How to build a Valheim Ballista and use it

Valheim Ballista
(Image credit: Iron Gate)

The Valheim Ballista has a good chance of becoming your new favourite Valheim weapon. Although it can’t replace a bow or sword, it’s a handy war machine that automatically shoots your opponents. On top of that, it will make any defensive wall look infinitely cooler. 

As the Valheim Ballista crafting recipe is easy to miss, here’s how to unlock it. We’ll also take a look at the required resources, how to craft Missiles, and how to operate the Ballista.

What is the Valheim Ballista? 

Valheim Ballista

(Image credit: Iron Gate)

For those who are not that well-versed in ancient warfare, a Ballista is massive crossbow-like machine that shoots large stones at the enemy. Thanks to the Mistlands update, Ballista’s have now made their way to the Tenth Norse Realm of Valheim. 

Unlike the real-life thing, however, Valheim Ballista’s function as stationary, auto-targeting turrets. You can build one to defend your base, or drop it in the wild to help you in combat. 

Ballista crafting recipe 

Valheim Ballista

(Image credit: Iron Gate)

The Valheim Ballista is actually quite easy to craft, but you have to find some relatively rare Mistlands resources and use an often-overlooked crafting station. Here’s the full Ballista crafting recipe: 

  • Mechanical Spring x3
  • Black Metal x20
  • Workbench

Once you have the materials (more on that below), equip the Hammer and find the Ballista in the ‘Misc’ tab. You’re free to place it wherever you want. 

Craft a Valheim Ballista step one: Mechanical Springs 

Valheim Ballista

(Image credit: Iron Gate)

Let’s have a look at the Mechanical Springs first. The base materials required to make them are Iron and Refined Eitr. The crafting recipe is found at the Artisan Table, a crafting station made with Dragon Tears (dropped by Moder, the Mountains’ Biome Boss). Here’s the full Mechanical Spring crafting recipe: 

  • Iron x3
  • Refined Eitr x1

Iron is made by smelting Scrap Iron in a Smelter. Although you can find Scrap Iron in the Swamp Biome’s Sunken Crypts, it’s actually far easier to farm in the Mistlands biome. Just use a Black Metal Pickaxe on the ‘Ancient Armour’ or ‘Ancient Sword’ remains (see picture). 

The other resource, Refined Eitr, is made from Sap, which can be extracted from the Mistlands’ Yggdrasil Roots. The Sap then needs to be processed in an Eitr Refinery. For a more detailed description of how to obtain Refined Eitr, take a look at our  Valheim Eitr magic guide.

Craft a Valheim Ballista step two: Black Metal 

Valheim Ballista

(Image credit: Iron Gate)

The other resource needed to build a Ballista, Black Metal, can be found in the Plains biome. Unlike most ores, this isn’t a resource that can be mined. Instead of looking for ore veins, you’ll have to raid Fuling Villages. Black Metal Scraps are found in chests or dropped by the Fulings themselves. 

To change Black Metal Scraps into Black Metal, use a Blast Furnace. 

How to use the Valheim Ballista  

Valheim Ballista

(Image credit: Iron Gate)

Placed your Valheim Ballista? Then there’s only one more thing to craft: ammunition. You can make two types of Ballista ammo at the Artisan Table: 

  • Wooden Missile: deals 75 Pierce damage and 45 Knockback. Made from Core Wood and normal Wood.
  • Black Metal Missile: deals 120 Pierce damage and 60 Knockback. Made from Wood, Feathers, and Black Metal.

As long as the Ballista is loaded with at least one Missile, it’s ‘active’. Remember that you don’t need to handle the Ballista yourself, as it automatically targets every enemy in sight. Be sure to place it in the right direction; it can move from left to right, but it can’t turn all the way around.  

Getting shot by your own Ballista 

Valheim Ballista

(Image credit: Iron Gate)

Defending your base with an auto-targeting war machine sounds awesome (and it is!), but there’s one major drawback: the Ballista will shoot its own creator as well. Be very careful when walking in front of your Ballista, as this isn’t just dangerous, but also a waste of valuable Missiles.

At the moment of writing (during the  Valheim Mistlands update access on the  Valheim Public Test Server), it’s not clear if this is an intentional flaw or a bug. The issue may be fixed at a later time. 

Marloes Valentina Stella

I’m a freelance journalist who (surprise!) kind of has a thing for videogames. When I’m not working on guides for GamesRadar, you can probably find me somewhere in Teyvat, Novigrad, or Whiterun. Unless I’m feeling competitive, in which case you should try Erangel. You can also find my words on PCGamesN, Fanbyte, PCGamer, Polygon, Esports Insider, and Game Rant.