Killing the Reaper

FirstEdFirstEd New Mexico Join Date: 2017-06-25 Member: 231340Members
These things have terrorized me since I started playing this game over 80 hours ago. But now I have a reliable strategy for killing the Reaper (at least as of Voice of the Deep patch). If you ever wanted to know how you're supposed to face one of those beasts, and kill it, read on.

I developed this strategy out of necessity. For me, one spawned at the upside-down life pod near the Aurora and I had no chance of exploring it without facing the Reaper. It terrorized me. Always I was looking over my shoulder for it. It is now dead, and I now explore in peace.

There are videos of heroes fighting the reaper with nothing but the seaglide, stasis rifle and knife. It is indeed heroic, but that scares the everloving crap out of me. My way, perhaps, is safer and easier.

What you will need

You will need a Prawn Suit. I also recommend two claw arms. Drill arms seem to damage the Reaper, but claws seem to do more damage in my experiences. I also recommend armor mods. At least two. They do not help against the Reaper, but when it drops you in a nest of bone sharks, you will be glad you are so heavily armored.

You will need a Cyclops. And you will need a repair bay mod for your Cyclops. The repair bay is essential for this strategy.

What you need to do

Find a Reaper. They often appear suddenly as they load in. You can tell they are close by their calls. Move in towards it. Switch to silent running so it does not attack. Then, find a place near the bottom to park your Cyclops, being sure to turn off the engine. When you chose your parking spot, do so carefully. You must be able to reach your Cyclops again.

Once you have found the beast, if you are scared of him, I recommend you turn off the sound (he sounds terrifying) and put on some fighting music. It will help you. Once you start fighting the Reaper you do not need to hear him anyways.

Deploy the Prawn. Once you hit the bottom find the Reaper and face him. Keep facing your opponent and wait for him to come grab you.

Fight. Hold both left and right mouse buttons. Be sure you are attacking with both claws for the duration of his grasp. Sometimes he will do only 27%, but I have had him inflict up to 90%. I have not, yet, taken 100% damage from the Reaper in a single grapple.

Get back to the Cyclops. This is the most difficult part of the fight. When he lets you go you must A) ensure you do not fall into a crevasse that you cannot escape from, B ) know where your Cyclops is in relation to you so you can head towards it, C) see what direction the Reaper is swimming in, and D) do not get grabbed by the Reaper a second time.

I have sometimes survived two attacks from the Reaper. The first blow takes me to 73%. The second takes me to 23%, if I am lucky. Do not depend on luck and instead flee to your Cyclops. Once you get back in the bay of the Cyclops, your Prawn will be automatically repaired as long as you have the repair bay mod (and in a matter of seconds) and you can reposition your sub to be closer to the fight.

Give chase. Maneuver your Cyclops over towards the Reaper. This can be hard. He will move fast. And sometimes it is not clear where he has gone. I had the misfortune of having one Reaper lead me towards another, so you must be careful, but you can find him. Move directly towards him and hit silent running, find a spot near the bottom then cut the engine. Then, deploy in your Prawn.

Continue this part until the Reaper is dead. Deploy Prawn. Fight. Get back to the Cyclops. Chase. For me, I usually count five times. On the fifth time, the Reaper will die. The only time he did not die on the fifth fight was when I used a drill arm as one of my arms, that is why I do not recommend the drill. That fight lasted seven rounds. Keep it to five, use claws.

Other notes: This fight will last for at least a day. Or two. If you like to fight by light, bring a bed in your Cyclops. The Reaper will not hesitate to kill you so use every advantage you have. Also, bring food and water. Plenty of it. There's nothing worse than being facing off with the Reaper when you see you are below 20 food and water. If you die, die well fed.

Of the four matches I have had, I have killed the Reaper in all but one. In my second match, the Reaper fled in a strange direction, towards the aft of the Aurora, and in looking for him I found one of his brothers. We fought, but I made the mistake of not going back to the Cyclops after the first grapple. Fight smart. Return to the Cyclops after he grapples you and repair.

As for my personal feelings, for me, it was like fighting a dragon. The beast comes and scoops you up and you battle in the air (or water... or actual air if he breaches) and then he drops you and you plummet. You move across the ground, trying to avoid him and his terrible jaws. Then you make it to safety and run after him madly in your Cyclops, like Ahab chasing the White Whale.

The good news is that, so far, when the Reaper dies, he stays dead and the ocean is a little safer.

To all the other swimmers out there who find Subnautica as captivating and terrifying as I, I wish you the best and hope these notes help you.



  • elfcrisiselfcrisis Join Date: 2017-05-13 Member: 230466Members
    I did it once with the stasis rifle and knife. It's tedious, but if you make sure your rifle is fully charged when you start, you can definitely do it. I parked my Seamoth nearby for air refilling and that worked out pretty well.

    It's a simpler method than what you described, and probably more dangerous, because the only way you can get a guaranteed hit with the stasis rifle is when the Reaper is coming right at you. All you need is a quick pulse to stop him, and that should give you enough time to spin up a full blast to keep him in place while you go to town with your knife. If all goes well, you can renew the stasis charge before the old one wears off.

    I've only done this once, because the Reaper spawned just west of the Aurora where it shouldn't have, and I don't fancy doing it again, but the method itself is sound. Good luck to anyone trying either of these strategies!
  • MaxAstroMaxAstro Join Date: 2005-07-07 Member: 55451Members
    edited June 2017
    I've faced down a Reaper in a Prawn. I didn't survive, because it was my first time and a learning experience, but I do have some advice to add to the above: You don't have to get grabbed.

    If the Reaper comes down at you from above, rush straight forward. Many times he will go just above your head and then get caught on the ground. Spin around and wail on his face (remember that only head shots count). Done properly, you can get several good hits in before you ever get grabbed.

    I also heartily endorse battle music. Taking a Reaper down feels badass.

    I have also heard stories of Reapers being brought down with a claw + grapple combo. In theory, if you get a good grapple point on the Reaper you can hit his head while he swims, and have enough maneuverability to not get grabbed. In practice, landing this mythical "golden grapple" is unlikely.

    ...Now it's time to see if we can bring down a dragon. :P
  • LAZYNOOB2017LAZYNOOB2017 United Kingdom Join Date: 2016-12-31 Member: 225824Members
    So the Reaper doesn't respawn? When you load the game back up it's still dead?
  • LAZYNOOB2017LAZYNOOB2017 United Kingdom Join Date: 2016-12-31 Member: 225824Members
    This would be interesting to do in Hardcore mode.
  • FirstEdFirstEd New Mexico Join Date: 2017-06-25 Member: 231340Members
    That is awesome! I far too scared to fight the Reaper out in the open with nothing but a knife. Seems like one boffed shot with the stasis rifle and it's all over. You've got nerves of steel!

    I saw a video where they used the grapple arm and the drill, but the attempt was a failure. Personally, I avoided using the grapple arm so I could maximize my damage output. Even with two claw arms attacking constantly, the Reaper is hard to kill. But that said, if you could lasso the Reaper with the grapple arm and ride it as you killed it, that would be pretty epic!

    To answer your question: yes, it stayed dead. I killed one that was near the upturned lifepod next to the Aurora and he has not come back. I also killed one that was by the tail end of the Aurora, back by the engines, and he has not come back either.

    As for using this on Hardcore mode, this is precisely what I would do on Hardcore. I think this would give you the best chance of success. And even if the Reaper were to destroy your Prawn, you might still escape in the Seaglide and flee to your Cyclops.

    Thank you all for posting!
  • LAZYNOOB2017LAZYNOOB2017 United Kingdom Join Date: 2016-12-31 Member: 225824Members
    I would love to try this in my Hardcore playthrough when the game is finished.
  • sayerulzsayerulz oregon Join Date: 2015-04-15 Member: 203493Members
    I tried to kill the reaper, but then I got indoctrinated.
  • kingkumakingkuma cancels Work: distracted by Dwarf Fortress Join Date: 2015-09-25 Member: 208137Members
    I mainly just avoid them, and take the seamoth in reaper - infested areas. Use the shocking upgrade and you'll be fine. No reapers are deeper than 900m.
  • orobourosorobouros US Join Date: 2016-04-01 Member: 215163Members
    The Dunes and the crash scar aft of the Aurora are the only reasons I'd consider killing a Reaper. I don't really explore the Dunes because they're just so damned dangerous (and stupidly dark for a surface biome well above 1000m, which is the distance sunlight penetrates IRL). And I often despair of not having all the Titanium that's behind the Aurora, again because it's just not worth the risk.

    That said, I was taught that fighting one in a PRAWN was kind of foolish, actually. Not because it's unsuited to the job, but because:

    - You'll almost inevitably be thrown off the edge of the map (if near the Aurora), or down through the map into the Void (anywhere), completely unable to recover and doomed to either abandon your lost PRAWN or die with it. Now, the map edge is survivable with a grappling arm, but being pushed through the map is almost 100% fatal.

    -If and when you discover that you're running out of hull strength too quickly (which you will, Armor upgrade or not, because the PRAWN - unlike the Seamoth - has no means of making him let go early), and he's just not dying, you can't disengage in any meaningful way, because the thing is just too slow and he'll simply follow you. A torpedo arm might help with this... but then you don't have room for at least one damaging and one other "utility" arm like the grappler.

    Adding the Cyclops to the equation is an interesting add, but I can't imagine it isn't a problem with him pushing the thing out of the way as he tries to grab you, even if he isn't attacking the presumably-powered-down cyclops itself.

    On the one hand, it's kind of a sweet spot of balance: The Reaper is so difficult to kill, such a risk to engage, that it just usually isn't worth whatever you get out of it. It's much easier and more productive to just avoid them. That way, they don't have to make them impossible to kill, but they've successfully motivated (at least me) to not even try.

    On the other hand, there's whole areas of the game, some modest amount of content I will basically never be interested in seeing unless they make it essential to escaping. All that quartz in the Dunes and titanium by the crash site... Grrrr.
  • FirstEdFirstEd New Mexico Join Date: 2017-06-25 Member: 231340Members
    You raise some fine concerns that I would like to reply to.

    First, yes, the Reaper can take you through the map or off a cliff. I feel this is an important note when fighting the Reaper. I have always tried to be careful when engaging a Reaper near a large chasm. The first one I killed was near the front of the Aurora and it could've flung me 500 meters down. The good news is that 1) the Prawn can stand the pressure at those depths and 2) if you do fall, you'll be safely out of the Reaper's aggro range and your only worry will be making your way back to the Cyclops.

    The other part of that though is going off the map or THROUGH the map. Also in my first engagement with the Reaper, I was pulled through the map during the grapple (we were close to the hills next to the Aurora). When it released me I think I might've been on the other side of the terrain but I managed to escape. Identifying this as a potential hazard is very helpful, but I couldn't say what the player could do to combat this. For me, I lucked out when it pulled me through the terrain. Also, so far, with the three I've successfully killed, they all have seemed to move towards 0,0 on the map with each movement. I don't know if this is true for all fights, but for me, they all seem to go towards the safe shallows.

    Also on that note, I've also had the Reaper take me THROUGH the Cyclops during a grapple. We hit it hard, saw the interior, that kinda' thing, and I was very worried it would take significant damage. It took no damage. Furthermore, when I park the Cyclops near the Reaper and cut the engine, sometimes the Reaper will bump me, but he does no damage.

    Second, your comment that you don't have a good disengage is fair. I don't know if it is possible for the Reaper to drain all of your armor in one grapple (he has gone up to 90% for me), but having a disengage would be a great benefit. That said, I find two things useful when I am released from a grapple. First, the Reaper is usually hurt and will swim away a bit at first, giving you time to move or find shelter or try to get in another direction. Second is that the Reaper will also drop you and if you elect to fall to a deeper place, you can avoid the Reaper that way.

    Third, as you've noted, killing the Reaper isn't necessary at all for the completion of the game. I've included my technique for killing them because I felt it was a bit more straightforward for some players and a bit more reliable than other tactics. That said, I don't go out of my way to kill Reapers. I'd love to clear out the dunes and the mountains, but there are a lot of factors to think about when you engage one. How far will it carry you? What dangers are nearby that it could drag you to? What is the reward you get for killing it? Do you want to spend the time it takes (which is substantial using my method)?

    Nevertheless, if you really want that salvage at the back of the Aurora, I'd give fighting it in a Prawn a try. That's one I successfully engaged and killed on the first attempt. You're not in too much danger back there. The farthest I've been carried by one is under 300m, so even if you go for a ride you should be able to safely get away. (Or, you can just quit the game and reload your old save).

    Lots of great commentary in your post. I wish I had better feedback but I think you summed it up perfectly like this:

    On the one hand, it's kind of a sweet spot of balance: The Reaper is so difficult to kill, such a risk to engage, that it just usually isn't worth whatever you get out of it.

    My guide is for people who find themselves in a position of having to confront it due to how it has spawned or for whatever reason, and I think it's a pretty reliable, if adrenaline filled, method.
  • HarringtonRHarringtonR Join Date: 2017-06-29 Member: 231467Members
    heat knife, seaglide, stasis rifle, ultra air tank, rebreather, reinforced dive suit. A man on a mission, I hunt the beasts down, one by one.
  • IronX5000IronX5000 Join Date: 2018-02-09 Member: 237225Members
    In my personal opinion I think it is nearly instinctual to try killing those beast. I don't know why the first time I spot any of the aggressive fauna my first tough is always "Can I kill this thing?", not because I enjoy doing it but because there is a part of my mind that tells me to get rid of any potential foe just for the sake of being at peace.
    This is why I exterminated, although I kinda had...a problem with one of them:

    SO! I go to the crash zone with my prawn suit equipped with the drill and grappling hook. I spot the big fish...and I decided to destroy him with my suit for my own peace of mind.
    I let him grab me multiple times, drilling his face off in the process and repairing my suit when he release me. After a few minutes the battle is dragged all the way to the shallow just next to my starting lifepod and suddenly...a bug occurs and I pass trough the terrain when he release me... Firstly I really tough I was going to die because, y'know I was like, falling into oblivion... But I stumbled into the inactive lava zone instead... SO! With quite the murderous intent in mind, I traveled all the way back to the shallow, finding the exit of the inactive lava zone, traversing the lost river, climbing up the blood kelp trench, and finally getting back to him.

     With sweet wrath in mind, I exit my suit, freeze him with my stasis gun and beat to death with my knife. SO WHO'S BOSS NOW YOU BIG BABY HUH?!

    As you see I tend to get...exited when fighting those beast. Anyway, I found some particularity while fighting them:
    - for some reason, reaper leviathan and especially those near the Aurora tend to drag the battle to the safe shallow.
    - They also tend to make you pass through the terrain when they release you in shallow area.
    - you can actually just use a repair tool for your PRAWN between each attack.
    - None of them respawn. EVER.
    - The sea dragon...has SO MUCH FU***** LIFEPOINTS!!!

  • jamintheinfinite_1jamintheinfinite_1 Jupiter Join Date: 2016-12-03 Member: 224524Members
  • silk186silk186 Join Date: 2019-07-28 Member: 253984Members
    Is it possible to clear out any of the other agro beasts from an area like Crabsquid?
    I managed to kill the first one I encountered with just a knife but after exploring two more showed up.
  • JAZZYFORSUBNAUTICAJAZZYFORSUBNAUTICA Join Date: 2018-05-01 Member: 240453Members
    edited July 2019
    i find it easer to do with a heated blade and a stasis rifle #margueritmaida
    for a little fun put floarters on its dead body and open your pda with one still in your hand (not sure if it still works but the reaper takes you on a magic carpet ride "its a whole new world")
  • CrobarCrobar Join Date: 2019-09-14 Member: 254710Members
    I have a great story about this.

    I was pretty much stuck with my progression, looking for the other Alien bases. I knew that I should probably follow the route near the Enforcement platform, but after a while of searching I figured I should try and make a scanner base there.

    Before doing that, I wanted to try killing the Reaper in that area. My strategy was this: grapple onto it, drill and don't let go. This went on for quite a while. Pretty soon, he brought me to one of his mates, and through the seaweed we all went together. I realized that my plan had failed, because I was about to run out of armour. However, before dying, something amazing happened.

    He pushed me through the ground. I sank and sank, lower than I'd ever been. Then I finally landed in the lava zone, near the Warper manufacturing base. After an epic journey to get out, I decided not to reload the save. The Reaper was trying to help me, I guess because it hated me and wanted me off the planet. Maybe it was taking some orders from the Emperor.

    Had an amazing time with this game. Btw the story to Below Zero sucks and is obvious pandering, but I love everything else about it.
  • IronReaperIronReaper Join Date: 2019-09-15 Member: 254721Members
  • DaALCDaALC UK Join Date: 2018-10-02 Member: 243914Members
    25 stabs with a thermo blade. Aim stasis at head and shoot, approach, stab, run before stasis ends, shoot stasis again, rinse, repeat.
    You will probably need to take a breathing break instead of a stabbing during one of the stasis freezes, but its
    On my current save game I have killed around 18 of them. Once you have it down its easy and pretty much risk free.
    They don't seem to respawn, though in certain zones I do wonder if they do because I keep finding more in pretty much the same spot... around the back of the Aurora in the deep area, and around the meteor crator.
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