Mastery of a Monster Hunter weapon is not something easily achieved. It takes hundreds of hours to fully acquaint yourself with one of the fourteen on offer, and likely thousands to consider yourself close to a master of its use. Further to this, each of the 14 is built differently, and your tendencies as a player will likely influence how well you get along with each of them. Title changes too can have an influence, the best example being that the advent of Rise has seen us fall in love with the Hunting Horn, so we’re naturally going to put in the work to get better with it. That said, after a long period of time absorbing the many nuances of Rise, the following weapons are those that we feel will take a budding hunter the longest to master.
It feels like such a simple concept, does the Hammer. Charge up your swing, wait for an opening and let it loose on the target’s head. This is the essence of it all really, and besides environmental changes, hunting arts, Silkbinds and styles being introduced at various points in the series, the basic tenets remain; charge up, get in position and release. Alas, it is not the pon itself that makes the Hammer complicated, but rather the requirement of applying it to the target’s head. Not only are monsters’ heads almost always moving in one direction or another, but they’re often obscured by wings and arms that swing back and forth, or accompanied by mouths that enjoy spitting fire/electricity/poison/swimming knives/lobsters or some such. Essentially, optimal use of the Hammer lands the hunter in the worst possible position and expects them to thrive. They do of course, eventually, but not without a great deal of practice and forethought.
Some readers might question why we have chosen this instead of the Hunting Horn, and while we do understand that the latter naturally has more options available to it, and as such more to learn, it has one rather large thing going for it: You’re always able to provide benefit. Even the most basic of hunters can pick up the Horn and provide the team with appreciable buffs and benefits, and they can do this without even so much as approaching the target. By contrast, a Hammer that does not approach the target is less than useless.
- Depends on being close to the target’s face to operate optimally.
- The ‘head’ zone of a target is often it’s most dangerous position.
- Levels of charge must be considered, adapted and often abandoned depending on the developing situation.
- Model selection can be a pain. The fact that higher raw damage output is always desirable, at least for maximising KOs, means that you’ll often be left sifting through poor options until you defeat one monster in particular.
- Do not feel like you must go for every opening, there will be more chances.
- It’s not always possible to hit the biggest charged attack.
- Further to the above, it’s a good idea to start with single basic attacks, until you get used to the timing and movement of a target.
- You will likely notice a huge amount of elemental or status models available, yet no matter the title, we’ve still yet to find any that are worthwhile. Stick to high raw damage or affinity where possible, especially whilst you’re learning.
Our next choice is the slow, meandering siege cannon that is the Heavy Bowgun, and in many ways the difficulty with this weapon can be summed up in one sentence: It’s not the same as it was in Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate. There it was a hyper-powerful blasting cannon, capable of repositioning and redirecting itself through judicial usage of the Valor hunting style. Capcom soon discovered just how powerful this was, especially after Pierce Ammo speedruns started displaying insane clear times, and consequently nerfed it into oblivion. Thus it retains its original and worthy purpose; to be incredibly slow, difficult to maneuver but powerful in the right hands.
- Designed to be a slow, lumbering beast that is capable of high damage output, which makes quickly dodging an attack an impossibility, especially without prior knowledge of said incoming attacks.
- Huge reload and recoil on certain Ammo can make your life even harder. You may think you have dodged an attack, and thus have time to reload and fire, but one more chained attack by your target could spell your end.
- Some of the most powerful models come with no frills attached at all. No quicker reload, no lowered recoil, so it’s often not possible to rely on these to survive.
- Do not fall for the ‘just one more shot’ greed syndrome. It’s not worth trying to get that extra 30 damage out, especially if you’re going to get flattened by an incoming attack.
- The same goes for reloads. You do not need to have your next shot ready yet, certainly not until you’re out of the danger zone, so take your time and reload when there is a gap in the hunt.
- Attempt to use low recoil and quick reloading ammunition, at least whilst you’re learning.
- If you are going to use more powerful shots, focus on simply charging up a single shot, while most of your attention goes to dodging and staying safe. Slicing Ammo works great here.
- Find models that allow movement as much as possible, especially whilst you’re in the early learning period of its use.
Upon laying out this article we knew that 3 was our magic number, and we also knew that both the Hammer and the Heavy Bowgun would make an appearance. Three is a nice number to write about, especially given that this is essentially an opinion piece, but our third choice was leaving us a bit stumped. We considered those that we’ve seen others struggle with, and indeed those that most often lead to carts, but eventually settled on the weapon that we struggled with the most, and one that we ignored for the longest time upon its release: The Charge Blade.
In MH4U we messed around with it quite a bit. It was fun to get a glowing red shield going, reducing incoming damage more than usual and unleashing it upon an unsuspecting Great Jaggi, but something didn’t quite click. We ended up gravitating towards the Dual Blades, Insect Glaive and Great Sword there, and didn’t really return to it until Generations Ultimate, the style choices and hunting arts giving us a reason to return. This continued into World, which we thoroughly enjoyed thanks to it’s new imbued Sword mode, and we’ve maintained a fairly good relationship with it in Rise.
Such things however, do not disguise the fact that it is a tremendously difficult weapon to master. There are numerous reasons for this, not least because of the amount of attacks and morphs that it has at its disposal, but after a great deal of thought we’ve nailed it down to one reason: The skill ceiling. Of all the Weapons available in a modern Monster Hunter title, the Charge Blade has the highest skill ceiling. Oh sure, we’ve all seen master Long Sword users completely dodge otherwise deadly attacks, or Great Sword users tackle their way through powerful monster dives, but seeing a master of the Charge Blade at work is something else completely. It’s combination of perfectly timed guard points and massively damaging counter attacks is a joy to see in motion, yet tremendously difficult to accomplish. Even now, after countless hours across multiple titles with the thing, we’re still yet to consider ourselves even ‘proficient’ with the thing. It’s a testament to the series and indeed the weapon that we keep returning, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t occasionally hate the way it pays more attention to the buttons we’re pressing than the epic counter we pictured in our mind.
- The changing nature of the weapon can be difficult to become accustomed with, requiring care and attention just to switch between modes.
- By its very nature, it requires successful attacks to charge up, which can make it very difficult to ‘get going’ against new targets.
- Attempting to master it’s guard point usage is very difficult, and feels like it has been made even more so in Rise.
- Often it can feel like a ‘stop, start’ affair, with vast gaps between phial fill ups, especially when learning new encounters. This often leads to ‘greed’ attempts, which invariably go wrong.
- Do not abandon practicing Sword mode. It’s necessary during build up, and you will almost certainly find yourself stuck with it whilst a monster is enraged, refusing to leave you alone. It will serve you well to learn this mode as much as possible.
- Building on our above point, you really should not just rely on the old SAED (Super Amped Elemental Discharge). Yes it’s powerful and yes it was the way to get things done in older titles, but the Charge Blade is about so much more than this now.
- Do your best to resist greedy attacks! Even just the most basic of Sword hits will help you out, so learn to settle for this and save up your larger hits for when the time is right.
- Speedrunners have been using the Charge Blade for years, over multiple games, and they record numerous hunts before they publish the videos that you see. Do not beat yourself up because you cannot replicate them!