Monster Hunter Rise Weapon and Armor Guide

Last Updated: January 10, 2022 10:42 AM /


An armor screen for a hunter in Monster Hunter Rise

So you've read up on our Beginner's Guide for Monster Hunter Rise. You got some basic item recipes and the fundamentals of your companions down pat. But what about the actual meat and potatoes of the game? How do you make head or tails of the game's weapon and armor system. Well, we have the guide for you right here.

Monster Hunter Rise Weapons – Introduction

During the tutorial for Monster Hunter Rise, you are given a basic Long Sword before throwing you into a practice hunt. There is nothing wrong with the Long Sword weapon, it was my barrier to entry when I got into the series after all, but what the game doesn't tell you is that you have starting versions of every single weapon type in the game right off the bat. Go to your item box, select “Manage Equipment” then select your Long Sword. Then pick a weapon from the box that seems interesting and try it out.

There are fourteen different weapon types in Monster Hunter. Each and every single one of them have their own combos and special mechanics. It's a lot to take in but there are different levels of complexity that can help you get acquainted with them. Here's the list of Monster Hunter Rise weapons:

In the broadest of terms, these weapons do follow these general rules:

First, much like the monsters themselves, attacks with these weapons are slow and, for the most part, cannot be cancelled out of. Unlike certain character action games like Devil May Cry or Bayonetta, you're going to be relying more on consistent, reliable bread and butter tactics than flashy uber combos.

Second, every single melee weapon has a sharpness meter, which is shown in a meter below your stamina. As you fight, the weapon's overall sharpness will decline. Certain monster parts can only be struck if your weapon stays above a certain sharpness level. If your attacks start bouncing off the monster, that is a good sign to either back off and use a whetstone, or worse, invest in a weapon with better overall sharpness. It may stop your momentum dead, but it's how the game goes.

A hunter slashing at a dummy with a Great Sword
Here comes the wind up, the slam is coming!

Monster Hunter Rise – Accessible Assault Weapons

First are the very straightforward starting weapons.

Great Sword

You get exactly what you would expect sound like. It's a large weapon that are all about extremely slow and powerful strikes. Great Sword attacks can be charged up during their wind up for a bigger smack. Holding down your attack button and waiting for a charging sound effect or a burst of glowing energy usually shows you your level of charge. These attacks can be charged up to a maximum of level three. The only downside is, aside from being able to use the Great Sword as an improvised shield, there's not a whole lot to this weapon.


This falls into a similar situation, it can charge up attacks, and it even has a powerful aerial spinning slam attack. But unlike the Great Sword, the Hammer has a chance to stun enemy monsters. Keep pummeling a monster's face with the Hammer and you have a chance to stun them. In addition, the Hammer specializes more with Impact damage, which means they are great at busting rocklike armor on tougher monsters. This is great if you're in a team with friends and you want to help them get some extra hits in, either by dazing the target or helping teammates with bladed weapons get to the monster's softer parts.

A hunter fighting a dummy with a Long Sword in Monster Hunter Rise
My intro to Monster Hunter and still my favorite weapon.

Long Sword

The Long Sword specializes in large sweeping slashes, which can potentially hit multiple body parts on a monster. This is important because every single attack fills up a sword meter gauge. Once it is filled, you can spend the gauge to perform different attacks. But the most popular one is the Spirit Slash, which you do by tapping the right shoulder button multiple times This should let you pull off a flurry of slashes that will hit through a monster multiple times, regardless of your sharpness level or the body part durability. Pull off the entire combo and your sword gauge will reset and go up a level. There is a total of three levels: white, yellow and red. These levels increase your base damage. If you keep charging up your gauge and keep your spirit slashes going, your damage will be impeccable.

A hunter fighting a dummy with Dual Blades in Monster Hunter Rise
Yeah, you basically have to get right up to your target, but the quick combos are addictive.

Dual Blades

If you want a bit more speed and control over your assault, Dual Blades are for you. These are effectively two giant knifes which you use for quick rapid attacks. But while you do get quicker attacks with very little wind down time, you sacrifice range and reach. Much like the Long Sword, you guild up a special attack gauge, can be used to enter Demon Mode with a tap of the right shoulder button. This increases your speed and changes up your attacks, giving you more combos. But this is done at the cost of your stamina gauge slowly draining. If you want to go full human blender with these weapons, prepare to get very familiar with Energy Juice and Rations.

A hunter fighting a dummy with a Lance in Monster Hunter Rise
Pokes of Death.

Monster Hunter Rise – Defensive and Support Weapons

If you wish to play more defensively, there are weapons built with shields.

Sword and Shield

The aptly named Sword and Shield is exactly what it sounds like and manages to be a solid jack-of-all-trades, plus it's the only weapon in the game that lets you use items without sheathing it. The appeal of the Sword and Shield is mostly the same as the Dual Blades: solid and fast combos but short reach.

A hunter fighting a dummy with a Gunlance in Monster Hunter Rise
These pokes explode.

On the tankier end of the spectrum are the Lance and Gunlance respectively.


Put your shield up, block the monster's assault, then poke away. The big draw with the Lance is its mobility, with the ability to bullrush and tank hits.


Alternatively, the Gunlance is a lot more technical. Despite the name, most of its unique attacks are still close range. The “gun” in the name is closer to short range grenades, cannon fire, and armor-penetrating spiked shells. The trade-off is you need to break off and reload these “shells,” which can open you up to attacks.

A hunter fighting a dummy with the Hunting Horn in Monster Hunter Rise
Smack, play a tune, smack harder.

Hunting Horn

The Hunting Horn is essentially a Bard's answer to the Hammer. In addition to smacking around monsters, every single combo you do is tied to a song that can buff and boost you and your allies. Pay attention to the different attacks you use, which are shown as a string of notes right next to your sharpness gauge. Once you dial your combo in, hit the right shoulder button to “perform” the song, which will buff you and the party.

Switch Axe

On the more direct end of the spectrum is the Switch Axe. As the name implies, it is a giant axe that can switch into a sword form. While it is in axe form, it is a reliably straightforward weapon with solid range and decent damage. But the reason why it is considered a support weapon is that when in sword mode, your attacks are boosted by an elemental phial. This phial's energy is shown in a separate bar next to sharpness and can deal different forms of status damage to the monster like poison, paralysis, or exhaustion.

One of the Switch Axe's most devastating attacks can be done by hitting both face attack buttons while in sword mode and mashing the buttons. This will cause your character to detonate the phial into the monster, delivering an explosive payload of elemental power. Debuffing and slowing down the enemy is a totally viable form of support after all.

A hunter fighting a dummy with a Charge Blade in Monster Hunter Rise
It took a lot of set-up but it feels so good to pull off.

Charge Blade

The Charge Blade is a shielded weapon that can combine in a powerful maul. Fair warning, it is also one of the most complex weapons in the game. Take the elemental phial management of the Switch Axe but with the added defense of Sword and Shield. Fair warning, you will need to practice in order to figure out the ins and outs. This is because if you don't “charge” your phials, usually by pressing the right shoulder button and a face button, your weapon will keep bouncing off a monster.

A hunter fighting a dummy with an Insect Glaive in Monster Hunter Rise
Ride the wind.

Insect Glaive

Simply put, the Insect Glaive is a quick slashing polearm that is tied to a large insect called a kinsect. The idea is that by slinging this bug at different parts of the monster then recalling it, you'll gain various buffs. However, get three different colored buffs: red, white, and yellow, you'll get an enhanced moveset. In addition, holding down the right shoulder button and pressing the jump button will let you vault into the air and let you perform air combos. If you want to take down flyers or just feel like an annoying human wasp, this is the weapon for you.

A hunter fighting a dummy with a bow in Monster Hunter Rise
Insert quip from Hawkeye here.

Monster Hunter Rise – Ranged Weapons

Finally, there are the ranged weapons if you'd rather hunt from a distance.


If you don't want to keep track of ammunition, the Bow is your most direct pick. While you do fire arrows from your bow, the secret to getting the most out of the weapon is how long you draw your bow and your distance from the enemy. If you're in the right sweet spot, your reticle should glow red, this will make your shots deal the most damage. In addition, how long you draw back the string can actually change what kind of arrows you fire. This is important since if you try get the maximum draw on each of your shots, you will eat through you stamina bar quickly.

Supplementing these arrows are different coatings. You apply these to your arrows, which can grant them different buffs and ongoing effects. Bear in mind, these coated arrows only work in multiples in 10, so getting the most out of these status effects will take some dedication.

Each Bow has their own support power. By holding down the right shoulder button followed by the face button, you can launch an arrow that either buffs or heals the party. What determines this buff depends on what bow you have equipped.

A hunter shooting at targets with a bowgun in Monster Hunter Rise
Pew Pew Pew!

Light and Heavy Bowgun

As for the Light and Heavy Bowgun, they're basically firearms. As the name implies, both weapons are loaded up with different types of ammo and you start firing. The big difference between these two different bowguns is that one focuses more on assault and the other more on control and support. The Light Bowgun can drop landmines and has a bit more mobility. Meanwhile, the Heavy Bowgun can load up potent heavy shells for more punch.

Bear in mind, if you decide to go with either bowgun, you will need to make your own ammo and keep track of what guns can fire what ammo types.

The best advice I can give when it comes to handling any of these weapons is one simple word: practice. If you head to the Buddy Plaza in the starting village, you can find a small boat that will take you to a practice area. Not only are there training dummies, there are also prompts and displays for different combo attacks you can do with your respective weapon. Figure out what works for you and stick to it.

The Armor Skill screen for a hunter in Monster Hunter Rise
Time to make some sense out of these things.

Monster Hunter Rise – Armor and Skills

Finally, there is the most important element in all of Monster Hunter Rise. Since Monster Hunter as a series has no leveling system or skill tree, the only way to get better stats and abilities is by crafting armor. This is where the majority of your money and resources will go into throughout the entire game.
In the broad strokes, there are three big stats to keep an eye on. The first is the armor's overall defense. As the name implies, that shows how much raw damage it blocks. The second are its elemental resistances. If you're going up against a fire-spewing Basarios and getting downed in three hits, chances are you need to up your fire resistance. Finally, there are the skills, which are named perks and status abilities the armor gives. These skills can be stacked into multiple tiers, making them more effective.

What is curious is that Monster Hunter Rise encourages mixing and matching armor sets. While there are bonuses for wearing a full set, each piece of armor usually has at least one skill attached. In that vein, you are encouraged to mix things up and cover your weaknesses as well as get the most out of your skills.

As for certain skills to look out for, we have a few recommendations depending on your playstyle. If you want to be more aggressive and stay in the fight longer we recommend:

  • Critical Eye: This will increase the weapon's Affinity, or critical hit chance.
  • Razor Sharp: This keeps your weapon's sharpness for longer
  • Power Prolonger: These let weapons that can be charged or buffed (Switch Axe, Long Sword, Insect Glaive) to remain charged longer
  • Resentment: Increases your attack power while you have health that is in the red
  • Agitator: Increases your attack power when then monster you're fighting is enraged
  • Attack Boost: Increases your overall attack power
  • Hunger Resistance: This keeps your maximum stamina from depleting too quickly. Great for prolonged hunts.

If you need more survivability or need a bit more defense, keep an eye out for these skills:

  • Evade Window: This will give you a few more precious invulnerability frames when dodge rolling.
  • Speed Eating: This lets you drink potions and eat rations faster. This is great in a pinch
  • Constitution: This lowers stamina cost for dodging or blocking.
  • Blight Resistance: This protects you from blight status effects. Blight makes you more susceptible to certain elemental attacks.
  • Recovery Up: You heal more when using healing items
  • Divine Blessing: Every time you are hit, there's a chance the damage will be significantly reduced.
  • Heroics: This boosts your attack and defense when your health reaches 35%.
  • Fortify: If you are defeated, this permanently boosts your attack and defense until the hunt ends. This doesn't work in every hunt and only activates twice.
  • Earplugs: You won't be stunned by a monster's roars anymore.
  • Tremor Resistance: You won't be shaken by ground tremors
  • Wind Proof: You won't be shaken by gusts of wind kicked up by wings.
  • Stun Resistance: Protects you from getting stunned.

If you want to err more on the side of support or need help with resource gathering, these are the skills to invest in:

  • Slugger: Makes it easier for you to stun monsters. This is great for Hammer users.
  • Diversion: You draw the monster's attention when you hit it.
  • Stamina Thief: Makes attacks and abilities that exhaust monsters even more effective.
  • Wide-Range: When you consume an item that heals or boosts you, nearby allies will get the same benefits.
  • Partbreaker: As the name implies, it makes it easier for you to bust parts off of monsters
  • Geologist: Lets you mine ore more frequently
  • Botanist: Helps you gather more herbs from gathering spots

Last but not least, if you want to get the most out of the Bow and Bowgun weapons, these skills will be your bread and butter:

  • Ballistics: This increases the effective range of your shots
  • Steadiness: This makes your shots more accurate by reducing deviation
  • Recoil Down: Aptly, it reduces recoil when firing
  • Reload Speed: Makes you reload faster
  • Artillery: This makes explosive attacks more effective like the Wyvern's Fire attack of the Heavy Bowgun's Sticky Ammo shots
  • Pierce Up: Makes piercing ammo and arrows more powerful
  • Special Ammo Boost: This makes special ammo on the bowguns more effective as well as the Bow's Dragon Piercer special attack
  • Normal/Rapid Up: This makes normal Bowgun Ammo more effective as well as Rapid-type arrows fired from the Bow.
  • Spare Shot: You have a chance to not lose coatings or ammo when you fire.

With all of this in mind, you should have a better grasp on how to build your very own killing machine in Monster Hunter Rise. Of course, there's only so much a simple guide can teach. So get out to the practice island, get your hands dirty, and figure out what armor skills fit your playstyle. If you have any more questions about other elements of Monster Hunter Rise, feel free to check out our other guides here.

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More Info About This Game
Learn more about Monster Hunter Rise
Nintendo Switch, PC
Release Date
March 26, 2021 (Calendar)
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