Having trouble stalking Uruk captains without getting filleted? GtVSlayer’s “Shadow of Mordor Guide to Subtlety” will help you sneak in the dark and slay the orcs of Middle-earth with ease. Read to the end to see TCG’s review and rating of Shadow of Mordor.

Shadow of Mordor Guide | Introduction

Monolith’s 2014 gaming masterpiece is very unforgiving. Choosing runes to equip, skills to unlock, and upgrades to buy is hard to figure out at first. Also, getting into overwhelming situations leads to frustrating misclicking and frequent unavoidable deaths. In the guide that follows, we will discuss keys to upgrading your Talion build, using stealth successfully, and how to take down the Shadow of Mordor warchiefs.

Shadow of Mordor Guide | Preparing For Battle

Top 5 Must-Have Stealth Abilities

Shadow of Mordor Shadow Strike

1. Elf-Shot. Elf-Shot is the backbone to your ranged combat as well as effectively using your wraith abilities. You should try to always have at least 2 Elf-Shot remaining so you can use the Shadow Strike ability. Using Shadow Strike to stun an archer in a high up nest allows you to safely use your drain ability, replenishing your Elf-Shot and giving you time to plan your next attack.

2. Shadow Strike. This is a teleporting ranged ability that uses up two Elf-Shot. There is a purchasable option to make it lethal using a different button press. Shadow Strike is essential for getting to safety to plan your strategy, chasing down running Uruk captains, and setting up an easy drain to replenish your bow. You get this ability given to you by participating in “The One Truth” storyline mission. Finish the main quests as early as possible to acquire many essential abilities in Shadow of Mordor. They are the yellow shields on the map.

Shadow of Mordor Guide Shadow Strike

3. Strike From Above. This tier 1 Ranger skill is absolutely essential to dropping in for easy stealth chain kills.

4. Stealth Drain. Drain leads to replenishing your stealth abilities, ie Elf-Shot, when in the heart of an orc compound. You can use it on stunned foes, or sneak up and use it in stealth after gaining this tier 2 wraith ability. Learning to use drain when not stealthed is just as important as acquiring this skill. Press R1 to grab a stunned enemy then hold down Circle (on PS4/PS3) or B (on XBox/XBox One).

Shadow of Mordor Detonate

… and playing the role of Sephiroth today is…

5. Detonate. Detonate can be a situational godsend. Saving combustible fires and drums as choke points to fall back to will help out in dire circumstances. Also, it is an easy way to get captains that have a weakness relating to fire or explosions to run, isolating them with reduced life.

Honorable Mention: Elven Swiftness. Elven Swiftness is a key to safely traversing the map, especially from the beasts that roam the land. It helps keep your hit count up if you are trying keep the combo meter maxed out to dish out hard hits.

Shadow of Mordor Elven Swiftness

Purchasing Attribute Upgrades

At the beginning of the game, you will want to purchase the entry level upgrade for each of your attributes while they cost only a few Mirian points. From there on, you may want to be more strategic for how you will build out your character. I recommend upgrading your rune slots if you truly feel a rune you have found offers a significant advantage in the battlefield. Otherwise, save them for the weapon powers. Upgrading your other base stats is a matter of your personal tastes and play style. The weapon powers can be purchased independently of finishing any quests. Being that I prefer stealth, I would suggest saving for the Shadow of Acharn power, and seek out the Oathbreaker and Bane of Mordor epic runes. Shadow of Acharn is a an ability that can be activated once a meter fills from amassing stealth kills. Once activated (by pressing L3 and R3), you become invisible while stealthed for 20 seconds and can get unlimited stealth kills. The Oathbreaker rune allows the ability to charge more quickly. The Bane of Mordor increases the power’s duration to 30 seconds.

Shadow of Mordor Runes

Shadow of Mordor Runes

The runes you choose to equip should be based primarily on which skills you focus on when you play. Runes will give you slight to massive benefits based on skills that you use. The ability of runes stack becoming much more effective. For example: if you have two runes that have a 45% chance to give you 10 health when using a specific skill, using both of them changes the chance to 90%. Use the Death Threat ability to ensure yourself a better rune when looking for them.

Best Dagger Runes. Epic runes: Bane of Mordor, Oathbreaker (See above for abilities). Normal runes: Favor of the Lady (regain life from draining or branding), Breath of Life (regain life from stealth kills), Harbinger of Doom (good chance to regain 50 health from dropping in to drain or brand enemies from above).

Best Sword Runes. Epic runes: Storm of Battle (+50% sword damage), Elven Grace (50% chance to reduce melee damage by half). Normal runes: Know no Pain (small to good chance to regain 5 health from any kill), Power of Earth (regain a good amount of focus from ground executions).

Best Bow Runes. Epic runes: Knight of Eregion (Retrieve 1 Elf-Shot on Shadow Strike kills). Normal runes: Broken Mind (chance to gain +4 Elf Shot on a drain or brand) & River of Arrows (percent chance to acquire an Elf-Shot back after shooting the bow equal to the rune’s level).

The recent free Power of Shadow DLC introduces three epic runes to throw in the mix. The one to look for is Elven Grace. This rune halves the damage you receive from being hit by enemy strikes.

Shadow of Mordor Warchief

Shadow of Mordor Guide | Using the Environment

When stalking captains, it is important to take using the environment into consideration. Activate your stealth (R2 button) and attract enemies (Triangle on PlayStation, Y on XBox) to get easy stealth kills while hiding around corners, in a bush, or hanging from a ledge. From high vantage points, activate your stealth to enable easily dropping in take out enemies as well. All of these types of kills allow you to remain stealthed and stay safe.

There are several other things you can do to gain a distinct advantage over enemies while not revealing yourself. Detonating combustible oil drums and fires, poisoning the local grog, unleashing caragors with bows, and shooting the fly ridden hanging meat carcasses all unleash havoc that help dispose or distract your enemies.

Shadow of Mordor Bushes

Before entering a stronghold, it’s a good idea to take note of the herbs surrounding it. In a pinch, pressing R1 to acquire one will return you to full health. Using their locations as fall back positions will help you with your escape plan in tough battles.

Shadow of Mordor Guide | Stealth Strategy

When on the prowl to kill an elite captain or warchief in their stronghold, you want to start by establishing an escape plan. If there is a volatile rig near the entrance, a helpless orc that you can teleport to via shadow strike, or a ledge you can jump off of–you want to know where you can find safety. Starting from one of these points, one of the best strategies is to find the highest ground. A sniper’s perch will allow you a vantage point to plan your attack and see all of the terrain. Pressing L1 to enter the wraith world lets you see everything you can interact with as well as the ability to mark your target.

shadow of mordor high ground

Something to keep in mind before engaging the captains, is that finding certain orcs, called worms, can offer you detailed intel to kill captains. Usually they show up as green or have green symbols floating above their head. You want to isolate worms then grab them and ask for info on the captain you are hunting. They will let you know their strengths, immunities, and most importantly-weaknesses. This will allow you to plan the most effective attack to kill them. From your perch, finding your intel might be your first course of action.

Shadow of Mordor Attract

After you have marked your target, you want to work your way across the rooftops, eliminating any archers that might see you. Once you find the captain and make your way to him, you’ll want to silently clear the area. As you get deeper into his realm, you’ll want to make sure you have elf-shot to make quick moves and strategic kills. Use the environment to clear out the area while in stealth, then try to set up the ideal situation to engage your target based on their weaknesses. Sometimes it’s an explosion, maybe a caragor, or another environmental factor that makes the captain easy prey.

Shadow of Mordor Gif

Shadow of Mordor | Review & Rating

Tolkien fans who loved Lord of the Rings Conquest, especially the Scout class, will enjoy this game. Playing as veteran Ranger Talion, you take the best stealth aspects of Conquest and apply them to a large open world game with much deeper application. Yes, the game has a glaring resemblance to the Assassins Creed series, but Shadow definitely stands on its own. This is a beautifully produced game. The open-endedness to Shadow of Mordor will be daunting at times. The Nemesis System defnitely helps you stay focused on your target. My tip for enjoying this game is to make sure you play the story missions (highlighted with yellow shields on the map) as soon as you can to unlock some of the more useful abilities early in the game. Other than that, enjoy getting lost in a cruel world filled with awesome abilities and upgrades. Shadow of Mordor is on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, XBox One, PlayStation 4 (PS4), as well as PC gaming machines.

Middle-earth Shadow of Mordor
4.25 out of 5

Shadow of Mordor | Game Play Video