1. Spoiler Alert!

Beware! There are spoilers in the form of late game machines you will face contained in this article. If you would prefer to discover each machine naturally then do not read or click next anymore. I will post a couple of screenshots between this paragraph and the spoilers.

Horizon Zero Dawn cinematic 1

Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Machine Combat Guide


Click on the next button above to start the Horizon Zero Dawn complete machine guide!

2. Common Machines: Watchers, Striders, Grazers, and others

Photo Credit: Mel Benyahia

Last Chance to Avoid Spoilers!

Still here? Okay, now I can safely show you all my recommendations for taking each machine down.

Stuff You Should Know

One thing you should be aware of a general rule of thumb, the yellow components on machines almost always represent a weak spot that means guaranteed critical hits.

Another thing you should know before reading this. Stunning enemies is something I refer to frequently. You will know when an enemy is stunned when a white circle appears around the weapon or elemental effect you are attacking with. When damaging enemies weak to fire damage, you will see a circle with a fire emblem filling up with orange, once full, a white circle appears representing a timer for how long the machine will be stunned; this is your opportunity to attack.


First off, we’re starting with Watchers. These Raptor wannabes are easy kills. A well-placed arrow shot to the eye is an excellent way to take down individual Watchers, but when there are packs of them, it isn’t wise to drop one and alert the rest. That gives Watchers in the area the ability to call in the cavalry.


When encountering a pack, use the whistle skill to call one Watcher over at a time. Use the Silent Strike to dispose of them one by one. This takes a bit of patience, especially since the machines take their sweet time walking towards you.

Watchers have very limited attacks. They usually like to lunge at you, but this is easily avoidable and makes them vulnerable if they miss you. They stun themselves after missing a lunge attack and give you the opportunity for a one hit Critical Strike and also use an attack that has similar effects to a Flashbang grenade. This is pretty harmless, and even though you can’t run for a few seconds, you can still dodge attacks. Some Watchers will actually use their ranged attacks too, but it is weak and easy to avoid.

All of these attacks are telegraphed by the Watcher, once you learn the signs for what attacks the Watcher is about to use, it becomes much easier to dispose of them. They almost always expose their eye before an attack giving you an opportunity to get that one hit kill critical shot.

It’s best to take out Watchers first considering how beneficial it is to have them removed from the fight and how easy it is to kill them.


Photo Credit: Mel Benyahia

Striders are basically horses. They travel in herds, are easily startled, and use their strong kicks to attack. You can use the same stealth tactic I suggested with the Watchers. If the herd notices one of its own being attacked, they will flee. You can take them down fairly quickly if you shoot the canister on its back and a couple shots to the eyes while it stares at you like a deer caught in the headlights.

You can also override these guys for transport. They are easy to sneak up on, and if you single one out that’s separated from the herd, it makes it even easier.


Photo Credit: Mel Benyahia

Grazers are similar in behavior to Striders and will occasionally flee, but they can use their horns to attack you and do some serious damage. Grazers have three canisters on their back that can be shot for some quick critical shots. Once they are facing you, you have a moment to pull off a couple of critical hits on their eyes while they stare at you like the Striders do. You can even use the same stealth tactic on these guys by whistling them over one by one.


Photo Credit: Mel Benyahia

Scrappers look intimidating but are seriously easy kills. The whistle technique is the best option for these guys. You can sneak up on them while they are scrapping and one hit kills them with a Silent Strike. You’ll know when they are scrapping when you hear the grinding sound and see sparks flying up.

If you do get spotted by one, just work on their critical areas. Scrappers have many weak spots, and you can kill it quickly. Just make sure to dodge their attacks as they lunge at you. They do have a ranged attack that fires from its back; you can shoot this component off to prevent that from happening.


Photo Credit: Mel Benyahia

Sawtooths are the scariest machine you will face early in the game, especially since one of the beginning missions builds up their danger. They are fast and relentless and can be a handful when dealing with more than one. They are fragile to fire damage and can be put into a fire stun easily. Unfortunately, they are bouncing all over the place when in a fire stun making it hard to land critical strikes. You can also use shock damage to stun them allowing you to get some easy shots in while they lie helpless on the ground.

It’s best to deal as much damage as possible from cover instead of engaging Sawtooths head on. Once they engage you it’s hard to line up shots due to their relentless pursuit. Do your best to stun them because you’re not going to get much accomplished if it keeps coming after you.

Redeye Watchers

Photo Credit: Mel Benyahia

Redeye Watchers are basically the same as standard Watchers but with more shielding around its eye. These guys can be taken down with the same tactics as Watchers. These are the Watchers that are capable of ranged attacks.


Photo Credit: Mel Benyahia

The Broadheads are similar to Striders except they don’t flee. These guys will literally charge you like you’re a Matador. They will kick you if they miss so don’t think you’re in the clear if you dodge their charge attack. They have a canister on their back that provides an easy critical shot, and you can shoot their horns for extra critical hits. If they are still alive, finish them off with some arrows to the eyes.

You can use these machines for transport and sneak up on them is relatively easy, though, not as easy as Striders. Broadheads that are grazing are easier to sneak up on and once again, try to find the one that has separated from the main herd.


Photo Credit: Mel Benyahia

Lancehorns are basically angry Grazers. These guys will fight you, but they are easy to kill. The canisters on the back provide for easy critical shots, but you will have to shoot the shielding covering them off. You can also shoot the horns and the eyes for extra critical shots. Lancehorns do lots of damage but are easy kills. You should be able to take them out before they can do too much damage. They do travel in herds, so be careful not to get overwhelmed. A good way to take the pressure off is to use corruption arrows. Turn one of the Lancehorns on their herd and then finish off the pack while they attack each other.

The corruption arrow is going to be your best friend when overrides aren’t an option anymore, and you have too many big machines after you. If you corrupt one of the robots they become enraged and attack anything near it, including fellow machines. Unlike the override, though, they will attack you if you get too close or provoke it with misplaced shots.


Photo Credit: Mel Benyahia

Longlegs, these screaming Ostrich look-a-likes are annoying. They use these shriek attacks that can be disorienting and they lunge at you with their powerful claws. They can also call in other machines in the area to make the fight even dicier.

Good thing they have a lot of weak spots. They are vulnerable to shock damage so you should stun them with shock arrows from your war bow or whatever weapon you have that provides shock damage. Take out the chest cavities, and you will disable their deafening sonic blast. The jump-jets located where the wings are, provide more critical hit opportunities and once destroyed prevent the Longlegs from lunging at you.

Just like Watchers, it’s good to take Longlegs out first since they can call in other machines.


Photo Credit: Mel Benyahia

Tramplers look like they put up a big fight, but they are easy to take down with a few well-placed shots and some freeze damage. These guys will run circles around you and use an area-of-effect fire attack. Make sure you keep your distance from the Tramplers until you can stun him with freeze damage. Once frozen, any shot on the body counts as a critical, so take that opportunity to fire as many Standard or Hardpoint arrows as possible. You shouldn’t need more than two rounds of this tactic.

Fire and Freeze Bellowbacks

Photo Credit: Mel Benyahia
Photo Credit: Mel Benyahia

Fire and Freeze Bellowbacks are exactly the same, except for the obvious. These guys have giant critical spots that even a blind person could hit. The giant tank on the back can easily be taken out with a few Hardpoint arrows and will blow up causing elemental damage to everything around it, including you.

They have a second set of critical spots below their chin, blow that up, and you disable their ranged elemental attacks. These guys are big, but they are easy to kill. You can use your elemental potions to take the edge of some of the damage if they are becoming a nuisance.


Photo Credit: Mel Benyahia

Shell-Walkers are giant mechanical crabs with strong defense. Fortunately, they offer several weak spots to capitalize on. The yellow components are usually exposed during different attacks this is your opportunity to strike. When the Shell-Walker has its shield up, fire on the exposed claw. You can shoot the shell off its back. You can also shoot the other claw that brings up the shield whenever it isn’t using it.

These guys are easy to kill but relentless in their pursuit. Shell-Walkers will come after you and can do severe damage with their melee attacks. They usually resort to melee once you’ve disabled some of their ranged attacks. Their ranged attacks use shock damage, so use one of the elemental resistance potions to help.


Photo Credit: Mel Benyahia

Chargers are rams, and their attack is exactly the same as the Broadhead. They can be killed with the exact same tactics as the Broadhead too.

You can use Chargers as transport and you can use the same tactics as the other two mounts, Striders, and Broadheads, to override them.


Photo Credit: Mel Benyahia

Stalkers are sneaky and can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you have more than one to deal with. Stalkers are nearly invisible, the only thing that gives them away is the distorted image of the background behind them. You can tell when one is in the area when you see red glowing orbs on the ground that shoot flares if you get too close. These flares alert the Stalker of your presence, and they have the ability to track you even if you’re hiding in tall grass.

Stalkers are fragile to shock damage. Using a War Bow that has shock damage is the easiest way to hit it. However, if you don’t have a War Bow with shock damage, then use whatever weapon you are most comfortable with that has shock addition. Once the stalker is stunned, run up to the body and deliver a Critical Strike followed by arrow shots to the various components of its body. There is a mounted gun on its back that can be shot off. There is also a scanner and the component that allows him to turn invisible that can be shot off.

Once you have these components off, the Stalker is limited to melee attacks. It will lunge at you and use tail lashes which can be fatal if you’re not watching your health carefully. Stalkers provide a decent challenge but can be taken down quickly if you do it right.

If you allow the Stalker the opportunity to use its full repertoire of attacks, then you’re in for an annoying fight. Stalkers drop mines have a powerful sniper laser and quick melee attacks that are tough to dodge. Two Stalkers in the area with other machines joining the fray can make for an exhilarating battle. Especially since Stalkers love hunting in the dense jungle.


Photo Credit: Mel Benyahia

KILL IT WITH FIRE! That’s basically it for Glinthawks. They are easy to stun with fire damage, and you can run up to their body when they crash land for a quick Critical Strike. Just unload your fire arrows and dodge their frost attacks and you’re in good shape. These guys tend to be annoying, though, with their constant movement and dive-bomb attacks. The aggravation multiplies when you’re dealing with machines on the ground. I general take these guys out after any one hit kills machines in the area.

Glinthawks can really mess up your strategy when fighting other machines, so that’s why I suggest taking them out before any bigger machines. You can also use a Ropecaster to pull Glinthawks down, but aside from one of the Hunting Trials, I wouldn’t recommend this tactic since it takes too long and Glinthawks are tough targets to hit with the Ropecaster.


Photo Credit: Mel Benyahia

Corrupters are not machines based on animals, although it does look like a cross between a spider and a scorpion. These guys are tricky and can do some serious damage. They leap through the air and can slam right on top of you. They have missiles, lasers they can shoot at you and they can throw large boulders at you with their scorpion tails. Not to mention, the tail lash attack it does which really hurts.

Using a Ropecaster is one way to tame this machine. Pin it down to the ground and take out the components on each side of the top of its head. This will cut down on some of the ranged attacks. You can rinse and repeat the Ropecaster tactic, or just stay on the move while taking opportunistic shots. Don’t worry about trying to overheat them, it takes too long. They are susceptible to shock damage, but I feel like the Ropecaster method is the most direct way.

Next, continue to the next page (Rockbreakers, Thunderjaw, Stormbird, Behemoths and Other!)

3. The Baddass Machines: Rockbreakers, Thunderjaw, Stormbird, and More!

Photo Credit: Mel Benyahia


Rockbreakers, these machines are tough at first encounter, but they become manageable once you learn their moves. What makes Rockbreakers tricky is their ability to dive underground – they’re basically mechanical versions of the things in the old movie ‘Tremors’.

The best way to attack these machines is to freeze them and then try to take out the components that allow it to dive underground. This is easier said than done, I usually ended up killing the machine before taking out all of the drilling components on its legs. When it is frozen just unload as many shots as you can on the body if you can take out critical components, go for it. Rinse and repeat this method until it’s dead.


Some of the larger machines provide good drops like very rare mods and items you need to buy very rare armors. So don’t be afraid to engage them in the wild.


Photo Credit: Mel Benyahia

Snapmaws are giant Alligators. Although they are huge and look like a tough fight, Snapmaws are surprisingly easy to kill. They are extremely weak to fire damage and can be put into a fire stun really quickly. Usually, Snapmaws are not alone, in this case, I use corruption to turn one Snapmaw on his buddies, then I burn the other Snapmaws while they’re occupied with the corrupted Snapmaw. This is my go-to method anytime I encounter Snapmaws, and the fights are over quickly.


Photo Credit: Mel Benyahia

Ravagers are another cat-like machine with a mounted weapon on its back and fast melee attacks. Much like Sawtooths, Ravagers are relentless pursuers with ranged attacks. Also, like Sawtooths, Ravagers are weak to fire damage. They are actually pretty harmless once you remove the gun on its back and keep the fire damage going. The damage over time will eventually kill the Ravager if you maintain the fire arrows on him constantly.


Photo Credit: Mel Benyahia

Behemoths are huge animals that resemble Rhinos without the horn. They can lift rocks and fling them at you causing severe damage. But they have large critical spots and canisters you can shoot off its back. You can use the Ropecaster to trip the Behemoths and then use Hardpoint arrows to hit the key spots on its belly.


Photo Credit: Mel Benyahia

Stormbirds are giant machine eagles that take forever to kill. I scrambled for different methods to kill the Stormbird, but each one seemed to be inefficient. I finally figured the best way to kill the Stormbird is a rinse and repeat method of using Corruption arrows followed by the Ropecaster, then Tearblast arrows, and finish with Hardpoint arrows. This may take two or three cycles considering how much life the Stormbirds have.

The corruption seems to stop the Stormbird from attacks long enough to pin it to the ground with the Ropecaster. Once it’s pinned to the ground, one or two Tearblast arrows will expose some of the critical spots. Finally, use the Hardpoint arrows to deal as much critical damage as possible. If the Stormbird is easily accessible, you can use a Critical Strike too.

Corrupted Machines

Photo Credit: Mel Benyahia

Corrupted machines are all similar machines to what you have fought, but all of them are weak to fire. Expect the regular attacks for each machine, but just unload your fire arrows and stay on the move and you will not have any problems with the Corrupted machines. They are a bit more aggressive so don’t go in there thinking it will be a cakewalk.


Photo Credit: Mel Benyahia

Deathbringers are nowhere near as badass as they sound. They are easily overheated with fire arrows exposing all of their critical spots on fire stun. They are immobile for the most part. The only thing it has is strong ranged attacks, but they are rendered useless if you have decent cover. The method to kill them is simple, overheat, shoot the heatsinks, find cover and repeat. You don’t encounter these guys very often so don’t worry too much about them.


Photo Credit: Mel Benyahia

Thunderjaws, my favorite machines to tango with in Horizon Zero Dawn. They are the apex predators of the machine animals and have a broad range of attacks that force you to change your tactics constantly. They will be intimidating at first, but the fights get pretty routine towards the end of the game.

The secret to Thunderjaws is to shoot off the cannons on each of its sides. Once the cannons have been shot off, you can use them against the Thunderjaw and deal a lot of damage. Thunderjaws have two of these weapons, and if you empty both of them out on the Thunderjaw, then they should be dead.

Use your Tearblast arrows or a few on-target Hardpoint arrows will knock off the cannons. Getting to those cannons can be a challenge. Once the cannon is on the ground, try to lure the Thunderjaw away from the cannon. If you try to grab the cannon near the Thunderjaw you can expect a strong tail lash or worse.

This is the fastest way to kill the Thunderjaw, but once you learn all of the Thunderjaws moves, it becomes fun to take them down the hard way, with 100 arrows and constant dodging.


Photo Credit: Mel Benyahia

Before you ask, no, you cannot kill Tallnecks.

These are all of my suggestions for attacking each machine. Tell me your favorite ways to kill machines in the comments. Look for more Horizon Zero Dawn news here on CalmGamers.com.