12 Best Skills In Shadow Of War
There are a lot of skills to choose from in Middle-earth: Shadow of War, and you obviously want to choose wisely. Skills are divided across six categories, with each accommodating different playstyles ranging from stealth to full offensive. And after unlocking each base skill, you can unlock three upgrades for that skill. Click ahead to check out some of the most useful skills in the game along with recommendations of their best upgrades.
But if you're worried about venturing down a path you may not like in the long term, don't worry too much--Shadow of War is very generous with doling out Skill Points. While you can't take a Skill Point back, it's very easy to earn another one through normal play. You'll find our recommendations for primary and sub-skills in the order they appear on the skill tree.
Shadow of War is out now for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. It was originally slated to launch in August, only for it to be pushed back to October. A free-to-play strategy RPG version of Middle-earth: Shadow of War for iOS and Android devices launched ahead of the game's release. Be sure to read our Shadow of War review.
For a brief rundown on the original game's plot, check out our feature recapping the Shadow of Mordor's story. You can also check out our Shadow Of War Beginner's Guide, as well as our guide covering how to get each Legendary gear set.
Combat Skill: Fatal Counter (requires level 15)
Want to take out enemies quickly? You need Fatal Counter. This sub-skill of the moderately useful Perfect Counter skill lets you mow through groups of enemies with relative ease. The game is generous with it blue flashing Counter indicator, and with this skill active, any Orc you fend off is automatically a dead Orc.
Combat Skill: Ground Finisher
In combat, an effective way to kill an Orc is to execute them while they're stunned on the ground with the right shoulder button and the square/X button. However, this execution takes time, leaving you open to enemy strikes, which often forces you to cancel out of it whenever danger looms too close. Fortunately, there is a skill to circumvent this: the Ground Finisher skill decreases the amount of time it takes to perform this powerful takedown. To ensure you're never interrupted again, pair it with sub-class ability Wraith Shield to counter enemies with Celebrimbor while you're doing your business.
Combat Skill: Ceaseless Might (requires level 19)
The upgrade for the fifth combat upgrade Brutal Aggression is a highly useful one. With Ceaseless Might you get a second opportunity to use any of your might-depleting skills. That means you can double down on useful abilities like executions and abilities like Elven Light.
Combat Skill: Adamant (requires level 13)
If you find yourself wishing you had just one more chance to stay in the fight after facing defeat a few too many times, then Adamant is for you. This Upgrade for Retaliation (the final skill in the Combat chain) gives you one more Last Chance circle, which you can find in the bottom left of your mini-map, allowing you to cheat death one more time.
Predator Skill: Wraith Chain
If you're a big fan of sneaky stabbing Orcs, then Wraith Chain is the perfect skill for you, as it allows you to link up four stealth kills at a time with enough Focus. While this can be an effective skill, it's made even more useful with its Shadow Blade upgrade, which makes it so your first chained skill consumes no Focus. Forget luring a small group of Orcs one by one to bushes for sneaky stabs; Wraith Chain just lets you clear them out entirely.
Ranged Skill: Detonate
Detonate can help you make mischief from afar, as you can unleash a fiery explosion, or call in a group of spiders or ghuls to swarm nearby enemies with its upgrades. Poison Tendril poisons a grog barrel from a distance to damage any orc that drinks from it, and of course, Shadow Strike allows you to reach faraway enemies in a flash and move around the battlefield with ease.
Wraith Skill: Elven Light
Shadow of War doesn't give you a ton of AoE (Area of Effect) abilities, but the early unlock Elven Light is one of the best in the game. In addition to putting the hurt on a group of enemies, you can also pair it with an elemental effect; fire and poison are the two best choices here, since Hammer of Eregion is a better way to chain frost effects.
Wraith Skill: Consume
More than just doing damage, Consume is an ability that can help keep you alive. If you frequently find your health dipping in battle, Consume requires a full Might charge, but it lets you take out an enemy and get back in the fight with a fuller health bar.
Wraith Skill: Treasure Hunter
This ability might be at the end of the Wraith skill tree, but it's worth prioritizing early in the game. Without this skill, you have to manually push a button to collect loot from dropped enemies, but once you've equipped this skill, just walking over items adds them to your inventory. While it would be better if this were just a normal part of the game and not something you had to waste a skill point on, equipping it almost ensure you won't leave any valuable items behind on the battlefield.
Mounted Skill: Shadow Mount
Typically you mount beasts by breaking them and holding the circle/B button when you're near them. But with the Shadow Mount skill, you can instantly mount a beast from afar by aiming at them and holding the circle/B button. This comes in handy particularly during the epic fortress battles, as it allows you to take control of damaged enemy Graugs and Caragors, turning their destructive abilities against your foes.
Mounted Skill: Dragon Rider
Due to how dangerous drakes can be during combat, acquiring Dragon Rider is almost a necessity. The sooner you can have these deadly foes on your side, the better. Their devastating fire breath is effective against the game's larger foes. Plus, the added perk of being able to ride them makes them a valuable source of transportation.
Story Skill: Hammer of Eregion (requires level 17)
The upgrade skill for the story chain's Shadow Strider is one of the most helpful skills in Shadow of War. While most abilities are tied to something consumable, Hammer of Eregion allows you to freeze enemies as many times as you want to. While some Captains will knock you back when you try to vault over them, this ability leaves the ones who can be frozen wide open to your devastating combo attacks.