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How to Kill or Override a Thunderjaw in "Horizon Zero Dawn"

Kain writes video game articles that include tips, tricks, and tutorials. He is especially enthusiastic about the "Call of Duty" series.

Learn how to kill or override the Thunderjaw in "HZD."

Learn how to kill or override the Thunderjaw in "HZD."

Horizon Zero Dawn features dozens of dangerous machines that attack Aloy. One of the most monumental and intimidating machines is the Thunderjaw. The Thunderjaw is reminiscent of the T-Rex dinosaur.

Thunderjaws will roam some of the large areas of the map. Your map will indicate the general area of where they are located. Aloy is quite weak when she is at a lower level because she has less health and skills. It might be best to avoid Thunderjaws when you're at a lower level, but ultimately, that's your choice. A Thunderjaw can be destroyed, even if Aloy is at a lower level. It's just a lot more challenging.

How to Kill a Thunderjaw

Use the Disc Launchers

One of the best and fastest ways to destroy a Thunderjaw is to use its own weapons against it. The Thunderjaw has a couple of Disc Launchers that it uses as weapons. Aloy can shoot these off by shooting them. The best way to shoot them off is by using the "Tearblast" arrows. The Tearblast arrows are amazing because they can knock off the disc launchers easily!

After the Disc Launchers get knocked off, Aloy can pick them up and shoot the Thunderjaw. Pick up the disc launchers as soon as possible. They have limited ammo, so make sure not to miss. Try and aim for the weak areas of the Thunderjaw; like the canisters under its belly.

A Tallneck in "HZD."

A Tallneck in "HZD."

Using the Tripcaster

Another great way to destroy a Thunderjaw is to plant traps using the Tripcaster. The Thunderjaw will often charge straight at Aloy. Make sure to roll out of the way when that happens. It's best to try and keep your distance from the Thunderjaw as much as possible. When you have a moment, set a trap with the Tripcaster. You can use the electrical trap or explosive trap. Stand behind the Tripcaster and wait till the Thunderjaw charges at the explosive trap. Note that you can plant multiple traps at once to maximize damage and increase the chance that the Thunderjaw will step in the traps.

The Shadow Tripcaster is the best. If you want to deal a lot of damage, buy that one. The Shadow Tripcaster can be purchased after you reach Daytower. It requires a scrapper heart and 800 shards (the currency in the game).

The War Bow is the best bow to defeat the Thunderjaw with.

The War Bow is the best bow to defeat the Thunderjaw with.

Fire Arrows and Triple Shot

A great way to deal cumulative damage to the Thunderjaw is to use Fire Arrows. Use Aloy's triple shot skill if you have it unlocked. The triple shot skill allows Aloy to fire up to three arrows at once to deal more damage! Keep shooting a ton of fire arrows at the Thunderjaw while keeping your distance and rolling out of the way to avoid damage.

The War Bow is one of the best weapons to use because it has better stats. You can buy it in the city of Meridian for 800 shards and 1 trampler heart. You can also get the Lodge War Bow, but it can only obtained after completing the hunting ground trials. It does slightly more elemental damage per shot.

Modifications can be applied to the bows in the game. Equip fire mods to the War Bow to deal even more damage to the Thunderjaws!

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Armor, Health, and Striders


Because the Thunderjaws are tough machines, equipping Aloy with better armor increases the chance you'll survive. The best armor in the game is the ancient armor. Unfortunately, you cannot get it until near the end of the main quest after collecting all the power cells. It's a good idea to save up shards to buy the best armor possible for Aloy, though. It makes fighting the Thunderjaws a bit easier.

Health Potions and Healing

Before fighting a Thunderjaw, make sure Aloy has a decent supply of health potions. You can buy them at merchant shops or make them yourself by hunting animals and taking their items.

Aloy can also find healing herbs that are scattered throughout the lands in Horizon Zero Dawn. Healing herbs do not give an instant amount of health, but instead, heal damage over time. They are still useful, though. Upgrade the medicine pouch so Aloy can carry more healing herbs.

Override a Strider

Aloy can shoot arrows while riding on the back of an overridden Strider. Use a Strider while fighting a Thunderjaw so you can move faster and keep your distance while firing arrows. The Call Mount+ skill allows Aloy to call on an overridden strider at any time.

You must override other machines before you can unlock the Thunderjaw.

You must override other machines before you can unlock the Thunderjaw.

How to Override a Thunderjaw

It's actually possible to override a Thunderjaw and get it to fight other enemies for you. In order to override a Thunderjaw, you must visit the cauldrons in the game. Horizon Zero Dawn has four cauldrons on the map. They are basically underground dungeons with advanced technology inside. They will be marked as a blue triangle on your map once you're in their vicinity. After completing cauldron ZETA, which is north of cut-cliffs, Aloy gains the ability to override a Thunderjaw, Stormbird, and Rockbreaker.

Don't Let It Spot You!

Once Aloy gains the skill to override a Thunderjaw, she can use the spear to make it an ally. You must carefully sneak up to a Thunderjaw without it seeing you. Otherwise, you will not be able to use Aloy's spear to initiate an override. Hide underneath the bushes to be stealthy. Wait for the Thunderjaw to come close and use the spear on its leg. Whistle to draw the Thunderjaw near you. But don't let it spot you!

Be Aware of the Time Limit

The Thunderjaw can be a great ally! It can help Aloy fight other machines. You can even use the Thunderjaw to fight another Thunderjaw.

Note that machines will only be an ally for a limited time. However, if you have the combat override skill fully upgraded, machines will be overridden indefinitely.


Albert on August 02, 2020:

I would add a strategy I've not seen posted elsewhere. If you use a ropecaster with high tear damage (adding mods to it will allow this) and then cast lines right onto the disc launchers, when the ropes snap, the launchers will usually come right off. Which you can accomplish once the thunderjaw is incapacitated. Once it's tied down, hit it with ice arrows or the ice lance to freeze it, and then smack it down with tearblaster arrows along its head and sides. This will knock out its armor and guns, making it easier to subdue. Once you do that, freeze it again, and then aim for the large open hole on either side (which is why you blast off its armor with tearblaster arrows). With it frozen, the amplified fragile damage to its heart, where the hole is, will take it down, usually in a three-shot precision arrow.

Just a suggestion.

Poppy from Enoshima, Japan on January 04, 2019:

Great article! I liked this game a lot.

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