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Shadow of Mordor Skill Tree

Skill tree

Abilities are a type of game mechanic in Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. Abilities are unlocked via the skill tree. There are two unique paths in the skill tree: the Ranger path and the Wraith path.

Abilities can be unlocked in both paths of the skill tree, eventually leading to the entire skill tree being learned. Both paths allow for Talion and Celebrimbor to become more powerful as experience points are gained through a multitude of activities.

The Ranger path of the skill tree focuses on stealth and melee weapons, whereas the Wraith path takes a more supernatural approach, including abilities for archery and crowd control. Ranger abilities are highlighted red. Wraith abilities are highlighted blue.

Ability Points are needed to unlock each ability in the skill tree. Both paths in the skill tree are divided into 5 tiers, based on how powerful the abilities are. Each tier is unlocked after acquiring a certain amount of Power, which is primarily gained by defeating the Uruks in Sauron's Army (aka Nemeses). "Power Struggle" missions offer additional Power, along with the normal amount gained from killing a target Uruk. Some abilities cannot be unlocked until a prerequisite ability is gained, and certain abilities are gained only through completing storyline quests.

Key TermsEdit

Note: Game controls listed in this section are for the PlayStation/Xbox versions of the game only.
  • Hit Streak - Every 8 consecutive hits, the Hit Streak counter will turn red and your sword will glow (Hit Streak Charged). Charging your Hit Streak allows you to use the Execution, Wraith Flash, Combat Drain, Wraith Burn, and Fire Arrow abilities. As your Hit Streak increases, so does your damage. Higher Hit Streaks allow you to break through wooden shields and other defenses. The Critical Strike ability doubles Hit Streak gains on well-timed attacks. The Blade Master ability reduces the Hit Streak threshold from 8 to 5. Tap Square/X after Stun (Circle/B) to Flurry and build your Hit Streak. Using Quick Throw to kill Ghuls will quickly build the Hit Streak.
  • Elf-shot - Elf-shot is the ammo (arrows) used with the bow, Azkâr. Elf-shot can be regained by picking up arrows in the field, Draining enemies, or through the use of runes. You can increase your max Elf-shot by purchasing Upgrades. Elf-shot pierces Defenders shields, making the bow very effective. Use Charged Shots (Hold R2/RT) to the head to make the most of your Elf-shot. In Ranged Mode L2/LT, press R3/Right Stick (click) to toggle Slow Time on/off. Ghûl Matrons are easily damaged by Elf-shot. Distract does not cost any Elf-shot.
  • Drain - Hold Circle/B to Drain enemies (and mounts) and regain Elf-shot. Completing Drain will also Terrify and damage your enemy. Once the Brand Ability is unlocked, a Drained enemy will become your follower. The Combat Drain Ability allows you to easily regain Elf-shot in the middle of a fight.

Ranger AbilitiesEdit

Note: Game controls listed in this section are for the PlayStation/Xbox versions of the game only.

Tier 1 (Ranger)Edit

  • Execution - When your Hit Streak is charged, press Triangle/Y + Circle/B to execute your target.
    Hit Streak Charged: Every x8 consecutive hits the Hit Streak counter will turn red and your sword will glow.
  • Impact - Countered enemies (Triangle/Y) will be knocked backward, stunned or knocked down.
  • Strike from Above - Aerial takedowns (R2/RT + Square/X) on unaware targets become lethal.

Tier 2 (Ranger)Edit

  • Critical Strike - Doubles Hit Streak gains on well-timed attacks. Tap Square/X only once as each strike connects to receive the bonus. Other well timed moves such as Throw Dagger L2/LT can be critical strikes.
  • Poison - Press R1/RB to Poison grog barrels.
(Automatically unlocked by completing The Outcasts main story mission.)
  • Throwing Daggers - Tap L2/LT to throw a dagger that deals light damage and causes enemies to stagger backward.
  • Brutalize - A terrifying stealth kill (Hold R2/RT + Triangle/Y) that causes nearby enemies to flee and builds the Hit Streak.

Tier 3 (Ranger)Edit

  • Swift Finisher - Reduces the time required to perform a Ground Execution (R2/RT + Square/X) against a downed enemy.
  • Vault Stun - Vaulting over an enemy (tap X/A) will now leave it stunned.
  • Brace of Daggers - Upgrades Throwing Daggers so that three can be thrown in quick succession (quickly tap L2/LT). Fleeing enemies can be slain by thrown daggers.
  • Shoulder Charge - Upgrades dash attacks (Hold X/A to sprint then tap R1/RB) so that they will damage wooden shields and knock enemies down. There is a two-second cooldown after activation.

Tier 4 (Ranger)Edit

  • Resilience - The ability to absorb one hit without the Hit Streak being reset.
  • Death Threat - Issue a Death Threat to a Captain through interrogation. Death Threats greatly improve the odds of Epic rune drops from Warchiefs and add a 40% chance for Captains to drop them as well. Your target will increase in Power and acquire a gang.

Tier 5 (Ranger)Edit

  • Critical Strike 2 - Triples Hit Streak gains on well-timed attacks. Tap Square/X only once as each strike connects to receive the bonus.
  • Flame of Vengeance - Striking (Square/X) enemies with a glowing sword will deal double damage. Your sword will glow whenever your Hit Streak is charged.

Wraith AbilitiesEdit

Tier 1 (Wraith)Edit

  • Elven Swiftness - Time your landings (tap X/A) when mantling over obstacles to gain a temporary speed boost and +1 Hit Streak.
  • Detonate - Shoot fires or barrels to cause them to explode. You are immune to damage from fires and explosions.
  • Wraith Stun - Stun enemies (Tap Circle/B) then follow with a flurry of sword strikes (Tap Square/X).
  • Ride Caragors - Press R1/RB to mount Caragors from above. Once mounted, you can ride, climb, and fight with them.

Tier 2 (Wraith)Edit

  • Shadow Strike - Spend 2 Elf-shot to teleport to a targeted enemy (L2/LT + X/A) and knock it down.
(Automatically unlocked by completing The One Truth main mission.)
  • Pin In Place - Bow attacks aimed at an Uruk's legs will pin him in place. Use quick pinning shots to keep a fleeing Uruk from escaping or immobilize tough Uruks in a fight.
  • Wraith Flash - When your Hit Streak is charged, press Square/X + X/A to perform a blast that stuns enemies and inflicts damage. Hit Streak Charged: Every x8 consecutive hits the Hit Streak counter will turn red and your sword will glow.
(Automatically unlocked by completing the Shattered Memories main mission.)
  • Caragor Hunter - Gain the ability to Counter Caragor attacks (Triangle/Y). Caragors stunned by the Counter can be mounted. Also gain the ability to score a deadly counterattack from Last Chance Struggles with Caragors.
(Automatically unlocked by completing the Big Game main mission.)

Tier 3 (Wraith)Edit

  • Wraith Blast (Wraith Finisher on Xbox 360) - Victims of Drain and Flurry Kill will explode causing nearby enemies to recoil in terror.
  • Combat Drain - When your Hit Streak is charged, press X/A + Circle/B to instantly Drain an Uruk, which recovers Elf-shot and terrifies the target. Hit Streak Charged: Every x8 consecutive hits the Hit Streak counter will turn red and your sword will glow.
  • Graug Hunter - Press R1/RB to mount and ride stunned Graugs. Sneak up behind unaware Graugs and tap Square/X to bleed them, causing massive damage and attracting Caragors.
(Automatically unlocked by completing the Hunting Partners main mission.)

Tier 4 (Wraith)Edit

  • Fire Arrow - When your Hit Streak is charged, you can unleash a Fire Arrow (Hold L2/LT + R1/RB). Fire Arrows will cause huge explosions if used on barrels or campfires. Hit Streak Charged: Every x8 consecutive hits the Hit Streak counter will turn red and your sword will glow.
  • Wraith Finisher (Wraith Blast on Xbox 360) - Upgrades Wraith Stun (Tap Circle/B) so that all enemies in a cone around your target are hit. The higher your Hit Streak, the larger the cone.
  • Brand - All Drain moves now Brand the target. Branded enemies will automatically fight by your side in combat. Or you can Activate them from stealth with Directional Pad Up.
(Automatically unlocked by completing the Queen of the Shore main mission.)

Tier 5 (Wraith)Edit

  • Shadow Strike Chain - Chain together Shadow Strike attacks (Hold L2/LT + X/A) or (Hold L2/LT + Square/X) During the attack, push Left Stick in the direction of your next target and tap X/A or Square/X to continue the chain.
  • Quick Draw - Greatly reduces the time it takes to charge a bow attack.
  • Wraith Burn - When your Hit Streak is charged, press Square/X + Triangle/Y to kill any Uruks that are stunned or knocked down while others caught by the effect may flee in terror. Hit Streak Charged: Every x8 consecutive hits the Hit Streak counter will turn red and your sword will glow.
  • Dispatch - Press Directional Pad Down to kill all branded Uruks and Monsters.


Start a Discussion Discussions about Abilities

  • Abilities are gone?

    • Hello, everyone, something happened to me and I don't know if it's actually a glitch or not. I bought 2 abilities: Last Chance Finis...

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