In this Shadow of War guide, we'll be running down everything you need to know about the Nemesis System of the game, returning from the original Shadow of Mordor. We'll teach you how to use the Nemesis System to your advantage, so you're able to take out or dominate Captains, all with the aim of working your way up the ladder to the Warchiefs.
If you need anything else on Shadow of War that isn't Nemesis System related, make sure to check out our Shadow of War guides walkthrough hub.
Shadow of War Nemesis System Guide
Arguably the biggest feature in the original Shadow of Mordor, the Nemesis System, is making a triumphant return in Shadow of War, albeit with a few changes. Basically, there are multiple regions within Shadow of War, such as Cirith Ungol and Seregost, and each region will have one Overlord commanding a Fortress, with anywhere between two and four Warchiefs serving under him.
After this, there are a whole host of Captains underneath the Overlord and his Warchiefs, all of which you can seek out and either kill or dominate in the region. So, how do you go about getting to, and killing, the Overlord and his Warchiefs? Firstly, you'll want to gather as much intel as possible on everyone in the Shadow of War Nemesis System hierarchy, and you can go about this by seeking out Worms within the region.
Shadow of War Worms Guide - Shadow of War Nemesis System
To find a Worm, enter Wraith Vision by tapping the left shoulder button, and spin the camera around until you see a nearby Orc glowing green. This color denotes that the Orc is a Worm, and you can get intel out of him if you can catch him. To do this, you'll have to dominate (not kill) the Worm, and you can achieve this by sneaking up on them and pressing B/Circle, or by eliminating every other Orc around them, and then grabbing them with the right shoulder button, and then pressing B/Circle.
Once you've dominated the Worm, you'll come to the Nemesis screen for that region (pictured just below), and you can then select a Captain, Warchief, or Overlord to gain intel on. Gaining intel on a commander allows you to see their weaknesses, so you can target their weakpoints if you ever come face to face with them in combat. For example, a Captain might be vulnerable to stealth attacks, so you could kill him immediately with a simple stealth attack from above.
Shadow of War Nemesis Guide - How to Dominate Captains
But the dominating doesn't simply end at Worms, as you can actually dominate Captains as well. Although you can successfully dominate a Captain, you unfortunately can't dominate a Warchief or Overlord, as they need to be outright killed on Talion's quest to conquer Mordor. So, for the Captains, you'll be presented with the options just below once you've broken (got their health bar down to a fraction) and dominated them.
At this point, you'll be presented with the options to either shame the Captain and lower their overall level, fight the Captain to the death there and then in combat, or to recruit them to your army. We'd always recommend going with the latter option if you can, as a Captain that fights for you is better than a dead one.
Shadow of War Nemesis Guide - How to Infiltrate Warchief's Bodyguards
In Shadow of War, the Warchiefs will protect the Overlord, and a few of the Captains will be protecting their Warchiefs. You can see which Captains are guarding which Warchiefs by gaining intel on any of the Warchiefs, selecting them when brought to the Nemesis System screen after dominating a Worm for intel. If you should then find and dominate a Captain that is the bodyguard of a Warchief, you'll then be presented with the option of having that Captain betraying his Warchief.
When you eventually take on the Warchief, either in a separate mission or through a Fortress Stronghold, the Captain that you chose to betray their Warchief will strike, significantly injuring their superior and subsequently trying to kill them in straight combat. Trying to take down a Warchief is by no means a simply task, and so this edge you can gain on them by having their bodyguard turn on them is a huge bonus for Talion.
The Shadow of War Nemesis System basically allows you to recruit any Captain from any region into the ranks of Talion's army. But, be warned, because any of the recruited Captains can actually betray you! A brand new feature for Shadow of War, any of your Captains can actually turn on you, but this can only happen while you're out in the open world, and not during a Fortress Assault or other similar Overlord/Warchief-orientated missions.
You won't receive any warning for when a Captain betrays you, and they'll simply announce their presence to while you're out exploring a region, challenging Talion to a fight to the death. You can actually recapture any Captain that betrays you through dominating them, but we have noticed that Captains that betray you once are prone to doing so again, so you might want to simply kill them off.
Shadow of War Nemesis Guide - How to Infiltrate an Overlord
Finally, taking the betrayal mechanic in Shadow of War all the way to the top, you can infiltrate the ranks of the Warchiefs, by taking them out and replacing them with one of your own Orc Captains. Firstly, you'll need to either kill or recruit a current Warchief, so head to their quest location (which will always be right outside a Fortress), and embark upon the mission to take them out.
Now, either dominating or outright killing the Warchief in question will free up their spot in the Shadow of War Nemesis System, which means you can command one of your higher level Captains to infiltrate the position just under the Overlord. To do this, command a follower in the Army screen to infiltrate the vacant position, and you'll create a new Nemesis Mission. Head to the start point of the Nemesis Mission, and witness your Captain do battle with another Orc Captain for the positon of Warchief.
If the Captain you commanded is killed, then you'll unfortunately have to put forward another one for the position of Warchief, but if they are successful and kill their opponent, then they'll have successfully infiltrated the Overlord's Fortress. When you eventually head into battle against the Overlord's Fortress, your spying Warchief will spring into action, knocking down a section of the Fortress wall for your army to enter, making the entire battle a whole lot easier for you.
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