Monster Hunter World has a play style for everyone – and it all starts with your weapon of choice.
The Monster Hunter series has always been one of the more open takes on character progression in the RPG genre. Rather than picking a character class from a number of pre-set classes, you’re instead given a character who is a jack of all trades, with your skill set, abilities and approach to combat instead defined by what equipment you take into battle, including weapons.
Weapons have the largest impact of all on what you’ll be doing once you engage a monster in battle, in fact, since even your choice of armor will in part be influenced by your weapon of choice. In many ways your weapon defines your typical RPG-style character class, and Monster Hunter World has a whopping 14 different weapon types for players to choose from.
Monster Hunter World can get pretty complicated – so if you want more assistance check out our comprehensive Monster Hunter World guide. Okay – let’s get to the weapons.
Monster Hunter World Weapon Basics: which weapon is best for you?
These 14 weapon types have been showcased in the video above by Arekkz – and we’re going to be breaking down each on this very page as well if text is more your thing. For starters, Monster Hunter World weapons are divided into three categories – light, heavy and technical. This should give new players a bit of an idea of what each weapon type might play like, and we’ve broken up our breakdown below accordingly.
There are other attributes that affect weapon performance, but the main one you’ll want to know is the division between cutting and impact weapons. Cutting weapons are great for targeting soft, vulnerable areas to do targeted damage, while impact weapons have a better chance of knocking enemies out.
In Monster Hunter World weapons of the same ‘type’ will always broadly have the same sort of usage. Every Great Sword will have most things in common, for instance, but stats, affinity, elemental buffs and so on will vary from weapon to weapon. You’ll need to read the below carefully to choose hwich is best for you.
Here’s all of the weapon types…
Monster Hunter World: Light Weapons
These weapons are generally quicker and weaker, but don’t underestimate them.
Sword and Shield
The Sword and Shield is a light weapon and is one of the best possible starting points for Monster Hunter newbies. It’s well balanced, boasting a fast, nimble set of actions and moves with the sword that’s balanced alongside decent defense thanks to the shield.
Sword and shield type weapons allow for cutting and impact type attacks in Monster Hunter World, though the big kicker is that you can use items while your weapon is drawn with this weapon type.
It’s not all about beginners, however – the sword and shield is also great for experienced players facing off against new monsters, as it gives good cover as you learn the enemy’s move set. New attacks in Monster Hunter World include an aerial follow up to a combo.
The dual blades are a very fast light weapon which are great for inflicting status effects. The unique selling point of this weapon type is ‘demon mode’, a switch that lets you change to a different type of play style that’s more damaging – though using it will sap away your stamina.
In Monster Hunter World, there’s been an expansion to the dual blades’ spinning attack from ledges, meaning you can unleash more aerial damage. Mastering these can be difficult thanks to managing your time between regular and demon modes, but it’s a deeply rewarding weapon set if you do so.
The longsword has the largest general attack range of all the light melee weapons in Monster Hunter World. It’s actually fairly quick, too – though slower than other light weapons, it’s nowhere near the heavy weapons in speed despite its larger size.
This weapon is built up around charge and release – first you build up energy in your spirit gauge, and then you let rip some brutal and cool-looking attacks by spending that earned energy to power up and buff attacks.
The final light category weapon in Monster Hunter World is one for those of you who prefer a bit of range in your combat – is the light bowgun, which is the most nimble of the ranged weapons. It has more mobility and agility than ever in Monster Hunter World, and the ability to embed explosives in the ground.
This is ultimately still a gun, which means juggling ammunition types and the like. Thankfully, changes to the camera in Monster Hunter World also mean that it handles appropriately, with a feeling more like a typical third-person shooter.
Monster Hunter World: Heavy Weapons
Heavy Weapons will require you to have some patience and really master the timing of your attacks, but they’re generally way more damaging as a result…
The Greatsword is your typical, middle-of-the-road heavy weapon option, and it’s the most friendly of the heavy weapons for beginners. It’s a two-handed weapon, which means no shield, but the sword is so large that you can use the broadside of it to guard against monster attacks.
The unique selling point of this sword is its charged attack – when fully charged you can launch into multi-hit combos and shatter enemies under the sheet force and weight of the sword. Add a shoulder barge and you’ve got a well-rounded if slow weapon.
If the sluggish speed of the greatsword is a little too much for you, the Lance is an ideal alternative. It features a fair amount in common with the sword and shield thanks to how you have a shield in your off hand, giving you excellent defensive options.
Ultimately the true star of this weapon set is its range, however. The weight of the weapon means you’re not as mobile as with a light weapon, so you’ll be standing your ground, poking and prodding to open up an enemy before trying to charge in for a combo.
Take the lance above and add a big old gun to it. Yeah. That’s pretty much an accurate description of the gunlance, however. You even get to keep the shield – but there are upsides and downsides to this configuration.
The gunlance keeps the reach and generally impressive mobility for a heavy weapon that the lance had, but gains explosive new gun-type attacks as well. These gun-type attacks mean you’ll have to reload it, however, and using them will deplete sharpness very quickly indeed.
The hammer is a hard-hitting weapon that does blunt damage – the kind of damage that can KO monsters more easily if you’re lucky. The hammer is very hard hitting, and like the greatsword you can power up and charge its attacks.
The flip side here is obvious: range is short, and the weapon itself is sluggish and slow to swing. You can run when the hammer is equipped and drawn, however, so that’s useful.
The light category had a bowgun, and so of course here is the Heavy Bowgun, its more powerful sibling. This is a high damage weapon with a long range and a higher ammunition capacity – and you can even use it with a shield, which somewhat makes up for how it lowers your ability to move around.
It has a slow rate of fire, too, so you’ll need to place your shots carefully. There’s a wide range of ammo types you can use, so you can customize your approach to any given situation.
Monster Hunter World: Technical Weapons
Weapons that fit into the ‘technical’ category are a little trickier to handle – but they have some very impressive results, with huge damage output and in one instance some significant passive buffs for the rest of your team while the weapon is in use. Let’s talk about these more fiddly weapons in detail…
The Switch Axe is another transforming weapon in Monster Hunter World, and it’s there that its pros, cons and complexities all are. You’ll want to chain combos together, and sometimes that will mean switching forms mid-combo, which is complicated and has an execution barrier.
The axe form as superior reach and mobility while the two-handed sword form is all about dishing out huge amounts of damage. Just be careful, because it’s not all that mobile and you can’t guard at all with this weapon.
In many ways the Charge Blade can be seen as a sort of natural graduation from Sword and Shield when you’ve mastered that type of gameplay. It’s actually a transforming weapon with two forms – an enormous axe or a sword and shield.
The idea is pretty simple: you’re meant to use the sword mode to build up energy and then switch to axe mode to spend that energy on devastatingly powerful attacks. It has some other useful moves like a backstep and slide, but you’ll need to remember your combos to make the most of this weapon.
It wouldn’t really be Monster Hunter without the Hunting Horn, and in this entry in the series it takes on a seriously support-driven role, best used in co-operative multiplayer hunts to buff your team mates.
It’s not all support since you can take the horn and bash enemies with it with a move set not dissimilar to the hammer – it even has the same blunt properties. It is slow, however, and it’s really all about playing songs with it to buff your team.
While the technical category is mostly full of fanciful fantasy weapons, the bow is an old faithful – and simplistic in its design. Unlike the guns it has unlimited ammunition and is ideal for mid-range combat. There’s coatings you can apply to arrows to change their properties when they hit enemies.
Equipping the bow has its downsides, of course – you can’t block with it, and your success with it will largely be determined by your ability to keep your enemy at bay so you can pick them off – though that’s helped by a neat new slide and dash moves.
In Monster Hunter World the Insect Glaive is now entirely focused around mobility, delivering the most actively mobile and speedy weapon in the game. Keeping up your mobility will have high stamina costs, but it’s worth it.
A low damage output means this is all about landing a lot of hits in deadly combos – and you’ll want to use that mobility to dodge lots, since there’s no block with this weapon. As in past games you can also use the weapon to trigger various buffs.