Hi guys, Iv'e been testing a Wolverine Brawler build. I recently did an end game test at level 100, but only maxing talents upto 28 (this makes the zombies level 100 and Im essentially only level 28). It works against even cop zombies and radiateds, provided you can land clean hits to the head. I was able to destroy 5 horde nights easily using only fists. Using basic boxing tactics, you take no damage at all but can completely obliterate the horde. This is my attempt at a tutorial explaining how the build works.
Iv'e also done multiple play through's. My most recent up to level 32, Horde night every night, and without difficulty or deaths. I think its easier because you make a lot of money selling guns and ammo, so getting the necessary gear for this build is easy. I was roaming multiple Traders in the day and doing their quests at night, even at low level!
I hope they don't nerf this build now, but it has a super high learning curve to master, so shouldn't need to IMO.
The basic rotation priority is..
Bandage > Feint > Power punch if stamina is greater than 50% > Hook for AoE damage > Jab if less than 50% stamina or 1, 2 combo if greater than 50% > Backwards lunge > Drink Beer/Moonshine > run
Ill go into more detail later, but if you can use this combo effectively then you are basically invincible.
Pain Tolerance 5/5
Healing Factor 5/5
..and that's it.. all the way to endgame.
The gear I use is..
Steel Knuckle Busters
AK47 (hunting weapon of choice, also the panic button of choice)
-One clip of ammo (sell the rest)
Full Padded Armor
High performance running shoes (+10% Run speed)
College Jacket (+20% Run speed)
-all modded with Banded plating mod
Must Have Consumables:
-Pain Killers (while leveling)
-Vitamins (pop one before horde night starts)
-Pure Mineral water/coffee
Theres some nice books that work well with this build, but the RNG means its not really worth mentioning. Basically.. if you find a book that doesn't help with this build, then sell it for cash so you can upgrade the gear you need asap.
OK, now for the more detailed explanation...
Priority is simple. If you're bleeding then you need to bandage asap. The extra health regen from Fortifying grip only works based of 50% of your total health. So if you've bled out, then your total health is lowered, which means your healing factor is reduced. Keep it maxed. This is easy if you just chop down some curtains or bust open some couches and you can get your mats for bandages and padded armor all on day one. I have this set to the letter V, so I can mash V and mouse click for an instant bandage as soon as I see Im bleeding.
This is easier done when running towards a zombie. As soon as they start swinging, take a step backwards and start winding up that power punch. They will miss, allowing you to land a perfectly timed counter punch.
The feint can also be triggered at night on a running zombie. Instead of running towards them, you will most likely be back pedaling. Just stop back pedaling briefly, to get the zombie winding up early, then continue back pedaling, and they will miss. Distance management is key here. If at any point they end up close enough to land on you, that's when you need to backwards lunge which Ill explain later. I first practiced the feint on a world save with zombies that run all the time. Once you get it down, you are untouchable, especially with all the crowd control proc chance that's built into the Brawler talents. (Stagger, Knock down, ragdoll, Head pop).
Everyone wants to be Mike Tyson and just one shot zombies all day. But just like in real boxing, you need to be mindful of your stamina. Also you need to be aware of missing and being countered. Only use the right hand if you know it will land on the head, and if you have more than 50% stamina. When you have less than, just stick to the jab (left hand). This still has a high chance to have some kind of stun effect so if your just starting out, maybe just practice with the jab only. TBH I hardly use the power punch at night. I mostly use it if I get stuck, or surrounded and need to clear an opening, because its too punishing to your survival if you miss.
Yes you can hook in 7 days to die. I use it to hit 2 zombies at once. If you have 2 zombies side by side, you can aim to the left of the left zombie, throw a punch and swing the mouse to the right of the right zombie. If you time it right, you will smack them both in the head at once. On a horde night you could smack 10 zombies if you timed it right. But you generally don't want them coming at you more than 2 by 2. I try my best to keep them in a straight line and smack em down one by one, to be able to feint and lunge effectively, but the hook works well when you master it. Ive tried to master it with the right hand, but the delay makes it difficult to time it correctly. I usually end up in their swing space and get tagged, so I prefer to just use the left hook.
The 1, 2:
Left punch, right punch. The bread and butter of elite boxers, followed up with a hook of coarse. In 7 days, you mostly want to flick out the jab, but if you recognize them flinch early, then follow it up with the right. You get enough time to throw both punches and step out while they recover from the first jab. Even if you miss the right, you have enough time to lunge out of range.. which leads me to the next important manoeuvre..
They took away strafe running! Its still possible, but it takes practice. You can strafe run on a 45 degree angle. I haven't tested, but if feels slower than just sprinting straight ahead. This is why its important to wear light padded armor. Even just one or two leather items with speed mods will still slow you down enough to make this lunge ineffective. The Running shoes and College Jacket aren't essential to this build, but they definitely make life easier. This is your go to move when the zombie is close enough to hit you, and there is nothing you can do about it. You could just turn up your mouse sensitivity to turn 180 and bolt, but then you have to try and 180 turn back and land a clean head punch. I like my sensitivity turned right down so I can land every hit to the head. Just ask any boxer. Accuracy with timing, beats speed and power.
To lunge effectively, turn away from the zombie, either 45 or 90 degrees. Then sprint on a further 45 degree angle (hold shift, forwards and strafe all at once). Take two big steps, then look back at your opponent. By now they have missed you, and you are in perfect position for that counter power punch (when above 50% stamina of coarse). When you master this, you can even do it in a small lounge or kitchen at night, making night questing a lot of fun. Just make sure you are aware of your surroundings, as bumping into a couch can get you killed.
Gearing up takes priority over anything else when it comes to spending your coin. I start out making my own leather knuckle busters at level 3, on day one. Get the leather from animals or couches/clothes and scrap your first can food. This makes the first few days super easy. Then I make my own level 1 padded armor after chopping curtains/couches for cloth and chopping up carcasses on the road or animals for bones>glue>duct tape. There's no real need to upgrade this padded armor set, other than the extra mod slots you get and lasting longer, but I still like to upgrade them when I see them at a trader. I've experimented with other light armor and trying to reduce the speed debuffs with talents and mods etc, but each split second counts. even just a 1% decrease in speed is not worth it IMO. The health regen and ability to dodge, completely negates the need for more armor. By now its day 2 and you have some decent coin, so now Steel Knuckles/weighted mod takes priority over everything else. This will maximize DPS, and also give you more stun chance from the mod in early game, which is where this build shines. You want every punch to do some kind of stun effect. If your trader doesn't have them, then find another one. Rince and repeat until you get them. Also keep an eye out for the running shoes and college jacket. Their speed buffs make all your evasive manoeuvres much easier.