New World Brawler Build: Sword And Shield & Great Axe

Written By hacktheminotaur
The Brawler Build for New World is perfect for visceral melee combat in both PVE and PVP situations. This build offers a great combination of AOE damage, crowd control, defense, and mobility, letting you stand up to multiple enemies at once with ease.

Build Introduction

The Brawler Build for New World focuses around dealing damage and stunning the enemy, all while maintaining great defense and passive healing. This build functions incredibly well both in PVE and PVP content.

Best Attributes

The Primary Attribute for the Brawler build is going to be Strength. Strength in New World increases the damage of both the Sword and Shield and the Great Axe, making it easy to maximize the total damage output of this build as high as possible. We’ll also get some powerful passive milestone bonuses for increasing the Strength Stat, including improved light and heavy attack damage as well as Grit – making our attacks nearly unstoppable.

Putting points into Constitution is aslo recommended for increasing your Maximum Health, especially early on in the game. Having at least 50 points in Constitution results a fantastic healing perk great for all builds that increases the effectiveness of your potions. Eventually, you will want at least 100 Constitution for the bonus Health Perk as well.

Armor Choices

New World has a detailed Armor Weight and Equip Load system which provides different bonuses and drawbacks depending on your overall build weight. For the Brawler Build I prefer a Medium Equip Load as this gives us a good balance of damage and armor resistances that I find to be the most useful in a variety of PVE and PVP content. You can also go with a Heavy Equip Load if you prefer for even greater Physical and Elemental Resistances, helping you stand toe to toe with tougher enemies.

Medium Armor builds have the following passive bonuses in New World:

Medium Equip Load

  • 10% Bonus Healing
  • 10% Bonus Damage
  • Medium Dodge Distance: the Dodge Hop
  • Average Physical and Elemental Resistance

For comparison, Heavy Armor builds have the following passive bonuses:

Heavy Equip Load

  • 15% Bonus Block Stability
  • 20% Bonus Crowd Control Duration
  • Shortest Dodge Distance: the Dodge Slide
  • Highest Physical and Elemental Resistance

As you can see, Heavy Armor passives are great for increasing a build’s survival thanks to increased Block Stability and Crowd Control durations, while Medium Armor passives will be great for slightly increased Damage, Mobility and Healing.

The choice of how to build your character’s Equip Load is up to you, however if you do decide to build into Medium, keep in mind that you can wear up to 2 Heavy Armor pieces for greater protection and still qualify for the Medium Armor bonuses if you get just the right mix of Medium, Light and Heavy pieces.

More information can be found in our Detailed Equip Load Guide.

Armor Attributes

Remember, when looking for gear pieces for this build try to find those with a bonus to the Strength Attribute for increased damage. Some additional armor pieces with Constitution will be a great choice as well for the increased Health.

A great Armor Set to be on the look out for as you level up this build will be the Armor Of The Soldier Set. This set buffs exclusively Strength, which will let you reach the highest damage threshold possible.

Primary Weapon

The Primary Weapon for the Brawler build is the Sword And Shield. We’ve talked about how versatile the sword and shield is already, and with the right skills it becomes a great tool for survival as well as damage.

Some possible traits you will want on your Sword include Empowering Whirling Blade or Enchanted.

One of the best possible Gems you can get slotted into your Weapon will be a Cut Emerald Gem. This applies the Opportunist Trait to your weapon which will deal additional damage against targets below 30% Health.


When it comes to your choice of Shield on this build, keep in mind that Tower Shields will have the best Defense, while Kite shields will provide the best Offensive Boost. I prefer a Kite Shield personally on this build to improve our overall offensive potential.

Secondary Weapon

The Secondary Weapon for the Brawler Build is going to be the Great Axe. This weapon provides great mobility, crowd control and damage all at once.

Some great weapon Perks you will want to be on the look out for include Mending Execute and Keen.

Sword And Shield Skills

The Sword And Shield Skills we’ve selected for this build are centered around AOE Damage, Crowd Control and Survivability.

Click each skill name below to learn more about that skill and its upgrades.

Skill #1

Whirling Blade

Deal 145% weapon damage to all foes within 2 meters.

Cooldown: 15.0

Weapon Tree: Swordmaster

Tier I

Skill #2

Shield Bash

Deals 50% weapon damage and stuns foes in front of you for 2s.

Taunt Gem Compatible: If you have a Carnelian gem equipped in your sword, this ability applies a 6s taunt to all enemies hit. Taunt causes monsters to only focus on you.

Cooldown: 25.0

Weapon Tree: Defender

Tier II

Skill #3

Defiant Stance

For 8s, reduce the incoming base damage of attackers by 30%.

Taunt Gem Compatible: If you have a Carnelian gem equipped in your sword, this ability applies a 6s taunt to all enemies within 8m. Taunt causes monsters to focus only on you.

Cooldown: 45.0

Weapon Tree: Defender

Tier III

Great Axe Skills

The Great Axe skills we’ve selected for this build center around Damage, Crowd Control and Mobility.

Click each skill name below to learn more about that skill and its upgrades.

Skill #1


Extend your axe 5m pulling foes to you and dealing 110% weapon damage.

Taunt Gem Compatible: If you have a Carnelian gem equiped in your great axe, this ability cause a 4s taunt when it hits. (Taunt causes monsters to focus only on you).

Cooldown: 18.0

Weapon Tree: Reaper

Tier I

Skill #2


Charge 10m dealing 120% weapon damage when you reach a target or Press LMB.

This ability has Unstoppable (you cannot be interrupted while preforming this ability).

Cooldown: 20.0

Weapon Tree: Reaper

Tier II

Skill #3


A powerful overhead attack dealing 200% weapon damage. Deals 300% weapon damage vs foes under 50% health.

Cooldown: 25.0

Weapon Tree: Reaper

Tier III

Combat Basics


To get the jump on a target before they have a chance to prepare you will want to immediately engage with Charge. This allows you to cover large distances very quickly and get into melee range.

Crowd Control

The Brawler build does a great job of locking down targets and denying them any escape. First, if an enemy attempts to run you will be able to pull them back close to you and your group with Reap. Once your opponent is in range you can then begin dealing damage and switch to the Sword And Shield when you need another stun via Shield Bash.

Self-Healing And Survival

Make sure to use Defiant Stance with the Restoration upgrade unlocked to automatically heal when this skill ends. This ability is incredibly strong, not just for the healing but also for the extra damage mitigation.

Important Passives

Passive Skills in New World are extremely important, especially for Tanking. Here are the best passives recommended for the Meta Tank Build.

Sword And Shield

Great Axe

  • Greed
  • Executioner’s Speed
  • Critical Gains
  • Keen Edge
  • Critical Condition
  • Feed
  • Blood Lust



You’ll want to start this build off with a basic food option such as Light Rations or Travel Rations. This food is helpful at all times, whether you are in a group or playing Solo as it slowly restores your Health over time. Keep in mind you can also consume this food for a faster heal over time for a few seconds if you are not getting hit.


For Potions, Weak Health Potions will be fine at first, but you will eventually want to upgrade these to Common Health Potions and Strong Health Potions. Strong Health Potions are essential for Tanks as that extra burst heal for emergencies can be a real life saver.

Build Leveling Options

For leveling up the Brawler Build you may need to occasionally have access to better healing skills, particularly if playing solo. For this, we would recommend equipping a Life Staff as your secondary Weapon to support either the Great Axe or Sword And Shield. The Life Staff offers many fantastic passive healing skills that can keep you alive through more challenging content or when you are out questing by yourself, including Beacon, Orb Of Protection and Sacred Ground.

Review our Full Life Staff Guide for more information.

More New World Builds

Hatchet / Life Staff Build: Immortal Warrior

The Ultimate Solo Build For New World With Strong Damage And Even Better Healing and Defense!


Rapier / Musket Solo Build: Duelist

Play as the Ultimate Musketeer with this Rapier / Musket combo. Perfect for Solo PVE and PVP Combat in New World!


Spear & Life Staff Solo Leveling Build: The Templar

Fantastic Passive Healing plus Great Damage and CC! This build can EASILY Solo most content in New World, even at LOW Levels!


Bow / Hatchet Solo Build: Hunter

Easy ONE-SHOT Kills plus MASSIVE Melee Damage! This Bow / Hatchet Build for New World Can Do It ALL!


Hatchet / Great Axe DPS Build: Mauler

Kill Things FAST With This Extremely EASY DPS Build For New World Using Great Axe And Hatchet.


Life Staff / Ice Gauntlet Healer Build: Frost Cleric

Great Group Healing and Crowd Control make this the Perfect Healer Build for Expeditions and Group content in New World!


Sword And Shield / Fire Staff Solo Build: Battlemage

The Heavy Armor, Frontline Fighter that specializes in AOE Slash and Burn Damage, Defense and Self-Healing.


Hack The Minotaur (HTM) is a professional Gaming Blogger and Youtube Creator with decades of experience in Gaming. Hack is the owner of - an Elder Scrolls focused site for character builds and guides, and now - your source for upcoming RPG news, builds, guides and more!

Hack loves gaming content, particularly Traditional RPG's, Action RPG's and MMO's. Go check out his YouTube Channel for even more builds and guides on popular series like the Elder Scrolls, Fallout and Cyberpunk and make sure to check out his social media for updates on what content is coming next!