Brutal Legend Weapon Upgrade Guide

advice on selecting or utilizing upgrades in the game

up front intro

I did no theorycrafting or math for this guide, a lot of these are my personal judgments and a little bit of info from the game wiki. I have played this game more than a few times now, including having recently played some multiplayer as all three factions.

Axe Treatments

Brutal Legend Weapon Upgrade Guide

Razor’s Edge

effect: raw damage increase

rating: ok

it’s one of the first upgrades for the axe available, and it does a flat damage upgrade. the only real strength is that it’s available early, because otherwise the damage increase is nearly unnoticeable by itself. again, not knowing the actual numbers it’s hard to say how much of a difference this even makes, but it’s clearly an axe treatment for the start of the game.

Eternal Fire

effect: sets enemies on fire

rating: ok

it looks cool, but otherwise the only real strength is that it is available at the same time as the previous upgrade. it’s up to you if you want to damage enemies a little bit more over time, you could conceivably deal more damage by hitting a large number of targets one by one and letting them burn, but it won’t ever be for much damage.

Bloodlust

effect: increase damage per kill for a short duration

rating: weak

against single large targets there isn’t much use in this treatment, so it’s best against chopping up as many weak targets as possible, which sucks when trying to do overslaughter quests or picking off individual enemies.

Chain Lightning

effect: each strike arcs lightning to a nearby enemy

rating: very good

against everything but individual targets, this is a great weapon. unlike bloodlust, the effect of this treatment is always active, and it’s pretty significant. similarly to eternal fire, it looks really cool when applied to your axe. the only downside is the price which is 120 points, a lot more than the starter treatments but well worth it.

Soul Sucker

effect: steals enemy health when you hit them

rating: good

it does no extra damage, but against tough enemies you can heal without having to run away. I usually prefer to constantly hack away at everything without blocking so I enjoyed using this a lot. however, it is expensive and unlocked about halfway into the game.

Black Tear

effect: temporarily reduces enemy damage when you hit them

rating: ok

similar to eternal fire, this could be useful when supporting your army by switching targets often. otherwise it’s the same concept as soul sucker but for babies. your call but any treatment this situational should be avoided.

Steel-Quilled

effect: enemies explode on death if you hit them with this

rating: weak

you are required to complete all the overslaughter hunting quests first to get this (invalidating the ability to summon laser panthers with the call of the wild solo), and the damage it deals only works when an enemy dies near another enemy. it probably also damages you when they explode, I don’t know because I don’t care enough to test it. chain lightning easily beats this.

Blade of Ormagöden

effect: cosmetic

rating: ok

it’s a free cosmetic available as soon as you get to a motor forge. it does look good, but that’s it.

Guitar Strings

Brutal Legend Weapon Upgrade Guide

Brawlers

effect: increased damage from combo attacks

rating: good

one of two upgrades for combo damage, this is the weaker one but is available much earlier. again, unsure of the exact numbers, but combo attacks do a lot of extra damage, so increasing that is always helpful in every situation.

Destroyers

effect: larger increase to combo damage

rating: great

costs a bit more and available later in the game, but a more powerful version of brawlers. if you don’t do many combos then other strings might be preferable, but you should learn to do combos.

Super Shakers

effect: increase to damage and radius of earthshaker

rating: ok

depends on how much you enjoy using earthshaker. the radius was only slightly larger, and the damage amount was unnoticeable, but during stage battles doing area of effect knockbacks can save a lot of your troops. if there is one clear benefit to these, it’s the knockback distance, which is much higher so it’s good crowd control.

Shredders

effect: reduction in solo cooldowns and heat buildup

rating: weak

the point of solo cooldowns is to let you do other fun stuff like firing your car weapons or double teaming, so the real effect here is just using your guitar to zap things more often. that can be helpful but it doesn’t prevent all heat buildup, so I recommend other strings.

High Voltage

effect: increased range and damage of shocker (basic guitar attacks)

rating: good

blasting enemies at long range is definitely helpful, especially in stage battles where you want to stun enemy units out of range of your axe. damage increase was again unnoticeable but it’s nice to know it’s there.

Pyromaniacs

effect: increased damage of fire based guitar attacks

rating: weak

a less useful brawlers/destroyers since it only applies to the 2 attacks you can do that are fire based. the supposed “major damage increase” is probably only about 20% more anyway.

The Love Giver

effect: your charged fire attack is a different color and eddie says some different voice lines during them

rating: weak

they are another free cosmetic available at the start of the game, but you might find eddie’s yammering a little annoying every time you free a bound dragon while trying to listen to the music.

Guitar Solos – Universal

Brutal Legend Weapon Upgrade Guide

Summon Flag

effect: places rally point for new units during stage battles

rating: good

it can be helpful to already have your fresh troops part of the way closer to the enemy while you are busy chopping people up or running them over. the solo only needs to be played once to plant the flag, and then can be quickly picked up and dropped. the solo can be a bit slow so you do want to make sure this is done early in a battle.

Fan Tribute

effect: constructs merch booths so you can gather fans needed to build your army

rating: the best

obviously you will need this, and it’s the first solo you learn specifically for stage battles. used whenever you see an open fan geyser, but locked if there are enemies nearby.

Rally Army

effect: directs all your forces to your current location

rating: ok

every once in awhile it can be helpful to make sure every last soldier is coming to you while you are in front of the enemy base. otherwise, this won’t be getting used. it’s not bad, it’s just very situational.

Summon Vehicle

effect: summon the faction specific car

rating: great

necessary for the single player of course. in online battles or single player stage battles, summoning your car only helps a little, but it does protect you as long as you are driving it. online battles do not allow your car to use weapons and ramming can be very pointless, but we’re all playing for the single player campaign anyway.

Guitar Solos – Ironhead

Relic Raiser

stage level: 0

effect: reveals hidden treasure during single player

rating: great

no use against an enemy army, but you will need to use this to raise motor forges as well as unlocking some new music in buried metal. that always helps, spiritually.

Anvil of Burden

stage level: 1

effect: locks enemy leaders to the ground for a short time, slowing their movement and preventing flight

rating: ok

obviously only has the one use, and killing an enemy leader unit helps a bit. essentially the weakest anti leader solo of the three factions.

Facemelter

stage level: 2

effect: single shot of massive damage in an area around you

rating: good

can instantly kill some basic units, and does heavy damage to large ones and leaders too. vehicles take less damage. a great way to start a fight when both sides meet up.

Bring it on Home

stage level: 4

effect: a burning zeppelin crashes and explodes like a bomb above you about 5 seconds after you complete the solo, also burning the ground near impact for awhile

rating: very good

the solo is a bit long, and you learn it late in the single player game, and the blimp has a bit of a delay before it hits, but there’s no denying the effectiveness. I like flying to an enemy stage while the game is still early and launching one of these, just to make them suffer.

Battle Cry

stage level: 1

effect: all nearby friends get a damage increase for a little while

rating: great

you learn this early and it has a very short cooldown (default is 30 seconds). the effectiveness is significant, since the range is large. use this as much as you can, just keep in mind it doesn’t work on your character, but it does work on your car’s weapons.

Rock Block

stage level: 2

effect: enemy stages are locked and prevented from building units

rating: very good

it’s almost like cheating. kill a bunch of the enemy army and then prevent them from reinforcing it. the cooldown is fairly long tho, at 5 minutes.

Call of the Wild

stage level: 2

effect: summon friendly animals

rating: insane

free units just by playing music. what’s not to love? even at low levels, you can at least summon some meat shields, but depending on the part of the overslaughter single player quest you completed (or I think your stage level in online), you can willingly summon laser panthers or hextadons. game breakingly powerful.

Light of Dawn

stage level: 3

effect: enemy army cannot buff their units or debuff yours

rating: good

if you are up against drowning doom or tainted coil, this can be extremely useful, since they have some major vehicles dedicated to buffing or debuffing. I suppose cancelling an enemy using battle cry is also nice, but the cooldown on light of dawn is 5 minutes so you only get one shot with it.

Guitar Solos – Tainted Coil

Brutal Legend Weapon Upgrade Guide

Launch of Death

stage level: 4

effect: delivers a maximum power super unit called Bleeding Death from the stage to wherever your leader performs the solo

rating: very good

the problem is that you need to have the highest level stage, then spend the fans to build a bleeding death, then play the solo, then get out of the way so the launch doesn’t kill you when it lands, and then the unit cannot take orders and dies on it’s own after a minute. aside from that it is insanely powerful.

Summon Agony Boil

stage level: 1

effect: place a land mine that grows in power over time

rating: ok

aside from only costing a cooldown, the agony boil itself seems a bit weak. it will self destruct if not triggered after awhile, and the damage doesn’t seem very high. worth using for helping to defend, at least.

Skies Afire

stage level: 3

effect: increase your army’s damage based on how close they are to your stage

rating: ok

this apparently also has the added effect of preventing the enemy from using light of dawn or encompassing gloom as long as this lasts. otherwise, only helpful if your stage is being attacked, in which case you are already in trouble.

Chains of Hell

stage level: 1

effect: root nearby enemy leader to the ground for a short while

rating: good

compared to the other two enemy leader targeting solos specific to the other factions, this one is the most powerful, completely immobilizing and stunning them. does this only work while they are already on the ground? no idea.

Martyrdom

stage level: 1

effect: increase friendly unit damage at the cost of your leader’s health

rating: good

kind of like battle cry, but it can be dangerous to your leader. usually worth it even if it kills you.

Curse

stage level: 2

effect: I don’t remember. oh, it does damage in an area around you.

rating: ok

a weaker version of facemelter. maybe. it’s hard to tell because the damage is done over time instead of all at once. your army will be destroyed before you benefit from this. still, it’s a solo, so it’s a big free aoe attack.

Summon Tick Choppers

stage level: 2

effect: like it says, summon a pack of disgusting monsters on motorcycles

rating: good

a weaker version of call of the wild, which is the best solo in the whole game, so this is at least useful. no, the problem is that they spawn in front of your stage and don’t even move to the rally flag. that’s also true of call of the wild, but with laser panthers you can afford to wait.

Guitar Solos – Drowning Doom

Brutal Legend Weapon Upgrade Guide

Silence

stage level: 1

effect: enemy leaders cannot give orders or play solos

rating: good

prevent eddie from melting your face or launching a megaton nuke on top of your head.

Black Tear Infusion

stage level: 1

effect: your army is healed in a large radius around you

rating: very good

it also heals vehicles, so as you can imagine that’s pretty powerful. it doesn’t last long so either start a fight with it or use it to help heal up after a fight. or use it in the middle of a fight. I guess it doesn’t matter when you use it.

Shadow Blast

stage level: 2

effect: damage enemies in a radius around you

rating: ok

a weak facemelter. the wiki says it also reduces enemy outgoing damage, but I didn’t notice. well, it’s this or earthshaker as long as you want to goof around with packs of enemies.

Encompassing Gloom

stage level: 3

effect: enemy armies are prevented from constructing more troops

rating: good

as far as I know this is the exact same effect as rock block, but is considered a weather effect so it can’t be used if an enemy already has one in effect.

Baleful Misdirection

stage level: 2

effect: create a useless copy of another unit you have access to

rating: ok

apparently this requires some of your supply to field. essentially a free meat shield, so you should probably make an organ. it’s not terrible but it’s hardly a life saver. at least it spawns the unit next to you instead of back at your stage.

Veil of Deceit

stage level: 2

effect: your army becomes invisible for a little while

rating: ok

remember that the enemy leaders can see your invisible units at close range, so this is more for a short term distraction.

Weeping Heavens

stage level: 4

effect: artillery strike from your stage, only damages the enemy

rating: good

like bring it on home but less accurate. the damage is alright.

Primary Weapons (for vehicles)

keep in mind all primary weapons auto track enemies to some degree.

Machine Gun

effect: sustained fire

rating: weak

it’s the first weapon you can buy for your car. definitely the weakest, but it will serve it’s purpose during the first bus escort mission as long as you stay in range of your targets.

Missile Launcher

effect: high damage high rate of fire autocannon

rating: great

one of my preferred weapons, admittedly weaker than many late game weapons, it is available early and cheap.

Eye of Sorrow

effect: grenade launcher with grenades in the shape of huge eyeballs

rating: ok

damage and splash radius are good, but the projectiles can be very slow especially during bus escorts. very useful for death rack missions.

Heat Seeker

effect: large explosive missile fires in an arc

rating: ok

powerful when it actually tracks enemies, which is not often. if you are too close or too far away it will just fly off.

Bolt Thrower

effect: a railgun

rating: great

slightly slower but more damaging version of the missile launcher. the shots do not chain to targets as far as I can tell, but they don’t really need to. a bit expensive and available late game, but absolutely worth it.

Secondary Weapons (for vehicles)

Side Burners

effect: jets of fire from the left and right of your car, not to be confused with your nitro

rating: weak

actually very powerful at close range, but most enemies won’t stay in place long enough during bus escort missions. your car will likely get wrecked during stage battles trying to use this too. it was useful for one or two hunting missions. the only selling point is that it’s available as soon as all other car weapons. that and it looks cool.

Disgorger

effect: 6 directional blood spray for continuous damage

rating: ok

similar to the side burners, except 6 directions instead of only 2. it is also free and available at the same time, so the side burners are really kind of useless in comparison, minus the exact damage output which is nearly the same.

Mine Dropper

effect: drop a proximity explosive charge directly behind you

rating: ok

good for bus escorts, and the explosion radius is decent enough, but against anything else you might as well jump out and hit them with an axe.

Sub Woofer

effect: radial area damage that also knocks enemies back

rating: good

the only drawbacks are the long recharge time and the availability (late game high price). still the best secondary. unlike the side burners and disgorder, you can fire this off once and then return to firing your primary weapons.

Units and Double Teams – Ironheade

Brutal Legend Weapon Upgrade Guide

Headbanger

stage level: 1

double team: headbangers form around eddie and hit anything you run into

rating: meh

the damage is alright and knocking back enemies is useful, but this is one of the weaker double teams

Razor Girl

stage level: 1

double team: one razor girl hops on eddie’s shoulders and her gun fires exploding shots

rating: good

a more powerful ranged attack, but slower than normal.

Thunderhog

stage level: 1

double team: eddie blasts an area that stops enemy units from taking any action

rating: great

it does no damage on it’s own but it’s still worth it to put a whole army of demons to sleep for a few seconds while you heal your friends.

Fire Baron

stage level: 2

double team: drag a path of fire behind you, which closes when formed into a ring shape

rating: weak

take forever being shot at so you can burn enemies slightly more than you would have if you just let the fire barons do their thing alone.

Headsplitter

stage level: 2

double team: directly control where the vehicle shoots

rating: meh

you can fire the arrows slightly faster than they normally would, but the vehicle is stationary while you aim. like the fire barons, might as well let these guys do their thing alone.

Bouncer

stage level: 3

double team: throw a bouncer into the air and have them impact the ground

rating: weak

a weak aoe with a short range, and you stop teaming with them when you throw them.

Roadie

stage level: 3

double team: create a shockwave of feedback

rating: ok

your double team pulls double duty of making you invisible as well as letting you do a large shockwave aoe attack. roadies don’t serve much other purpose besides this.

Metal Beast

stage level: 3

double team: the beast breaths a cone of fire that roasts enemies

rating:ok

effective against packs of weak enemies, they tend to burn forever. against anything else, especially enemy vehicles, it’s not very useful.

Rock Crusher

stage level: 4

double team: trap enemies in a circle of burning rocks and then drop a giant molten exploding sword on them

rating: good

the cooldown on the double team is somewhat long, and the other effects of the rock crusher are lackluster compared to the cost of building one. it’s worth trying, but the rock crusher can be fragile considering it’s size.

Units and Double Teams – Drowning Doom

Brutal Legend Weapon Upgrade Guide

Grave Digger

stage level: 1

double team: dig me but don’t bury me, get submerged underground to explode upwards on command for splash damage

rating: good

for an early low level double team this is a decent one, but it can take a bit of preparation to get buried (naturally).

Frightwig

stage level: 1

double team: mind control an enemy unit permanently with tendrils of hair

rating: ok

you will have to sacrifice the unit in order to mind control, and it only takes control of a single unit so don’t waste on a headbanger. not sure if it’s worth the cost compared to allowing at least one frightwig to run free.

Bride

stage level: 1

double team: shoot lightning

rating: good

like a slightly more powerful guitar attack that has no heat buildup. it’s alright.

Ratgut

stage level: 2

double team: command the rat swarm personally

rating: great

ratguts are already super strong damage dealers. the double team increases that damage, but you do need to personally command the rat swarm.

Lightning Rod

stage level: 2

double team: ride the lightning and call the governor, directly aim lightning attacks to chain to other enemies and charge them up for extra damage

rating: good

charging can take a bit of time but it’s good damage, especially with the chain effect. again, you have to manually aim this, keep an eye out for when your crosshair turns red so you know it will hit an enemy, and do keep in mind you can aim with the left stick since the vehicle becomes stationary while being aimed.

Organist

stage level: 2

double team: mind control one enemy as long as you remain focused

rating: ok

similar to the frightwig but more temporary. the organist only does one other effect normally which is to reduce enemy attack damage, which it will while you mind control things, so that’s helpful. otherwise, it’s still one of the weaker double teams.

Brood

stage level: 3

double team: suicide carriage, drive and launch dead ahead to a target and mamakazi like a bomb

rating: ok

similar to the frightwig again, this costs the life of the vehicle, which will do it’s work just fine on it’s own.

Dirgible

stage level: 3

double team: lift off and drop urns of black tears, hurting enemies and healing friends at the same time

rating: very good

the damage is low but being able to also heal friendly units at the same time in a radius around the impact point is pretty useful. can be a bit hard to see around you while controlling this, as a result of the camera being locked on the crosshair.

Reaper

stage level: 3

double team: ride around scaring the enemy, as in causing them to run away in fear, and you can attack with a scythe

rating: good

the scythe does a lot of damage but is extremely short range. the fear effect doesn’t seem to work on vehicles and high level units, not sure.

Tree Back

stage level: 4

double team: walk around and stomp things

rating: meh

without the double team, tree back attacks multiple enemies from incredibly long range, so this seems like a downgrade. the stomp attack does decent enough damage but you got a lot of other double teams and solos and regular attacks to choose from.

Units and Double Teams – Tainted Coil

Brutal Legend Weapon Upgrade Guide

Battle Nun

stage level: 1

double team: produce soul kissers and punishing parties

rating: good

the battle nun will also heal itself and do regular melee attacks.

Soul Kisser

stage level: 1

double team: living dart, throw them at enemies and they explode

rating: ok

the damage is high but it expends one of the units. I would rather chop them up while letting these run around biting people.

Punishing Party

stage level: 1

double team: rapid fire spears

rating: good

a much higher rate of fire, auto aiming. good for early game or when you need range.

Warfather

stage level: 2

double team: produce skull rakers, screamwagons, and pain lifters, as well as superior battle nuns

rating: very good

these also do ranged attacks and heal themselves. most especially, scramwagons and pain lifters are very powerful.

Skull Raker

stage level: 2

double team: directly command the flail so it is thrown where you choose

rating: ok

the main weapon of the skull raker does a lot of damage and knocks enemies around often. however, even with the double team, commanding the flail is very slow. probably worth throwing once and then switching to another unit.

Screamwagon

stage level: 2

double team: change passive radial buff

rating: very good

by default, a fresh screamwagon automatically increases the defense of nearby friendly units, including yourself. you can then change this to a passive attack increase or build speed increase, both of which are particularly powerful. it’s like a 3x build speed increase with the build speed buff. great way to waste a lot of peons so you can get the concept art for unit production.

Pain Lifter

stage level: 2

double team: personally guide the projectile, roll it where you please, and detonate on command

rating: awesome

on it’s own, the pain lifter will ruin huge packs of enemies with it’s enormous splash radius and heavy damage. the double team just makes all of that even more overpowered. the only downside is that the vehicle is immobile while firing. if you let me build a pain lifter, just ragequit immediately.

Superior Battle Nun

stage level: 2

double team: produces stronger versions of it’s units

rating: very good

higher damage higher health soul kissers and punishing parties. make a superior battle nun and order your regular ones to go die in battle.

Tick Chopper

stage level: 2

double team: there isn’t one

rating: good

summoned from a guitar solo, and costs no fans. however, you need to personally travel back to your stage to command them. they are similar to fire barons, minus the burning damage.

Overblesser

stage level: 3

double team: produce heart cutters and hate cages, as well as superior warfathers

rating: very good

an important piece of tech so you can make stronger units, necessary for superior warfathers and the superior units he creates, which then also includes divine battle nuns and their divine units. the overblesser is also a pretty useful damage dealer on it’s own.

Heart Cutter

stage level: 3

double team: stab enemies with spikes from the ground

rating: meh

you have to manually aim the spikes, and their damage and rate of fire are mediocre. I think they can impale weak units which stuns them, but I don’t remember because this unit isn’t a pain lifter.

Hate Cage

stage level: 3

double team: stomp

rating: ok

would have been meh but the standard attack of the hate cage remains in effect while you control it, making it at least ok.

Superior Warfather

stage level: 3

double team: produce superior units

rating: great

divine battle nuns make some pretty awesome units. the superior warfather is more useful than a regular warfather.

Divine Battle Nun

stage level: 3

double team: produce divine units

rating: great

divine punishing parties can probably wipe out anything on their own.

Bleeding Death

stage level: 4

double team: doesn’t have one

rating: very good

as explained in the guitar solos section, this unit is very costly and hard to deal with, but there’s no doubt it is powerful. did I mention I killed myself once allowing the bleeding death projectile to land on me? I was at full health. pretty awesome.

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