After a slight delay, the gates of Mordor have once again opened, letting players finally declare war against Sauron. Middle-earth: Shadow of War picks up where the previous game left off with Talion seeking to bring the battle to Sauron by building an army and conquering Mordor. Monolith has taken the extra time to really flesh out the well-received Nemesis System this time around, adding more diverse orcs to build out an army and giving them even more unique attributes.

One of the core aspects of this game, like its predecessor, is dominating the various orcs roaming around the open world. In Middle-earth: Shadow of War, this process is even more valuable, as dominating gives Talion access to a number of options, not just increasing his own army size. One of the best ways to gain power is to dominate captains, which are unique orcs that provide a bit more of a challenge thanks to a unique set of strengths and weaknesses.

Even though it’s a core mechanic of the game, dominating captains isn’t quite as simple as it is with lesser orcs. Follow along below for all the tips and tricks players need to know in order to start adding these powerful orcs to their army.


Starting Off

Unlike regular orcs, players won’t be able to start dominating Captains right away. In order to start the recruitment process, the Dominate Captain skill needs to be first unlocked. Thankfully, this is a skill which is given early on through one of the story missions, so players won’t have to wait too long before starting active recruitment.

One major caveat to this process is the fact that Captains are a valuable source of loot after they’re killed. Earning new gear and weapons is a critical element to the game this time around, just like building a strong army, so players will be faced with a tough choice every time they’re fighting a Captain. Is it worth killing the Captain for potentially better loot, or is it more important to dominate and continue building the army?

Middle-earth: Shadow of War Nemesis System Trailer

Dominating Captains

With the skill unlocked, the first step to dominating a Captain is to first break them in combat. The process remains the same from the first game where after taking a lot of damage, a visual icon and indicator will appear, letting the player know that the captain can be dominated. At this point, grab the orc to start the dominating. Keep in mind that dominating an orc takes a few seconds to complete, so if Talion is hit during this process by nearby enemies, it will stop the process.

In addition, players can speed up this process by exploiting the Captain’s weakness. Additional details and information about Captains can be learned from orc informants called worms in the game world after they’re interrogated by the player.

Once a Captain is finally dominated, players have access to multiple options. They can be recruited to the player’s army, shamed to make them hate Talion and lowers their level, or finish the battle in a fight to the death. Keep in mind that the final two options may result in the orc coming back later on thanks to the beefed-up Nemesis System. There’s always that small possibility of the orc turning on the player and betraying them at the worst possible time as well.


Additional Benefits

Warchiefs are one of the bigger threats in Middle-earth: Shadow of War, and unfortunately, players are not able to dominate them. Some Captains may be assigned as their bodyguard, however, so players do have the option of taking these orcs and turning them on their master.

Using the Nemesis System, players can see which orcs are assigned to a Warchief, and dominating them will provide a fourth option: Betrayal. At this point, the orc will run off on their own, and once the player challenges the Warchief, the dominated Captain backstabs their leader, surprising them and making the fight a lot easier for the player.

Middle-earth: Shadow of War is available now on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.