Horizon Forbidden West: Best Skills for Each Skill Tree You Should Choose First

Picking the best skills in Horizon Forbidden West takes some planning, but it's well worth the effort. Here are the ones you should choose first.

Picking the best skills in Horizon Forbidden West takes some planning, but it's well worth the effort. Here are the ones you should choose first.

Aloy has no shortage of abilities, but investing your points in the best Horizon Forbidden West skills as soon as possible makes a significant difference in some of the game’s more difficult encounters. There’s a lot to choose from across the six trees: warrior, trapper, hunter, survivor, infiltration, and machine master.

But you’ll have plenty of skill points to use as you level up throughout the campaign, and even more if you tackle Forbidden West‘s side quests. But these are the skills you should aim to unlock first.

Best Horizon Forbidden West Skills for Each Tree

Best Warrior Skills in Forbidden West

The Warrior skill tree is pretty much what it says on the label: a set of skills designed to boost Aloy’s damage output and make fights easier.

Skill: Nora Warrior

Nora Warrior is a basic melee combo, but it’s handy whenever you find that stealth just won’t cut it. With it, small machines go down quickly, and staggering large machines gives you time to either finish them off or get away to heal. Depending on what you choose later, it will also make other abilities viable.

Skill: Melee Damage

Melee Damage is a passive boost is self-explanatory and increases how much damage Aloy deals with her Champion’s Spear.

Skill: Melee Detonator

Melee Detonator is a fun skill that makes use of both ranged and melee attacks. Aloy fires explosive arrows that adhere to a target, and they explode when she hits the target with a melee attack. You can use multiple arrows to boost the damage effect.

Skill: Halfmoon Slash

Halfmoon Slash is a kind of charged normal attack that makes chaining combos easier. It’s basic but effective.

Skill: Spinning Scythe

Ideally, you won’t get surrounded by enemies, but if you do, Spinning Scythe is a devastating spin attack that makes it easier to get away while dealing heavy damage to foes in the process.

Skill: Melee Might (Valor Surge)

The Melee Might Valor Surges have more immediate use than the Critical Boost. Even at Melee Might Level 1, you still get a substantial 100% boost to your melee damage for a short period, and at Level 3, you can even knock down targets with strong attacks.

Best Trapper Skills in Forbidden West

Skills in the Trapper tree cover a wide range of abilities and buffs, from increasing the materials you salvage while dismantling traps to boosting the damage your explosives and tripwires do. If you don’t use traps often, feel free to save most of your skill points for another tree. Otherwise, grab these first:

Skill: Quick Trapper

Quick Trapper is essential even if you don’t use traps often. As the name suggests, it decreases the time it takes for Aloy to set a trap. Considering some of them take quite a while to install, this is a significant boon.

Skill: Trap Limit

Prolific trappers should invest in this as soon as possible, since it increases how many traps Aloy can have active at any given point.

Skill: Trap Specialist (Valor Surge)

The Trap Specialist Valor Surge branch is simple but useful. It increases the damage, elemental power, and knockdown effects your traps and wires have – not too much at first, but powerful at Level 3. 

Best Hunter Skills in Forbidden West 

Hunter skills are ostensibly focused on Aloy’s bow attacks, but the tree is more varied than you might initially think. If you plan on using weapon skills frequently, this is the tree for you.

Skill: Concentration

This is a passive boost that increases how long Aloy can remain concentrated, and it’s vital if your battle plan involves targeting weak points and tearing parts.

Skill: Deep Concentration

Deep Concentration is a natural complement to Concentration, as it increases how long Aloy can remain in her concentrated state even further. 

Skill: Valor Surge Master

Aloy’s Valor Surge meter builds up more quickly thanks to this skill, making it vital if you invest skill points in Valor Surges from other skill trees.

Skill: Triple Notch

Triple Notch is excellent for targeting weak points. Aloy loads three arrows of the same type and fires them simultaneously.

Skill: Ultra Shot

If you use a Boltblaster, definitely invest in Ultra Shot. It launches a volley of exploding bolts that have longer range than usual.

Skill: Ranged Master (Valor Surge)

Ranged Master is one of the best Valor Surges period, buffing a number of attributes and even adding a healing effect at higher levels. It enhances ranged attack and weapon stamina recovery, increases weapon technique damage, and restores a small amount of health when Aloy lands a hit.

Best Survivor Skills in Forbidden West

Survivor’s best skills are the Blastling techniques and the ones that enhance Aloy’s medicine pouch. Depending on the difficulty you’re playing on, the latter may not matter too much, so feel free to spend points elsewhere. 

Skill: Potent Medicine

Potent Medicine makes berries heal Aloy faster and more effectively, which can prove essential against some of the game’s tougher enemies.

Skill: Medicine Capacity

Medicine Capacity lets you carry more than just 10 berries, so it takes longer to run out of medicine, and you don’t have to visit your Stash to replenish (if you’re having to heal a lot). 

Skill: Burst Dodge

Burst Dodge is a Blastling technique that fires several bombs while Aloy dodges backwards, making it less likely to get caught in the blast and, of course, helping Aloy retreat to plan a new attack.

Skill: Sticky Bomb

Sticky Bomb is another Blastling technique, one that lets you stack damage. It fires adhesive bombs at enemies that linger before exploding, which means you can lob more than one so they explode in unison.

Skill: Overshield (Valor Surge)

Overshield is easily one of the best Valor Surges in Horizon Forbidden West. As you’d expect from the name, it creates a shield that absorbs damage and, at higher levels, it even deflects attacks.

Best Infiltrator Skills in Forbidden West

Infiltrator skills are best for stealthy players, and considering how quickly you can get overwhelmed in some of Forbidden West‘s encounters, it’s a good idea to invest in these even if you prefer a less subtle approach to conflict resolution.

Skill: Braced Shot

Braced Shot attaches an explosive to Sharpshot projectiles, which makes taking (or knocking) down foes from afar much easier.

Skill: Silent Strike

Silent Strikes are essential for stealth combat, and this line of skills increases the damage and Tearing effects they have.

Skill: Quiet Spear

If you break cover and attack an enemy outright, chances are, you’ll attract more foes to your position. Quiet Spear reduces that likelihood by dampening the sound of combat.

Skill: Stealth Stalker (Valor Surge)

The Stealth Stalker Valor Surge makes it significantly harder for enemies to notice you and doubles the damage you deal to foes you sneak up on.

Best Machine Master Skills in Forbidden West

Machine Master is more limited than you might think given its name. The bulk of the focus is on buffing mount attack and health, so if that’s not important to you, invest your points in the other trees.

Skill: Mounted Defense

Mounted Defense keeps you safer while mounted and at the second level can reduce incoming damage by 30%.

Skill: Lasting Override

If you find you frequently lose control of machines, Lasting Override is worth spending some points on. It adds more than a minute of override time.

Skill: Spike Trap

The Spike Thrower is a pretty direct weapon, but Spike Trap adds an element of stealth to it. Spikes turn into traps and arm themselves after a short while, which makes it easier to ambush machines and move to a safer place to remain unnoticed.

Skill: Splitting Spike

Splitting Spike divides your Spikes into multiple projectiles dealing damage in a wide area of effect. Spikes normally just affect one enemy in a restricted area, so this is a handy way of improving their utility.

Skill: Part Breaker (Valor Surge)

Part Breaker is a fantastic choice if you rely on Tear damage and target weak spots, since it boosts both damage types.

That’s all you need to know about the best Horizon Forbidden West skills, but make sure to check out our other Forbidden West guides for more tips and tricks.

About the author

Josh Broadwell

Josh Broadwell started gaming in the early '90s. But it wasn't until 2017 he started writing about them, after finishing two history degrees and deciding a career in academia just wasn't the best way forward. You'll usually find him playing RPGs, strategy games, or platformers, but he's up for almost anything that seems interesting.