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Assassin’s Creed Valhalla guide: Our 10 favorite skills to unlock first

The Valhalla skill tree is huge and hard to parse. These skills should be the first on your list.

the male eivor in assassin’s creed valhalla Image: Ubisoft

The Assassin’s Creed Valhalla skill tree is daunting. It houses tons of stat nodes and over 40 main skills, all of which improve Eivor’s fighting skills. And while you may eventually have enough skill points to get the skills you want, you’ll need to pick and choose at the start.

In this Assassin’s Creed Valhalla guide, we’ll suggest 10 of our favorite skills — the ones we we think you should pick up as soon as possible.

Stomp

When an enemy falls to the ground, press R3 to stomp on their face.

No matter how you play Valhalla, you’ll get into melee fights. And that’s why you need Stomp, which is essentially an execute button. When knock someone down — pretty standard when you break their shield — you can press a button to deal a massive blow to their health.

This is the first skill you should pick up, regardless of how you plan on playing.

Adrenaline Fiend

When one or more adrenaline slots are filled, you gain a damage boost and attack-speed boost. This effect augments with each slot filled.

A little further into the melee constellations, you can pick up Adrenaline Fiend, which basically just gives you free damage and attack speed for not using one of your Adrenaline-spending abilities — the ones from the Ability menu, which are different than skills. This skill is great, especially as you progress through the rest of the skill and earn more Adrenaline Points (more on that below).

To get Adrenaline Fiend, take the path through the Parry Damage constellation, as that’s another solid skill.

Backstab

Landing a blow directly on an enemy’s back will inflict increased defense damage and cause them to stagger.

There are a few reasons to pick up Backstab. First, the stealth skills are the best on the board — as you’ll see from our recommendations here — and Backstab is a really easy early investment. Backstab also gets bonus points for being a perk that’s always active. If you can hit an enemy in the back, you’ll deal bonus damage — in combat or before it begins.

Brush With Death

Dodging just before an attack lands grants you heightened senses, making others around you appear to move slower for a time.

Brush With Death should be familiar if you’ve played third-person action games before — like other Assassin’s Creeds and even The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. This skill is available early in the stealth tree. Dodge, and when time slows down, it’s safer to attack.

Advanced Assassination

Unlocks the ability to assassinate high-level targets with a timing based attack.

Advanced Assassination is a bit father into the stealth tree, but it’s crucial. There are plenty of powerful enemies in Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla. Taking them out with a single, well-timed blow can make a huge difference at the start of a big fight or the middle of a stealth run.

Chain Assassination

After performing a successful assassination, throw an axe at a second NPC standing in close proximity.

Chain Assassination is the next logical step after Advanced Assassination. It turns every stealth kill into two stealth kills, which actually makes it a great choice for players who want to go loud instead of sneak around, too. Starting every fight by eliminating two enemies instead of just one is a pretty good deal.

Breakfall

Eivor automatically performs a roll when landing from a dangerous height, reducing the amount of damage taken.

Breakfall is another step over from Advanced Assassination, and while this skill technically falls into the less impactful category of “convenient,” we think it’s worth picking up. Health is harder to come by in Valhalla than in other Assassin’s Creed games, and the terrain is mountainous. By letting you jump more safely, Breakfall saves you some rations and speeds up your exploration.

Missile Reversal

Send it right back at ‘em. Catch and throw back virtually any projectile to its sender by pressing L1 just before it hits you.

Missile Reversal is one of the most expensive skills — deep into the skill tree — that we suggest, but it’s also exciting. Lots of enemies love to shoot various missiles at you mid-combat. Being able to quickly flip it and reverse it saves you some health and deals some damage.

Emergency Aim

Holding L2 will snap your aim to the enemy as they detect you, giving you an opportunity to kill him and remain undetected.

The Emergency Aim skill should be familiar to avid stealth game players. It’s similar to the snap aim ability in Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, for example. Without as many tools to mark every enemy on the map, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla makes stealth a bit harder. Emergency Aim gives you that cushion to react and protect yourself from enemy detection.

Any Adrenaline upgrade

+1 Adrenaline Slot

This is a generic suggestion but an important one (and it fits in nicely with the Adrenaline Fiend skill). More Adrenaline slots means more ability usage. Abilities help you deal more damage and or give you some useful utility for every play style. There are three of these on the skill tree, meaning you can have four total Adrenaline slots. If you’re grabbing a skill in a nearby constellation, it’s almost always worth branching out to upgrade your Adrenaline capacity.