For players just starting Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, the constellation-based design of the skill tree can feel as big as daunting as the game's vast open world.
Rather than giving players a neatly navigable list of abilities in this Viking-themed historical adventure, Valhalla’s skill tree is laid out in a web-like maze of constellations. Players won’t be able to see what abilities are even available in the game until they reveal each section of the chart by following upgrade paths. In Inverse’s playthrough, it took over 150 skill points just to reveal every corner of the tree.
If that sounds frustrating, and you just want to get the best upgrades as early as possible, here’s what abilities you should focus on and where to find them.
The five must-have skills in Valhalla are:
- Advanced Assassination
- Chain Assassination
- Brush With Death
We'll run down how to unlock each one below, along with their benefits.
Stomp is one of the first abilities you can grab in the game and perhaps the most useful. When an enemy is on the ground, you can stomp on them, delivering a huge chunk of damage. Many enemies can be knocked down with heavy attacks, meaning that you’ll generally have a chance to use the skill every battle.
To unlock it, put a skill point into the melee attack upgrade north of the center “Choose Your Path” node. That’ll open up the skill chart containing Stomp, which can be obtained by spending six skill points.
4. Advanced Assassination
While many enemies can be killed with one hidden blade stab, more powerful enemies will only take a chunk of damage from stealth attacks. Advanced Assassination gives players a chance to take out big enemies in one hit. When executing a stealth takedown, the game will slow down and prompt you to complete a button timing action to take the enemy out cleanly.
This skill is two sections into the yellow stealth path, which starts at the bottom left of the center point. Once you open the path, keep selecting upgrades moving down the chart until the second yellow skill web opens and you’ll be able to grab it by spending eight skill points total.
3. Chain Assassination
Chain Assassination is a must-have for players who want to focus on stealth. After pulling off a successful stealth kill, Eivor will have a chance to toss an axe at a nearby enemy, killing them in one hit. This is perfect for situations where a nearby guard is just in range of your target, letting you literally kill two birds with one stone.
To find this, continue from the Advanced Assassination section and select the +2.3 melee damage upgrade on the bottom left of the chart. That path opens up the skill’s section, which features a few assassination damage upgrades to make make your stealth strikes more powerful.
2. Brush With Death
Evasion is a major part of combat, and Brush With Death makes that a little easier. Every time you dodge just as an attack is about to land, time briefly slows down, allowing you to attack an enemy or take a step back. It’s especially useful in larger fights with many enemies, as the quick pause in action can give you a chance to carve a way out of a bad situation when you’re surrounded.
Once again, upgrade the yellow path starting from the center. Go left until you hit the edge of the Backstab constellation and then start upgrading your way up. You’ll eventually unlock the skill tree after a few damage upgrades.
It’ll take a fair amount of skill points to unlock Grit, but it’s worthwhile. The perk gives you a chance to regain health after being hit. Every time you take damage, your health bar will display how much you’ve lost by flashing red before it disappears. If you manage to hit an enemy after losing a chunk of health, you’ll fully regain what you lost.
This is a long way through the blue path, but it’s easy to get to if you know where to find it. Start upgrading the blue path on the bottom right of the center point and continue spending skill points moving to the right. Once you hit the skill tree containing Charged Shot, upgrade your way down to the next chart and you’ll find Grit. If you spend your points right, you’ll unlock this after spending 27 skill points.
There are tons of useful abilities to discover, but these five will give you a serious advantage early on without needing to put in guesswork. Remember that you can reset skills at any point from the skill tab, so you can experiment around with other upgrade routes as you see fit.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla is now available.