Agreed -- if you can drop espionner without losing flail or perseverant, do it. The other stuff works well together. Cry gets the pets out of your way, fierce brute gives you one-hit kills, perseverant means you won't miss. If possible, raise your strength it might help you hang on to the flail. Martial arts is also a good addition to any one-weapon brute. But basically your strategy is to survive until it's your turn and then kill them immediately with the flail, which is simple but very sound.