Shadow of War Skills: A Comprehensive Overview of the Skills System

Today I have for you a full explanation of the Skill System in Shadow of War as well as a useful surprise in typical Xaine's World style that will certainly assist you in your adventures cleansing Mordor.

So let's dive right in.

The Skills in Shadow of War are broken up into 6 Skill types... mostly.
By mostly I mean that one of the Skill Types feels less of a Skill Speciality and more like a miscellaneous, though don't let that make you think they aren't worth it, as these are some of the most powerful.

These are the Story type, but let's hold off from that a second and quickly explain how they work.

Each category, type, speciality, section, whatever you want to call them have 5 to 6 primary skills within it, these are in an order and to be able to gain each of these ordered skills, you need to have gained the skill before it.
There are a few exceptions with the Story skills but we'll get to those shortly.
The first skill for each section is available from the start, there does not appear to be any level requirements for the base skills, just an unlocking of its parent skill.

Each of these skills has either 2 or 3 upgrades to it, both skills and their upgrades require a skill point to gain once they are made available.

The Upgrades improve the parent skill in some unique way, some are a bit naff, but most are very valid upgrades.
These upgrades almost all require you to be at or above a certain level to be available for purchase with your skill points, as with the skills, some of these are story unlocked.

One very important thing to note about upgrades is that you can only have one upgrade per skill active at any one time, so don't start fully upgrading a skill before you move to the next, be thoughtful in your approach and plan your build, the surprise I was on about before will help you there.

Once you gain an upgrade you can choose to turn it on or off at any time, enabling you to switch between them depending on the situation.

The Skills menu in Shadow of War.

The Skills menu in Shadow of War.

Now, as for the story skills and upgrades, these skills and upgrades are unlocked and paid for by completing specific story-related content, some of them are specific, requiring a specific quest chain to be fully completed, or an achievement style one, where you have to find all of something, but most just say unlocked by playing story quests.

These are purposefully ambiguous to prevent spoilers I would imagine and automatically unlock as you reach certain points, you will gain many of these early on like Drain and Spectral Glaive.

Now to go back to the categories, there are 6, Combat, Predator, Ranged, Wraith, Mounted and Story.

Combat is self-explanatory to a point and covers Melee physical maneuvers like Execution, Perfect Counter, Critical Strike, Ground Finisher and Brutal Aggression.

Predator is all about Stealth moves, helping you move faster, quieter and kill in more and more assassiny ways with Elven Agility, Brutalize, Poison Tendril, Wraith Chain, Deadly Spectre and Death Threat.

Ranged is another one you'll likely figure out, it covers everything to do with your ranged weapon that isn't purely stealth assassin with moves like Detonate, Freeze Pin, Bird of Prey, Mighty Shot and Shadow Strike.

Wraith is all about the Magic infusion, it's not throwing fireballs or anything, but it is about magic augmented abilities like Brace of Daggers, Elven Light, Ice Storm, Consume and Treasure Hunter.

Mounted is all about the beasts, riding them and just generally making them your bitch with Caragor Rider, Graug Rider, Call Mount, Shadow Mount and the epic sounding Dragon Rider.

And the Last is Story, a mix of very powerful unique abilities unlocked through the extensive lore with Drain, Spectral Glaive, Elven Rage, Shadow Strider, Call Followers and Dominate Captain.

You may be wondering why I didn't go into more detail on each skill and its upgrades, well that is where the surprise comes in, also, it would have made the video far too long.

I have collected all of the data possible to gain in-game for the skills and put them all on Xainesworld in 2 easy to digest forms.

The first is a full list of all skills, with the type, requirement, what they do and how to use them with the upgrades for each skill and their requirements and what they do.

Click to go to the SoW Skills Database.

Click to go to the SoW Skills Database.

My intention was to make a far more easy to peruse database than in-game allowing you to view without loading the game as well as seeing everything instead of just what you're hovering over.

The second form is all of the first, but in order of when they unlock so, you can see exactly what is coming up soon to better plan your build.

These are available at and there will be a link in the description but also at the end of the video as there are a few more quick things to go over before we finish.

Firstly, Skill points, those important things are gained in 2 ways, you gain them as you level in the traditional format, but also from certain missions, you actually pick them up quite quickly.

As well as that it's important to note that experience isn't gained like a lot of RPG's, by this I mean that killing random grunts doesn't give you any, you gain experience from taking back landmarks, killing Captains and completing missions.

I'm not sure how I feel about this, it prevents you from grinding them and getting OP early, which really, I prefer, but it kind of motivates you to ignore the horde of troops throughout the city while on the way to the next caption or quest.

You will need a total of 104 skill points to gain all of the Skills and Upgrades that are not unlocked by story related means, as you gain the first at level 2 and the apparent cap is 60, though this is not confirmed, or at least I could not find sufficient evidence of a level 60 cap, you will gain 59 skill points from leveling meaning that you will gain at least 45 from quests and such, I say at least as the way the game works, unless it is only high-level main story quests that award them, I feel like more than you need is out there to get.

There are 33 skills and 87 upgrades to those skills.

And that is about it for skills, remember to subscribe to my youtube channel as I'll be doing many more information guides and making many more useful tools like calculators and such for Shadow of War in the coming weeks, Daily content, is afoot!

Check out the Skill databases at and maybe consider checking out my Patreon , a dollar a month really helps out the channel/website and is a great way to support my work.

But above all, have an awesome day folks!