Patch 1.4 is here and brings with it several card reworks, buffs, and nerfs. Our favorite mustachioed Freljordian was on the receiving end of an unexpected rework bringing the champion to the spotlight once again. Deckbuilders have spent the last few days tinkering with Braum to find where he fits best and whether or not he will be a contender in the Season of Fortune. In this article, I will share my first impressions of Braum’s rework and the new decks that are cropping up.
A New Look
Braum’s biggest weakness pre-1.4 was that he wasn’t generally impactful before he leveled up unless you spent extra resources to build him up. He stopped potential attackers, sure, but apart from that… well, he didn’t do much.
His rework changes that. They finally gave Braum an attack stat allowing him to pick off small units and be useful in combat before he meets his level up condition. He also now summons a Mighty Poro the first time he survives damage. This is huge as Braum now brings a 3|3 body on the turn he is played in most situations. His level-up condition and effects remain the same, but his level-up stat boost has changed to the more traditional +1|+1 that we have come to expect in most other champions.
The big question that remains is: Is Braum playable and, if so, what do his decks look like?
DECK CODE: CECAGAIBAQERMBABAMDB4LZQAEBAGBACAIAQCBQCAIAQGBA5AIAQCDJOAIAQCAZSAEAQCCQ
As early as Vlad’s initial rework, players have looked to pair him with Braum. Braum’s Regeneration keyword and eventual summoning of the poro horde was enticing enough to draw Vlad’s attention then. Now, even more so.
This list by @JodyMFKeith on Twitter is a powerful Crimson-focused decklist that looks to capitalize on the self-harm mechanic of Vlad. Cards like Imperial Demolitionist, Ember Maiden, Death Lotus, and Transfusion can further your gameplan with both Vlad and Braum simultaneously. On top of that, they all serve to harm your opponent more than they harm you, thanks to the extra synergies your deck has.
Keep a strong board presence and take advantage of blocks that keep your units alive. Level Vladimir as often as you can and let Braum put in the work of enabling attacks by challenging difficult blockers. He may not be the star of the show in this list, but he will win you games and will play a powerful part.
DECK CODE: CEBQKAIBBAERAGJVAQAQAGRBFIYQCAQBAMBQEAIBAQZAEAIAC4ZACAQBA4AA
This deck by @ArtifactFiVE pairs Braum with an unlikely ally: Lux. At its core, this is a Poro deck. That’s right! Braum’s rework (along with a buff to Aurora Porealis) has plenty of players searching for the best Poro deck to climb with during the Season of Fortune. FiVE’s take is to pair Braum and his Poro army with Lux.
It’s a cheeky decision that I think works quite well. While the two champions don’t have any inherent synergies, Lux provides access to Demacia and with it cards like Purify, Single Combat, and Remembrance. As the deck runs a relatively large number of spells, Lux will reliably level up and generate Final Sparks to blast away your opponent’s units. Meanwhile, Braum can summon poros to his heart’s content and will quickly swarm your opponent.
Poro Herder also received a change in this patch. While his overall stats and effect were nerfed, his new cost of only 2-mana makes him an excellent unit to curve into with Poro decks. Round 1 Poro into a round 2 Poro Herder essentially guarantees you draw the extra Poro and a 2|3 body for 2-mana is strong.
Along with Poro Herder, Aurora Porealis received a buff in 1.4 as its cost dropped from 7-mana to 6-mana. Notably, this keeps in range to generate a Final Spark with Lux at Burst speed.
DECK CODE: CEBAKAIBBEFR4KRQAYAQIGY7EQYTIOQCAEAQIJYBAEASIAYBAICAMAIBAEAQCAIEAE
Here we have yet another list that pairs Braum with an unlikely ally. This time, @FAir_Jordans pairs Braum with Ezreal, looking to capitalize on the multitude of spells available to both Freljord and Piltover & Zaun. It relies on early followers like Icevale Archer and Avarosan Marksman to develop a board while ensuring that you build towards leveling up Ezreal.
The spell package involves cards commonly paired with Ezreal, such as Mystic Shot, Get Excited!, Gotcha!, and Statikk Shock. It makes use of Freljord by including Frostbite spells such as Brittle Steel, Flash Freeze, and Harsh Winds to create favorable blocks and/or attacks while continuing to build Ezreal’s level up condition as well.
The deck generally plays like a combination of a midrange and tempo deck as you want to capitalize on efficient trades and allow Braum to chip damage through in the early and midgames. Ezreal serves as a great closer in the late game, but this isn’t an OTK deck and you’ll need to chip your opponent down if you hope to win via Ezreal.
The changes in Patch 1.4 have brought about much-needed diversity and creativity in the new meta. I’m excited to see that deckbuilders are finding new ways to use Braum. Hopefully, he will be more viable this season than he was in the last.
So far, it appears that Braum has what it takes to rise into the upper echelons of ladder tier lists. It is early to say, but I suspect that a version of the new Braum decks will find its way into tier 1 or 2 at some point throughout the Season of Fortune. My personal favorite so far has been the Braum/Vlad Crimson deck.
What about you? Are you enjoying the Braum rework? What do you think about the balance changes from Patch 1.4 writ large? Let me know over on Twitter @RanikGalfridian.