Atomic Heart: Best Skills & Upgrades

Ease your journey through the Soviet Union Utopia by unlocking these skills in Atomic Heart

Atomic Heart has an in-depth skill upgrade tree for all the skills available in the game, and it is crucial to select and invest in the best ones from the start if you don’t want to get in trouble during late-game encounters. The skills in this game are divided into two types: Active and Passive skills. Shock, Character, and Energy Management are passive skills while Frostbite, Mass Telekinesis, Polymeric Jet, and Polymeric Shield are active skills

Key Takeaways
  • There are 7 skills in Atomic Heart, each having its own skill tree and utility. 
  • The skills are divided into two types: Active Skills and Passive Skills.
  • Shock, Character, and Energy Management are passive skills while Frostbite, Mass Telekinesis, Polymeric Jet, and Polymeric Shield are active skills.

  • Shock allows you to deal electric damage to your enemies and the best upgrades you can unlock for this skill are Electrization, Neuro-Polymer Accelerator, Resistor Malfunction, and Amplified Modulator.

  • Character skill tree deals with your personal character traits like health and physical capabilities. The best upgrades for this skill are Juggler, Born Marksmen, Wild Boar, Second Wind, Sleazeball, Avatar, and Parkour.

  • Frostbite aka Cryo Jet allows you to inflict frostbite status upon enemies by releasing crypolymer from your gloves. The best upgrades for Frostbite are High Pressure, Forced Defrost, Neuro-Polymer Accelerator, and Diffuse Spray Head.

  • Mass Telekinesis is the telekinetic ability that allows you to lift up enemies in the air and slam them into the ground. The upgrades recommended for this skill tree are Forced Acceleration, Increased Power, Neuro-Polymer Accelerator, and Barotrauma.

  • Polymetric Jet allows you to shoot combat polymer at enemies which amplifies the effect of your fire or electric attacks. The upgrades recommended for Polymeric Jets are High Pressure, Neuro-Polymer Air Defence, and Mixture Efficiency.

  • Polymeric Shield safeguards you against oncoming ranged and physical attacks and then allow you to counter said attacks. The best upgrades players can unlock for it are Overload & Destabilize, Kinetic Reflector, Neuro Polymer Reflector, and Increased Polymer Generation.

  • Energy Management optimizes the use of energy by different ranged attacks and the best upgrades one could unlock for it are Thrift, ATP Recycling, and Greedy Guts.

Skill Upgrades In Atomic Heart

As mentioned above, there are a total of 7 skills, each having its own separate skill tree. In a single playthrough, you’ll only have enough resources to either max out some of them or maintain a balance by unlocking a handful of skill upgrades for all of them.


  • Among the active skills, only two can be equipped at a time. Meaning, you can only select two skills among Frostbite, Mass Telekinesis, Polymeric Jet, and Polymeric Shield, and use them during gameplay. The skills can be swapped by visiting Nora.
  • The skills can be upgraded by Neuropolymer, which can be obtained by fighting off enemies, opening chests, and exploring the levels.


Shok (Image Credits Exputer)

Shock is a passive skill, that allows you to shoot off electromagnetic discharge from your gloves. It deals electric damage to enemies. Shock is a skill that you’ll be using a lot, both inside and outside of combat, so it is better you start focusing on it from the start if you don’t want the flying robots or cameras to give you excessive trouble.


Electrization (Image Credits Exputer)

Electrization will be the first skill upgrade you will be able to unlock from the Shock skill tree. Even if you don’t use shock a lot, still consider unlocking this upgrade as its utility in gameplay cannot be overstated. Its effect on robotic enemies and the reliance of other skill upgrades on electrization makes it one of the most important and best skill upgrades in the game.

Neuro-Polymer Accelerator

Neuro-Polymer Accelerator decreases the cooldown of the Shock skill. This one is a no-brainer, considering how many robots you can encounter at a given time, you don’t want to waste your ammo on them, and destroying them with your axe can be a hassle at times. So having a lower cooldown for Shock can increase the number of times you can electrify robots during combat.

Resistor Malfunction

Resistor Malfunction
Resistor Malfunction (Image Credits Exputer)

Resistor Malfunction allows you to deal extra damage to electrified targets. Robots in Atomic Heart don’t die easily unless you headshot them, and when in a situation where you have to deal with multiple humanoids and flying robots at the same time, the extra damage done due to this skill can be a lifesaver.

Amplified Modulator

One thing you’ll have to look out for a lot during your playthrough is cameras, which initiate an alarm and notifies all the robots in the vicinity of your presence. To avoid this issue you have to stay out of their range, shock them, and take them out.

The extra range from the Amplified Modulator can definitely help in this regard, allowing you to maintain a safe distance and disable any cameras. Additionally, its effectiveness also applies to combat encounters as well, where you can electrify the flying robots at a distance much more easily.

Chain Lightning

Chain Lightning
Chain Lightning (Image Credits Exputer)

For the most part, the robots you’ll have to deal with in combat encounters will be in groups and don’t come at you one by one. This means that they are mostly in close range of one another, which makes Chain Lightning an effective skill upgrade. With this skill upgrade unlocked, part of your discharge bounces and deals additional damage to a nearby enemy. 


The character skill tree is related to your character traits. Meaning stuff like health, resistance, parkour ability, medicine intake, guarding, dodging and more can be upgraded from here. Among all the skills in the game, Character has the largest skill tree.

Like Shock, it is also a passive skill, where the upgrades are permanent and can aid you in the long run. So make sure to invest heavily in the Character skill tree in order to boost your physical capabilities.


Juggler (Image Credits Exputer)

Getting your health low during combat encounters is not completely unheard of, which is an indicator that you have healed up unless you want to die. Neuromeds allow you to heal your character, but the catch here is that you can’t shoot and have made yourself completely vulnerable during that process.

Juggler allows you to heal yourself using only one hand, so you can have your weapon in one hand and attack enemies while you use your other hand to heal yourself up. The healing animation itself is not that long but the ability to remain in combat and not run away to heal yourself is something players who like to play aggressively will dig.

Born Marksman

Born Marksman
Born Marksman (Image Credits Exputer)

Born Marksman increases the accuracy of your unaimed shooting. As someone who likes to prefer shooting without using aim-down sight a lot, Born Marksman was a very welcome addition. The skill is subjective because if you mostly shoot using aim-down sight this may not be very valuable to you but if you don’t like using aim-down sight a lot, Born Marksman is a must-have skill upgrade.

Wild Boar

Wild Boar
Wild Boar (Image Credits Exputer)

Wild Boar increases the maximum health of your character. While Wild Boar is not the only skill that can do it, it is one of the first ones you can unlock. Playing the game on normal difficulty, I didn’t feel any need of upgrading my health any further, as Wild Boar was sufficient for me for my entire playthrough.

However, if you feel that your health bar is too small, you can further increase it by unlocking the Athlete and Musclehead. Additionally, if you are playing on the hardest difficulty, you’ll need the maximum amount of health you can get.

Second Wind

Second Wind
Second Wind (Image Credits Exputer)

This skill allows you to perform an additional dash using the dodge button. Dodging is one of the most important mechanics of Atomic Heart, and obviously, there is a limit to how many times you can dodge in succession. The additional dash gained due to this upgrade can be a lifesaver in many scenarios, because you never know when an additional dash can save you from a devastating hit.


This skill upgrade allows you to tuck and roll in order to avoid taking any fall damage. This can be done by pressing the jump right before landing. This a great skill to have under your belt, if you want to enhance your maneuverability and traversal capabilities.


Sleazeball (Image Credits Exputer)

Sleazeball basically gives you invincibility frames or I-Frames during your dashes. If you are someone who likes to play aggressively and keep your distance close to your enemies, without breaking the flow of combat, Sleazeball is a highly recommended skill for you.


Avatar (Image Credits Exputer)

Avatar gives your character resistance to elemental damage. Elemental damage can be one of the most annoying things you could face in Atomic Heart, as it is able to affect some of your other character traits on top of your health. While Elemental Damage may not be a problem early on, make sure to keep this upgrade on your radar for mid to late-game.

Frostbite (Cryo Jet)

Cryo Jet
Cryo Jet (Image Credits Exputer)

Frostbite basically allows you to inflict a freezing effect upon enemies using crypolymer. Enemies that get inflicted with this status cannot move and become vulnerable to all types of attacks. Organic Enemies in comparison to robots are more vulnerable to this effect. 

High Pressure

High Pressure
High Pressure (Image Credits Exputer)

After unlocking Frostbite, one of the first things you will notice about this skill, is its short range. While being a very powerful skill, it’s of no use if you can’t reach your enemies, in which case unlocking High Pressure should be your top priority as it increases the range of your attack.

Forced Defrost

Forced Defrost
Forced Defrost (Image Credits Exputer)

Forced Defrost allows you to deal increased damage to enemies even after the freezing effect has ended. It’s highly possible that you freeze more than one enemy during firing your crypolymer, and it may not be possible to take all of them out while they remain frozen.

That is where Frozen Defrost comes in and lets you deal additional damage to all those enemies that were previously frozen. Additionally, this effect can also be used to deal additional damage to the game’s elite enemies and bosses.

Neuro-Polymer Accelerator

It decreases the cooldown of your Frostbite skill and allows you to use Frostbite in combat more times than you normally can. The effect of having less cooldown is self-explanatory and if you plan on using this skill a lot, unlocking Neuro-Polymer Accelerator is a no-brainer.

Diffuse Spray Head

Diffuse Spray Head
Diffuse Spray Head (Image Credits Exputer)

Diffuse spray head allows you to fire crypolymer in a cone-shaped area. It may be difficult to understand its effect on paper, but in actual gameplay, this makes a great addition to your arsenal. With Diffuse Spray Head, you drastically increase the number of enemies you can hit with your crypolymer, making a great skill upgrade if you want more crowd control.

Increased Polymer Generation

Increased Polymer Generation
Increased Polymer Generation (Image Credits Exputer)

Increased Polymer Generation complements the previous skill by allowing you to use the Cryo jet for far longer than you normally can. Frostbite itself is a very overpowered skill, especially against normal mob-type enemies, and being in a situation where you cannot use this skill for very long is not very ideal.

Mass Telekinesis

Mass Telekinesis
Mass Telekinesis (Image Credits Exputer)

Mass Telekinesis you grip a number of enemies in an area of effect and lift them up in the air. The targets fall on the ground if the effect is ended or interrupted. Mass Telekinesis functions just as you would expect from a telekinetic ability in video games. If you like controlling enemies and lifting them up in the air, consider investing in Mass Telekinesis.

Forced Acceleration Fall

If you plan on using Mass Telekinesis as one of your main two skills, unlocking Forced Acceleration Fall should be your top priority as without this skill upgrade, the rest of the upgrades and the ability itself may not work as it is intended. Forced Acceleration Fall basically allows you to do what you would expect from this skill.

With Forced Acceleration Fall unlocked, enemies take damage when they fall on the ground. 

Increased Power

Increased Power
Increased Power (Image Credits Exputer)

Having the ability to lift enemies up into the ground and not being able to do so can be a very annoying experience since it just defeats the point of having that ability. This situation can occur when you try to lift heavyweight enemies. Increased Power gives a massive boost to your Mass Telekinesis skill, and lets you lift heavyweight enemies up in the air as well.

Neuro-Polymer Accelerator

Neuro-Polymer Accelerator reduces the cooldown of Mass Telekinesis. This increases your chances to use this ability more often in combat, and deal AoE damage to huge groups of enemies.


Barotrauma (Image Credits Exputer)

Barotrauma increases the per second damage dealt by Mass Telekinesis. In simple words, it increases the damage done by this skill, whose effect becomes more and more visible as you progress through the game.

Polymeric Jet

PolymericJet is an amplification skill that on its own doesn’t deal any damage but when combined with other effects like frostbite, fire, and electrification allows you to deal heaps of damage. After unlocking and equipping this skill, you will be able to shoot combat polymer at your enemies. It gets attached to the enemies like gum, and once you use any of the aforementioned effects on enemies, the damage done is amplified by a huge margin.

On paper, this may seem like an easy-to-use skill, but in actual scenarios, it can be hard to combine with other effects since for this effect to work you will need your elemental damage skills charged at all times. However, with enough practice, it is definitely doable and the end result of using this skill can be highly satisfying and rewarding.

High Pressure

High Pressure
High Pressure (Image Credits Exputer)

High Pressure increases the range of combat polymer and allows you to hit targets from a moderate distance. This upgrade is especially useful against flying enemies as those are the ones that can be the hardest to pin down. So having an extended range can let you use this ability on far-away and air-borne enemies more effectively.

Neuro-Polymer Air Defence

Neuro Polymer Air Defense
Neuro Polymer Air Defense (Image Credits Exputer)

Neuro-Polymer Air Defence increases the viscosity of combat polymer. This increase in viscosity allows you to slow down the rotors of airborne enemies upon the usage of Polymeric Jet. Due to the decrease in rotor speed the air-borne enemies fall to the ground and become vulnerable to all types of attacks.

Mixture Efficiency

Mixture Efficacy
Mixture Efficacy (Image Credits Exputer)

Mixture Efficiency further amplifies the damage dealt by this skill. It enhances the combat polymer in such a way that the chemical reactions with fire and electrification are further enhanced, which in turn increases the damage done by these attacks.

Polymeric Shield

Polymeric Sheild allows you to surround yourself with a shield made of polymer. This shield protects you from melee and ranged attacks and redirects part of the projectiles’ energy into the recirculation chamber. In layman’s words, this skill functions the way you would normally expect from a standard shield i.e guarding yourself against oncoming assault and retaliating with your weapons.

Overload & Destabilize

Overload and Destabilize (Image Credits Exputer)

Deploying the polymeric shield at full capacity and then retracting it allows you to shower your enemies with combat polymer, which can be later combined with effects like fire, or electrization to deal tremendous damage. However, this cannot be spammed all the time since this skill has a cooldown and should only be used when the number of enemies in attack range is high as possible.

Kinetic Reflector

Kinetic Reflector
Kinetic Reflector (Image Credits Exputer)

Up until this skill you can mostly use Polymeric Shield as a means to guard yourself against damage, but with Kinetic Reflector you can retaliate against enemy attacks using the shield too. Kinetic Reflector doubles the damage dealt to your shield and then reflects it back to the enemy.

Neuro-Polymer Reflector

Neuro Polymer Reflector
Neuro Polymer Reflector (Image Credits Exputer)

Neuro-Polymer Reflector allows you to reflect ranged attacks back to the enemy. With both Kinectic Reflector and Neuro-Polymer unlocked, you will be able to use Polymeric Shield not only as a means to guard yourself against damage but also as a means to immediately counter enemy attacks.

Increased Polymer Generation

Building your playstyle around Polymeric Shield does come with a fair share of consequences. If you are out of charge, and unable to deflect melee and parry attacks you will be in a lot of trouble as you won’t be used to dodging as much as you would be to blocking and reflecting. So to minimize the probability of such scenarios, make sure to unlock Increased Polymer Generation to increase the use duration of Polymeric Shield.

Energy Management/Density

Energy Density
Energy Density (Image Credits Exputer)

Energy Management is the final skill tree, which gives you all sorts of passive buffs like recycling lost health into energy and decreasing the consumption of energy of your ranged attacks. Investing in this skill tree basically balances your energy consumption and optimizes it for combat encounters.


Thrift optimizes your energy intake and decreases the amount of energy your ranged attacks use. A must-have skill if you want to keep using your range attacks for far longer in combat without them consuming too much of your energy.

ATP Recycling

Any health lost in combat is recycled into usable energy. This is one of the best skills you can unlock for the Energy Management skill tree since any health lost during combat encounters does not go wasted.

Greedy Guts

Atomic Heart puts an equal amount of emphasis on melee combat as it does on ranged attacks. With Greedy Guts unlock you have the incentive to use melee weapons even more as this skill upgrade allows you to recharge energy using melee attacks.


The best skills in Atomic Heart may differ for everyone since every player has his own playstyle and will unlock upgrades that further enhance it. So it’s possible that not all of these skills will click with everyone but some of them will definitely do. For a full list of skills and skill upgrades in Atomic heart, kindly refer to our Atomic Heart Skill Tree guide and learn about all the skill upgrades you can unlock in this game.

Weapons in Atomic Heart are just as crucial as the skills you unlock, for a list of the best ones you can find in this game, consider going through our guide on the best weapons in Atomic Heart. You can find more about the characters, world, weapons, and creatures of the Atomic Heart on their official site.

This concludes our guide on the best skills and upgrades in Atomic Heart. Let us know the skills you found the most intriguing in the comments below.


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Huzaifah Durrani

As an RPG fanatic, Huzaifah is probably Immersed in yet another playthrough of Fallout: New Vegas or Elden Ring. He will also help you complete game quests, and stay familiar with the latest game releases. You can also find his articles on Gearnuke & Twinfinite.

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