Darkest Dungeon 2 Man-At-Arms Build Guide

As one of the best heroes in Darkest Dungeon 2, here is how you can make the best Man-at-Arms build for any team composition.

If you are looking for the best tanking hero build in Darkest Dungeon 2, look no further than the Man-at-Arms (MAA) to form your defensive line.

He has a whole collection of skills that allow him to guard other heroes regardless of their position in your party. He can block incoming damage, mitigate damage from fragile heroes, and even do respectable damage to enemies depending on how you are building the MAA in the game.

Unlike in the first Darkest Dungeon game, the Man-at-Arms is a highly versatile and flexible hero in Darkest Dungeon 2. He can be used at any rank in your party to support, protect, or attack.

It cannot be stressed enough that the Man-at-Arms is easily the best hero in Darkest Dungeon 2 right now. MAA is a must-have hero that forms the backbone of every team composition in DD2.

Considering how he can be adapted to every situation, playing an MAA can be a bit overwhelming. Here is a complete breakdown to help you build the best Man-at-Arms in Darkest Dungeon 2.

Best paths for Man-at-Arms in Darkest Dungeon 2

Vanguard is the best path choice to build a good Man-at-Arms in Darkest Dungeon 2. It increases his health by 20 percent, and the damage of Retribution and Crush by 25 and 50 percent respectively.


You might be wondering why you should choose a path that focuses on damage instead of defenses, especially when the MAA is all about tanking damage in Darkest Dungeon 2.

It is because his combat skills already make him a good enough tank to block enemy damage on every turn. Instead of going overboard by increasing defenses, it is far better to increase his damage instead.

Retribution, in this case, is the bread-and-butter skill of the Man-at-Arms. It gives him taunt, block, and riposte tokens to both reduce damage taken and return damage to the attacking enemy.

Crush does more damage than you would think. It also heals MAA if the enemy has a combo token, giving him both protection and heals at the same time.

The only downside of the Vanguard path is that your bleed, blight, and burn resistance get reduced by 20 percent each. You can always counter that by giving him resistance-increasing food after reaching an inn.

However, if you are the type of player who loves to focus only on defense, you can pick the Sergeant path for Man-at-Arms in Darkest Dungeon 2.

This path increases the bleed, blight, and burn resistance of your entire party by a whopping 50 percent. To counter that insane buff though, the MAA’s overall damage gets reduced by 20 percent, making him a purely support hero.

Best ranks for Man-at-Arms in DD2

You need to position the Man-at-Arms at either rank 1 or 2 in Darkest Dungeon 2. These are the best ranks for the MAA in any team composition, especially if you are choosing the Vanguard path.

An MAA on rank 1 or 2 becomes a front wall to absorb damage while being able to use Crush to do damage in return.

The only reason to push the Man-at-Arms back to the last two ranks is if you want to make room for another hero on the front.

In the case of the Sergeant path build, for example, you can push the MAA to the last, rank 4 because you are not going to find much use for Crush anyway. This will make him a complete support hero to only taunt, block, and guard.

Best skills for Man-at-Arms in Darkest Dungeon 2

The Man-at-Arms is a unique hero in Darkest Dungeon 2 in the sense that almost all of his combat skills are highly useful in every fight. Hence, you might have trouble choosing the best five skills for your build.

Depending on your party composition and hero synergy, the following are the best skills for the Man-at-Arms in DD2.


Unlocked from the start.

Crush is the only attack skill of the MAA in DD2, so you need to always have this in your skill list.

In addition to softening enemies by smashing them for respectable damage, the MAA can heal himself for 10 percent by attacking an enemy with a combo token. Upgrading this skill increases that healing capacity to 20 percent.

Getting a block+ token in the process is simply a bonus.


Unlocked from the start.

Many players make the mistake of ignoring Defender in Darkest Dungeon 2. This is one of his most powerful defensive skills.

Defender places 2x guard tokens on a hero and 2x block tokens on the MAA. In summary, all enemy damage to the guarded hero will be redirected to the MAA who can then block that damage for two attacks.

The best thing about this skill is that you can use it on every single turn. That is two-three enemy attacks doing minimal damage every turn.

Upgrading buffs Defender to 3x guard tokens and 2x block+ tokens.


Unlocked from the start.

In addition to healing himself, the MAA can also reduce stress by using Bolster. This skill can remove up to 2x stress from the MAA and another hero after being upgraded provided that they both have 5+ stress.


Unlocked in Chapter Three: One Eye Open.

This is easily the Man-at-Arms’ best skill in Darkest Dungeon 2. Retribution gives him 2x taunt and 2x riposte tokens. For the next two times the MAA is attacked, he will return the favor by attacking them as well.

The taunt forces enemies to focus on the MAA and ignore your other squishy heroes. Plus, if you have your block tokens, you can not only reduce the incoming damage but get in a couple of free hits as well.

Speaking of which, you can get 1x block token by upgrading Retribution.

Hold the Line

Unlocked from the start.

A Vanguard MAA is of little use in the last ranks. If your party gets shuffled, you can use Hold the Line to make the Man-at-Arms jump forward by 3x ranks.

Best skill upgrades for Man-at-Arms in DD2

There are some combat skills that you need to upgrade on priority for the Man-at-Arms after reaching the first Inn in Darkest Dungeon 2. Others can wait.

Here is the order in which you should be upgrading your MAA skills in DD2 for a good solid build.

Mastery OrderCombat Skills
Upgrade 1Retribution
Upgrade 2Defender
Upgrade 3Crush
Upgrade 4Bolster
Upgrade 5Hold the Line

Remember that you are going to need an upgraded Bolster against the Focused Fault boss in Act 3 who does a ton of stress damage. So, make sure that you save a mastery point for that before starting the third act.

Saqib is a managing editor at segmentnext.com who has halted regime changes, curbed demonic invasions, and averted at least one cosmic omnicide from the confines of his gaming chair. When not whipping his writers into ...