Originally Posted by Quick Rawr
I'm just gonna copy and paste my post from the other bruiser thread on this page:
Darius - Built tanky still has some good damage output. He has no escapes, but he can lock up someone and get some good damage on them. Without items has big burst early game. No sustain, but he usually out-damages the enemy's sustain so no problem there.
Dr. Mundo - Sustain out the butt. He can farm from a distance with his cleaver if he gets counter picked or you're getting trashed. Great damage output in a team fight and he can get some sweet dives in. He's a very fun pick.
Gangplank - He's been in a better place at one point than he is now, but still a viable pick. Decent damage output while building tanky. His E is great in team fights as well as his ult giving him global presence. When the enemy is pushed top lane, his passive gives a pretty secure kill most of the time with a gank.
Irelia - She's been nerfed quite a bit, but is still in a great place. She can dash around a team fight and nuke down the squishies due to her passive. She has sustain and great lane presence. She's countered by the same champions as Wukong for the most part, so you would know who she should be matched up against already.
Jarvan IV - Also countered by the same champs as wukong, but with a nice CC gap closer. His ult is great with a lower CD than flash and locking up the enemy/separating them apart in a team fight. Built tanky he still has some damage output and his W helps all allies in a team fight with some increased damage output and survivability.
Jax - Built tanky, able to dash around the field, stun, and dodge. He's a great champ with big damage output. He's built both AP and AD, so he's hard to lane against. In a deathfight up top, his passive just puts it more in his favor.
Lee Sin - Great movement around the field, positioning is never an issue. A slow, gap closer, % health damage, and an ult that places them where you want them (as well as CC on the enemy team). He's a solid all around champion.
Malphite - Damage output increases as he gets tankier (with armor). His passive is amazing for harass in the top lane and makes him an annoyance to deal with. His ult is the ultimate initiate.
Mordekaiser - Although the shield was nerfed, don't underestimate his survivability in a team fight as it is constantly recharged to negate damage. He has big AoE damage as well as an ult that wins games. Start regen pendant top lane, get your hextech and you're set top lane against most picks.
Olaf - Hard to counter pick him at all top lane. With a Q than slows and poke harass in his E, he deals hefty damage that, once he passes a few levels, will more than balance out any ranged poke harass an enemy has. Sustain with his W, his ult is AMAZING for team fights, and his Q will secure kills. With ghost he's almost ungankable post 6.
Riven - Has a lot of harass and deals some great bursty damage. Makes a big impact in team fights with her stun, Q, and ult active. She has great sustain once she gets her lantern and is a bit tricky to gank, so you can push the lane a little bit and not worry TOO much. Great, great champion.
Shen - Gap closer, taunt, sustain, shield, and an Ult that wins lanes. He's a great champ, but is a bit lackluster compared to other bruisers as far as damage output is concerned. Only pick him if the damage output on your team is already heavy and they need some tankiness.
Singed - Even if he has a bad laning phase, this dude'll get tanky as. Never pick him if the other team hasn't picked their solo top though, because he gets counter picked far too easily. Solid in a team fight with his ult though, locking up some champs and massive DoT everywhere.
Swain - Tanky DPS can be a mage, especially with an ult like Swain's. He has sustain through his ult, and a snare as well as a DoT. He is pretty hard to play right, so only pick him if you're willing to invest the time, otherwise you'll be frustrated.
Udyr - Big damage while being built tanky. A MS steroid as well as a stun. Big sustain in lane with Turtle. AoE with his Phoenix. Other than ranged attacks, this big guy has it all.
Vladimir - Huge sustain, big teamfight presence with his ult and E, plus a move to juke any ability (other than fiddle's drain pretty much haha). He's a great Tanky AP pick if your team needs the AP damage output, and a solid counter pick to a lot of melee top champs.
Warwick - This guy is not pushed out of lane early game. Although they may push the lane, your sustain will keep you there farming away near the turret. His ult makes jungle ganks always succeed, and with flash makes popping out of lane to gank other lanes too strong. Has AP and AD damage output so counter-building can't shut down his damage output.
All are viable, strong picks. All are FUN picks as well. Unfortunately, you can't stick to just ONE bruiser, as each fills a different role, fit into a team dynamic differently and have different damage outputs. Any of these, as you increase in skill with them, will make you successful in lane. If you want my personal preference, Vlad/Olaf/Mordekaiser/Malphite/Lee Sin/Jax/Dr. Mundo/Darius are the ones I personally lean towards and find more fun to play. Let us know who you pick (:
*Edit Note: Do not pick Nasus, he is quite underwhelming. Easily counter picked and denied farm. Although he has decent sustain, you aren't able to have much of a team fight presence, especially if they have some CC to lock you up once you Ult. He was fun at one point in time, but he just doesn't have a strong place in many games anymore, sadly ):