An assassin must be a master in the art of stealth, dextrous, versatile, and capable of doing what needs to be done with the requisite finesse to leave no trace behind. A Viking invader on the other hand, can afford to be a lot less subtle.
In Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, it’s your choice which path Eivor chooses to take: the melee-brawling Viking warrior, the illusive assassin, or a cunning and dangerous mixture of the two.
Where Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s Skills and character upgrades were quite straightforward, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla takes a much more sprawling approach to the system, with a celestial cosmos of minor stat increases to mull over.
And that’s before you even get to the Skills themselves – powerful abilities which swing the tide of combat in your favour, alongside the regular swinging of your axe.
Across the Viking invasion of medieval England – given the violent nature of your intentions – there’s a lot of battling. This means that getting the right combat Skills to supplement your favored style of character build is vital to your smooth progress and enjoyment.
Here are some of our picks for the best Skills in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, as well as how to upgrade your character effectively.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Character Upgrades
Shrouded in smoke and boasting more percentages than a Wall Street stock ticker, the Skill and character upgrade screen in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla can be a bit of an information overload.
However, there’s something vital which isn’t immediately obvious from the start of the game: you can reset and redistribute your skills at any time during your adventure – completely free – so you don’t have to agonize over every stat point you spend.
There are 40 different skills in total, and in practice, there are three things which determine where to spend your skill points:
- Whether you want to favour melee, ranged, or stealth skills
- Whether you want to make use of Abilities
- Which animal affinity your current and favourite weapons are
The three directions on the Skill board can be very roughly divided into three categories: melee up from the middle, ranged to the right, and stealth to the left.
All three directions have their own bow skills – light bow up, hunter bow right, and predator bow left – which is why I say very roughly. If you choose to invest your points into the red skills at the top of the board, you’re not going to be a useless archer for example, so don’t worry about specializing too much.
Think of each route more as a focus than the only thing you can use. This is backed up by the range of different stat nodes that you’ll acquire whichever path you choose.
In the early game, there’s a lot of raiding and brawling, so you’ll probably want to go with the red melee Skills, but you won’t struggle if you don’t.
Your next choice is whether you want to make use of the adrenaline Abilities. These are the combat and stealth skills that you learn from Books of Knowledge that you find throughout the world.
If you like spamming these abilities, then you may want to look into building a mixed character with all of the adrenaline upgrades.
There’s one at the bottom of the board underneath Last Chance Healing, one on the left next to Chain Assassination, and finally one up and to the left next to Berserker’s Mettle.
One more thing to consider, when you look at your equipped weapons in your inventory, above their name is a picture of an animal. This is either a red bear, a blue wolf, or a yellow raven.
If you find yourself particularly enamored with a certain variety of weapon, then you should consider taking your skills down the corresponding path.
For example, Varin’s Axe is a red bear affinity weapon, so if you spend stat points going up from the middle of the upgrade screen – in the melee focused tree, some of the stat nodes will be specifically geared towards enhancing your ability with bear affinity weapons.
Since you can redistribute your points freely, you could change up your points to hit these nodes whenever you change weapons.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Best Skills
Muddling your way through is all well and good, but it’s much easier to pick the best Skills for you in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla if you actually know what they are.
As as starting point to work toward, I usually go up to Stomp, then right to Parry Damage. Then from the middle go left to Backstab, then up to Brush with Death. This gives you a really capable melee character from the start, by which point you should have a grasp of where you want to go next.
Below is a full table of all 40 Skills, what they do, and where they appear on the board so you can plot your path.
We’ve also embedded a video run through of every single Skill at the top of this page if you prefer to see them in action:
|Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Skills|
|Skill Name:||Skill Effect:||Location on upgrade board:|
|Stomp||When an enemy falls, press R3 to stomp on them for extra damage||Up from middle|
|Parry Damage||Successful parries deal damage to the attacker||Right from Stomp|
|Adrenaline Fiend||Gain a damage boost and attack speed boost when 1 or more Adrenaline Slots are filled||Up from Parry Damage|
|Arrow Volley||Fire all loaded arrows from a light bow at once on an enemy for a stamina cost||Top right, right from Adrenaline Fiend|
|Perfect Attack||Press R1 again during a weapon swing to have the next one do more damage||Up from Stomp|
|Warrior Takedown||Press R2 to perform a violent takedown on an unaware enemy – fills a bar of adrenaline for every enemy you alert||Up from Perfect Attack|
|Sprint Bash||Upgrade your sprint to break through breakable objects and doors, as well as knock NPCs to the ground||Top, up from Warrior Takedown|
|Dual Swap||When dual-wielding, press R2 +R3 to swap the weapons in your hands||Left from Stomp|
|Berserker’s Mettle||A partially filled adrenaline slot won’t empty the first time an enemy hits you||Left from Dual Swap|
|Heavy Dual Wield||You can dual-wield two heavy weapons – but it alters the stats and handling||Left from Berserker’s Mettle|
|Light Bow Combo||Consecutive shots with a light bow deal more damage||Up from Dual Swap, left from Perfect Attack|
|Terror||After a Stun Finisher, weak enemies cower in fear and can be easily finished||Left from Light Bow Combo|
|Battlefield Cremation||Enemies you kill with fire attacks stay burning and deal fire damage to other enemies||Up from Light Bow Combo|
|Backstab||Landing a blow directly to an enemy’s back does more damage and makes them stagger||Left from Middle|
|Advanced Assassination||Unlocks ability to assassinate high-level targets with a timed mini-game||Down from Backstab|
|Breakfall||Eivor automatically does a roll which negates some fall damage after a large drop||Down from Advanced Assassination|
|Missile Reversal||Catch and throw back “virtually any” projectile by parrying it with L1 just before it hits||Down from Breakfall|
|Brush with Death||Dodging just before an attack lands slows down time||Up from Backstab|
|Predator Bow Combo||Consecutive shots with the Predator Bow deal more damage||Left from Brush with Death|
|Counter Roll||Dodge towards an enemy’s Rune Attack just before it lands to vault behind them||Left from Predator Bow Combo|
|Guided Arrow||Press R1 to control the arrow from a Predator Bow as it flies||Left from Backstab|
|Explosive Corpse||Hold R3 to booby-trap dead bodies to damage enemies who investigate||Left from Guided Arrow|
|Miasma||Enemies who die from your poison attacks release a cloud of toxic gas||Left from Explosive Corpse|
|Chain Assassination||After performing one assassination, throw an axe at a second NPC in close proximity||Down from Guided Arrow|
|Auto-loot||Automatically collect the loot from a defeated enemy||Down from Chain Assassinationq|
|Assassin’s Cantrip||After a parry, press Triangle to throw a smoke bomb and disappear||Left from Chain Assassination|
|Stealth Recon||Automatically highlight enemies when crouched||Right from middle|
|Emergency Aim||Hold L2 when being detected to snap your aim to an enemy for a chance to kill them before they raise the alarm||Up from Stealth Recon|
|Hunter Bow Combo||Release an arrow just as you finish drawing it to make the next one draw faster||Up from Emergency Aim|
|Arrow Reinforcement||Loosed arrows never break, so you can always pick them up from defeated enemies||Right from Hunter Bow Combo|
|Bow to Melee Link||Alternating between bow and melee hits deals extra damage||Right from Stealth Recon|
|Stealth Adrenaline||While in stealth, fill adrenaline slots by looting chests or picking pockets||Up from Bow to Melee Link|
|Bow Stun Finisher||Press R3 while aiming at a stunned enemy to trigger a finishing move||Right from Stealth Adrenaline|
|Sprint Attack||Press R1 while sprinting to do a special attack||Down from Stealth Recon|
|Battleground Bolt||Press Triangle next to a discarded weapon to throw it at another enemy||Right from Sprint Attack|
|Charged Shot||Fire two fully charged arrows with the Hunter Bow||Right from Battleground Bolt|
|Grit||Regain the “red portion” of your health bar when you hit an enemy||Down from Battleground Bolt|
|Last Chance Healing||When you reach critical health, time will slow down to let you heal or run away||Down from Sprint Attack|
|Adrenaline Upgrades||+1 adrenaline slot||There’s one at the bottom below Last Chance Healing, one next to Chain Assassination, and one next to Berserker’s Mettle|