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Vanquish your Saxon foes with the best abilities in Assassin's Creed Valhalla

ac valhalla skill tree
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Looking for the best AC Valhalla abilities? Surviving the thorny landscape of the British Isles (complete with vicious spear-toting Saxons) is no easy feat, so no doubt you’ll want the best skills to give Eivor the edge in combat.  

Abilities are unlocked by finding AC Valhalla Books of Knowledge or, in lesser cases, completing special side quests. Either way, there are loads of them and they’re scattered all throughout England and Norway. If you want to skip straight to the best abilities on the Valhalla skill tree, follow these suggestions and grab the skills you’ll use throughout the game. 

Best Assassin’s Creed Valhalla abilities: The skills you should track down

Rage of Helheim

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One of the best Assassin’s Creed Valhalla abilities is also one of the first you can find. In the easternmost part of Rygjafylke in Norway is a huge waterfall. You can climb up it and eventually pass behind the fall to find a marked cave with a Book of Knowledge inside it.

This unlocks the Rage of Helheim ability, which is a vital ability in the early game. When activated, Eivor rushes at an enemy and pins them to the ground to perform a flurry of punches. It’s particularly handy because it traps any human enemy, preventing them from blocking damage regardless of their power level. If you’re punching above your weight in early raids or battling tough mini-bosses, you can save up adrenaline for a Viking rugby-tackle that doles out massive unblockable damage. 

Mark of Death

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Another excellent early ability, Mark of Death can be acquired in Alkestrad, near the second region of Norway where you meet Gorm as part of the game’s campaign. There’s a hut on the outskirts of town where you have to go rooting through pig poop to find the key, then shoot the hanging rocks nearby to get underneath the house and access the book. 

Mark of Death allows you to hold your aim on enemies and summon multiple hit markers that will shave chunks off health bars. It’s deadly even tens of hours into the game, especially if you use it on an unaware foe. Part two of this ability can be acquired in Meldeburne in England as part of an early raid, making it extra potent in battle.

Harpoon Impalement

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You’ll find this skill in Ledecestrescire, underneath the roman ruin of Venonis. In the centre of the ruins, you should see a wooden trap door with a ladder leading down into a cave. Once you've descended, light up a torch to navigate the cavern to a wooden wall. Break it and swim through the water, where some nasty vipers await at the far end. Kill them, then shoot an oil barrel to open the final door which leads you to the Book of Knowledge.

Harpoon Impalement lets Eivor throw a hook at a foe and pull them in any direction. It doesn’t seem powerful at first glance, but its ability to yank enemy shields out of their grasp is a massive boon. Pulling enemies into one another also causes a surprising amount of damage (and is worthwhile for the comedy value).

Poison Strike

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You don’t need a Book of Knowledge to unlock this ability. Instead, construct the AC Valhalla Hidden Ones’ Bureau in Eivor’s Ravensthorpe settlement. Once you’ve managed that, speak to Hytham about joining the order. He’ll tell you all about the
AC Valhalla Order of the Ancients, a mysterious cult that you can hunt down throughout the game. 

When you kill a cult member you’ll receive Order medallions you can trade back to Hytham to unlock special rewards. If you give him four medallions you’ll receive Poison Strike, letting you coat your weapon in venom. This is a superb skill for dealing with high-level enemies, as it deals damage over time. It’s further complemented by the Miasma skill from the Raven school ability tree, which leaves a poison cloud when you kill someone with the ability.

Rush and Bash

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You’ll make it to Ravensburg in Grantbridgescire as part of the Soma arc—the part with the AC Valhalla traitor decision—in the main story, but don’t rush through without checking all the buildings. At the top, one of the main huts near a big tree can only be opened by grabbing a key from the burning roof. 

Once done, open the door and grab Rush and Bash. You can also easily pick up the upgrade in Dunwic Castle in East Anglia. There’s a mini-boss character you have to kill to get the key. Once done, you should see a rocky, destructible patch on the floor in the middle of the castle. Blow this up with an oil barrel to access a little dungeon. Move the blockade to open the door and grab the upgrade.

Rush and Bash is Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s answer to the Spartan Kick. When triggered, Eivor charges into an enemy and shoves them backward. It’s best used when your opponent is close to a wall or a cliff, where you’ll either slam them into the stonework or propel them to their doom. In most cases it results in a quick kill, especially if you have the upgrade which adds an extra attack.

Book of Knowledge locations: Where to find other crucial abilities on the Valhalla skill tree

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Assassin's Creed female Eivor

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

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While the above abilities are the most consistently useful in the game, here’s where to find several other powers you may find helpful during the course of your adventure. 

  • Raven Distraction: Found underneath AC Valhalla Tonnastadir, just west of Ledecestrescire and lets Eivor send her raven to peck at foes.
  • Man’s Best Friend: If you complete the ‘A Little Problem’ quest at the settlement for Knud and save the wolf, you’ll get the ability to summon a wolf that’ll attack the targeted enemy. 
  • Piercing Shot: You’ll find this ability in Templebrough fort off the Trent River in Ledecestrescire, in a room with a hanging chandelier. 
  • Focus of the Nornir: During the mission ‘Tilting the Balance’ in chapter 3, this book is in the crypt underneath the AC Valhalla Offchurch settlement in Ledecestrescire. It lets Eivor slow down time. 
  • Blinding Rush: In the Ruined Tower near the coast in East Anglia, you should see a hole in the floor which you can break with an arrow. Once you’re down there, smash the wall with the oil to get this book.  
  • Incendiary Powder Trap: There’s a church at the back in Walden, Grantebridgescire. Head inside and the book will be on the altar at the back of the room.  
  • Thorn of Slumber: In Gryttirsand in Rygjafylke, Norway, there’s a cave entrance marked on the map that will take you underneath the ice to find this book. 
  • Dive of the Valkyries: At the back of the Isle of Ely Monastery in Grantebridgescire, you’ll find this down by the waterbed nearby, in a bat-infested cave underneath the settlement.