Though not quite as diverse as it’s cast of monsters, Monster Hunter: World has a large array of weapons for you to choose from. Each has its own unique set of strengths and weaknesses, requiring you to approach them differently to make use of their full potential. It can be overwhelming at first, but taking the time to understanding the nuances of each weapon and finding which one most appeals to you is more than worth the trouble.
Here is a brief rundown of each weapon to help choose which one is right for you:
Blademasters refer to any hunter who uses melee weapons. Though they have to go up close to their targets to deal damage, they make up for this inconvenience with (typically) superior damage.
If you’re patient and like waiting for enemies to reveal their weaknesses then Great Sword (GS) is the weapon for you. What it lacks in speed, it makes up for in power and it has plenty of it to spare. You’ll need to wait for the proper moments to strike an enemy, but you’ll deal big damage when it connects. What’s more, in the off-chance that you feel like the Great Sword isn’t dealing enough damage, you can hold the attack button for awhile and release it to deal even more damage, then do it again…and again.
Sword and Shield
Want to fight like a knight? Meet the Sword and Shield (SnS). Boasting an impressive mix of offensive and defensive maneuvers, the SnS has an answer for nearly any situation. It doesn’t have much damage per strike or range, but it’s a solid all-rounder that rewards those who can make use of its full moveset. Dodge then counter? Check. Charge attacks? Yep. Guard and use items at the same time? You bet. Heck, it can even knock enemies out by hitting them in the head with the shield.
The Dual Swords (DB) are for people who saw the SnS and decided that shields were for babies and wanted another sword to replace it. Dual Blades are blindingly fast, allowing the wielder to deal damage multiple times in a very short period of time. Of course, this speed comes at a cost: it has low damage per strike, requiring you to maintain constant pressure, and has no defensive options, meaning all you can do is the regular roll or dash attack. Fortunately, the DB has one special trick to rectify the situation: Demon Mode. Upon activation, the hunter will glow red and gain a boost to speed and damage at the expense of stamina (which can easily be remedied). If that isn’t enough, the damage boost will increase even further if you manage to land hits consistently within a certain window.
If the SnS makes you into a knight, then the Long Sword (LS) turns you into a Samurai. With decent reach and solid damage, this weapon provides a fantastic middle ground between the GS and DB. In fact, the only thing that this weapon is lacking in is defense, but it still has an attack that doubles up as a dodge in case you want to deal damage at times when you can’t fully commit to offense. What makes the LS truly special, however, are the attacks fueled by the Spirit Gauge shown in the upper left part of the HUD. As you deal damage with normal attacks, the Spirit Gauge will rise, and you can then use that gauge to execute a string of high-powered slashes that can end with a brutal cleaving strike from above. The LS is great for those who exercise patience and like to deal damage in big bursts.
Unless going into specifics, there isn’t anything that can be said about the Hammer that hasn’t already been said about the GS. Both deal high damage in a single hit, both can charge for a little while to deal even more damage with the next attack and both are slow as hell. What’s the main difference between the two then, you ask? Hammers excel at knocking enemies out, leaving them ripe for the picking. Simply go up to its head, and start swinging until it sees stars.
The Hunting Horn (HH) functions similarly to the Hammer, but what separates the two is that instead of charging attacks, the HH can be used to enhance the wielders abilities. These buffs range from attack damage to wind pressure negation, but which ones the wielder can actually apply depend on the HH they’re using. Simply press the appropriate button and it will register on the upper left part of the HUD as a musical note, and once you have the desired notes, press the appropriate button and the buff will be applied (you can press the same button prematurely to clear notes as well). Unfortunately, the HH is fairly unremarkable outside of those buffs, so its mostly relegated to multiplayer where they can enhance the whole party.
With its massive shield, the Lance is for those who would rather soak up damage and continue attacking, rather than potentially losing momentum by dodging. And thanks to the length of the weapon, it is capable of dealing said damage without being directly on top of a monster. However, that damage and defense comes at a price: speed. Wielding the lance means you do everything other than standard attacks slowly, and its not like with the GS where you only want to have it unsheathed when attacking — to hunt efficiently with the Lance, it needs to be out at all times. That said, there are ways to make use of some of its more awkward movements, but that’s mostly for those who have some more experience. It’s not necessarily a complicated weapon, but it does require a bit more finesse than other blademaster weapons.
The Gunlance (GL) is for those who saw the Lance and thought it would have been perfect if the Lance had a gun in it. Jokes on you though, because while it does have a gun, it can’t shoot from afar. Fortunately, what the gun lacks in range, it more than makes up for in raw power. The GL has two unique mechanics that are signified by markers on the upper left of the HUD: Shelling, which is basically just using a gun at point blank range, and Wyvern Fire, which is a super-powered attack that needs to be charged beforehand. Though both abilities are strong, what truly makes them noteworthy is that the damage is fixed and unblockable, so it doesn’t matter where you’re hitting the monster, as it will do the same amount of damage every time. Combined with the other attributes it inherited from the Lance, then the GL seems like an instant winner right? Not quite. Unfortunately, there’s one major weakness: it’s very high maintenance. Not only do you have to reload after using its “gun” enough times, but the mere act of using it chews through the weapon’s sharpness. So while it’s more versatile than the Lance, its demands high levels of attention to use efficiently.
If you’re looking for a unique weapon that combines the attributes of several others, then the Insect Glaive(IG) should be your weapon of choice. It features the attack speed of the SnS, the fluidity of the LS, a bowgun’s range and even the ability to use buffs like the HH. In fact, it can take things one step further thanks to its ability to launch the wielder into the air, allowing them to attack from the sky. However, the fact that it has a second component — which players will also need to get the hang of — might turn some hunters away. The component in question is a bug called the Kinsect which the Hunter can direct to attack enemies from afar and even leech energy, known as Essence, in order to boost the Hunter’s abilities. You technically don’t have to use the Kinsect to succeed in this game, but you’ll only be utilizing half of the IG’s potential. And if that’s the case, then why bother?
The following two weapons still count as blademaster weapons, but are unique because they have two separate forms, but require effective usage of both to be effective.
If you were interested in the SnS but were turned off by the lack of damage, then the Charge Blade (CB) is right up your alley. At first, the CB functions almost exactly like the SnS except without many of the shield techniques and the presence of two new mysterious icons on the HUD. Attacking will cause the icon on the right to slowly change from white to yellow and ultimately to red, and the appearance of the sword will change accordingly, glowing more intensely as time goes along. At this point, you’ll need to charge the sword in order to use it again or…combine the sword and shield into a giant axe. Technically, you can do this right away but you won’t be able to use any of the weapon’s special attributes. At any rate, the CB is slower but more powerful and has more range in axe form, allowing you to deal damage comparable to a GS. It doesn’t end there though. If you properly fill the vials (the icon on the right) and prepare to launch a super attack attack but cancel it midway, you’ll store those vials into your shield and it will glow (as signified by the shield icon on the left). In this state, not only will you deal more damage for a limited period of time, but you can store more vials to launch an enhanced version of your super attack or repeat the process to maintain the buff. Overall, the CB is a very strong weapon with essentially no drawbacks; all it requires is that the player properly manage their vials and know when to use each weapon form.
The Switch Axe (SA) takes the form changing mechanics of the CB and applies them to a giant axe. At first it would seem like the Switch Axe is comparable to the GS, but that is where you would be wrong. Rather, the weapon is surprisingly fast and boasts strong DPS. If anything, it functions like a heavier LS. As time elapses, a meter beneath your health and stamina gauges and will steadily rise until it fills. Once it does, you can transform the weapon (again, you don’t have to but its more beneficial if you do), turning it into a giant sword. In this form, the player has the option of swinging it in various directions at an even greater speed than in its previous form while enhanced by the weapon’s unique effects, or use up some of the energy in the meter to release a concentrated burst. Overall, the SA is a fast weapon, with great reach (especially in axe mode) and strong DPS. Its only downsides are its lack of a guard and low mobility while in axe form. It’s best to think of the SA like a medium-strength Charge Blade, where it makes up for the lack of strong single strikes and overall versatility with a faster and more fluid moveset.
Unlike Blademasters, Gunners have the ability to attack from long-range allowing them to attack from a distance and force enemies to come to them. Unfortunately, this means they’re often lacking in power and even that will become a footnote if they have no ammo to fire.
The Bow is among one of the most difficult weapons to master in the game, meaning that if you’re in it for the long haul if you truly want to use it. Though it is fast (in terms of both attack and movement) and versatile (thanks to the many special effects you can apply to the arrows), proper usage of the bow requires you to know where an enemy’s weak points are, as well as what its weakness is, since bows typically don’t deal high damage per shot. That said, its positives far outweigh its negatives (which don’t even really count since you’ll need to learn them regardless of your weapon), making the Bow a strong weapon in the long run — you simply have to get used to it.
The Heavy Bowgun (HBG) takes the speed and precision of the Bow and replaces it with pure, unadulterated power. The Heavy Bowgun is what want to use when you want to deal high damage but don’t feel comfortable using melee weapons like a GS or CB. It’s a very simple, straightforward weapon, as the most complicated thing you’ll ever have to do is manage your ammo. And while ammo maintenance can be a pain, it does mean you can fire anything ranging from shots imbued with electricity, split into shrapnel to damage something multiple times or even explode after a set period of time, so long as the specific HBG you’re using allows it. Its only weakness, really, is speed: it reloads slow and is cumbersome to move around with. As such, its easy to get the hang of, but faster enemies who can close the distance between you two in heartbeat and even dodge attacks at times will pose a serious challenge at first. All in all, consider this: do you want a portable cannon as your weapon? If yes, then you’ve found your weapon.
If you said no to my previous question, then you’ll want the Light Bowgun (LBG). It takes the power of the HBG and trades it for speed and maneuverability, meaning that those quick enemies aren’t so scary anymore. Beyond that, aside from a few minute differences, both these weapons function exactly the same. The only thing left worth mentioning is that LBGs tend to be better at using elemental shots, as opposed to its larger counterpart which focuses on raw damage. So if you want a lighter, less cumbersome bowgun, then the LBG is the weapon for you.
So there you have it, a basic run down of all 14 weapon types in Monster Hunter: World. Pick one and take some time to learn about it in practice mode. Of course, you don’t have to pick just one, you could learn two, three or even all of them. Happy Hunting!
Need help with something else? Head to the Hunter’s Index to find more guides.