Assassin’s Creed Valhalla‘s skill tree is absolutely massive, requiring a total of 400 skill points in order to fill everything out. With so many options, it can be easy to get overwhelmed, but there are a few skills in particular that players should definitely prioritize first. These skills are almost universally useful, and will make players’ lives much easier whether they prefer a stealthy approach or running in axe first. Thanks to Valhalla‘s forgiving respec system, players can also try out skills without fear of regretting their decisions, as skill points can be refunded at any time for free.
In Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Eivor’s strength is directly linked to her power level. This number is basically the same as level in any standard RPG, and with each skill point earned players can unlock a new node in the skill tree. At the center of each constellation, there’s a larger node that unlocks a skill for Eivor. These have a wide range of effects, from letting players dual wield two heavy weapons to allowing them to sabotage corpses so they explode when enemies check on them. Though the options are vast, there are some skills that players will not believe they lived without.
This may go without saying, but the Adrenaline upgrades available in each of the three skill trees are very useful and worth trying to get early on. Regardless of playstyle, players will use Adrenaline to get a lot of things done in the game, whether that be throwing axes, stealthily running past enemies, or even calling a wolf companion to attack foes. Players start the game with just one Adrenaline slot (the yellow bar near the player’s health bar), but they can get more by upgrading the skill tree.
AC Valhalla‘s skill tree is separated into three branches, wolf, bear, and raven. The Wolf skill tree provides bonuses to ranged combat, the bear skill tree focuses on melee skills, and the raven emphasizes Eivor’s stealth capabilities. Regardless of which of these three playstyles players prefer, it’s worth dipping into all three branches in order to get the Adrenaline upgrades found in each one. After unlocking them all, players can get up to four Adrenaline slots, sometimes allowing them to clear entire combats with just abilities. Players definitely won’t regret unlocking these upgrades early on in their playthrough.
Brush With Death is a skill found in the Raven branch of the skill tree (yellow), and can be a life saver for some of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s tougher boss fights. Whenever the player dodges an attack just before it hits, time will slow down briefly, giving Eivor a chance to either run away, heal, or put out some damage on their opponent. This can often be the difference between life and death in certain battles, especially against enemies that are higher level than the player or that use defensive tactics. Players having trouble hitting shielded enemies or agile ones that dodge can simply slow time first.
Thankfully, this skill isn’t even that hard to trigger. It says that players have to dodge right before they are hit, but the activation window is admittedly rather forgiving. As mentioned above, melee-oriented players can deal a ton of damage during the slowed time, ranged characters can put a good deal of distance between themselves and the enemy, and even stealthy characters can use the time to get away and hide. The sheer versatility of Brush With Death is enough to make it a staple in any Assassin’s Creed Valhalla build.
This may seem like an odd suggestion since Breakfall won’t help players in combat of any type really, but the quality of life granted by this skill is unmatched. Fall damage is a real threat to Eivor in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, especially with the great heights to which they climb on a regular basis. Jumping off the wrong way from a viewpoint and missing a bale of hay when attempting a leap of faith can often mean death or desynchronization, and that tends to just interrupt the flow of play. More importantly, traversal takes much longer when players are worried about avoiding too much fall damage as they run through the hills of England.
Breakfall takes all of these worries and casts them aside, as Eivor will take significantly less damage from falling. Unlike Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, players will still take damage from great falls, but it usually won’t be enough to kill Eivor unless they were already at low health. Breakfall is also found in the Raven skill tree, and should probably be the first skill that players unlock as they start leveling up in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Try playing without it after having it unlocked and exploration will feel like a completely different game.
While this ability may not be as universally useful as others in the list, it is certainly helpful for players that want to know what they’re up against before they charge in. Using Odin’s Sight will get the job done, but this ability only lasts a short few seconds before enemy outlines fade from sight. With Stealth Recon from the Wolf skill tree, players can keep tabs on where all enemies in the area are simply by crouching. So long as they are crouched, enemies within range will remain highlighted, making it much less likely that players will find themselves surprised by a group of enemies.
This has obvious applications for stealth and ranged characters, as keeping tabs on where all the enemies are is vital to both of these playstyles, but even melee characters can make great use of this. While it’s often a ton of fun to run headfirst into an enemy base, doing a little bit of reconnaissance work ahead of time can really help turn the tides of battle. Players can sneak along the outside of an enemy fortress’ walls to get an idea of how many bad guys are inside and then plan their attack with that information.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is available now on PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.