The second season of The Witcher has finally landed on Netflix, two whole years after the series premiere. Suffice to say, there have been droves of fans flooding the fandom with excitement over the new characters, locations, and countless other easter eggs we may get to see as the series progresses.
While strong opinions have been voiced surrounding the quality and direction of Netflix's adaptation on both ends of the spectrum, The Witcher season 2 certainly did one thing right, and that was implementing far more witcher tactics into the show than the first time around. In season one, Geralt sticks predominantly to sword work, peppering in a few handy signs here and there. But, as season 2 largely took place at the witcher keep of Kaer Morhen and introduced us to Geralt's witcher brethren, it was only natural that we should get a better look into the unique methods of these mutated monster hunters.
10 Witcher Medallions
The medallions witchers wear aren't a tactic in themselves, but the magic that resides in them is a nifty witcher trick for detecting magical traces. Medallions are more than just insignias tying witchers to a certain brotherhood, such as the school of the wolf. Their magical detection prevents witchers from being caught unawares by all sorts of magical beings or enchanted traps.
'These properties aren't overtly depicted in the show, but you will notice Geralt and the other witchers fiddle with them from time, usually right before a sudden magical encounter.
9 Witcher Potions
When we first meet Geralt in the show, his system is surging with the toxicity effects from his witcher potions, evident by his increasingly pale complexion, blackened eyes, and coursing veins. This was a precursor to the common implementation of witchers' alchemicals we've seen as the series progresses, though their individual uses aren't abundantly clear. The effects of the brews we've seen Geralt and the other witchers slug back so far seem to be broadly generalized, providing ambiguous enhancements to the witchers' skillsets.
Thanks to the source material of the books, we know Geralt slugs back a potion known as Cat to help him see better in the bleak halls of the abandoned Temerian castle before facing off with the Striga. In general, though, the ambiguous applications throughout the show mean we can really only make educated assumptions about what specific potions we have seen so far, based on our multiple playthroughs of The Witcher 3.
For starters, we know Golden Oriole is an antidote for poisoning, preventing the effects and clearing poison already in the bloodstream. This is likely what Geralt applied both orally and topically in equal proportions to his ghoul bite at the end of season one. Though the color of the liquid would suggest a viler substance such as Black Blood, the effects of such a potion would be a moot point by the time Geralt is fighting for consciousness in the back of Yurga's cart. Before his encounter with the Bruxa, Vareena, would've been a more tactical scenario to consume Black Blood as a preventative measure if the vampire managed to sink her teeth into him.
The other instances we've seen Geralt and the other witchers slug back their various concoctions don't give as many hints to their effects. At times it could be something as simple as Swallow or Tawny Owl to ensure adequate vitality and stamina regeneration. This certainly might've been the case when Vesemir instructed them all to consume as many brews as they could before facing down the basilisks in the season 2 finale. Although, the far more potent Ekhidna and Ekimmara Decoctions would've been a great boon in an ordeal of such magnitude.
Aard is the most common use of the witcher signs we have seen so far in the show. The first time is against Renfri's men in season one episode one during the fan-favorite Blaviken fight scene. The next time Geralt pulls it out is in his battle against the Striga, a memorable moment being when he uses it to break through the flooring, dropping them twenty feet to the level below.
Aard remains one of Geralt's favored signs in season two. He breaks it out against Vareena in episode one and tactfully knocks the Chernobog from the air in episode six, as is a common tactic against winged beasts in The Witcher 3. Later in the same episode, Geralt finds himself unarmed and unexpectedly ambushed by the Michelet brothers at the Temple of Melitele, just the sort of predicament where Aard can prove the most useful.
There haven't been a lot of instances that have called for the mind-muddling effects of Axii just yet. We see Geralt attempt to use it unsuccessfully to influence Renfri before their fan-favorite fight scene ensues.
The only other time we have seen it so far is when Geralt uses it to calm Roach in season two episode one, and this time the sign is directly referenced when Geralt explains its effects to Ciri.
The Yrden or Heliotrope sign, as it's known in the books, hasn't been used too often yet throughout the series either. We see Geralt use it to seal himself in the Striga's crypt, subsequently achieving his task of keeping her out until dawn.
Though Yrden can be used to snare enemies and inflict marginal damage, usually on spectral enemies, Its seal effect is all we've really seen so far. Geralt used the trap again to bind the doorway during the Leshy attack at Kaer Morhen.
We see Quen get thrown around several times throughout season two, against Vareena and again fending off the Myriapod for example. But by far the most memorable usage is during what has come to be known as the 'Monster Mash' at Kaer Morhen in the season two finale.
There's a tense scene where all of the witchers are lined up in the face of sharp stone projectiles thrown at them in a rapid boomerang-like double attack and must protect themselves with two Quen shields in rapid succession.
Geralt's new favorite tactic throughout season two is the use of the fire sign, Igni to imbue his blade with fire. He uses it tactfully against a certain Leshy and the Myriapod in episode three.
We finally see Igni used in its classical form in the season 2 finale when Geralt is facing off against the white Basilisk.
Meditation hasn't been largely present in The Witcher Netflix series just yet, but Geralt has drawn on its benefits a couple of times so far.
We see him use the witchers' meditation technique simply to pass time in his Cintran jail cell during the season one finale. Then, in the season two premiere, we see Geralt use it to clear the toxicity lingering in his bloodstream.
2 The Pendulum
The Pendulum is just one of the torturous training devices young witchers and witchers-to-be practice and hone their skills on. We also get a brief look at Geralt brushing up on his training on a different course.
In episode three we see Lambert heckling Ciri about the breezy training Geralt has stuck her on, and fed up with hacking at straw, Ciri challenges Lambert to show her some real witcher training, and of course, good ol' Lambchop is happy to oblige. This impromptu and significantly intensified training session plays a pivotal role in Ciri's most prominent character arch of the season.
1 The Trial of The Grasses
The mother of all witchers, the Trial of The Grasses is the excruciating process inflicted on young boys to create witchers. In the second season, we see fly-by snapshots of Geralt and Vesemir undergoing the infamous mutations children are subjected to, that only three out of ten survive.
The show further explores what the process involves when Vesemir sees an opportunity to create more of the treacherous decoctions. We even get a look at the hellish instrument they use to administer the lethal injections.
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