Originally written by: greycat
More mobile than traditional fighters and more durable than fragile rogues, the Brawler is an unarmed combatant with exceptional burst and sustained damage.
- Exceptional mobility for a warrior
- Highly-synergistic Pugilism tree
- Excellent natural scaling
- Strong synergy with on-hit items
- High critical strike chance
- Kills space-time anomalies, vampire lords, and the entire Orc race with BARE HANDS
- Limited build/playstyle options
- Equipment restrictions
No blades, no magic; Brawlers fight with their bare (er, gloved) hands, and they fight very well. Like their Marauder cousins, Str/Dex/Cun Brawlers combine the rogue's critical-prone multi-striking capabilities with the warrior's survivability. However, while Marauders leans more towards the rogue's dual-wielding playstyle, Brawlers gravitate towards the warrior's "Meat-Grinder" playstyle through their incredible natural scaling and Pugilism. Speaking of which:
- +40% attack speed while unarmed
- .5 Physical Power per Level
Brawlers have neither a primary nor a secondary weapon to grant them stat-enhancing perks, so these benefits come embedded in the class itself. The 40% bonus attack speed removes the standard 20% unarmed attack speed penalty and replaces it with a 20% AS bonus (although the Disarmed effect negates this), making it essential for a class built around unarmed combat. The physical power per level serves a dual purpose: early on, it slightly improves your damage and helps your Finishing Moves (mainly Uppercut) apply their intended effects while you focus on unlocking your essential Dexterity and Cunning abilities. However, its main purpose becomes noticeable around level 25+, where the combined potential of your natural scaling, Unarmed Mastery, and strength bonuses are often just enough to trigger a cross-tier effect on lesser enemies. While the effect isn't as reliable as a dedicated ability, it is essentially a free disable that procs on your basic attacks, allowing you to butcher ants, wolves, bears, and other low-quality monsters with little fear of retaliation. This ability will eventually taper off as monsters gain higher and higher physical save.
They're also the only class with true scaling with the Defense stat, with Mobile Defense allowing them to make use of Armour despite wearing leather and Reflex Defense giving you significant damage mitigation despite not wearing heavy or massive armour.
Pugilism - A Gentlemen's Art
Pugilism is the Brawler's most iconic and most important talent tree. Combined with the Brawler's natural perks, it is what allows an unarmed fighter to match and potentially exceed armed fighters in raw damage output. While there are certainly ways to build the Brawler without investing deep into the Pugilism tree, few builds synergize with the class as well as one emphasizing Pugilism, Unarmed Mastery (talent) and, to a lesser extent, Finishing Moves. Going over the abilities:
- Double Strike
- The Brawler's bread-and-butter skill with an excellent damage-per-level increase, extra point combo point at level 4, zero stamina cost, and a low cooldown that can be further reduced by brawler's gloves/gauntlets. As this activates automatically while you have Striking Stance activated, this can be completely ignored as an active, while you passively use it just by using your bump attack.
- Spinning Backhand
- This is why the Brawler is categorized as a "mobile" fighter. With two points, Spinning Backhand's range increases to 4, allowing you to save Rush for initiations when it's truly needed. At level 5, Spinning Backhand gains a full 6 range (along with the range-influenced DPS increase), meaning that it can effectively replace Rush as the go-to "mage-bashing" tool. Finally, with maxed Relentless Strikes, this ability sits with a manageable seven turn cooldown, meaning that it can be used multiple times within a large engagement. Throw in its AoE component, and you have the Brawler's all-in-one utility slap. Consider adding a second point early, then add on remaining points once you've reached acceptable levels of your other Pugilism abilities if you desire.
- Axe Kick
- This is one of the primary "defensive offense" talents that brawler has many of. This ability completely ignores saves, but is stopped by confusion immunity. However, against targets that this lands on, you get rid of many of their damage dealing options - all of them, if they're a caster.
- Flurry of Fists
- The Brawler's wombo combo "this thing needs to DIE" ability. Spinning Backhand into Flurry of Fists will kill most non-boss casters instantly in the first half of the game, and almost instantly thereafter depending on your opponent's resistances. At rank 4 it delivers three combo points, meaning that Spinning Backhand -> Flurry of Fists -> Any Finishing Move will deliver a four point finisher in three turns.
- Striking Stance
- This isn't technically a Pugilism ability, but its relationship with Double Strike and its incredible bonuses should not go unmentioned. Striking Stance gives a sizable accuracy boost, an exceptional damage modifier to many skills, and flat damage reduction. This should always be on, and as it has an instant cast time, consider putting it on auto-cast in case it gets deactivated by an enemy talent.
Grappling is another "defensive offense" option that allows Grapplers to deal particularly well with mages, but thanks to the myriad of statuses applied by the first and second talent in the Grappling tree, it can be used to handle any large single threats. Grappling allows you to grapple enemies that are up to one size category larger than you, and many of the most threatening monsters in the game are of size normal or big. This allows any race that isn't a yeek or halfling to grapple them and these races should consider size boosting gear as important.
The Brawler is great fit for players looking for a mobile, powerful class who can do a little bit of everything.
With their BARE HANDS.
- Bloodcaller - This allows you to heal very effectively off the damage you do.
- Spellhunt Remnants - These allow you to, even without being anti-magic, punch the magic out of any puny casters.
Other Talent Trees:
- While unarmed discipline does not have many exciting talents beyond Combination Kick, 5 points into Combo Kick and 1 point into Defensive Throw provide a very large boost to your damage and ability to shut down your opposition. Combo kick can remove up to 5 sustains, disabling very important things like Necrotic Aura, Shield Wall, Essence of Speed, Kinetic Shield, etc. causing once dangerous foes to fall helpless before your fists.