The 1st line effect says it all, this com is all about Rocket Launchers. Brick is generally regarded as the best of the four characters to specialize in Rocket Launchers with, and for good reason, apart from Roland’s DLC3 only Marine com, no other character has a class mod that specifically buffs Rocket Launchers, and Brick is the only character to have a skill dedicated exclusively to buffing Rocket Launchers (Wide Load). On top of that he has another skill (Master Blaster) that also has Rocket Launcher exclusive benefits.
-You dawg I heard you like rockets with rockets, so I fired more rockets so you can have rockets with your rockets!
-Rockets generally have sizable blast radii, hence this build is VERY effective against tightly grouped enemies.
-Rocket ammo regeneration from mat3 version is invaluable with many of the more ammo hungry Rocket Launchers
-Some enemies refuse to cooperate with being killed by rockets (and some of these same enemies also refuse to oblige being punched to death too).
-Rockets can cause self-damage if you’re within their blast radius, this makes fighting enemies that bum rush you potentially very hazardous to your hit points.
-Limited damage buffs means that you will need to fire more rockets, and hence use more ammo compared to some other builds (such as mat3 Warmonger).
Brawler Tree: 13 points
-Iron Fist: This is here for when we end up actually using Berserk, either to deal with enemies that our rockets are ill suited to, or because our shields are down for the count finally.
-Sting Like A Bee (3/5): Having 3 points in this skill will help tremendously in keeping us from getting kited when we use Berserk.
-Heavy Handed: Since there were 5 points left over, I decided we could give Berserk some more damage. If you want to be able to swap to other Blaster-Tank type builds with other coms without respecing, consider moving these points over to Revenge.
Tank Tree: 30 points
-Hardened: The more health, the better.
-Safeguard: The more shields, the better too, especially since we’re running Unbreakable, which synergizes well with this skill.
-Juggernaut: It’s not that hard for us to get kills with this build usually, so on-kill damage reduction is quite welcome, as this will help our shields and health last longer.
-Payback: This skill lasts for 10 seconds and cannot trigger again until our shields have fully recharged, notably it increases grenade damage by 7%/pt (for a total of +35%) which affects Rocket Launchers and stacks multiplicatively with Weapon Damage buffs (including the +48% Damage from max Rocket Launcher proficiency). It also buffs melee damage by the same amount, which helps Berserk (and it will probably still be active once the shields we got from Unbreakable run out.
-Die Hard: With the added danger of our own splash damage, this build tends to take a knee a bit more often than other blaster tank builds, which makes this skill all the more valuable.
-Unbreakable: This skill shares the same trigger condition that Payback does, but lasts for 5 seconds instead. During this time it provides powerful shield regeneration, regenerating a total of 75% of our maximum shield capacity (after buffs, including Safeguard) in that time frame. The extra shield strength is especially handy with Payback, giving us much need shield strength so that we can continue to attack and take advantage of Payback’s damage buffs.
Blaster Tree: 25 points
-Endowed: It’s buffed by the com, and also buffs our non-Elemental Rocket Launchers (which are Explosive by default). This buff stacks multiplicatively with both Weapon Damage and Grenade Damage effects that are applicable to our Rocket Launchers.
-Rapid Reload: Also buffed by the com, this will further increase our reload speed, though the effect isn’t very large compared to the +102% Weapon Reload speed granted by having maximum Rocket Launcher proficiency, and +45% Launcher Reload Speed from the com’s 1st line (for a total of +147% to Reload Speed with Rocket Launchers before Rapid Reload is even considered). The recoil reduction is unfortunately bugged, and actually increases recoil, but the effect is very slight anyways, so it’s generally inconsequential.
-Wide Load: This the other skill buffed by the com, and for obvious reasons: it exclusive affects Rocket Launchers. This skill increases Rocket Launcher magazine size by a flat amount (applies after any % increases are considered), this skill has the greatest effect on single shot Rocket Launchers (barrel4_1shot) turning into high damage, high magazine capacity doom launchers! Though it remains significant for all types of Rocket Launchers.
-Cast Iron: Since this build sometimes ends up dealing splash damage to itself, and because there’s a fair chance that damage will be Explosive, this skill seems very worth investing in. Nevermind the fact that it will also notably reduce the effectiveness of enemy Explosive damage as well, which synergizes well with our considerable hit point buffs.
-Master Blaster: A powerful on-kill fire rate buff and rocket ammo regeneration too? This skill is fantastic to begin with, and we take full advantage of both its effects with this build.
As usual, Brick excellent synergy with high capacity shields make maximum capacity Pangolin shields a natural choice. Given that you often run the risk of dealing splash damage to yourself, when using Elemental Rocket Launchers, it can sometimes be a good idea run a max capacity mat3 resistance shield of the type appropriate to the Element of the Launcher you are using, e.g. Cationic/Endothermic/Hazmat for Shock/Fire/Corrosive respectively.
This is really up to user preference, given that we can tend to deal splash damage to ourselves already with our Launchers it may be best to run Transfusion Grenades since they are the only type of Grenade that can’t cause self-damage and hence can help deal with enemies that get too close to you. They will also heal back any health damage you’ve taken whether from enemies or your own rockets.
Obvious we want Rocket Launchers! But just what sort of Rocket Launchers are available to us? There are a number of Legendary Rocket Launchers which offer unique mechanics as well as a Pearl Rocket Launcher. These are described below:
-Torgue Undertaker: This Pearl Rocket Launcher is perhaps the best general purpose Rocket Launcher in the game. It spawns with a unique barrel, which gives it a massive 8 rocket magazine (10 with mag5), and it does more damage and has a higher fire rate than a regular purple Torgue Rocket Launcher with equivalent parts (sans unique barrel of course), hence it’s generally superior performance.
-Nidhogg: This legendary Hyperion Rocket Launcher fire rockets which explode into several sub-munitions after a fixed distance which rain down somewhat like an Atlas Explosive Rain Grenade, but the sub-munitions are actually rockets too. With practice, it’s possible to have the rocket split into it’s sub-munitions right in front of an enemy typically resulting in most of not all of the rockets dealing at least some damage to the target. This together with the Nidhogg’s considerably increased damage can make it a very deadly Rocket Launcher in the right situations. It spawns with a special version of the 2-shot barrel and has a magazine size of 2, and also consumes only 1 ammo per shot, which makes it fairly easy on the ammo pool, as legendary Rocket Launchers go.
-Rhino: This legendary Maliwan Rocket Launcher is always elemental (as all Maliwans are), hence no Explosive versions can be found. It spawns with a special version of the 2-shot barrel which causes rockets fired to detonate periodically as they fly in towards their target. With some careful range management, it’s possible to have the rocket reliably explode in this fashion just before striking the target and exploding the way other rockets do when they finally reach their target. In short, you can basically get a 2nd free hit with same rocket this way, increasing damage dealt. This periodic detonations also make Rhinos excellent at clearing hallways and other long, narrow spaces. Just as with the Nidhogg, the Rhino has a magazine size of 2 and consumes only 1 ammo per shot, making it easy on the ammo pool for a legendary rocket launcher.
-Redemption: This legendary Torgue Rocket Launcher spawns with a special version of the 1-shot barrel, giving a magazine size of 4 (5 with mag5). It fires an unusually large rocket that costs 4 ammo but has a larger blast radius and deals considerably more damage than comparable purple launchers. As a result of the high ammo cost, the Redemption is rather ammo hungry. It is most effective when used at medium ranges against grouped enemies where the high damage per shot and large blast radius will maximize devastation.
-Mongol: This legendary Vladof Rocket Launcher has a special version of the 3-shot/helix/triple/spread barrel (barrel1), (it behaves similarly to the 3-shot varieties) which gives the Mongol a magazine size of 9 (11 for mag5 versions). It fires rockets that cost 3 ammo which release additional rockets at a fixed angle and random direction from it’s own trajectory at frequent intervals (read: multiple times per second). These rockets also have this same effect as do their sub-rockets, etc. This certainly explains the “Beware the Horde!” red text, and also suggests how to be best use the Mongol: it is best used at a fair distance and from high ground so that the splitting rockets have time to undergo as many splits as possible, resulting in a hail of rockets that will cover a large area. Given it’s ammo cost, the Mongol is rather ammo hungry.
Beyond Pearl and Legendary Rocket Launchers, standard Purple Rocket Launchers offer a fair amount of choice. The main differences, aside from the standard manufacturer differences, come from the barrel, followed by accessory. The other parts all have one or two best in slot choices. Body5 is the best body and can be easily identified by the designation beginning with RWL. The best stock is stock5, but the the overall effect of this part is minimal (most notable difference is the lack of a small reload speed penalty on stock5 and it’s superior stability, which isn’t very relevant in practice), so having a non-ideal stock isn’t a huge drawback. Stock5 can be identified by a leading 7 in the numeric part of the weapon’s designation, and a trailing 0. There are two ‘best in slot’ magazine choices, mag4 gives a modest damage buff that no magazine provides (hence is necessary for maximum damage rocket launchers), but isn’t all that fast at reloading, whereas, mag5 has the fastest reload speed and also increases magazine size (which has a base value determined by barrel) by a moderate percentage. The mag size increase is too small to increase guncard magazine sizes for barrels with base mag sizes under 4, thus only Spread launchers, and Redemptions, Mongols, and Undertakers have different mag sizes on their gun cards with this mag. However, percentage buffs to magazine size, such as the 5th line effect of a mat3 Centurion com use the un-rounded decimal value for a weapon’s magazine size when determining what the increase works out to hence a mag5 launcher can end up with a larger magazine via such buffs than a non mag5 launcher with otherwise identical parts. Mag4 can be identified by a 6 appearing in the middle of the numeric designation, e.g. an RWL16 or RWL760 (latter is stock5), similarly, mag5 has a 7 appear instead of the 6 of mag4, e.g. RWL17 or RWL770. Elemental Rocket Launchers are such because of having the elemental accessory, hence the situation with accessories described below applies only to Explosive Rocket Launchers.
There are three non-elemental accessories, they are the Evil accessory, the Devastating accessory, and the Recoilless accessory.
-Evil accessory: This accessory doubles rocket velocity, which is most helpful when engaging fast moving enemies, particularly enemy vehicles.
-Devastating accessory: This accessory increases damage and blast radius by modest amounts, and is often preferred for this reason, it is especially effective on Helix launchers because it helps offset the smaller blast radius of the Helix mini-rockets
-Recoilless accessory: Substantially increases accuracy, hence this accessory is ideal for maximizing sniping potential. (Accuracy values can reach levels comparable to sniper rifles!)
The barrel has the most significant effect on the characteristics of a Rocket Launcher and there are each one offers unique traits.
-Barrel1_3-shot: This version of barrel1 fires one ordinary rocket at a time, similar to barrel2 and barrel4, but has higher magazine size (3) and lower damage than either of them
-Barrel1_Helix: This version fires 3 mini-rockets simultaneously, instead of a single rocket, which cost a total of 1 ammo these rockets fly in a tight spiral and have a substantially smaller blast radius, but the combined damage of the 3 rockets is significantly higher than a single rocket. Because of the small blast radius, Helix launchers are safer to use in close quarters than other types, and this is one niche where they excel. They are also very effect against large targets which can easily be hit by multiple mini-rockets per shot. Magazine size is also 3.
-Barrel1_Triple: This version is very similar to the 3-shot version except it has lower accuracy but nearly triple the fire rate and fires in 3 shot bursts. These versions are very useful for laying down a high volume of fire with moderate precision, but are rather ammo hungry as a result.
-Barrel1_Spread: This version has a magazine size of 5 and nearly 5 times the fire rate of the 3-shot version and fires in 5 shot bursts. The rockets are fired in a fixed horizontal spread, thus accuracy rating is thus irrelevant. These launchers excel and causing wanton devastation over a fairly wide area and extremely effective at destroying entire groups of enemies, but they are very ammo hungry.
-Barrel2: This version is similar to Barrel1_3-shot but only has a magazine size of 2, in exchange for a modest increase in damage.
-Barrel4: Also similar to the Barrel1_3-shot but with magazine size of 1 and a more substantial damage buff than Barrel2 to compensate. Given how Wide Load works, these are among the best general purpose purple rocket launchers for this build, but barrel4 is unfortunately rather rare.
Mat2 or Mat3?:
The mat2 version of the com boast an impressive +56% Launcher Fire Rate 5th line effect, which can considerably increase DPS. However, without an outside source of Rocket ammo regeneration, you will likely run dry fairly quickly with the mat2 version. The mat3 version has the highly sought after +23 Launcher Ammo Regeneration 5th line, which is strong enough to generally prevent you from running out of ammo and hence is typically the preferred choice. However in coop, if you have an allied Roland running Support Gunner, your ammo needs are taken care of, and in this situation the mat2 version is the preferred choice.
General tips and other information:
Rockets unfortunately have some glitchy interactions with certain pieces of terrain (notably most ramps), where despite appearances the terrain will actually block the splash damage from effecting nearby enemies, it takes a fair amount of practice with rocket launchers to get used to what bits of terrain will do this and adjust your aim accordingly. Often times, it’s better to aim for the feet rather than right at the target (the aforementioned glitchiness is a notable exception) that way even a ‘miss’ will still end up dealing splash damage to the target. To help avoid taking splash damage from your own rockets, jumping before firing at nearby enemies is recommended. Be aware of how large your launcher’s splash radius is, as you can often damage enemies that are close without hurting yourself by aiming a bit behind the given enemy exploiting the splash radius to damage the enemy some without harming yourself. The rocket ammo regeneration effect of Master Blaster works even if you don’t have a rocket launcher still equipped, and even while in Berserk, as such, using a backup weapon or Berserk when you’re running out of ammo can help rebuild your ammo pool (especially helpful with mat2 versions of the com). Rocket Launchers cannot crit enemies (with the notable except of The Destroyer it seems), hence some enemies which have large zone multipliers for their critical hit zones can be difficult to kill with rocket launchers. Rockets are also hard to use against flying enemies (which are also hard to punch, though you can actually punch them even if they are high up in the sky by standing directly below them and aiming up), hence having a few non-Rocket Launcher back up weapons on hand for dealing which such enemies is recommended.