Horizon Forbidden West player discovers how to insta-kill virtually every enemy

Aloy from Horizon Forbidden West holding a bow
(Image credit: Guerrilla Games)

A Horizon Forbidden West player has discovered how to insta-kill virtually any enemy in the game using a single arrow, by equipping Aloy with a precise arrangement of gear.

Redditor slazenger7 shared the build on the Horizon subreddit, showing how they’re able to inflict a massive amount of damage in a single shot by stacking damage multipliers and equipping a specific array of items. 

They describe it as a “tactical nuke in the form of an arrow”, and they’re not half wrong. When fired against a poor human rebel, it delivered a whopping 39,518 damage in a single hit – that’s more than enough to take down nearly any enemy in Horizon Forbidden West.

To reach that level of damage, you’ll need to get your hands on a level 5, legendary tier Forgefall sharpshot bow equipped with five upgrade Coils: two add 25% long-range damage, another two add 25% stealth damage, while a final one adds 25% high-ground damage. 

On top of that, use the Ranged Master Volar Surge, the Focused Shot Weapon Technique, and the Mounted Archer buff of the Tenakth Tactician outfit to further increase the damage of your arrows. Slazenger7 says they’ve also unlocked and applied every skill in the game.

forbidden_west_the_ultimate_high_damage_arrow_for from r/horizon

Situational damage

You’ll need to land a headshot on a human enemy to get the maximum damage multiplier possible, but the build is still effective against machines. Slazenger7 says it can be used to one-shot kill an Apex Ravager and deliver 5,900 damage against a Thunderjaw – just 100 damage shy of its maximum health.

However, also beholden to landing a natural critical hit, which is more a case of luck than character optimization. They’d previously tried using the Critical Boost Valor Surge to guarantee a critical hit on each shot, but switched to Ranged Master for a bigger boost to their total damage ceiling.

Don’t bother trying to alter the game’s difficulty for an even more powerful hit. Not only was Slazenger7 playing on Very Hard, but they estimate difficulty has no bearing on the amount of damage taken by enemies.

They reckon this is the most powerful build in Horizon Forbidden West, letting Aloy deliver the highest damage possible in the current version of the game. We can’t confirm that, but it could very well be true. The damage delivered here is wildly high.

The damage cap might increase in future updates, though. Horizon Forbidden West’s latest build, 1.12, reduced the damage boost provided by the Stealth Stalker Valor Surge. If the nerf is reverted, it could provide an even bigger damage buff than Ranged Master.

Similarly, future expansions and a New Game+ game mode, which hasn’t been announced but is eagerly anticipated by the community, could add plenty more Valor Surges that extend Aloy’s damage cap beyond the 40,000 mark.

Callum Bains
Gaming News Writer

Callum is TechRadar Gaming’s News Writer. You’ll find him whipping up stories about all the latest happenings in the gaming world, as well as penning the odd feature and review. Before coming to TechRadar, he wrote freelance for various sites, including Clash, The Telegraph, and Gamesindustry.biz, and worked as a Staff Writer at Wargamer. Strategy games and RPGs are his bread and butter, but he’ll eat anything that spins a captivating narrative. He also loves tabletop games, and will happily chew your ear off about TTRPGs and board games.