Stardew Valley Brute or Defender?

Once you level up to 10 combat skill you are given a choice between professions: Brute or Defender. Which one is better? Let’s find out.

Keep in mind, you will only get this choice if you chose the Fighter profession at level 5. If you chose Scout, you will have the choice between Acrobat and Desperado instead.

Combat Skill Choice Tree

The best choice

Our suggested choice between Brute and Defender definitely is Brute.

Brute increases your damage by 15% versus Defender which increases your hit points by 25. At first it might seem like getting more hit points would be perfect, as you could stay down in the Mines longer, and get more ores and items as a result. But, in reality more damage is just better as you progress through the game.

As you move onto more difficult areas, such as the Skull Cavern, the enemies will get more and more dangerous. When purple slimes can do 28 damage in one hit, (the entirety of bonus health from Defender) it is better to kill them as quickly as possible!

Secondly, the bonus health is a flat increase. It makes sense, because health increases are rare in Stardew Valley. But, it makes the health increase less powerful than the damage increase of 15% overall. This damage increase will scale with you as you upgrade to more powerful weapons.

Infinity Gavel.png
If you have the most powerful club-type weapon in the game, the Infinity Gavel (shown above), you can add close to 20 damage at max when you choose Brute.

In addition, you can compensate for not taking the health boost by either bringing consumables or by studying enemy attack patterns. Once you have the attack patterns figured out, you can dodge them pretty easily. Even if you are not the best at dodging, the ability to kill your enemies quicker leaves them with less time to hit you!


With consumables you can heal rapidly and increase your defense and/or speed, helping you with your combat. One of the very best items to use in the Mines is magic rock candy.

It cannot be crafted, only bought from the Desert Trader, or farmed from Haunted Skulls (0.13% chance of a drop). Also, once you turn in 90 items to the Museum, you get one for free. Though it is difficult to get your hands on, it gives some amazing buffs in return. Not only does it give +5 defense and +1 speed, Magic Rock Candy gives +5 attack, +5 luck, and +2 mining.

Other consumables are easier to obtain that give decent buffs and health back. Some of my personal favorites are Autumn’s Bounty, Eggplant Parmesan, Pumpkin Soup, and Stuffing.

If you want a more in depth table on foods with great buffs, check out this page from the Stardew Wiki.

Changing Professions

If after you have chosen your profession, you find you are unhappy with it and want to chose the other, do not worry! You can always go to the Statue of Uncertainty to change professions.

This statue is found inside the Sewers and it costs 10,000 gold. It can be done as many times as you like, so as long as you have the money for it! After you pay it, will prompt you to select the skill you would like to swap professions in.

Though it is important to know that the profession swap starts immediately as you buy the swap. Thus for the rest of the day you won’t have the bonus from your old profession, until that night where you will get to choose your new Level 5 and Level 10 professions.

If you do not have the Sewers unlocked yet, you need the Rusty Key from Gunther after you donate 60 items to the Museum. Once you have the key, you can enter the Sewers through either the sewer cover in the south area of Pelican Town or through the sewer grates in the south area of Cindersap Forest.

For a guide on getting the Rusty Key from Gunther, check out our page on finding and organizing all the Museum items.

Meet the author

What initially hooked me into Stardew Valley was how much there was to uncover and learn as you played through it. What got me to stay was how rich the characters' stories were! Abigail, Emily, and Shane will always be my favorites.

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