Middle Earth: Shadow of War – All Unlockable Skills & Upgrades

Take a look at all the abilities and skills you’ll use to decimate orc armies in Middle Earth: Shadow of War.

Middle Earth: Shadow of War is fast approaching, and once again you’ll be able to upgrade Talion with a variety of special skills and unlockable upgrades. With the elf king spirit Celebrimbor, the ranger Talion must conquer Mordor from within, using magical abilities to turn weak-minded orcs against their creator and defeat the dark lord Sauron.

Many of Talion’s most useful mechanics return in Shadow of War, and you’ll need them to conquer the beefed-up Orc tribes. The Nemesis system is back with even more complexity, meaning you’ll need to use certain special skills to tackle each challenging orc adversary — and there are lots of skills to unlock. Check out the full list below for details on each ability, and how they can be upgraded.

There’s more than just new skills in Shadow of Warplayers can import their best Shadow of Mordor Nemesis into the sequel, and publisher WB is adding microtransactions for impatient gamers.


All Unlockable Skills & Upgrades

[Work-in-Progress: Check back soon for new updates as we fill in descriptions for every unknown upgrade.]


Skill Tree: Story 

  • Drain Skill: Hold [B / Circle] to recover health by draining orcs.
    • Upgrades:
      • Domination: Drained orcs will fight for you when activated. This works during combat or stealth drains — press [D-Pad Up] to activate dominated orcs.
      • Bright Lord’s Wrath: Recover full health and refill Wrath
      • Quiver of Souls: Draining an opponent recovers elf-shot.
  • Spectral Glaive Skill: Hold [X / Square] to unleash a strong sweep attack.
    • Upgrades:
      • Deadly Striker: Double-charge your Glaive for fast sword-combo follow-up attacks.
      • Mighty Swing: [Unknown.]
  • Elven Rage Skill: Fill your Wrath meter (earned after each kill) to unleash Elven Rage. Time is slowed, and all melee attacks are instantly lethal executions.
    • Upgrades:
      • Freezing Burst: All nearby enemies are affected by a frost explosion after Elven Rage ends.
      • Final Blaze: All nearby enemies are affected by a fire explosion after Elven Rage ends.
      • Poisonous Wrath: All nearby enemies are affected by a poison explosion after Elven Rage ends.
  • Shadow Strider Skill: Allows Talion to double-jump mid-air — cross wider gaps or change direction mid-jump.
    • Upgrades:
      • Waters of Lorien: Upgraded dodge that blinks through enemies. Consumes Focus.
      • Hammer of Eregion: [Unknown.]
      • Eagle’s Eyrie: [Unknown.]
  • Call Followers Skill: Talion can summon a group of warriors to fight. Use the [D-Pad] to order followers to attack a target, or dismiss.
    • Upgrades:
      • Bodyguard: In the Army Menu, Talion can assign a Captain to be your bodyguard in addition to the followers.
      • Cluster of Spiders: Summons a cluster of spiders with your followers. Spiders cause the poison effect.
      • Iron Guard: Summoned followers can withstand more damage.
  • Dominate Captain Skill: Allows Talion to dominate a Captain of equal or lower level.
    • Upgrades:
      • Destroy Followers: [Unknown.]
      • Enrage Followers: [Unknown.]
      • Lifeblood: [Unknown.]

Skill Tree: Combat

  • Execution Skill: Press [Y / Triangle] + [B / Circle] to instantly kill an enemy when Might is full.
    • Upgrades:
      • Fatal Might: Uninterrupted sword combos greatly increase Might earned.
      • Secret Might: Gain Might from stealth kills.
      • Grim Resolve: Gain Might from taking damage in combat.
  • Ground Finisher Skill: Kill grounded opponents — press [RT / R2] + [X / Square]
    • Upgrades:
      • Fury: Increases the speed of ground finishers.
      • Wraith Shield: Your Wraith can counter while you’re finishing opponents on the ground.
      • Ground Drain: Use Wraith Drain on grounded opponents.
  • Perfect Counter Skill: When the prompt flashes blue, counter to knock down enemies.
    • Upgrades: 
      • Fatal Counter: Perfect Counters instantly kill enemy grunts.
      • Rain of Arrows: Perfect Counters replenish one elf-shot.
      • Mighty Reversal: Might gained from counters.
  • Critical Strike Skill: Chance for Critical Hits with melee attacks, increasing damage.
    • Upgrades:
      • Reprisal: [Unknown.]
      • Elven Precision: Attack just as a strike is about to land to greatly increase critical chance.
      • Unstoppable: Hitstreak above 30 to greatly increase critical chance.
  • Brutal Aggression Skill: Allows Talion to unleash Brutal Executions, which cause opponents to flee in terror.
    • Upgrades:
      • Wraith Execution: Might can be double-charged. [Unknown.]
      • Ceaseless Might: Skills that require Might no longer deplete Might.
  • Retaliation Skill: Time Last Chance perfectly to instantly kill enemy grunts targeting Talion.
    • Upgrades:
      • Adamant: [Unknown.]
      • Burst of Might: Refills Might on a perfectly timed Last Chance.
      • Vengeful Drain: Instantly drains the grunt targeting Talion.

Skill Tree: Predator

  • Elven Agility Skill: Press [A / Cross] for a burst of speed when vaulting, landing, or climbing.
    • Upgrades:
      • Silent Runner: [Unknown.]
      • Spectral Dash: While crouched, tap [A / Cross] to blink short distances. Uses Focus.
  • Wraith Chain Skill: Blink to an additional targeted enemy during a stealth kill. Uses Focus.
    • Upgrades:
      • Shadow Blade: First additional Wraith Chain kill consumes no focus.
      • Monster Hunter: [Unknown.]
  • Brutalize Skill: Hold [RT / R2] + [Y / Triangle] to perform a brutal stealth kill that terrifies nearby grunts.
    • Upgrades:
      • Unyielding Ferocity: [Unknown.]
      • Reckless Hate: More enemies retreat from brutal stealth kills.
  • Deadly Specter Skill: Hold [Y / Triangle] when using Attract to summon a Wraith that kills the grunt target.
    • Upgrades:
      • Spirit Drain: The summoned Wraith will drain the target.
      • Terrifying Presence: [Unknown.]
  • Poison Tendril Skill: Poison grog barrels at long-rage.
    • Upgrades:
      • Bursting Toxin: [Unknown.]
      • Proximity Trigger: [Unknown.]
      • Contagion: Poisoned grunts will go berserk and attack nearby orcs, spreading the poison effect.
  • Death Threat Skill: Send a message to an orc captain, improving loot dropped by the threatened captain after they’re killed.
    • Upgrades:
      • Vow of Violence: [Unknown.]
      • Worse than Death: [Unknown.]

Skill Tree: Wraith

  • Brace of Daggers Skill: Tap [LT / L2] to quick-throw a dagger that slightly damages / staggers enemies.
    • Upgrades: 
      • Serrated Edge: Chance to inflict a Critical Strike with a thrown dagger.
      • Rain of Blades: Throw five daggers at once in an arc.
      • Swift Barrage: Tap quickly to throw three quick daggers in succession.
  • Elven Light Skill: Stun nearby enemies with a blast of light when your Might is full.
    • Upgrades:
      • Cleansing Blaze: Elven Light skill causes affected enemies to burn.
      • Poison Blast: Elven Light skill poisons affected enemies.
      • Winter’s Breath: Elven Light applies frost to affect enemies.
  • Ice Storm Skill: Allows Talion to freeze enemies and unleash a fast sword-combo on the affected opponent.
    • Upgrades:
      • Frostbite: Ice Storm Finishers are always critical.
      • Shower of Ice: Shoots an arc blast that freezes all enemies in front of Talion. The area of effect increases with a higher Hitstreak.
      • Shattering Blow: Ice Storm Finishers inflict terror on nearby enemies.
  • Consume Skill: Press [A / Cross] + [B / Circle] to instantly drain an enemy in combat. Requires full Might.
    • Upgrades:
      • Chain of Souls: While draining, target another opponent to continue the drain chain. Uses Focus for each additional drain.
      • Olog Lord: Consume affects Ologs.
      • Lord of Wrath: Increases Wrath earned when using Consume.
  • Treasure Hunter Skill: Automatically collects loot from defeated enemies.
    • Upgrades:
      • Prospector: Increases the chances you’ll find better quality Gems.
      • Mind Breaker: Domination ability is faster.
      • Discerning Eye: Increases the chances Captains will drop higher quality loot.

Skill Tree: Ranged

  • Mighty Shot Skill: When Might is full, press [RB / R1] to launch an explosive elf-shot.
    • Upgrades:
      • Freeze Blast: Mighty Shot is enhanced with frost that slows enemies.
      • Firestorm: Mighty Shot is enhanced with fire that burns enemies.
      • Venom: Mighty Shot is enhanced with poison.
  • Shadow Strike Skill: Instantly blink to an enemy target for a stealth kill / knock out. Consumes elf-shot.
    • Upgrades:
      • Shadow Strike Pull: Pull a targeted enemy to Talion instead of blinking to them.
      • Chain of Shadows: [Unknown.]
      • Shadow Dominate: Instantly Shadow Strike and dominate an enemy grunt.
  • Detonate Skill: Allows Talion to Shadow Strike any firepit, causing it to detonate and burn any nearby orcs.
    • Upgrades:
      • Spider Song: Using the Detonate skill causes spiders to swarm the area.
      • Bursting Arrows: [Unknown.]
      • Matron’s Scent: [Unknown.]
  • Freeze Pin Skill: Target a grunt’s food to freeze your opponent in place.
    • Upgrades:
      • Savage Ice: The Freeze Pin skill will also affect beasts & Olog-Hai.
      • Brutal Cold: [Unknown.]
      • Deep Freeze: [Unknown.]
  • Bird of Prey Skill: Hold [LT / L2] to slow time while falling, making it easy to land precision shots.
    • Upgrades:
      • Talon Strike: [Unknown.]
      • Eagle Sight: [Unknown.]

Skill Tree: Mounted

  • Caragor Rider Skill: Talion can dominate and mount a broken Caragor.
    • Upgrades:
      • Bestial Rage: Perform executions or summon Caragors without full Might — damages your mount’s health instead.
      • Pounce: [Unknown.]
  • Graug Rider Skill: Talion can dominate and mount a broken Graug.
    • Upgrades:
      • Enduring Fury: Basic attacks with the Graug gain more Might.
      • Devouring Force: [Unknown.]
  • Dragon Rider Skill: Talion can dominate and mount a Drake.
    • Upgrades:
      • Scales of Iron: The Drake takes less damage from attacks.
      • Soaring Rage: Use the Drake’s fireball attack even without full Might — damages your mount’s health instead.
  • Call Mount Skill: Talion can summon a Dominated Caragor, command it to attack targets on its own, or dismiss it.
    • Upgrades:
      • Graug Call: Allows Talion to summon a Graug.
      • Dragon Song: Allots Talion to summon a Drake.
      • Dire Caragor: Allows Talion to summon a Dire Caragor.
  • Shadow Mount Skill: Instantly mount a Broken Caragor, Graug or Drake with Shadow Strike.
    • Upgrades:
      • Caragor Breaker: [Unknown.]
      • Pack Master: When Shadow Mounting a Caragor, Talion instantly dominates any nearby Caragor.

Source: [1]