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Monster Hunter: World weapons guide - the best weapons to pick for the big hunt

Monster Hunter: World weapons guide

We now know we will be waiting until autumn 2018  for Monster Hunter: World to come to PC. Rather than sobbing, it is ripe time to brush up on your knowledge of the Monster Hunter: World weapons, ensuring you are ready to take on the game’s monstrous challenges as soon as its hefty foot lands on our platform of choice. 

New to Monster Hunter? Our Monster Hunter: World hands-on preview will tell you what to expect. 

We already have a good idea of how Monster Hunter’s debut on PC will play as we have experience with previous games in the series, as well as the hands-on and betas available on PS4. With that knowledge, we are able to guide you through exactly how Monster Hunter: World weapons work – a good place to start, especially if this is your introduction to the series.

Monster Hunter: World weapon types

First up, let’s go over a few of the basics. There are 14 weapon types in total – 11 melee options and three ranged options. Attacks come in three flavours in Monster Hunter: World – either normal, special, or charged. The game does come with a mode to test weapons out so you will be able to get familiar with each weapon and its moveset before heading off into the larger world.

There are also three key damage types: cutting, blunt, and ammo. Cutting can slice tails off monsters, while blunt reduces enemy stamina and can stun them. Ranged weapons use ammo infused with special properties that can debuff a target. To quickly find Monster Hunter: World damage type weapons, click the links below:

On top of that, there are a few essential details you should know about Monster Hunter: World weapons. For starters, each weapon has a certain sharpness, and as you damage enemies with a weapon its sharpness decreases. Some weapons are sharper than others so you will want to pay attention to this stat when picking your arsenal. Monsters with armour require sharp weapons to be hurt, otherwise your attacks are deflected. Luckily, whetstones can be used during a fight to sharpen your blade should you need to.

You are also going to want to learn how to get the most out of more than one Monster Hunter: World weapon. A slow Hammer can get you quite far but when you go up against a very fast monster, those slow attacks will just get you killed.

Finally, Monster Hunter has a lot of hidden tricks to tease out of its combat system. We do not know them all as the game is not out yet, but invulnerability frames, special kinds of damage with certain attacks, and attacks that can block enemy blows are, typically, never detailed inside the game, but are instead worked out by fans. Every weapon has its secrets, but only over time will we get to know them – the weapon guides below cover what has been discovered so far in the Monster Hunter: World betas.

Monster Hunter: World Great Sword

This is probably the weapon you associate most with Monster Hunter: a sword bigger than your body, made with the bones and teeth of creatures you have slain. But with high damage and a slow swing, it can be tough to get used to the Great Sword.

That said, it is a good starting place if you want to get familiar with Monster Hunter: World’s slower weapons – there is nothing too complicated about it, and you are not the lynchpin of the team, so making a mistake does not matter a huge amount.

The Great Sword’s attacks are limited to a horizontal swing, a vertical swing, and a charged attack that deals huge damage if you charge it up for long enough. It also has the ability to block enemies, unlike most Monster Hunter: World weapons, allowing you to play more defensively if you choose.

Monster Hunter: World Long Sword

If you are looking for a faster weapon than the Great Sword, and one with a good number of combos to boot, the Long Sword is a great option. You can combo its attacks almost indefinitely and you are rewarded for doing so: as you attack, you build up a meter (called the Spirit Gauge) that allows you to perform special attacks. Successfully complete the Spirit Blade combo and you will increase your attack power.

With its long range, flexible combo system, and the ability to jump about in mid-combo, the Long Sword is incredibly strong in the hands of the right hunter. Put some time into learning the best combos and you will soon be dishing out the hurt

One combo to focus on is Foresight Slash. At the cost of your Spirit Gauge, it gives you an invulnerability window and can be changed into a Spirit Roundslash, the final part of the Spirit Blade combo. Get a combo going to build up your Spirit Gauge, dodge an attack, use Foresight Slash, and go straight into the Spirit Roundslash for an easy attack boost.

Monster Hunter: World Dual Blades

Many Monster Hunter: World weapons have elemental effects and the Dual Blades are one of them. In fact, they are probably the best pick if you are focusing on dishing out elemental damage – they are the fastest weapon type, meaning that if you are using the right element against the right monster, you will put out a world of hurt.

The combos with this weapon are not too challenging, instead, the challenge is knowing which kind of Dual Blades to take for the monster you are squaring up against – matching them with their elemental weakness. On top of that, you will want to know when you can unleash this weapon type’s signature Demon Mode.

With Demon Mode, you continually lose stamina at a steady pace, but have faster movement and increased attack damage. With all weapons, you have to keep on top of your stamina gauge, but it is even more urgent when you are using the Dual Blades.

Monster Hunter: World Charge Blade

The Charge Blade can, at first, seem like a simple weapon. It acts as a sword and shield until you release energy that it stores up through charging Phials, at which point it becomes an axe that can deal heavy damage. The challenge here is finding the rhythm as you switch between sword and axe in order to make the most impact, both offensively and defensively.

Once you start learning how to use its blocking frames, the Charge Blade almost turns Monster Hunter: World into a fighting game, as you have to time the exact frames of your moves to avoid taking damage. Further, a master Charge Blade hunter will be able to use certain attacks to block enemies, rather than simply blocking them. Offense really is the best defense in this case.

Until the game comes out and fans really get to know the ins and outs of Monster Hunter: World’s Charge Blade, we will not have a good idea of exactly how to get the most out of it. Until then, it is best to consider the Charge Blade a rhythmic weapon: charging it up, putting out damage, and charging it up again.

Monster Hunter: World Switch Axe

Similar to the Charge Blade, the Switch Axe has two forms: the axe and the sword. They each have their own combos and attacks but, once again, there is a rhythm to how you should switch back and forth the two weapon forms. Swapping between them is based on time, where the sword form will only be available once the Switch Gauge is charged.

The sword form is where the weapon shines as its Element Discharge attack can deal serious damage. As a whole, it is most similar to the Great Sword in that its moveset does not present much of a challenge, but it can deal a lot of damage in the right situation. The Switch Axe is top of the list as far as Mosnter Hunter: World starter weapons go.

Monster Hunter: World Insect Glaive

One of the stranger weapons in Monster Hunter is the Insect Glaive. It is a newer weapon to the series and has two parts: the insect and the glaive. Revolutionary, right?

The insect (technically called a kinsect, but that’s very much semantics) is used to give you buffs of four kinds: white, orange, red, and green. White makes your movement faster, orange gives knockback protection, red improves attacks, and green heals you. After you send the insect to attack a monster you can return it with the buff to consume it, getting its benefits.

Keeping those buffs up is one thing, but knowing how to get each one is another challenge. Different body parts of the monster you are fighting will give different buffs, so working out where each one is located is something you will need to do early on in each hunt.

On top of that, you have to learn the glaive. It is a combo-heavy weapon that, in the best hands, is predominantly aerial. You can fly through the air with Insect Glaive attacks, so getting the buffs you need and then pulling off combos while skyhigh is the goal, but making a mistake will leave you vulnerable.

The Insect Glaive is by far the most acrobatic weapon, so if you are good at avoiding attacks while looking rad as heck, this is the weapon for you.

Monster Hunter: World Lance

One of the least popular weapons, the Lance is for those who want to sit down and take a beating. No, really – it is a weapon made for hiding behind a shield and stabbing anything that gets in front of you.

It is best to consider the Lance user as the tank of the team – they will guard and take the brunt of a monster’s attacks while their allies deal damage from less perilous angles. Unfortunately, monsters are unpredictable, and so reliably keeping the monster’s attention can be difficult. To address this, there is a skill called Taunt in previous Monster Hunter games that makes monsters more likely to target you, but it relies upon you having a shockingly bad stat, meaning it is not used much.

In the end, the Lance has never been great because you are always more useful choosing a weapon that deals more damage or buffs your allies. The Lance can make for some interesting compositions, but in Monster Hunter, the best defense is a good offense, not sitting behind a shield all day.

Monster Hunter: World Gunlance

On the other hand, you have the Gunlance, which at first looks similar to the Lance, but as you might have guessed from the name, it comes with a gun on its end. Gun is perhaps too kind a word, because typically you will not be using it at range, instead following up a combo of attacks with an explosion right in a monster’s gut.

It has many of the same pros of the Lance, with the added benefit of being much better at causing a monster to flinch with the burst of damage an explosion can do. Think of it as a more offensive option which, in the grand strategy of killing things, is generally for the best.

It has some special moves too, with the Wyrmstake Cannon rewarding players who regularly fire shells. If you desperately want explosions in your fight then the Gunlance is the way to go, but like the Lance, you are giving up damage for the defensive capabilities of a shield that, in most circumstances, will not actually save your life.

Monster Hunter: World Sword and Shield

I have been complaining about shields for a while, but the Sword and Shield combo uses shields well, as it does not force you into defensive tactics. In fact, the shield is not really that defensive at all: it is best to think of it as an offensive weapon, as a way to dish out blunt damage on top of the cutting damage of a sword.

For a while, the Sword and Shield was considered a boring weapon, but it has seen some changes since that make it fun to use. The combos are satisfying to pull off, often finishing with an impressive flurry, and it allows you to use items (including Monster Hunter: World’s new Slinger, a glorified slingshot but with some interesting ammo including some that explode) with your weapons drawn.

It is a jack of all trades type of weapon, and while it means you will be master of none, being able to do a little bit of everything means you will be prepared for any situation. The combos are easy to pull off, too – any combination of button spamming will, usually, give you a nice combo, so even if you are bad at remembering button sequences, it has that leeway to make it work.

Monster Hunter: World Hammer

Onto the primary blunt weapon of choice, the Hammer is exactly what you think it is: a giant hammer. It functions similarly to the Great Sword in many ways, as its combos are less flexible than those of other weapons, and its primary damage output comes from a devastating charge attack.

Where the Hammer differs from the Great Sword is in how its damage output is not its most important asset – the main draw is in it being one of the few weapons that does a lot of blunt damage. While not being explained well in previous Monster Hunter games, it is important to know that there are two damage types: cutting and blunt. Cutting can cut the tails off monsters, while blunt damage is used to destroy armoured monster parts – the Barroth’s jaw, for example, in the beta.

You can also deal KO damage to a monster by hitting its head with a blunt weapon, which can knock a monster out or stun them. They will typically then fall over, which gives hunters a good ten seconds or so (depending on the monster) to wail on them. You are more of a support hunter with the Hammer so do not worry about dealing huge damage, focus more on giving the monster a real good headache.

Monster Hunter: World Hunting Horn

We have gone over the Hammer, but what if the Hammer had a set of bagpipes built into it? That is the Hunting Horn: on top of functioning like the Hammer, the Hunting Horn allows you to play stat-enhancing songs. Each attack puts a different note in the melody, which can then be played to give your allies a buff, so long as it is the right tune.

Given that it is the only weapon that can buff your party, the Hunting Horn should be played as a support. Knowing melodies (which you can find online or in the in-game menus) is obviously very important and only becomes more crucial as you head into higher level hunts.

You will never see the average Hunting Horn hunter dealing lots of damage, but you will notice hunts going much more smoothly, provided they play their role well. Buffs for attack and defense are great, but when the Hunting Horn really comes into its own is when it is used to give everyone immunity to monster roars that otherwise stun the whole team.

Monster Hunter: World Bow

Now we are moving onto the weapons that, on PC, are going to be truly impressive. While we have not yet played Monster Hunter: World on PC, being able to aim with the mouse is going to be a game changer for weapons like the Bow. In fact, I would say that the Bow is going to be one of the best weapons to pick up in Monster Hunter: World on PC, for both the fact that you can play with a mouse and keyboard, and for the changes made to it in this entry to the series.

Typically, Bows are hard to understand. Knowing when you are dealing optimal damage, and even what you should be doing at any point during a battle, used to require a lot of Googling and from there picking up on subtle visual cues. Now, the fact that you can see how much damage each attack does makes the Bow a lot easier to learn.

Each Bow has an optimal range: the numbers that flash up when an arrow hits a monster will let you know when you are doing the most damage. Add to that the fact that the Bow has some great combos, where firing and dodging in perfect sequence fully draws your Bow again, and the Bow is a monster of a weapon.

You also have the ability to be more of a support player with the Bow as there is nothing else quite as versatile. Each Bow has the ability to use coatings, such as Power, Sleep, or Close Range. They can either boost your damage or apply debuffs, such as putting a monster to sleep or poisoning them. Ranged hunters will rejoice when Monster Hunter: World comes to PC.

Monster Hunter: World Light Bowgun

There are two kinds of Bowguns (think of them as giant crossbows) in Monster Hunter: World – light and heavy. Light Bowguns are typically more focused on being support, applying debuffs to enemies and sacrificing damage in favour of mobility.

What makes them a challenge is how much preparation they require. The Bow comes with what seems to be an infinite supply of arrows, while the Bowguns both require ammo to be at their most effective. Swapping between ammo types on the fly is how you will be most effective – using status effects to weaken monsters, then maybe getting up close and personal with a spread shot.

The Light Bowgun has more of these status effect ammo types, and for that reason is often considered a support weapon. Using it has you play the game like a third-person shooter because of how mobile it is: you can run around while shooting, which separates it from the static attacks of the other weapons. The Bow often leaves you low on stamina as drawing the string drains the resource, but the Light Bowgun is very much a run-and-gun style of ranged weapon.

Monster Hunter: World Heavy Bowgun

If you want to deal huge damage at a distance you will have to use the Heavy Bowgun. It has fewer ammo types to choose from than the Light Bowgun, and you are much slower while the weapon is drawn, but it gets a special ammo type that makes it worth picking.

We will get a full list of special ammo when the game releases, but we do know right now that it can range from a gatling-=gun-like mode to a sniper shot that explodes shortly after being embedded in the target. Hitting your target with special ammo is crucial as it deals more damage than pretty much every other weapon in the game. But to really make the most of it you will need to make sure you have chosen the right kind of Heavy Bowgun for each hunt. If a monster is too fast, you will not get much out of the gatling gun, but the sniper shot should make for an easier hit – especially as we can use the mouse on PC.

If you can rely on other hunters to take the monster’s hits, the Heavy Bowgun means you get to sit back, relax, and shell a monster with ease. It is possible the damage output numbers will change in the release version of Monster Hunter: World, but it is likely to be the weapon with the highest damage output, as long as you are able to get the shots off.