Best Skills at Start

The world of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is unforgiving and deadly, you will be fighting for your life from the moment the game begins. Given the large number of skills in The Witcher 3, it is vital to immediately start planing which ones you wish to unlock. The best way to do that is to decide what you want to focus on – combat, alchemy, signs, or a mixture of several – and then stick to it. To help you prepare for your travels in the Northern Realms as best as possible, we have put together a list of the best skills to invest in at the beginning of the Witcher 3, depending on the type of build you wish to play as.

You gain one ability point every time you level up. Ability points can also be gained by drawing from Places of Power, one from each. If you want to know how to spend them as best as possible, check out the full list below.

Combat Builds

best combat skillsRegardless of which path you choose, you will still have to rely on your sword some of the time. Combat builds are therefore the easiest, as the majority of the enemies you will face in the game will succumb to a sharp and swift blade. You have to spend 8 points in the first tier of combat abilities in order to unlock the second, and you have two options – the fast combat build and the strong combat build.

Fast Combat Build (Rogue)

This build is all about being nimble, doing fast attacks, and avoiding hits. The best skills to invest in are:
  • Arrow Deflection (Defense): Lets you deflect arrows while parrying; later levels reflect arrows back at the attacker.
  • Muscle Memory: Increases the damage made with fast attacks.
When you unlock the second tier, focus on the following:
  • Precise Blows (Fast attack): Increases the critical chance and damage of fast attacks
  • Fleet Footed (Defense): Decreases the damage you take when dodging.
There are a few General skills you should unlock:
  • Cat School Techniques: Increases critical damage and fast attack damage for every piece of light armor you wear.
  • Focus: Adrenaline points increase weapon damage. Since every skill in the combat tree improves adrenaline generation, this skill is vital

Strong Combat Build (Tank)

This build is for those who want to deal greater damage and not worry about avoiding hits. You first need to invest in:
  • Strength Training (Strong Attack): Increases the damage you do with strong attacks. Upgrade it to level 5.
  • Resolve (Battle Trance): Makes you lose fewer adrenaline points after taking damage and increases adrenaline point gain. Invest 3 points into it.
In the second tier of skills, unlock the following:
  • Crushing Blows (Strong Attack): Increases the critical chance and damage of strong attacks.
  • Undying (Battle Trance): When you lose all Vitality, it transforms some of your adrenaline into it.
The general skill tree also has a few you should invest in:
  • Bear School Techniques: Increases vitality and strong attack damage for every piece of heavy armor.
  • Focus: Adrenaline points increase weapon damage. Since every skill in the combat tree improves adrenaline generation, this skill is essential.

Signs Builds

best signs skillsSigns are the Witcher 3’s equivalent of magic. As in any RPG, concentrating on magic will make you vulnerable at close-quarter combat, but it does have its advantages. You have two options: become a wizard who deals significant damage to a single target, or specialize in casting area-of-effect skills. Both build still require you to use swords, but their focus is on casting magic.

Single-Target Signs Builds

This build specializes in casting spells at at one target at a time, and protecting the caster from enemy damage. You will first need to max out:
  • Melt Armor (Igni): Permanently weakens enemy armor.
  • Exploding Shield (Quen): Pushes enemies back when the shield explodes.
    • When you open the second tier, invest in:
      • Firestream (Igni): Fires a continuous stream of fire in the desired direction.
      • Active Shield (Igni): Allows maintaining an active shield that drains stamina. Absorbed damage restores vitality.
      The general skill tree also has a few abilities of interest:
      • Adrenaline Burst: Casting signs generates adrenaline.
      • Rage Management: If stamina is too low, you can use adrenaline points to cast signs.

      Area-Of-Effect Signs Build

      This build focuses on dealing damage to enemies in a wider area. The damage will only weaken them, so you will have to rely on your swordsmanship to finish them off. In the beginning, upgrade:
      • Far-Reaching Aard (Aard): Increases Aard range.
      • Sustained Glyphs (Yrden): Increases Yrden duration, number of traps.
      • Delusion (Axii): Stops the target from moving closer.
      In the second tier, focus on Aard and Yrden:
      • Aard Sweep (Aard): Strikes all opponents in a radius.
      • Magic Trap (Yrden): Damages and slows all enemies in the radius. Destroys projectiles.
      From the general skills, invest in these:
      • Adrenaline Burst: Casting signs generates adrenaline.
      • Focus: Adrenaline points increase sign intensity.

      Alchemy Builds

      best alchemy skillsSpecializing in alchemy means that you will be using oils and bombs to complement your sword-fighting. Bombs are great at dealing damage to enemies, but they can also disable your opponent. Oils are used to increase the damage you make to certain types of enemies.

      Max out the following abilities in the first tier:
      • Poisoned Blades (Oil Preparation): Chance of poisoning the enemy with oiled blade.
      • Steady Aim (Bomb Creation): Slows time even more while aiming bombs.
      Choose the following skills from the second tier:
      • Protective Coating (Oil Preparation): Gives protection against the enemy type vulnerable to the oil.
      • Pyrotechnics (Bomb Creation): Bombs that don’t do damage now do 30 damage.
      • Refreshment (Brewing): Each potion you drink heals 5% of your health.

      Hybrid Builds

      Hybrid builds are recommended for experienced players only, so if you’re new to role-playing games you should choose one of the other builds. Investing in several skill trees means that it will take you more time to get to the higher, more powerful tiers, which have the best abilities. Hybrid builds are more powerful, but will take more time to level up.

      Combat goes well with either Signs or Alchemy, as your sword-fighting skills are augmented with some of the abilities from the regular Signs or Alchemy builds. On the other hand, combining Alchemy and Sings is much more difficult, but can be achieved with a lot of effort.