One of the main skills in Stardew Valley is Combat, the art of wielding a weapon to defend yourself from and slay monsters.
Defeating bugs, slimes, and various monsters wherever they appear will help you level up your Combat skill, which can come with some great perks and recipes.
For every level you reach, your health bar will increase by 5.
That might not seem like much, but that can be the difference between getting back to your farm safely or Linus finding you unconscious in the depths of the mines!
The only levels that do not give this increase are levels 5 and 10.
This is because you will be able to choose professions that will bring larger perks and benefits of your choice!
At level 5, the player will get the choice between two professions: Fighter or Scout.
Both of these lead to very different end choices at level 10, so this choice can make a huge difference to the types of builds available to you in the later game!
Level 5 Fighter or Scout, Which Should I Choose?
When deciding between Fighter or Scout, the best choice is Fighter.
The Fighter profession has a fixed increase to your stats, whereas Scout will differ in strength from day to day based on Luck and other modifiers.
With the Fighter profession, there will be 15 health added to your bar, plus an increase of 10% to the damage output of your attacks.
The Fighter profession gives the option of Brute at level 10, which makes going through monster-infested areas a breeze.
However, there are some really fun Combat builds if you take the Scout path instead.
So, let’s take a look at all of the professions in more detail.
Fighter at Level 5
- All attacks deal 10% more damage (+15 HP)
The added HP and increased damage output that the Fighter profession grants can be a gamechanger when you are going through places like the Mine in the early game.
With a larger health bar and deadlier weapons, you now have the chance to get those deeper levels of the mine that may have been too steep a challenge before.
The lower levels of the mine will have tougher monsters, which also grant more experience when you slay them.
Where you were getting somewhere between 3 and 5 XP for the bats and slimes you killed, you should now be able to face monsters like mummies or iridium bats for 20 XP each!
Fighter Profession Summary
With the fighter profession, you get a simple and stable addition to your stats.
Added health and damage dealt by your weapons are not affected by things like Daily Luck, whereas the Scout profession does.
This means the Fighter profession will always be a powerful buff, regardless of the weather or the Fortune Teller’s spirits.
Since that 10% to your attack will apply to any weapon you use, the benefit will scale appropriately to however powerful that weapon is.
Level 10 Brute
- Deal 15% more damage
If you choose the Brute profession at level 10, you are now going to deal 15% more damage than you did as a mere Fighter!
In essence, the Brute profession is similar to being a Barbarian.
The blows you deal are always powerful, and you can take some bigger hits.
A player with the Brute profession can have a relatively easy time dealing with monsters in places like the Skull Cavern, where the monsters are much more difficult to survive.
Level 10 Defender
- +25 HP
Those who choose the Defender profession at level 10 will have a sharp increase in their overall health.
This makes the Defender a bit of a tank who can take a lot of damage while also dealing pretty strong hits themselves!
This can be a great profession for those who want to just plow through levels of the Mine without worrying as much about clearing the entire floor.
Brute vs. Defender
The choice between Brute and Defender ultimately comes down to playstyle.
If you prefer to be able to deal tons of damage, then the Brute path is the better one for you.
However, if you want to be able to withstand taking a lot of damage, the life of a Defender may be the better choice.
Both of these professions offer easy-to-calculate and dependable buffs that will help you stay alive in some of the dicier areas of the game.
The Scout’s level 10 professions are impacted heavily by chance and Daily Luck, making them incredibly strong one day but nearly useless the next.
So, both of these Combat professions should serve you well wherever and whenever you are playing Stardew Valley.
Scout at Level 5
- Critical strike chance increased by 50%
If you choose the Scout profession at level 5 Combat, then you will see an increase in the frequency that you are dealing critical strikes to monsters you are fighting.
A critical strike is one that hits perfectly and so deals at least three times the damage that the weapon normally would.
This means that you will start being able to sporadically one-shot some of your opponents!
At level 10, you will get the chance to choose between Acrobat or Desperado.
Acrobats are fast, while Desperados are sharpshooters.
Scout Profession Summary
While it can be so satisfying to get a critical strike on an enemy, the chance of this (even with Scout) is heavily dependent on Luck.
What this results in is a day where you are seemingly dealing out critical strikes front, left, and center sometimes but almost never landing one on other days.
If you can manage the chance mechanics involved and use them to your advantage, using things like rings and certain foods, then Scout can be a powerful and fun choice of profession.
Nonetheless, Fighter does come out on top by a slim margin.
This is because of its stable increase in stats.
The advantage of the Fighter profession is especially true for those who are on their first playthrough and are still learning about all of the various mechanics.
Level 10 Acrobat
- Cooldown on special moves cut in half
The choice of becoming an Acrobat at level 10 of Combat will allow you to use more special moves in a smaller period of time by reducing the cooldown time.
The cooldown time is a span that your character needs between certain moves.
Moves that are more powerful might need some time to recharge before they can be used again.
The idea is that the Acrobat is much faster than average, requiring much less time to do the same tasks as others.
Think of it as similar to a ninja!
Level 10 Desperado
- Critical strikes are deadlier
Desperado at level 10 brings a buff to the power of your critical strikes.
After calculating the output of a critical strike, the Desperado is then able to double that number.
For example, if you landed a critical strike that amounted to a damage output of 100, the Desperado would then actually deal 200 damage.
Desperado is akin to a sharpshooting cowboy.
Acrobat vs. Desperado
The better choice between Acrobat or Desperado is very easily the Desperado profession.
Those who have the Desperado profession, when combined with certain rings and foods, can find themselves dealing out massive hits fairly often.
On the other hand, the Acrobat buffs don’t actually end up doing much for most players.
When you are in the lower levels of the Mines or other dangerous areas, dealing a lot of damage is going to be much more needed than the ability to block a little bit more frequently.
Special attacks and blocking are definitely a part of combat but take up such a small amount of what most players actually do with their weapons.
Plus, there are tons of rings and other apparel that can increase speed and help with cooldown time.