Swinging around a good Switch Axe is a joy in Monster Hunter Rise. When it all goes right and you’re sidestepping attacks, morphing in and out of sword form and applying all manner of phials it feels fantastic, but It doesn’t always go right now does it? Usage of the most swag weapon in Monster Hunter is not easy, certainly not skilled usage of it at least, and early attempts to get used to it are more likely to look like a drunken sailor trying to sword fight with a piece of rope than they are a veritable hunter. Hence today’s article, because whilst we can’t be there to hold your hand through the trials and tribulations, we can at least make sure you’re swinging the right piece of kit.
It pleases us greatly that the Switch Axe has such a powerful early entry into it’s catalogue. Whilst the Wheel Axe is very different, it actually reminds us somewhat of the Jagras Axe from Monster Hunter World; it’s just a powerful model that is available early, and will keep up with the new content just fine. This does of course require you to take down a Bishaten, which on balance we would consider to be slightly more difficult than the very first opponent back in World, but this shouldn’t cause you too much trouble in the end. We’ve yet to hear stories of it becoming a ‘Wall’ like some others, so take your time and you’ll soon gather enough materials to forge this bad boy.
Before we begin, it’s worth noting that this is a Dragon Phial version of the Switch Axe. This of course means that sword mode attacks will deal Dragon damage, but there is a lesser known benefit to this: Dragon Phials charge very quickly. This means that you’ll have much less down time in your most damaging form, and when this is combined with a target weak to such things, the damage possibilities are significant. Outside of this the Wheel Axe comes with a high level of raw damage for it’s time, and it’s significant portion of green sharpness will keep you going for quite a while.
- Great level of raw damage for it’s point in the game.
- Nice chunk of green sharpness.
- Dragon Phial is actually quite useful in Rise, with numerous monsters being weak to it. As noted above, it charges up very, very fast and actually allows for some tremendous damage to those weak to it.
- The Rampage Skill, Boost Equipped Coating, will increase this Dragon damage even further.
- Final upgraded model is actually very powerful, though you may want to pick up something to retain sharpness along the way.
- Bishaten Horn x 2
- Bishaten Fur x 4
- Bishaten Talon x 3
- Dragonite Ore x 2
Clearly the power of this model was well known by the developers, because this is actually quite a difficult recipe to complete in just a few hunts. You’ll get plenty of Fur of course, probably enough with one or two hunts, and the Dragonite Ore can be found rather easily as you progress. The Horns are a little more painful, since they’ll require a head break to have a real good chance at getting, but by far the worst are the Talons – not only do these require that the Wing be broken, but doing so only nets you a 30% chance to get them! Happily they can be found in the rewards too, but getting three of these might be a bit of a sticking point here.
Nargacuga, the fountain of early loot, returns once again to our early game articles to confound us with it’s combination of excellent weapon models and unwillingness to drop Cutwings that allow them to be crafted. It’s a model very much in the same vein as others in said monster’s series – high affinity, middling raw – but this particular model comes with something a little different: Poison Phial. Notably, it comes with no attached element or status natively, but in the phial alone. In practice this makes the weapon feel slightly different to both Power types, and indeed our first choice in Dragon. Where the former takes a long time to build up, and the latter does so much quicker, the Poison type falls into the middle somewhat, and we find that it fits with the ‘flow’ of the weapon very well.
There’s a great deal more to it than just the Poison however. Affinity is a massive 40%, as per usual with this particular monster’s arsenal, and whilst the raw damage isn’t exactly going to break any records, it’s high enough to balance out those frequent crits. Additionally, the amount of green sharpness available here is incredible, and it’ll naturally reach white sharpness should you decide to keep upgrading it. This is probably our favourite early model with which to use the Rapid Morph skill; whilst it’s almost universally useful for the Switch Axe in general, using it here to continuously apply Poison is a great way to keep that attrition damage ticking.
- Massive 40% Affinity rating.
- Reasonable raw damage, lower than usual to offset the Affinity.
- Comes with the Poison Phial. These are seemingly unpopular; most tend to go for pure ‘power’ or ‘elemental’ phial options, since these always add damage no matter what, however the ‘attrition’ style of fighting lends itself well to this model.
- Comes with the ‘Boost Equipped Coating’ Rampage Skill, to help Poison build up quicker.
- Fully upgraded, this naturally reaches white sharpness.
- Nargacuga Cutwing x 4
- Nargacuga Blackfur x 3
- Monster Bone+ x 2
As per usual, and much to our chagrin, a Nargacuga model requires a significant amount of Cutwings. These can be an absolute pain to gather, especially if you’re taking the target on during Multiplayer sessions, since others may not be too concerned about breaking its front legs. The Blackfur and Monster Bone+ shouldn’t be a problem at all, the latter of which tends to drop from pretty much everything higher than 4 Star difficulty.
Leaping, smoking purple lad Magnamalo is back again, this time with that most stylish of weapons, the Switch Axe, of which this model is very much a return to form. So far we’ve recommended both status and elemental phial types, and whilst they’re both immensely satisfying to play with, there is something very satisfying about a pure Power Phial type, which lends all of its power to increasing your raw damage done as much as possible. Technically speaking, a Switch Axe of a given element phial can deal more damage to a certain weak point on a target, but it’s likely that a Power Phial will do more no matter the location struck. Thus, whilst you’re learning and making your transition into High Rank, it’s prudent to have something that does not discern between target or body type.
As noted, this is a Power Phial type, so you’re naturally going to boost your raw damage rather than a given element. This being the case, the actual element attached is given to all of your attacks, rather than just those that use the phial in question. All told, this means that every hit will apply the Blast damage attached to the Sinister Axe, but Phial attacks will not increase this.
Right then, we’ve clarified that every swing will apply Blast, and that it’s phial just powers up raw damage, but what about the actual model in question? Well the usual Magnamalo trends continue here; it has a good level of raw damage, can be upgraded once before High Rank, comes with a massive amount of green sharpness and has access to the Attack Boost II Rampage Skill. Yes, we regularly recommend models from this particular model, but when comparing each of them in terms of sheer power potential, the Switch Axe has to be close to the top. It’s ability to constantly deal damage from angles unavailable to other melee weapons pairs tremendously well with it’s Blast application. Pair this with Rapid Morph and some Evade Extender skills, and you’ll soon find out exactly why it’s earned the nickname of Swag Axe.
- Good raw damage, especially with the second upgrade available prior to High Rank.
- Huge amount of green sharpness.
- 17 Blast is actually quite high for a base model, specifically because the Switch Axe can deal continuous hits when used correctly.
- Power Phial type, which is essentially a flat increase in damage rather than emphasising a particular status or element.
- Attack Boost II or Blast Boost I – both Rampage Skills are powerful, though at a push we would consider the former to be better, unless you’re consistently targeting a weakness to Blast.
- Magnamalo Shell x 5
- Magnamalo Blade x 3
- Magnamalo Scute x 1
- Magna Ghostprism x 3
Phew, this is certainly one of the more extensive shopping lists that we have written, even for a Magnamalo model. As ever with the more generic pieces, you’ll find plenty of Shells every time you take one down, and the Ghostprisms will drop like candy when you undertake some Wyvern Riding. The Blades do require that you break it’s arms, but this is a weak point that you’re likely to be attacking, and the Scute requires a back break for a good chance, so keep trucking away and you’ll eventually get everything required!