Braum is an extremely valuable pick because of his crowd control prowess. If your team comp is missing CC, this is your guy. He’s got a slow on his Q (Winter’s Bite) and ultimate, which also has a knock-up, but most importantly he has the ability to give everyone on his team a stun with his passive. He’s also one of the hardest supports to kill with his E (Unbreakable), W (Stand Behind Me) and high base defenses. These strengths make him an excellent peeler and guardian for his marksman.
Braum has a really good level one and he makes it so easy to setup invades. If you manage to hit the Q it's a free kill!
Is there anything he does badly? Well, lane. His laning phase is quite weak due to the fact that he can’t handle heavy poke or dish out almost any substantial poke himself. With him it’s all-in or all-out. And if you get get behind and can’t win all-ins, you’re put in a very tight spot.
There are two different rune page setups for Braum and which you pick will depend on your bot lane matchup. If you’re up against ranged supports, this page is for you.
Your keystone rune is Unsealed Spellbook. In spite of its recent nerfs, it’s still a very useful keystone to have. In most cases you’ll want to start a game with Ignite and then swap to Exhaust, Teleport or Cleanse later on. Ignite will improve your laning with additional kill pressure, but after early game it becomes less useful. Exhaust is a good choice against assassins or sticky bruisers and can be instrumental in keeping your AD Carry alive during teamfights. Teleport and Cleanse are more situational choices. For instance, Teleport can be used to help your team if they’re fighting on the other side of the map. Meanwhile Cleanse can be used to get rid of any enemy crowd control that might otherwise stop you from pulling off a successful engage. It’ll be up to you to decide what will best help out your team at the time!
The rest of the runes you want from inspiration are Magical Footwear, Biscuit Delivery and Time Warp Tonic. You can try to avoid poke by staying at range and squatting in the bushes, but you can’t always avoid taking damage and that’s where the latter two runes come in. They’re both there to help you regen the health you’ll inevitably lose when facing poke-oriented champions like Brand, Caitlyn, and Zilean. Magical Footwear will grant you a free pair of boots at the tenth minute (or quicker, if you get takedowns) which are faster than the regular Boots of Speed.
For more survivability, our secondary rune page will be Resolve. In tier one you’ll take Bone Plating which will decrease the amount of damage you take in skirmishes. Second Wind will, like your other runes, undo poke damage by replenishing some of the damage you take over the following few seconds.
If instead you are facing a melee support, you won’t need to invest so many runes into trying to blunt their poke damage, so you can consider this rune page instead:
Instead, in tier two and three you’ll get Minion Dematerializer and Approach Velocity. Approach Velocity gives you a 10% movement speed boost when running towards an impaired ally, making it easier for you to dive in to assist them. You also get a boost when approaching enemies you have impaired (with Winter’s Bite or your ultimate) making them easier to chase down and kill. Minion Dematerializer will instantly kill a targeted minion, ensuring last hits on cannon minions for your ADC.
You will still take Second Wind in Resolve, but exchange Bone Plating for Font of Life. Font of Life marks enemy champions whose movements you impair and then allies who attack the marked champion will get healed. This can be very useful in early game 2v2s for your ADC.
Your first spell is, of course, Flash. It’s invaluable as a means of escape as you don’t have other dependable gap closers.
Ignite gives you the extra oompf to finish off kills during laning phase. It’s also a recommended option against healing champions like Soraka, Vladimir and Dr. Mundo because Igniting them (or those they’re trying to heal) will shut them down entirely.
Passive: Concussive Blows
Your passive applies a stack of Concussive Blows onto an enemy when you basic attack them or hit them with Winter’s Bite (your Q). After the first stack, any of your allies’ basic attacks will apply stacks as well and the fourth stack stuns the enemy. This is a super valuable ability throughout the game and the reason Braum is such a fantastic pick up in crowd control-starved team compositons. In a teamfight you can potentially stun every enemy within a short period of time, as long as you keep dishing out stacks.
Q: Winter’s Bite
Winter’s Bite, as mentioned, is useful as a tool for applying your passive. It’s also your only ranged ability (outside of your ultimate) so this is your only poking tool. Using it too much will cause you to run out of mana, so be wise about it! It’s far more useful as an initiating tool than as harassment. Hitting an enemy with it in a teamfight is a very clear signal for your team to hone in and get the stun off.
W: Stand Behind Me
Your W, Stand Behind Me, is a fantastic tool for peeling, especially when paired with Unbreakable (E). Stand Behind Me grants resistance boosts (both armour and magic resistance) to you and your chosen ally. It can also be self-cast to make yourself tankier even when you’re alone. This ability can also be used as a gap closer, both for engagements and even for making a great escape. A very crafty way of initiating a fight with Braum is to close in on your target by hopping onto an ally minion. This makes it easier for you to hit Winter’s Bite and start stacking towards a stun!
Braum's W lets you follow up on your teams engages and makes it easier for you to reach the enemy backline and apply your CC.
Unbreakable combined with the above ability is one of the strongest rescue combos on any support. It’ll make you take incoming damage, but it’ll be highly decreased, so it’s always better to use it rather than let your allies tank up the damage. During 2v2s in bot lane you’ll want to get between your ADC and your foes, then pop Unbreakable – you two will take massively reduced damage and the enemy bot lane will take loads in return. Easy trades!
You can also use it to block specific abilities, rather than just high amounts of damage. Intercepting Rocket Grabs, Death Sentences and Enchanted Crystal Arrows is something you’re going to have to master, because you’ll always be safer taking them on the chin than your ADC. Remember, you can always just hop back onto your ADC, so be brave!
R: Glacial Fissure
Glacial Fissure is a long area-of-effect knock up and slow which makes it a super powerful engage ability. It’s long range but can be dodged with a well-timed Flash or dash, so rather than starting a fight with it outright, I recommend stunning the enemy with something else first. Better yet, try syncing it with some other area-of-effect abilities like Shockwave, Bullet Time or Last Breath.
You max Winter’s Bite (Q) first for the decreased cooldown and increased damage, as it’s your main engage tool, and your only poke tool. Max Unbreakable (E) after that because it’ll drastically lower the cooldown, increase the duration by a second, and it will also consume a higher percentage of damage. This leaves Stand Behind Me (W) as the last maxed ability. Also, don’t forget to put a point in your ultimate every time you can!
Stand Behind Me (W) -> Winter's Bite (Q) Combo
A popular and very useful combo of Braum’s, sometimes called the “taxi” combo, is using your W (Stand Behind Me) to leap onto a friendly minion in order to get into close range to your target and surprise them with a quick Winter’s Bite (Q) to the face.
Winter's Bite (Q) -> Flash Combo
You can flash immediately after using your Q to blink into an enemy’s melee range and hit them with a surprising Winter’s Bite that they won’t be able to dodge.
Stand Behind Me (W) -> Unbreakable (E) Combo
You can cast Unbreakable (your E) while leaping with Stand Behind Me (W) to have Unbreakable activated mid-air and immediately ready to block damage as soon as you’ve reached your ally.
There are many ways to get your full combo off, but usually you’ll start it off with a Winter’s Bite (Q) onto your target. If there are allies in range, they’ll be able to help trigger your stun. After the target is stunned, they can’t dodge your ultimate and will effectively be chain-CC’d for a good three seconds.
An example of Norskeren using Braum's all-in combo for a team fight against Splyce during Week 2 of the 2018 EU LCS Spring Split.
Like other melee supports, you’ll start the game with a Relic Shield and three potions. On your first recall you’ll want to be able to purchase Targon’s Brace to increase the amount of gold you earn with your starting item, which leads to a faster Celestial Eye upgrade. Once you’ve gotten that item, or when you’re very close to it, exchange the Warding Totem you started the game with for a Sweeping Lens to deny the enemy support vision while making it easier for your jungler to gank. To further deny vision, make sure to buy Control Wards as often as possible.
Always leave base with at least two Control Wards.
At the ten minute mark, or perhaps earlier, your Slightly Magical Boots will kick in. Once they do, upgrade them to either Mercury’s Treads or Ninja Tabi. In general you’ll want the Treads, but against heavy attack damage teams pick up the latter.
After that’s settled it’s time for your first major item: Remnant of The Aspect. It grants you a bunch of health, which is a pivotal stat for Braum. It also increases your ward carrying capacity by one, which makes it easier to keep the map warded around the clock.
After that you should get Aegis of the Legion. This item has a few different upgrade paths that you can look into. The first is Locket of the Iron Solari, which grants a large shield to all your allies in its area of effect when you activate it, which can be huge in a teamfight. It’s especially useful against assassins and teams with large amounts of burst damage, because you might be able to save a life by popping the shield at just the right moment. If you have a fed ADC, you might consider Zeke’s Convergence instead, which will boost your their damage after you’ve used your ultimate. Finally, there’s Banner of Command which is a good purchase if your team is winning and you want to snowball harder.
In most games you’ll end up with all three of these items, but the order of purchase will differ depending on what your team needs.
Other great items for Braum are Knight’s Vow, Randuin’s Omen and Frozen Heart. The latter two both supply a huge amount of armour so they’re a great defensive pick up. The active in Randuin’s Omen is also good when you’re against bruisers and assassins, as it’ll help you unstick them from your carries. Knight’s Vow will also benefit your ADC greatly as a percentage of damage they take will instead be transferred to you.
punish ranged supports by hitting your Q and proccing your passive. They’re squishier, so killing them can be easy if they overstep.
Laning phase can go a couple of different ways for Braum and it largely depends on what you are facing in the bot lane. Against melee supports, you’ll have an easier time because you won’t have to worry about ranged poke. However, when against ranged supports, you’ll often have a much harder time. Make sure to take the proper defensive runes, stock up on potions and utilize the brush effectively to avoid getting heavily poked down.
The good thing about ranged supports is that they are much squisher than their melee counterparts. Assuming you can pull off a successful engage, you’ll often win fights because you are able to lock them down and then burst them to bits. If your jungler is able to gank, this will make it all the easier for you.
Many supports may choose to roam throughout laning phase and the early-to-mid game. Braum doesn’t have the strongest roams but you can still benefit your team by patrolling through the river and enemy jungle in order to place wards for your team.
Like any other support, it is important to buy Control Wards which you can use to give your team good vision when you roam.
Be on the lookout in the River, mid lane, and the nearby jungle as you should be able to quickly roam and participate in skirmishes if they arise.
An example of Norskeren roaming mid with Braum during Week 2 of the 2018 EU LCS Spring Split.
Braum has many roles in a teamfight since he is a great initiator, a strong tank, and great at peeling. If you’re able to spark a teamfight by catching out an enemy with Winter’s Bite (Q), that’s awesome, but usually it’s better for you to let someone else engage so that you are free to protect your carries.
As mentioned previously, he’s an extremely powerful peeler because he can easily aide his carries, take damage and skillshots for them, all while boosting his own resistances and crowd controlling enemies who try to get near him.
In conclusion, Braum is an extremely strong tank who can make any team deadly with his relentless perma-stuns and slows. Special thanks to Norskeren for taking the time to answer all my questions and explain his build and thoughts on the Heart of Freljord.
Roccat has made playoffs following the Spring Split! We wish them the best of luck in the future and hope to see some more of Norskeren’s amazing Braum on the big stage again soon!