I’ve seen mercs with ~300 head and body armour (and the Battle Forged perk) and very high melee skill (and the Berserk perk), plus high hit points and resolve in case of hits, scythe through skeleton hordes with only a few scratches despite having barely any melee defence.
I was trying to explain a fairly cheap setup that would work. 300+ armor with battle forged would work too as long as you do not take too many hits, especially from guards. I still think reach advantage is the most essential perk for any 2hander build. My best soldiers can get to 100-120 melee defense with reach advantage stacks.