If you’re starting Sucker Punch Productions’ Ghost of Tsushima (here’s our review), you might be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff you can unlock and earn, and this applies to the skills Jin can learn as well. We’re here to list down the top Ghost of Tsushima skills you’ll want to unlock first and upgrade as soon as you can.

Note that some of the skills listed here require that you unlock an earlier part of the skill tree in order for that particular skill to be available. Most, if not all, of our choices of are to make Jin more lethal, and help players survive longer on the battlefield.

We’ve divided these up per “branch” of the Techniques tab, as there’s the Samurai, Stances, and Ghost.

Best Ghost of Tsushima Skills:

Samurai Branch of the Techniques Tab

Deflection Tree:

Unyielding Sword Parry – Parry an unblockable attack from Mongol sowrds.

  • Why you need this ASAP – You see those red glowing things from enemies? Yeah, that means you won’t be able to block or parry that incoming attack, which means you’re forced to dodge and move your position. Unlock this ASAP since it will help you fight more foes at once.

Deflect Arrows Parru incoming projectiles while blocking.

  • Why you need this ASAP – Early on, you’ll come across archers while your own bows aren’t full upgraded yet, and you might even run out of ammo from time to time. If you can deflect arrows, then you don’t even need to dodge them at all.

Resolved Parry Gain Moderate Resolve by using a Parry or Perfect Parry.

  • Why you need this ASAP – The entire combat system of Ghost of Tsushima revolves around Resolves. Earning Resolve for parrying attacks (not even perfect parries), means every parry brings you closer to a heal or unblockable attack.

Unyielding Spear Parry Parry an unblockable spear attack.

  • Why you need this ASAP – Same as the sword one, but for spearmen. You’ll want this so they’re less annoying to deal with in droves.

Evasion Tree:

Dodging Slash – An evasive strike useful against slow-moving enemies.

  • Why you need this ASAP – This will let you counter-attack brutes as fast as possible, which you’ll want to do since they can damage you hard and fast.

Sprint Strike – Sprint toward your enemy and slash them with a quick strike.

  • Why you need this ASAP – Not only does it look cool, but it’s super functional too. You’ll be running a lot of times during combat, and this lets you sneak in a slash that does amazing damage. Did we mention it looks cool?

Perfect Dodge – Dodge at the last possible moment to perform a deadly counterattack.

  • Why you need this ASAP – If you’re not super adept at parrying, then dodging might be more your speed. This will give you a window to counterattack, and this super useful during duels for a few free hits once you pull it off.

Stances Branch of the Techniques Tab

Note: Given the Stances’ tree is linear, you’ll be unlocking each one as the first one becomes available. That said, here are the important ones to get first.

Stone Stance:

Strenght of the Mountains – Increase Stagger damage against Swordsmen from all Stone Stance attacks.

Water Stance:

Strength of Tides – Increase Stagger damage against Shieldmen from all Water Stance attacks.

Wind Stance:

Strength of Gales – Increase Stagger damage against Spearmen from all Wind Stance attacks.

Spear Defense – Automatically Parry spear attacks during any Wind Stance attack.

Moon Stance:

Strength of the Heavens – Increase Stagger damage against Brutes from all Moon Stance attacks.

Ghost Branch of the Techniques Tab

Ghost Weapons Branch:

Kunai – A small blade that can be quickly thrown at nearby enemies, Staggering them (Upgrade to level 2 Hidden Blade).

  • Why you need this ASAP – It helps with crowd control, deals damage, and affects even Brutes with shields! You can choose to upgrade it to just level 2, as it’s more important to have one additional Kunai than increasing its damage.

Smoke Bomb – Unleash a dense cloud of smoke at your feet, causing enemies to lose sight of you.

  • Why you need this ASAP – Have you ever watched ninja movies where they can escape without being detected by throwing smoke bombs? Yeah, that works here too. If you find you’re constantly damaged a ton in combat, upgrade it to level 3 (Healing Incense) for your smoke to include healing properties too.

Evolving Tactics Branch:

Standoff Tree  – Challenge enemies to a one-on-one showdown (Upgrade and max out  to Improved Standoff Streak as soon as possible).

  • Why you need this ASAP – This skill will save you oodles of time in combat, and will get you free kills to max your Resolve before a big fight, When paired with the best armor in the game, you’ll be able to take out five enemies in one Standoff!

Archery Tree – Harness the Way of the Bow. (Upgrade and max out  to Improved Mental Fortitude as soon as possible).

  • Why you need this ASAP – With this, headshots are a breeze! You’ll be taking out Brutes and other hard to kill enemies with ease given you’re slowing down time to line up that perfect headshot.

Assassination – Kill unaware enemies with quiet and brutal stealth attack (Upgrade and max out  to Chain Assassination Master as soon as possible).

  • Why you need this ASAP – Possibly the most important ability to max out first in the entire Evolving Tactics branch, maxing this out enables you to assassinate three enemies (regardless of enemy type) in a row and silently too. Need Resolve? Chain assassinate to rack some up quick!


While you’ll want to get all the Mythic Tales completed, the first and most important ones are:

Heavely Strike – A quick unblockable attack that inflicts extra damage against Staggered enemies.

  • Why you need this ASAP – This looks insanely wicked when ending an enemy, and it’s unblockable too! Perfect if you need some breathing room, and want to get rid of one troublesome target. It sometimes terrifies enemies too and will cause them to run away in fear.

Dance of Wrath – Unleash three consecutive unblockable attacks that inflict high damage.

  • Why you need this ASAP – This is perfect for clearing Brutes and Commanders without taking damage, and giving you some breathing time if you’re overwhelmed. It costs three Resolve though, so make sure it counts. You’ll be able to switch targets for every attack.

There you have it, folks! Make sure to check our other Ghost of Tsushima guides here. We’ll be updating it throughout the week with more in-depth guides to help you make Jin the most badass samurai on the island.

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Alex Co

Father, gamer, games media vet, writer of words, killer of noobs.