"That thing is huge; and built to fight."
Aloy, upon sighting a Thunderjaw

The Thunderjaw is a machine in Horizon Zero Dawn. It is considered an Apex Combat machine, meaning that it is one of the largest and most dangerous of all machines. Its size, power, and array of highly damaging attacks -- ranged and melee -- make it the most feared machine among the tribes, so much so that the machine has attained an almost legendary status.


The Thunderjaw is a huge bipedal machine with features akin to those of a theropod dinosaur, particularly the Tyrannosaurus Rex: powerful and bulky legs, a long body, and a heavy tail to maintain equilibrium. As its name suggests, the head of the Thunderjaw features two sets of appendages resembling mandibles that spread to the sides when it roars.

Its visual sensor array is composed of six sensors on each side of the head, arranged in a staggered vertical configuration of three side by side. Twin cannons are affixed to the sides of its mandibles, one on each side. There is an additional energy beam weapon in its mouth. An array of Blaze canisters is on its back, heavily protected by armor plating. Under its belly is an array of similarly protected Chillwater canisters. Attached to the lower back are twin echo shells. Attached to each hip is a weapon known as a Disc Launcher. On its lower back are three long, antenna-like structures. The tip of its tail is armed with a pair of scythe-like fins, used in combat when the Thunderjaw swings its tail. On its head, protected by armor, is a red glowing Data Nexus. In its main body, heavily protected by armor, is a red glowing heart/core.

The Thunderjaw seems to be a much larger and more combat-oriented cousin of the Watcher, as both resemble theropod dinosaurs, have no forelimbs, a long tail, and scanning equipment in their heads.


Like the Sawtooth, the Thunderjaw only began appearing during the Derangement, a phenomenon in recent years that began when GAIA's machine-building subordinate function called HEPHAESTUS became an independent entity, no longer under GAIA's direction. The HEPHAESTUS AI soon began to see humans as a great threat to its machines and in response developed more aggressive, combat-oriented predators. Possibly developed from unused terraforming designs, the Thunderjaw represents the pinnacle of the combat class, potentially surpassing the fighting capabilities of even the FAS-FSP5 Khopesh. It shakes the earth with every step and few enemies, mechanical or organic, would dare attack it.

According to Hunters Lodge manuscripts, Ahsis was the first human to ever face and bring down a Thunderjaw, and its wrecked carcass now hangs from the ceiling of the Hunters Lodge House in Meridian. Although this event was the first time the Carja ever encountered Thunderjaws, the machines existed for some time before; a pair of Thunderjaws were seen in the Nora territory of the Embrace on the day of Aloy's Naming Ritual, over 9 years earlier.

At one point, a Thunderjaw known as Redmaw terrorized the Sundom. Many hunting parties were sent out to kill it but to no avail, giving it a reputation among the Carja as a legendary, immortal beast. Eventually tracked down, Ahsis and Talanah of the Hunters Lodge both went to take the monster down, and it was destroyed by Talanah and Aloy after it fatally wounded Ahsis.

The Eclipse managed to capture and corrupt a Thunderjaw for use during their assault on the Nora, and another during their pursuit of the child king Itamen and his mother, Nasadi, during Queen's Gambit. How they managed to do so is unknown, but it was used to great effect during their attack on All-Mother Mountain, where its Disc Launchers pounded the door of the facility until Aloy arrived and defeated it.


Like all machines with the exception of the Tallneck, a Thunderjaw will attack a human on sight. The Thunderjaw is armed with a variety of weapons and will employ an array of ranged and melee attacks.

  • Disc Launcher: A pair of launchers that fire hovering discs. These hover above the Thunderjaw and lock onto an enemy with a targeting beam before raining down on the enemy with extreme force.
  • Defense: The Thunderjaw is heavily armored and very resistant to damage. It is also very resistant to shock weapons.
  • Utility: The Thunderjaw is equipped with a radar scanner that, when activated, will detect even hidden threats such as Aloy if she is concealed in tall grass.

Melee Attacks

Name Primary Damage Secondary Damage Trigger Range Description
Bite Attack 250 - 11m - 17m The Thunderjaw snaps at the enemy with its mandibles.
Charge 275 - 20m - 80m The Thunderjaw rams the enemy with its sheer weight and size.
Foot Stomp 290 50 0m - 7m The Thunderjaw shakes the ground with a powerful foot stomp, disrupting the enemy's ability to stand and move.
Rushing Bite Attack 250 - 18m - 33m The Thunderjaw charges and snaps at the enemy.
Tail Slam 300 - 6m - 16m The Thunderjaw brings its tail down on a target, crushing it.
Tail Swipe 300 - 17m - 27m The Thunderjaw swings its tail, sending a target flying.

Ranged Attacks

Name Damage Type Primary Damage Secondary Damage Trigger Range Description
Disc Launcher - 360 Attack Explosion 130 - 5m - 25m
Disc Launcher - Barrage Explosion 130 - 20m - 80m
Disc Launcher - Homing Explosion 130 - 20m - 80m
Laser Sweep Laser 200 130 per second 25m - 60m Like the mandibular cannons, the Thunderjaw will charge up these energy weapons briefly before blasting the target with golden energy beams in a fan pattern.
Cannon Burst - Lead Up Projectile 60 - 20m - 80m The cannons mounted on the sides of the Thunderjaw's mandibles, after a brief charging-up, discharge a rapid burst of blue energy blasts.
Cannon Burst - Side to Side Projectile 60 - 20m - 80m


As formidable as they are in open combat, the Thunderjaw has a number of weak points that can be used to bring it down.

  • Heart: This core component takes some effort to reach, being covered by armor plating, but hits to this area inflict massive damage to the Thunderjaw.
  • Canisters and Power Cell: The Thunderjaw has a Freeze and Blaze canister positioned at different points of its body. Hitting the Blaze canister with Fire Arrows will trigger an explosion and set the machine on fire, while hitting the Freeze canister with Freeze Arrows will slow the machine down and make it more susceptible to damage. Hitting the Power Cell under the machine's tail with Shock Arrows will also cause an explosion.
  • Disc Launchers: The Thunderjaw's most formidable weapons can be used against itself if severed with Tear weapons, and can easily blast through its thick armor while inflicting heavy damage.
  • Data Nexus: This "brain" component will deal extra damage, although not as much as hits to the Heart.
  • Tear: Many of its components can be knocked off to disable abilities.


Image: Component: Information: Weakness: Strength:
Thunderjaw-Body Body Hard outer casing to protect synthetic muscle and operational systems. None Shock-Icon Shock
Thunderjaw-BlazeCanister Blaze Canister Shooting this canister with Fire will trigger an elemental explosion. Shoot off this component to collect Blaze. Fire-Icon Fire
Tear-Icon Tear
Thunderjaw-DataNexus Data Nexus Hitting this component deals greater damage to the machine. All None
Thunderjaw-DiscLauncher Disc Launcher This heavy weapon can be picked up and used after it has been detached from the machine. Tear-Icon Tear None
Thunderjaw-FreezeCanister Freeze Canister Shooting this canister with Freeze will trigger an elemental explosion. Chillwater can be looted from this canister. Freeze-Icon Freeze
Tear-Icon Tear
Thunderjaw-Heart Heart Hitting this component deals greater damage to the machine. All None
Thunderjaw-PowerCell Power Cell Shooting this component with Shock will trigger an elemental explosion. Sparker can be looted from this component. Shock-Icon Shock
Tear-Icon Tear
Thunderjaw-Radar Radar Destroying this component disables the scanning ability. Tear-Icon Tear None
Thunderjaw-Cannon Cannon Destroying these components disables Cannon attacks. Tear-Icon Tear None
Thunderjaw-Tail Tail Destroying this component disables the Tail attacks. Tear-Icon Tear None



  • According to a tweet from @dejongemathijs, the Thunderjaw stands at 9 meters tall, taller than a two story building, and 24 meters from head to tail. This makes it over twice the size of a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
  • Thunderjaws are perhaps the most well-known machines in Horizon Zero Dawn. Aloy's battle with a Thunderjaw first showcased the game at E3 2015, a massive poster of one was draped on the side of a building in Los Angeles to advertise the game at E3 2016, and the game's box art depicts Aloy fighting one.
  • Thunderjaws have 271 animations, 93 destructible armor plates, 12 unique attacks, 67 visuals and 550,000 polygons.
  • If one wants to easily bring down a Thunderjaw, it is highly recommended to acquire the Shield Weaver suit, which gives Aloy a powerful rechargeable personal energy shield that will absorb multiple hits from even the Thunderjaw's main weapons and will prevent her from being knocked over by the Thunderjaw's ranged attacks.
  • According to Herman Hulst, the managing director for Guerrilla Games, the Thunderjaw was the first machine implemented into the game. The total development time took a year and a half.
  • Not counting Tallnecks, the Thunderjaw is the first possible large machine that Aloy can encounter. One can be found in Valleymeet east of Dawn's Sentinel
  • Thunderjaws are more common compared to other large-sized machines.



Concept Art

Acquisition Class Broadhead - Charger - FireclawFW - FrostclawFW - Glinthawk - Grazer - Lancehorn - Rockbreaker - Scrapper - Snapmaw - Strider - Trampler
Combat Class Ravager - Sawtooth - ScorcherFW - Stalker - Stormbird - Thunderjaw
Communication Class Tallneck
Recon Class Longleg - Watcher (Redeye Watcher)
Transport Class Behemoth - Fire Bellowback - Freeze Bellowback - Shell-Walker
Chariot Class Corrupted Machines - Corruptor - Deathbringer - Metal Devil
Unknown Class Control TowerFW