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Monster Hunter Rise Weapons guide | What is the best starting weapon for you?

Which weapon is right for you?

With 14 starting weapon types to choose from, and a huge variety of combos, variations and damage types to decypher, picking the best weapon in Monster Hunter Rise to suit you can be tough.

But while there is an incredible amount of choice, thanks to some quality-of-life tweaks from Capcom, it is easier to experiment and find what works than ever before.

Catch the trailer for Monster Hunter Rise here.

All Monster Hunter Rise weapons

It’s often said that playing Monster Hunter with a different weapon feels like playing a different game - so if something isn't vibing with your personal playstyle, don’t hesitate to swap to something else.

With the Rollback feature at the forge, you can reclaim ingredients used to upgrade different weapons. This means you can test out whatever you like, safe in the knowledge that you can roll back to a previous incarnation and try a different weapon type.

Remember: the arsenal of different weapons in the Monster Hunter series tends to be pretty balanced, so you’re not necessarily shooting for a particularly overpowered set-up (at least until you’ve rolled the credits on low-rank hunts).

Below we’ll give a brief overview of every weapon, then go on to discuss some of the unique points of just five of our favourite weapons.

While this isn’t an exhaustive list of the nuances of every weapon, we will update the list with more picks should they emerge as dominant powers in the meta.

How to choose the best starting weapon in Monster Hunter Rise

Right from the off, you’re equipped with a trusty Long Sword, but you actually have one of each kind available in your item box. The Long Sword is a decent beginning, but as we said, there are 14 different types to choose from, including:

  • Great Sword - A huge lumbering sword with a moveset that rewards charging up attacks. Capable of blocking and covering distance with its Silkbind attacks.
  • Long Sword - Long-reaching melee weapon with access to a lot of defensive back steps and dodges.
  • Sword & Shield - Basic, fast-moving weapon with attacks that utilize both the sword and shield, can be sheathed very quickly for access to items and offers balanced offense and defence.
  • Dual Blades - Quicker-moving and faster attacking twin swords that can be enhanced with ‘Demon Mode’.
  • Lance (& Shield) - Slow, but very long-reaching melee weapon with a very high damage ceiling and defensive capability.
  • Gunlance (& Shield) - Slightly shorter range than its regular counterpart, but with access to strong explosive attacks.
  • Hammer - Slow, but dealing huge amounts of damage, charging up over time.
  • Hunting Horn - Similar to a hammer, but with a unique musical note mechanic which gives hunters different buffs.
  • Switch Axe - A powerful offensive weapon that switches between a huge sword and a huge axe. Capable of storing up elemental energy to unleash at the end of combos.
  • Charge Blade - Dual-purpose heavy melee weapon encompassing a sword and shield and powerful axe. Similar to Switch Axe, but with more defensive utility.
  • Insect Glaive - Unique melee weapon that can launch you into the air and has an insect buddy who powers up your attacks and movement.
  • Light Bowgun - Quicker-firing ranged weapon with access to a wide variety of status-inducing ammo.
  • Heavy Bowgun - Slower-firing, heavy ranged weapon with access to a wide range of status-inducing ammo.
  • Bow - Versatile ranged weapon with access to a wide range of status-inducing coatings.

From those brief descriptions, give whichever you like the sound of a try - there’s plenty of time to get to grips with each one in the early stages of the game.

However, it must be said, that even though each weapon in Monster Hunter Rise has a very distinct feel, that’s still within the framework of the game’s combat system as a whole.

Whichever weapon you choose, you’ll still have to live with the quirks of the series. You will still have to put each weapon away during battle to use potions for example, and they’ll still have the same chunky and deliberate style - just with different combos, nuances, and abilities.

Best Monster Hunter Rise weapons

You can get any weapon to work in most cases, but the best Monster Hunter Rise weapons make short work of even the most difficult hunts and function just as well for solo play as they do in multiplayer. Some of these double as the best weapons to start with, so if you pick them as your initial tools of destruction, you’ll have an even easier time breezing through Kamura’s quests.

Monster Hunter YouTuber Arrekz put together a tier list of the best weapons in Rise alongside TwoSixNine and Paradise, embedded above, and while we agree with most of Arrekz’s choices, we’ve also included some popular picks from fans.

Light Bowgun

The light bowgun was superior in Monster Hunter World, and it remains one of the best weapons in Monster Hunter Rise. It has all the elemental and damage type benefits of the bow and a much faster rate of fire, along with some handy movement-based Switch Skills once you progress further in the game. While the heavy bowgun deals higher damage amounts and has extra explosives, it’s easier to maneuver around your quarry with the light bowgun.

Long Sword

The long sword might rank low on some popularity polls, but its easy-to-use mechanics have impressive payoffs when used right. The blade’s chief value is in the spirit gauge, which gradually builds up as you attack your foe and lets you pull off all manner of combos – offensive, defensive, and even aerial.

Dual Blades

Arrekz ranked these lower, but they regularly perform well in player weapon polls. The Dual Blades are easy to pick up and master since they do one thing and one thing only: deal heavy damage. Dual Blades revolve around filling up the demon meter and unleashing a whirlwind of deadly attacks once it’s maxed out. There’s no better choice for agility and advanced attack combos.

Best Monster Hunter Rise weapons for beginners


First up is the Bow, which is a fantastic beginner weapon simply because it lets you keep your distance from difficult monsters while you get the hang of their movements.

This isn’t to say it’s the noob’s choice however, the Bow is an incredibly powerful and versatile weapon that works at any stage of the game. While aiming, if you press B and a direction on the left thumbstick, you’ll dash in that direction - letting you dodge or reposition without stopping your attack.

While the bow excels at constantly popping off lower damage hits in a near-constant stream, you can also press X and A together to unleash a powerful Dragon Piercer shot which fires a comically large arrow for an uber attack.

In battle generally, there are two main things to consider when wielding the Bow: optimal distance and coatings.

When you aim the bow, you’ll see a coloured reticle in the middle of your screen. If the reticle is green, then you’re the optimum distance from your target and will be dealing the most damage possible with your attacks.

Try to keep at the green distance to maximise your damage output.

As for coatings, these are special limited arrow types which imbue your attacks with status inducing damage. This could be drowsy Sleep Coating, monster-part-breaking Blast Coating, or Poison Coating which deals damage over time.

The Bow is a good choice if you want to play a mobile hunter who can tactically target different weak spots without constantly being trampled underfoot by large enemies.

Its mobility is only increased by the Focus Shot Silkbind attack (R + X), which makes you somersault backwards away from danger.

As well, you have the similar Light and Heavy Bowgun weapons at your disposal too.

They’re ranged weapons like the bow, but fire at different speeds and you have to reload their clips. Bowguns have a greater array of special ammo available, so if you’re playing in a team, you might consider one of these instead.

Notable attacks:

  • Dragon Piercer: X + A
  • Focus Shot: R + X
  • Herculean Draw: R + A
  • Arc Shot: ZR + A

Charge Blade

For players after a more up-close-and-personal experience, then the Charge Blade is a strong choice.

The Charge Blade can be wielded as both a defensive sword and shield and a huge offensive axe, switching seamlessly between the two based on combo inputs.

It can be complicated to get to grips with at first, but quickly becomes a lot of fun.

In sword mode, the Charge Blade can perform quicker, but weaker short combos of attacks, while also giving you the ability to hide behind your large shield with ZR.

But where the Charge Blade really shines is in the power and utility of the axe mode.

Connecting with normal attacks allows you to build up phials of elemental energy which you can then charge into your axe by pressing ZR + A.

Continue pressing ZR + A to unleash a strong and wide-ranging Element Discharge Combo, which deals an incredible amount of damage.

Changing from the sword mode to the axe mode offers a great amount of offensive capability. Pressing ZR + X performs a Morph Slash, which transfers you from one mode to the other and back again.

After a Morph Slash (ZR + X), push the left stick towards a monster and keep pressing X to continue with strong overhead attacks, or if you’re already at close range press A after a Morph Slash (ZR + X) to swing the axe around your hunter’s head as you swap into the Element Discharge Combo.

One of the weaknesses of the Charge Blade is its lumbering mobility in axe mode. However, with its Silkbind attack, Morphing Advance (ZL + X) chutes you towards an enemy with flying speed.

While it’s other Silkbind move, Counter Peak Performance (ZL + A), is another useful defensive tool.

Big damage numbers become the norm with the Charge Blade, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s just a heavy weapon.

The Switch Axe is a similar and also very good weapon, but with a much more offensive focus as it changes between a Greatsword and Greataxe.

Notable Attacks:

  • Morph Slash: ZR + X
  • Elemental Charge: ZR + A
  • Elemental Discharge Combo: A (After ZR + A or ZR + X)
  • Morphing Advance: ZL + X
  • Counter Peak Performance: ZL + A

Long Sword

The Long Sword is another weapon in Monster Hunter Rise that feels very complicated at first, but proves its offensive and defence worth once you understand what’s happening with it’s combos.

When you first pick up a Long Sword, you’ll wonder why your hunter keeps jumping backwards away from the monster, but after you’ve been stomped a couple of times the appeal of being able to dash away at a moment’s notice will become clear.

Pressing either X or A three times will give you some very solid basic combos, while three presses of ZR unleashes the powerful Spirit Blade combo.

There are three main defensive slashes that you can employ. Fade Slash is performed by pressing X + A at the same time. This does a normal slash attack, after which your hunter dashes a short way backward.

However, the cooler and more special options come after performing a Spirit Blade 1 by pressing ZR.

After you’ve pressed ZR, if you then press ZR + A you’ll do a Foresight Slash. This is where your hunter will dash a long way backwards to avoid damage, then rush back in with a strong, fast attack.

For even more utility though, press ZR once, then press ZR + B to perform a Special Sheathe. Here, your hunter steps backward and holsters their weapon.

From here you can either press B again to dive in a direction with your weapon already put away, so you’re instantly ready to drink a potion if you’re hurting. Or if you press X after a Special Sheathe (ZR + B) you perform a super-powerful Iai Slash.

Finally, the Long Sword is also known for it’s aerial ability. Pressing ZL + X will perform a fun Soaring Kick followed by a Plunging Slash.

The Long Sword is a flashy and versatile weapon with a lot of plus points that are well worth exploring.

Notable Attacks:

  • Fade Slash: X + A
  • Spirit Blade: ZR
  • Foresight Slash: ZR + A (After ZR)
  • Special Sheathe: ZR + B (After ZR)
  • Iai Slash: X (After ZR, ZR + B)

Insect Glaive

One of the more unique weapons on the roster, the Insect Glaive is made up of two parts: a more conventional spear and a customisable insect friend called a Kinsect, who has a variety of uses.

Aside from basic slashing combos, the glaive portion is really good at launching your hunter into the air, since you can vault by pressing ZR + B at any time.

Once you’re in the air you can press variations of A and X to keep yourself there, dealing flashing aerial damage over a number of moves.

You can also use ZL + X to perform a Silkbind Vault which further softens up a monster for riding.

Regarding the Kinsect part of the Insect Glaive, your goal is to shoot your bug at different parts of a monster to gather and harvest ‘Extract’.

When you recall your Kinsect, you’ll gain buffs from the Extract depending on where you hit the monster you’re fighting.

You can see which bug buff you’ve collected in the top left corner of the screen. Red 1 is an attack buff which increases damage and makes your combos better. White 2 increases your movement speed, while Orange 3 is a defensive resistance to getting knocked down by monster attacks.

Red 1 is usually gathered from a monster’s head, while White 2 is collected from most of the rest of their body, while Orange 3 is gathered from vulnerable places like their belly.

To gather these Extracts, you need to hold ZR to aim the Kinsect, then press X while holding ZR to shoot it towards where you’re aiming. Then you press ZR + A to recall and absorb the Extract.

You can also do a defensive dodge with recalling your Kinsect by pressing ZL + A.

The Insect Glaive offers a customisable, very different and engaged playstyle which might not be to everyone’s taste, but has a lot of mechanical complexity for those looking for a challenge.

  • Aim Kinsect: Hold ZR and move right stick
  • Fire Kinsect: ZR + X
  • Recall Kinsect: ZR + A (or ZL + A)
  • Vault: ZR + B
  • Silkbind Vault: ZL + X

Dual Blades

Where the other weapons we’ve discussed have been big and chunky, there are options in Monster Hunter Rise that are a little smaller and quicker.

In basic terms, the Dual Blades can be said to be built around ‘Demon Mode’, where you can let off unending streams of fast, powered-up attacks with increased mobility at the cost of your stamina constantly draining.

Demon Mode is activated by pressing ZR, then you can perform a Blade Dance by pressing X + A together.

Also in Demon Mode, you can cover short distances quickly with the Demon Flurry Rush performed by pressing A, or larger ones with the Shrouded Vault performed by pressing ZL + A while your weapon is out.

Finally, you can soften enemies up for Wyvern Riding quickly with the Piercing Bind attack performed with ZL + X.

  • Demon Mode: ZR
  • Blade Dance: X + A (After ZR Demon Mode)
  • Shrouded Vault: ZL + A
  • Piercing Bind: ZL + X

Best Monster Hunter Rise weapons for each type

Once you've picked your weapon, there's still the matter of deciding which version of it to use. There's an overwhelming array of choices, but these are our top picks for each.

Best light bowgun in Monster Hunter Rise

Sinister Shadow Bolt has high attack, fast reload, and the option for Cluster Effect, which lets it fire cluster bombs. The only downside is you'll need to farm Magnamalo materials extensively, since this is the fourth upgrade in the Magnamalo light bowgun tree.

Best longsword in Monster Hunter Rise

The Phantom Mirage is your best bet for the longsword. It's exceptionally strong, with the usual extra defense buff you get from the longsword, but the Rampage Skills are what make it so attractive. Alongside the attack and defense boosts, Chameleos Soul has a random chance of increasing your stats.

Best dual blades in Monster Hunter Rise

The Night Wings usually take the top spot for dual blades, since they're just so strong. They have the highest base damage among the dual blades, and no affinity means you're free to tackle any monster without fear of resistances.

Best charge blade in Monster Hunter Rise

Ikaji Immortal has exceptionally high base attack, but its Dulling Strike Rampage Skill makes it an even better pick for serious hunts. It boosts the weapon's attack when the sharpness meter is at green or lower, giving you a bit more time to bring your target down before having to pause and sharpen.

Best insect glaive in Monster Hunter Rise

Evening Calm might seem bland at first, but stick the right Talismans on it, and you can do some serious damage with it. The Glaive has high natural attack already, but equally important is the 40% affinity makes it even better. Add Weakness Exploit and Attack Boost jewels to its decoration slots to boost its abilities through the roof.

Best bow in Monster Hunter Rise

The Rampage Bow S took the top bow slot from Rampage Bow V thanks in part to its slightly superior attack and affinity stats. It also has an impressive six Rampage Skill slots, so you can easily turn this into an absolute monster, so to speak, in terms of DPS.

Best sword and shield in Monster Hunter Rise

Flash in the Night is one of the stronger sword and shield sets in MH Rise, and along with its high attack stat, you get a hefty 30% affinity stat. Outfit this set with Attack Boost Rampage Skills, along with Weakness Exploit and Flinch Free decorations to get the most out of it.

Best lance in Monster Hunter Rise

Dragonheart Lance is a common pick, but the -15% hit to affinity steers us toward Night Rains Black, despite the latter's slightly lower attack. Outfit it with attack decorations and both the Attack Boost and Affinity Boost Rampage Skills, and you'll be good to go.

Best gunlance in Monster Hunter Rise

The Ortlinde stands out among other gunlances thanks to its high attack power and generous sharpness meter. As with any gunlance, you'll want the Razer Sharp and Artillery decorations to maximize damage and keep from having to sharpen the weapon too often.

Best hunting horn in Monster Hunter Rise

Rampage Agitato S boasts exceptionally high attack power and the ability to use any hunting horn Rampage Skill. Sharpness Type IV and Non-Elemental Boost are ideal for keeping it in top shape longer and drawing out the full potential of moves such as Sonic Wave and Earthshaker.

Best great sword in Monster Hunter Rise

Rampage Cleaver S is an easy pick for the best great sword. Like other Rampage-series weapons, it has high attack. While it won't win points for natural affinity, it does have sleep and paralysis effects, and you can fit any great sword Rampage Skill on it -- including affinity boost.

Best hammer in Monster Hunter Rise

Some opt for the Tigrex Hammer, but the negative affinity rating isn't worth bothering with. Diamalto's Dream is, well... a dream. It deals poison damage, still has an impressive 200 base attack stat, and can fit the Attack Boost III and Chameleos Soul Rampage Skills in to boost its effects even more.

Best heavy bowgun in Monster Hunter Rise

The Sinister Dreadvolley climbs just a bit higher in our estimation than Tigrex Howl II. It has much faster reload speed, no affinity penalty, and better recoil. It doesn't have sticky and cluster Rampage Skills, though, so if you prefer that with your bowguns, the Tigrex Howl II is probably best for you.

Best switch axe in Monster Hunter Rise

Rampage Slicer S is the top Switch Axe, easily the most powerful, and with access to a suite of Rampage Skills, including the excellent Phial: Exhaust III that boosts your attack power even further. There's no element either, so you don't have to worry about resistances.

For more help on the hunt, here's our full list of Monster Hunter Rise guides.

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Monster Hunter


Monster Hunter Rise

PC, Nintendo Switch

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James Billcliffe avatar

James Billcliffe

Guides Editor

With 7 years' experience, James (he/him) suffers so you don't have to, creating expert guides for the toughest games and reviews for the biggest blockbuster releases. He has a Master's degree in Journalism and a BA in Linguistics that he never got a chance to flex until Wordle came along.