Middle Earth: Shadow of War has a newly revamped Nemesis system. It really set Shadow of Mordor apart and was one of the key aspects in it receiving so many Game of the Year awards and nominations. It’s much bigger than the first game and includes many additional options. We cover all of these below, and make sure you won’t make any missteps along the way.
Some old features return from Shadow of Mordor. You can upgrade your skill lowering the amount of hits necessary to dominate an orc, making it so you won’t need to gather a 20 hit combo for the entire game. This is an incredibly essential skill, and you should upgrade it as soon as you can. It’s most suitable for large groups of enemies since you can gather intel faster and are not immune to hits while in the domination animation. The more orcs you have on your side, the less chance you have of being struck.
The premise in Shadow of War is a bit different than its predecessor. Unlike the two separate areas in Mordor, there are five here. The Captains and Warchiefs are area specific, and do not randomly change assigned areas as they did in Mordor. All of the sections are much bigger and act as their own, self-contained areas so to speak. In addition to the Warchiefs, there is also an Overlord. He will always be in the fortress, and you’ll need to defeat him in order to take it over. You could always go right in guns blazin’ and succeed, but that’s not the point of the Nemesis system. You’ll want to take your time, gather intel and take out as many Captains and Warchiefs as you can before fighting the Overlord. You can also dominate some of them, and we’ll show you how below.
First off, you will not be able to dominate orcs right away in Shadow of War. As someone who got 100% completion in Mordor, I thought I was missing something when I would rack up a thirty-something hit combo and not be able to dominate a lowly grunt orc. You need to unlock a skill in Shadow of War in order to dominate orcs. Don’t worry, though, as it’s unlocked through normal story progression. Although I like to do as many sidequests as possible in games first, this would be an exception. I suggest going through the story until you at least unlock the domination skill. This will make your side grinding worthwhile as you will not only gain better gear, but the ability to level up your army of orcs in the process.
When you dominate an orc, you will be greeted by a screen similar to the first game showing you a grid of the entire army for that area. You can pick whichever Warchief or Captain you want, but should go about it with a process. Each Captain has lines drawn to their respective Warchief they are sworn to protect. When you gain the intel on one, you see all of their strengths and weaknesses. This show’s you the easiest way to beat them, as well as avoiding making them stronger. For example, you won’t want to try and explode a Warchief that becomes enraged by fire, as his health will only go up. Leave the Warchiefs for last, here’s why.
You can turn Captains to your side to fight for you. Doing this makes it easier to take down a Warchief, which in turn makes it easier to defeat the fortress Overlord. Unlike normal orcs, Captains require you lower their health to a certain point before you can dominate them. If you try too soon, you’ll be knocked away and staggered for a second, making you vulnerable to damage. You’ll see an icon above their heads indicating they are ready for domination, and you’ll get three options available to you: Recruit, Fight or Shame. Recruit brings them to your side, fight simply kills them and Shame makes you fight them but lowers their levels in the process. This basically ridicules them in front of their allies which decreases their level. They will still fight against you, but they will remember this the next time you encounter them.
The best way to utilize the Nemesis system is to follow a specific procedure. Killing Captains gets you loot, but killing every one of them will make it much harder to defeat the Overlord with all of his Warchiefs around. I’ve found the best way is to do the following:
- Recruit Captains that are NOT tied to Warchiefs first. Do not kill these. They’re patsies.
- Issue a Death Threat against another Captain. Make sure they are tied to a Warchief directly as these are usually stronger.
- Fight the Captain you issued the threat against and kill him. You’ll have the help of the Captains you dominated. This makes it easier, and also gets you better loot. Be sure to use a death threat because although the enemy becomes slightly stronger, it’s worth it for better loot. This is why you bring your Captains along.
- Continue this, using all your Captains and only collecting loot from the ones assigned to Warchiefs.
- Once all Captains assigned to a given Warchief are defeated, go after them. If you haven’t killed all their Captains for some reason, make sure you use one that is directly linked to that Warchief rather than kill him for gear, as it makes it easier for them to betray.
- Kill Warchief, get your loot. Rinse and repeat for all of them.
- When all Warchiefs killed, take out the Overlord. All your recruited Captains will come with you. Don’t worry if some fall in battle. They provide valuable distraction and allow you to focus on the lowly enemies inside first while the Overlord’s health gets lowered.
There are variations you could make to this. For example, you could dominate every orc if you don’t care much about the gear. This will give you more allies in a fortress with a strength in numbers strategy, but you’ll also have worse gear. You could also go all in on better gear, but then it’s Talion vs. the world solo in all your fights. Just make sure you look at their strengths and weaknesses. You wouldn’t want to counteract your strength in numbers by sending a Captain whose specialty happens to enrage your target.
The way listed I believe is the best way. You gain a good amount of gear and followers while at the same time depleting the Overlord’s fortress. You also aren’t on either end of the follower/gear spectrum. All of your followers can be leveled up through missions, fighting pits or loot chests. Silver chests can be bought with in-game currency and boost your orc five levels at a time. These help your army drastically, especially when it comes to the harder fights. Remember, enemies also level up for killing your followers.
How have you been progressing in Shadow of War? Make sure to keep us updated on all your tips and tricks below. Best of luck.
Middle Earth: Shadow of War is available now on Xbox One via the Microsoft Store.