Best Skills To Invest at start - The Witcher 3

The world of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is harsh – monsters are tough, people are double-timing bastards, and the land is ravaged by war. You’ll be getting into a lot of fights from the moment you start playing.
Since there are so many skills and so little skill points, you’ll need to think ahead when unlocking them. You’ll have to choose an approach before you invest any points into the talent trees – combat, signs, alchemy or hybrid. You’ll have to commit to that approach and spend your ability points wisely. In this guide, we’re going to show you the best skills to choose at the beginning of The Witcher 3, depending on your play style.

Check out our guides on Best Alchemy Builds and how to respec your skills

Every time you level up, you’ll get one ability point. Another way to get them is by visiting Places Of Power. Each one will grant you a single skill point the first time you visit it. Keep on reading if you want to know how best to spend them.

But also don’t forget to collect:

Combat Builds

witcher 3 best combat skills No matter which path you choose, you’ll have to rely on your swordsmanship to some extent. Committing to a combat build is therefore the path of least resistance. When you cut things, they bleed – it’s an easy choice. You have to spend 8 points in the first tier of the combat tree to unlock the second. There are two approaches you could go for in the beginning – the fast combat build, and the strong combat build.

Fast Combat Build (Rogue)

This build revolves around being nimble, utilizing fast attacks and not getting hit. The best way to achieve this is by maxing out:
  • Arrow Deflection (Defense): Allows you to deflect arrows while parrying, and reflect them back at the archer at later levels.
  • Muscle Memory (Fast Attack): Increases the damage you do with your fast attacks.
Once you’ve unlocked the second tier, you should concentrate on the following:
  • Precise Blows (Fast Attack): Increases the critical chance and damage of fast attacks.
  • Fleet Footed (Defense): Decreases the damage you take while dodging.
There’s also a couple of abilities in the general skill tree 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 essential.

Strong Combat Build (Tank)

This one is all about dishing out and taking lots of damage. The first thing you need to do is 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 less adrenaline points after taking damage and increases adrenaline point gain. Invest 3 points into it.
Now that you’ve unlocked the second tier of abilities, focus on 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 holds a few gems as well:
  • 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 skills Signs are the equivalent of magic in the world of The Witcher 3. Concentrating on them will make you worse at fighting in close quarters, but their advantages are numerous. You can specialize into a damage dealing wizard that concentrates on a single target, or a utility caster that casts area-of-effect spells. They still both rely on swords, but magic is their forte.

Single-Target Signs Build

This build concentrates on dealing large amounts of damage to a single target, while protecting the caster from other enemies. First, you’ll need to max out the following:
  • Melt Armor (Igni): Permanently weakens enemy armor.
  • Exploding Shield (Quen): Pushes enemies back when the shield explodes.
Once the second tier is opened, you should invest in:
  • Firestream (Igni): Fires a continuous stream of fire in the desired direction.
  • Active Shield (Quen): Allows maintaining an active shield that drains stamina. Absorbed damage restores vitality.
The general skill tree has two abilities that should interest you:
  • 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 one is heavy on the utilities – you will mostly be using signs to weaken enemies so that they’re no match for your (meager) combat skills. In the beginning, you need to 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.
When you’ve unlocked the second tier, concentrate 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 skill tree, you should choose:
  • Adrenaline Burst: Casting signs generates adrenaline.
  • Focus: Adrenaline points increase sign intensity.

Alchemy Builds

best alchemy skills Character builds that rely on alchemy should mostly be using oils and bombs to complement their sword-fighting. Bombs are great not only at damaging, but also disabling enemies in a battle, while oils increase the damage done to a certain enemy type.


Max out the following abilities:
  • Poisoned Blades (Oil Preparation): Chance of poisoning the enemy with oiled blade.
  • Steady Aim (Bomb Creation): Slows time even more while aiming bombs.
Once the second tier is open, go for these:
  • 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

Mixed builds are recommended only for experienced players. If you’re new to RPGs, you’re better of with one of the builds above. By investing across several skill trees, you’ll need much more time to get to the higher tiers, which is where all the best abilities are. The pay-off is greater, but the road is longer, too.

A hybrid build of Combat mixed with either Signs or Alchemy works lovely. You get what you do with regular Signs and Alchemy builds, but with better fighting skills. Combining the two themselves is pretty hard to pull off, but can be done with a lot of work.

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Author Ketchua profile picture
Ketchua has been writing about games for far too long. As Señor Editor, he produces words (and stuff) for Gosunoob. There are a lot of words (and stuff) there, so he's terribly busy. Especially if you need something.

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14 COMMENTS

    J
    JoeSMoe

    What’s up with this web page? The left side of every paragraph is cut off..

    J
    JoeSMoe

    Apparently it cuts off the text when viewing with FireFox, looks fine in Chrome or IE

      J
      Jacob

      I’m using Firefox and it works just fine for me.

    N
    Not Joe S moe

    Im on firefox and i can view it just fine

    D
    David Kerr

    if u go into battle without planning and just hack and slash then these builds are for you.
    but the best and most fun is a mix of Signs and Sword.

    J
    John Thompson

    I’m playing on XBOX One. It will not let me allocate points any skills. What am I doing wrong?

      G
      Gerald Mimms

      I also play on Xbox one and haven’t had that issue, you sure you have points?

      J
      JrGooNer

      Either you don’t have any points yet or.. you might be pressing A instead of X lol sounds stupid but my friend [Me] was doing it for about 2 minutes before he [I] realized..

      R
      Ron Johnson

      Playing on xbox 1

    C
    Carlos spicyweiner

    I’m a farthead

    P
    Playinharder

    So they don’t give any suggestions in the hybrid builds, Bleh… Just say they are hard blaa blaa blaa

    M
    Matt Me

    I use a cross combat + sign build for my NG+ which is working out way better than my combat build on first play through.
    Max out all fast attack skills + arrow deflection, ramp up Igni + Quen and of course get all the mutagens set properly.

    Gear is a combo of Cat + Griffin, (again totally combat/sign combo build) — I don’t use the single target igni, just the normal cone blast. Throw in some Tawny Oil — damn, you ignite a group of raiders ora griffin/forktail and my stamina is back up before the fire goes out, they burn burn burn all the way till death without you taking a single hit (same w/ beasts) — super crazy overpowered as long as you can set them on fire the first time you just keep re-igniting them on fire till death lol.

    T
    tirpphammer

    Once you unlock a higher level to you still have to keep the lower skills active for them to work?

      S
      some1randompassing

      no

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