Battle Brothers Best Builds for Mercenary

Battle Brothers Best Builds for Mercenary 1 -
Battle Brothers Best Builds for Mercenary 1 -

For those of us that are first trying out Battle Brothers or prefer the base game, this is a guide to how to find usable mercenaries to build a reliable mercenary company. This can also be used to play BB with the DLC’s, but this guide’s main focus is playing just the base game.


For those of us that are first trying out Battle Brothers or prefer the base game, this is a guide to how to find usable mercenaries to build a reliable mercenary company. This can also be used to play BB with the DLC’s, but this guide’s main focus is playing just the base game.
Dedicated to fellow video game fan and BB enthusiast: Reaper/RageCage.
Originally I was going to just make a stam neutral build guild on reddit, but after talking to a friend of mine, RageCage, I decided to go whole hog and line out all the builds I have used and am using to get to day 462, beat and excel at 4 crisis, and prepare my company for a legendary location, Black Monolith. He had asked for help building his company after getting psyched to restart BB. My first reply, was hold on a minute, I can’t just tell you how to do this in five minutes. So here, for you RageCage, (and anyone else that this information is useful for) is a very long explanation of anything and most everything you need to know.

What’s in the Base Game and What is Not

First off, let’s start off what you’ll be working with in the base game. This was something I struggled with because most guides and wikis a*sume you have the base game plus all the dlc’s.
What’s in the Base Game
Legendary Location
As far as I know, there is only one legendary location in the base game, Black Monolith. To avoid spoilers, I won’t list the other ones that are available in the DLC’s, but that’s the only one I’ve found in the base game.
Named Items
Named items are the most desirable items in the game. They are the better weapons, shields, and armors that have higher damage, higher armor values, lower fatigue costs, etc. Only problem is how you get them in the base game is limited compared to the DLC’s. In the base game, you have two sources of named items. Enemy camps and cities with Armorers and Weaponsmiths.
Not every enemy camp or city with an Armorer or Weaponsmith will always have named items. The chances for both increase if certain things are met. For enemy camps, it’s the distance on the map from human settlements. This gives a % chance in spawning a named items in the loot pool after you clear the enemy camp.
Conversely, to raise the chances a human city will have a named item for sale, you need to do caravan runs to that city. Note that even if you do this, if there is negative modifiers such as missing people, named items cannot spawn. So make sure to clear these via contracts whenever possible.
Certain weapons and shields are available in the base game. This matters because there are builds online that require certain things such as Spetum for certain builds (spear tank in this case using constant spear wall). I won’t go through all of them, but for builds’ sake, the ones we care about are:

  • Jagged Pike (Goblin Polearm, 5 AP use even w/o polearm spec)
  • Billhook
  • Greatax (2H ax)
  • Mansplitter (2H orc ax)
  • Fighting Ax (1H ax)
  • Longaxe (2H ax that can hit 2 tiles away)
  • Greatsword (2H sword)
  • Two-handed Hammer
  • Rondel Dagger
  • Dagger
  • Crypt Cleaver (2H cleaver)


  • Heater Shield
  • Kite Sheild
  • Heavy Metal Shield (orc)
  • Throwing javelins and axes

What’s Not

  • Fencing Sword
  • Qatal Dagger
  • Polemace
  • Goedendag
  • Spetum
  • Bardiche
  • Two-Handed Flail
  • Axehammer
  • Whips
  • All other 2H cleavers
  • Barbarian throwing weapons


How I Choose Recruits

Any background can be a usable mercenary, but some are better suited for particular builds that others. I will show below how I go about choosing who to hire and who not to. I will use my 2H weapons build requirements as an example. By the way, I use the mod, Smart Recruiter – [] , which I highly recommend. It makes recruitment a lot less painfull as it can be hard enough already to find a useful recruit.
First I determine what my goal stats are for a certain build. For 2H’s I look for:
MA: 90+
Mdef: 35+
Hitpoints: 70
Fatigue: 125+
Resolve: 50
If a character is close or surpa*ses these minimums, I hire them if I have an open slot or need. To calculate expected stats, I use this table – [] on the BB wiki and excel. Just keep in mind, I am pretty sure the numbers for initiative are wrong–they should cap out at +5, not +6.
So let’s take a look at a possible recruit and see if he can make it.
Battle Brothers Best Builds for Mercenary - How I Choose Recruits - D38F621
You get 10 level ups and each level up allows for 3 attributes to be added. I do gifted as well so that is 10*3+3 = 33 total times I can level something up with 11 max per single attribute. I do MA/Mdef 1st for 2h’ers because they are THE most important stats for that build.
MA = 67 + 2.5*10 = 92
Mdef = 9 + 2*10 + 3(gifted) = 32
Hitpoints = 42 + 4*3+4(gifted) = 58
Fatigue = 85 + 4*8 + 4(gifted) = 121
Resolve = 44+5(brave) = 49
(I should mention that the average roll for hp is 3, but if you only need 3 rolls or are allowed 3 rolls, you can cherry pick during level up’s for the max rolls, in this case 4 for hitpoints)
You can see that Alvar would not make the cut. His melee attack is great. I can get that to high 80’s or low 90’s pretty easily. But his hitpoints are so low to start with, I would never get to my goal of 70 hitpoints (and some people want even higher hitpoints for their 2H’ers, 80 or 90). Otherwise, his fatigue and resolve are workable as is his melee defense. But he’d die so quickly to anyone with large alpha that he’s not worth keeping.
Let’s do this for one of the guys I did hire.
Battle Brothers Best Builds for Mercenary - How I Choose Recruits - 1336241
The nice thing about Oswald is that his hitpoints start out really high and he has a trait, Dexterous, that gives +5 to MA.
MA = 57 + 2.5*10 + 5(Dexterous) + 3(gifted) = 90
Mdef = 4 + 2.5*10 +3(gifted) = 32
Hitpoints = 69
Fatigue = 103 + 3*9 + 4 = 134
Resolve = 44 + 4*1 = 48
As you can, see very usable stats. His Mdef and Resolve are almost at my desired goal and more than enough fatigue which means he can handle really heavy armor and still have fatigue leftover to swing a hammer. His MA is also nice and high at 90. Plus he’s a brawler so initial wages are not super high.
Here’s Oswald’s stats at level 15:
Battle Brothers Best Builds for Mercenary - How I Choose Recruits - 9B57040
He got a lot of high rolls for Mdef which is fantastic, but the trade off was a few low rolls for MA. However that’s a trade off I’ll make in most cases since Mdef is so important to keep 2H recruits alive. (Note his fatigue nak*d is 135.)

Tank Build

Desired Stats:
Mdef: 35-45
HP: 80-90
Fat: 130+
Resolve: 60-85 (Preferably 80)
Traits: Tiny, Iron Lungs, Strong
Perk Build – [] 
Note that depending on your subbuild, you can swap between taunt, indom, or colossus/fort mind. For instance one of my tanks is designated as enemy #1 and does not really need taunt as he’s always completely surrounded (60+ def at level 11). In other cases, I trade colossuses for fort mind based on stat needs.
Final Example
Battle Brothers Best Builds for Mercenary - Tank Build - 9C56FF1
Note his Mdef without the famed shield is 39 and his nak*d fatigue is 140. Realize he is level 16 so some stats are inflated compared to where he was at level 11 (Mdef being 5 points higher. He was 35 at 11). Also I always use a goblin spear because its fatigue cost is so low (-3). Since these guys are built for defense, I don’t want a weapon that has a large fatigue cost plus spears give a +% to hit.

Banner Build

Desired Stats:
MA: 85+
Rdef: 15+
HP: 70-80
Fat: 130+
Resolve: As high as possible
Traits: Determined, Fearless
The banner or sergeant is the guy that gives resolve buffs to your entire party and helps rally. WIth that said, he needs as high of resolve as possible. Sky is really the limit here.
Perk Build – [] 
Note I use fearsome as my last perk. You could choose from a lot of other options instead, but this does result in a really high resolve check when fearsome procs on living enemies.
Final Example
Battle Brothers Best Builds for Mercenary - Banner Build - C1E0BB7
Note that Meinrad has 128 resolve after Fort Mind and Fearless.

2H Build

Desired Stats:
MA: 90+
Mdef: 35+
HP: 70+
Fat: 130+
Resolve: 50
Traits: Iron Lungs, Strong
Your 2H are going to be your main damage dealers. Some might argue that throwers become the main damage dealers once certain DLC’s are used, but in my experience with the base game only, these are the main force in my party. I have different variations of the perk build below based on sword, hammer, or ax. Sword hammer I give reach advantage while I my 2H ax guys quick hands since I don’t use their aoe as often.
Perk Build – [] 
Note I use fearsome as my last perk. You could choose from a lot of other options instead, but I build my party around making the enemies have constant resolve checks when fearsome procs on living enemies.
Also I should point out, some of my 2H’ers have gifted while I gave others rotation. I use a log of dogs to help chase down enemies, encircle them, and just be a general nuisance. With rotation, you can use them to engage enemies or get out of harms way as well, but that’s also 3 less Mdef as well. So it’s a trade off.
Final Example
Battle Brothers Best Builds for Mercenary - 2H Build - 06109F7
Note that Dirk does not have a weapon perk a*signed yet. I was/am hoping to get a famed 2H still before I take on Black Monolith, but I keep getting shields and famed 1H’s.

Archer / Thrower Hybrid

Desired Stats:
RA: 90+
Rdef: 30+
HP: 60-70
Fat: 115+
Resolve: 50
Traits: Iron Lungs, Strong
Perk Build – [] 
For the last perk, I’ve alternated between fearsome, overwhelm and duelist. It depends on the archer’s final stats. If he has really high resolve, pick fearsome. Is he able to have really high initiative and still meet the desired stats? pick overwhelm. Do you want a pure damage dealer? Pick duelist so his throwing weapons ignore more armor. Also some players don’t use the Bags perk for this setup; in that case, you could do duelist + overwhelm/fearsome. I like the versatility of it and choose to have it instead.
Final Example
Battle Brothers Best Builds for Mercenary - Archer / Thrower Hybrid - 984A5F5

Xbow / Polearm Hybrid

Desired Stats:
RA: 85+
MA: 85+
Mdef: 20+
HP: 80
Fat: 100+
Resolve: 50
Traits: Strong, Eagle Eye
Perk Build – [] 
Now this is a build I’d thought I’d like more. Early game Konrad was great, but I was expecting him to last until late game. He just falls short in actual experience, meaning that he gets hurt too quickly and/or does not do enough damage. With my melee hybrids, they may not be able to do a ton of damage, but their survival is much higher and their utility is much better. I should mention that this build was inspired by

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and he loves his VIP killer as he calls it. If you haven’t ready, I suggest watching his videos. His ones on

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were really helpful as well because they help illustrate how useful mobility is. Before I’d just have two battle lines meet and fight to the death; now my melee hybrids and bannerman hit with a polearm and move away each turn.
Final Example
Battle Brothers Best Builds for Mercenary - Xbow / Polearm Hybrid - 894A0A2

Polearm Hybrid

Desired Stats:
MA: 85+
Mdef: 20+
HP: 70-80
Fat: 125+
Resolve: 50
Traits: Iron Lungs, Strong
Perk Build – [] 
Now there’s a couple options in this build. I started with a Polearm Hybrid that has rotation; I’d actually recommend footwork over that. This is the kind of build that can engage in melee, but most times is not built to stay on the frontlines. With that in mind, I’d take footwork instead. Then I can choose when to attack twice (polearm 1x, quickhands to khopesh, khopesh 1x). Also I really have liked the khopesh as my sidearm, choose what 1h best suits your needs. You can see I also use fearsome here and again you can choose something else that better fits your style or needs. Also, an early game version of this build would be to expect lower fatigue from a recruit and use nimble instead of battleforged; lategame, however, you can be more choosy.
Final Example
Battle Brothers Best Builds for Mercenary - Polearm Hybrid - CD31C11

Dagger Assa*sin

Desired Stats:
MA: 90+
Mdef: 35+
HP: 70+
Fat: 125+
Resolve: 70+
Initiative: 150+
Traits: Quick, Lucky
Perk Build – [] 
This guy was inspired by two sources, a reddit – [] post by BSRussel and FilthyRobot – [] ‘s “Blueberry Hunter” build. Now I don’t like some of the perks FilthyRobot picks for his build and part of the reason for that is that his build is pretty 1 dimensional. It’s built for killing geists and that’s about it. On the other hand, most players are going to wonder why the heck I picked BOTH overwhelm AND Fearsome. A couple reasons. First and foremost, this character lives a dangerous life; if he doesn’t dodge or block, he’s going to get 1 or 2 shot and both overwhelm and fearsome resolve fails result in lower hit chance for his target. Second, his #1 is to kill very well armored, hard to hit, enemies like hedge knights. If a fearsome proc results in the hedge knight’s resolve dropping, he is now increments of +10% easier to hit. I ended up loving this character, but he had to be babysat until he reached level 10 or 11. Now though, I regularly take him into hard hitting camps like orc camps or hedge-knight dwelling raider camps. Part of the reason why I like him so much is that he provides a play style that is extremely different from so many other of my builds; in fact, he’s the only late game character where I want a high initiative.
A couple other things I should mention. You can s*rip him down to pretty bare bones armor and shield to give the least amount of fatigue penalty (-4 overall from a gobbo shield), but it lowers his already low armor rating which raises his chance of being 1 shot even higher. I ended up going with the setup you see below.
The second thing I want to mention is that this is a good example of where dodge shines. At 0 fatigue, his total defense is at 77 which is just absurd, higher if I use ~0 fatigue armor. That’s tank levels of defense and really good tanks at that. Now granted as he gains fatigue, that’ll go down, but if you manage his fatigue well and don’t waste it before you have his target’s resolve dropping, you should be fine. You might ask why not Relentless? I actually had waited to pick that last, seeing first if I really needed it. If you’re not familiar, relentless reduces to penalty to initative from fatigue as a character gets tired. In my experience, his initiative was either always better than his opponent (orc, raider, undead) or always worse (goblins) so it had little effect on turn order. Second, because he wasn’t getting fatigued until engaging due to pathfinder, I wasn’t terribly worried about lack of initiative hurting his dodge bonus until he was fighting someone, and the enemy was already in trouble.
Final Example
Battle Brothers Best Builds for Mercenary - Dagger Assassin - E6935FF

Early-game Overwhelm Flail

Desired Stats:
MA: 80+
Mdef: 25+
HP: 70+
Fat: 110+
Resolve: 50+
Initiative: 125+
Traits: Any positive ones
Perk Build – [] 
This, like my fearsome hammer build, is meant for early game recruits that don’t quite make the cut in other areas. Lack luster melee attack, melee defense and fatigue are good enough to make decent overwhelm flail mercs. Somethings to note:
#1 You don’t need high initiative like my example below, but you do want something around 80+ after armor, otherwise, overwhelm will not proc. To be clear, your character must go before the enemy he is target for overwhelm stacks to be added. Chances are this won’t happen against goblins (b/c of their extremely high initiative), but will often work against undead, orcs, and sometimes raiders.
#2 Juggler and Killer on the Run get bonuses to +hit head%’s, but aren’t necessary.
#3 I used adrenaline in all the recruits I built to this build and it worked really, really well early game. Wait for enemy to move close, close distance, get one hit in, adrenaline, get next turn, hit twice, kill or maim and start that snowball. Adrenaline works even better if 2 or 3 of your company have it as they can all focus 2 or 3 enemies before they even have a chance to act.
#4 I do actually have relentless on this build because he doesn’t have pathfinder, flail swings are very fatigue intensive, and I shield walled frequently as well. Thus any characters I had with this build got fatigued very quickly.
#5 Flails make for good early game weapons, but bad late game because enemies usually have poor head armor, your recruits don’t have high enough MA to hit through shields yet, and late game, flails just don’t have the alpha damage to be competitive among late game recruits.
Final Example
Battle Brothers Best Builds for Mercenary - Early-game Overwhelm Flail - 2EA120B

Early-game Fearsome Hammer

Desired Stats:
MA: 85+
Mdef: 25+
HP: 70+
Fat: 120+
Resolve: 70+
Traits: Iron Lungs, Strong
Perk Build – [] 
I have to admit, picking hammer was a mistake…at first. I actually meant to make a mace fearsome build. But after I started playing more, I enjoyed using hammer with fearsome more than I had in previous runs with mace. With an early game mace build, you pick it so you can stun an enemy to effectively remove him from combat (keep in mind orc warriors are immune to stun). Now with a fearsome hammer build, you can somewhat achieve the same end result, albeit a little slower, but also #1 cause damage and #2 eventually kill an opponent, neither of which a stun build does very well. This build I actually ended up using longer than the overwhelm flail because he was effective against later game camps for longer. It’s not something I’d keep for end game fights, but it’s extremely useful up and until that point.
By the way, if you can somehow pick up some direwolf mail armor – [] , this takes advantage of the -5 resolve to enemies bonus very well.
Final Example
Battle Brothers Best Builds for Mercenary - Early-game Fearsome Hammer - 3AC8415

2H Ax Stam Neutral

Desired Stats:
MA: 90+
Mdef: 35-40
HP: 85+
Fat: 105+ (target is 25 usable fatigue after armor/weapons)
Resolve: 60+
Traits: None required
Perk Build – [] 
Inspired by this reddit post – []  and a few others, I decided to try out a stam neutral build. At the time I was just getting no good recruits and was stuck. I cannot believe how much I like this character now. I now try to have 2 of these guys. By the way, due to the limits of weapon types in the base game, you’ll have to use an Orc 2H ax/Greatax paired with a Longaxe. There’s other 1tile/2tile combos you can use with the DLC’s, but that’s what works for this setup in the base game; it works really well though.
25 usable fatigue? What?
So a little known detail (at least for me) was that no matter what, your characters regain 15 fatigue at the end of each round. This means no matter what, a character can make at least one action, a*suming it’s 15 fatigue or less. And guess what, with Ax mastery, you can swing once with an Orc 2H Ax. And they hit like a freight train falling off a cliff.
So why are they so fun?
Because you’re not concerned about fatigue, you no longer need recover or brawny. And because you don’t have a lot of fatigue to use each round, indomitable and reach advantage are out of the question as well. This opens up a lot of other perk options. In this case, my guys have quick hands and can hit 1 or 2 tiles away. Just smacked the living tar out of an enemy, he’s barely alive, but his buddy just rotated him out of your reach? Well…where are you going sunshine? >Switch to Longaxe, proceed to finish the job.
Also because you’re not worried about fatigue for recruiting, you can focus on available recruits that have really high Mdef but crappy fatigue and make something out of them while in other circumstances you wouldn’t be able to.
This build setup is my favorite of all of mine. He can pseudotank while do great single target damage and can sit on the frontline or the second row. It’s a really helpful build both early and late game. 40+ Mdef, 85+ hitpoints plus Battleforged means he has pretty good staying power while fighting face to face with enemies. It’s a pleasure to watch this walking mountain just slam into opponents.
Final Example
Battle Brothers Best Builds for Mercenary - 2H Ax Stam Neutral - 0B710C7


Battle Brothers Best Builds for Mercenary - Summary - 71DEE59
Hopefully all this helps. I know it’s a lot of builds to chew through, but I thought it’d be helpful to see how someone else puts together his mercenary company.
By the way, as far as numbers, I tend to run:
1 Bannerman
3 to 4 Tanks
1 Assa*sin
1 Xbow/Polearm Hybrid
3 Archer/Thrower Hydrid
2 Polearm/1H Hybrid
2 Stam Neutral 2H Ax
4 2H Weapon Specialists (5 if I dropped the Xbow Hybrid or Fearsome Hammer)
Good luck out there and happy hunting.

Written by Vampiresbane

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