Well, I think it is safe to say that the long awaited sequel to Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor has been, if nothing else, a pleasant surprise. Middle-earth: Shadow of War has expanded on everything that made the first one great, and continues to surprise me with the immense number of unique Orc experiences I’ve encountered. But, for more on how great this game is, you’ll have to check out our review.

This article is to help you folks out that might not be sure which skills to spend those hard earned points on. Make no mistake, Shadow of War is an expansive game with some decent challenges early. To ease that pain and make things easier for you, here is a run down of the skill trees and the best perks to aim for in each!

In order to unlock skills for Talion to slay orcs with, you need skill points. These can be acquired a number of ways, but regardless of how you get them, I strongly encourage you to get as many points as you can as early as you can. You don’t necessarily need to level up to unlock new skills, all you need is a skill point and a skill you wish to unlock.

There are 5 skill trees you can mainly have control over, the sixth is a “Story Skill Tree” so naturally that unlocks as you progress through the story.


The first skill tree out of the six, focuses on Talion’s shear aggression towards orcs. From “Execution” to “Brutal Aggression” the combat tree offers some immensely satisfying finishing moves. The ones you want to focus on are mainly the first two initially. Execution lets you instantly kill an enemy when your Might is full. Perfect Counter uses a well timed counter attack to force the enemy to the ground, dazing them for a moment and sets you up for a Ground Finisher.

These two skills early on make crowd control MUCH easier. Even is you don’t utilise the ground finishers, having a few enemies laying dazed on the ground lets you focus on the harder enemies.


This skill tree focuses Talion on stealth. They allow him to handle enemies quietly, while also moving fast and undetected. The best skill to aim for in this tree is the “Wrath Chain” skill. It allows Talion to aim and kill an additional enemy during a stealth kill.

Seeing as how a majority of Orc groups tend to be in threes, when they’re not on alert, grabbing this skill can be essential for players wanting to keep to the shadows, but still get some blood on their hands!


The Ranged Skill tree is pretty self explanatory. It focuses on Talion’s archery and Celebrimbor’s teleporting skills. The two to aim for here are “Bird of Prey” and (of course) “Shadow Strike“!

Bird of Prey lets Talion slow time down while in mid-air. This skill consumes focus but lets you get a few shots off quickly before dropping into a group of enemies. And of course, what would a Middle Earth game be with Shadow Strike? This skill is just as useful in this game as it was in the first instalment.

While it is the last skill in the tree, meaning it requires 5 skill points to unlock, it is well worth the grind to get as soon as possible. This skill is essential, and makes the early parts of the game feel like a breeze! Not to mention the three sub-skills you can get for it will help immensely in later parts of the game.


This tree is specific to Celebrimbor’s abilities and utilizing your ethereal counter part. The one’s to get early on are “Elven Light” and “Ice Storm”. Elven Light uses a full Might bar and sends a blast of light out towards your enemies. Any orcs caught in the blast are knocked down and/or stunned, meaning you can get a few executions and ground kills in before they come to.

Ice Storm is the skill directly after Elven Light. This skill lets you instantly freeze an enemy using Wraith Stun. You can then unleash a flurry of hits by continuously pressing the attack button. This skill is great for bigger enemies that may take more hits to kill than others.


Orcs aren’t the only thing you can dominate in Shadow of War. The Mounted Skill Tree lets Talion learn abilities that allow him to break and control Mordor’s more feral beasts. “Call Mount” is the best one to get early on. If you want to eventually ride a Drake then you’ll want to grab all the skills in this tree, but for the early parts of the game Call Mount is a great one to have.

This skill lets you call a Caragor to your side where ever you are, LITERALLY, where ever you are, a dominated Caragor will run to your side with this skill. The best time to use this skill is against captains that are weak to beast attacks. Call your trusty beast and let him take care of that li’l bitch ass.

While a good amount of the skills can be very helpful, these skills are the best to grab as soon as you can. They make for a more fun and open experience as well as make you feel like an absolute boss.

So there you have it, is there a skill we missed you feel is just as helpful early on? Do you have a fast way to grind we may have missed? Can Caragors look up? Let us know in the comments below and for all your Shadow of War needs, keep checking back with us at n3rdabl3, we’ve got you covered!

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