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How to easily kill the Sawtooth

How to easily kill the Sawtooth

The Sawtooth is the first of the larger robot machines that you must defeat in Horizon Zero Dawn and it certainly takes some beating. In this guide I'll walkthrough the best tactics to defeat this beast and successfully progress the main story mission with Rost. As always this post will contain no story spoilers for later in the game.

Note: If you're past the first few missions and are looking for an effective means to kill the Sawtooth for farming, then check the end of this post for advanced tactics, otherwise for beginners keep reading...

By now you should be about 1-2 hours into the main game and will have learnt how to hunt basic machines such as the Watcher and the Strider. Both of these machines offer little in the way of a fight but are good practice nonetheless. The game guides you through the basics of arrow skill and close combat with the spear. Medicinal plants and healing are also important mechanics which you will use on an often basis,

In the leadup to this first Sawtooth fight you will have been asked to collect materials to craft Fire Arrows and also trade with the merchant for a Tripccaster weapon - perfect for snaring machines in a tripwire style trap. Take note of both of these because there's a good reason the game asks you to go after them before the fight.

Sawtooth fight basics

Aloy with Rost

Let's recap for a second on the leadup to the Sawtooth...

Rost guides you through the open world, late at night this time to a little village which has been ravaged by an unknown foe. The huts are on fire and there is destruction everywhere. Turning a small corner you clearly see the reason for this mess, and from the safety of a small cliff you look down upon the Sawtooth roaming down below.

Take a moment now to view the surrounding area and take note of the small pathways that the Sawtooth roams through. One essential tip here is to make use of the Scanner tool (Focus) to scan the Sawtooth for his weaknesses BUT also remember to tag his route so you know exactly where he's going to step and at what moment.


Sawtooth scanning for weaknesses

Upon scanning the Sawtooth it's clear that he has a weakness to fire, hence the reason the game asked you to craft Fire Arrows previously. You won't have many of these so make them count.

Also take note of the weak spots on this machine, notably the canisters on his back and under his belly. In particular, the canister underneath his belly can take out half of the Sawtooth's health if destroyed - this will be your primary target spot for the start of the fight.


Sawtooth downed

From the safety of above, use the weapon wheel to select the Tripcaster weapon from your inventory. This weapon requires you to fire two separate shots, to form a single trip wire from one point to another. My advice is to place the wire directly in the path of the machine, which you know from previously scanning with the Focus tool.

Lay another similar trap just before the first wire, at jumping distance, so you have two places to lure the machine into.

Now arm your Fire Arrows (using the weapon wheel), drop down to to the ground and position yourself just before the trip wire. Lure the beast into the wire and he'll be temporarily paralyzed.

Now quickly dash round to the side of the beast and target that yellow canister under his belly with a fire arrow. Follow up with secondary shots if desired.

Retreat for a second and lure the Sawtooth into the second trip wire that you laid. He should again be stunned temporarily, allowing you to dash behind and target the canisters on his back this time. Use Fire Arrows until you have non left and then follow up with normal arrows thereafter a some heavy melee attacks before he regains consciousness.

For the final part of the fight, use repeated dodge roll as the Sawtooth charges. Upon completing a charge he stops temporarily, at which point you can again rush behind him and target the yellow weak spots on his back. Alternatively, use the Tripcaster again and lay a trap right on top of a Sawtooth when he's stationary - the trap will immediately go off, giving you even more time to melee attack.

Make good use of your purchased skills such as "Concentration" to slow down time during these exchanges and consistently hit the weak spots. As you hit the beast, take note of the numbers which pop-up to signify the damage you're dealing - the higher the number the more damage. Typically if you're seeing 5's or 10's then you're aiming in the wrong place!

When you do find the sweet spot, repeat the process to inflict maximum damage and then after enough patience and precision hits, the Sawtooth will eventually go down.

Good luck!

Advanced Strategy

For those wishing to find a consistent way of dealing with Sawtooths in the open world, particularly in packs, here are my recommendations.

Double/Triple Shot Skill

First and foremost, seriously consider investing in the Double and Triple arrow skills - which let you notch up several arrows to fire in one go (middle skill tree). Once these skills are unlocked, simple hold down L2 to aim then tap R1 to notch up addition arrows in the stack on your bow. This skill beats any reload skills or buffs and allows you to inflict high damage all in one go.

Fire Arrows

Stick to fire arrows for attacking Sawtooth's. They're highly effective and constantly burn the beast whilst you line up additional shots. Crafting fire arrows also requires only common resources which you will have plenty of by the middle of the game.

Fire Mods

In addition to increasing the number of arrows, think seriously about attaching Mods with bonuses for Fire attacks to your weapons. If you're lucky enough to have unlocked the Blue or Purple Hunter Bow then you'll have two or three mod slots, all of which can contain Fire mods.

Compliment with the Tinker skill (right hand skill tree) if you'd like to switch Mods in and out without the risk of loosing Mods for good.

Abuse the perimeter

Practically a cheat this one, you can get the upper-hand on the Sawtooth by understanding their perimeter restrictions. What I mean by that is every machine site in the game has a boundary and the machines will not leave this boundary. You can teeter on the edge of a Sawtooth site, just close enough to launch arrows but outside the perimeter so the Sawtooth cannot charge at you. Without a ranged attack the Sawtooth is completely harmless!!

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