Witcher 3 - All Abilities and Skill Trees

Witcher 3 - All Abilities and Skill Trees

Posted in witcher 3

The Ability screen (or skill tree screen) is part of your characters development in the Witcher 3. From here you can unlock new Abilities and select a limited number to improve your characters overall rating in areas such as Combat, Alchemy, Signs etc.

The skill tree in the Witcher 3 is more dynamic compared to other games, allowing you to swap in skills depending on the challenge ahead. The tradeoff is that there's a limit on the maximum number of active skills, no matter how many you've already unlocked.

To open the Ability screen simply go to the in-game menu and select Character. The skills screen is split into 3 main areas with the left hand side showing you the various skills you can unlock and select, the middle area displays the traditional tree slots whilst the right side is reserved for hints and your character stats.

Skill Slots

Abilities screen

The symmetrical tree which sits firmly in the middle is split into 4 sections. There are 3 stacks in each of the sections which gives you a total of 12 skill slots. This is the maximum number of skills (Abilities) that you can use at once. On either side of the 4 sections there is 1 slot reserved for Mutagens.

Note: Skill slots need to be unlocked before you can use them and this is done by levelling your character.

Before an Ability becomes active it must be placed on one of the empty slots on the Ability skill tree. An Ability which is not placed on the skill tree will not have any effect on your character. You can mix and match Abilities in the tree and also add and remove items during the game (when not in combat or danger).

To unlock new Abilities you need to earn Skill Points. It's also worth noting that you cannot unlock every Ability in the game so choose wisely.

There are 4 groups of Abilities:

  • Combat - Red
  • Magic (Signs) - Blue
  • Alchemy - Green
  • General Skills - White

There are 20 skills for Combat, Signs and Alchemy and 10 skills for General. There are also 4 tiers for every skill.

How to get skill points

Shrine at Place of Power

Before you can unlock new skills (Abilities) you need to earn Skill Points. These are separate to XP and can be earned in the following ways:

  • 1 Skill Point for Levelling up your character, which is possible up to a maximum Level of 60.
  • 1 Skill Point for the use of a Shrine at a Place of Power
  • Various Skill Points rewarded through Quests

The importance of Mutagens

Mutagens on skill tree

These mysterious items called Mutagens are able to radically transform or boost your character statistics when used in combination with Abilities. You will find Mutagems from looting dead bodies and also as by-products from Alchemy crafting, but in both cases the chance of finding them is rare.

As with other items in the game, Mutagens are colour coded to relate to a particular area. For example, green Mutagens (e.g. the Noonwraith Mutagen) should be used together with Alchemy Abilities which are also green in colour.

Green mutagen

If you look at the image above you'll see that the green Mutagen is placed in the same group as an Alchemy Ability, thus granting a bonus of +300 Vitality. You can also stack more of the same coloured Abilities to increase the value of the bonus in this group by 100%. Mixing Abilities with the wrong Mutagen colour doesn't have a negative effect but it does limit the overall gain. Therefore try and group similar coloured Abilities together first.

Best Skills to Upgrade

Of course everyone has their own preference for different build types. Some prefer an alchemy master, others a fearless combatant and some will go for Sign wizardry. The option to mix and match active abilities gives you that freedom.

That said, there are a few skills which are my favorite:

Combat: Whirl - probably the best skill in the game, Whirl allows Geralt to use Adrenaline points and Stamina to start a spinning attack that hits all opponents around him. Great for taking on several opponents at once (common in the Witcher 3) and also great when you're surrounded.

Combat: Razor Focus - one of the Battle Trance abilities which grants one Adrenaline Point before Geralt enters combat, and increases the amount of Adrenaline generated by sword blows. This is a great skill to combine with other Adrenaline hungry skills such as Whirl.

Signs: Delusion - this skill is very useful during dialogue sequences to avoid wasting time or coins. Spending three points on this skill will guarantee that Geralt gets his way if an Axii influence option is available during dialogue.

Signs: Magic Trap - an alternate mode for the Yrden sign. Enemies are slowed by the Yrden trap, they also take damage and any projectiles passing through the Yrden field are destroyed.

Signs: Melt Armor - an improvement to Igni that permanently weakens enemy armor. When fully upgraded this ability will reduce the enemy’s armor by 75%.

Alchemy: Synergy - gives your mutagens a massive boost in effectiveness. If you’ve spaced your skill points evenly between alchemy and combat to unlock synergy, then you can effectively super power your melee attacks.

General: Survival Instinct - not top of the list but boosts to Vitality will server you well during those long fights.

All Ability Groups

Geralt with sword


Combat Abilities

Fast Attack

Perform fast melee attacks with either sword.

  • Muscle Memory (5 Levels) - fast attack damage increased.
  • Precise blows (5 Levels) - increases chance of critical hit
  • Whirl (5 Levels) - a spinning attack which strikes foes in the surrounding area.
  • Crippling Strikes (5 Levels) - fast attacks cause a Bleeding effect

Strong Attack

Perform stronger melee attacks which bypass armour.

  • Strength Training (5 Levels) - Strong attack damage increased.
  • Crushing Blows (5 Levels) - increases chance of critical hit
  • Rend (5 Levels) - deals additional damage in proportion to the stamina used. Also bonuses to critical hit and ignores enemy armour
  • Sunder Armor (5 Levels) - reduce enemy damage resistance


Gain Wolf School defensive techniques.

  • Arrow Deflection (3 Levels) - Deflect arrows while parrying and even deflect them back to the attacker.
  • Fleet Footed (5 Levels) - damage from hits during a dodge are reduced
  • Counter Attack (3 Levels) - bonus damage from successful counter attacks and also chance of knockdown.
  • Deadly precision (2 Levels) - each Adrenaline points increase the chance of killing the opponent instantly.


Allows you to wield a light hand-held crossbow.

  • Lightning Reflexes (3 Levels) - Time slows down while aiming the crossbow.
  • Cold Blooded (5 Levels) - each bolt that hits provides a small amount of Adrenaline points
  • Anatomical Knowledge (5 Levels) - increase critical hit chance when using the crossbow
  • Crippling Shot (5 Levels) - critical hits disable monster special abilities for a short duration

Battle Trance

Blows landed during combat generate Adrenaline Points. Each Adrenaline Point increases weapon damage by 10%.

  • Resolve (5 Levels) - Adrenaline Point loss upon taking damage is lowered.
  • Undying (5 Levels) - when Vitality is zero, Adrenaline can be used to restore Vitality
  • Razor Focus (5 Levels) - gain Adrenaline points for entering combat and gain points faster during combat.
  • Flood of Anger (5 Levels) - when casting a Sign, 3 adrenaline points will be used (if available) to upgrade the Signs intensity


Sign Abilities

Aard Sign

  • Far-Reaching Aard (3 Levels) - increase the range of Aard
  • Aard Sweep (3 Levels) - alternative sign mode where Aard strikes opponents in a certain radius
  • Aard Intensity (5 Levels) - increase Aard Sign intensity
  • Shock Wave (5 Levels) - Aard deals greater damage

Igni Sign

  • Melt Armor (3 Levels) - damage dealt permanently weakens enemy armour.
  • Firestream (3 Levels) - alternative Sign mode. Sign emits a continuous stream of fire.
  • Igni Intensity (5 Levels) - increases intensity of Igni
  • Pyromaniac (5 Levels) - increases chance of burning

Yrden Sign

  • Sustained Glyphs (2 Levels) - increases Sign duration, number of mode changes and mode traps.
  • Magic Trap (3 Levels) - alternative Sign mode. Traps and slows enemies, also destroys projectiles passing through the radius.
  • Yrden Intensity (5 Levels) - increases intensity of Yrden
  • Supercharged Glyphs (5 Levels) - enemies under influence loose 10 Vitality per second

Quen Sign

  • Exploding Shield (3 Levels) - Quen shield pushes enemies back and deals damage when it breaks.
  • Active Shield (3 Levels) - alternative Sign mode. Active shield no longer drains Stamina.
  • Quen Intensity (5 Levels) - increases Quen intensity
  • Quen Discharge (5 Levels) - reflects damage back to the attacker

Axii Sign

  • Delusion (5 Levels) - target does not move close while Axii is being cast. Also increases Axii dialogue influence during character dialogue
  • Puppet (3 Levels) - alternative Sign mode. Targeted enemies briefly become allies and deal more damage.
  • Axii Intensity (5 Levels) - increases Axii intensity
  • Domination (5 Levels) - influence several opponents at the same time


Alchemy Abilities


  • Heightened Tolerance (5 Levels) - Increase your overdose threshold and potion duration times.
  • Refreshment (5 Levels) - each potion dose consumed heals Vitality
  • Delayed Recovery (5 Levels) - potion effects stay active until Toxity drops to a certain level
  • Side Effects (5 Levels) - consuming a potion has a chance to activate additional perks from a different potion, without a Toxicity cost

Oil Preparation

  • Poisoned Blades (5 Levels) - Apply oil to your blades and gain a chance to poison the target on each hit.
  • Protective Coating (5 Levels) - provides protection from monster attacks from the monster type the particular oil is suited for
  • Fixative (5 Levels) - increase blade oil charges
  • Hunter Instinct (5 Levels) - critical hit damage (against the oils monster type) is increased when adrenaline points are at their maximum

Bomb Creation

  • Steady Aim (3 Levels) - Slow down time while aiming bombs.
  • Pyrotechnics (5 Levels) - harmless bombs now inflict damage in addition to their normal effects
  • Efficiency (5 Levels) - increases the maximum number of bombs in each slot
  • Cluster Bombs (5 Levels) - upon detonated these bombs fragment causing additional explosions


  • Acquired Tolerance (3 Levels) - Increase the maximum toxicity of Alchemy formulas.
  • Tissue Transmutation (5 Levels) - increase Vitality during decoctions
  • Synergy (5 Levels) - increase mutagen bonus for mutagen slot
  • Adaption (5 Levels) - increase duration of decoctions

Trial of the Grasses

  • Frenzy (3 Levels) - Slow down an enemies attack depending on your Toxicity level.
  • Endure Pain (5 Levels) - increase Vitality when Toxicity exceeds safe threshold
  • Fast Metabolism (5 Levels) - Toxicity drops at a faster rate
  • Killing Spree (5 Levels) - if Toxicity is above zero then critical hit chance is increased for every enemy killed


Sun and Stars
Regenerate Vitality and Stamina at a faster rate depending on certain conditions and the time of day.

Survival Instinct
Increase the maximum level of your Vitality

Cat School Techniques
Increase your critical hit damage and fast attack damage from wearing Light Amour types.

Griffin School Techniques
Each medium armour piece increases Sign intensity by 5% and Stamina regeneration by 5%.

Bear School Techniques
Every heavy armour piece you wear increases Vitality by 5% and strong attack by 5%.

Steady Shot
Crossbow bolts deal 25% damage.

Rage Management
If Stamina level is too low, Signs can be cast using Adrenaline points.

Adrenaline Burst
Increases Adrenaline generation by 5%. Using Signs generates Adrenaline points.

Adrenaline points increase both weapon and Sign intensity.

Metabolic Control
Increases maximum Toxicity by 30 points.

This post will be continually updated...