Use that being dead thing to your advantage with Wraith skills.
While Melee, Stealth and Ranged make up the three key pillars of combat in Middle Earth: Shadow of War, one old RPG staple is missing: magic. The Lord of the Rings Middle Earth universe doesn’t have magic in the typical RPG spell-slinging sense, but the fact that Talion is a Wraith – a kind of dark sorcery undead – means that he has access to a range of abilities that really might as well be magic.
Generally speaking, the Wraith skills are ones everyone will want to invest in regardless of play-style. These powerful skills with augment and complement your current skill-set, be that driven by the combat skill tree or something more stealthy in the predator skill tree or ranged skill tree. These skills also gateway many aspects of Shadow of War’s unique gameplay systems.
Shadow of War: Wraith Skill Tree
The main Wraith skill you’ll find yourself using regularly is domination, a skill you’ll start the game with. However, this skill tree features ways to improve domination – vital since it governs a lot in the game, including how frequently you’re able to heal health and how reliably you’re able to do so during the hectic to and fro of combat. There are some great combat abilities here too that link up well with the other Shadow of War skill trees.
We’ve got some recommendations to get you started…
The best Wraith skills in Shadow of War
- First off, do not underestimate Brace of Daggers. It’s a great combo linker for keeping your hitstreak going in combat, and many abilities especially in the combat tree improve based on a higher streak. The Rain of Blades upgrade is a game-changer too, turning a useful ability into a must-have.
- One thing to keep in mind about Elven Light is that it has quite a wind-up – it’s a powerful skill, but you won’t be able to just break it out at a moment’s notice. It’s utterly devastating with its upgrades, however.
- Ice Storm is broadly speaking far more useful than Elven Light, but it really needs the Shower of Ice upgrade to fully come into its own.
- Treasure Hunter might seem a bit useless at first, but the Discerning Eye and Mind Breaker upgrades make this initially fairly tame skill worthwhile.
Brace of Daggers Skill
If we go all the way in on the comparison between the combat of Shadow of War and the Batman Arkham games, the Brace of Daggers is your batarang. It lets you toss a dagger with a tap of L2 / LT, stunning and damaging the enemy it hits. This is a useful skill as it’s a great way to keep approaching enemies away, and the upgrades make it significantly better still.
- Brace of Daggers Skill Upgrades
- Serrated Edge: Level 7+. Thrown daggers have a chance to land a critical hit.
- Swift Barrage: Level 11 Talion can pick this skill up to enable him to toss three daggers in quick succession with successive taps of the button.
- Rain of Blades: I love this skill – it makes the Brace of Daggers toss five daggers in an arc, allowing you to hit a group of enemies. Level 15 and above.
Elven Light Skill
Eleven Light goes well with Execution and the other Might-boosting abilities in that it lets you hit Circle & Cross / B & A in order to unleash a burst of energy that stuns and blinds enemies around you. This consumes your might, but it’s a brilliant ‘get off me’ back-up when you’re swamped with enemies. The upgrades make it a little more potent.
- Elven Light Skill Upgrades
- Cleansing Blaze: Level 9+. Elven Light now sets enemies on fire.
- Winter’s Breath: This allows Elven Light to freeze enemies. For Level 14+
- Poison Blast: Finally, this poisons enemies. It’s the most generally deadly, so it’s level 19+.
Ice Storm Skill
Ice Storm gives you a handy new move on Circle / B that, when unleashed, freezes enemies to the spot. Once frozen, you can tap the attack button to let rip with a brutal sword combo. The upgrades for this skill ensure this skill is useful for more than one foe at a time.
- Ice Storm Skill Upgrades
- Shower of Ice: From level 11 onwards, this skill upgrade makes it so that the blast in front of you can freeze more than one enemy – and the blast radius grows based on your combat combo hit streak.
- Frostbite: The finisher of your sword combo will always land as a critical strike. Level 17+
- Shattering Blow: Level 23+. The finisher can now actually shatter your frozen opponent to dust – killing them and causing nearby enemies to run in fear.
Consume is another Might-using ability, so it’s best paired with other skills that offer quicker Might gains. When your Might is full, Consume lets you press Circle & Cross / B & A in order to immediately quickly perform a drain on an enemy, regaining health. The upgrades allow you to do it on more enemies and chain this very useful skill.
- Consume Skill Upgrades
- Chain of Souls: From level 13 and up you can use this skill to move right on to another opponent – just aim at them with the right stick and hit square to chain on over.
- Lord of Wrath: Level 20+. Consume now also increases your wrath.
- Olog Lord: You can now use consume on the huge Olog class of enemy. This is a high-level skill, requiring level 27.
Treasure Hunter Skill
This one is more of a simple quality of life upgrade above anything else – rather than having to hold R1 / RB in order to pick up gear that’s dropped, walking over it will make Talion pick it right up with no delay in his animation leaving you vulnerable. This is simple, but the upgrades are far more interesting…
- Treasure Hunter Skill Upgrades
- Discerning Eye: This level 17 and beyond upgrade adds a decent boost to the chance you’ll find some lovely high-end gear from defeated Captains.
- Mind Breaker: Level 25+. A simple but very useful upgrade, this increases the speed at which you dominate enemies.
- Prospector: This is a sidequest skill, unlocked by finding all Gondorian Artifacts. It increases the chances of finding high quality gems.