SHADOW OF WAR Mounted Skill Tree and Mounted Combat Explained


Shadow of War Mounted Skill Tree and Mounted Combat Overview

Tame, mount, attack, eat!

If you’ve enjoyed the Mounted Combat Gameplay in Shadow of Mordor, you will probably quickly fall in love with Middle-earth: Shadow of War‘s mounted skill tree.

Quick note before we begin! The screenshots you will see in this article are taken from Monolith’s live stream. The whole article is based on the live event from 22nd September 2017. Quality of the pictures is a bit low, because of Twitch’s bitrate limitations and the fact that Monolith streams at 720p.


MOUNTED SKILL TREE


Shadow of War Mounted Skill Tree and Mounted Combat Overview - Mounted Skill Tree

Based on the live stream preview and my own research from various other sources, here is what the Mounted Skill Tree will look like with all of its main abilities and their upgrades:

CARAGOR RIDER

Dominate and ride a broken caragor.

  • Pounce – Devouring enemies while in stealth restores more of your caragor’s health.
  • Bestial Rage – You can perform an execution or howl to summon additional caragors even when your Might is not full. Instead, your action consumes some of your mount’s health.
GRAUG RIDER

You can dominate and ride a broken graug.

  • Devouring Force – Graug executions restore more of your graug’s health.
  • Enduring Fury – Graug basic attacks gain more Might.
CALL MOUNT

You can summon a dominated caragor and command it to attack targeted enemies.

  • Dire Caragor – You can summon a Dire Caragor.
  • Graug Call – You can summon a graug.
  • Dragon Song (Unlocked by completing the Carnán quests) – You can summon a drake.
SHADOW MOUNT

Instantly mount a broken graug, caragor, or drake (Dragon Rider skill must be unlocked) with Shadow Strike.

  • Caragor Breaker – Shadow Mount unbroken caragors.
  • Packmaster – When Shadow Mounting a broken caragor, other nearby caragors are dominated.
DRAGON RIDER

You can Dominate and ride a broken drake.

  • Soaring Rage – Your drake can shoot fireballs even when your might is not full. Instead, your action consumes some of your mount’s health.
  • Scales of Iron – Your drake takes far less damage from attacks.

For a full overview of the Shadow of War Skill Tree, check the GUIDES section or quickly navigate to it via the Main Menu.

Below you will find a brief overview of the Mounted Skill Tree in video format. For the full overview of Mounted Combat, keep reading the guide :)


CARAGORS


Similarly to Shadow of Mordor, Caragors (and any other mountable beasts) can be found using the Wraith World mode to spot one easier or by checking the mini-map. With the introduction to all the new variations of orc tribes, you can expect that Caragors are more likely to appear around fortresses and camps where the Feral Tribe representatives are. Once again one of the easiest ways to find a Caragor is to just drop some bait – it can easily be found in and around fortresses.

Before we continue, how about a quick lore update on what Caragors are?

Terrifying creatures of the Hunt, the Caragor prowls the landscape of Mordor, searching for prey to feast upon. They, more often than not, travel in packs to take down larger prey, like Graug, or a large pack of enemies, like Uruk Hunters.

The “Caragor Rider” ability includes the following 2 upgrades:

  • Pounce – Devouring enemies while in stealth restores more of your caragor’s health.
  • Bestial Rage – You can perform an execution or howl to summon additional caragors even when your Might is not full. Instead, your action consumes some of your mount’s health.

Caragors move fast and swift. They are ideal for long distance traveling. The very first ability in the Mounted Skill Tree is “Caragor Riding”. It allows Talion to jump and quickly tame a broken Caragor. While riding these beasts of Mordor, Talion now uses a new weapon called “The Glaive”. This new weapon can only be used while mounted, it is like a pike, has a much wider range and is very powerful.

Shadow of War Mounted Skill Tree and Mounted Combat Overview - Caragor executing an orc

While mounted, you can knock-over opponents, eat them to heal your beast (its HP bar is in the bottom left of the screen, right next to Talion’s vital stats) and  even perform executions. You can also throw knives from the back of the beast and even do stealth kills (including Death from Above) while mounted, which also counts as “eating your opponent” and heals the beast.

If you’ve played “The Lord of the Hunt” DLC for Shadow of Mordor, you would certainly remember the Caragath. The good news is that everything these creatures could do, every normal Caragor can too in Shadow of War.

Another cool perk from the new game is that you will be able to summon additional Caragors to follow and help you while you are still mounted on yours. This can be done when your Might is full or through a specific Skill Upgrade in the Skill Tree. If for some reason you are not happy with how your own beast is performing or just need to change… seats, you can jump from one Caragor to another.

Shadow of War Mounted Skill Tree and Mounted Combat Overview - Summoning additional Caragors

A new feature that Monolith has implemented in the 2nd game is that you can command Caragors to attack your targets even when you are not mounted – just point them to the direction and target and the beast(s) will immediately engage.

Dire Caragors are the leaders of the packs. To summon them you will need an extra upgrade to the “Call Mount” ability in the Mounted Skil Tree. You cannot have a Dire Caragor untamed. If you are riding one and approach a wild beast or a group of them, the Dire Caragor will tame them automatically and add them to your group, it will order them to follow and support you. When you face a mounted opponent, you can take them off the beast (or just kill them on it) and your Dire Caragor will simply transfer the wild beast to your side and add it to your pack or predators.

If you fast-travel or get killed, all the beasts that are yours and/or are following you, will despawn.

Regardless of which beast you are summoning, there is a certain cooldown before you can summon another if the previous one gets killed or you sacrifice it.


GRAUGS


If you’ve never played Shadow of Mordor or are unfamiliar with this type of creature, here’s the lore-patch you need:

Graug are gigantic creatures that primarily live within the region of Mordor that is bordered by the Sea of Núrnen, although few have been encountered in the Udûn region. They possess troll-like characteristics, namely massive claws and teeth to maul and devour their prey. Despite their supposed lack of intelligence, they are very difficult to bring down without any support, due to their gargantuan size and naturally armor-plated scales.

Shadow of War Mounted Skill Tree and Mounted Combat Overview - Graug riding

Graugs are very similar in Shadow of War to what they were in Shadow of Mordor. They are still the kings of the beasts on land (spoiler alert – mountable drakes!). They are big, brutal and very deadly. Their attacks are slow, but very strong. The Graugs can also eat people to refill their HP. You can jump with the Graugs now, just like you do with Caragors – climb walls, jump through the roofs of the buildings and more.

The “Graud Rider” ability from the Mounted Skill Tree includes the following upgrades:

  • Devouring Force – Graug executions restore more of your graug’s health.
  • Enduring Fury – Graug basic attacks gain more Might.

If you choose the Graud Call upgrade to the “Beast Call” ability, you will be able to summon Grauds. Same as with Caragors – you can summon multiple Grauds to build your army of giant deadly beasts.

While you are controlling the Graug, it behaves slightly differently compared to when they fight on their own. For example, if you are not on its back, the Graug will throw rocks at its targets, but as a rider, you are not allowed to use that ability yourself as it would be too powerful and break the balance. From the back of the beasts, Talion will still be able to shoot his elf-arrows. Your Graugs can also be commanded to kill targets for you when you are not riding them.

Shadow of War Mounted Skill Tree and Mounted Combat Overview - Elemental Graug

From the back of a Graug, you can use your bow, as we’ve learned already. However, when you are riding the more powerful Elemental Graug (or Drakes, but more on Drakes will follow below!), their breath becomes your ranged attack


DRAKES


The ability to ride a drake is brand new for the series. Before we go deeper into the Drakes’ capabilities, let’s first learn a bit about them from the bestiary:

The Drakes of Mordor are a breed of Lesser Dragon. While much smaller and less intelligent than their Greater forebears (such as Smaug the Golden), they retain the ability to breath fire and can prove to be a powerful force on the battlefield.

These Drakes are distinguished by the bony protrusions that extend from their lower jaw and along their spines, grey-green scales, and heavily armored skulls.

These Drakes are possibly re-designs of the Fell-Beasts of Lord of the Rings fame, though they feature several major differences from the movie beasts. The Drakes of Shadow of War are much bulkier than their film counterparts, and their hides are much rougher. They seem much more crocodile-like, while the fell-beasts have more in common with snakes. Also, the fell-beasts were said to not have the ability to breath fire, utilizing a poisonous fume dubbed The Black Breath instead.

To mount a drake, you need to find a chained one first, shoot it and in a second or two, an alive one will fly over your head. This would be a good moment to shoot at it with your arrow. After you have broken the beast (by shooting it a few times with your bow), you can mount and fly on its back.

Shadow of War Mounted Skill Tree and Mounted Combat Overview - Riding a Drake

The “Dragon Rider” ability in the Mounted Skill Tree has 2 additional upgrades:

  • Soaring Rage – Your drake can shoot fireballs even when your might is not full. Instead, your action consumes some of your mount’s health.
  • Scales of Iron – Your drake takes far less damage from attacks.

Drakes are the only creatures that can fly and are available for you to mount and ride. Their abilities include breathing fire. To help you be more precise with the aiming, drakes are capable of hovering on one spot in the air. Drakes are perfectly capable of spawning other beasts by opening cages, shitting baits. When you have full Might (the orange indicator in the bottom left), the drake can shoot a fireball that explodes on contact and causes massive damage. One of their coolest abilities is to pick up your target and drag it into the air, then throw it away. And, of course another drake can decide to attack you while you are casually flying on the back of yours, so always be mindful and pay attention to your surroundings. Drakes too can eat orcs and beasts to refill their health bars.

There is one very important limitation. Drakes are not allowed to travel across regions, only within the borders of the same region. This, I assume, is done to prevent quick traveling across the whole open world.

Drakes are naturally resistant to fire, so it could be tough to take down another drake by breathing fire at it. Jumping off your drake to shoot arrows at the other one is a very cool trick that is both effective and very beautiful to watch.

If you have broken the other drake, you can jump off yours and mount the other one while still in the air.

Shadow of War Mounted Skill Tree and Mounted Combat Overview - drake fighting drake

To be able to summon a drake, like you do with the Caragors and Graugs, you would need the 3rd upgrade to the “Call Mount” ability in the Mounted Skill Tree, but it is locked behind a story mission. To do that you need to do the Carnan quest, which will introduce you to a different and special drake (you wont be able to mount and fly it, sadly :P)

Friendly fire is still a thing, by the way. Your followers are still vulnerable to fire (well, most of them) and you should be careful what you aim at while flying it around. By the way, drakes can fly on the ground as well. They can also obey your order to kill a targeted enemy too.

Drakes cannot be summoned into the throne room when you are fighting the warlord of a fortress during an assault. Caragors, Graugs and Spiders, however, can be called to your aid!

Here’s something you probably wouldn’t expect. Your own drake picking you, while you are riding a Caragor and fly you both up into the air. That’s a magnificent view, I have to tell you! It’s highly unlikely to happen, though.

Important note (for all mountable beasts): you can dismount them normally and let them continue to follow you or roam around or use a special ability to kill them off as you dismount. The 2nd option is useful when you are trying to calm down the environment a bit.

Shadow of War Mounted Skill Tree and Mounted Combat Overview - funny drake moment

SHADOW MOUNT


You might remember an ability with that name from Shadow of Mordor. You would not be wrong. It has been transferred to Shadow of War too, of course. And it has also been enhanced with 2 available upgrades:

  • Caragor Breaker – Shadow Mount unbroken caragors.
  • Packmaster – When Shadow Mounting a broken caragor, other nearby caragors are dominated.

By default the Shadow Mount allows you to instantly mount a broken caragor, graug or drake.


MINI CREATURES


The word “mini” is probably not the best I could use to describe them, but let’s leave it as it is for now. IN the Ranged Skills Category you can pick 3 different options to upgrade the Detonate ability:

  • Spider Song – Detonate a firepit and cause spiders to swarm the area.
  • Bursting Arrow – Shoot firepits to detonate them without Shadow Striking into them.
  • Matron’s Scent – Detonate a firepit and cause ghûls to swarm the area.

These creatures can also be commanded to attack a target for you. They spawn as your followers and do not attack you.


If this extensive overview of all abilities and possibilities was not enough, you can check out the video archive from Monolith’s live stream below.

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