The Witcher 3 Abilities

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Abilities in The Witcher 3 are gained and upgraded after you’ve gathered a certain amount of experience. There are four talent trees to choose from – combat, signs, alchemy and general. When choosing which skills to invest in, keep in mind that you won’t be able to max them all out. You will have to pick those that complement your play style. If you want to see how it looks in practice, take a look at our skill calculator.

Mutagens are special items that allow further specialization by scaling with abilities. In this guide, we’re going to show you all the Witcher 3 skills you can choose, their effects and mutagens that go well with them.

witcher 3 abilities
Just upgrading them won’t be enough – if you want them to take effect, you’ll need to place them into ability slots. You’ll start out with only a few slots available, but you’ll unlock more as you progress through the game. While progressing through the game you’ll unlock 12 slots and the last one will be opened up when you reach level 50. You can switch the active skills at will, depending on the problems you’re facing – if you’re fighting an enemy with a weakness to fire, you can replace the Arrow Deflection with a skill that improves Igni intensity.

You gain one skill point each time you level up. Additionally, visiting a Place of Power can grant you a “free” point. These places are scattered across the world, hidden from view and hard to get to. If you’re not happy with your chosen abilities, you can supposedly buy a respec potion that will allow you to redistribute your skill points.

Combat Skills (red)

The first group of skills is dedicated to combat – they improve your swordsmanship, allow you to use crossbows more effectively and govern your adrenaline gains. There are five talent trees in this category: Fast Attack, Strong Attack, Defense, Marksmanship and Battle Trance. Investing 8 points into it unlocks the second tier, 20 unlocks the third and 30 unlocks the fourth.

Icon Name Description
muscle memory Muscle Memory
Fast Attack
Level 1: Fast attack damage +5%, adrenaline point gain +1%.
Level 2: Fast attack damage +10%, adrenaline point gain +2%.
Level 3: Fast attack damage +15%, adrenaline point gain +3%.
precise blows Precise Blows
Fast Attack
Level 2: Fast attack critical chance +4%, critical damage +30%, adrenaline gain +2%.
Level 3: Fast attack critical chance +6%, critical damage +45%, adrenaline gain +3%.
Level 5: Fast attack critical chance +10%, critical damage +75%, adrenaline gain +5%.
whirl Whirl
Fast Attack
Level 2: Spinning attack that strikes everyone around you. Maintaining consumes stamina and adrenaline. Consumes 20% less stamina and adrenaline, adrenaline point gain +2%.
Level 3: Consumes 30% less stamina and adrenaline, adrenaline point gain +3%.
crippling strikes Crippling Strikes
Fast Attack
Level 1: Inflicts bleeding. Enemies lose 25 Vitality per second for 5 seconds, adrenaline point gain: +1%.
strength training Strength Training
Strong Attack
Level 1: Strong attack damage +5%, adrenaline point gain +1%.
crushing blows Crushing Blows
Strong Attack
Level 2: Strong attack critical chance +4%, critical damage +30%, adrenaline point gain +2%.
Level 3: Strong attack critical chance +6%, critical damage +45%, adrenaline point gain +3%.
rend Rend
Strong Attack
Level 2: Do more damage in proportion to consumed stamina. Ignores enemy defense, critical chance +20%, adrenaline points increase damage by 100%, adrenaline point gain +2%.
Level 3: Critical chance +30%, adrenaline gain +3%.
sunder armor Sunder Armor
Strong Attack
Level 2: Enemy damage resistance -10%, adrenaline point gain +2%.
Level 3: Enemy damage resistance -15%, adrenaline point gain +3%.
arrow deflection Arrow Deflection
Defense
Level 1: Deflect arrows while parrying, adrenaline point gain +1%.
Level 2: Perfectly timed parries reflect arrows back at the enemies, adrenaline point gain +2%.
Level 3: Perfectly timed parries reflect arrows, deal double damage, adrenaline point gain +3%.
fleet footed Fleet Footed
Defense
Level 2: Damage from hits while dodging -40%, adrenaline points gain +2%.
Level 3: Damage from hits while dodging -60%, adrenaline points gain +3%.
counterattack Counterattack
Defense
Level 2: Attack after successful counter does +30% damage per skill level, knock-down chance based on adrenaline, adrenaline point gain +2%.
Level 3: Attack after successful counter is always critical, does +45% damage per skill level, adrenaline point gain +3%.
deadly precision Deadly Precision
Defense
Level 2: Instant kill chance +2% per adrenaline point, adrenaline gain +2%.
lightning reflexes Lightning Reflexes
Marksmanship
Level 1: Slows time by another 15% while aiming the crossbow, adrenaline point gain +1%.
cold blood Cold Blood
Marksmanship
Level 2: Adrenaline points +0.08 per bolt hit, adrenaline points gain +2%.
Level 3: Adrenaline points +0.12 per bolt hit, adrenaline points gain +3%.
anatomical knowledge Anatomical Knowledge
Marksmanship
Level 2: Critical chance with crossbow +10%, adrenaline points gain +2%.
Level 3: Critical chance with crossbow +15%, adrenaline points gain +3%.
crippling shot Crippling shot
Marksmanship
Level 2: Critical hit from crossbow disables target’s special abilities for 10 seconds, adrenaline point gain +2%.
Level 3: Critical hit from crossbow disables target’s special abilities for 15 seconds, adrenaline point gain +3%.
resolve Resolve
Battle Trance
Level 1: Adrenaline point loss after taking damage -20%, adrenaline point gain +1%.
undying Undying
Battle Trance
Level 2: When Vitality is 0, adrenaline is consumed to restore it. Amount is based on adrenaline points +25%, adrenaline point gain +2%.
Level 3: Amount is based on adrenaline points +50%, adrenaline point gain +3%.
razor focus Razor Focus
Battle Trance
Level 2: Gain 1 adrenaline point when entering combat. Adrenaline point gain from sword hits + 10%, adrenaline points gain +2%.
Level 3: Adrenaline point gain from sword hits + 15%, adrenaline points gain +3%.
Level 5: Adrenaline point gain from sword hits + 25%, adrenaline points gain +5%.
flood of anger Flood Of Anger
Battle Trance
Level 1: When casting a Sign, 3 adrenaline points will be consumed to upgrade the Sign to the highest level (unlocking all bonuses) with intensity +25%, adrenaline point gain: +1%.

Sign Abilities (blue)

The second group of skills are magic-related skills, or Signs– they help you use signs more efficiently by enhancing their intensity, range or area of effect. There are five abilities in this talent tree, each tied to one of the signs: Aard, Igni, Axii, Yrden and Quen. After putting 8 ability points into this group you’ll unlock the second tier, after 18 you’ll get access to the third, and once you spend 28 you’ll unlock the fourth.

Icon Name Description
far reaching aard Far-Reaching Aard
Aard Sign
Level 1: Aard range +1, stamina regeneration in combat +0.5.
Level 3: Aard range +3, stamina regeneration in combat +1.5
aard sweep Aard Sweep
Aard Sign
Level 3: Alternate mode, strikes all opponents in radius, stamina regeneration +1.5
aard intensity Aard Intensity
Aard Sign
Level 1: Aard intensity +5%, stamina regeneration in combat +0.5.
shockwave Shockwave
Aard Sign
Level 1: Damage +40, stamina regeneration in combat +0.5.
melt armor Melt Armor
Igni Sign
Level 2: Damage weakens armor, effect scales with intensity up to 30%, stamina regeneration +1.
Level 3: Effect scales with intensity up to 45%, stamina regenration +1.5.
firestream Firestream
Igni Sign
Level 2: Damage weakens armor, effect scales with intensity up to 30%, stamina regeneration +1.
Level 3: Effect scales with intensity up to 45%, stamina regeneration +1.5.
igni intensity Igni Intensity
Igni Sign
Level 1: Igni intensity +5%, stamina regeneration in combat + 0.5
pyromaniac Pyromaniac
Igni Sign
Level 1: Chance of igniting enemy +20%, stamina regeneration in combat +0.5.
sustained glyphs Sustained Glyphs
Yrden Sign
Level 2: Duration +10 sec, 4 alternate mode charges, 2 standard mode traps, stamina regeneration +1.
magic trap Magic Trap
Yrden Sign
Level 2: Alternate mode, damages and slows enemies in 12 yard radius, destroys projectiles in area, damage +25%, stamina regeneration +1.
Level 3: Damages and slows enemies in 14 yard radius, destroys projectiles in area, damage +50%, stamina regeneration +1.5.
yrden intensity Yrden Intensity
Yrden Sign
Level 1: Yrden intensity +5%, combat stamina regeneration +0.5.
supercharged glyphs Supercharged Glyphs
Yrden Sign
Level 1: Enemies lose 10 health per second in trap, stamina regeneration in combat +0.5
exploding shield Exploding Shield
Quen Sign
Level 1: Shield pushes enemies back when breaking, stamina regeneration in combat +0.5
Level 2: Shield pushes back and damages enemies when breaking, stamina regenarion in combat +1
Level 3: Shield pushes back and damages enemies when breaking, with a knockdown chance, stamina regeneration in combat +1.5
active shield Active Shield
Quen Sign
Level 3: Alternate mode, maintaining an active shield doesn’t drain stamina (except when hit), absorbed damage restores Vitality, stamina regeneration +1.5.
quen intensity Quen Intensity
Quen Sign
Level 2: Quen intensity +10%, stamina regeneration +1.
Level 3: Quen intensity +15%, stamina regeneration +1.5.
quen discharge Quen Discharge
Quen Sign
Level 4: Reflects 20% damage to attacker, stamina regeneration in combat +2.
Level 5: Reflects 25% damage to attacker, stamina regeneration in combat +2.5.
delusion Delusion
Axii Sign
Level 1: Target doesn’t move towards Geralt, stamina regeneration in combat +0.5.
puppet Puppet
Axii Sign
Level 2: Alternate mode, targeted enemy briefly becomes ally, deals 40% more damage, stamina regeneration in combat +1.
Level 3: Targeted enemy briefly becomes ally, deals 60% more damage, stamina regeneration in combat +1.5.
axii intensity Axii Intensity
Axii Sign
Level 1: Axii intensity +5%, combat stamina regeneration +0.5.
domination Domination
Axii Sign
Level 1: Affects 2 enemies, with 50% reduced intensity, combat stamina regeneration +0.5.

Alchemy Skills (green)

Alchemy skills represent the third group. They allow you to brew potions, make oils and bombs and regulate your toxicity. This talent tree consists of five abilities: Brewing, Oil Preparation, Bomb Creation, Mutation and Trial of The Grasses. Investing 8 points into the group opens up the second tier, 20 opens the third, while 28 unlocks the fourth.

Icon Name Description
heightened tolerance Heightened Tolerance
Brewing
Level 1: Potion overdose threshold +1%, potion duration time +5%.
Level 2: Potion overdose threshold +2%, potion duration time +10%.
Level 3: Potion overdose threshold +3%, potion duration time +15%.
refreshment Refreshment
Brewing
Level 2: Each potion heals 10% of max Vitality, potion duration +10%.
Level 3: Each potion heals 15% of max Vitality, potion duration +15%.
delayed recovery Delayed Recovery
Brewing
Level 1: Effects of potions don’t stop while Toxicity is over 90, potion duration +5%.
side effects Side Effects
Brewing
Level 5: Drinking a potion adds effect of another random potion without Toxicity cost, potion duration +25%.
poisoned blades Poisoned Blades
Oil Preparation
Level 1: Chance of poisoning the enemy with oiled blade +5%, potion duration time +5%.
Level 2: Chance of poisoning the enemy with oiled blade +10%, potion duration time +10%.
Level 3: Chance of poisoning the enemy with oiled blade +15%, potion duration time +15%.
protective coating Protective Coating
Oil Preparation
Level 1: Protection from attacks of the monster vulnerable to the oil +5%, potion duration +5%.
Level 2: Protection from attacks of the monster vulnerable to the oil +10%, potion duration +10%.
Level 3: Protection from attacks of the monster vulnerable to the oil +15%, potion duration +15%.
fixative Fixative
Oil Preparation
Level 1: Oils have 33% more charges, potion duration +5%.
hunter instinct Hunter Instinct
Oil Preparation
Level 1: With max adrenaline, you do +20% critical damage to monsters vulnerable to that oil, potion duration +5%.
steady aim Steady Aim
Bomb Creation
Level 1: Slows time by another 15% while aiming bombs, potion duration time +5%.
pyrotechnics Pyrotechnics
Bomb Creation
Level 1: Bombs without damage do 30 damage, potion duration +5%.
Level 2: Bombs without damage do 60 damage, potion duration +10%.
Level 3: Bombs without damage do 90 damage, potion duration +15%.
efficiency Efficiency
Bomb Creation
Level 3: Max number of bombs in each slot +3, potion duration +15%.
Level 4: Max number of bombs in each slot +4, potion duration +20%.
cluster bombs Cluster Bombs
Bomb Creation
Level 3: Bombs separate into 4 new bombs after exploding, potion duration +15%.
Level 4: Bombs separate into 5 new bombs after exploding, potion duration +20%.
acquired tolerance Acquired Tolerance
Mutation
Level 1: Max Toxicity +1 for every lvl 1 alchemy formula you know, potion duration time +5%.
tissue transmutation Tissue Transmutation
Mutation
Level 1: Mutagen decoction gives +200 max Vitality for its duration, potion duration +5%.
synergy Synergy
Mutation
Level 5: Mutagen bonus +50%, potion duration +25%.
adaptation Adaptation
Mutation
Level 1: Decoction duration +10%, potion duration +5%.
frenzy Frenzy
Trial of The Grasses
Level 1: If potion Toxicity is above 0, time slows when an enemy is about to counterattack, potion duration time +5%.
Level 2: Slow effect and duration greater than level 1, potion duration +10%.
Level 3: Slow effect and duration greater than level 2, potion duration +15%.
endure pain Endure Pain
Trial of The Grasses
Level 2: Max Vitality +20% when Toxicity is over threshold, potion duration +10%.
Level 3: Max Vitality +30% when Toxicity is over threshold, potion duration +15%.
fast metabolism Fast Metabolism
Trial of The Grasses
Level 1: Toxicity reduction +1/s, potion duration +5%.
fast metabolism Killing Spree
Trial of The Grasses
Level 1: If Toxicity is above 0, critical chance +10% with every kill, potion duration +5%.

General Abilities

This category has no talent trees in it – instead, it contains ten wholly autonomous skills that give out bonuses not strictly tied to magic, brewing or fighting. Each of these abilities has only one level.

Icon Name Description
sun and stars Sun And Stars During the day, Vitality regeneration +10 points per second outside of combat. At night, Stamina regeneration +1 point per second in combat.
steady shot Steady Shot Crossbow bolt damage +25%.
steady shot Survival Instinct Maximum Vitality +500.
rage management Rage Management If stamina is too low, you can use adrenaline points to cast signs.
cat school techniques Cat School Techniques Each piece of light armor gives +25% critical hit damage and +5% fast attack damage.
focus Focus Adrenaline points increase weapon damage and sign intensity.
griffin school techniques Griffin School Techniques Each piece of medium armor gives sign intensity +5% and stamina regeneration +5%.
adrenaline burst Adrenaline Burst Adrenaline generation +5%, using signs generates adrenaline.
griffin school techniques Bear School Techniques Each piece of heavy armor gives max vitality +5% and strong attack damage +5%.
metabolism control Metabolism Control Maximum Toxicity +30.

Mutagens

Mutagens are special, precious items that can be used to boost Geralt’s skills. You’ll get some of them by killing rare species of monsters, like the noonwraith. There are four mutagen slots in the game – you start out with one, and unlock the others as you progress through the game. Every mutagen slot is connected to three ability slots – if their type matches, they enhance each other. They’re all colour-coded, too, which makes things a lot easier.

witcher 3 mutagen For example, if your mutagen is green, you should pair it with Alchemy abilities, which are also green. That way, the bonuses you get from them will be bigger and better. You can switch mutagens whenever you like, so there’s no danger of choosing the wrong ones.

Hidden Abilities

The previous game had hidden skills that were unlocked in various secret ways – through dialogues, by finishing quests, performing certain actions at certain times, etc. There hasn’t been any confirmation these will be included in The Witcher 3, but we’ll investigate and let you know as soon as the game’s out.







2 thoughts on “Abilities

    1. forgotten22

      @anthony it means that these abilities are being used and enabled. You can only have a certain number of Skills active.

      Reply

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