Braum, the Heart of the Freljord, revealed
The frozen peaks of the Freljord have for centuries punished the weak. But as these feared glacial lands host the graves of the frail, for the mighty, the land is a cradle, a place that elevates mere strongmen into true champions. Braum’s story started here, and as his strength and fortitude grew, so too did his legend. Today, his feats inspire all from the poorest of peasants to the fiercest of raiders. And as he prepares to bear his shield into battle once again, he goes knowing he carries the hopes and adoration of the Freljord’s people with him.
Passive: Concussive Blows
- Braum’s basic attacks apply Concussive Blows. Once the first stack is applied, all basic attacks from Braum and his allies apply further stacks. Targets that sustain four stacks are stunned and suffer bonus magic damage. After being stunned, Braum cannot apply Concussive Blows to his target again for a moderate duration.
Q: Winter’s Bite
- Braum propels freezing ice from his shield in a straight line skillshot, dealing magic damage (based on Braum’s max health), slowing and applying a stack of Concussive Blows to the first target hit.
W: Stand Behind Me
- Braum leaps to the aid of a nearby ally, positioning himself between his target and their nearest enemy champion, and granting both Braum and his target bonus armor and magic resist based on his total armor and magic resist.
- Braum raises his shield in a target direction, negating the damage from the first attack from the shield’s direction and reducing the damage of all subsequent attacks as long as the shield is raised. Braum intercepts projectiles with Unbreakable, causing them to hit him and then be destroyed. He also gains a minor speed boost until he lowers his shield.
R: Glacial Fissure
- Braum slams his shield into the ground, sending out a huge long-range skillshot that knocks up and damages all enemies caught before leaving behind a strong slow field.
Braum is a strong and resilient melee support capable of making game-changing plays while saving his team from a barrage of enemy attacks. He forms symbiotic bonds with the marksman he fights alongside, forming a wall between the two teams and leaping to the aid of his allies as he transitions into a late game tank.
In lane, Braum functions most effectively as a reactionary or opportunistic support, constantly on the lookout for chances to apply Concussive Blows to the enemy duo. Accurate use of Winter’s Bite triggers the mark on targets who’ve wandered from their minion wave, while Braum can tag aggressive enemies with basic attacks before leaping back to the ranged safety of his marksman with Stand Behind Me. After applying Concussive Blows, Braum and his marksman have two solid options: either follow up hard and try to activate the stun, or zone the enemy and take up aggressive positioning. Concussive Blows is powerful enough to win almost any trade, while the threat of triggering the stun acts as a powerful deterrent, forcing the enemy marksmen away from valuable minion gold. Braum’s also a powerful asset during friendly ganks: by dashing to his jungler with Stand Behind Me, Braum’s able to get into the heart of the enemy duo. After they’ve been tagged with Concussive Blows, the jungler’s extra attacks accelerate the stun and help secure kills.
But while Braum is undeniably useful on the offense, he’s an absolute colossus when defending. The additional defenses provided by Stand Behind Me help both Braum and his marksman survive otherwise lethal damage, while Unbreakable has the potential to completely shield his ally from all incoming damage when positioned correctly. When activated, Unbreakable protects all of Braum’s allies behind the shield from basic attacks and targeted and pass-through abilities like Varus’ Piercing Arrow, Taric’s Dazzle, and Caitlyn’s Piltover Peacemaker, but not placed abilities like Nidalee’s Bushwhack or Swain’s Nevermove. More importantly, Braum can move while using Unbreakable, meaning he can reposition with his ally as they head towards the safety of their tower, or as the enemy team moves to flank around the shield. Braum is also able to continue attacking and casting abilities while he shields with Unbreakable – landing the slow from Winter’s Bite while moving back deters enemy junglers and marksmen still further.
Braum gains solid initiation or follow-up potential once he hits level six and unlocks Glacial Fissure, offering friendly junglers easy ganking targets with its huge knock-up and slow. If Braum’s looking to cut off his target’s escape route, he can quickly reposition with Stand Behind Me before firing Glacial Fissurebehind his target. The ability’s slow field is large and powerful enough to force flashes and secure kills. Finally, Glacial Fissure is equally powerful as a disengage tool, nullifying chases when aimed correctly.
The more allies around Braum, the more his shield shines. In small-scale skirmishes, he darts in front of his allies with Stand Behind Me before using Unbreakable to block pick attempts and soak up the subsequent damage. Should his team be outnumbered, Glacial Fissure is again a strong disengage ability, particularly in the jungle’s narrow pathways. Alternatively, when Braum’s part of the more powerful skirmishing group, a well-aimed Winter’s Bite slows and applies Concussive Blows, all but guaranteeing a kill.
While other supports operate best within their team or deep in the enemy ranks, Braum functions best as a physical wall between the two teams, soaking up damage with Unbreakable while his team’s damage dealers get to work. The low cooldown on Winter’s Bite helps Braum slow both approaching and fleeing enemies while setting up Concussive Blows for his team. His passive is strongest here – by floating between the two teams, Braum’s able to use basic attacks on the enemy tanks and fighters as he hits the enemy backline with Winter’s Bite, potentially setting up stuns against the entire enemy team. Meanwhile, Stand Behind Me gives Braum the sudden celerity he needs to dart to his teammates and protect them from harm with Unbreakable, which has the potential to turn around even the most lamentable of teamfights, or protect his squishies when they’re being attacked. Finally, unleashing Glacial Fissure through the enemy team splits and (literally) slows their hopes of a coordinated assault, giving Braum and his allies the opportunity to move in and clean up.
As with all champions, we designed Braum to fill a specific gap in the League of Legends champion pool. Specifically, he’s the first true tank support that we’ve created, a champion who takes the hits for their team. We’ve had plenty of defensive supports – champions like Nami, Soraka, Janna etc – who negate damage through heals or shields, along with fighter supports like Leona and Alistar, who are generally great at initiating teamfights before diving deep into the enemy team and disrupting as much as possible. Braum’s something different: he’s a tanky support who literally takes the hits for his team, and as such requires a new mindset, position and playstyle to most conventional supports.
The key to Braum’s unique playstyle is Unbreakable, his E. It’s an active defense, similar to Yasuo’s Wind Wall, but while Yasuo’s ability was created so that he’d have the means to protect himself (the team utility is considered a secondary bonus), we specifically designed Unbreakable so that Braum could protect his team. It makes Braum different because he – more than any other champion – creates zones of safety behind him. He defendsthroughout the game, first by protecting his marksman during laning, then by protecting his entire team and tanking during late game. While other supports focus on buffing, heals or disruption, Braum fills a unique role between the two teams, taking the brunt of the damage for his team and letting his damage dealers do their thing.
This positions him literally between the two teams, and gave us some interesting design questions to answer. Specifically, how else does a defensive melee support contribute in fights when he has limited damage and can only land basic attacks on the enemy’s beefy frontline? This is where we brought in his passive, Concussive Blows, and Q, Winter’s Bite. Braum can harass while protecting, not necessarily through his own strength, but by applying Concussive Blows to enemy targets. This greatly amplifies his team’s power while keeping Braum’s positioning consistent throughout teamfights. And while Braum can’t easily harass the enemy backline (Winter’s Bite only affects the first enemy it strikes, and Braum’s basic attacks are melee), when his allies get jumped by enemy fighters and tanks, he can quickly reposition with Stand Behind Me before peeling multiple targets with Concussive Blows.
We’re excited to see what you guys make of Braum. If you’re interested in testing him before his live release, get into the PBE and give him a whirl. We’d love to get your feedback!