Shadow of War All Skills and Upgrades: The Ultimate Beginners Guide

Shadow of War Skill Tree and Builds

Powerful Ranger, Deadly Warrior, Strong Rider – the choice is yours!

For Middle-earth: Shadow of War the developers from Monolith have decided to create a much more complex and highly customizable Skill Tree than what we had in the prequel Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor.

In the second game you will gain a Skill Point each time you level up all the way to the level 60 cap. Additionally, various missions and challenges will allow you to earn extra Skill Points for a total amount of about 120. This means that all skills in the new Skill Tree can be unlocked. This, though, doesn’t mean that you can do it all, like in the previous game. Each main skill in Shadow of War can be customized with a unique upgrade. There are up to 3 available per skill, but only one upgrade can be active at the same time. This will allow for tons of unique and diverse builds for the main protagonist Talion.

The Skill Tree is divided into 6 main categories: Combat, Predator, Ranged, Wraith, Mounted and Story. Below you will find detailed description to each one of the abilities and their upgrades!

If you prefer visual and audio overview, I have two video overview – the first one is an extensive overview of all skills and upgrades in the game, the second one is a quick guide to the best and most useful abilities to pick early on for beginner players.



When your might is full, you can execute enemies.

  • Grim Resolve – Gain might each time you are damaged in combat.
  • Secret Might – Gain might for each kill while remaining undetected.
  • Fatal Might – Successful sword strikes gain much more might. Might fully resets after you take damage, miss an attack, or exit combat.

Well-timed counters knock down enemies.

  • Rain of Arrows – Well-timed counters replenish 1 Elf-shot.
  • Mighty Reversal – Gain might from each counter.
  • Fatal Counter – Well-timed counters instantly kill enemy grunts. Ineffective against Captains and beasts.

Melee attacks have a chance of causing Critical Hits for additional damage.

  • Reprisal – Your Critical Strike chance increases as your Health is reduced.
  • Unstoppable – Your Critical Strike chance increases significantly as long as your hit streak is above 20.
  • Elven Precision – Timing a button press as your strike lands greatly increases your chances of a Critical Strike.

Decrease the amount of time it takes to perform Ground Executions on downed enemies.

  • Fury – Ground executions enable you to unleash a flurry of blows by rapidly tapping attack before finishing an enemy, gaining might on each hit.
  • Wraith Shield – The Wraith can counter enemies while you complete a ground execution.
  • Ground Drain – You can dominate or drain enemies who have been knocked down.

Might can be double-charged, enabling Brutal Executions which cause nearby enemies to flee in terror.

  • Wraith Execution – Chain executions to additional enemies. Consumes Focus for each additional target.
  • Ceaseless Might – Skills that require Might no longer fully deplete Might.

Time your Last Chance success perfectly to instantly kill the enemy targeting you. Does not apply to Captains, graugs, or drakes.

  • Adamant – Gain an additional Last Chance attempt.
  • Vengeful Drain – Retaliation dominates or drains your attacker.
  • Burst of Might – Gain full might on a perfect Last Chance.



You can get a burst of speed when leaping over objects, landing, or climbing. You can vault over a ledge at the top of a climb.

  • Spectral Dash – You can cross short distances or reach nearby enemies instantaneously while in stealth. Consumes focus.
  • Silent Runner – You can sprint without creating sound.

Perform a terrifying stealth kill, causing nearby enemies to flee while increasing both your Might and your hit streak.

  • Unyielding Ferocity – Using Brutalize gives a bonus to both your Might and hit streak.
  • Reckless Hate – Brutalize causes more enemies to flee.

You can poison grog barrels from afar.

  • Bursting Toxin – Grunts who drink from poisoned grog barrels explode, poisoning any nearby enemies.
  • Contagion – Enemies who drink from poisoned grog barrels go berserk and attack anyone nearby, spreading the poison.
  • Proximity Trigger – You can prime Morgai flies, cages, and bait to trigger when an enemy approaches.

You can target an additional enemy during a stealth kill. Each additional target consumes focus.

  • Monster Hunter – Stealth Kills can be used against Beasts.
  • Shadow Blade – Your first chained stealth kill consumes no Focus.

While using attract you can leave behind a Wraith that will kill your target.

  • Terrifying Presence – Your Wraith will brutalize its target.
  • Spirit Drain – Your Wraith will dominate or drain its target.



You can Shadow Strike into a firepit, detonating it and lighting nearby enemies on fire.

  • 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.

Shooting an enemy’s foot freezes them in place.

  • Brutal Cold – Freeze pin causes nearby enemies to flee in terror.
  • Savage Ice – Freeze pin affects olog-hai and beasts.
  • Deep Freeze – Freeze pin duration is doubled.

Focus is consumed at a slower rate while in the air.

  • Eagle Sight – Focus is consumed at a slower rate while in the air.
  • Talon Strike – While falling, you can aim at the ground to strike the ground with a damaging blast that also stuns nearby enemies. Consumes Elf-shot.

When your Might is full, you can fire an explosive shot.

  • Firestorm – Mighty Shot causes a fire explosion.
  • Freeze Blast – Mighty Shot causes a frost explosion.
  • Venom – Mighty Shot causes a poison explosion.

Instantaneously reach an enemy to kill them or stun them. Consumes Elf-shot.

  • Chain of Shadows – You can chain to additional enemies from a Shadow Strike. Consumes focus for each additional target.
  • Shadow Strike Pull – Pull a targeted enemy to you and kill or stun them.
  • Shadow Dominate (Unlocked by completing Eltariel quests) While aiming at an enemy, you can reach them instantaneously and dominate them.



You can quick-throw a dagger that damages and staggers enemies.

  • Serrated Edge – Thrown daggers have a chance of causing critical strikes.
  • Swift Barrage – Three daggers can be thrown rapidly.
  • Rain of Blades – Throw five daggers at once to hit multiple enemies.

Unleash a powerful blast when your might is full, stunning and temporarily blinding nearby enemies.

  • Cleansing Blaze – Elven Light also sets enemies on fire.
  • Winter’s Breath – Elven Light also freezes enemies.
  • Poison Blast – Elven Light also poisons enemies.


Freeze enemies, then follow with a flurry of sword strikes.

  • Shower of Ice – Freeze all enemies in an area in front of you. The higher your hit streak, the larger the area of effect.
  • Frostbite – Ice Storm finishers also cause critical strike.
  • Shattering Blow – An Ice Storm finisher shatters your target, causing nearby enemies to flee in terror.

When your Might is full, you can dominate and drain an enemy quickly during combat.

  • Chain of Souls – During Consume you can dominate or drain additional enemies. Consumes focus for each additional target.
  • Lord of Wrath – Consume increases Wrath.
  • Olog Lord – Consume works against Ologs

Unlocked by finding all Gondorian artifacts in the open world. Automatically collect loot from defeated enemies.

  • Discerning Eye – Increase your chances of high-quality gear drops from Captains or higher-ranking Orcs.
  • Mind Breaker – Increases Domination speed.
  • Prospector – Increase your chances of receiving higher quality Gems from defeated enemies.



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.

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.

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.

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.

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.



You can recover health by draining life from orcs or dominating orcs and beasts.

  • Domination – Drained enemies are also dominated and will fight for you.
  • Quiver of Souls – Draining an enemy replenishes Elf-shot.
  • Bright Lord’s Wrath – Draining or dominating an enemy fully recovers health and gains wrath

You can initiate a heavy sweeping attack.

  • Mighty Swing – Releasing attack the moment your glaive is charged generates might for each enemy hit.
  • Deadly Striker – Double-charge your glaive for more follow-up attacks.

Each kill gives wrath energy. When your wrath is full, you can slow time, making every melee strike lethal and enabling you to unleash unlimited executions.

  • Final Blaze – When Elven Rage ends, a fiery blast is detonated.
  • Freezing Burst – When Elven Rage ends, a freezing blast is detonated.
  • Poisonous Wrath – When Elven Rage ends, a poisonous blast is detonated.

You can double jump while leaping. Allows you to cover wider gaps or change direction between jumps.

  • Hammer of Eregion – You can vault over an Uruk and freeze them.
  • Waters of Lórien – Upgrade dodge to instantly flash past enemies. Consumes focus.
  • Eagle’s Eyrie – While vaulting an enemy you can leap off their head and perform a double jump. If Bird of Prey is unlocked, you will be able to enter Bird of Prey as you jump.

Summon a group of warriors to fight alongside you. You can command your warriors to attack targeted enemies.

  • Bodyguard – Assign a Captain to be your bodyguard in the army menu.
  • Cluster of Spiders (Unlocked by finding all Shelob memories) – Summon a cluster of spiders. Spiders have poison attacks which can exploit the weakness of a Captain or higher-ranked orc.
  • Iron Guard (Unlocked by completing all Gondor quests) – Summoned Warriors are tougher.

Dominate a Captain whose will has been broken. Orc Captains who are higher level than you cannot be Recruited.

  • Destroy Followers – You can explode the heads of nearby followers, causing enemies to flee in terror.
  • Lifeblood – You can heal all nearby followers by consuming your health. Any followers who are bleeding out are unaffected.
  • Enrage Followers – You can enrage nearby friendly Captains. Consumes wrath.

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