Abbreviation: PGL

Etrian Odyssey V's Pugilist was a work of art. They had access to Overexertion, the most broken skill in the game, at base level, along with Thunder Fist, which combined with it to tear things asunder. On the other hand they also had binding punches that were very effective, with One-Two Punch allowing them to theoretically fire off all three of them in a single turn. After specializing, they could either double down on losing their HP to hit like a truck with skills like Titan Killer and Fortitude, or focus on the binds by improving their ability to inflict them and gaining the ability to capitalize on them using Leading Blow, a sort of hodge-podge Ecstasy.

In Nexus, the HP-sacrificing mechanics of their first specialization are largely taken by Highlander (who even stole Titan Killer), so Pugilist focuses entirely on binding. They still have remnants of Impact, but it's not enough to make a full character out of. Despite their high HP they are quite frail, which is fitting for a class all about trying to make the enemy not attack; speaking of which, they do that pretty well. Thanks to a combination of several skills they have some of the highest total bind chances, and they're the only class in Nexus capable of inflicting several binds in a single turn. Their damage suffered in the transition, as their weapons have unnecessarily low ATK values, but if you stick with them and work them just right Pugilists can be quite the asset to your guild.



Best in the Game: HP
Strong Points: LUC
Better than Average Points: STR, AGI
Weak Points: VIT
Very Weak Points: TP
Worst in the Game: INT, WIS

Equippable Weapons: Cestus
Equippable Armor: Light Armor, Cloth Armor

Common Passives:

Skills: Force

Boost: Bind Rush
For 3 turns, increases the user's chance of inflicting binds by 1.3x. Adds 50% STR-based bash damage chaser attacks when the user attacks any enemy that is afflicted with any ailments, binds, or is stunned. The number of attacks per chaser is determined by the number of hits of the action that triggered the chaser.

If the user performs multiple attacks in one action, that action will only be chased once.
Bind Rush is good for the infliction increase. The chaser nonsense is utterly irrelevant as damage.
The chasers feel good, but unless you enchant them the damage will always be somewhat irrelevant, as much as it pains me to admit.
The chasers are only there to add hits to Lash Out or contribute to Links, from what I can tell. You can imbue them with oils or arms to make them less futile, but it won't help much.

Break: Final Blow

Deals melee STR-based bash damage to one enemy. Attempts to bind the target's head, arms, and legs.
Final Blow is good for when you're impatient and just want binds immediately. The base chance isn't spectacularly high, but it's okay, given that it has all three bind types attached to it.
I'm pretty sure that Final Blow gets the boost from Bind Rush, meaning that it actually starts at 78% chance to bind. It's OK by itself, but when you throw Meditation into mix, the bind chance gets rather silly.

Skills: Novice


Deals melee STR-based bash damage to one enemy. Attempts to bind the head of the target.
Concussion isn't as important as Arm Breaker or Low Blow early on, but as the game progresses, more and more deadly attacks, disables, and debuffs that rely on the head start showing up, making Concussion more attractive.
The bind chances on these skills look rather weak, but that's only when you look at the skills themselves. They're meant to be used alongside either Double Punch or as part of One-Two, so their binding chances are actually quite high. Considering that their skill level are used not just for themselves, but also for a few skills down the line, you will want to be investing in them early. Another advantage that these skills have is that Pugilist is pretty much the only class in the game with all three binds that actually has a decent chance of going before the enemy (don't be fooled by the 65% base speed; Pugilist is fast and fists have a speed bonus), allowing you to disable them before they can actually hit you.

Arm Breaker

Deals melee STR-based bash damage to one enemy. Attempts to bind the arms of the target.
Arm binds are always, always important. Physical damage is often attached to it, and since physical damage is omnipresent throughout the entire game, that makes arm binds really good in the earlygame, midgame, lategame, and postgame.

Low Blow

Deals melee STR-based bash damage to one enemy. Attempts to bind the legs of the target.
Leg binds are sometimes important for shutting down physical damage on random encounter mobs, but moreso for being one of the least-resisted methods of disabling evasion.
There's also quite a few important moves or passives that are completely disabled by leg binds, leaving that boss or FOE completely helpless due to having no access to their primary gimmick.

One-Two Punch

Deals melee STR-based bash damage to one enemy. May follow up with Concussion, Arm Breaker, and/or Low Blow, if the target is not afflicted with each skill's respective bind. Follow-up skills deal reduced damage.

Each of the binding skills is rolled for individually.
Fffffffffuck, One-Two Punch ate heavy nerfs compared to its EO5 iteration. It's way slower (a 50% speed mod instead of a 90%), it costs slightly more TP, and most importantly, it deals nowhere near as much damage, since the follow-up punches deal half of their already low damage (I didn't mention it yet, but those ate pretty bad nerfs compared to EO5 as well).

Honestly, skip One-Two Punch. Double Punch is far better for actually inflicting binds, and dealing damage.
That it isn't guaranteed to get at least one follow-up at max level is sooo upsetting. Ugh. It's your best way of landing more than one bind for Leading Blow, though...
If you try to go with EO5's model of getting a few points in the punches and then start investing in this, you'll end up having a Pugilist that bops the enemy a few times for no damage and no binds. It basically doesn't come into its own until you can max it as well as all the punches, which takes 42 skill points. You'll likely want it eventually, but it's not something you want to do early on.


Deals melee STR-based bash damage to one enemy. Attempts to inflict paralysis on the target.
Paralysis is decent, and as such, Corkscrew gives your Pugilist something to do when you've inflicted all the binds you want. It's not going to deal much damage, though, if that wasn't obvious.
In EO5, Corkscrew was a skill that you only really cared about because it's part of Leading Blow suite. Now, it's something you'll eventually end up seeing often due to Following Strike, so you will want to get this to a decent level at some point too.


Restores the user's TP when they inflict an ailment, bind, or stun.

Does not scale based on how many enemies have disables inflicted.
Pugilist can have serious TP issues, this has no prerequisites, and only takes 4 SP to max out. Grab it as soon as you can.
I dunno about maxing it out, especially since Concussion, Arm Breaker and Low Blow are abnormally cheap at low levels, but I agree that it's a must have.

Double Punch

When using any single-hit cestus skill that inflicts a disable on their own, or when Corkscrew activates from Following Strike, or when Cross Counter activates, if they fail to inflict their associated disable, the user has a chance to repeat that skill.
This is way better for getting disables inflicted than One-Two Punch. It's RNG, and takes 10 SP to max out, unfortunately, but in battle, it gives you more damage and chances to inflict disables for free.
if punch don't work, use more punch
This is a priority when you're starting out. Get a few points in the punches, maybe put some points in Adrenaline if you want, then max this out. Since this works on Corkscrew activated from Following Strike, it will never stop being relevant.

Skills: Veteran

Devil's Fist

Consumes a percentage of the user's current HP to deal melee STR-based bash damage to one enemy, with splash damage.
Eh. It's Pugilist's first skill that actually deals significant damage, but it's just sort of boring, and not that great early on. It also costs a lot of HP, jesus.
It's okay for crowd control, and it's about the best you'll get outside of weapon skills. You'll probably get it for the next passive, though.
This is literally the only skill in Pugilist's arsenal that targets more than one enemy (unless you count Following Strike), so it could see some theoretical use? In practice I found that binding one dangerous enemy tends to be more important than doing a little damage to a bunch of them, but if you find yourself really wanting that crowd control, then you can take it I guess.

Fighting Spirit

If the user lost HP on the last turn, increases their damage dealt on this turn.
This is some really good shit, and can be perpetually activated by making your Pugilist a Vampire and going into fights during the daytime. If you want your Pugilist to actually deal damage, you'll want this.
Subclassing Highlander for Bloody Offense, or giving a Highlander a Pugilist subclass for this, are both good ideas. Fighting Spirit is great.

Following Strike

When the user inflicts a bind on an enemy, they have a chance to follow up with Corkscrew.
Not that great, in my opinion. Actually inflicting binds might take a bit, and Corkscrew on its own isn't impressive enough for me to encourage leveling a 10 SP-requiring passive early on. Grab it later, though; it couldn't hurt by that point.
RNG-based, but similarly an increase to DPS in the same way as Double Punch. Also helps to enable Leading Blow, in a way.
You'll need to be able to actually inflict binds to make use of this, so it's a skill you'll want later rather than sooner. You will want it later, though - anything to help Pugilist hits harder is appreciated. It's also pretty funny if you use a weapon skill or subclass skill that can inflict multiple enemies - it can potentially activate on all of them.

Leading Blow

Deals melee STR-based bash damage to one enemy. If the target has any binds, follow-up with Concussion (head), Arm Breaker (arms), and/or Low Blow (legs). If the target has any ailment, follow-up with Corkscrew. All follow-ups have a damage multiplier applied to their original damage.
Oh, Leading Blow, what did they do to you? The follow-up damage got massively chopped, absolutely decimating its damage potential. It's still better than doing nothing when your target has multiple disables, but... Gods...
I mean, it's still pretty good, especially when you factor Raging Billows in. But it's not a priority anymore, yeah.
Maxing out this skill takes 46 skill points, and then you'll need Raging Billows and Fighting Spirits to make its damage really count. It can actually deliver some pretty good damage when everything falls into place, but it'll be a loooooooong while before you can get to that point. Really, this should be one of the last skills you get.


Only usable if the user is afflicted with any ailment or bind. Removes any ailment and a set number of binds the user is inflicted with. If any disables are removed, the user's damage is increased until the end of the next turn.
Ow, Breather ate heavy nerfs too. Okay, it got a massive buff in that it only needs 4 SP, but the charge effect got super nerfed--it was 2.5x at max level in EO5. For 4 SP, having a personal disable purge for your Pugilist isn't bad, but don't expect it to enable big damage.

Keeping Pugilist's low damage in mind is becoming a theme with my comments here, huh?
Its primary use now is to shrug off arm binds, or to be able to act after Clinch. Which isn't bad, mind, but good lord.

Fault Blocker

Reduces the chance of party members in the user's row having ailments or binds inflicted on them for a set amount of turns.
Eh, Fault Blocker only asks for 4 SP. Potentially useful when dealing with dangerous disables, but I wouldn't expect it to always be 100% effective. Again, though, no prerequisites, only 4 SP to max out, that's decent for what you get.
Yeah, I'll echo that. 50% ailment/bind resistance is pretty powerful. For only 4SP, I'm all for it.
Even if you don't want its effect, it can still be useful for negating infliction debuffs if you don't have another character capable of doing so.


Attempts to bind the head, arms, and legs of both the user and one enemy.
Clinch ate such a heavy nerf that it's not worth using. At all. The chance is way too low, and all it's going to do is leave your Pugilist with binds you don't want.
I've used it on a Ninja and Arcanist that are subclassing Pugilist and it's actually not all that bad. The chances are deceptive. It's not reliable, though, especially when compared to a punch with Double Punch, so I still vote skip unless you want to build specifically around it.
If you've been reading the skills so far, you will probably have realized that Pugilist has a recurring theme of their best skills taking three forevers and a half to come to their own. Clinch is one of the things that can be useful if your want your Pugilist to start contributing right now - For the cost of 8 SP, you get a move that is actually slightly more likely to land all binds than a maximized One-Two, at the cost of not doing damage and not being very useful in the long term since it prevents Pugilist from actually making use of the binds with Leading Blow until you shake off the binds. Essentially, it lets your Pugilist contribute much more early on, at the cost of being essentially dead SP much later. Approach it with that in mind.

Cross Counter

For one turn, when any party member in the user's row is attacked with physical damage, the user will counterattack with melee STR-based bash damage that attempts to bind the body part used for the damage source.

If the source of damage was a normal attack, Cross Counter will attempt to bind the arms.
Cross Counter made it out of EO5 with some decent buffs (no prerequisites, only 6 SP), and that's great, because Cross Counter is great. If you want your Pugilist to take a break from inflicting disables and instead deal some damage, this is one of the better ways to do it.
A chance to smash anyone who attacks the front row with 500% damage and a corresponding 65% shot at a bind, for an entire turn, with no chance reduction? Shit, it's high enough that I'd use it in a *boss fight*. Also, keep in mind that Double Punch can activate on this. Who wants to get demolished by a total of 1000% Bash damage? More if you bind on the second one and Following Strike activates?
Like Clinch, this is another skill that trades long-term utility for immediate usefulness. When taking into account that Double Punch works with it, it deals relatively insane amount of damage and has a really good chance to bind, though the limitations are many - it only activates once per turn (so it'll only hit one enemy), requires a physical attack to activate (elemental attacks don't trigger it), and is obviously guaranteed to go after the enemy so you can't disable them on the same turn. In addition, after landing a bind it becomes significantly more shaky, since when the enemy wastes a turn from being disabled by the bind, Cross Counter will also be a waste of turn. Still, with the amount of damage it can do, it's certainly very useful even despite all these catches.

Also there is a FOE in the game that is flat out immune to all binds. So unless you want to try and fish for paralyze, this is kinda all you have against it. It also applies to enemies whose binds have worn off; until their accumulative resistance recedes a bit, this will probably be a more constructive use of a turn than trying a low odds bind. All in all, even after getting your One-Two/Leading Blow suites online, this skill can still come in handy once in a while.

Skills: Master

Thunder Fist

Deals melee STR-based bash + volt damage to one enemy. If the target does not die to Thunder Fist, the user takes backlash damage.
Thunder Fist is...decent, even if it ate a massive nerf in only being available from level 40 on, instead of from the start of the game. It's also Pugilist's only option for dealing damage that bypasses bash resistances.
400% is decent, but it doesn't benefit from Double Punch so I'm having a hard time recommending it. It's fast, I guess?
Another "immediate utility" skill, except this one just does damage, and not a whole lot of it, plus it has a nasty recoil. It doesn't have any of Cross Counter's catches, at least, so it's always reliable. It's also handy for getting around Bash resists, but that's not really something you'll be worried about until it's time to get Leading Blow, and by that point there's hardly anything important left that's resistant to bash.

Lash Out

Deals multiple instances of melee STR-based bash damage to one enemy. The number of hits is equal to how many times the user attacked enemies on the last turn.

Lash Out always counts as 1 hit for the purpose of its own calculation of number of hits.
Four hits will make Lash Out deal 360% damage total. Five hits will make it deal 445%. You won't get that very often, but Lash Out will give you decent damage for cheap when it does.

Of course, there is a very valid question of "why not just use Thunder Fist," to which I have no good answer.
I believe the extra hits from Bind Rush count, which makes this skill a lot more attractive if you can get in a big Leading Blow combo while in Bind Rush. But that's a "stars align" sort of deal and Pugilist is rather strapped for SP, so...
It's pretty cheap in terms of TP, but even at the maximum of 9 hits it doesn't deal that much damage, and actually getting 9 hits is almost a pipe dream outside of Force Boost (even though it does work with a surprising amount of things - poison damage, sunlight damage, execution, multi-target attacks...). Could be fun to play with, but it feels too gimmicky to be of much worth practically to me.


Until the end of the next turn, increases the user's chance of inflicting ailments and binds.
Meditation is very important for when you want to reliably inflict disables. Grab it, grab it, grab it.
As a subclass skill, Arcanist loves it. Since theoretically, one Meditation covers for two turns of a Circle.
Spamming Meditation and a spammable infliction skill will actually take longer to inflict something on average, so you want to use this with things you can't spam - namely, Final Blow. This single-handedly turns Final Blow from "has a pretty good chance to bind" to "basically Chain Blast", and is worth every SP you invest in it for that single turn alone, which incidentally is only 4 SP. Get it.

Raging Billows

Increases the user's damage dealt based on the number of ailments and binds the target has.
Like Fighting Spirit, Raging Billows is important if you actually want your Pugilist to deal appreciable damage.
They essentially split Ecstasy up into Leading Blow and Raging Billows. This thing rocks, even at half level.
This skill is more important to Leading Blow damage than Leading Blow itself, plus it'll work (to some degree) during the interim while you're still inflicting binds. Once your bind skills gets reliable enough, this is the next skill you'll want to invest in.

Million Rush

Normal attacks may hit multiple times if the user has a subweapon equipped. Enables the equipping of subweapons.

The chance is rolled for independently of the number of hits.
What the fuck? What the fuck? What the fuck? Why is this a Master skill?! It's so bad!
Yeah, uh, this is basically just a point-sink so they can gate Resonance Blow. It's also vaguely thematically consistent.
I think this is supposed to be a potential free setup for Lash Out? You can also try to use it with a pair of infliction weapons and Blade Flurry but uh... without the broken Ailment Boost in EO4 I can't see that setup to be worth anything.

Resonance Blow

Deals multiple instances of melee STR-based bash damage to one enemy. The number of hits is increased based on the number of turns since Resonance Blow was last used.
This isn't great. Way too expensive for the damage it'll usually deal, and way too long a wait for it to actually deal appreciable damage.
The TP cost is unfortunate, but it is worth noting that for the number of hits to max out, it'll take one turn more than it takes for accumulative resistance to wear off. Sinking a point into it may not be that bad of an idea for the purpose of tracking that. That said, it's conceptually cool, so I won't stop you from maxing it out unironically.
By turn 10 your initial binds have probably fell off and you're probably waiting for accumulative resistance to be reduced to a more workable level, so this skill can do good damage for a turn while you wait, I guess. Honestly I think the best way to use a Pugilist is to put them in a party to buy free turns for very offensive characters, so ideally you shouldn't really get to that point, but if your party isn't constructed like that, then you'll get a chance to use this at full power, and it could be something you get at the end of the game after you're done with everything else.

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