Guide to the Brawler

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Brawler: Skills - Traits

A Man Brawler.

Brawlers are a heavy-armour melee class focused on dealing damage and tanking. Conceptually, the Brawler uses fisticuffs and battle gauntlets, rather than traditional weapons, allegedly like Helm Hammerhand.

Available to Races: Elf, Dwarf, High Elf, Hobbit, Man, and Stout-axe


In addition to tanking and dps, the Brawler has a number of buffs available to improve the fighting prowess and survivability of themselves and their fellows.

Brawlers also utilize a “currency” called Mettle which increases over time and is then spent to use more damaging attacks and abilities. More mettle also increases your overall dps.

The preferred stat of the Brawler is Might which, when increased, improves the Brawler’s physical mastery in addition to their Parry and Evade stats. Of note is the fact that, according to LOTRO wiki, Brawlers also get the highest return on their Vitality stat, meaning a high Morale pool is an important part of the class.

Finally, Brawlers utilize “set-up” and “finisher” attacks to buff themselves and debuff enemies.


There are a few phrases used when discussing the Brawler that are exclusive to the class and, honestly, quite confusing. Here they are so we know we are working common vocabulary for the rest of the guide:

Mettle - The currency (or “resource”) Brawlers build up and spend to use certain skills. You build mettle by using set-up attacks and other buffs.

Set-up - Three attacks that apply a temporary effect. While that effect is active, attacking with a skill that costs mettle turns the effect into a buff. These are also called “mettle builders.”

Mettle spender- Any attack that costs mettle to be used. They usually cost 3. They will trigger and apply the ability from the last set-up attack you used.

Finisher - Type of attack, generally mettle spenders but not always

Battle Flow - Passive buff that gives all attack skills (besides set-ups) +3% damage for every point of mettle you have. This is explained more in the passive buffs section.

Types of Attacks

If you look in your skills panel you will see that the Brawler attacks are categorized differently. This is not at all obvious but important to using certain things like Innate Strength (a passive buff, explained later). See the graphics above and read this:

Heavy Attacks - Increase Critical rating or mitigation. All mettle spenders. These are marked with a (H) below.

Balanced Attacks - increases parry or finesse. Marked with a (B) below.

Quick Attacks - Increase dps or threat. Marked with a (Q) below.

Skills at a Glance

Brawlers have lots of buttons (like any good LOTRO character) so this section offers a quick explanation of each one.

For a complete list of skills, see Brawler Skills.


Set-up Attacks

Mettle spenders/Finishers

AOE Attacks

“Area of Effect” attacks. These also spend mettle and can hit multiple targets.

Ranged Attacks

  •  Hurl Object- literally chuck some random thing at an enemy. They take -30% speed

Other Attacks



All taunt skills and threat generation require traits from The Fundament.

Passive Buffs

Most passive skills are just there and you get the general idea: if you traited blue, those passives help you to tank better; if you’re red, they help you to punch better. Unless you’re a super raider you really don’t need to worry about it. There are a couple things worth being aware of, though..

Battle Flow

This was explained a little bit above, but it pops up a lot with the Brawler and explained exactly nowhere except on its tooltip which is buried on the skills pane. Battle Flow is simply a passive bonus that gives all your attack skills (besides set-up attacks) +3% damage per mettle. It does not spend mettle.

Battle Flow
  • Characteristic
  • As a Brawler, you are comfortable in even the most chaotic melees. Your ability to unleash powerful techniques grows as you fight.
  • Each point of Mettle grants the Brawler +2% skill damage.

The trait  Enhanced Battle Flow increases your skill damage to +4.5% per pip, for a whopping +40.5% at maximum. Using set-up skills does not spend mettle, so they can get the boost for perpetuity (good for taking out trash mobs solo).

Innate Strength

This is a set of passive buffs that increase a particular stat when a particular attack is used and unlock as you tier up the red or blue trait specializations. Skills in The Fundament trait spec allow you to share these buffs with your fellows.

Virtues & Traits

This is not an endgame guide, but even if you’re just doing landscape then Virtues are important.

Punchy Kid Build

If you’re running red, then you want Might, Physical Mastery, Crits, and so on. I use these virtues: Zeal, Valour, Wit, Confidence, Loyalty.

Must-have traits include:

These kind of low level traits are obvious but make a big impact later on

  •  Aggressive Posture - even if you’re running a mixed build, this stance is key for maximizing dps

Tanky Kid Build

When tanking you want mitigations and vitality. I use these: Justice, Empathy, Loyalty, Fidelity, Idealism

Must-have traits include:

  • Brash Invitation + Cooldown - you only get two taunts and this one has range. THe more you can use it the better.
  • Defensive Posture - just like red line, stances are key to optimizing your role
  • Invite Mayhem - this switches on your morale bubble, which is huge for survivability
  • Enhanced Guard - a 16% boost to defense is a big deal

Legendary Items

Brawlers get Gauntlets and a Stein. Here are all Brawler traceries in brief plus some suggestions.

Fore more info, see Brawler Tracery Index

Traceries at a glance

Ability buffs are determined by tracery quality. +Stats are static per tracery level range.

  • Backhand Clout Targets & Damage - Increase targets up to +4 +Physical Mastery
  • Basic Attack Damage - Set-up skills up to +55% more damage +Physical Mastery
  • Come At Me - Cooldown up to -11s, bubble up to +27.5% +Vitality
  • Battle-wise Mettle Chance - Increase bonus chance up to +16.5% +Critical Rating
  • Brawler Melee Range - increase attack range by up to +0.77 +Finesse
  • Finish Attack Damage - Increase up to +27.5% +Finesse
  • Fist of the Valar - Reduce cooldown up to -4.4 seconds +Might
  • Fulgurant Strike Cooldown & Damage - Cooldown up -4.4s, damage up to +38% +Crit
  • Get Serious Duration & Damage Buff - Increase buff duration up to +3.3 seconds and effect up to +11% +Critical Rating
  • Helm-crusher Cooldown - Reduce cooldown up to -6.6 seconds +Physical Mastery
  • Hurl Object Cooldown & Damage- Reduce cooldown up to -3.3 seconds and damage up to +55% +Critical Rating
  • Ignore Pain Cooldown & Dispel Count - Increase effects dispelled by +1 and reduce cooldown up to -5.5s +Incoming Healing
  • Innate Strength: Criticals/Mitigation - increase duration up to +3.3 seconds and and effect up to +11% +Tactical Mitigation
  • Innate Strength: Damage/Threat - increase duration up to +3.3 seconds and and effect up to +11% +Might
  • Innate Strength: Finesse/Avoidance - Duration up to +3.3 seconds; effect up to +11% +Evade
  • Joy of Battle Cooldown & Effects - Cooldown up -66s; damage up to +55%; healing up to 1.65% +Vitality
  • Latent Light - Increase chance to trigger up to +11%; damage up to +22% +Tactical Mitigation
  • Mettle Shield - Shield bonus up to +33% +Vitality
  • Mighty Upheaval - Knockdown up to +33%; damage up to +38.5% +Might
  • One For All Cooldown - Reduce cooldown by up to -33 seconds +Incoming Healing
  • Plant Feet - Cooldown up to -49.5s; mitigation up to +27.5% +Vitality
  • Quick Feint Cooldown & Evasion Buff - Reduce cooldown up to -11 seconds and increase Clever Feint evade chance by up to +2.2% +Evade Rating
  • Share Skills Cooldown - Reduce cooldowns up to -44 seconds +Vitality
  • Shattering Fist - Debuff up to +36.3%; damage up to +38.5%

Red Line Suggestions

I mean if you’re not using The Maelstrom for landscape questing, what are you even doing?

  • Heraldic - Lion is the easy choice here. More Might = more punchy. But Ox works as well.
  • Craft - Blades and Destruction are the way to go here because we are pumping up our damage and keeping it simple.
  • Power - Single Target Crits and Single Target Damage are really the way to go to clear out enemies quickly. An argument can be made for others but we’re trying to be our punchiest selves here.
  • Mastery - Get Serious Duration & Damage Buff will help you kill stuff quickly which is the point.
    • Hurl Object Cooldown & Damage is not as obvious but the quicker you start a fight (with your only ranged attack, for instance) the quicker you can finish it.

Blue Line Suggestions

Popular opinion says the Brawlers make better tanks than dps, so if you’re going Fulcrum try these.

  • Heraldic - A case can be made for Lion, but Ox = vitality = morale = you stay alive longer
  • Power - Morale, baby!
  • Craft - Grand willpower/armour are easy choices
  • Mastery - Come At Me Cooldown & Mayhem Bubble means you stay alive longer and can pull aggro more often. Easy choice.

Further Reading

This guide was completed with help from the big brains over at the Brawler channel on Ghyn's Discord

Brawler Guide by Victor G

This guide is also available on google docs where it is more regularly updated