Brand, the Burning Vengeance is, for all intents and purposes, the fire elemental of the League of Legends. His skins don’t reflect this well and instead of playing with different facets of his theme simply give him a few clothes. Fortunately, there are exceptions to this rule and interesting ideas are implemented. Sear all doubts about his fireproof wardrobe by reading his skins’ review.
|Concept:||Brand dressed as a post-apocalyptic wasteland survivor.|
|Model:||Major model changes for Brand.|
|Particles:||No new particles.|
|Animations:||No new animations.|
|Sounds:||No new sounds.|
|Splash Art:||In the distance structures burn surrounded by the emptiness of destruction. A figure appears before them wearing a gas mask and a metal vest. That isn’t all that catches the eye, there’s something more strangely: his skin is ablaze, but he isn’t burning. That’s quite a good setting, showing devastation and a dense atmosphere proper of a nuclear apocalypse. Brand is reasonably depicted: the metal reflects light and the trousers look like leather, though the boots not much. Besides, the flames are subdued but passable yet the flamethrowers still look strange. On the whole, is a very interesting piece but it feels too mute and barren.|
|Conclusion:||Apocalyptic Brand has a promising concept but a questionable execution. The clothes are uninspired but technically correct so as to resemble an inhabitant of a wasteland. In addition to this, his forearms are armed with flamethrowers which try to detach the fire from his self. However, his head still burns so while the flames on his hands can be explained he doesn’t come across as a mutated human in the end. Therefore, the skin aims to make turn him into a mutated survivor wielding flamethrowers but instead he resembles a fire elemental with clothes and unnecessary flamethrowers. To sum up, the concept is interesting but the execution doesn’t fully realize it.|
|Concept:||Brand dressed as a biker gang member.|
|Model:||Major model changes for Brand.|
|Particles:||No new particles.|
|Animations:||No new animations.|
|Sounds:||No new sounds.|
|Splash Art:||Overly diffuse and without much detail the setting isn’t very clear but a reasonable guess is possible: a bar. It could very well be a cottage or similar rustic place but let’s say that a biker would prefer the former. Aside from a few items on the table in the foreground there’s only Brand to speak of so let’s get there.
The portrayal that Brand receives is appreciably good: not only does it allow for a rather clear view but also it’s sensible in the given context. The quality certainly is sharper around his body. The expressive face and well lit clothes allows each texture to display their own personality. The lack of hand flames is a bit strange given that Brand is uncontrollable fire; as the table and bar flames reveal. Regardless, it makes sense when having a pint of a rather hot beverage; literally it seems. The depth of field effect on the legs and left arm seems a bit abrupt as they aren’t that far from the central focus of the piece; especially the arm. Still, they are detailed and the general intention is good.
All in all, it’s quite a good depiction of Brand within a reasonable context. The background is too empty, even considering that Brand may dissuade patrons from staying, and the setting ends up feeling lifeless. The portrayal manages to rescue the splash art and as a presentation card it does perhaps too good a job for what the skin ultimately is. After all, the detailed depiction displays more than what the model can provide which can be a bit deceptive.
|Conclusion:||Vandal Brand is an unexciting skin that simply gives him some leather clothes and that’s it. On the one hand, the clothes are appropriate and convey the intended look. It even passes for a homage to Ghost Rider; something that can be a plus. On the other hand, he doesn’t appear particularly striking: it’s just a clothed Brand and nothing else. In summary, a modest concept joins an unimaginative execution and the result is a rather plain skin.|
|Concept:||Brand as an ice being wearing a complex containing suit.|
|Model:||Major model changes for Brand and blue flames.|
|Particles:||New particles for his abilities, auto-attack, taunt, joke and dance.|
|Animations:||No new animations.|
|Sounds:||New frost sounds for Pyroclasm and Blaze’s explosion.|
|Splash Art:||The background shows an abandoned facility where machines are either broken or in dire need of repairs; even debris appears to be falling. It’s not very clear what sort of place it is: is it a place to contain Brand or a laboratory for experiments? Regardless, it sets the frame; though barely. Brand stands on a side wearing a complex suit; full of tubes that converge on his body. His hands look made of ice but not his head, still they all burn with flames with the aspect of frozen air. It isn’t a bad portrayal but, sans the flames, the depiction isn’t striking. Furthermore, the chest shows some problems with his pectorals. In conclusion, it’s a good splash art that serves its purpose well but leaves the feeling that it could’ve been amazing; it sure has elements to do so.|
|Conclusion:||Cryocore Brand is an excellent skin that takes a good concept and accomplishes a stunning appearance. The suit is very interesting as it looks like it protects Brand as much as it contains his power. Multiple tubes course over the suit connecting the plates with his body and his blue-black aspect also reflect the theme which is perfectly rounded by the amazing particles. Actually, the particles are simply coloured blue to appear as cool flames but the resulting aesthetic is impeccable. It’s a good demonstration that how much is changed is as important as how well it is performed. In conclusion, Cryocore Brand is an excellent skin: it gives another feel to a classic theme while providing a fantastic appearance.|
|Concept:||Brand as a brain-eating zombie set on fire.|
|Model:||New model for Brand and green flames.|
|Particles:||New green particles for his auto-attack, abilities, taunt, joke, dance and footprint trail when walking.|
|Animations:||New animations for his auto-attack, abilities, standing idle, walk, emotes, death, re-spawn, recall and capture.|
|Sounds:||New voice over for Brand and new sounds for his auto-attack, abilities, death and re-spawn.|
|Splash Art:||In a dimly lit crypt a man in flames screams. Closer inspection of the subject reveals his tattered clothes and torn flesh. His dead body being animated by an unholy energy that erupts from his hands and head. The premise is attractive but the setting a little too blurry. Still, Brand’s portrayal is quite good, the perspective adds to his death-defying aspect to make him look menacing and even powerful. Besides, the clothes are very well delineated to show the abuse of his undead existence. Overall, it’s a nice splash art but leaves the nagging thought that it could’ve been spectacular with a little more refinement.|
|Conclusion:||Zombie Brand really does turn Brand into an undead corpse: the skin provides a complete set of new animations as well as a new voice over and new particles to back his aspect. The decrepit look is accomplished despite the fact that a suit is rather ill suited for a battlefield; an undead mage or warrior could’ve fit better. The animations are excellent and truly deliver the strain on his body due to the failure of multiple muscles and sinews. In addition to this, the new voice over complements the previous elements with a rough voice and slurred speech for suitable zombie quotes.
Unfortunately, the green flames and imperceptible sounds are a bit disappointing. They do look good and appear a bit more capricious than his usual ones. Nonetheless, while a flaming zombie isn’t a bad idea it seems like the particles chose to stick to Classic Brand’s formula too closely while the other elements went an extra step to deliver the zombie theme. This is even more pronounced and noticeable after the particle update. Currently, Classic and Zombie Brand’s abilities look almost identical. Gone are the wavy flames and gaseous effects and all we have now is a re-colour of the classic visuals; the auto-attack stain is missing too. At a legendary level, this is completely unacceptable.
Therefore, the skin feels and acts like a zombie but a zombie with fire powers; his pyromancer nature remains intact. To sum up, it’s a great skin that truly delivers the feel of a zombie but doesn’t push hard enough to effectively round the theme.
|Concept:||Brand as a blue, flame-wielding shaman.|
|Model:||New model for Brand and new spirits for his recall and dance.|
|Particles:||New particles for his abilities and auto-attack.|
|Animations:||New recall animation.|
|Sounds:||New sounds for his abilities, auto-attack and recall.|
|Splash Art:||With some effort a platform is noticeable behind Brand and, perhaps, some ground around it. That would explain where he may be standing but, given the abstract style of the background, it could’ve made more sense to have him floating in the spiritual world that he’s supposed to draw his power from. Except from mentioned elements and some twisting gusts of fog around Brand there isn’t a setting to speak of and, certainly, no context. Seeing as Brand is then, essentially, posing it should be a rather good portrayal. Mostly, it is but there are caveats to be had. For starters, from the waist down it’s all mystery as that’s omitted even though the perspective could’ve easily been farther away. It could’ve also taken the extra room to depict spirits and all kinds of supernatural happenings around him but we are too close for any of that. What is visible, though, is good. The flames suitably feel unnatural, not quite right and the same goes for the shaman they emanate from. His body is charred and cracked, he lacks lips and his hands are white, like his eyes, full with power; to the point that his tongue seems to be fire itself. Such power seems to overwhelm him as it tries to escape his body even from his chest and shoulder and part of his back appears to be crumbling. The only proof of normality, so to speak, is the golden ceremonial mask which the blue flames give a disturbing hue. If one conclusion is to be drawn is that it might be better to give this shaman a wide berth before the power defeats his will.
This means that we have an evocative portrayal that is full of feeling and that draws the viewer in with multiple significant and telling details. Sadly, there’s not much of a background to frame such a spectacular depiction. Regardless, it’s an impressive splash art that stands out among League of Legend’s pieces due to its moving display.
|Conclusion:||Part undead, part shaman it could be that the spiritual might that fuels his flames has made him blue; which could be understandable if it made sense. Colour whims aside, the tribal clothing and ceremonial mask have nice golden decoration but the bluish cloth gets lost on Brand’s body. Speaking of which, the mix of charred and burning skin looks rather nice but the parts that would course with magical power lack a bit of a glow. The head and hands get away with it thanks to their flames but a little touch in those places would’ve better communicated the idea.
His abilities aren’t just re-coloured they also receive new designs with ghastly white streaks and eerie sounds that communicate the theme quite well. Conflagration does seem merely re-coloured and the same can be said about his passive, Blaze. Conversely, Sear is styled like a claw and both Pillar of Flame and Pyroclasm have the shape of a spirit, the former also surrounded by additional spirits; whom aren’t that easy to notice in their movement but that provide the abilities with a different feel. The recall reinforces the concept of wielding a dangerous power that veiledly runs through the skin. Three spirits are summoned that immediately turn on the shaman and the message is clear: the price has to be paid.
All in all, Spirit Fire Brand is a fine skin that feels like a re-colour at times. It asks for a closer, more attentive look to really distinguish all it offers and doesn’t disappoint at that. It also doesn’t impress as much as it could as the flames still feel as such and don’t fully transform into evil spirits that consume the shaman’s victims. There’s room to develop the concept further and, at this price, it is expected. Fans of Brand will find a skin that finally dares to modify his flames from the stationary versions that even the legendary Zombie has been made to adopt. Admittedly, the changes aren’t as revolutionary as they could be but, along his tribal clothing and ceremonial mask, manage to define the identity of a shaman consumed by the spirits he draws power from.
|Concept:||Brand as an 8-bit level boss.|
|Model:||New model for Brand and new alternating lights for his suit. New pixellated flames for his head and hands as well as his dance.|
|Particles:||New particles for his abilities, auto-attack, death and recall.|
|Animations:||New high-speed run, death and recall animation.|
|Sounds:||New sounds for his abilities, auto-attack, death and recall plus processed voice-over.|
|Splash Art:||Chaos in 8-bit world as the presence of the gigantic level boss disrupts the very engine of the game. With collapsing surroundings several ghosts fly and platforms of earth float. It’s certainly a perilous situation from where only a true hero can emerge victorious. Sadly, he seems to be right at the centre of the boss’ attention. The setting doesn’t have much rhyme or reason except for showing the destruction that the boss is capable of. Hero, ghosts, digital barrier and low-poly platforms are good features but the only ones that have any meaning. The rest, even if the context makes sense, is empty and devoid of relevance.
Titanic in proportions and with a presence that disrupts surroundings we find Brand between elaborate and simple shading though lines tend to be sharp. The lower body is largely omitted with a noticeable blur to cover most details and a difference in size between thighs that seems too abrupt to be believable. Moving up, the left arm is completely concealed behind a knee while the right arm, though a bit diffuse, shows its familiar design; though the energy is not very convincing: neither pixellated nor vibrant enough. The torso shows nice shading with good use of light and several details. The chest light is a good touch to make the conflict with the hero the centre of the piece. The energy on the head, like the buster-hand, is just as unconvincing because it also doesn’t have a concrete design. The face also appears cartoony and simpler in contrast to the surrounding areas which show good use of light. The visor, on the other hand, is quite well done in its pixellated yet hi-tech glory. In few words, even if the portrayal is interesting, it’s noticeably uneven.
On the whole, this is a splash art that has a good concept behind. The setting partially supports the idea while the portrayal ends up hitting almost as much as it misses on the proposed scene. There’s a lot to like about the piece and it really has potential to be great but the problems it has certainly work against its lofty aspirations.
|Conclusion:||Somewhere between Cryocore and PROJECT there’s Battle Boss Brand trying to find its place. The new model isn’t bad looking and original in a way. It’s also somewhat bizarre halfway like a suit Megaman style but never fully robotic. It’s certainly eye-catching not only for the fanciful design but also because of the lights that lit up on his back; it’s a nice touch though it can go unnoticed when in action. The pixellated flames are mostly a consistency addition yet they work wonders in defining the identity of the skin; when they do look like pixellated flames and not simple energy. Seeing as the model doesn’t seem to have a clear message to tell the flames are a welcome, concrete piece of information; usually.
Particles follow on that trend and while they are attractive the blue flames do bring memories of Cryocore, more than Spirit Fire even, and too many times they look like undefined energy. The strict adherence to the classic design also restricts the appeal of the particles. Without exaggerating, most abilities look like their classic counterparts but with less granular pixels. Fortunately, there are exceptions that add some personality to the abilities. Auto-attacks are just an array of pixels flung at the enemy. Although different from flames they aren’t innovative. Blaze displays stacks as little flames at the top of the burning enemy and also adds a soft and appealing glow as well as some flying pixels; the stack counter seems useful. Sadly, the explosion as stacks accumulate is just pixels following the classic flame template. Something similar happens with Sear as it’s just a pixel fireball. That also extends to Pillar of Flame but to a point. The grid on the floor is a good touch and the binary code at the centre of the eruption of flames lets the ability stand out. Conflagration was never particularly visually impressive and Battle Boss doesn’t dare challenge that. The few pixels that mark an affected enemy are as subtle as they are weak. Pyroclasm mostly follows the classic routine but has the little advantage of transforming the bouncing fireball into a Pac-Man ghost with alternating blue and white tones. Add to this a bounce counter and, while the ultimate is far from impressive, it does have personality; the counter also seems useful.
Sounds stand between chiptuned flames and static. They are noisy and usually without saying more than that. At times it seems like the classic flame sounds were processed to sound in low quality midi or chiptunes. Sometimes, they simply add loud chiptunes that would fit any generic attack. If there’s one sound that does stand out it’s the countdown tone of Blaze’s explosion. It’s a subtle in crescendo that merely warns of the inevitable with a clear yet appealing low quality. There are other specifics worth noting. Pyroclasm’s bounces also have a high-pitched sound that sticks to mind as well as the explosion of Pillar of Flame; though they are less memorable than they should be. Sadly, the rest of the sounds mostly mesh with each other like white sound.
The recall is a demonstration of power that only leads into something relevant at the end: the portal. The new high-speed run animation, majorly used by homeguard, shows one arm providing sensible propulsion while the other lazily hangs around instead of holding the whole of Brand on the air. Finally, the death animation pixellates Brand and leaves a mark of pixellated ash. It’s a great call back to his classic death but it would fit him better if he actually seemed to be a flame-based being. Battle Boss isn’t very clear about whether flames or energy is Brand’s source of power so the death, though quite appealing, can feel detached from the idea of technological power that fuels the Battle Boss.
All added together, it’s clear that Battle Boss Brand suffers from a lack of focus that never integrates the classic and Battle Boss personas together; even if it draws heavily from the former. There’s an evident respect for the classic design while the Battle Boss concept is never well defined; as if the skin is never fully sure of what it entails. In fact, aside from the pixellated powers it’s difficult to assert of any concrete element. There are references and ideas but nothing that truly defines the concept. With such a loose concept the skin lacks a clear direction to follow and that is felt across all aspects. The result manages to bring some appealing 8-bit style but never adds up to a well defined personality.
Brand’s skins mostly give him a set of clothes, or zombify him, and call it day. At least, Cryocore Brand stands as a glaring exception: the skin takes another angle for his fire theme by choosing a distinct and appealing polar interpretation. Thanks to this it’s the recommended purchase though the other offerings aren’t terrible.
Without a doubt, Spirit Fire Brand is a skin that stands out but the first impression is certainly of his strange colour. The shaman overwhelmed by the spiritual power he wields is noticeable, with some effort, and the evil spirits are a constant presence in his activities; though they seldom truly overwhelm him as they should. It’s a skin with a distinct personality but probably too much unexploited potential for its price.
Battle Boss Brand is an appealing skin but despite its lack of focus. Pixels and chiptunes aside it’s never clear what or how Brand is powered and identified as. There are some attractive features but the skin is unable to add up all of its characteristics into a concrete and appealing whole. In spite of that, it does have its charm and the 8-bit touch is certainly there.
Both Apocalypse and Vandal Brand are simply clothed versions of Brand but if you like their style they can be worthy purchases. Still, be aware that clothes are all you are paying for because it’s all these couple of skins provide. A theme is stated but simply and without any fanfare.
The legendary option is Zombie Brand which does a great job in all areas except for the particles. For all intents and purposes they are the same used for Classic Brand. There are some minor differences but in practical terms they are too difficult to notice. The rest of the skin, though, is great, which is a pity, as a legendary skin can’t get away with such an uneven implementation. Fans of Zombies and Brand will find much to like but also a letdown in the visual department.