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Horizon Forbidden West guide: Best skills

Unlock new fighting, surviving, and trapping skills

Aloy and another character from Horizon Forbidden West stand in the snow Image: Guerrilla Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

Horizon Forbidden West’s best skills continue the series’ tradition of giving its main character Aloy a set of moves and abilities to learn. As you progress through the game, you’ll earn skill points you use to unlock Active Skills, Passive Boosts, Weapon Techniques, and Valor Surges. These talents fall under six categories: Warrior, Trapper, Hunter, Survivor, Infiltrator, and Machine Master.

In this Horizon Forbidden West skills guide, we’ll explain all the various abilities you can unlock throughout the game and give our recommendations on the best skills.


Table of contents


Horizon Forbidden West best skills

This might sound like a cop-out, but that doesn’t make it any less true: The best skills in Horizon Forbidden West are those that help you play the way you want to play. If you don’t care about stealth, then there’s no sense in pouring points into the Infiltrator skill tree, you know?

That said, we still have opinions. Here are our favorite Horizon Forbidden West skills:

  • Concentration+, Deep Concentration, and Concentration Regen. The first three skills in the Hunter skill tree are all devoted to Concentration, which allows you to slow time while you’re aiming your ranged weapon. Concentration is, in our opinion, the most useful skill in all of Horizon Forbidden West.
  • Potent Medicine and Medicine Capacity. The first and third(ish) skills in the Survivor skill tree improve the effectiveness and amount of the medicinal berries you’ll use to heal. And you’ll use healing a lot.
  • Part Breaker. Part Breaker is a Valor Surge Skill, which means you’ll need to buy the five skills around it to unlock it. Being a Valor Surge skill means you’ll need to build up your Valor through melee and ranged attacks. Once your Valor is charged, hold down L1 and then hit R1 to activate it. We like this Valor Surge because it increases your tear damage and damage against machine components — and that will help you collect the most useful resources for upgrading your weapons and outfits.

Horizon Forbidden West Warrior skill tree

The Horizon Forbidden West Warrior skill three covers 31 sets of skills and techniques that increase Aloy’s basic combat abilities. Grab abilities from the Warrior skill tree to turn yourself into a stronger fighter.

Horizon Forbidden West Warrior skill tree

Name Type Description
Name Type Description
Aerial Slash/Jump-off Active skill Jump off an enemy to quickly reposition yourself or create distance.
Block Breaker Active skill A combo that immediately breaks an enemy's weapon guard.
Energy Surge Active skill Energize your spear quickly with a powerful final strike.
Halfmoon Slash Active skill Close in on an enemy with a quick strike.
Nora Warrior Active skill A powerful melee combo for knocking down small enemies and staggering larger ones.
Resonator Blast Active skill Strike your enemy with your spear to build up energy. Then tap R2 to energize your target before shooting them with your bow for increased damage.
Spinning Scythe Active skill Build up to a powerful spin that strikes all enemies around you.
The Destroyer Active skill A flurry of atacks that deals massive damage.
Critical Strike+ 1 Passive Boost Critical Strike deals more damage.
Critical Strike+ 2 Passive Boost Critical Strike deals more damage.
Energized Duration 1 Passive Boost Targets remained energized longer.
Energized Duration 2 Passive Boost Targets remained energized longer.
Melee Damage 1 Passive Boost Deal more damage with Light and Heavy Attacks.
Melee Damage 2 Passive Boost Deal more damage with Light and Heavy Attacks.
Power Attack+ Passive Boost Power Attacks deal more damage.
Resonator Blast+ 1 Passive Boost Deal more damage with Resonator Blasts.
Resonator Blast+ 2 Passive Boost Deal more damage with Resonator Blasts.
Resonator Buildup 1 Passive Boost Energize your spear faster.
Resonator Buildup 2 Passive Boost Energize your spear faster.
Resonator Damage 1 Passive Boost Deal more damage when energizing a target.
Resonator Damage 2 Passive Boost Deal more damage when energizing a target.
Critical Boost Valor Surge Gain a greater change at Critical Hits and Critical Damage (requires Resonator Blast Energized Duration, and Critical Strike+).
Melee Might Valor Surge Attach a power module to your spear to deal more damage with melee attacks for a short time (requires Halfmoon Slash, Spinning Scythe, and The Destroyer).
Burst Fire Weapon Technique Fire 3 arrows in a quick burst.
Melee Detonator Weapon Technique Fire a special arrow that detonates upon a melee strike (requires Aerial Slash/Jump-off and Halfmoon Slash).
Spread Shot Weapon Technique Fire 5 rrows in a horizaontal spread.

Horizon Forbidden West Trapper skill tree

The Horizon Forbidden West Trapper skill three contains 20 abilities that help Aloy make better use of her trap-based weapons. Unlocking talents in this skill tree lets you take more control over the battlefield.

Horizon Forbidden West Trapper skill tree

Name Type Description
Name Type Description
Food Duration Passive Boost Skill boosts and other effects from food last longer.
Food Duration 2 Passive Boost Skill boosts and other effects from food last longer.
Nimble Crafter Passive Boost Craft tools, traps, and potions faster.
Nimble Crafter 2 Passive Boost Craft tools, traps, and potions faster.
Quick Trapper Passive Boost Place traps faster.
Quick Trapper 2 Passive Boost Place traps faster.
Resilient Trappe 2 Passive Boost Take less damage when triggering your own traps.
Resilient Trapper Passive Boost Take less damage when triggering your own traps.
Skilled Salvager Passive Boost Recover more and higher quality resources when deconstructing traps.
Skilled Salvager 2 Passive Boost Recover more and higher quality resources when deconstructing traps.
Trap Limit Passive Boost Place more traps and tripwires.
Trap Limit 2 Passive Boost Place more traps and tripwires.
Elemental Fury Valor Surge Increase the buildup and effects of elemental attacks and gain a greater elemental resistance (Requires Quick Trapper, Trap Limit, and Resilient Trapper).
Trap Specialist Valor Surge Increase the effects of traps and tripwires (Requires Nimble Crafter 2, Food Duration 2, and Skilled Scavenger 2).
Penetrating Rope Weapon Technique Fire a rope that can attach to any part of an enemy, including armor, without needing to fully draw the weapon.
Quick Wire Weapon Technique Quickly launch a Tripwire of your currently selected type at a preset length.

Horizon Forbidden West Hunter skill tree

The Horizon Forbidden West Hunter skill tree contains 29 talents that increase Aloy’s abilities with her long-range weaponry. If you prefer to engage enemies from afar, then grab abilities from this skill tree.

Horizon Forbidden West Hunter skill tree

Name Type Description
Name Type Description
Workbench Expert Active Skill Craft ammunition at the Workbench using less resources than in the wilds.
Ammo Expert 1 Passive Boost Craft more ammunition from the same amount of resources.
Ammo Expert 2 Passive Boost Craft more ammunition from the same amount of resources.
Concentration Regen 1 Passive Boost Recover Concentration faster.
Concentration Regen 2 Passive Boost Recover Concentration faster.
Concentration+ 1 Passive Boost Increase your Concentration limit.
Concentration+ 2 Passive Boost Increase your Concentration limit.
Deep Concentration 1 Passive Boost Concentration depletes more slowly.
Deep Concentration 2 Passive Boost Concentration depletes more slowly.
Heavy Weapon+ 1 Passive Boost Deal more damage while using a heavy weapon.
Heavy Weapon+ 2 Passive Boost Deal more damage while using a heavy weapon.
Stamina Regen Passive Boost Recover Weapon Stamina faster.
Stamina Regen Passive Boost Recover Weapon Stamina faster.
Valor Surge Master 1 Passive Boost Build up your valor faster.
Valor Surge Master 2 Passive Boost Build up your valor faster.
Weapon Stamina+ 1 Passive Boost Increase your Weapon Stamina limit.
Weapon Stamina+ 2 Passive Boost Increase your Weapon Stamina limit.
Powershots Valor Surge Deal more damage for a certain number of shots with Bows, Boltblasters, Ropecasters, and Spike Throwers (Requires Ammo Expert, Concentration Regen 2, and Stamina Regen).
Ranged Master Valor Surge Deal more damage with ranged weapons for a limited time (Requires Concentration+, Valor Surge Master, and Weapon Stamina+).
High Volley Weapon Technique Fire a high-arching valley of arrows down on your enemies.
Knockdown Shot Weapon Technique Fire a special arrow that does no damage but can stagger or knock down enemies.
Spread Blast Weapon Technique Fire 8 bolts of your currently selected Bolblaster in a wide, short-ranged spread.
Sustaine3d Burst Weapon Technique Unleash an entire clips of bolts with immobile.
Triple Notch Weapon Technique Load up to 3 arrows of your currently select arrow and release all simultaneously.
Ultra Shot Weapon Technique Fire a burst of special explosion bolts that can hit targets at long range.

Horizon Forbidden West Survivor skill tree

The Horizon Forbidden West Survivor skill tree contains techniques that allow Aloy to last longer in battle. Get abilities in this skill tree to transform damage into a means to grow stronger.

Horizon Forbidden West Survivor skill tree

Name Type Description
Name Type Description
Plant Forager Active Skill Gather more resources from plants.
Low Health Defense 1 Passive Boost Resist more damage when below 25% health.
Low Health Defense 2 Passive Boost Resist more damage when below 25% health.
Low Health Melee 1 Passive Boost Melee attacks deal more damage when you are dangerously wounded.
Low Health Melee 2 Passive Boost Melee attacks deal more damage when you are dangerously wounded.
Low Health Ranged 1 Passive Boost Ranged attacks deal more damage when you are dangerously wounded.
Low Health Ranged 2 Passive Boost Ranged attacks deal more damage when you are dangerously wounded.
Low Health Regen 1 Passive Boost Automatically recover health sooner when below 25% health.
Low Health Regen 2 Passive Boost Automatically recover health sooner when below 25% health.
Medicine Capacity 1 Passive Boost Carry more Medicinal Berries in your Medicine Pouch.
Medicine Capacity 2 Passive Boost Carry more Medicinal Berries in your Medicine Pouch.
Potent Medicine 1 Passive Boost Medicinal Berries provide more healing and heal you faster.
Potent Medicine 2 Passive Boost Medicinal Berries provide more healing and heal you faster.
Potion Proficiency 1 Passive Boost Health Potions provide more healting and all potions are faster to consume.
Potion Proficiency 2 Passive Boost Health Potions provide more healting and all potions are faster to consume.
Valor on Impact Passive Boost Gain valor when hit by enemies.
Overshield Valor Surge Activate a special armguard to gain a rechargeable, damage-absorbing energy shield (Requires Low Health Regen 2, Low Health Ranged 1, and Low Health Melee 1) .
Toughened Valor Surge Consume a special potion to restore health adn gain resistance to status effects (Requires Potent Medicine, Potion Proficiency, Medicine Capacity).
Bouncing Bomb Weapon Technique Fire an explosive bomb that becomes more powerful with each bounce.
Burst Dodge Weapon Technique Lob a burst of bombs in front of you while automatically dodging backward.
Power Shredder Weapon Technique Launch a special shredder that deals extra damage.
Shredder Mine Weapon Technique Launch a shredder that ricochets off its point of contact before hovering in place.
Sticky Bomb Weapon Technique Fire a bomb from your Blastling that sticks to its target and explodes after a delay.
Triple Shredder Weapon Technique Launch 3 shredders from your Shredder Gauntlet.

Horizon Forbidden West Infiltrator skill tree

The Horizon Forbidden West Infiltrator skill tree contains 27 abilities that make Aloy a silent threat to her enemies. Stealthy players will want to make use of this skill tree to take out enemies before they even see you.

Horizon Forbidden West Infiltrator skill tree

Name Type Description
Name Type Description
Low Profile 1 Passive Boost Reduce your visibility to enemies.
Low Profile 2 Passive Boost Reduce your visibility to enemies.
Quiet Movement 1 Passive Boost Move more quietly.
Quiet Movement 2 Passive Boost Move more quietly.
Quiet Spear 1 Passive Boost Melee attacks are quieter.
Quiet Spear 2 Passive Boost Melee attacks are quieter.
Silent Strike Gain 1 Passive Boost Recover Weapon Stamina and earn additional valor when using Silent Strike.
Silent Strike Gain 2 Passive Boost Recover Weapon Stamina and earn additional valor when using Silent Strike.
Silent Strike Heal 1 Passive Boost Recover health when using Silent Strike.
Silent Strike Heal 2 Passive Boost Recover health when using Silent Strike.
Silent Strike+ 1 Passive Boost Silent Strike deals more damage.
Silent Strike+ 2 Passive Boost Silent Strike deals more damage.
Smoke Bomb Capacity 1 Passive Boost Carry more Smoke Bombs.
Smoke Bomb Capacity 2 Passive Boost Carry more Smoke Bombs.
Stealth Ranged+ 1 Passive Boost Deal more ranged impact damage while in stealth.
Stealth Ranged+ 2 Passive Boost Deal more ranged impact damage while in stealth.
Stealth Tear+ 1 Passive Boost Deal more Tear damage while in stealth.
Stealth Tear+ 2 Passive Boost Deal more Tear damage while in stealth.
Radial Blast Valor Surge Attach an overcharged module to your spear and trigger a shockwave. (Requires Quiet Spear 2, Smoke Bomb Capacity 2, and Quiet Movement 2).
Stealth Stalker Valor Surge Activate a cloaking device to decrease visibility to enemies (Requires Silent Strike+ 1, Quiet Movement 1, and Low Profile 1).
Braced Shot Weapon Technique Fire a powerful shot from a kneeling position that explodes on impact.
Double Notch Weapon Technique Load a second arrow into your bow to release two shots.
Focused Shot Weapon Technique Increase your bow's zoom while aiming and fire a more powerful shot.

Horizon Forbidden West Machine Master skill tree

The Horizon Forbidden West Machine Master skill tree contains 26 abilities that let Aloy have more command over machines. Turn the tables on your mechanized enemies by grabbing talents from this skill tree.

Horizon Forbidden West Machine Master skill tree

Name Type Description
Name Type Description
Override Subroutines Active Skill Set a machine to either aggressive or defensive behavior when overriding.
Efficient Repair 1 Passive Boost Repair damaged overridden machines for less Metal Shards.
Efficient Repair 2 Passive Boost Repair damaged overridden machines for less Metal Shards.
Heavy Lifter 1 Passive Boost Move faster when using a heavy weapon.
Heavy Lifter 2 Passive Boost Move faster when using a heavy weapon.
Lasting Override 1 Passive Boost Increase the amount of time a machine remains overridden.
Lasting Override 2 Passive Boost Increase the amount of time a machine remains overridden.
Machine Damage 1 Passive Boost Overridden machines deal more damage.
Machine Damage 2 Passive Boost Overridden machines deal more damage.
Machine Elemental+ 1 Passive Boost Overridden machines deal more damage with elemental attacks.
Machine Elemental+ 2 Passive Boost Overridden machines deal more damage with elemental attacks.
Machine Health 1 Passive Boost Overridden machines have more health.
Machine Health 2 Passive Boost Overridden machines have more health.
Mounted Archer 1 Passive Boost Deal more damage while on a mount.
Mounted Archer 2 Passive Boost Deal more damage while on a mount.
Mounted Defense 1 Passive Boost Take less damage while mounted.
Mounted Defense 2 Passive Boost Take less damage while mounted.
Chain Burst Valor Surge Deal chained damage from one enemy to another within 15m (Requires Mounted Defense 2, Mounted Archer 1, and Efficient Repair 2.)
Part Breaker Valor Surge Deal more damage to machine components and weak spots (Requires Mounted Defense 1, Machine Health 1, and Heavy Lifter 1).
Propelled Spike Weapon Technique Launch a powerful long-range spike that explodes on impact or near a target.
Spike Trap Weapon Technique Launch a spike that becomes a trap on impact.
Splitting Spike Weapon Technique Launch a spike that splits into multiple projectiles.

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