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Pinpointing the best weapon in Horizon Zero Dawn is pretty tricky. After all, each machine and combat scenario can be tackled in a multitude of ways, and every player will have their own weapon preferences. As a result, there are actually several best weapons in Horizon Zero Dawn. We’ve listed them all here, how much they’ll cost, and what they’re particularly effective at doing, in the hope you’ll be able to save your Metal Shards for the ones that make the most sense to you.
Slings are a great way to deal significant elemental damage to an area, rather than a specific enemy. This can be particularly useful for thinning out a large group of machines, or for giving yourself a bit of breathing room.
The Shadow Sling uses Freeze, Fire, and Shock bombs, meaning you’ll have a majority of the machines’ weaknesses covered with one powerful weapon. To get the Shadow Sling, speak to a merchant in the world and towards the bottom of the weapons tab, you’ll find this for 650 Metal Shards and one Crystal Braiding.
The Shadow Ropecaster is the best weapon in Horizon Zero Dawn for immobilizing machines and keeping them in one place. For those unfamiliar with the Ropecasters in Horizon Zero Dawn, these fire off large ropes which attach to the machine and pin it in one place.
The Shadow Ropecaster deals 150 points of Tear damage, which isn’t too shabby considering you’ll likely be able to deal a critical hit or hit the machine’s weak points hard while they’re immobilized, too.
It’s also worth noting that the Shadow Ropecaster is the best weapon for immobilizing machines in Horizon Zero Dawn because its ropes are stronger. This means that machines will be immobilized with fewer ropes, and will struggle to break free from them for longer.
This weapon will set you back 500 Metal Shards and one Snapmaw Heart from any merchant.
The Shadow Hunter Bow is going to be the best weapon you can get your hands on if you like to get relatively close to the machines when dealing out damage.
This bow is lightweight and trades power for faster reload and firing times. What’s more, the Shadow variant of the hunter bow means that you’ll be dealing the maximum possible damage with this style of bow.
To top it off, you’ll be able to fire Hardpoint, Fire, and Hunter arrows with the Shadow Hunter Bow. Perfect for exploiting flammable targets or those weak to tear damage in Horizon Zero Dawn.
This weapon will cost you 650 Metal Shards, and one Watcher Heart from any merchant in the game.
The Shadow Tripcaster may not be a weapon to use for all occasions in Horizon Zero Dawn, but it most certainly comes in handy if you want to stay undetected while dealing damage.
Tripcasters create traps that detonate when the tripwire connecting the anchor points is broken. Therefore, all you need to do is find out where the machines are walking (either through observation or by checking their patrol paths) and lay one of these down while their back is turned. Plant a few of these and hide in some distant foliage as your enemies fall.
What’s more, the Shadow Tripcaster is capable of using Fire traps, as well as the Shock and Explosive traps used by the Carja Tripcaster. This is now a perfect tool for taking down Snapmaw, Sawtooth, and just about anything else vulnerable to a bit of fire that you might not want to get too close to.
The Shadow Tripcaster costs 750 Metal Shards and one Scrapper Heart.
The Shadow War Bow is what you’ll want to use if you need to deliver some serious elemental damage. With the ability to deal elemental Shock, Freeze, or Corruption damage to a specific part of a machine’s body, the War Bow is perfect for causing those giant elemental explosions that you can trigger by hitting the right places on a machine.
Unfortunately, it’s worth noting that the Shadow War Bow isn’t the best weapon in Horizon Zero Dawn if you’re looking to deal out high damage. This is best used to weaken or immobilize your enemy before switching to another weapon to deal out significant damage.
The Shadow War Bow costs 800 Metal Shards and one Trampler Heart
The Shadow Sharpshot is our personal pick for the best weapon in the game overall, as well as being an excellent long-range tool of destruction.
While the Shadow Sharpshot is slow-firing, it’s a highly accurate bow best suited to those who like to take their enemies down silently and from a distance. Due to the fact that the Shadow Sharpshot is slow to draw and fire, trying to use this as a close-range weapon just isn’t going to work.
The Shadow Sharpshot uses Tearblast, Harvest, and Hardpoint arrows. Tearblast and Harvest arrows are perfect for removing components from machines, while using Hardpoint arrows with the Shadow Sharpshot can deal huge damage. Notch up three arrows if you’ve got the Triple Shot skill, and this weapon is capable of dealing a smooth 500+ damage.
You’ll have to pay 800 Metal Shards, and Sawtooth Heart to get your hands on this in Horizon Zero Dawn.
If you’re a fan of getting up close and personal with the machines in Horizon Zero Dawn, then the Shadow Rattler is going to be right up your alley. This thing essentially works like a primitive shotgun. It fires multiple bolts with each shot, and is best used when you need to deal damage without the need for accuracy (when you’re about to get crushed by a Thunderjaw, for example).
Even better, for those machines with big elemental weaknesses, the Shadow Rattler can use Shock and Freeze rounds, too. Perfect for triggering elemental explosions when the weak point is right in your face.
Just like all of the other weapons in Horizon Zero Dawn, this can be picked up from a merchant and will set you back 950 Metal Shards, one Boar Skin, one Rabbit Skin, and one Fox Skin.
Sometimes, elemental damage and arrows just can’t quite cut it. Sometimes, a machine will laugh at your poxy tripwires. Sometimes, you have to bombard them with explosives until they drop to the floor. That’s where the Shadow Blast Sling comes in handy.
The Shadow Blast Sling is the best weapon in Horizon Zero Dawn for dealing high, explosive damage. It may be slow to aim, but its ammo has a variety of trigger mechanisms that are best used for dealing high impact and area damage.
Proximity bombs allow you to tactically place these explosives around the field to deal out area damage. Though, the damage dealt is never particularly high. Blast bombs explode upon impact and deal a moderate amount of damage, and Sticky bombs stick to any surface and trigger after five seconds, dealing high, explosive damage.
The Shadow Blast Sling can, therefore, be used in a number of combat scenarios, so it’s well worth the cash. It does cost 1400 Metal Shards, and a Lancehorn Heart, though, so it’s by no means the cheapest weapon in Horizon Zero Dawn.
That’s all you need to know about the best weapon in Horizon Zero Dawn. Be sure to check out our wiki for plenty more tips, tricks, and guides.
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