If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

The Witcher 3: Best abilities for combat, alchemy, and signs

It's a skill issue

Figuring out the best abilities in The Witcher 3 feels like an overwhelming task if you’re not used to CD Projekt RED’s open-world RPG.

Geralt has a staggering array of abilities available to him, from improving his crossbow skills to adding extra features to his signs.

Geralt gains a skill point every time he levels up and for every Place of Power he visits. They’re limited in number, but if you make a mistake and want to start over, you can use a Potion of Clearance to respec.

Does The Witcher 3 NEED a next-gen upgrade?

Best combat abilities in The Witcher 3

Geralt’s combat abilities offer improvements in areas such as crossbowmanship and strong attacks, but as flashy and appealing as some of these skill descriptions sound, you’re better off focusing on just a few.

Fast attacks

Make sure to invest in the fast attack tree. Fast attacks are what you’ll rely on in combat more often than not, so increasing the damage they deal and the Adrenaline Points they generate just makes sense. These are also a safer bet than strong attacks. Fast attacks use less stamina and aren’t blocked or evaded as easily.

Crippling Strikes

Whirl is a useful skill for crowd control, but Crippling Strikes is even better. This skill imbues your fast attacks with bleed effect that, at the highest level, drains 150 vitality – or essence, if you’re fighting monsters – per second after your fast attack connects.

Arrow Deflection

Arrow Deflection is under the “Defense” category, and it’s an essential skill you should invest in early. Nearly every group of human enemies you encounter includes an archer or crossbowman of some kind. Their arrows slow Geralt’s approach and whittle his health before the battle even starts, making them a substantial nuisance and threat.

Arrow deflection lets you block them with a parry, and at level two, it even reflects them back to the sender.

Battle Trance

The Battle Trance class might seem a bit too niche if you don’t use Adrenaline-fueled skills, but some of the passive buffs here are too good to pass up.

Undying

When Geralt’s vitality reaches 0, he uses Adrenaline Points to restore his health by a set amount. The next-gen update improves this skill even further, as it restores a small amount of vitality even if Geralt has no Adrenaline Points built up.

Resolve

Resolve reduces how many Adrenaline Points you lose when you’re attacked. It’s simple, but useful, especially if you opt for Undying or our next pick.

Flood of Anger

Flood of Anger uses a few Adrenaline points to upgrade your next sign to its highest level and increase its power, which is handy if you don’t want to invest in a sign’s intensity tree.

Best sign abilities in The Witcher 3

The Witcher 3 best abilities: A man wearing chain mail is casting fire from his hand toward a giant grey monster with deer antlers

Igni - Melt Armor

The best Igni skill is easily Melt Armor. As the name suggests, your enemies don’t just catch on fire when you use this sign. Their armor gradually disappears as well, making them easier to defeat.

The effect scales with sign intensity, so if you have Flood of Anger, you get the maximum bonus too.

Quen - Active Shield

Quen is already one of the best signs, and Active Shield makes it even better. It draws on Geralt’s stamina to restore his health if he’s attacked while the shield is active, and while that seems like a risky trade, it also speeds up stamina recovery.

Best Alchemy abilities in The Witcher 3

Witcher 3 alchemy: A menu image is shown, with the cursor highlighting the Ekimmara Decoction, an item used to drain health from enemies while Geralt attacks them

Heightened Tolerance

If you use a lot of potions and decoctions, which you should, then this ability is a must. It raises Geralt’s toxicity tolerance so he can consume more potions, and higher-quality ones, before getting poisoned and dying.

Bombs - Efficiency

This ability is also pretty straightforward, but no less useful because of it. Efficiency increases the number of bombs in each bomb slot by one. Replenishing them by resting is fine, but this way, you won’t run out in the middle of a heated encounter.

Bombs – Cluster Bomb

The clue is in the name for this one. Cluster Bomb creates smaller explosive fragments when one bomb explodes, giving you literally more bang for your buck.

Tissue Transmutation

This one gives Geralt an extra few hundred Vitality points every time he drinks a decoction. The effect only lasts as long as the decoction does, but if you’re going up against a fierce foe – the kind you’d drink a decoction for, for example – then you need all the help you can get anyway.

Synergy

Synergy gives a slight buff to any enhancements you get from mutagens you equip, and potions will last longer. At higher levels, the buff is 50 percent of the standard value, while potions last 25 percent longer.

Best General abilities in The Witcher 3

These are Geralt’s random array of personal improvements, things like inventory management and buffs that change depending on the time of day.

Strong Back

Strong Back is one of the most useful abilities in the game. It permanently increases Geralt’s weight capacity by 60, which means you can get even more out of your saddlebags and carry more equipment without slowing down.

Focus

Focus gives you a damage buff for physical attacks and signs based on how many Adrenaline Points you have. It might not turn the tables on its own, but it stacks with the other abilities we picked and can help give Geralt a sizeable advantage in tough battles.

Adrenaline Burst

Geralt gets a five percent increase in Adrenaline generation with this ability, and using signs will also generate Adrenaline Points. It fits well with the likes of Undying and Flood of Anger.

Sun and Stars

If you frequently run out of food or lose stamina too quickly in combat, this is the ability for you. During the day, Geralt recovers 10 Vitality per second if he’s not in combat. At night, he recovers one extra stamina point per second during combat.

Whether you're just starting The Witcher 3 for the first time or need a refresh after a long time out of the saddle, check out our Witcher 3 walkthrough for all the essential info, including how to get the best ending and which quests you should actually do in the wide, open world.

You're not signed in!

Create your ReedPop ID & unlock community features and much, much more!

Create account
About the Author
Josh Broadwell avatar

Josh Broadwell

Contributor

Comments
VG247 logo

Buy our t-shirts, yeah

They're far more stylish than your average video game website tat.

Explore our store
VG247 Merch