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There are 6 categories of Skills in Shadow of War. Each category contains base Skills to unlock, and each base Skill will have several optional upgrades for it. For each base Skill, only 1 upgrade can be active at a time (or you can turn all upgrades off). Base Skills can only be unlocked in order, left to right.

Story Skills, and skills with a yellow "lock" icon, are unlocked when you satisfy the appropriate Quests

Combat skills

Execution: When your Might is full aim at an enemy and press the correct buttons to execute them.

  • 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 attacks gain more Might. Might fully resets after you take damage, miss an attack, or exit combat.

Perfect Counter: Well-timed counters knock down enemies. Press the counter button when the prompt flashes blue

  • Rain of Arrows: Well-timed counters replenish 1 Elf-shot.
  • Mighty Reversal: Gain Might from each counter.
  • Fatal Counter: Well-timed counters instantly kill grunt orcs.

Critical Strike: Melee attacks have a chance to critically hit, causing extra damage.

  • Reprisal: Critical Strike chance increases as your Health is reduced.
  • Unstoppable: Critical Strike chance increases significantly as long as your Hitstreak is over 20.
  • Elven Precision: Press the button as your strike lands to greatly increase the chances of a critical strike.

Ground Finisher: Decreases 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 the button before finishing an enemy, gaining Might on each hit.
  • Wraith Shield: The Wraith can counter enemies while you complete a ground execution.
  • Ground Drain: Press the buttons to drain enemies who have been knocked down.

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

  • Wraith Execution: Press the button to chain Executions to additional enemies. Consumes focus for each additional target.
  • Ceaseless Might: Skills that require Might no longer fully deplete Might.

Retaliation: 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 Drains your attacker.
  • Burst of Might: Gain full Might on a perfect Last Chance.

Predator skills

Elven Agility: Hold the button for a burst of speed when leaping over objects, landing, or climbing.

  • Silent Runner: Holding the button to sprint no longer creates sound.
  • Spectral Dash: Press the button while in stealth to cross short distances or reach nearby enemies instantly. Consumes Focus.

Brutalize: Hold the buttons to perform a terrifying stealth kill, causing nearby enemies to flee while increasing both your Might and your Hitstreak.

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

Poison Tendril: Aim at a grog barrel and press the button to poison it from afar.

  • Bursting Toxin: Poisoned grunts have a chance of exploding and poisoning nearby enemies when they die.
  • Contagion: Enemies who drink from poisoned grog barrels go berserk and attack anyone nearby, spreading the poison.
  • Proximity Trigger: Aim at Morgai flies, Cages, or Bait and press the button to prime them to trigger when an enemy approaches.

Wraith Chain: Press the button to 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 no longer consumes focus

Deadly Spectre: Hold down the button while using attract to leave behind a Wraith that will kill your target.

  • Terrifying Presence: Your Wraith will Brutalize the target.
  • Spirit Drain: Your Wraith will Drain the target.

Death Threat: Use a worm to deliver a message to a specified Captain, letting him know that you are coming for him.

  • Worse Than Death: Shame ruins the mind of your target, enormously reducing their level and possibly making them Deranged. There is a small chance the target actually becomes stronger, creating a dangerous Maniac.
  • Vow of Violence: A bonus objective is added to the Death Threat. Completing it grants you additional rewards.

Ranged skills

Detonate: Shadow Strike into a firepit, detonating it and lighting nearby enemies on fire.

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

Freeze Pin: 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.

Bird of Prey: Hold the button to aim while in the air. This consumes Focus. Press the button to turn around quickly during bird of prey.

  • Eagle Sight: Focus is consumed at a slower rate while in the air.
  • Talon Strike: While falling, aim at the ground while holding the button and press the button to strike the ground with a damaging blast that also stuns nearby enemies.

Mighty Shot: When your might is full, press the button to 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.

Shadow Strike: Instantaneously reach an enemy by aiming at them and press one button to kill them or another button to stun them.

  • Chain of Shadows: Press a button during a Shadow Strike to chain to nearby enemies. Consumes focus with each additional target.
  • Shadow Strike Pull: Pull a targeted enemy towards you and kill or stun them.
  • Shadow Dominate: While aiming at an enemy, press the button to reach them instantaneously and dominate them.

Wraith skills

Brace of Daggers: Press the button to 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 by repeatedly tapping the button.
  • Rain of Blades: Throw five daggers at once to hit multiple enemies.

Elven Light: Unleash a powerful blast by pressing the button while Might is full, stunning and temporarily blinding nearby enemies.

  • Cleansing Blaze: Elven Light also sets enemies on fire.
  • Winter's Breath: Elven Light causes a frost explosion.
  • Poison Blast: Elven Light poisons enemies.

Ice Storm: Freeze enemies by pressing the button and follow with a flurry of sword strikes by repeatedly tapping the button.

  • Shower of Ice: Press the button to freeze all enemies in an area in front of you. The higher your hitstreak, the larger the area of effect.
  • Frostbite: Ice Storm Finishers also cause Critical Strikes.
  • Shattering Blow: An Ice storm finisher shatters your target, causing nearby enemies to flee in terror.

Consume: When your might is full, press the button to Drain an enemy quickly during combat.

  • Chain of Souls: Aim with the button during consume and press another button to drain additional enemies. Consumes focus for each additional target.
  • Lord of Wrath: Consume increases Wrath.
  • Olog Lord: Consume works against Ologs.

Treasure hunter: Automatically collect loot from defeated enemies.

  • Discerning Eye: Increases your chances of high-quality gear drops from Captains or higher ranking orcs.
  • Mind Breaker: Increases domination speed.
  • Prospector: Increases your chance of receiving higher quality Gems from defeated enemies.

Mounted skills

Caragor Rider: Hold the button to 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 Might is not full. Instead, your action consumes some of your mount's health.

Graug Rider: Hold the button to Dominate and ride a Broken graug.

  • Devouring Force: Ground Executions restore more of your Graug's health.
  • Enduring Fury: Graug basic attacks gain more Might.

Call Mount: Press the button to summon a dominated caragor. Press the button to command your caragor to attack targeted enemies. Hold the button to dismiss your caragor.

  • Dire Caragor: You can summon a dire caragor.
  • Graug Call: You can summon a graug.
  • Dragon Song: You can summon a drake.

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

  • Caragor Breaker: Shadow Mount unbroken Caragors.
  • Pack Master: When Shadow mounting a broken caragor, nearby caragors are also Dominated.

Dragon Rider: Hold the button to dominate and mount a broken drake.

  • Scales of Iron: Your drake takes less damage from attacks.
  • Soaring Rage: Your Drake can shoot fireballs even if your Might is not full. Instead, your action consumes some of your mount's Health.

Story skills

Drain: Hold the button to recover health by draining the life from Orcs.

  • Domination: Drained enemies are also Dominated and will fight for you. Hold the button to Dominate. Use the button to stealth Dominate.
  • Quiver of Souls: Draining an enemy replenishes Elf-shot.
  • Bright Lord's Wrath: Draining or Dominating an enemy fully recovers Health and gains Wrath.

Spectral Glaive: Hold and release the button after your Glaive appears to initiate a heavy sweeping attack.

  • Mighty Swing: Releasing the button the moment your Glaive is fully charged generates might for every enemy hit.
  • Deadly Striker: Double-charge your Glaive for more follow-up attacks. (tap the button repeatedly after charging).

Elven Rage: Each kill gives Wrath energy. When your Wrath is full, press the button to 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.

Shadow Strider: Press the button while leaping to double jump. Allows you to cover wider gaps or change direction between jumps.

  • Hammer of Eregion: Press the button to vault over an Uruk and Freeze them.
  • Waters of Lorien: Upgrade dodge to instantly flash past enemies. Consumes focus.
  • Eagle's Eyrie: Hold the button as you vault over an enemy to 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.

Call Followers: Summon a group of warriors to fight alongside you by pressing the button. Press the button to command your warriors to attack targeted enemies. Hold the button to dismiss them.

  • Bodyguard: Assign a Captain to be your Bodyguard in the Army menu. You can summon the bodyguard by pressing the button. Press the button again to command your bodyguard to attack nearby enemies. Press the button to dismiss your bodyguard.
  • Cluster of Spiders: Summon a cluster of spiders by pressing the button. Spiders have poison attacks which can exploit the weakness of a captain or higher ranked Uruk.
  • Iron Guard: Summoned warriors are tougher.

Dominate Captain: Dominate a Captain whose will has been Broken. Orc captains who are higher level than you cannot be recruited.

  • Destroy followers: Hold the button to explode the heads of nearby followers, causing enemies to flee in terror.
  • Lifeblood: Hold the button to heal all nearby followers by consuming your health. Any followers who are bleeding out are unaffected.
  • Enrage followers: Hold the button to enrage nearby friendly captains. Consumes wrath.