An In-Depth Look At Middle-earth: Shadow Of War's Skill Tree

by Brian Shea on Sep 07, 2017 at 02:00 PM

As the hero of Middle-earth: Shadow of War, Talion becomes stronger over the course of the story. Each time you level up toward the level 60 cap, you unlock a skill point. In addition, you can earn skill points from side and challenge missions, as well as certain collectibles. In total, completionists can expect to collect around 120 skill points, meaning there are plenty of decisions to make when looking at the skill tree.

Each skill Talion has can be upgraded by choosing from two or three unique options. For example, on one skill, I can augment it so that draining an enemy gives me more health and wrath, or I can opt to regain elf-shot ammunition. You can only choose one upgrade per perk at a time, but this level of customization allows players to craft their version of Talion to complement their playstyle.

Check out the many skills you can choose from when upgrading Talion. A handful of skills are being kept locked away by Monolith for fear of spoilers, but the vast majority of Talion's skills are represented in the list below.


When your might is full, you can execute enemies.

  • Upgrade 1: Grim Resolve
    Gain might each time you are damaged in combat.
  • Upgrade 2: Secret Might
    Gain might for each kill while remaining undetected.
  • Upgrade 3: Fatal Might
    Successful sword strikes gain much more might. Might fully resets after you take damage, miss an attack, or exit combat.

Perfect Counter
Well-timed counters knock down enemies.

  • Upgrade 1: Rain of Arrows
    Well-timed counters replenish 1 Elf-shot.
  • Upgrade 2: Mighty Reversal
    Gain might from each counter.
  • Upgrade 3: Fatal Counter
    Well-timed counters instantly kill enemy grunts. Ineffective against Captains and beasts.

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

  • Upgrade 1: Reprisal
    Your Critical Strike chance increases as your Health is reduced.
  • Upgrade 2: Unstoppable
    Your Critical Strike chance increases significantly as long as your hit streak is above 20.
  • Upgrade 3: Elven Precision
    Timing a button press as your strike lands greatly increases your chances of a Critical Strike.

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

  • Upgrade 1: Fury
    Ground executions enable you to unleash a flurry of blows by rapidly tapping attack before finishing an enemy, gaining might on each hit.
  • Upgrade 2: Wraith Shield
    The Wraith can counter enemies while you complete a ground execution.
  • Upgrade 3: Ground Drain
    You can dominate or 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.

  • Upgrade 1: Wraith Execution
    Chain executions to additional enemies. Consumes Focus for each additional target.
  • Upgrade 2: 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.

  • Upgrade 1: Adamant
    Gain an additional Last Chance attempt.
  • Upgrade 2: Vengeful Drain
    Retaliation dominates or drains your attacker.
  • Upgrade 3: Burst of Might
    Gain full might on a perfect Last Chance.


Elven Agility
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.

  • Upgrade 1: Spectral Dash
    You can cross short distances or reach nearby enemies instantaneously while in stealth. Consumes focus.
  • Upgrade 2: 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.

  • Upgrade 1: Unyielding Ferocity
    Using Brutalize gives a bonus to both your Might and hit streak.
  • Upgrade 2: Reckless Hate
    Brutalize causes more enemies to flee.

Poison Tendril
You can poison grog barrels from afar.

  • Upgrade 1: Bursting Toxin
    Grunts who drink from poisoned grog barrels explode, poisoning any nearby enemies.
  • Upgrade 2: Contagion
    Enemies who drink from poisoned grog barrels go berserk and attack anyone nearby, spreading the poison.
  • Upgrade 3: Proximity Trigger
    You can prime Morgai flies, cages, and bait to trigger when an enemy approaches.

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

  • Upgrade 1: Monster Hunter
    Stealth Kills can be used against Beasts.
  • Upgrade 2: Shadow Blade
    Your first chained stealth kill consumes no Focus.

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

  • Upgrade 1: Terrifying Presence
    Your Wraith will brutalize its target.
  • Upgrade 2: 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.

  • Upgrade 1: Spider Song
    Detonate a firepit and cause spiders to swarm the area.
  • Upgrade 2: Bursting Arrow
    Shoot firepits to detonate them without Shadow Striking into them.
  • Upgrade 3: Matron's Scent
    Detonate a firepit and cause ghûls to swarm the area.

Freeze Pin
Shooting an enemy's foot freezes them in place.

  • Upgrade 1: Brutal Cold
    Freeze pin causes nearby enemies to flee in terror.
  • Upgrade 2: Savage Ice
    Freeze pin affects olog-hai and beasts.
  • Upgrade 3: Deep Freeze
    Freeze pin duration is doubled.

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

  • Upgrade 1: Eagle Sight
    Focus is consumed at a slower rate while in the air.
  • Upgrade 2: 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.

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

  • Upgrade 1: Firestorm
    Mighty Shot causes a fire explosion.
  • Upgrade 2: Freeze Blast
    Mighty Shot causes a frost explosion.
  • Upgrade 3: Venom
    Mighty Shot causes a poison explosion.

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

  • Upgrade 1: Chain of Shadows
    You can chain to additional enemies from a Shadow Strike. Consumes focus for each additional target.
  • Upgrade 2: Shadow Strike Pull
    Pull a targeted enemy to you and kill or stun them.
  • Upgrade 3: Shadow Dominate - Unlocked by completing Eltariel quests
    While aiming at an enemy, you can reach them instantaneously and dominate them.


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

  • Upgrade 1: Serrated Edge
    Thrown daggers have a chance of causing critical strikes.
  • Upgrade 2: Swift Barrage
    Three daggers can be thrown rapidly.
  • Upgrade 3: Rain of Blades
    Throw five daggers at once to hit multiple enemies.

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

  • Upgrade 1: Cleansing Blaze
    Elven Light also sets enemies on fire.
  • Upgrade 2: Winter's Breath
    Elven Light also freezes enemies.
  • Upgrade 3: Poison Blast
    Elven Light also poisons enemies.

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

  • Upgrade 1: Shower of Ice
    Freeze all enemies in an area in front of you. The higher your hit streak, the larger the area of effect.
  • Upgrade 2: Frostbite
    Ice Storm finishers also cause critical strike.
  • Upgrade 3: 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.

  • Upgrade 1: Chain of Souls
    During Consume you can dominate or drain additional enemies. Consumes focus for each additional target.
  • Upgrade 2: Lord of Wrath
    Consume increases Wrath.
  • Upgrade 3: Olog Lord
    Consume works against Ologs

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

  • Upgrade 1: Discerning Eye
    Increase your chances of high-quality gear drops from Captains or higher-ranking Orcs.
  • Upgrade 2: Mind Breaker
    Increases Domination speed.
  • Upgrade 3: Prospector
    Increase your chances of receiving higher quality Gems from defeated enemies.


Caragor Rider
Dominate and ride a broken caragor.

  • Upgrade 1: Pounce
    Devouring enemies while in stealth restores more of your caragor's health.
  • Upgrade 2: 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.

  • Upgrade 1: Devouring Force
    Graug executions restore more of your graug's health.
  • Upgrade 2: Enduring Fury
    Graug basic attacks gain more Might.

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

  • Upgrade 1: Dire Caragor
    You can summon a Dire Caragor.
  • Upgrade 2: Graug Call
    You can summon a graug.
  • Upgrade 3: 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.

  • Upgrade 1: Caragor Breaker
    Shadow Mount unbroken caragors.
  • Upgrade 2: Packmaster
    When Shadow Mounting a broken caragor, other nearby caragors are dominated.

Dragon Rider
You can Dominate and ride a broken drake.

  • Upgrade 1: Soaring Rage
    Your drake can shoot fireballs even when your might is not full. Instead, your action consumes some of your mount's health.
  • Upgrade 2: 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.

  • Upgrade 1: Domination
    Drained enemies are also dominated and will fight for you.
  • Upgrade 2: Quiver of Souls
    Draining an enemy replenishes Elf-shot.
  • Upgrade 3: Bright Lord's Wrath
    Draining or dominating an enemy fully recovers health and gains wrath.

Spectral Glaive
You can initiate a heavy sweeping attack.

  • Upgrade 1: Mighty Swing
    Releasing attack the moment your glaive is charged generates might for each enemy hit.
  • Upgrade 2: Deadly Striker
    Double-charge your glaive for more follow-up attacks.

Elven Rage
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.

  • Upgrade 1: Final Blaze
    When Elven Rage ends, a fiery blast is detonated.
  • Upgrade 2: Freezing Burst
    When Elven Rage ends, a freezing blast is detonated.
  • Upgrade 3: Poisonous Wrath
    When Elven Rage ends, a poisonous blast is detonated.

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

  • Upgrade 1: Hammer of Eregion
    You can vault over an Uruk and freeze them.
  • Upgrade 2: Waters of Lórien
    Upgrade dodge to instantly flash past enemies. Consumes focus.
  • Upgrade 3: 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.

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

  • Upgrade 1: Bodyguard
    Assign a Captain to be your bodyguard in the army menu.
  • Upgrade 2: 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.
  • Upgrade 3: Iron Guard - Unlocked by completing all Gondor quests
    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.

  • Upgrade 1: Destroy Followers
    You can explode the heads of nearby followers, causing enemies to flee in terror.
  • Upgrade 2: Lifeblood
    You can heal all nearby followers by consuming your health. Any followers who are bleeding out are unaffected.
  • Upgrade 3: Enrage Followers
    You can enrage nearby friendly Captains. Consumes wrath.

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