Middle-earth: Shadow of War – Combat skills guide

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Gaining power in a video game is easy. But maintaining it? Now that’s the real challenge. Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor may have ended with Talion having the power to enslave an army of Orcs and then detonate their heads like a squishy fourth of July. Shadow of War pulls the ol’ switcheroo on Talion’s ability to raise hell, sending him back to square one as he rebuilds not only his army but also his personal taste for Orcish devastation.

Here’s a breakdown on the skills available to you in Shadow of War. Remember, beyond the main skills you’ll spend experience points on unlocking, there are also sub-categories attached to each one. You can only have one of them active per main skill, so don’t feel pushed to unlock an entire Execution block.

Combat

Talion’s bread and butter, the Combat skill-tree gives you sword moves which are too cool for school. This is where you’ll focus on the core attributes of the sword and dagger, as Talion’s basic combos can be augmented with executions, ground kills and a counter that instantly KOs a regular Orc when timed perfectly. The gist of everything below is that you’re looking to build as much Might as quickly as possible so that you can start dishing out executions on tougher foes, while keeping your back guarded.

Here’s every listed skill in that digital lumber:

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Execution

  • 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.

Perfect Counter

  • Rain of Arrows – Well-timed counters replenish one Elf-Shot.
  • Mighty Reversal – Gain Might from each counter.
  • Fatal Counter – Well-timed counters instantly kill enemy grunts. Ineffective against Captains and Beasts.

Critical Strike

  • Reprisal – Your critical strike chances increases as your health is reduced.
  • Unstoppable – Your critical strike chance increases significantly as long as your hitsreak remains above 20.
  • Elven Precision – Press square as your strike lands to greatly increase your chances of a critical strike.

Ground Finisher

  • Fury – Ground executions enable you to unleash a flurry of blows by rapidly tapping square 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 R2+Circle to drain enemies who have been knocked down.

Brutal Aggression

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

  • Adamant – Gain an additional last chance attempt.
  • Vengeful Drain – Retaliation drains your attacker.
  • Burst of Might – Gain full Might on a perfect last chance.

My personal build for Talion focuses on being able to land critical hits (heyoh!) that builds up my Might bar quicker, allowing me to chain executions like a deranged whirlwind made out of steel and hate. It has proven to be pretty effective so far, especially when used in conjunction with the other skill trees. Which I’ll get to later today.

Last Updated: October 10, 2017

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia’s M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

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