he has Flash, when he flashes into you.

Basics with every hero:
  1. Boots of speed will make his skillshots more difficult to land.
  2. Hiding behind minions will prevent Sear to stun you. Make sure to not be too close in order to prevent unintended collisions and possibly a hit from his Pillar of Flame.
  3. Potions will nullify the effect of his passive or ignite in case you are heavy under fire.
  4. Flash, with timing, can prevent the stun and his AoE spell hitting you.
  5. Running without specific patterns.

Specific heroes

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Kassadin and LeBlanc as a direct counter to skillshot based AP heroes during lane phase. Silences, slows, snare and blinks will nullify any stun/combo attempt. As Brand's skill kit is based on combos, he is a natural spammer; great news for Kassadin who can get his Force pulse almost all the time.

Downsides: if you get comboed, there is little chance to get out alive as both have low hp.

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This is my personal choice. Gangplank is an AD nuker with a built-in cleanse, perhaps not a good lane counter, but during the game. Gangplank can cleanse out Brand's stun, preventing both skillshots, and with high speed.

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During teamfights, these three guys can overcome most of the difficulties Brand brings into the table. Cho gath can chain-disable his ability to do anything. Olaf can ignore his stun and get to him without being hit by his AoE spell with enough speed. Nocturne can jump and, most importantly, block a spell, depleting Brand's squishy life into the abyss.

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