Monster Hunter World weapons guide

How to use all 14 melee and ranged weapon types effectively, and which are best for beginners.

There are 14 weapon types in Monster Hunter World, meaning there's a style to suit everybody. If that's a little too much choice for you, or if you're fairly new to the series, then we have some advice about which weapons to go with. For your definitive guide to weapons in Monster Hunter World look no further than the short intros below, and find your favorite murder machine today.

Monster Hunter World melee weapons guides

Sword & Shield

The Sword & Shield is the bread and butter of the Monster Hunter World (world). Perfect for beginners, this tried and tested combination offers you quick attacks when the opportunity arises and defensive options the rest of the time. There's not much fancy going on with startup frames or combos but that just means you don't have to worry too much about getting caught out by quick foes or getting flustered in battles. Well-suited to pretty much every monster in the game, so if you aren't sure what to use, grab the trusty sword & shield.

Great Sword

Great Swords are pretty great, but they're also pretty slow. Large and heavy, they're a little harder to wield than the sword & shield and leave you much more exposed. It is possible to quickly block incoming attacks, but this will sacrifice some of your sharpness, so get used to rolling and dodging. The startup swing also means you have to get much better at timing your attacks, and the size of the blade will require some knowledge of spacing to effectively hit the monster. You can also charge your attacks to do more damage, again leaving yourself a little more vulnerable but for some really good damage. You're best of using this against slower, less mobile quarries, and definitely not the best choice for flying monsters (unless it's a Rathian because once you're fighting they stay on the floor anyway and you'll be thankful for the extra damage).

Long Sword

The Long Sword is not quite as big as a Great Sword and, as such, is much faster to wield. There is no block with the Long Sword, so you'll need to learn to dodge and roll. As its name suggests, you do still get a longer reach than the sword and shield, and as an added bonus you get the Spirit Blade ability. Some weapons in the game have special buffing abilities or modes, and Spirit Blade makes the Long Sword stronger for a short amount of time in battle. You can build up the Spirit Guage by attacking and then deplete it by triggering Spirit Blade attacks. Comboing Spirit Blade attacks together can raise the guage's level up to level three, increasing the damage of your combos. The guage slowly decays (faster at higher Spirit Levels) so maintaining a balance between Spirit attacks and normal charging ones is the key to using this effectively. Good against most monsters, but particularly effective against agile or flying ones like Tobi-Kadachi or Rathians (even when they try to fly away).

Dual Blades

This is the all-out offensive option of the swords, dual-wielding blades for a relentless whirling attack spree. Dual Blades give you the highest attack speed and the most maneuverability between attacks, however each one is like a papercut compared to heavier weapons. To make up for it you can go into Demon Mode with right trigger, increasing attack damage, gaining knockback resistance and changing the dodge to a quick dash, though Demon Mode does drain your stamina. Demon Mode also allows you to chain together longer combos to deal more damage, and every hit powers up the Archdemon Meter. Archdemon Mode amps up damage even further and gives you access to another new moveset of combos. The total lack of defensive options means this isn't for the faint-hearted or for unpredictably fast foes. A huge monster like an Anjanath might be good prey, as you can quickly move between strike areas while doing your deadly dance.

Hammer

The Hammer is similar to the Great Sword, though it does most of its damage through crushing blunt force trauma. It's a bit faster to use than the Great Sword and that blunt damage makes it great for stunning or knocking out monsters if you aim for the head. As well as a surprisingly fast basic attack combo (which chains a lot of damage into the same place) there are also three levels of charge attack. You can change the charge attack by standing still or moving while executing, and charge attacks apply damage buffs and a defensive buff known as hyper armor. Good against anything with a head that you can cave in, but due to the strongest attacks taking a while to charge and execute it's good to have somone else around to distract the monster so you can stun it and go to town.

Hunting Horn

This is a very weird one, one of the weirdest weapons in Monster Hunter World in fact. The horn is wielded like a heavy weapon (Hammer or Great Sword) but every attack landed plays a note. String together the correct sequence of notes and you'll issue a melodic buff to your whole party, ranging from attack power increases to immunity from monster roars. The damage it deals is actually quite good, and the moveset is very simple, so this can be a viable solo weapon for beginners, but really you've got to be in a party to get the full benefit. Damage type is blunt, so you can stun by going for the head but you're best off going for slower, more health-wealthy monsters as a team with this one.

Lance

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A more conventional weapon in the Monster Hunter arsenal, the Lance is for poking from great distances. You also get a shield, which gives you strong defensive capabilities, and you can still attack with that shield raised. Keeping that shield up means you can tank hits while still getting in good damage, but putting it away lets you charge in and skewer monsters good enough to put them on a BBQ spit. It's not very fast or flashy, but if you keep up enough damage then you'll hold the monster's attention away from your squishier, flashier team mates. Great at taking on basically anything, but especially good at prodding flying monsters out of the air with that excellent range.

Gunlance

One of the weirder hybrid weapons in Monster Hunter, the Gunlance is obviously one of the best weapons though tricky to use. You get even better defensive options than the standard lance and are basically immovable once entrenched behind your shield. From there you can poke, prod and sweep away with your lance, however charging attacks activate its secret weapon: a hidden shotgun in the tip. Shotgun blasts ignore monster hide and do incredible damage, but they do have limited range. You can also turn your lance into a flamethrower using Wyvern's Fire which is great for prolonged period of sustained damage, but will cause the lance to overheat. Great against bigger monsters for no fear and heavy damage.

Switch Axe

Another hybrid weapon, the Switch Axe is slightly more complicated than the Gunlance. Two modes: axe mode and sword mode. Axe mode has great reach and ok mobility with good damage. Sword mode has rapid attacks and the ability to discharge elemental effects with its attacks. Charge the guage with axe form, unleash it with sword form, and get used to managing your phials. You can swap out phials for different elemental effects, or even stamina draining abilities. You have no defensive options so get used to rolling, but the power unleashed by switching can help take down monsters as large as Ratholos.

Charge Blade

This is the most complicated melee weapon of all. Similar to the Switch Axe, the Charge Blade has two distinct forms of a sword and shield, and a large axe. Sword and Shield isn't quite as mobile as its non-hybrid weapon type, but does give you defensive options and a standard combo with a charge attack. Swapping between standard hits, charge hits and shield jabs let you attack quickly and build up a phial charge fast. Phial charges can then be spent in axe form on an elemental discharge, or stored into the shield. Storing phial charges in the shield means any attack you block will harm the monster. In addition there are certain attacks that have shielding frames at the startup or end, so you can time blocks with your attacks. The axe itself has great reach and does heavy damage, but comboing everything together is a lot to ask in the heat of battle. If you can handle it, this weapon makes short work of less mobile monsters but leaves you basically no options if they leave the ground or have any speed in their attacks.

Insect Glaive

The Insect Glaive uses the power of bugs to help you fly. A glaive is halfway between spear and sword and has a very fast and fluid combo system. Using the attached Kinsects, you can earn buffs by sending them out and stealing certain powers from the monsters you are fighting. Red essence is an attack buff, orange is defence, white is move speed and green is healing. After getting all your buffs, you can use your glaive to pole vault into the air, then air dash or combo attack to keep yourself in the air where monsters have trouble hitting you. Air dashes reset every time your air juggles land, so you can chain them together until you miss or run out of stamina. It also makes it trivially easy to mount a monster, and the speed with which you attack and take to the air makes this ideal for faster flying monsters, or slippery foes like the Tobi-Kadachi.

Monster Hunter World ranged weapons guides

Bow

The gold standard in ranged weapons, the Bow may appear a little weak but offers so many options through ammo types. You can chain together unaimed attacks into a sort of combo which also creates a rain of rocks constantly damaging and interrupting monster animations underneath. Pressing both attack buttons charges an explosive arrow to do massive damage to a single target or a small grouping of monsters. You can use the coatings of arrows to apply elemental debuffs to monsters or just increase the damage you're doing. Great for basically everything and especially anything that leaves the ground.

Light Bowgun

Not quite the same as the Bow, the Light Bowgun is much smaller giving you greater mobility and firing speed. It has the same range of ammo types as the Bow (though they're not coatings, they're just crafted ammo) but you can also apply custom mods to bowguns to change their reload times, or automatically block incoming attacks. The one significant difference is that you must craft ammo for the Bowguns rather than infinite arrows that you coat with effects for the Bow. Great at rapidly evading quick monsters and hitting them when they take to the air.

Heavy Bowgun

The heavier cousin of the Light Bowgun is the damage dealer of the ranged arsenal. Bigger range, bigger rounds, longer to fire. You can stagger monsters and break off parts more easily with the Heavy Bowgun, and also has the same mod system letting you add custom effects to your weapon. You'll most likely want a recoil suppressor or reload assis on this bad boy, because it has one hell of a kick and takes forever to wind again. Also has special rounds Wyvernsnipe (one big hit) and Wyvernheart (lots of smaller hits) that recharge over time. Good at hitting big things from range, use it for doing that.

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