While those big, bad beasties may be one of the key defining features of Monster Hunter Rise, weapons are certainly up there, too – after all, you can’t take down Malzeno with your bare fists, right? Luckily, you’ve got a whole arsenal at your disposal, and a smithy more than eager to weld a couple of monster bits together to make you a new and deadly toy every couple of fights.
While all weapons are capable of packing a punch in their own right, there’s gotta be some that outshine the rest. And that’s where our Monster Hunter Rise weapon tier list comes in, ranking all the different weapon types available in the game, so you can get to grips with only the most exuberant of equipment. We’ve also gone into great detail about all of their strengths and weaknesses below, as well as how the recent version 10.0 and Sunbreak expansion has affected their power.
Of course, keep in mind that there’s no definitive answer to which weapon is truly the best or worst, as it heavily relies on your personal playstyle and preferences – as such, any tier list should only be taken as a guideline. I mean, I’ve primarily been a hammer main for a decade, and, despite it only falling in A-rank here, I’ve had no trouble smashing my way through hordes of monsters over the last few generations – so you do you!
For more monster huntin’ goodness, head over to our list of every new Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak weapon skill, or check out our Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak review. We’ve also got guides to all the Monster Hunter: Rise Sunbreak monsters and Monster Hunter: Rise Sunbreak armour, too.
Monster Hunter Rise weapon tier list
While the base game offers heaps of content to sink your teeth into, Sunbreak and version 10.0 brought about a lot of changes when it comes to weapons. From much needed buffs, to brand new switch skills, it saw a pretty substantial power shift for players at all stages in the game. As such, our tier list takes into account the standing of each weapon as of the Sunbreak DLC, though it still stands for the base game as well.
The following rankings are, of course, quite subjective, as there are multiple categories that affect a weapon’s position. As such, we’ve considered the overall damage potential of the weapon, its flexibility and versatility in gameplay, how easy or difficult it is to use and master, whether its strengths outweigh its weaknesses, and the power of their switch skills and how those synergise with the weapon’s kit among other things.
We’ll go into a bit more detail below, explaining each weapon’s playstyle, pros, and cons, and why we feel it falls into its specific rank. But first, let’s take a look at that Monster Hunter Rise weapon tier list.
|Tier||Monster Hunter Rise weapon|
|S||Long sword, great sword, switch axe, hunting horn, charge blade, insect glaive, gunlance|
|A||Dual blades, bow, sword & shield, hammer, light bowgun|
|B||Heavy bowgun, lance|
Monster Hunter Rise S-rank weapons
MHR long sword
Players have considered the long sword a powerful choice since Rise’s launch, and it’s easy to see why. Its wide reach, vast array of counterattacks, and powerful combos combined with its decent mobility allows you to dish out heaps of damage while still offering opportunities to dodge incoming attacks and reposition yourself when necessary. Its combos, switch skills, and silk bind abilities synergise very well, and Sunbreak’s new ability to switch between different skill loadouts makes it even more versatile.
- Amazing counter-attack potential
- Powerful Spirit Blade attacks and combos
- Great reach for a melee weapon
- Sunbreak sees the long sword gain some of the best switch skills and kit synergy in the game
- No guarding options, so dodging is extremely important
- Low single-hit damage
- Relies on Spirit Gauge
MHR great sword
The Buster Sword of the MH universe, the great sword is a large and cumbersome weapon, but has the potential to deal devastating damage. Its kit offers a variety of powerful charge attacks, its single-hit damage is higher than any other weapon in the game, and it also allows you to guard – though this costs a good chunk of your weapon sharpness, meaning you’ll whip out the whetstone quite a lot. The great sword has always struggled with mobility above all, but Sunbreak has certainly combatted this, making it far less punishing than it used to be.
- Strongest single-hit attack damage in the game
- Viable hit-and-run playstyle if you want to play it safe
- Capable of guarding
- As of Sunbreak, has a powerful counter-attack move
- Not the best mobility, though this has improved since Sunbreak and update 10.0 which is what pushed the great sword into S-tier
- Guarding consumes sharpness (even more than when you attack monsters)
MHR switch axe
The switch axe can seem a little complicated at first, but its versatile playstyle and impactful damage make it an asset on the field for any seasoned hunter. It has good range, flexibility, and mobility, with sword mode boasting faster attacks and explosive finishers, while axe mode offers powerful hits and plenty of reach. It relies on a power phial system, which can be tricky to adapt to for players who are new to the weapon, but with Capcom recently adding the elemental burst counter attack which fills your amp gauge immediately, this is far easier to manage.
- Highly versatile, with the ability to switch between sword and axe
- Power phials enhance the weapon’s performance and capabilities, and with new switch skills, it’s a lot easier to charge
- High DPS with a focus on attacking rather than defence
- Super effective when it comes to dishing out elemental and status damage, which can be used to exploit a monster’s weaknesses
- No defensive moves or attacks
- Some attacks and combos are slow and stationary, meaning a misplaced combo may leave you open to incoming damage
- Relies on thoughtful positioning in order to make the most of strong combos without getting hurt
MHR hunting horn
Monster Hunter’s answer to a ‘support’ weapon, the hunting horn’s main strengths may lie with its bountiful buffs, but it’s also just as proficient at smashing a monster upside the head. Each hunting horn has a variety of melodies that offer you and any of your teammates within range a boon as soon as you toot them out, with incredibly helpful effects such as defence, attack, stamina boosts, sharpness regeneration, elemental damage increases, and more.
Best of all, you can keep bashing those beasties while you play, meaning you never need to stop dealing damage in order to play a tune. Plus, some of the hunting horn models look like giant metal bagpipes or electric guitars, and one of its rampage decorations is called ‘doot range’. What’s not to love?
- You and nearby allies receive melody effects automatically, as soon as you play the tune
- Powerful combo called Magnificent Trio, providing the effects of all stored notes
- Can stun a monster and break its face if you hit it in the head (similar to hammer)
- Long reach
- No guard potential
- You need to refresh your melodies every few minutes
MHR charge blade
The charge blade is a flexible weapon that relies on impact and element phials, each with their own unique uses. It excels at element discharges, and its elemental damage applications allow plenty of opportunities to exploit a monster’s specific weaknesses. When using the charge blade, you can switch between sword mode, which offers high mobility and the ability to guard with a shield, and axe mode, which sacrifices mobility in exchange for higher damage. It’s easy to switch between the two, allowing you to adapt to different situations on the fly.
With the latest update, Capcom has finally fixed its element discharge hitboxes, making it far easier to land powerful attacks, and its chain crit, air dash, and phial-based switch skills can dish out devastating damage.
- Versatile and flexible, allowing you to switch up your style depending on the situation
- Powerful element discharge attacks
- Offers the ability to guard
- Powerful ‘guard points’ where, when you’re hit by a monster during a guard point, you can immediately execute an element discharge
- You can stun monsters by using impact phials and hitting them in the face
- The charge blade is a difficult weapon, and takes practice to master
- Long attack animations with lengthy charge ups, making it tricky to time attacks
MHR insect glaive
The insect glaive is, and has always been, a weird one, but it’s impossible to deny its handiness and strength (even though playing on the same team as an insect glaiver without level three flinch free still makes me want to cry). You may have heard rumours that insect glaives received a nerf and aren’t as powerful in MHR as they are in Monster Hunter World but that’s categorically untrue – in fact, they’re stronger, mostly due to the new ‘dual color’ capability of the kinsects.
The insect glaive offers immense mobility and a cacophony of aerial attacks, its switch skills are great, and the new kinsect bonuses that have surfaced in Sunbreak are extremely powerful. Basically, if you get to grips with the insect glaive, it won’t be long before you turn into a pole-vaulting ninja of fury.
- High mobility and plenty of powerful aerial attacks
- Super strong kinsect buffs
- Great for mounting monsters, with the highest chance of triggering wyvern riding
- Combos and switch skills offer greatly improved offensive capabilities
- Heavily relies on kinsect extracts. These buffs don’t last for a long time, either, so you need to keep an eye on them and refresh them when they start blinking
- Loses sharpness quickly
- No guarding options
The gunlance is a unique weapon that takes the form of a shield and a lance that’s… well, also a gun. It can feel very slow and cumbersome at first, but its new switch skills have certainly combatted some of its mobility options, and if you can adapt and learn how to position yourself well, it’s capable of really packing a punch.
It offers some great burst damage potential, and excels at breaking a monster’s parts, which is massively complimented by Sunbreak’s Malzeno armour skills. It may take a while to get used to ammo management if you’ve not used a gun-based weapon in MH before, and it requires quite a lot of sharpening or some strong gems and skills, but its impact is certainly worth it.
- Shelling attacks ignore monster armour, meaning you can deal more damage to the beasties
- Though shelling attacks are where the gunlance shines, its physical attacks are not to be sniffed at – they can also deal heaps of damage
- Long reach, capable of hitting tall or even flying monsters
- One of the best weapons when it comes to guarding
- Shelling attacks consume a lot of sharpness
- When you’ve got the gunlance unsheathed, your mobility is greatly reduced
- You need to pay close attention to your ammo during battle
Monster Hunter Rise A-rank weapons
MHR dual blades
Fast and highly mobile, dual blades are honestly great fun to use. They’re great at applying elemental damage and debuffs, and their spiral slash move offers amazing burst damage in a concentrated area, making them great for breaking parts. Their side slash combo also allows you to reposition mid-combo, further adding to their awesome mobility.
However, all of this comes at the cost of reach and stamina, meaning you need to get up close and personal with the monster in order to land a hit, and you may well finish a combo with no stamina rendering you unable to dodge incoming attacks. It also loses its sharpness very quickly, meaning you either have to dedicate some gem slots to fixing that issue or find time to sharpen frequently throughout the fight.
- Great elemental damage application
- Awesome mobility and speed
- Useful against large monsters
- Offers demon and archdemon modes, which increase your DPS
- Heavy stamina usage
- Short reach
- Loses sharpness very quickly
The bow is a ranged weapon capable of dishing out great damage with its charged shots. Unfortunately, Sunbreak and update 10.0 nerfed charge levels three and four, which decreased the overall damage output of the bow, knocking it down to an A-rank weapon. Its new switch skills are also underwhelming, offering little synergy or impactful moves. However, the bow is still a highly mobile weapon, with the added bonus of different ammo coatings that can either empower your attacks or apply status ailments like poison or sleep, regardless of which bow you have equipped.
- Strong charged shots
- Great mobility
- Versatile choice of ammo coatings
- Heavy stamina usage
- You need to aim your shots well and play with precision
- Low defence
- Mediocre switch skills
MHR sword & shield
Ah, that good old staple, sword & shield. It’s well rounded, easy to get the swing of, can block some incoming damage, and allows you the great bonus of using items without sheathing. Unfortunately, its base damage and switch skills are still somewhat underwhelming, but it offers a nice balance between defensive and offensive playstyles, allows you to freely choose between elemental and status procs or stun procs, and has good mobility, making for a nice, safe option in most situations while still packing a decent punch.
- Great for applying elemental damage and status ailments
- High hit-count per combo
- Perfect rush, while difficult to land, has one of the highest DPS rates of any move from any weapon
- You can stun/knock out monsters with your shield
- You can use items without sheathing your weapon
- Offers guarding options with the shield
- You can easily be flinched by other players in co-op, messing up your combos, so level three flinch free is important, monopolising some of your decoration slots
- Short reach limitations, especially on tall or airborne monsters, though if you get the hang of jumping moves, this can be countered
Ah, the hammer. I really, really love this weapon, and have for around a decade, but even I can see its shortcomings at times. It’s a weighty, impactful beast with amazing single-hit attack damage, the ability to stagger and stun monsters (which is especially useful when they’re charging up a powerful attack), and out of all the large, heavy weapons, it easily has the highest mobility.
However, it has relatively short reach, can’t sever parts like tails, and its combos can be long and slow, making them hard to time with quicker monsters that like to zip around the map. Its switch skills are impactful when it comes to damage and mobility, but they often leave you vulnerable, meaning they take some practice to get used to. There’s also no guard option to protect yourself. But when you get into the rhythm of hammer, learn its reach, combos, sheath times, and attack windows, it’s an extremely satisfying weapon to use. Plus, it’s great for breaking a monster’s face.
- Can reliably stun and stagger monsters
- High damage per hit
- Great mobility for a large, impactful weapon
- Good for breaking parts like claws, legs, faces etc.
- Short reach without silkbind attacks
- Long combos that can be tricky to time
- Can’t sever tails
- No guard
MHR light bowgun
The light bowgun, as the name suggests, is a ranged weapon that offers more mobility and agility compared to its heavy counterpart, which pushes it up the ranks a little. Its varied ammo and ranged combos makes it a very versatile and flexible weapon, and its latest silkbind changes only enhance its brilliant mobility.
However, the recent update significantly nerfed sticky and slicing ammo, and, though critical firepower offers plenty of punch, the light bowgun’s overall damage output has been undeniably impacted. Luckily, it’s still a strong and viable weapon, and, despite its reload and ammo management adding an extra layer of complexity, it’s certainly still capable of taking those beasties down.
- High mobility
- Versatile, with great utility all around
- Capable of rapid fire with certain builds
- Has a great evade reload slide, allowing you to dodge monsters
- while stocking up on ammo
- Firepower is very strong
- Nerfed sticky and slicing ammo, decreasing overall damage
- No guarding option
Monster Hunter Rise B-tier weapons
MHR heavy bowgun
The heavy bowgun is, unsurprisingly, the heavier version of its light counterpart. It sacrifices mobility for more impactful shots, however, it also suffered greatly from the nerf on sticky, cluster, and slicing ammo, and the recent update saw an increase in its recoil, making it harder to control. Of course, the right armour sets or decorations can negate this, but that means using slots that could otherwise be delegated to more useful skills. Its new silkbind attack, crouching shot, offers some great damage, but it’s restrictive and hard to manage, rendering you unable to move and pushing you to keep an eye on the overheat metre.
Its mobility also makes it tricky to manage, and with its range being sub-par, it can be hard to get out of the way when a monster is barrelling towards you. It does have guard abilities which you can enhance through skills, but you still need to know your distances and limits when it comes to chasing and escaping during battle.
- High damage
- Guarding options
- Low mobility
- Nerfed ammo
- Distance problems that are tricky to manage
- Requires lots of micro-management across ammo, overheat metres, mobility, distances, and skills
Oh, the poor little lance. I can’t say I’ve ever seen someone use it in co-op matches, to be honest, and that makes sense with its underwhelming damage. The recent update gave it a much-needed damage boost, but it still struggles to stand up against other weapons, especially with its lack-lustre switch skills.
However, it does have very good reach, and is easily the best when it comes to guarding. It also has some counter-attack options, which are handy, but its mobility is very limited, and most of its combos can be easily interrupted by both other players and monsters. If you love it, go for it, but there are definitely better options out there.
- Great guarding options
- Good reach, capable of hitting tall and airborne monsters
- Has some counter-attacks
- Underwhelming damage, even after recent buff
- Combos are easily interrupted
- Very limited mobility – perhaps the worst in the game
That’s it for our Monster Hunter Rise tier list. We’ll be sure to update this guide if any future updates or patches change the skills and rankings, but in the meantime we hope this helps you get to grips with those mischievous monsters! For more awesome adventures, check out our list of the best Switch RPGs and find something fresh to play.