The Brawler class was added to the Lord of the Rings Online with the Fate of Gundabad expansion. In this guide you will discover the play-style, priority stats, race options, virtues, and an overview of their skills.
Grab a cup of Eastemnet Coffee and join me as we learn all the details about the Brawler class, starting with the story of who they are.
Who are the Brawlers of Middle-earth?
The Brawler is described as a spirited fighter who hurls themself into battle to the benefit of friend and devastation of foe. They are a melee class who forgo weapons in favor of wearing Battle Gauntlets on their hands and donning steel armor.
The Brawler class concept was inspired by the legend of Helm Hammerhand, the ninth King of Rohan. Helm Hammerhand fought bare-handed at one of the greatest sieges of Helm’s Deep and was known for his savagery in battle. He was called Hammerhand because of his great strength and he was known to fight bare-handed.
Play-style of the Brawler
The Brawler is a class capable of assuming the role of damage or off-tank. Any race in Middle-earth can be a Brawler, except for Beornings who are a special race/class combo.
As a melee class they operate on the power of Mettle, a resource your Brawler uses to power attacks and other skills. You will build Mettle during combat using your Set Up skills and spend it on Finishers, your most powerful abilities.
All Brawlers have a baseline passive ability called Battle Flow, which increases the damage done by your skills for each point of Mettle you have. Battle Flow grants +3% skill damage for each point of Mettle. The bonus does not apply to Mettle-generating skills. To find out how much Mettle your Brawler has you can hover over the gauge on your action bar.
Innate Strength Buffs
Brawlers have 3 different skill types that work with the Innate Strength passive buffs earned in the Fulcrum and Maelstrom trait lines. Certain combat skills are labeled with a Skill Type of Balanced, Heavy, or Quick. When used these abilities apply a buff to the Brawler depending on which role you’re playing, tank or damage. Here is a breakdown of the Innate Strength buffs.
Fulcrum (Tank) – Innate Strength
|Skill Type:||Innate Strength:||Increases:|
Maelstrom (DPS) – Innate Strength
|Skill Type:||Innate Strength:||Increases:|
Brawler Stats & Equipment
Heavy Armor is the preferred armor for a Brawler and they favor stats such as Might and Vitality. Might increases your Physical Mastery, Block, and Parry Ratings. Vitality increases your maximum Morale, Resistance Rating, and Non-Combat Morale Regeneration.
Weapons & Legendary Items
The Brawler wields Battle Gauntlets to combat enemies with a variety of punches, slams, and kicks, more on their skills below. Gauntlets are considered two-handed weapons and are only wearable by Brawlers.
Your Brawler can equip an item called a Belt Buckle into the Ranged Weapon slot on your character panel that will enhance your attributes. Jewelers can craft these buckles for level 20+ and they are trade-able between players and the Auction House.
At level 45 you can begin the quest line Volume II, Book 1 with Ráthwald who is located at the Sirannon Gate in Eregion. This quest will lead you to your first Legendary Item, Battle-gauntlets of Legend and as you continue your Brawler’s Stein, the second legendary item.
Best Race for a Brawler
If you’re going to choose the best race for a Brawler based on stats and racial abilities alone, then you may consider the race of Man (especially if you will be tanking), Dwarf, Stout-Axe, and Hobbit are worthy choices too. Here’s the reason why:
The race of Man offer the passive Strong Men gaining +15 Might. Easily Inspired passively gives +5% Incoming Healing and the Balance of Man trait bolsters your Parry/Block/Evade ratings (gained from a racial deed). Gift of Men gives +15 Fate which helps with regen and increases Finesse reducing your enemies resistances to your attacks.
Dwarf brings Sturdiness +15 to your primary stat Might, +10 Vitality, and +1% Common Mitigation. Dwarf-Endurance boots your Vitality and Endurance of Stone is a skill that reduces the damage you take by -50% melee/ranged/tactical.
Stout-Axe offers Unwritten Destiny boosting Vitality based on character level, and then there is Wrought by the Black Land providing +15 Might, 1% Shadow Mitigation, 1% Disease Resist.
While Hobbit ‘s small size reduces their Might by -7 passively, they can gain Hobbit-stature giving +20 to Might from a racial deed. That combined with Hobbit-Toughness adds +15 to Vitality makes a nice sturdy Brawler. Then of course who can’t resist Hobbit-silence an ability to feign death in times of dire need on a 30-minute cooldown.
High Elf has some nice utility, like +10% out of combat run speed and Enmity of Darkness for +5% light-type damage bonus.
While these races are excellent choices, I recommend choosing the race that appeals to you the most and your play style. The road through Middle-earth is a long one and the fun is in the journey through it.
Crafting for Brawlers
If you want to craft armor for your Brawler, the Armourer vocation is a good choice as you can craft some of the best heavy armor for leveling up.
Tinker will be beneficial for making Brawler Belt Buckles and the many pieces of jewelry you can equip.
Other options are Yeoman for cooking food and Historian for making battle scrolls, read more about the professions to find your preferred craft.
Which Virtues for a Brawler
It’s always a good idea to level as many Virtues as you can, especially for the passives you will gain and when it comes to the Brawler it depends on your specialization, here are our suggested virtues:
|Tank Virtues||DPS Virtues|
|Loyalty for Vitality||Zeal for Might|
|Honour for Morale||Confidence for Crit Rating|
|Fidelity for Tactical Mitigation||Wit for Finesse Rating|
|Compassion for Physical Mitigation||Valour for Physical Mastery|
|Fortitude for Morale or Empathy for Armor||Loyalty for Vitality|
Overview of Brawler Traits
Brawlers have two trait specializations, Fulcrum (blue) and Maelstrom (red) with a third supplemental tree the Fundament (yellow) for customization. Here is a description of the specializations from the LOTRO Dev team:
“The Fulcrum focuses on defense and debuffs and offers ways to increase your Vitality, lower your enemies’ attack speed, buff your Critical Rating, and more.
The Maelstrom focuses on the chaos of battle to increase damage dealt and more. This offense-focused Trait tree increases your Critical Chance, Setup Skill Damage, Might, and acquisition of Mettle.
The Fundament is not a Trait tree that can be Specialized into; rather, this tree offers benefits that complement both The Fulcrum and The Maelstrom. Spending points into The Fundament offers benefits such as increased Mettle generation, enemy debuffs, and hitting more targets with your area of effect skills.” [Source]
List of Brawler Skills
The list below will give you an idea of the skills your Brawler will wield in battle and what they do.
Combat Buff Skills
Get Serious – Regenerate Mettle and gain a damage buff (+35%) for 9 seconds.
Follow Me! – Brawlers have been known to inspire foolhardy acts of bravery in their comrades – mostly by charging heedlessly into a fray and dragging their allies along with them against their better judgement. Group combat run-speed buff, increasing speed by 20% for 15s within 15 meters..
One For All – This skill grants a Mitigation bonus to nearby allies. For each ally, the buff grants an additional 2% to Physical and Tactical Mitigations, to a maximum of 10%.
Quick Feint – A sudden feint leaves your enemy off-balance and grants you the Mettle to quickly finish them. +20% Melee Damage
Ignore Pain – Unwilling to acknowledge even debilitating injuries, Brawlers often focus on developing the willpower to fight through normally insurmountable pain. Removes 1 Disease, Wound, Fear, Poison effect with maximum strength of 65 from the target.
Slip Free – Well versed in the grappler’s tricks, Brawlers can quickly slip out of holds, traps, and other attempts to constrain them. CC Breakout.
Weather Blows – Enter a temporary state wherein you are nearly assailable. Nearly. Base value has been set to 35%, -6% for trait, -9% for Mettle (Max 20%). Lasts 15s with a 75s cooldown.
Helm’s Hammer – Removes corruption from the enemy.
Fulgurant Strike – This strike catches the enemy unawares, leaving them breathless and interrupting complex skills and maneuvers. Cost 3 Mettle.
Combat Builders (Set Up) – Use these to gain Mettle
Low Strike – A swift punch that generates Mettle. Low Set-up: If Low Strike is the most recent Set-up Attack used, the next damaging Mettle-spender may render its target Vulnerable. Vulnerable targets take additional damage from all sources. Certain skills may take advantage of a vulnerability for added effect. Adds 1 Mettle
Dexterous Hook – A quick hook that generates Mettle. Dexterous Set-up: If a Dexterous Hook is the most recent Set-up Attack used, the next mettle Spender will deal 35% additional skill damage. Adds 1 Mettle
Sinister Cross – A strong punch that generates Mettle. If a Sinister Cross is the most recent Set-up Attack used, the next Mettle Spender will tier-up any available Innate Strength buffs twice instead of once. If no Innate Strength buffs have been unlocked via Trait Set Bonuses, this has no effect. Adds 1 mettle
Quick Feint – A sudden feint leaves your enemy off-balance and grants you the Mettle to quickly finish them. +20% Melee Damage. Fills 3 Mettle.
Powerful Skills (Finishers) – Use these to spend Mettle
Mighty Upheaval – You slam your gauntlets into the ground with incredible force, creating a shockwave to damage and possibly knock opponents down. Cost 3 Mettle
Strike Towards the Sky – A powerful uppercut. Knocks the enemy into the air, slightly. Cost 3 Mettle
Helm-Crusher – A crushing head-butt that can stun an opponent into insensibility. Cost 3 mettle
Overhand Smash – An overhand smash that does impressive damage. -10% Incoming Healing for 25 seconds. Cost 3 Mettle
Backhand Clout – A wide back-handed smash that may catch multiple enemies with its force. Cost 3 Mettle.
Knee Strike – You bring your knee up in a sudden strike. Does damage and reduces enemy speed. Cost 3 Mettle
Hurl Object – Hurl an object at your foe. -30% run speed for 8s.
The Fulcrum – Tank
Powerful strikes and brash challenges will ensnare the attention of your foes. As a Brawler tank you will passively gain +10% base maximum morale and +5% physical mitigation.
Come At Me – Often honing their methods in uncouth tavern brawls, Brawlers are known to challenge all comers – one at a time, or all together.
The Best Defense – Your will is an overwhelming force driving you and your companions forward to victory. Effects applied to the Fellowship within 15 meters +30% damage
Brash Invitation – Devotees of the Brawler’s art are known for their seeming arrogance and flippancy during battle, often using this to drive their opponents into a careless rage. Single-target ranged taunt. Applies a damage preventing bubble.
Bracing Guard – The ability to withstand staggering blows without apparent pain is a hallmark of the Brawler’s art. For the next 15s, incoming attacks will tier up and incoming healing buff. Expires if out of combat for 9s, lasts for 15s. Restores 35% of max morale.
Defensive Posture – Adopt a defensive posture, decreasing incoming damage at the cost of offensive capability. Only one Posture may be active at a time. Toggle Skill.
Joy of Battle Heal – Few arts require as strong a constitution as the Brawler’s method of battle, and they soon come to relish tests of their limits. For a short duration, any strikes you make will heal the Brawler for a small portion of their Maximum Morale. Using one ‘Joy of Battle’ skill will trigger the cooldown for both ‘Joy of Battle’ skills.
Plant Feet – Creates a small hotspot at your feet. While standing in the hotspot, every 4s, gain an increasing mitigation buff and Mettle.
Gut Punch – A violent strike to the gut leaves your enemy reeling and unable to marshal their full strength for a time. Applies a damage debuff increasing incoming damage by 20% for 20s. The skill has a short cooldown, but a given target cannot be affected by it for 70s after the effect wears off.
Mettle Shield – Use your Mettle to defend against incoming attacks. Gain significant incoming damage reduction. In this state, successful attacks against the Brawler will remove 2 Mettle. +10% Mettle Shield defense. Toggle Skill.
The Maelstrom – Damage
The Maelstrom is a dynamic fighter, capable of engaging small groups but truly shining at single combat. As a DPS Brawler you will passively gain +5% melee damage and an increase to your primary stat Might as you level.
Pummel – Unleash a flurry of blows. Channeled Skill. Cost 3 Mettle
Shattering Fist – Drive a devastating fist into your enemy’s armor, leaving it broken and ineffective.
First Strike – A quick strike best used on hale adversaries. Target must have greater than 80% max health.
Aggressive Posture – adopt an aggressive posture, increasing offensive capability at the cost of defense. Only one Posture may be active at a time. +15% Melee Damage. -x Physical Mitigation. Toggle Skill.
Battle Fury – For a short duration, Battle Flow or Enhanced Battle Flow deals an additional 5% damage per Mettle. Increases the bonus of Battle Flow by 50% of its base value.
Fist of the Valar – Strike your foe with preternatural force. This skill deals 15% bonus damage for each point of Mettle it consumes. This bonus damage stacks with Battle Flow. Cost 3 Mettle.
Joy of Battle (Damage) – For a short duration, allow yourself to be struck and build your fighting spirit with each blow you take. Decrease incoming damage. Cannot Parry or Evade. Gain a stacking damage buff with each hit taken, up to a maximum of 10 stacks. Using one Joy of Battle skill with trigger cooldown for both Joy of Battle Skills.
The Fundament – Support
Though the Brawler cannot specialize in The Fundament, it contains traits and techniques that are indispensable regardless of combat style.
Strike As One! – Rally those around you, granting a damage boost to nearby fellows (10%). If no fellowship members are affected by this skill, you instead gain a powerful boost for yourself (25%). Cost 150 Power. Cooldown 1m.
Efficient Strikes – For a brief time, abilities consume less Mettle.
Share Innate Strength: Balance – Grants your allies a portion of your precision. If specialized as Fulcrum, all Fellowship Members within 5m gain increased parry chance. If specialized as Maelstrom, all Fellowship Members within 5m gain increased finesse.
Share Innate Strength: Heavy – Grants your allies a portion of your strength. If specialized as Fulcrum, all Fellowship Members within 5m gain Increased physical and tactical mitigation. If specialized as Maelstrom, all Fellowship Members within 5m gain increased critical rating.
Share Innate Strength: Quickness – Grants your allies a portion of your quickness. If specialized as Fulcrum, all Fellowship Members within 5m gain decreased threat generation. If specialized as Maelstrom, all Fellowship Members within 5m gain increased damage.
Conclusion and My Opinion of the Brawler
My first impression of the Brawler was on the character selection screen and I found their animation and the design of the armor more appealing than I initially thought I would. The Brawler’s armor set and gauntlets you start with are aesthetically pleasing. When I out leveled the set, I made sure to save it as an Outfit.
Then there are the fighting animations, this is always a huge deal to me and I am happy with what the Brawler could do and its punches, kicks, and several of the powerful Mettle skills like Mighty Upheaval, Strike Towards the Sky and Pummel were exciting to execute. Even the Mettle builder Smash was fun to use. The fighting animations are fluid and top-notch, from starting your building mettle skills to executing the more powerful abilities.
Combat sounds were great, they are realistic to the type of combat I was participating in and its always a plus if I didn’t find a spell to put into my Sound Filter list. ?
Overall the Brawler is one tough fighter, I’ve played the Brawler on a Legendary Server with Deadly+ landscape setting and the class flows really well in combat, it’s been fun to play.
If you’re interested in learning about other classes, check out our guide to choosing a class in LOTRO.