Best Alternate Signs In The Witcher 3

Just like in the previous games, Geralt can cast five magical signs in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt known as Aard, Igni, Axii, Quen, and Yrden. They all have their own uses and most players are probably going to advance through the main storyline without noticing that each sign has a more powerful version to unlock.

These are called alternate signs in The Witcher 3. There are five of them, one for each sign, and they all add some extra effects such as staggering or trapping enemies, protecting you from all sides, and more.

The following guide will tell you more about alternate signs, and how to unlock and use them in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

How to unlock and use Alternate Signs

The ability to use Alternate Signs can be unlocked after you spend 6 or more Ability Points in the Signs skill tree. There is no restriction on which sign you can use the Ability Points, but it is wise to spend it on the sign that you want to use later.

To activate Alternate Sign, you need to put it in the empty slot of the Active Skill Tree. Geralt will then be able to use whatever alternate sign you have put in the skill slot.

After activating, you need to press and hold the sign button (R2) to use the skill. The skill will be available to cast once it is supercharged.

Best Alternate Signs to upgrade

Aard Sweep (Aard)

Aard is one of the best signs to be used by Geralt. It uses the Telekinetic Blast of Energy to push enemies out of the way in a 360-degree radius.

Aard delivers a blast in a certain area, usually, that is a few feet in front of Geralt. But the alternate version of the Sign now allows him to blast away enemies all around him. This is particularly useful when you are being ganged up on by a bunch of enemies and need some breathing room. Geralt can then approach the enemies who have been knocked down and finish them off using his sword.

The higher the Aard Sweep level is, the higher your odds are of knocking down an enemy. The same phenomenon goes for how long the enemies stay knocked down.

To save your stamina fighting a pack of enemies, you can use Aard Sweep to break the pack. Once the pack is broken down, you can then easily knock down individual enemies and finish off using finishing moves.

Puppet (Axii)

Axii is a magical sign which allows Geralt to mentally influence his targets. Outside of combat, it is used in persuading targets to do certain tasks. But in combat, it can momentarily stun enemies.

In battle, everyone wants extra sets of hands to help them fight. With the help of Alternate Axii, you can turn your enemies into your allies who will fight their comrades instead of you.

Puppet works by releasing a mental wave that would trick enemies using telepathy. The illusion works on both humans and monsters which convinces them to fight alongside Geralt. The effect of Puppet will last until you attack the tricked enemy accidentally.

It’s like setting off a grenade within a pack of enemies that softens them up before you jump into the fray. When the enemies’ health pool is almost depleted, you can easily jump in and finish them off.

The higher your puppet level is, the deadlier your newly made ally will be.

Firestream (Igni)

Gamers have had a deep love for flamethrowers in video games which allow them to release a stream of fire to burn their enemies. You wouldn’t expect a game like The Witcher 3 to have something like a flamethrower but with the alternate version of the Igni Sign, you now do.

Using Igni, you can normally blast or ignite any target with the help of Pyrokinetic Burst. The sign can be used for anything from lighting a torch to more advanced things like dispersing a group of enemies.   

If you upgrade Igni to its alternate form, you can get the Firestream which converts into basically a flamethrower. Instead of a single blast, Geralt releases a sustained flow of flame from his hand burning his enemies to a crisp. It is especially effective on enemies which are weak to fire.

Regardless of the damage over time, the enemies can avoid Firestream by moving out of the way.

The only downside is that the stamina starts depleting as soon as you start using Firestream. The stamina bar works as a fuel bar for Firestream and once it is fully depleted, you will no longer be able to use it until it is refilled.

Active Shield (Quen)

The Quen is a magical sign deployed by Geralt to have a protective field around him. Quen can really make a difference by protecting you from all incoming attacks when you are low on health. But its defense is limited as it breaks with a few hits.

However, with the Active Shield alternate version of Quen, Geralt has a stronger defense and can convert the damage received into Vitality. Geralts stamina will be utilized to maintain the shield and block hits. Once it is fully depleted, the shield will break until you have stamina again.

You can move around with Active Shield but will be limited to walking. Geralt, however, cannot attack until Active Shield effects wear off.

Quen can become the difference in life or death when fighting high-level monsters. You can simply cast Quen whenever you are rounded up or in a bad spot.

Magic Trap (Yrden)

Yrden is a magical trap that is used by Geralt which will essentially immobilize or slow down the enemy once it is inside. It is particularly useful when fighting ghosts and wraiths and makes them vulnerable to sword attacks.

When Yden is upgraded to the Magic Trap, you can start damaging the enemy by zapping it.  

Magic Trap will be rendered unaffected when the enemy manages to escape from the sign area. To make it more effective, try to deploy Magic Trap in small, enclosed spaces.

Just like any other sign, Magic Trap also needs time to recharge before being deployed again. If you want to give your enemies a quick death within Magic Trap, the damage done to the enemy can also be boosted as you level up.

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