Ironbreaker can be a really fun class. You won’t solo the entire map or anything, but it can definitely play a usefull role in any team. It’s also a decent pick to try and move up to more difficult content, as his defensive powers make mistakes a little more forgiving.
The first choice you basically have to make when playing Ironbreaker, is whether to use a shield or not. Your build implies you’d like a shield (and I must say: excellent taste!), but I think your build could be optimized a little. I have a shield build I play on Cata with great succes (have not played Ironbreaker on Legend since 2.0 though). I’ll write it out below for you and explain the choices I made and why. Time for a one-man shield wall!
Weapon: Axe & Shield, with Block Cost Reduction and Attack Speed, Opportunist trait.
Reason: I like Axe & Shield a lot better than Hammer & Shield, as the light attacks on H&S are pretty redundant when you have the shield, and you need to spend stamina to do any (still relatively mediocre) damage to armor. Axe has not-bad single target damage on lights however, you can chain Light 1 - Heavy and have access to a usefull sweep attack with the axe to damage and stagger hordes, and you are still able to chain Light 2 - Heavy to do pretty decent single target damage as well. The biggest reason A&S is awesome however, is because of the combo of Push - Heavy, which pushes followed by a shield bash. This can be chained ad infinum and controls enemies (and generates THP) like nothing else. You won’t damage anything, but it clears room whenever you need it and is amazing support. I feel I don’t need extra Stamina with a shield + Ironbreaker’s bonus Stamina, so I take Attack Speed instead (cause the weapon is pretty slow). Stamina is not a bad choice however, and I’m sure there are other options as well.
Ranged Weapon: Handgun, with Power vs. Chaos & Power vs. Infantry, Conservative Shooter trait.
Reason: Handgun to deal with Specials (which are your biggest threath). The perks are because of Cataclysm-breakpoints (no idea what is good on Legend), Conservative Shooter because you have no crit and if your aim is good you still effectively have a lot of ammo as well. Crossbow, Grudgeraker, or Drakefire Weapons can be good choices as well though. Matter of taste, really. Crossbow might even be better, expecially on Legend.
Necklace: Health & Block Cost Reduction, Regeneration trait.
Reason: BCR is way better than extra stamina, and like I said I feel I have plenty anyways. The trait is whichever one you like. Barkskin is a brilliant choice as well since it synergizes with Gromril Armor beautifully (Gromril absorbs the first hit, Barkskin reduces damage of the next ones).
Charm: Power vs. Chaos & Attack Speed, Decanter trait.
Reason: Picked this because of Handgun breakpoints on Cata. Attack Speed is just nice with a slow weapon. Trait is completely up to personal preference, but I usually get the most mileage out of this one.
Trinket: Stamina Recovery & Revive Speed, Explosive Ordnance trait.
Reason: Stamina recovery is very good on this class. I would never not pick it, especially since this build does not need Crit Chance. Revive Speed can mean the difference between clutch and wipe sometimes, but if you plan on taking books Curse Resist might be better. (But when you get good with this class, you don’t need Curse Resist on Legend even with 2 Grims.) I like Ordnace better than Shrapnel (since Shrapnel doesn’t stack with much else and the benefits are short and not effectively used often, while making more room can be extremely useful sometimes), but any trait works, so personal preference again.
Level 5 Talent: Rock-Breaker.
Reason: Absolutely the best choice with a shield build. None of the other choices even come near. With a shield you can fill up your bar in no time. Not picking this skill on this sort of build is a mistake, it’s that simple.
Level 10 Talent: Blood of Grimnir (+Power when near mates).
Reason: Crushing Counter Blow is not very useful on this build as it is either absorbed by a push / bash, or only applies to a single light axe attack… Extra Power is always good though, especially since it also helps your pushes or your ranged attack as well! A case might be made for Drakki Wrath if you use Drakefire weapons. I hardly ever do however, so I wouldn’t know. (Paradoxically, even though the Flamer is quite nice, Ironbreaker is actually not the best character to carry it since he’s a frontliner.)
Level 15 Talent: Enhanced Power.
Reason: Smiter has “hidden” downsides (like not getting stagger bonus on secondary targets with your axe sweep) and you won’t be attacking many non-staggered targets anyways with this weapon. Bulwark might seem good, but the difference in damage vs. Extra Power is negligable and Extra Power also works vs. Chaos Warriors and Monsters, and on your pushes and ranged attacks! I also use it to reach Handgun breakpoints in Cata. If you go for a pure staggerbot-approach, Bulwark might win out sometimes since your teammates can benefit from it, but from my estimations it usually still loses out in the games I play.
Level 20 Talent: Gromril Curse (pushback when Gromril Armor is activated.)
Reason: Shorter cooldown might seem like the best choice, but Gromril Curse is an absolutely amazing skill. Because, even though some people haven’t realized this yet, it can activate when you get hit by a disabler or grabbed by a Chaos Spawn. Now, since it knocks everything back (the stagger is really powerful), if you are good at not being hit often this is the only “get out of jail free” skill in the game! And the room made by the pushback can also help a lot when you are cornered by an overwhelming amount of enemies so you get an opening to escape. Brilliant skill. Best skill Ironbreaker has, and low-key one of the most powerful Talents in the game.
Level 25 Talent: Miner’s Rhythm (More Stamina Regen after a power attack.)
Reason: You’ll use power attacks a lot with this weapon, so it’s pretty much nearly always active. And Stamina Regeneration helps this build a lot. You’ll be able to just hold block against even 12681 Berserkers at the same time and not lose a single shield. You’ll be able to do the Push - Bash combo forever. It’s great. Also, in contrast, you won’t get enough mileage out of Rolling Mountain with this build, and Dawi Defiance is a plainly bad skill.
Level 30 Talent: Booming Taunt (Longer Ult duration and wider area of effect.)
Reason: Actually, this entire row can be a viable choice, but I like this one best because everybody in Legend and up should be able to hold monster aggro without dying anyways, and the extra range can be used to free teammates from disablers where you can’t otherwise. It also is just useful to have damage reduction for a little longer in clutch situations. Drengbarazi Oath is quite good as well. This Talent pick is mostly up to personal choice.
So, that’s it, basically. If you plan on doing Legend only, other breakpoints might be better (since mine were selected with Cataclysm in mind), but the gist of the rest of it should apply 1:1. Summary of some core points for this class:
- Axe & Shield (seems to me to) beat Hammer & Shield in every situation I can imagine because of its way better combo moveset and more useful light attacks. (Might be personal though, but I never managed to make Hammer & Shield work nearly as well.) Learn to use the different combos of the Axe & Shield, and you’ll find it’s a way more versatile weapon than most people give it credit for.
- Block Cost Reduction & Stamina Regeneration are pretty much key bonusses for this build. Extra Power is neat as well. Extra Stamina seems redundant to me personally.
- You can kill / deal with everything, but you will often take (too) long doing that. Specials are the bane of your existance though, but you have the tools to deal with any of them.
- Don’t forget you have your axe! Don’t just be a staggerbot, you’re more useful if you fight as well, but apply your staggers liberally and in service of your mates when you can.
- Don’t play passively when you used your Ult. Use it to draw attention from your teammates (or even free them), or to get a boost in a sticky situation, but never just turtle up by holding block and doing nothing else. Fight like you always would have anyways. It’s also really good to stagger away stuff like a hookrat or monster approaching you when you can’t dodge properly or deal with it otherwise.
- Gromril Curse is the single best thing about Ironbreaker as a class.
- THP on Stagger + Shield = Extremely good.
- Ironbreaker-ing requires a slightly different mindset than playing most other classes. Have a mindset to guard and support your team, rather than a berserker-charge-and-shoot-every-mob-you-see mindset. Be patient in engaging enemies, and during combat. Situational awareness is everything. Know where your mates are, and know where the danger is coming from. You have the unique ability to keep a problem under control even before it gets really bad, instead of resulting in a wipe. You pretty much need your mates as well on the other hand, since your killing speed is slow. Sometimes Ironbreakering is a thankless job, because if you did your job right, your mates might feel the run was very easy without realizing why (and properly crediting you), but you can make a huge difference regardless.
I personally find this class very satisfying (especially with a good team), and some of my fondest memories playing Vermintide are of ridiculous clutches I managed to pull off with this class. In a perfecly skilled and coordinated team Ironbreaker might not be the most optimal choice, but most of the time you can be a huge help anyways and I hardly ever did not have fun playing him. Good luck!
If you don’t like shields (why?!), other decent weapons on Ironbreaker are Dual Hammers or 2H Hammer. Those require adjustments to Talent picks and weapon trait selections though, so let me know if you want that. But obviously, shields are superior to everything else in this game. Right?