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God of War: Ragnarok

Leviathan Axe

Scott Peers

The Leviathan Axe in God of War Ragnarok is arguably the most iconic weapon in the recent franchise. This page will detail how to use it effectively, including the best skills, Runic Attacks, and axe attachments (Grips and Knobs) for it.

All Leviathan Axe Upgrades, Skills, Runic Attacks, Attachment Locations

“Forged by the Huldra Brothers, this heroic Axe, with all its glacial force, was once wielded by Laufey the Just.”

As in the first God of War 2018, you will have access to the Leviathan Axe from the beginning of the game. The only difference here is that you have access to some skills by default in God of War Ragnarok, which were previously purchasable skills or acquired from Runic Attacks in the first game. The first skill you’ll be able to use by default which was previously a Runic Attack is The River of Knives, which sees Kratos slamming the ground with his axe and casting a wave of frost damage at enemies in front of him. There are also a number of new skills and combos introduced with God of War Ragnarok, all of which are shown in the tables below.

How to Upgrade the Leviathan Axe in God of War Ragnarok

All Frozen Spark and Frozen Flame Locations

To upgrade the Leviathan Axe to level 9, you’ll need to find all 8 Frozen Flame items, then visit a Blacksmith Shop to speak with Brok, Sindri, or Lunda (depending on where you’re at in the story) to upgrade the Leviathan Axe once you have the items. You’ll obtain most of the Frozen Flames as you progress through the main story, but a few of them are acquired from other boss encounters which are counted among side quests. We’ve listed all of the locations in the table below.

Sparks / Flame Location
1 Defeat The Huntress boss in the Upper Wildwoods of Midgard during the Surviving Fimbulwinter main quest
2 Defeat Alva in the Temple of Light of Alfheim during the Groa’s Secret main quest
3 Defeat Nidhogg, a boss encountered in Vanaheim during The Reckoning main quest
4 Defeat the Hel-Traveller encountered in Helheim during the Reunion main quest
5 Defeat the Flame Phantom encountered in Muspelheim during the Summoning Ragnarok main quest
6 Defeat The Crimson Dread dragon located in The Crater region of Vanaheim, forms part of the For Vanaheim! favor
7 Defeat the Sisters of Illska and Svipdagr the Cold Berserker Boss fight in Alfheim
8 Close all of the Hel Tears to acquire a Frozen Spark from each, 6 of them combined will create a Frozen Flame

All Leviathan Axe Skills in God of War Ragnarok

There’s a total of 28 skills that you can unlock for the Leviathan Axe, encompassing three distinct categories with 11 Technique skills, 7 Ranged skills, and 10 Melee skills. You can unlock all of these skills by level 6 so long as you have enough XP, but the Leviathan Axe is effective in combat even before that point. As you unlock new skills, the opportunities for diversifying your combat experience with the Leviathan Axe expand significantly. The Technique skills mostly focus on improving the amount of Frost damage that you can inflict in various ways, ranging from imbuing the Leviathan Axe with Frost damage, to creating Frost explosions.

Your ability to inflict Frost damage is greatly enhanced by all Frost Awaken skills, as you can see in the table below, but there are also good skills here which increase your Stun damage, such as the Frozen Lance skill. In addition, as soon as you get the Extinguish Flames skill, you should always consider switching to the Leviathan Axe whenever you’re fighting enemies who are weak to Frost, such as most Draugr. Keep in mind that the more Frost damage you inflict, the more likely it is that your enemies will become frozen, or at least significantly slowed by the Frost effect, making them more vulnerable while you have the advantage.

Technique Axe Skills

In terms of the Technique skills, it’s worth making a habit of activating Frost Awaken whenever you get the chance. You can do this initially by holding DualSense-ButtonTriangle, but once you purchase the upgrades for this skill (Frost Awaken I and II), you’ll be able to activate it while sprinting towards an enemy, or while transitioning from bare-handed combat to the Leviathan Axe. The Frozen Breach skill is great for inflicting Frost damage to multiple enemies in an arc in front of you, but keep in mind that the Blades of Chaos are generally better for area of effect attacks on multiple foes (since they have greater reach), unless you’re fighting enemies weak to Frost and resistant to Fire damage.

Skill Effect Level Cost
Frost Awaken I Hold DualSense-ButtonTriangle to imbue the Leviathan Axe with ice and power up the next Melee or Ranged Attack with high Frost. 1 N/A
Frozen Breach Press DualSense-R1 during Frost Awaken to do a wide swing and apply Frost to nearby enemies. 1 N/A
Frozen Spike Aim and Press DualSense-R1 during Frost Awaken to quickly throw the Leviathan Axe and create a Frost Explosion on impact. 1 N/A
Extinguish Flames Axe Melee Attacks against Burning enemies deal bonus damage. 1 250 XP
Permafrost Perform Melee Attacks in quick succession without sustaining damage to power up the Leviathan Axe and inflict Frost damage on every hit. Bonus to Luck and Runic stats when active. 2 500 XP
Frozen Ascent Press DualSense-R2 during Frost Awaken to slash upwards with a chilling wave to launch enemies in an area and apply high Frost. 2 750 XP
Frozen Lance Aim and press DualSense-R2 during Frost Awaken to throw the Leviathan Axe with extreme force, knocking the target backwards. Deals very high damage and Frost, and can break an enemy’s guard. 3 1000 XP
Glacial Permafrost While Permafrost is full, press DualSense-L1 + DualSense-ButtonTriangle to consume the meter and activate. Enhances all Leviathan Axe Melee Attacks with far reaching waves of Frost for a duration. 3 1500 XP
Frost Awaken II Hold DualSense-ButtonTriangle while sprinting to activate Frost Awaken quickly. 4 1500 XP
Frost Awaken III Hold DualSense-ButtonTriangle while recalling the Axe to quickly activate Frost Awaken. 5 3000 XP
Frost Awaken IV Frost Awaken can be instantly charged when DualSense-ButtonTriangle is pressed momentarily after any Leviathan Axe attack. 6 5000 XP

Ranged Axe Skills

There are fewer Ranged skill upgrades for the Leviathan Axe, but they’re still useful in various situations. Axe Throw is a good basic opener to most fights if you’re approaching from a distance, since it can stagger or knock back most enemies if you hit them in the head or legs. Freezing Throw I and II are also great for initiating combat with a burst of Frost damage, often capable of freezing some enemies instantly, rendering them immobile for a short duration. Vengeful Sickle I is ideal for attacking multiple enemies from a distance, and its upgrade will only improve the effect. If you find yourself in a situation where you’ve just thrown the Leviathan Axe and you need it back to attack enemies in front of you, Returning Whirlwind is perfect for this, allowing you to quickly regain control of a melee encounter. Returning Storm provides an even more powerful form of this.

Skill Effect Level Cost
Axe Throw Aim and press DualSense-R1 to quickly throw the Leviathan Axe forward. Can cause a more severe reaction when striking an enemy in the head or legs. 1 N/A
Freezing Throw I Aim and press DualSense-R2 to throw the Leviathan Axe forward with force. Can freeze weaker enemies for a short duration. 1 N/A
Vengeful Sickle I Aim and Hold DualSense-R1 to charge up the Leviathan Axe, causing it to spin and slice for multiple hits against an enemy when thrown. 1 500 XP
Freezing Throw II Aim and Hold DualSense-R2 to charge up the Leviathan Axe to add a Frost explosion to Freezing Throw on impact. 1 759 XP
Vengeful Sickle II Increases the duration and damage of Vengeful Sickle. 2 1500 XP
Returning Whirlwind Press DualSense-L1 + DualSense-R1 while Bare-Handed to quickly recall the Leviathan Axe and perform a powerful spinning attack. Press DualSense-R1 immediately after for a follow-up slash. 3 1000 XP
Returning Storm Press DualSense-L1 + DualSense-R2 while Bare-Handed to quickly recall the Leviathan Axe and perform a powerful leaping slam attack that knocks enemies backward and deals high Frost. 4 2000 XP

Melee Axe Skills

The Leviathan Axe really comes into its own once you begin to upgrade the Melee skills for it. The basic early skills such as Frost Rush and Leviathan’s Fury provide a great way to take the initiative at the beginning of a fight, while Whirling Storm and Evasive Storm can be great for staggering multiple enemies at once and give you a quick breather in the process. Glacial Rake is good for inflicting significant Frost damage in melee, and Serpent’s Snare is a fun new skill which allows you to grab most regular enemies in front of you, and throw them into others in the distance, creating an explosion of Frost in the process.

From level 3 onwards, you can begin to master the Leviathan Axe in melee combat if you’re willing to learn the new combos provided by Whirlwind Sweep and Whirlwind Throw. Both of these utilize DualSense-R1 or DualSense-R2 in some form, requiring you to press them in quick succession with precise timing. If you manage to pull these combo attacks off, they can be devastating for all enemies within range. As implied by the names, Whirlwind Sweep is good for attacking multiple enemies in melee range, while Whirlwind Throw is often better used against enemies at range. However, the former is still capable of hitting enemies at a reasonable distance in front of you, while controlling surrounding melee enemies by staggering them.

Pride of the Frost I and II serve to further improve this combo attack, giving you the opportunity to finish off a whole group of weaker enemies using just this combo after the initial Whirlwind Sweep combo attack. These melee combos can be difficult to learn initially, especially if you’re not too proficient with your timing, but it’s absolutely worth practicing with them and you can do this freely if you use the training arena in Niflheim.

Skill Effect Level Cost
Frost Rush While sprinting, press DualSense-R1 to perform a leaping slash attack. 1 N/A
Leviathan’s Fury While sprinting, press DualSense-R2 to perform a massive leaping attack applying Frost. 1 N/A
Whirling Storm While evading, Hold DualSense-Stick-L forward and press DualSense-R1 to perform a quick spinning double slash. 1 500 XP
Evasive Storm While evading, Hold DualSense-Stick-L back and press DualSense-R1 for a quick boomerang throw. 1 500 XP
Glacial Rake Hold DualSense-R1 to drag the Axe through the ground and rip out ice shards that travel forward and strike repeatedly with high Frost. 1 750 XP
Serpent’s Snare Hold DualSense-R2 for a brutal Axe attack that throws the enemy to apply massive damage. Weaker foes are thrown to create an explosion of Frost on impact that Launches other nearby enemies. 2 1000 XP
Whirlwind Sweep Switch stances by pausing momentarily after any Leviathan Axe attack. Once in new stance, press DualSense-R1, DualSense-R1, DualSense-R1 to perform a sweeping combo. 3 1000 XP
Whirlwind Throw Switch stances by pausing momentarily after any Leviathan Axe attack. Once in new stance, press DualSense-R2, DualSense-R2 to perform a Ranged Attack combo that Launches enemies. 4 2000 XP
Pride of the Frost I A Heavy Attack Finisher at the end of the Light Attack Combo. Press DualSense-R1, DualSense-R1, DualSense-R1, DualSense-R2 to perform. Deals high damage and Frost, and Launches enemies. 4 2000 XP
Pride of the Frost II Extend Pride of the Frost with additional slams by pressing DualSense-R2, DualSense-R2. 5 4000 XP

All Light and Heavy Runic Attacks for the Leviathan Axe in God of War Ragnarok

There’s a total of 10 Runic Attacks for the Leviathan Axe, with 5 Light and 5 in the Heavy category. You’ll find that the Heavy Runic Attacks generally inflict more damage than the Light ones, but both have their uses in combat. We’ve listed each in the tables below, and we’ll cover which were think are best for specific combat situations. We’ve also detailed the location for where you’ll find each of them in the game. Almost all are acquired from Legendary Chests, but some of these can only be accessed after completing certain parts of the main story, or after acquiring the Draupnir Spear.

Light Runic Attacks - Locations and Effects

You will no doubt be using either Winter’s Bite or Njord’s Tempest for a fair bit during the beginning of the game, and if you prefer ranged attacks then Skadi’s Edge might be an option for you relatively early on too. All of these can be useful for inflicting damage against multiple weaker enemies, but they’re not so useful when it comes to fighting elites or bosses, unless they have additional weaker enemies alongside them. In our view, Hel’s Touch is far superior against bosses, and in most cases against regular weaker enemies as well. This is mainly because it provides a quick way to interrupt potentially deadly attacks, especially red ring attacks which most elite and bosses will frequently use. The only other way to avoid these attacks is by dodging away from them, since they can’t be blocked.

The Wrath of the Frost Ancient attack is acquired fairly late in the game, and it’s hardly worth the wait when you compare it with Hel’s Touch in most cases. It will inflict a decent amount of directed damage which you can aim between different enemies, but it also leaves you vulnerable to attack while you’re using it. This one also has a base cooldown of 132 seconds, which means you won’t be able to use it as frequently as the others. If you consider that Hel’s Touch not only has the fastest execution and inflicts a decent amount of damage, but it also has the shortest cooldown, the superior choice for Light Runic Attacks becomes obvious for us in most cases, but you may still consider the others depending on your own particular playstyle, so it’s worth trying them out if you’re unsure yourself.

Attack Effect Cooldown Location
Winter’s Bite Form a mass of ice around the Leviathan Axe and run up to strike a target with incredible force. 74 seconds Looted from The Huntress boss fight in the Upper Wildwoods of Midgard, during the Surviving Fimbulwinter main quest.
Njord’s Tempest A rapidly spinning Melee Attack that clears out surrounding enemies and deals significant damage. 99 seconds Looted from a Legendary Chest at Althjof’s Rig in Svartalfheim, encountered during the In Service of Asgard favor.
Skadi’s Edge A tracking Axe throw that ricochets between targets, marked by pressing DualSense-R1 repeatedly. 93 seconds Looted from a Legendary Chest in The Strond region of Alfheim.
Hel’s Touch An extremely quick burst of energy that interrupts and knocks back all nearby enemies. 62 seconds Looted from a Legendary Chest in The Burrows of Alfheim.
Wrath of the Frost Ancient A powerful ice beam that Frosts enemies on contact. Hold DualSense-R1 to extend duration. 132 seconds Looted from a Legendary Chest in The Southern Wilds of Vanaheim, encountered during The Reckoning main quest.

(1 of 10) Upgrade 2 for Skadi’s Edge.

Heavy Runic Attacks - Locations and Effects

The choice of which Heavy Runic Attack to use is slightly more complicated than the Light ones for us. Although most of them have much longer base cooldown times, they also inflict significantly more damage. Fog of Fimbulwinter is a great one to start with, and it will serve you well against most enemies, especially if you enjoy freezing them as you build up Frost alongside regular Leviathan Axe attacks. Mists of Helheim functions in a similar way, but you won’t have to direct this attack with as much precision as FoF requires, making it potentially more useful against faster groups of enemies, like some of the Draugr or Hel-Walkers. Leviathan’s Roar is decent if you enjoy using ranged attacks, and it certainly inflicts a good amount of damage as it returns to you, but the applications for its use are more confined compared with the others.

As you progress further through the game and kill more of Odin’s Ravens (28 to be precise), you’ll eventually unlock the Breath of Thamur attack. This one inflicts massive damage in an extremely large area, catching pretty much anything in the vicinity within its grasp. It will also continually stagger most enemies for the duration of the effect, so it’s great to fend off multiple enemies when you might otherwise be overwhelmed, but some bosses will still attack you as you’re using it, so it’s worth keeping that in mind. The only major downside to this attack is the increased cooldown. The Ivaldi’s Anvil attack is a decent alternative with a much shorter cooldown, although the area-of-effect and overall damage is significantly less than that from Breath of Thamur. With that said, the attack executes fairly quickly and it will still impact enemies in a decent radius around you, while also staggering them and interrupting some red ring boss attacks, making it a great pairing with the Hel’s Touch light attack.

Attack Effect Cooldown Location
Fog of Fimbulwinter A massive ice wave that inflicts Frost damage and freezes enemies in its path. 208 seconds Looted from a Legendary Chest in the Mykr Tunnels of Svartalfheim, encountered during the Forging Destiny main quest.
Mists of Helheim A lingering area-of-effect attack that creates a small hazard, inflicting Frost status to all enemies inside. 96 seconds Looted from a Legendary Chest at the Cliffside Ruins in Vanaheim, discoverable after completing The Reckoning main quest.
Leviathan’s Roar A powerful Axe throw that returns with devastating impact. Kratos is fully protected while shielding. 108 seconds Looted from a Legendary Chest near Freyr’s Camp in Vanaheim, requires the Draupnir Spear to access.
Breath of Thamur A massive area-of-effect attack that deals damage to all enemies within an extremely large area. 237 seconds Looted from a Legendary Chest at The Raven Tree in Niflheim after defeating 28 Odin’s Ravens for The Eyes of Odin favor.
Ivaldi’s Anvil A staggering area-of-effect attack that deals Frost status to all nearby enemies. 132 seconds Looted from a Legendary Chest at The Derelict Outpost in Midgard

(1 of 10) Upgrade 2 for Ivaldi’s Anvil.

All Leviathan Axe Attachments (Knobs and Grips) in God of War Ragnarok

There are 12 Leviathan Axe attachments in God of War Ragnarok, also known as Knobs and Grips. Each of these provide different combinations of stats increases, but they also come with Perks which improve various aspects of your skills and abilities. To give you a good idea of which might be best for you, we’ve included each of them in the table below, detailing the maximum stats that you can attain from them after upgrading to level 9, the location for where you’ll find it in the game, and also the Perk associated with them.

Attachment Location Perk Lvl 9 Stats
Wooden Knob The original axe attachment that you unlock at the beginning of the game. N/A +29 Strength, +17 Runic, +17 Vitality, +17 Cooldown, +17 Luck
The Furious Maul Obtained after defeating Thor during the Surviving Fimbulwinter main quest. High Luck chance to grant a Gift of Strength on any Axe kill. +63 Strength
Fortified Frost Knob Looted from a Legendary Chest in The Applecore, Svartalfheim. Holding DualSense-ButtonTriangle to Frost Awaken the Axe increases Defence and Stagger Resistance. +29 Strength, +34 Cooldown
Haur’s Lucky Knob Craftable at the Blacksmith Shop after completing the Surviving Fimbulwinter main quest. Moderate Luck chance for any successful precision throw to cause a bonus Stun Blast. +29 Strength, +34 Luck
Grip of Weighted Recovery Craftable at the Blacksmith Shop after completing The Reckoning main story quest. Stun Grabbing an enemy (DualSense-R3) provides a Blessing of Cooldown. +29 Strength, +34 Runic
Grip of the Fallen Alchemist Looted from a Legendary Chest at Pilgrim’s Landing in Vanaheim. High Luck chance to grant a Health Burst on any successful hit with the Serpent’s Snare skill. +29 Strength, +23 Vitality, +23 Luck
Grip of Healing Harmony Obtained after closing the Hel Tear at Sindri’s House during the Reunion main quest. When the Permafrost skill gauge is fully charged, Axe hits restore Health, but incoming damage is increased. +29 Strength, +34 Defence
Banahogg Knob Looted from a Legendary Chest in The Applecore, Svartalfheim. Successful precision throws increase Bare-Handed attack damage for a duration. +29 Strength, +34 Vitality
Runic Hailstone Knob Unlocked after throwing Crystalline Shards into the Wishing Well in Vanaheim. Moderate Luck chance on hitting a Frosted enemy to gain a Blessing of Runic. +23 Strength, +23 Runic, +29 Luck
Grip of the Nine Realms Obtained after defeating the Hjalti the Stolid Berserker Gravestone boss in The Forbidden Sands of Alfheim. Activating Glacial Permafrost (DualSense-L1 + DualSense-ButtonTriangle while Permafrost is full) triggers a Realm Shift. +26 Runic, +26 Cooldown, +26 Luck
Grip of Radiant Reflection Craftable at the Blacksmith Shop after completing the Unlocking the Mask main quest. Successful Axe Ranged Attacks now generate charge of the Permafrost skill, with successful precision throws generating even more. +40 Strength, +17 Runic, +17 Cooldown
Stonecutter’s Knob Craftable at the Blacksmith Shop after completing The Reckoning main quest. Adds a concussive wave to the end of the Axe DualSense-R1 combo. +46 Strength, +23 Defence

You will notice that a number of these axe attachments rely on various degrees of Luck chance for their Perk to be triggered, such as The Furious Maul, Haur’s Lucky Knob, Grip of the Fallen Alchemist, and Runic Hailstone Knob. Each of these can be useful if you want to incorporate them into a build which primarily utilizes Strength, Stun, Health regeneration, or Runic damage respectively, but because they’re based on Luck chance to trigger, they’re not the most consistent. The Wooden Knob has no Perk at all, but it provides a more balanced offering in terms of improving your base stats. If you’re focusing on more of a tank build, the Fortified Frost Knob or Grip of Healing Harmony could be good options, although the latter sacrifices increasing incoming damage for Health Bursts.

The other axe attachments here can be powerful when paired with the right gear for a specific build. The Grip of Weighted Recovery, for example, provides a fairly reliable way to reduce Cooldowns on your Runic Attacks, activating each time you Stun Grab (DualSense-R3) an enemy. Banahogg Knob is more specific in that it benefits Bare-Handed attacks, but only after performing a successful precision throw with the axe. The Grip of the Nine Realms is ideal for those who want a Realm Shift Build, while the Grip of Radiant Reflection provides a useful way to generate additional Permafrost if you enjoy using ranged attacks with the axe. Finally, the Stonecutter’s Knob has a more basic application which can benefit any combat situation, so long as you consistently perform the DualSense-R1 axe combo, at the end of which you’ll now finish with a concussive wave which staggers and inflicts stun damage.

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Guide Information
  • Publisher
    Sony Interactive Entertainment
  • Platforms,
    PS4, PS5
  • Genre
    Action Adventure, Fighting, Hack-n-slash
  • Guide Release
    5 November 2022
  • Last Updated
    9 January 2023
    Version History
  • Guide Author

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God of War Ragnarök is an action-adventure game developed by Santa Monica Studio released on November 9th, 2022. Follow Kratos, and his teenage son Atreus as they journey through the Nine Realms to prevent Ragnarök from occurring. As you progress through the story, you’ll uncover many secrets left by the Giants regarding the impending doom that awaits them.

This guide offers information on all the essential aspects of the game, including:

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