Figuring out the best skills in Witcher 3 can feel overwhelming with the many available options and limited ability slots.
But the truth is that not all skills are made equal. Some are an absolute must-have regardless of how you build your character. We’ve put together this handy guide if you want help choosing the best general, combat, alchemy, and signs skills.
Quick list (see details below):
- School techniques
- Strong back
- Sun and stars
- Arrow deflection
- Quen active shield
- Axii delusion
- Acquired tolerance
Note: Keep in mind you can always rotate skills in and out, meaning you can drop those you don’t need at certain points in the game to free up ability slots.
Best General Skills
General skills offer arguably the best bang for your buck since they only require one point and can have some pretty awesome bonuses. But if we’re talking about skills that almost everyone will benefit from, there are only a couple of options.
1. School Techniques
One of the best general skills in the game is the three school techniques:
- Cat Schools Technique: added fast attack damage and critical hit damage for every piece of light armor
- Griffin Schools Technique: sign intensity and endurance regeneration for each piece of medium armor
- Bear Schools Technique: added strong attack damage and maximum health for every piece of heavy armor
We recommend choosing the one that fits your desired build (and armor type) and picking it up early in the game.
2. Strong Back
Strong Back doubles your inventory limit from 60 to 120. That’s a pretty big deal if you want to loot a lot of stuff. Add some Roach saddlebags on top, and you might decide that you don’t need to use a mod for limitless bag space. This is easily one of the best early-game Witcher 3 skills.
3. Sun and Stars
Sun and Stars gives increased health regeneration during the daytime outside of combat and stamina regeneration during combat. This is another solid skill to pick up in the early game to help you survive, especially on Death March difficulty.
Best Combat Skills
Although most combat skills work best for a specific build (like fast attacks), there are some powerful skills that almost any build will benefit from.
4. Arrow Deflection
This one is a bit controversial. On one hand, you don’t really need arrow deflection, and you may have more important skills to take up a slot in the early game.
But at the same time, it’s really cool to deflect arrows. Besides, nearly every group of human enemies will include archers, and being able to deflect arrows will not only avoid damage but also deal damage back to the attacker. You’ll need to get used to the timing of the deflection, but once you get it down, it’s certainly worth it.
One of the most iconic and powerful skills in the combat skill tree is Undying. This skill enables Geralt to regenerate his health using the adrenaline points when his health hits 0.
With a cooldown of only 30 seconds, Undying will do a great job of keeping you alive as long as you have at least one adrenaline point. This is one of the best skills for Death March difficulty because you’ll be taking a lot more damage and frequently coming close to dying.
One of the fan-favorite skills in Witcher 3, whirl allows you to spin in a circle of continuous attacks until you’re out of stamina and adrenaline. This “spin to win” AoE skill is best for dealing with many enemies.
But contrary to what you’d think, it’s also useful against many large single-target enemies like the Toad Prince since you can hit them with almost every attack. Besides, whirl is incredibly fun to use.
Best Signs Skills
Almost any Witcher build will benefit from picking up Axii Delusion and Quen Active shield. They’re too good to pass up.
7. Quen — Active Shield
How do you make The Witcher 3’s most popular protective skill even better? By adding healing, of course! Although it does have the downside of not being able to attack while holding the shield, you will not only block damage but also heal for a portion of it. This skill is a must-have for pretty much any Witcher 3 build.
Active Shield used to be much more powerful (you would heal to full no matter what), but is still a must-have skill after being nerfed in the next-gen update.
8. Axii — Delusion
Delusion is another sign skill that we would recommend for all builds. This Axii upgrade gives you additional dialogue options, which give you bonus experience and can lead Geralt out of situations that would otherwise culminate in violence or paying gold. So it’s great from both a roleplay perspective and being practically useful.
Best Alchemy Skills
If you’re going to be using any potions and decoctions in Witcher 3 (and you should, because they’re incredibly powerful), then you should also pick up a few skills in the Alchemy tree. And even if you don’t, synergy alone is worth picking up.
9. Acquired Tolerance
This skill raises your maximum toxicity by the number of alchemy formulas you’ve learned. Considering you will be picking up lots of formulas throughout the game, maximizing skill is very much worth it, so you will be able to use more potions/decoctions before maxing out your toxicity bar.
Even though acquired tolerance was nerfed in the next-gen update, it’s still very useful. Since Witcher 3 potions and decoctions are incredibly powerful, we recommend that all players pick up this skill regardless of their build. It’s especially useful for builds relying on toxicity, like Euphoria.
Synergy significantly increases the bonus for equipped mutagens with a potion duration bonus on top. It’s another must-have skill for pretty much any Witcher 3 build.
If you’re not focused on Alchemy, you can pick this up later in the game. We recommend pairing your chosen mutagens with as many skills of the same color as possible to make the most of this ability.
P.S. If you’re doing any sort of build reliant on potions, I highly recommend picking up delayed recovery. It was buffed in the next-gen patch and is now very good. Potion effects are permanent as long as your toxicity is over 55%.
Gleb has been playing PC games since the late 1990s and has always enjoyed RPGs the most (Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Elder Scrolls, WoW, Dark Souls, etc.). He had tons of fun playing Witcher 3, so he made this website for discussion, guides, and other info related to the Witcher game, books, and cinematic universe. He travels the world as a digital nomad and spends his time working on website projects, practicing kickboxing, and telling people how awesome intermittent fasting is.