Hold on there, pal

We need to know your age before letting you in...

Something's not quite right... Take another look and try again

Sorry, kid!

You're not old enough to come inside... Come back later.

Building a Bespoke Brawler

Dev Diary / Jun 29, 2021

“Friday night they’ll be dressed to kill, Down at Dino’s Bar & Grill”

It takes all sorts of criminals to build an underworld. Since launch, they’ve formed crews, double-crossed each other, and made money from their specific skills, but there’s about to be a shake-up. Combat designer Ian O’Neill has started a fight club behind a speakeasy in South Loop where some of the city’s mobsters are gearing themselves up to be a whole new type of gangster. These guys and gals ain’t interested in guns. They prefer doing things the old-fashioned way, with a lead pipe and some elbow grease. They call themselves Brawlers. Here’s what we know so far. 


Unleashing themselves upon Chicago later this year, Brawlers will arrive in a free update independent of any DLC content. You, the community, are going to help sculpt these Brawlers into their new profession. There are no figures set in stone just yet, so keep in mind that anything mentioned here is liable to change. 

A Brawler is a straight-up melee attacker, scouted from a few of our Hired Guns who always considered themselves too brutal for range weapons. Their talent tree is based around some of the existing core talents of Enforcers, so it’s worth mentioning here that Enforcers are going to see a bit of an overhaul in the next few months. The new and improved Enforcers will make their debut around the same time as the Brawlers. 

Profession Bonus

What can you expect from a Brawler’s profession bonus? 

  • Born Fighter: Increases your melee attribute by +20. 
  • Fight Light: Gain a bonus to your initiative and movement based on your loadout. This ensures that Brawlers who stroll into combat without a secondary or primary weapon are granted bonuses to their initiative and movement. Now, that’s straddling the line between brave and crazy!
  • Adrenaline Rush: Critical hits from melee attacks grant a free bonus move action. Adrenaline Rush rewards a Brawler’s critical hit on an opponent, by granting them an extra move afterward, which should be plenty to get them back into cover after an attack. However, this is only for critical hits, so it’s essential to keep an eye on each Brawler’s critical hit chance when hiring them. 

Lastly, there is a brand new profession talent for all Brawlers. This is a talent that the Brawler already has when you hire them:

Flurry of Blows: Allows Brawlers to rearrange faces by hitting the target 3 times with their current melee weapon.

Talent Tree

Now, let’s get to the part where you folks come in. In Empire of Sin, the talent tree has five tiers of active and passive abilities. In the case of the Brawler, these talents are all melee-based, some of which are shown below: 

Anything that’s shown in white won’t change as these are the core abilities for each tier. Tier 1 is already baked in with talents taken from the Enforcer talent tree. See all those question marks? That’s where you get to have your say and choose the talents that should fill those slots. 

Starting with Tier 2 – Passive Abilities, here are the potential talents that brawlers can choose from:

The core ability for Tier 2 is going to be Revenge; a knee-jerk reaction for any Brawler, sure, but also a useful skill to access early in the talent tree. The remaining talents are open for you to vote on. 

There are five glorious new options to choose from, but only the top two will make it to the Brawler’s Talent Tree. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

  • A – Shattering Impact: Any melee attack, from Meat Hook to Bull Rush has the chance to deal armor damage to an enemy.
  • B – Bloodsport: Any unlucky sucker who’s nursing a bleed during battle is going to have a lot more to contend with when your melee attack deals another 20% damage to them. 
  • C – Slugger: Plain and simple, this allows melee attackers to stun the opponent. As stunned opponents have less AP during their turn, this could come in handy if used strategically. 
  • D – Gore: Bull Rush applies bleed to the target, which complements Bloodsport nicely if you were to say, hire two Brawlers and bully your opponents to death. 
  • E – Thrill of the Kill: For the sadist Brawlers out there, Thrill of the Kill will restore 10% HP for every melee kill they make. 

Onto Tier 3 – Active Abilities, with the core talent, Uppercut. This brand new talent, unique to Brawlers, is guaranteed to deal critical damage when used. For the clued-in among you, you’ll know this pairs well with the Adrenaline Rush profession bonus mentioned above. Using Uppercut guarantees your brawler gets an extra move to make their escape after shattering an enemy’s jaw. 

Again, the remaining talents are up for a vote. There are five choices, and the most popular two will be chosen for the tier. They are:

  • A – Big Kick: The first ability to guarantee knockback. Useful if you were to kick the enemy into your ally’s Overwatch cone, or a poison deposit.
  • B – Sledge Blower: A heavy-handed attack that’s guaranteed to knock out the poor soul who’s gonna be eating it. 
  • C – Brace Yourself: Allows the Brawler to withstand the next attack on them, without dealing them any damage. 
  • D – Head Smash/Glasgow Kiss: Good Brawlers fight with their heads. Head smash is a case in point. A brutal head butt that deals 50% bonus melee damage.
  • E – Arm Cracker: This is essentially a disarm ability for Brawlers. Taking the fight to an opponent’s arm ensures they can’t use it to hold up their primary weapon.

Tier 4 – Passive Abilities, has the core ability Executioner, which rewards brutality by reducing the cooldown of all brawler abilities every time you give an enemy a grisly end. 

As for the rest, you know the drill by now, five options, the most popular two are chosen. 

  • A – Prowl: With plans to make more bespoke versions of Hunker Down, using it as a Brawler will boost your melee and initiative by 50+ for the following round. This has the potential to max out your melee attribute and place you much higher in the combat queue for the next round. 
  • B – Grudge: Focusing the fight on the same target increases the chance for a critical hit, which goes a long way towards granting you that extra move we mentioned earlier. 
  • C – Double Down: Got an opponent who keeps dodging punches? Using Double Down guarantees that you will beat the smirk off their face if you target them a second time. 
  • D – Low Blow: Brawlers can be dirty fighters, and Low Blow increases the chance of a critical hit through melee attack by 20%. It’s all about getting that bonus move!
  • E – Cut Man: All that bare-knuckle boxing gives Brawlers a thick skin. Cut Man puts it on show, making them immune to bleeding and rupture effects. 

Profession Keystone Ability

At the end of every gangster’s talent tree is their keystone ability. These are the talents that every gangster is working towards to really cement them as a badass. 

For Brawlers, three brand new talents are up for grabs, but in true Royal Rumble fashion, they have to duke it out and only one will make the cut. Here are the talents contending:

  • A – Brutal Challenge: Call out any enemy, boss or otherwise, for a one on one fight and they will only target you in combat until one of you dies. 
  • B – Warmonger: Every fighter has a war cry. Warmonger reduces all damage taken by 50% and increases melee damage dealt by 50% for two rounds. Not only that, but any execution performed within these two rounds prolongs Warmonger effects for an additional 1 round. Keep executing enemies, keep Warmonger ticking. 
  • C – Zig-Zag: A multi-target charge. Select three targets and dash between them, delivering a melee attack that’s a guaranteed hit. What if some of those are critical hits? You guessed it, you get a bonus move to return to cover after the attack. 

How to Vote

So you’ve seen the talents and know the ones you want your Brawler to focus their energy on, what now? Well, voting is open for each tier and you can have your say by following this link and clicking your preferred abilities. We will announce the winning talents in the coming weeks. 

Still in the mood for some fighting talk? This video takes a detailed look at the new Brawler profession and talent tree, guided by none other than the Brawler coach himself, Ian O’Neill. Now, get out there and fight for the abilities you want to see in the game!

Until next time, keep Sinning!

Rotate device icon

This website is best viewed in portrait mode.

If you're on mobile, please rotate your device.