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Which of the best skills in God of War Ragnarok should you unlock first?

A Spartan speciality

A versatile fighter who uses strength and aggression to his tactical advantage, Kratos has a huge roster of awesome skills and abilities at his disposal in God of War Ragnarok.

However, even though you will likely have gathered enough XP points to unlock most, if not all, of the best skills in God of War Ragnarok by the time you roll the credits, some are still more useful than others.

This means that there’s some strategy in choosing which of the wide variety of abilities you should unlock first.

From our detailed experience of the game, here are some tips on where to spend your XP points to turn Kratos into an unstoppable force of nature as quickly as possible.

What are the best skills in God of War Ragnarok?

Each weapon in God of War Ragnarok has its own skill tree. On the one hand, this means you can invest your XP points into whichever weapon you use most and increase its effectiveness quickly.

But on the flipside, it also means that you can easily end up with an uneven skillset, with the subordinate weapon feeling weak and unwieldy compared to your main choice.

Making a conscious effort to switch between weapons as you fight can line up opportunities for awesome combos, and it doesn’t take much skill investment to make an unfamiliar weapon feel exciting again.

Here are some general tips for how to pick the best skills for your playstyle before we move onto specifics:

  1. Choose Skills you will remember to use: We all do it, but it’s no use spending resources on fancy combos of attacks if you can’t remember the inputs to perform them in battle. Focus on choosing Skills you know you be able to pull off instinctively.
  2. Movement enhancing abilities are very powerful: Most of the time, if Kratos is hitting something, it can’t hit back. This makes Skills which deal area-of-effect damage or close the distance between him and enemies really good because it minimizes downtime where you can take damage.
  3. Charged ranged attacks are extremely good for bosses: While an axe seems like a pretty short range weapon, Kratos can hurl it like a major league pitcher. Peppering both tough story and optional bosses with charged ranged attacks is a great way to chip damage and these Skills shouldn’t be ignored.

What does Skill Labour mean in God of War Ragnarok and which Mod Tokens should you pick?

Skill Labour is an additional challenge which, when completed, increases the power of your Skills in God of War Ragnarok.

To increase your progress towards the Skill Labour target, all you need to do is use that Skill in combat.

Once you have completed the Skill Labour requirement for a given Skill, you unlock the ability to craft a Mod Token for it. Mod Tokens buff either the damage, stun, elemental build-up or the window of invulnerability gained while performing a Skill.

As for which Mod Tokens to pick, my advice is to choose the option that enhances the main function of the Skill the most. For example, if the main advantage of a Skill is that it deals multiple hits or leads into a combo that helps you to stun enemies for an easy kill, then you want to further enhance that utility by choosing the stun Mod Token.

Or if the main function of a skill is to inflict burn damage, then you want to choose the Mod Token which greatly increases Burn damage to get the most out of the Skill’s “raison d’etre”.

What are the best Leviathan Axe skills in God of War Ragnarok?

The Permafrost Skill in God of War Ragnarok which imbues the Leviathan Axe with frost damage
  • Glacial Permafrost

Pros: Devastating power and tons of fun Cons: Cannot sustain damage during build-up

Permafrost is a Skill which imbues the Leviathan Axe with frost element damage after a period of attacking without sustaining damage. With Glacial Permafrost this can be upgraded to deal even more damage and send out waves of frost on each swing.

While it can be tough to charge up if you’re clumsy, the damage buff that this Skill grants Kratos is absolutely huge, basically ending almost any fight you can activate it in. Not to mention, it’s a visual delight to show off your PS5 too.

The Vengeful Sickle Skill in God of War Ragnarok which allows a light ranged throw to deal multiple hits to an enemy
  • Vengeful Sickle and Freezing Throw

Pros: Useful in every single fight in the game Cons: Weaker than melee combos

While the crunchiest combos are performed up-close-and-personal, ranged Leviathan Axe attacks are extremely useful in a lot of situations and powering them up with multiple hits and frost explosions makes them even better.

They’re so good that you need to remember to not hang back sniping too much and still get into the thick of melee fighting when you can as well.

Both Skills are also very good at getting chip damage against bosses, which can be invaluable when melee strategies are risky.

  • Whirling Storm

Pros: Close distance extremely quickly Cons: Can launch you into trouble

If you struggle with the timing of parries, then you’re probably going to be dodging a lot in God of War Ragnarok. This makes the Whirling Storm ability a must-have, since it allows you to get back into the fray and on the offensive like you never stopped.

The Serpent's Snare Skill in God of War Ragnarok which deals heavy damage and throws weaker enemies
  • Serpent’s Snare

Pros: Strong and easy to pull off Cons: Slow to perform

A great combo finisher that deals with both single-targets and big groups of enemies. With Serpent’s Snare you can get big damage on big guys and leverage smaller guys to stun all of their friends.

It’s a bit slow to wind up, but with clever deployment you can skewer even the slipperiest foes.

You can even get an Axe Pommel which gives you back a small amount of health with every hit of this Skill - very useful if you take a lot of hits with risky play.

What are the best Blades of Chaos skills in God of War Ragnarok?

The Immolation Skill in God of War Ragnarok which imbues the Blades of Chaos with burning damage
  • Furious Immolation

Pros: Dishes out lots of damage in a huge area Cons: Cannot take damage during build-up

As with Permafrost for the Leviathan Axe, Immolation lets you deal a huge amount of damage very easily.

However, you could argue it’s even better on the Blades of Chaos. One of the main weaknesses of the Blades is that their regular melee damage is relatively weak. This goes completely out of the window once Immolation is charged however, letting you slam enemies across a huge area.

The Chaotic Rampage Skill in God of War Ragnarok which deals high damage to a single target
  • Chaotic Rampage

Pros: Balances out Blades of Chaos’ main weakness Cons: Very single-target focused

Another good pickup, Chaotic Rampage gives you an easy way to mitigate the Blades of Chaos’ poor melee damage against single enemies.

It’s simple to pull off, easy to remember, and sets up a variety of different moves too.

The Spinning Chaos Skill in God of War Ragnarok which allows Kratos to leap forward and continue a combo after dodging
  • Spinning Chaos

Pros: Closes distance and continues combos Cons: Weak individual damage

Despite being a far-reaching, area-of-effect weapon, the Blades of Chaos have a limited ranged attack. This makes it even more necessary for them to have a way to quickly close distance and engage baddies.

Spinning Chaos allows you to continue the aggressive playstyle that’s the hallmark of the Blades of Chaos while covering its weaknesses.

For more on how to make the most of Kratos’ spartan skillset, here are our picks for the best armor in God of War Ragnarok for the early, mid and late game.

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About the Author
James Billcliffe avatar

James Billcliffe

Guides Editor

With 7 years' experience, James suffers so you don't have to, creating expert guides for the toughest games and reviews for the biggest blockbuster releases. His main tastes are Jim games (Narrative), Billcliffe games (Action), and Donaldson games (RPGs).