Please note: all credit goes to MasterSquidward!
Have you ever wanted to train a bear in military combat as part of your desert army, but weren’t sure if bears would be a good tactical match in a world full of demons and dragons? Then this guide is for you. It goes over all there is to know about the Brown Bear unit and its promoted variant in Sands of Salzaar, including what it is, what it does, and how it performs. The goal of this article is to explain the benefits and drawbacks of recruiting Brown Bears into a player’s army, with the goal of assisting players who are just learning how to create armies. Bears, on the other hand, are quite cool, and they deserve their own devoted guide in Sands of Salzaar.
Brown Bear Unit Overview
In Sands of Salzaar, regardless of the strength of the player’s unit, the strength of the player’s army troops is a significant role in determining the player’s overall military might. While the identified heroes in the player’s party may have great qualities and skills, the squads of units the player will gather along their trip across the desert will form the backbone of any competent contingent.
Sands of Salzaar features a large and diversified roster of squadrons that the player can recruit and acquire, each with their own set of stats, skills, and attributes that distinguish them. To judge whether or not a possible squad is worth recruiting, the player would obviously need to assess the positives and negatives of the squad. The Brown Bear is one such squad that the player can receive during their playtime.
The Brown Bear squad will be analyzed as units in this analysis; their stats, skills, and traits will be examined, their fighting performance discussed, and their possible applications in a specific playthrough highlighted. The purpose of this analysis is to present the Brown Bear squad’s merits and cons, as well as their advantages and disadvantages in comparison to other squads in the game.
What the Brown Bear is: Unit Stats, Traits, and Skills
It would first be appropriate to start this analysis by addressing what kind of unit the Brown Bear actually is. The Brown Bear is considered as a T3 unit. The lowest level a Brown Bear can be recruited by the player is lvl 7. The following screenshot depicts the base stats of the Brown Bear:
At lvl 7, the Brown Bear will have 2571 HP, 1100 MP, 116 Phy ATK, 55 Mag ATK, 0 Phy RES, and 0 Mag RES. Its MOV Speed is listed as Slow, its ATK Speed is listed as Very Slow, and its ATK Range is listed as Short. It has neither HP nor MP Recovery. The Brown Bear will always have a max capacity of 3 units.
Regarding the Brown Bear’s innate traits, it possesses the Unarmed attack type. This is generally the worst melee attack type in the game due to its relatively poor matchups against most armour types; the Brown Bear’s attacks will be reduced by 25% against Medium Armoured units, by 50% against Heavy Armoured units, by 25% against Cavalry units, by 50% against Knight units, and by 75% against Fortified units. The Brown Bear itself is considered as a Light Armoured unit, overall the worst Armour type in the game due to its lack of resistances. Finally, the Brown Bear is logically considered as a Beast type unit. Only Wood is required to restore troop capacity in towns.
At lvl 10, the Brown Bear will be able to promote to Brown Bear Chief, and will only require a set amount of Wood to do so. Because the lowest level a Brown Bear can be recruited is lvl 7, the Brown Bear will only require 3 levels to reach promotion. The Brown Bear Chief is considered as a T4 unit. Compared to the Brown Bear, the Brown Bear Chief’s stat spread is generally the same, and there are no differences in any of its traits.
The Brown Bear Chief will require a greater amount of Wood to restore troop capacity, with 150 Wood being needed per Brown Bear Chief. The primary difference between the two units is that the Brown Bear Chief will have an upgraded skill. Curiously, the Brown Bear Chief appears to have a slightly smaller model than the Brown Bear, though it is doubtful that this miniscule disparity will be enough to make a difference in taking hits throughout the battle. Capped at lvl 20, the Brown Bear Chief’s stat are as follows:
At lvl 20, the Brown Bear Chief has 7794 HP, 2400 MP, 322 Phy ATK, 119 Mag ATK, 0 Phy RES, and 0 Mag RES.
From what has been said so far, it is understandable if the Brown Bear has made a poor first impression so far. While moderately bulky, it is slow in both movement and attack speed, short on range, and underwhelming in both weapon type and armor type. However, the Brown Bear’s shortcomings are partly made up for by the relatively strong skills at its disposal. The Brown Bear only has 2 skills in its arsenal, but both of these skills are very impressive.
The Brown Bear’s first skill is called Iron Skin. Iron Skin is a passive skill that “reduces ranged and melee attacks by 50%”. Because of this phenomenal 50% damage reduction, the Brown Bear possessing the Light armour type is practically a non-issue. In fact, the Brown Bear is effectively more durable than Medium armoured units and often has similar or superior weapon-armour matchups than Heavy, Knight, and Fortified units. With Iron Skin’s 50% damage reduction, the Brown Bear appears to be a durable frontliner capable of taking beating after beating for quite a duration of time.
But what is the Brown Bear capable of doing while soaking up damage for its teammates? Surely the Brown Bear is not just a damage sponge for the rest of the army? As discussed prior, the Brown Bear’s offensive capabilities are relatively limited. While it has a respectable attack stat, its poor movement, attack speed, and attack range hinder its ability to dish out sufficient DPS. Fortunately for the Brown Bear, its second skill allows it to adopt a more supportive role on the battlefield: Growl. Before promotion, the Brown Bear will have Growl I, which “stuns all enemies within 500 cubits for 3 seconds”. The skill has a 15 second Cooldown before it can be used again. This skill is genuinely a great skill for the Brown Bear to possess, as it can effectively disable parts of the enemy frontline, allowing other units in the player’s army to have an easier time dispatching the enemy forces.
Upon promoting to Brown Bear Chief, this skill is upgraded rather significantly to Growl II, in which case the range has been increased to 700 cubits and enemies are now stunned for 4 seconds. This understandably increases the Brown Bear Chief’s proficiency as a tank to serve on the frontlines. For the players that would argue that 3-4 seconds is not a lot of time to be stunned for, be reminded of all the instances where the main character was repeatedly stunlocked until they died a rather unpreventable death. 3-4 seconds of being stunned is quite powerful, especially considering that Growl is an AoE skill that can affect multiple enemies.
How to Recruit a Brown Bear Squad
Pertaining to the acquisition of Brown Bear squads, there are two reliable methods of recruiting Brown Bears. The first is via purchasing a squad from a Beast Trainer. The Beast Trainer Gael, who can occasionally be found in town Taverns, will always try to sell the player a lvl 7 Brown Bear squad.
The other reliable method of attaining a Brown Bear squad is by making the main character a Berserker in character creation, in which case a lvl 7 Brown Bear squad will immediately join the player at the start of the game. A third method of attaining a Brown Bear squad is by pursuing certain dungeons that grant beast units on completion, though this is a much more RNG-method of acquisition.
How the Brown Bear Functions in Battle
So far, it has been made apparent what the Brown Bear unit is and how these squads can be attained. But how does the Brown Bear serve in battle in practice? While ideally the Brown Bears would serve as the vanguard of the army, their overall horrendous movement speed makes it difficult for them to actually get to the frontlines in a timely fashion. Additionally, their relatively big size makes them more prone to being body-blocked by other units, further exacerbating the issue of Brown Bears getting to the fight. Once they do reach the frontlines, however, they can adequately serve as stalwart shields from enemy melee and ranged units, taking repeated hits from the enemy while offering support in the form of AoE stuns in the Growl skill.
Brown Bears, like many other units, are still vulnerable to magical attacks, and their prodigious size makes them more susceptible to being caught in enemy AoE attacks. Unlike melee and ranged attacks, Iron Skin will not reduce the amount of damage the Brown Bears take from magic damage. Despite the slow movement and the weakness to magic attacks, however, it should be emphasized that Brown Bears are still great tanks to use once they get to the frontlines, and they can be a valuable asset to an army should they have teammates that can benefit from the Brown Bear’s abilities to soak damage and dish out AoE stuns in return. In particular, ranged units that can take advantage of using the tanking capabilities of the Brown Bear benefit greatly from having a durable frontline, and healers that can further bolster this frontline are especially appreciated to reinforce the
Brown Bear’s survivability. In regards to the Brown Bear’s damage output, it is relatively mediocre due to a few reasons. First, its poor movement speed, attack speed, and attack range make it difficult for the Brown Bear to deal damage efficiently in the first place. Second, the lack of damage-dealing skills in the Brown Bear’s arsenal means that the Brown Bear is reliant purely on auto attacks to deal damage. Third, the max unit capacity for Brown Bear squads is 3, which is relatively low compared to other squads that often have around 5. Compared to other T4 units, the Brown Bear Chief will generally deal below-average damage throughout a battle.
Conclusion: The Pros and Cons of the Brown Bear
Overall, the Brown Bear as a unit definitely has its pros and cons. While they can serve as bulky frontliners capable of applying devastating AoE 4 second stuns, certain features of the unit may hold it back from performing as one would want it to. To end off this analysis, the following is a list of advantages and disadvantages of the Brown Bear compared to other units; essentially, the reasons why the player should use the Brown Bear and the reasons why the player should not.
- Iron Skin providing 50% damage reduction against all melee and ranged attacks, in addition to the Brown Bear’s respectable hp stat, makes the Brown Bear quite durable compared to other melee frontliners
- Growl, especially Growl II, is a very potent AoE stun.
- Only requires 3 levels minimum to promote into its final class in T4.
- A relatively cheap T4 unit to use. Promoting to Brown Bear Chief only requires Wood, and restoring troop capacity likewise only requires Wood. In comparison, other melee T4 units may require the much more valuable Jade in order to become promoted and in order to sustain the number of troops.
- Should the player wish to utilize an army predominantly composed of Beast type units, the Brown Bear is capable of benefiting from the Friend of Beasts talent for +10% ATK and +10% HP.
Bears are awesome
- Relatively mediocre damage compared to other melee units due to low movement speed, low attack speed, and low range.
- Low movement speed also makes it difficult for the Brown Bear to reach the frontlines in a timely fashion.
- Max troop capacity of 3 is underwhelming.
- Being limited to a T4 class makes it a less appealing option compared to other melee frontline units that can promote to a T5 or even T6 class.