The Best Weapons for Newcomers and Veterans in Monster Hunter: World
Monster Hunter: World features a slew of unique weapons to master. Each one is wildly different from the last, to the point where the act of switching weapons makes it feel like you're playing a new game. With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to decide where to start.
It's totally possible to switch weapons throughout the game, and I would even highly encourage you to do so. However, it helps to know which weapons you gel with and approximately how much work you'll need to put into learning them in order to be adept at it.
To that end, we've decided to rank each weapon from the easiest to the hardest to learn. We'll also go over each weapon's main mechanics and playstyle so you can get a better idea of what options are actually available.
Monster Hunter: World Weapons Ranked From Easiest to Hardest to Learn
But first, a disclaimer: The amount of skill and technical know-how needed to learn a weapon is not indicative of how well a weapon performs in a hunt, nor does it imply that the skill ceiling on the easier weapons is any lower than that of the harder ones. Every weapon performs extremely well in their own right, and there's a lot to master with each.
With that said, let's dive in!
1. Sword and Shield (SnS)
The Sword and Shield is a versatile weapon that has it all. It has quick attacks that keep you from getting stuck in one spot for too long. It has a shield that lets you guard incoming attacks if you can't get out of the way quick enough. It's also the only weapon that allows you to use items without the need to sheath your weapon.
All of this combines to make Sword and Shield a perfect all-rounder for learning the basics of the game. Nothing about its moveset punishes you all that much, you won't often have moments where you can't find opportunities to hit the monster, and the ability to set traps and drink potions without sheathing is really game-changing.
2. Dual Blades (DB)
Dual Blades are blazingly fast and built for dashing in, lashing out with a long chain of attacks, and dashing back out before the enemy can touch you. They may not have much in the way of defense, but their speed more than makes up for it.
The Dual Blades have a special mechanic called Demon Mode that increases their speed and changes your rolls into quick-dashes. When active, it slowly drains your stamina, but landing blows will build up the Archdemon Gauge. If you manage to fill the gauge, you'll go into Archdemon Mode, which allows you to continue your speedy onslaught without the pain of a depleting stamina meter. This Archdemon Gauge will slowly drain while in this mode, but it can be extended by just popping into Demon Mode for a moment and building it back up.
While simply button mashing is enough to get by with this weapon, both Demon Mode and Archdemon Mode have completely different movesets, and figuring out how to use each to the best of your ability will really step up your game.
3. Long Sword (LS)
The Long Sword is a nimble weapon with a long reach and some insane power potential. Each hit on a monster builds up the Spirit Gauge, which can later be used in a massive Spirit Blade attack to deal a bunch of damage and temporarily level up your sword's attack power. These Spirit Gauge levels can even be stacked a few times, but each level has a shorter duration, so you need to be quick about upkeep.
Again, this weapon doesn't have much in the way of defense, but its long reach and raw power potential are great for getting started with hunting monsters. It's easy to learn, but difficult to master.
4. Great Sword (GS)
The Great Sword Is a slow and strategic weapon that's all about finding the right opening to unleash devastating attacks. With this weapon, the main focus is charging up your swings before unleashing them in order to overpower monsters with sheer strength.
Its simple moveset and guarding capabilities make it an easy weapon to pick up, but you'll have to learn how to find openings big enough to hit your enemy in order to succeed with it. However, this is a valuable skill, and I highly recommend running around with this weapon for awhile if you want to up your game with other weapons that have long attack animations.
The Hammer is also a slow weapon, with a unique charging ability that lets it unleash a variety of attacks that really pack a punch. Its specialty is none other than its ability to knock out monsters by hitting them in the head a bunch.
The trick to this weapon is, of course, actually being able to hit the head in the first place. However, the hammer's charging ability gives it the diversity it needs in its moveset in order to accomplish just that. It may be a dangerous role, but learning how to hit the head when you need to is invaluable.
6. Hunting Horn (HH)
The Hunting Horn is a massive blunt weapon that can buff the party by playing various types of songs. It has a relatively simple moveset overall, with each button essentially playing a different note. If you manage to play the notes in an order that makes a song, you can then perform it to buff the party. Repeating a song that the party already has active will improve the buff effect, even.
Its simple moveset allows you to focus on what's important: hitting the monster and trying not to get hit in return. It just happens to come with the bonus of party buffs.
7. Switch Axe (SA)
The Switch Axe is half big-ass axe and half big-ass sword. Its Axe Mode dishes out quick attacks that build up a special Phial Meter, while the Sword Mode unleashes the phial energy built up with powerful slashes and devastating explosions.
It's fairly fun to work up to frightening explosions like that, and it actually has a fairly simple moveset for having such a unique mechanic, so it's not too hard to get into while still being technical enough to have something to think about while fighting.
8. Insect Glaive (IG)
The Insect Glaive is a nimble polearm that specializes in vaulting, making it the master of the air. However, in order for the weapon to truly shine, you have to keep it powered up by using Kinsect Extracts. You obtain these Extracts by sending your Kinsect out to collect them from various parts of the monster.
You need Red Extracts in order to even use the weapon's full moveset, White Extracts to improve your jumping ability, and Orange Extracts to improve your knockback protection. Without at least the Red Extract active, the Insect Glaive does subpar damage at best, so it can be difficult in the hands of a new player, but it's a really unique weapon if you can get used to the upkeep.
9. Charge Blade (CB)
The Charge Blade is a burst damage weapon that's half sword and shield and half axe. It's sort of a noob trap weapon, too, since if you don't know what you're getting into, you can quickly find yourself frustrated and constantly bouncing off of the monster with your weapon.
Basically, hitting it with the sword charges energy into it. Charging too much will make it bounce off of the monster; however, you can store that energy into Phials that can then be discharged in Axe Mode.
The Phials are not only used to set off fantastical explosions but also to charge the shield. Keeping your shield charged and making sure you use your Phials wisely is essential to good Charge Blade play. It's a lot to remember, but if you can handle the upkeep, you're sure to enjoy the great burst damage potential.
The Lance is fairly simple by design, but pretty hard to use. It revolves around staying on top of a monster and poking it a bunch of times until it's dead. It has a few cool moves like a Charge Attack and a Counter, but its bread and butter is poke, poke, poke.
In the hands of a good Lance user, the weapon can do insane damage, as there's hardly ever a moment where they're not relentlessly poking at the monster. However, the weapon is so unwieldy that maneuvering becomes difficult, making monsters hard to actually reach, hit, and stay on top of unless you really know how to stay aggressive with it.
The Bow is a simple ranged weapon that uses Rapid, Spread, and Pierce shots to take down monsters. Its moveset is fairly simple, revolving around charging up powerful shots before firing a barrage of arrows at the enemy,
The real trick behind the Bow -- and all of the ranged weapons, really -- is figuring out how to stay within critical distance of the monster in order to deal acceptable damage. Each shot type has a sweet spot of sorts where they deal maximum damage at a certain distance. If you're closer to a monster than critical distance, then you'll deal about half damage. If you're further than critical distance, then your damage tapers off far more dramatically, making it important to stay close to the monster.
It's sort of counter-intuitive to use ranged weapons at a medium distance, but that's just how Monster Hunter rolls. Because of it, however, they can be really difficult to pick up, but extremely rewarding when you're finally capable of pulling off critical distance consistently.
12. Gunlance (GL)
The Gunlance is what you'd get if you attached a gun onto the tip of a lance. It can poke, but that's certainly not its bread and butter like it is on the Lance. It also shells out ammo in the middle of combos, which actually does neutral damage, and even boasts Wyvern Fire, which is a slow-charging, long-cooldown explosion that deals some of the best single-hit damage in the game.
It's pretty complicated with all of the shelling and poking and reloading on top of the existing difficulties that come with wielding a Lance, but the Gunlance is extremely strong and versatile in the hands of a player familiar with it.
13. Light Bowgun (LBG)
The Light Bowgun is basically what it sounds like: a gun-type weapon that allows you a great range of movement. It can even lay down explosive traps to augment the power of the party's attacks
As a Bowgun, it features a large selection of shot types to choose from, some with critical distance just like the Bow, and some without. A large barrier to using this weapon, however, is making sure you have all of the ammo you need. Trying to use this weapon early in the game is just flat-out expensive unless you're content with hunting everything with your weak infinite shot type.
14. Heavy Bowgun (HBG)
The Heavy Bowgun is a lot like the Light Bowgun in several aspects. Instead of trapping, however, it has the potential to fire special powerful pierce shots or go full Gatling Gun mode. It also has access to a few extra, heavier types of ammo that the Light Bowgun simply can't use. It still has to deal with critical distance and ammo costs, however, on top of a slow movement and sheathing speed, making it one of the most difficult weapons to learn how to use somewhat adeptly.
Which weapons are you hunting with? Sound off in the comments below! And be sure to check out the rest of our Monster Hunter: World guides.