This guide will focus on how to play the Berserker. It will explain two different builds and will focus mainly on the passives the Berserker has. Cards will be added later.
Warrior/Berserker Build Guide
Tainted Grail Digital can be separated into two game modes. Campaign and Conquest, currently Berserker is only implemented in Conquest and so this guide will only apply to that game mode.
The Berserker focus on doing high damage through taking damage himself. This allows for a different playstyle compared to the Brawler and Guardian. Who prefer to take as little damage as possible, or even fully mitigate it. The reason for this is the special ability of the Berserker. For every hit he takes the berserker will get a charge. And for more charges he has the higher the amount of life steal gets per attack he does. As can been seen in the image below:
For those who prefer text:
- 4+ Charges Consumed: Gain 25% Life steal
- 8+ Charges Consumed: Gain 50% Life steal
- 12+ Charges Consumed: Gain 100% Life steal
And as added extra for when the Berserker’s HP is below 50%: + 1 Energy Per Turn.
Since the game is still in Early Access and things can change, so please keep that in mind. In this guide the focus will be on which passives work in combination with each other. Right now, there are two builds that have been considered fun and viable by the community. These builds work purely based on the passive the Berserker has and aren’t item or card dependent:
- Reflect (Thorns): The classic thorns build. You do damage when the mob damages you
- Low HP: The lower your HP the more benefits you get. Extra energy, extra damage
At level 10 and 20 you can also pick a passive for your rune. The guide will also highlight the choices given there and how they can interact with the builds.
The guide will later be updated with the best cards to pick and which items to aim for. Currently items are still hard and random to get so any item “works”. This can change in later updates.
Passives – All Builds
While there are two builds, there are some passives who are worth picking up in either builds since they offer a general advantage no matter what you route you go. The passives will be listed in order of viability the other thinks they are worth taking. Not all passives will be listed since they have not been used by the author. That doesn’t mean they’re not viable, there usually just is a better choice to pick from.
- Wide Swings
- Taste of Blood
- The Mountain
- Prey on the Weak
- Last Call
Description: Enemies in the first two rounds have -50% Armor
-50% Armor for the first two turns is a massive gamechanger that can allow you to get off an opening combo that allows you to chain into Wide Swings and Taste of Blood. However, on it’s own this passive is strong too and should always be picked up.
Description: On Enemy Kill – Deal [100% Base Damage] to all Enemies.
Wide Swings is considered quite powerful and works in any build. It is pretty much free damage anytime you kill an enemy and tends to get picked over any other passives usually. Though it’s not a must, but simply will let you chain your cards and passives better.
Taste of Blood
Description: Whenever you kill an enemy Duplicate the next Attack card played.
Taste of Blood is a beauty on it’s own. Every time you kill an enemy, the next card you play gets played twice. Now combine this with Wide Swings. Which means you do damage and get a free card on a kill every time you kill a monster. The combination of these two is always worth picking up.
Description: +50 Maximum HP.
While 50 HP does not sound as much to gain, it’s clearly a live saver when you start with only 100 HP at the start of the game. Even late game this is a good passive, simply because HP is the one thing you’ll always be starving for in this game. There is no need to pick this one if you have better passives to pick from, but if you notice you’re running low on HP this can be picked over the build passives
Prey on the Weak
Description: When you are fighting only one enemy, raise your Damage by 100%.
While this passive has selective usage, it’s still good to have. Since it will make bosses easier and as soon as you hit the single monster encounters on the map you want to have all the extra damage you can get it. It’s worth picking up when you know you’re going to encounter a boss, or you feel comfortable taking this over other passives that are offered.
Description: When you have 3 cards or less on hand, raise your Damage by 50%
More damage the fewer cards you have? That’s clearly a good passive for both builds, but considering you rarely get it, it’s not that great. It’s worth having it though and picking it over other options.
Description: Whenever you lose HP, draw 1 Card
As the berserker you’ll be taking damage often, so while this option looks viable remember that your hand gets redrawn when your turn starts. This makes this passive less viable than it looks. However, the cave-at in this case is with a big deck you can cycle through your bad cards faster. It’s still a very niche passive that could be considered useful in combination with some items.
Passives – Reflect
The reflect build focusses on taking damage and doing damage back to the enemy. Not only will this build lower your damage taken, but it will also increase the enemies damage take with the combination of passives. Keep in mind this build can and will make your HP look like a rollercoaster, but that’s the whole idea behind it. You will use your rune often in this build for the pure survivability it gives you. The downside of this build is that if you block an attack you aren’t taking damage so your passives won’t proc.
- Burning Blood
Description: On Damage Received – Reflect 10 Damage
This passive is the bread and butter and the Magnum Opus for this build. Enemies can and will multi attack and this one procs on every attack they do. For example if a simple rat would attack you 4 times, that means you will reflect back 40 damage in total towards him. If this gets offered and you want to play the reflect build, you have to pick this one.
Description: On each hit received – +5% Damage until the end of combat
Extra damage on hit taken is as good as it’s going to get for the berserker. Combining this with Demoralize means you technically get even more damage on every hit taken! However, there is also Fortify which means you’ll get more durable with every hit taken. While Burning Blood is your Magnum Opus. Well Pendulum, Demoralize, and Fortify are your holy trinity. The order in which you pick these three is personal preference. They’re all good but none is better than the other.
Description: On each hit received – Lower Enemy’s Armor by 3
As mentioned with Pendulum, these three passives are interchangable and can be picked in order of preference. If you prefer the aggressive route then Pendulum and Demoralize should be picked first, but once again it doesn’t really matter. All these three offer something that’s part of your core when it comes to the reflect build
Description: On each hit received +2 Armor until the end of combat
Same thing as with Pendulum and Demoralize. It’s a good passive and it doesn’t really matter which one you pick first, just go for personal preference. Fortify favours the more defensive playstyle though.
Description: On all Damage received – Distribute 10% of Damage received to Enemies
While reflecting 10% damage feels low it comes into effect later on in the game. Where enemies will start to hit harder and you get to negate the hits easier.
Passives – Low HP
The Low HP build is built around surviving with low HP, since the rune passive and other passives will boost your damage and possibilities immensely by doing so. It’s riskier than the reflect build since if you forget to block or can’t mitigate enough hits well it’s game over. You also want to limit the amount of times you use your rune, since technically it will lower your damage output.
DISCLAIMER: I haven’t tried this build yet, since I prefer reflect. But technically this should work.
- Last Resort
Description: When you have below 20% HP, gain 40 Armor.
Since you’ll be living on low HP most of the time, buffing your survivability should be the first priority. Armor caps out at 75 so starting with 40 will be a tremendous help and allows you to negate most of the damage already. Even when you’re the more aggressive player at one point you’ll be taking hits, but you want to minimize that damage, so this is a good first choice
Description: When below 25% HP – +50% Damage.
If Bulwark is your Yin, then frenzy is your Yang. They compliment each other really well since you’ll want to be sub 20% HP anyway. This way both will activate and give you both a offensive and defensive boost.
Description: Hit a random enemy for [Base Damage] at the start of combat. Ever 20% of your lost HP grants you an additional hit.
At this point you should be below 20% HP anyway so that’s five hits you’ll be getting from Rampage. Now combine this with the beautiful fear passive and you’ll have a nice opening damage combo without even playing a card. It’s a risky strategy but it works. Still taking the more defensive Bulwark is a good idea since if the golden rule of “Dead DPS does no DPS”.
Description: Whenever your HP is below 10% apply duplicate to every attack card played.
This is where you’ll enter the even more risky plays, but it’ll be worth it! Every attack you do gets played twice and it will also do 50% more damage because of Frenzy. It’s a high risk, high reward play but it’s worth it if you can pull it off.
Description: Berserker Rune Charges carry over from fight to fight
Normally this passive would be quite useless, but since on this build you want a life saver around, even if it means losing damage. This ability is your life saver, since you’ll always have some healing ready, even in a new fight. Otherwise this passive isn’t that great, especially for the reflect build it feels useless.
Passives – Rune Upgrades
On both level 10 and 20 you’ll be given an extra passive where you can chose to make your rune stronger. While these sound amazing, and in a way they are, none of these choices are mandatory for any build. They change your playstyle slightly and it comes down to personal preference.
The level 10 options are:
- Chant of Doom
- Born for Combat
Description: When you activate your rune with 8+ charges, gain +50% Damage UEOT.
The idea behind this passive is great, but usually your damage output is good enough to get away with not picking this one. It can allow for hilarious high damage numbers and give you amazing healing too. But the benefits are in the author’s opinion not worth it.
Chant of Doom
Description: When you activate your rune with 8+ charges, gain 30 Armor UEOT.
As is the same with Blood-oath, there is a certain idea behind it. However, it has limitation since at one point your armor will naturally be high because of other passives/items. Once again the benefits of this passive aren’t that great.
Born for Combat
Description: Start every combat with extra 4 charges of your rune.
While 4 charges is only 25% life steal it can be great to have at the start of the combat. It also means you’ll be able to get the 12 charges faster in a new encounter. For the Low HP build combining this with Amok should give a nice interaction.
The level 20 options are:
- Trembling Crash
- Remorseless Assault
Note: At this point in Early Access, when you hit level 20 these rune-upgrades don’t really matter that much anymore. They’re nice to have, but as said before, the strength comes from your other passives. At this point it’s personal preference
Description: When you activate your rune with 8+ charges, gain 2 Energy.
As class that’s mainly energy capped this one is nice to pick up. It will allow for more damage and thus more healing. It’s worth picking up. Blood-Drinker allows for the more defensive playstyle though. Which might work better the Low HP build.
Description: All hits while your rune is active also reduces targets Armor for 50% of the Damage dealt.
More minus armor equals more damage equals more healing. As you can see there is a theme going on here. While Blood-drinker gives you more energy to spend freely, Trembling Crash straight up applies it into the damage you’ll be doing. Trembling Clash is great for the reflect build
Description: When you activate your rune with 8+ charges, Stun all enemies.
It stuns ALL enemies not immune to stuns. What is there not to love about this? However, it’s situational and in the long term the other two options will outshine Remorseless Assault.
For now, the focus has been on explaining the passives. In the future I hope to expand this guide with the best card options. However, I’ve noticed during all the runs I’ve done that the cards I tend to pick differ on which passive I’ve started with. So, for the next update I’ll try to list those. For now, I prefer multiple attack cards, minus armor cards. Two specific cards are always picked and those are “Focus” and “All In”.
All in all, the berserker is a fun class for anyone who prefers to play the high risk high reward gameplay no matter what build you pick. Reflect only works when you take damage, so block becomes useless. Low HP gives you a higher damage output, but not drawing enough blocks / stuns makes you fall behind too. And even some enemy combinations can be the bane of your existence. It’s a gamble and that’s what makes this class fun.