‘Monster Hunter: World’ loadout guide — How to pick the right weapon

At some point in your Monster Hunter: World journey, you’re going to think to yourself (or even out loud over the headset): “Did I bring the right tools for the job?” Of course, any of World‘s 16 weapons can pack enough punch to take down an Elder Dragon if used properly, but that doesn’t mean each one is ideal for every mission — especially for novice hunters. This remains true whether you go at it alone, or team up with one, two, or even three friends for cooperative hunts. We have some advice to help you figure out how to make sure you’re bringing the right tools and gear to every mission.

Diversify your team

Monster Hunter World

When braving the hunt alone, choosing gear comes down to two things, what your prey is weak against, and what weapon you’re most comfortable using. It’s usually wise to stick with whatever weapon you like using. If you’re linking up with friends online, though, a more differentiated strategy can lead to a more efficient and effective strategy, upping your chance of a swift, successful hunt.

Two hunters: When on a mission with one other companion, we recommend one party member uses a ranged weapon such as the light bowgun, while the other uses a sword and shield combination — preferably one that does heavy damage like the Proto Commission Axe. One player can consistently inflict damage from afar, while the other moves in on the monster up close.

Three hunters: When working as a trio, you have room for more flexibility. Employ one range attacker, but this time, feel free to use the heavy bowgun. Since two teammates will keep the monster occupied at close range, it’s okay to sacrifice mobility in favor of stronger attacks. The two close-range hunters can mix it up if they’d like. Arm one with a heavy weapon such as the hammer, while the other maintains some mobility with the dual blades or long sword.

Four hunters: A complete team affords you many options. Still, we prefer a single ranged weapon user to offer a continuous pelting, and three melee attackers. Up front, have two players go in to deal damage with a heavy weapon, such as the hammer, buster sword, bone blade, or metal bagpipe. The third attacker should use either a swift option like the dual blades, or something that offers extra defense, such as a sword and shield combo. If someone wants to play a support role, the hunting horn is extremely helpful, so long as its user can stay out of the fight.

A successful squad can be composed in a variety of ways. You may find success using all close attackers or even all ranged attackers, but a well-rounded team approaches monsters at multiple angles.

Choose your weapon wisely

We gave our recommendations for weapon use as a team above, but let’s break it down further. For each weapon, we’ll tell you its difficulty of use, which big baddies each weapon excels against, and rank them by standard damage output. Keep in mind that weapon names and damage outputs change as they level up.

Buster Sword

Difficulty: Intermediate

Ideal against: Any ground-oriented monster with limited mobility — Great Jagras and Anjanath in particular. Due to its power and weight, this Great Sword limits your quickness, so it’s best to use it when facing a monster that doesn’t make swift, unexpected movements.

Iron Katana

Difficulty: Easy

Ideal against: Everything. Perhaps the most well-rounded weapon in terms of range and damage, the Iron Katana works well for both beginners and veterans in parties. It can be used against both ground and flying monsters, no matter the speed at which they move.

Hunter’s Knife

Difficulty: Easy

Ideal against: All ground monsters, but due to its low damage output, we don’t recommend bringing it on the hunt unless in a party of four. Here, the knife and shield combo does great work against ground enemies since you can block attacks while your companions wail on the monster with more powerful weapons.

Matched Slicers

Difficulty: Easy

Ideal against: The quickest weapon in Monster Hunter: World, the dual blades work great when you can get up close and personal with any ground monster. They may be tied for the second-lowest damage output out of the gate, but in a team of three or four, they can rack up damage with rapid combos.

Iron Hammer

Difficulty: Intermediate

Ideal against: The hammer packs a significant punch but its extreme weight limits mobility and demands smart, well-timed strikes. In teams of three and four, the Iron Hammer works wonders, especially against slow ground monsters such as Great Jagras and Rathian.

Metal Bagpipe

Difficulty: Expert

Ideal against: The Hunting Horn has moderate range and a fairly high attack value, but it’s one of the hardest weapons in the game to use. It also acts as a support weapon, letting you play songs to heal your party. Beware, though, you can’t get attacked while playing. We strongly encourage any four-member party to take advantage of the hunting horn’s unique benefits.

Iron Lance

Difficulty: Expert

Ideal against: A defensive weapon, the lance has good range and a shield to deflect attacks. It’s difficult to master, but in two-person squads, if you have a solid lance player, you can chip away at a monster’s health without having to worry about taking excessive damage. It can take down both airborne and ground monsters, ranging from Great Jagras to the dastardly Rathalos.

Iron Gunlance

Difficulty: Intermediate

Ideal against: Most monsters, including Radobaan, Rathian, Anjanath, Pukei-Pukei, and Tzitzi-Ya-Ku. You can jab monsters up close or shoot them with explosive shells from afar, making this defensive remix of the traditional lance more ideal. In four-person squads, you can act as both a second gunner or third melee striker.

Proto Iron Axe

Difficulty: Intermediate

Ideal against: The most difficult of monsters, including Ratholos, Diablos, and Rathian. It has the ability to transform from a one-handed sword to a two-handed ax. Its ax form works best when you sneak up on a monster or against flying monsters as they elevate or descend. Ideal for three- to four-person teams.

Proto Commission Axe

Difficulty: Intermediate

Ideal against: Very similar to the Proto Iron Axe, the Proto Commission Axe is a good fit for all monsters. The sword and shield combo stores up energy that can be unleashed in a long, looping motion in its transformed ax form. The added benefit comes with the shield, making it a solid choice for not only three- to four-person hunts, but for skilled two-person teams.

Iron Blade

Difficulty: Intermediate

Ideal against: The Iron Blade lets you perform acrobatic moves, including vaulting in the air and attacking monsters from above. This versatility makes it ideal for every big monster in the game, including fast strikers like Tobi-Kadachi. Besides traditional projectile weapons, it’s probably the best at reaching flying monsters. Great for two-, three-, or four-person teams, it’s also a solid choice for solo players.

Chain Blitz

Difficulty: Easy

Ideal against: The Chain Blitz works on any monster, but especially mobile beasts and those who take to the air like Paolumu, Pukei-Pukei, and Rathalos. The light bowgun may be low on the damage scale, but its rapid fire and variety of ammunition types can deal a steady barrage of damage. You should always have a ranged attacker in your party of two to four. Due to its ease of use and lightweight design that encourages mobility, the light bowgun should be your first choice in two-hunter expedition.

Iron Assault & Bone Shooter

Difficulty: Intermediate

Ideal against: Iron Assault, the heavier bowgun, packs more damage at the expense of speed of movement. If you’re in a team of three or four, it may be a better option than the light bowgun since the monster will be distracted by more hunters, giving you time to evade attacks. Use it on flying monsters and ground enemies without fast lunge attacks.

Iron Bow

Difficulty: Intermediate

Ideal against: The Iron Bow might not be as flashy as the mechanical guns, but it allows you to weave in and out of close range. No monster matches up poorly with the bow. We tend to think both bowguns work better in teams, as bow wielders can garner a monster’s attention by moving in close, allowing for their teammates to deliver heavy strikes.

Bone Blade

Difficulty: Intermediate

Ideal against: The most powerful weapon in the game, teams of three to four should absolutely consider equipping one hunter with this great sword. Use it on slow ground monsters such as Great Jagras, Radobaan, and Anjanath.

Monster Hunter: World is available now for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Make sure to check out our beginner’s guide if you’re new to the hunt.

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