God of War Ragnarok: Best Skills to Unlock Early

Skills are central to combat in God of War Ragnarok. Discover some of the best early ones here.

There are dozens of weapon and Companion skills in God of War: Ragnarok, and you'll spend most of the game earning the ability to use them all. The good thing is this game's combat is already engrossing without many unlocks, so the real decision is which you pick up first.

You'll have access to the Leviathan Axe and the Blades of Chaos from early in a playthrough following the brief introductory chapter, so your main limitation is how many skill points you want to invest. We'll give you a selection of the best skills to unlock early across both Kratos' and Atreus' trees.

You earn the ability to unlock skills for both the Leviathan Axe and the Blades of Chaos whenever you upgrade them, though the materials to do so come slowly throughout the campaign. Atreus' bow skills open up naturally as you play, though we'll only be covering his initial tree here.

Best Early Leviathan Axe Skills

Our focus here is on both ease of use and consistency. The Leviathan Axe is a damage monster, so the skills we unlock should bolster that however we can.

Serpent's Snare

  • Unlocks at Leviathan Axe Upgrade 2.
  • Costs 1,000xp to purchase.

Replacing the overhead chop from the 2018 title, Serpent's Snare maintains its stagger on larger enemies with the added benefit of tossing mobs around and making them explode into frost on impact. This skill is great for clearing rooms or getting one final hit on a boss.

Freezing Throw I and II

  • Freezing Throw I:
    • Unlocked and purchased at the start of the game.
  • Feezing Throw II
    • Unlocked at the start of the game.
    • Costs 750xp to purchase.

There are two big reasons to invest in Freezing Throw. The first is the massive Frost status buildup you'll cause on his enemies and the ability to freeze smaller foes in place.

Fighting four enemies instead of five for a little while is always good, and both the impact and the dislodging deal damage. The second reason is the Frost explosion on hit. It's great for spreading the status, but it can also help you damage breakable objects that would otherwise be just out of reach, like explosive pots near breakable debris.

Frozen Ascent

  • Unlocks at Leviathan Axe Upgrade 2.
  • Costs 750xp to purchase. 

Combos are king in combat in God of War: Ragnarok. Frozen Ascent is an excellent combo ender and an opener, stunning most foes and allowing you to do more damage than would otherwise be possible.

Best Blades of Chaos Skills to Unlock Early

We're all about speed with the Blades of Chaos and dealing with enemies otherwise out of reach of the Leviathan Axe.

Hyperion Grapple

  • Unlocked at the start of the game.
  • Costs 750xp to purchase.

You'd be surprised by how often you'll be able to land Hyperion Grapple in the middle of a fight, and the shoulder check inflicts heavy Stun damage while allowing you to reposition as part of an attack. That makes it not only a powerful status builder but also a mobility tool.

Chaotic Rampage

  • Unlocked at the start of the game.
  • Costs 750xp to purchase.

The Blades of Chaos don't have great single-target damage, but Chaotic Rampage goes a long way toward helping them in that department. The real reason to grab this early is to get its Skill Labor completed, so it's all the more potent when you unlock its upgrade path.

Immolation

  • Unlocks at Blades of Chaos Upgrade 2.
  • Costs 500xp to purchase.

With the high speed and area of effect the Blades of Chaos have, you're likely to build quite a bit of Immolation gauge, and the bonus to both Luck and Runic, while the skill is active, can be immensely useful, especially with builds that rely on those stats.

Best Atreus Skills to Unlock Early

You won't have access to many of Atreus' skills early in the game, but the two listed here will make combat much more comfortable no matter what point in the story you're in.

Stranglehold I

  • Unlocked at the start of the game.
  • Costs 1,000xp to purchase.

Returning from the 2018 game, Stranglehold is exactly what it sounds like: Atreus holds a trash mob enemy in a stranglehold with his bow, giving you a chance to deal damage or at least remove an enemy from the field for a little while.

Watchful Protector

  • Unlocked at the start of the game.
  • Costs 750xp to purchase.

One benefit of being an NPC companion in God of War: Ragnarok is you can't die to enemy damage. Watchful Protector uses this mechanic to your advantage by allowing Atreus to draw some enemy aggression when you are overwhelmed. It's not enough in a big group, but plenty in most encounters.

You'll want to invest in those eight skills early in God of War: Ragnarok. You'll unlock many more active and passive skills as you play, but you'll spend hours between upgrades, so maximizing what you can do in the early stages is essential. For more on God of War: Ragnarok — and there will be much more — check out our guides hub.

Contributor

John Schutt has been playing games for almost 25 years, starting with Super Mario 64 and progressing to every genre under the sun. He spent almost 4 years writing for strategy and satire site TopTierTactics under the moniker Xiant, and somehow managed to find time to get an MFA in Creative Writing in between all the gaming. His specialty is action games, but his first love will always be the RPG. Oh, and his avatar is, was, and will always be a squirrel, a trend he's carried as long as he's had a Steam account, and for some time before that.

Published Nov. 13th 2022

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