While the Skirmisher com has often been most melee Brick player’s go-to com, due the potential for an almost non-existent Berserk cooldown, the Berserker com offers quite a few advantages, particularly for solo-play, if you willing to adapt to having a non-trivial cooldown on Berserk. The main differences between the two are summarized below:
-Quite a bit more damage: An extra +30% from the 1st line, as well as +3 (or 4) in Heavy Handed.
-Higher Durability: Mat3 version has a stronger +% Maximum Health effect, and +3 (or 4) to Blood Sport gives much better health sustain if you’re managing to get kills (which is also easier because of the higher damage output).
-Longer Berserk duration: Due to +3 (or 4) in Endless Rage.
-Non-trivial cooldown: 30 seconds (5/5 Short Fuse), as opposed to the 12/6 seconds of a Skirmisher com (latter number if +4 is in Short Fuse).
-Selfish: 1st and 5th line don’t affect teammates (this is only bad in coop).
-Less ‘utility’: No bonuses to Sting Like a Bee or Bash, unlike with a Skirmisher com, thus these effects aren’t as strong with a Berserker com.
Alright, enough with the comparison, time to present the build!
I feel I owe you all a rundown of why I picked each of these skills:
Brawler Tree: 30 pts.
-Iron Fist: Melee Damage, 'nuff said.
-Endless Rage: It’s buffed by the com, and it buffs Berserk, which is what this build is all about.
-Sting Like A Bee: This skill is very useful. Helps us get around a bit faster, but more importantly it helps us stick to our target, particularly in light of the fact that being hit by bullets slows you down some, which can lead to getting kited into FFYL, not fun.
-Heavy Handed: On-kill Melee Damage that’s buffed by our com? Yes please.
-Short Fuse: The shorter the cooldown, the better, since this is our primary offense we’re talking about here.
-Blood Sport: It’s on the com, and it’s a GREAT help to our survivability, which is especially important given our 30 second Berserk cooldown as we REALLY don’t want to get put into FFYL unless our rage-time has already ran out.
Tank Tree: 30 pts.
-Hardened: Since Berserk regenerates 3% of our maximum health per second, this increases both our total hp and our health regeneration rate, a must for our survivability.
-Safeguard: Having a bigger shield will help stay alive and avoid being put into FFYL, and will crucially absorb damage for us as we rush into melee range. Nothing’s worse than popping Berserk and rushing in only to get put into FFYL right as you finally get into range.
-Bash: Daze can go a LONG way towards mitigating how much damage a problem enemy is dealing to us. This is where we get it from.
-Juggernaut: On-kill damage reduction, to help us survive under fire.
-Payback: This skill actually buffs a LOT of different damage effects. It buffs bullet damage by 40%, but also grenade (and rocket) damage by 35%, melee damage by 35%, and damage from elemental DoT effects (including non-explosive Fists!) by 35%. This will only trigger when our shield goes down, but since we are jumping straight into the thick of it, this is likely to happen fairly quickly, and with how much health sustain we have, chances are, we’ll get to take full advantage of the 10 seconds of buffed damage.
-Diehard: Ideally, this is a skill that we will rarely need. It’s here mainly to save our bacon when **** goes bad and we end up in FFYL long before our Berserk had run out. Not only do we have a long time to get our Second Wind, but since our Berserk still on cooldown, and our guns aren’t on par with a Blaster Brick we’re in greater danger of being put in FFYL again, this is when the 5 points spent here earn their keep.
Blaster tree: 8 pts.
-Endowed: This is mainly here because I had some points left over, and because it also buffs our Explosive fists some too (and our explosive weapons, when we end up needing them).
-Revenge (3/5): This is also a matter of where to put the last points. I chose this skill to try and help out our gunplay some more since occasionally we’ll have to fall back to our guns in order to get the job done (some enemies just won’t cooperate with that whole getting punched to death thing).
After doing some research, I came to the conclusion that the ideal shield for this build is a (level 69) Torgue TRG-550XC Impenetrable Muscleman. I had considered running super high capacity (Pangolin) shields, but I realized that most of this build’s durability is a result of the powerful health regeneration effects of Berserk and Blood Sport. I also thought about the idea of stacking a Tediore Panacea’s health regen with the aforementioned effects. However, a level 69 Panacea provides 16.2 health regeneration, whereas the +60% Maximum Health gives 0.61120=672 more health, which causes Berserk to have 6720.03=20.16 more health regeneration, thus running a Muscleman actually gives more health regeneration (during Berserk) than a Panacea.
This is really up to user preference, you won’t be using them often (since iirc you can’t throw Grenades while in berserk). Some things to consider in making your choice: Transfusion Grenades are a great way to open up an engagement against a heavily gun-armed mob, chances are they’ll break your shield pretty fast, and may take you a moment to get into fist-to-face range. Tossing a few Transfusion Grenades at them before charging in will, if timed properly, result in the wisps healing back any health damage they have done to you as you closed into melee range. Corrosive Grenades of various types can be used to spread the corrosive debuff around, which causes afflicted enemies to take more damage from all sources while they are taking corrosive DoT. Grenades can also help set-off your on-kill skills (Heavy Handed and Juggernaut in particular) so that they’re up by the time you’re in melee range.
Yet again user preference prevails, but there are some things to keep in mind when choosing your toys. We have three main uses for guns: Killing enemies that can’t be dealt with readily (or at all) with our fists, getting second winds, and fighting while Berserk is on cooldown. Since we have only Payback, Endowed, and 3/5 in Revenge, our gun selection should be geared towards weapons that are good at getting second winds, in particular, those with good fire rates as we still have some decent damage buffs. We also have a slight preference for explosive weapons thanks to Endowed but it’s not a big factor in choosing our weapons.
Class Mod: Mat2 or Mat3?
It’s worth examining the question of when to use the Mat2 version, which has -39% Bullet Resistance (this actually increases effect hit points against bullets by 39%, despite the negative sign appearing), versus the mat3 version, which has +56% Maximum Health. Since Maximum Health increases increase how much health regeneration Berserk gives us, in most cases the Mat3 version is superior, however, against a mob that is mostly composed of gun armed enemies, the bullet resistance of the Mat2 version can be extremely useful. So in general I recommend running the Mat3 version most the time, swapping to Mat2 version when you know you’re gonna be up against mostly gun armed enemies.
Gameplay tips and other information:
Unlike with a Skirmisher com, here because of the 30 second cooldown on Berserk, getting put into FFYL can be very problematic. Even if we do get our second wind (most likely will with Diehard), Berserk is now on Cooldown and will be for a while. With a typical Skirmisher build, Berserk is often back off cooldown by the time you have your second wind, allowing the Skirmisher to resume fist-to-face action basically immediately. This means it is important to play smart with the Berserker com, and avoid situations that are highly likely to put you on your knees. This means fighting smart, and dividing and conquering your enemies. Look for enemies that are relatively isolated from their comrades and pick them off first, prioritize enemies that have a high damage output to durability ratio (i.e. squishy high dps enemies first!), look for targets who are in a position where attacking them allows you some degree of cover from their allies.
Guns with a melee accessory synergize well with this build, as you have some substantial buffs to your melee damage.
The skill point allocation in this build works well with Skirmisher and Centurion coms as well, allowing you the freedom to swap between them without needing to respec.