The bromodomain of ATAD2 has proved to be one of the least-tractable proteins within this target class. Here, we describe the discovery of a new class of inhibitors by high-throughput screening and show how the difficulties encountered in establishing a screening triage capable of finding progressible hits were overcome by data-driven optimization. Despite the prevalence of nonspecific hits and an exceptionally low progressible hit rate (0.001%), our optimized hit qualification strategy employing orthogonal biophysical methods enabled us to identify a single active series. The compounds have a novel ATAD2 binding mode with noncanonical features including the displacement of all conserved water molecules within the active site and a halogen-bonding interaction. In addition to reporting this new series and preliminary structure-activity relationship, we demonstrate the value of diversity screening to complement the knowledge-based approach used in our previous ATAD2 work. We also exemplify tactics that can increase the chance of success when seeking new chemical starting points for novel and less-tractable targets.