I decided to create this thread as a kind of partner to the “Unstoppable Brick” one I created some time ago as a way to get new players acquainted with starting a Brick. It’s worth doing an overview of his three skill trees, and pointing out which ones are harder to start with, and which skills provide better returns early on as opposed to later. Most build recommendations will end at level 50, because Brick usually has everything he needs at that point.
His action skill, Berserk, is gained at level 5 and provides health regeneration of 3% per second for a base of 18 seconds, significant damage resistance while active, and increased melee damage of 100% for right handed punches and 300% for left handed punches. Depending on how Brick is built it will either be his main source of offense (Brawler-Tank), a source of offense when his shield breaks (Brawler-Blaster), or a means of convenient healing in bad situations or between battles (Tank-Blaster).
Of those three builds listed above the best at end game is Tank-Blaster, then Brawler-Tank, and finally the clumsy Bloodlust-Mania Krieg prototype of Brawler-Blaster.
The Brawler tree is obviously required for a build dedicated to using his action skill offensively. If starting a Brick and opting to place skill points here, then you will be in for what is undoubtedly the hardest tree to start building a Brick with. Berserk has a relatively long cool down of 60 seconds, meaning some of your skill point investments will only be relevant some of the time. At end game this is not very important, but early on it is.
Within the Brawler tree there are only two skills that work both during Berserk and outside of Berserk. These are Iron Fist and Heavy Handed, making them outstanding choices early on if opting to invest in this skill tree. Generic melee attacks can be boosted by guns with melee attachments, and activating kill skills is not particularly difficult - a kill with a gun will also activate Heavy Handed.
Short Fuse appreciably reduces the cool down of Berserk, and should be the choice of Brawler-Tank builds for cool down reduction. It should not be chosen in Brawler-Blaster builds because of Liquidate.
Sting Like a Bee is basically mandatory in order to be able to catch up to gun armed enemies intent on running away or backpedaling, but taken too early will contribute very little. It is best acquired soon after cool down reduction has been obtained, because it is only relevant during Berserk.
Endless Rage is a decent choice if using a Berserker class mod, but is much less relevant if using a Skirmisher class mod or a build making use of Liquidate. For players of Borderlands 2 familiar with Krieg and his relationship with Blood Trance, a longer action skill is not necessarily the best use of skill points if the duration between action skill activations is minimal.
Blood Sport is very good at keeping Brick alive when Berserk is his primary source of offense. In order to have maximum return out of this skill it is important to invest in Hardened, keep a look out for Torgue shields, and to have acquired cool down reduction.
Prize Fighter is a waste of skill points. Do not bother with it, because cash is never difficult to obtain.
Recommended starting skill order: Iron Fist -> Heavy Handed -> Short Fuse -> Blood Sport -> Sting Like a Bee followed by Hardened -> Juggernaut -> Bash -> Payback. With all of those skills you would have a level 50 build Brawler-Tank build that works best with a Skirmisher class mod.
Basic low level gear to keep an eye out for include Berserker or Skirmisher class mods, and Torgue shields with as high of an increase to health as can be found. Shotguns with a melee attachment increasing damage by 150% are particularly useful as they also attack pretty quickly, but pistols with bladed attachments will also suffice. Sledge’s Shotgun is notable for being a unique weapon with the melee attachment, obtainable in the main storyline.
Between Berserker and Skirmisher the former is more powerful while Berserk is active, but has a significantly longer cool down. Skirmisher is weaker in combat, but provides more utility, and is more user friendly for people into pure melee play. More advanced players will get more out of Berserker while newer Brick players will likely find Skirmisher more to their liking.
The Tank tree is the glue that holds the other trees together, provides extremely high returns on investment at all times, and is therefore the easiest choice for early investment. Builds without a heavy investment in it will suffer from inefficient skill point investments. It is unsurprisingly his easiest tree to start with.
Hardened has its best synergy with the Brawler tree given it increases the total amount of health regenerated with Berserk, and further rewards investment in Blood Sport for the same reason. It can also be a good choice for builds making heavy use of Liquidate, or when making use of any shield with quick health regeneration.
Safeguard has its best synergy with the Blaster tree given it significantly improves the performance of Unbreakable.
Bash is a nice finishing touch to add to any Brawler build, and can even be useful to a Blaster Brick with spare skill points left over after level 50, but is not critical early on. Most enemies will be dead before the fact they are dazed matters early in the game, while in later difficulty modes it can easily prove a lifesaver.
Juggernaut is outstanding for all builds, providing damage resistance that stacks with that of Berserk, and serving to provide a Blaster Brick with excellent durability. This is a skill that should always be acquired as soon as it is available.
Payback is rather odd in that it is situational, but if the right skills or play style is in place, then it is a great contributor as it boosts all forms of damage by a significant amount. A Blaster Brick should not acquire it until he has Unbreakable as the two work seamlessly together, while a Brawler Brick will also enjoy the temporary damage increase. This makes it a great way to finish off a level 50 build, but taken too early it will underwhelm compared to other choices because the shield must fully recharge in order for it to be able to trigger again.
Diehard is a skill that has the ability to set Brick apart from the other Vault Hunters, and its synergy with Hardened (more raw health recovered upon a Second Wind), Safeguard (full shield upon a Second Wind), Payback (condition is reset upon a Second Wind), and Unbreakable (condition is reset upon a Second Wind) must be mentioned. With the Centurion class mod it is almost capable of forming an entire play style by itself, but relying on getting downed will always possess a degree of risk.
Unbreakable is indispensable for a Blaster Brick due to its outstanding synergy with Safeguard and Payback, but is a very poor choice for a Brawler Brick. During Berserk it will not activate, which means any build centered on his action skill should skip over this.
When building around the Tank tree there is no particular gear to keep an eye out for other than Centurion and Titan class mods. Wee Wee’s Super Booster is a quest shield that plays very nicely with Centurion and can fit in well with Brawler builds that have not found a nice Torgue shield.
If intent on general gun play then Hardened -> Juggernaut -> Safeguard -> Unbreakable makes you extremely hard to kill early on, especially with a Titan class mod. A general gun Brick would continue with Payback -> Rapid Reload -> Revenge -> Cast Iron -> Master Blaster and reach level 50.
The Blaster tree is Brick’s gun tree and is notable for being kill skill dependent, and generally having poor synergy with the Brawler tree. For more advanced players that are comfortable with maintaining kill streaks it is extremely powerful, especially when paired with explosive weapons. As Borderlands is a game that revolves around guns this is an easier tree to begin with than his Brawler tree.
If you intend to use guns on a regular basis, then Rapid Reload is a great early game investment. The recoil reduction is actually bugged and increases recoil, but the effect is basically nothing, and the faster reload speed is useful early in the game. Later on weapon proficiencies will reduce its importance, except for in the case of Sniper Rifles, but even then it is a useful increase in damage per second.
Revenge is an amazing skill, but does suffer the glaring drawback of not working with Rocket Launchers. If you intend to play with a Bombardier class mod, then this skill should be skipped, otherwise a Blaster Brick should always invest in it immediately.
Endowed has synergy with attacks made during Berserk when using an Explosive Eridian Artifact, and forms the entire basis of the Brawler-Blaster play style. For Blaster Bricks it is not recommended to invest in this until after level 15, because explosive weaponry and artifacts do not reliably appear early on.
Wide Load only shines in a build using the Bombardier class mod. Its lack of synergy with Revenge definitely hurts its cause.
Liquidate is the only other skill in the tree with any Brawler synergy. When using explosive weapons Berserk’s cool down is significantly reduced, rendering investment in Endless Rage and Short Fuse unnecessary. However, the plain truth is it will typically do little more than allow a Blast Master to heal more frequently.
Cast Iron does exactly what it sets out to do, and can be useful to a general Blaster Brick that does not emphasize explosive weaponry, or a Bombardier that does not want to commit suicide with his own rocket launcher, but beyond that it has very limited utility. Some builds will get this some time after level 50, when skill points are less important.
Master Blaster pairs up with Revenge for outstanding damage per second. The substantial fire rate increase can “fix” weapons with otherwise poor fire rates like the Torgue Cobra, or take weapons with already high fire rates like the Atlas Ogre and have them empty their clips absurdly fast. The rocket regeneration is a nice added bonus, but the skill would still be outstanding without it.
A Brick starting in the Blaster tree would typically go Rapid Reload -> Revenge -> Endowed -> Master Blaster while staying on the look out for the Blast Master class mod, and finish it off with Hardened -> Juggernaut -> Safeguard -> Unbreakable -> Payback.
The good news is that most explosive sniper rifles and revolvers perform extremely well, so rare equipment is not needed to be effective.The best choice, in practice, has been semi-automatic sniper rifles as their combination of power, accuracy, fire rate, and elemental tech pool is difficult to beat. The Dahl Explosive Bouncing Bettie grenade is extremely effective early game, and can serve to activate kill skills easily. Later it will lose effectiveness and should be replaced by the Dahl Corrosive Bouncing Bettie in order to increase the damage enemies receive from your explosive weapons.