Assassin’s Creed Valhalla | Best Skills and Character Upgrades

By James Billcliffe, Tuesday, 10 November 2020 09:45 GMT

An assassin must be a master in the art of stealth, dextrous, versatile, and capable of doing what needs to be done with the requisite finesse to leave no trace behind. A Viking invader on the other hand, can afford to be a lot less subtle.

In Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, it’s your choice which path Eivor chooses to take: the melee-brawling Viking warrior, the illusive assassin, or a cunning and dangerous mixture of the two.

Where Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s Skills and character upgrades were quite straightforward, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla takes a much more sprawling approach to the system, with a celestial cosmos of minor stat increases to mull over.

And that’s before you even get to the Skills themselves – powerful abilities which swing the tide of combat in your favour, alongside the regular swinging of your axe.

Across the Viking invasion of medieval England – given the violent nature of your intentions – there’s a lot of battling. This means that getting the right combat Skills to supplement your favored style of character build is vital to your smooth progress and enjoyment.

Here are some of our picks for the best Skills in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, as well as how to upgrade your character effectively.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Character Upgrades

Shrouded in smoke and boasting more percentages than a Wall Street stock ticker, the Skill and character upgrade screen in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla can be a bit of an information overload.

However, there’s something vital which isn’t immediately obvious from the start of the game: you can reset and redistribute your skills at any time during your adventure – completely free – so you don’t have to agonize over every stat point you spend.

There are 40 different skills in total, and in practice, there are three things which determine where to spend your skill points:

  • Whether you want to favour melee, ranged, or stealth skills
  • Whether you want to make use of Abilities
  • Which animal affinity your current and favourite weapons are

The three directions on the Skill board can be very roughly divided into three categories: melee up from the middle, ranged to the right, and stealth to the left.

All three directions have their own bow skills – light bow up, hunter bow right, and predator bow left – which is why I say very roughly. If you choose to invest your points into the red skills at the top of the board, you’re not going to be a useless archer for example, so don’t worry about specializing too much.

Think of each route more as a focus than the only thing you can use. This is backed up by the range of different stat nodes that you’ll acquire whichever path you choose.

In the early game, there’s a lot of raiding and brawling, so you’ll probably want to go with the red melee Skills, but you won’t struggle if you don’t.

Your next choice is whether you want to make use of the adrenaline Abilities. These are the combat and stealth skills that you learn from Books of Knowledge that you find throughout the world.

If you like spamming these abilities, then you may want to look into building a mixed character with all of the adrenaline upgrades.

There’s one at the bottom of the board underneath Last Chance Healing, one on the left next to Chain Assassination, and finally one up and to the left next to Berserker’s Mettle.

One more thing to consider, when you look at your equipped weapons in your inventory, above their name is a picture of an animal. This is either a red bear, a blue wolf, or a yellow raven.

If you find yourself particularly enamored with a certain variety of weapon, then you should consider taking your skills down the corresponding path.

For example, Varin’s Axe is a red bear affinity weapon, so if you spend stat points going up from the middle of the upgrade screen – in the melee focused tree, some of the stat nodes will be specifically geared towards enhancing your ability with bear affinity weapons.

Since you can redistribute your points freely, you could change up your points to hit these nodes whenever you change weapons.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Best Skills

Muddling your way through is all well and good, but it’s much easier to pick the best Skills for you in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla if you actually know what they are.

As as starting point to work toward, I usually go up to Stomp, then right to Parry Damage. Then from the middle go left to Backstab, then up to Brush with Death. This gives you a really capable melee character from the start, by which point you should have a grasp of where you want to go next.

As you progress, other great Skills include:

  • Missile ReversalThis Skill makes it really easy to cheese Zealots, because you can just run away and throw back their spears
  • Parry Damage – Parrying is vital to Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s combat, and this is a great source of chip damage
  • Advanced Assassination and Chain Assassination – If you’re going to try and be stealthy at all throughout the game, you’ll want to pick both of these up. Otherwise you’ll come up against elite enemies with no tools to take them down quietly
  • Counter Roll – Similarly to the above, this skill gives you a more active option for dealing with a common issue in combat; otherwise you’re stuck dodging
  • Adrenaline SlotsI really like to spam abilities, so I usually unlock all 4 slots

Below is a full table of all 40 Skills, what they do, and where they appear on the board so you can plot your path.

We’ve also embedded a video run through of every single Skill at the top of this page if you prefer to see them in action:

Assassin's Creed Valhalla Skills
Skill Name:Skill Effect:Location on upgrade board:
StompWhen an enemy falls, press R3 to stomp on them for extra damageUp from middle
Parry DamageSuccessful parries deal damage to the attackerRight from Stomp
Adrenaline FiendGain a damage boost and attack speed boost when 1 or more Adrenaline Slots are filledUp from Parry Damage
Arrow VolleyFire all loaded arrows from a light bow at once on an enemy for a stamina costTop right, right from Adrenaline Fiend
Perfect AttackPress R1 again during a weapon swing to have the next one do more damageUp from Stomp
Warrior TakedownPress R2 to perform a violent takedown on an unaware enemy - fills a bar of adrenaline for every enemy you alertUp from Perfect Attack
Sprint BashUpgrade your sprint to break through breakable objects and doors, as well as knock NPCs to the groundTop, up from Warrior Takedown
Dual SwapWhen dual-wielding, press R2 +R3 to swap the weapons in your handsLeft from Stomp
Berserker's MettleA partially filled adrenaline slot won't empty the first time an enemy hits youLeft from Dual Swap
Heavy Dual WieldYou can dual-wield two heavy weapons - but it alters the stats and handlingLeft from Berserker's Mettle
Light Bow ComboConsecutive shots with a light bow deal more damageUp from Dual Swap, left from Perfect Attack
TerrorAfter a Stun Finisher, weak enemies cower in fear and can be easily finishedLeft from Light Bow Combo
Battlefield CremationEnemies you kill with fire attacks stay burning and deal fire damage to other enemiesUp from Light Bow Combo
BackstabLanding a blow directly to an enemy's back does more damage and makes them staggerLeft from Middle
Advanced AssassinationUnlocks ability to assassinate high-level targets with a timed mini-gameDown from Backstab
BreakfallEivor automatically does a roll which negates some fall damage after a large dropDown from Advanced Assassination
Missile ReversalCatch and throw back "virtually any" projectile by parrying it with L1 just before it hitsDown from Breakfall
Brush with DeathDodging just before an attack lands slows down timeUp from Backstab
Predator Bow ComboConsecutive shots with the Predator Bow deal more damageLeft from Brush with Death
Counter RollDodge towards an enemy's Rune Attack just before it lands to vault behind themLeft from Predator Bow Combo
Guided ArrowPress R1 to control the arrow from a Predator Bow as it fliesLeft from Backstab
Explosive CorpseHold R3 to booby-trap dead bodies to damage enemies who investigate Left from Guided Arrow
MiasmaEnemies who die from your poison attacks release a cloud of toxic gasLeft from Explosive Corpse
Chain AssassinationAfter performing one assassination, throw an axe at a second NPC in close proximityDown from Guided Arrow
Auto-lootAutomatically collect the loot from a defeated enemyDown from Chain Assassinationq
Assassin's CantripAfter a parry, press Triangle to throw a smoke bomb and disappearLeft from Chain Assassination
Stealth Recon Automatically highlight enemies when crouchedRight from middle
Emergency AimHold L2 when being detected to snap your aim to an enemy for a chance to kill them before they raise the alarmUp from Stealth Recon
Hunter Bow ComboRelease an arrow just as you finish drawing it to make the next one draw fasterUp from Emergency Aim
Arrow ReinforcementLoosed arrows never break, so you can always pick them up from defeated enemiesRight from Hunter Bow Combo
Bow to Melee LinkAlternating between bow and melee hits deals extra damageRight from Stealth Recon
Stealth AdrenalineWhile in stealth, fill adrenaline slots by looting chests or picking pocketsUp from Bow to Melee Link
Bow Stun FinisherPress R3 while aiming at a stunned enemy to trigger a finishing moveRight from Stealth Adrenaline
Sprint AttackPress R1 while sprinting to do a special attackDown from Stealth Recon
Battleground BoltPress Triangle next to a discarded weapon to throw it at another enemyRight from Sprint Attack
Charged ShotFire two fully charged arrows with the Hunter BowRight from Battleground Bolt
GritRegain the "red portion" of your health bar when you hit an enemyDown from Battleground Bolt
Last Chance HealingWhen you reach critical health, time will slow down to let you heal or run awayDown from Sprint Attack
Adrenaline Upgrades+1 adrenaline slotThere's one at the bottom below Last Chance Healing, one next to Chain Assassination, and one next to Berserker's Mettle

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