The Switch Axe is such an unusual Monster Hunter weapon. Until now our Hunting Style series has referenced somewhat recognisable options: Long swords, daggers and even lances are familiar to players coming from other games. What on earth then must a new player think when they find the Switch Axe, a strange transforming blend of long range Axe and short, swiping Sword mode? Just learning to control the beast is daunting enough, never mind taking down your target.
Just when you think you’ve got the hang of it, along comes MHGU to muddy the waters even more with it’s multiple style options. Not that we’re complaining of course, it’s always nice to have more options, but which of these styles are actually worth your time? We’re not going to claim to be absolute masters of the Swag Axe, but after hundreds of hunts with the thing (387 at time of writing), we’ve picked out two that we think make the most sense.
We’ll preface this particular style by telling you that it’s probably the most powerful option you can choose for the Switch Axe, at least in terms of sheer damage output. This style focuses on making your Sword mode abilities as easy as possible to use, which it achieves by making them loop together in a smooth a natural fashion. You can switch between both of your Sword attacks easily, nudging and manoeuvring your hunter around the hunter as you do.
Of course, the usual Swag Axe problem will raise it’s ugly head at some point: You’ll need to recharge your Sword by heading back into Axe mode.. Or will you? Striker Style gives you three hunter arts, so along with your choice of evasion you can also bring two offensive arts, namely Energy Charge and Demon Riot. With these active and your sword constantly slashing, you’ll reach a point where your arts are almost fully recharged before they run out, meaning you can just stick with sword mode for almost the entire hunt!
The style does lose some versatility in Axe mode, but given that you’re hardly ever going to be out of Sword mode, who cares?
- Huge damage possibilities.
- Unique ‘constant Arts’ style of play.
- Works well with Evade Distance skill, to increase hop distance whilst your sword is drawn, preventing sheathes.
- Requires you keep hitting to keep the Arts rolling.
- Can get a little boring spamming a few moves over and over.
- No endless Axe chops.
It’s a testament to the versatility of the Switch Axe that our next Hunting Style choice is dedicated primarily to it’s other form: The Axe. Adept Style doesn’t completely remove the Sword mode as a possibility – you can still hop in and out of it as much as you want – but rather it’s move set encourages Axe usage more than usual.
As you may know, this style focuses on dodging enemy attacks and connecting with a damaging counter attack. The same is true here, and both weapon modes include their own counter attacks: Sword does a double swing counter, where the Axe swings around a three hit attack. Of the two, the Axe version is more damaging, albeit a little harder to hit. If you press your ‘R’ button once the Axe counter is complete, your weapon will morph into Sword mode, and vica versa.
All that being said, the style tends to optimally play as follows: Draw into an Axe attack or use the forward thrust during an opening, Adept dodge an attack, Axe mode counter attack into Sword mode to do some damage. From here you stay in Sword mode, Adept dodge another attack and morph back into Axe once the counter has been used. Doing these both keeps your gauge high whilst offering unparalleled safety, due to the innate ‘Evasion +3’ offered by Adept style. It’s great fun too, automatically countering and switching between the modes.
- Feels good making use of the Axe mode.
- Damage is quite competitive, once you get practised with the Axe.
- Very safe style, as per usual.
- Lacks the upward Sword slash.
- Won’t quite hit the damage peaks found in Striker Style.
- Staying in Axe mode will feel awkward at first.
- Evade Distance is a popular skill with Switch Axe due to the increased hop distance, however this will not increase the distance of your Adept evades.
One more weapon down in our Hunting Styles articles! We really love the Swag Axe and these modes really feel incredible different, which is quite unusual in MHGU. Honorable mentions would have to go to Aerial Style, for doing damage both on the way up and on the way down, and Alchemy Style for it’s strange ‘infinite swings’ style of play.
Let us know how you feel about the most swaggest of Monster Hunter weapons in the comments!
Categories: Monster Hunter