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  1. Introduction
  2.  
  3. When it comes to Armor in Monster Hunter, defenses and resistances are nice, but what you really want are the armor skills.
  4.  
  5. This guide series is going to focus on a progression path you can easily follow for a reasonable build to get you through low rank, and high rank. In Low Rank, progression is fairly linear, and there isn’t a lot of need to deviate. High Rank is much more open ended, and will have many more options for you to explore.
  6.  
  7. High Rank builds will focus on decorationless and charmless setups as those require rare materials, and a lot of luck for decorations. You will have to make a choice between Alpha and Beta gear. Alpha gear has more skills, but sometimes has skills that aren’t particularly useful on them. The beta versions usually give up skills for decoration slots. If you don’t have decorations, the alpha sets are always better. If you have powerful decorations, the beta pieces are usually the superior option as it will allow for further customization.
  8.  
  9. These builds are reasonably effective and will be sufficient for getting through the game. You may have skills that you favor on certain weapons that aren’t listed, and you should experiment to learn your playstyle.
  10.  
  11. Basic Armor Setup - All Weapons.
  12.  
  13. Your default armor is terrible, and you’ll want to upgrade it right away.
  14.  
  15. The easiest thing you can do is just build the entire bone set. This will mostly be beneficial for the headpieces Health Boost, granting you +15 Maximum HP, and the Bone Chests Attack Up, granting you +3 attack power.
  16.  
  17. The remaining bone pieces will benefit certain weapon types, and not others. The gloves will give Slugger, which is good for blunt weapons like Hammer, Hunting Horn, phial attacks from the Charge Blade and Switch Axe.
  18.  
  19. Bone Coil is only for Hunting Horn, but it will extend the length of your songs. The Bone Greaves grant entomologist, which helps prevent you from destroying vespoids and hornetaurs so you can carve them.
  20.  
  21. Regardless of skills, this set is extremely easy to build, and represents a good armor value spike that you should take starting out.
  22.  
  23. Early on you’ll be given an Assignment to hunt Kestodons. After carving some, you’ll unlock the ability to build Kestodon gloves. Build these for Affinity Sliding, which gives you a temporary boost to your critical hit rate after sliding for a short period of time. They also have a strong defense boost over the Bone gauntlets, and should be picked up for most of the weapon types.
  24.  
  25. This set will be enough to tide you over until you hunt Great Jagras. Afterwards, you’ll want to look into picking up the Jagras Coil. This provides Fortify, which gives you an attack and defense bonus if your HP reaches 0 and you’re carted back to camp.
  26.  
  27. Fortify is a nice bonus for new players, and even veterans will cart occasionally. It’s a good pickup for all weapon types.
  28.  
  29. Then you’ll have to hunt Kulu Ya Ku. You’ll want to build both it’s Kulu Mail Chest armor, and the Kulu Greaves leg armor. The chest grants Stamina Surge, which increases your stamina recovery rate. This is excellent as a skill for every weapon type, but certain weapons will benefit much more from it. The Kulu Greaves grant Critical Eye, which increases your affinity, or critical hit rate, by 3%. This isn’t huge, but going from 0 to 3% affinity will allow you to actually perform critical hits, and will be a significant damage increase.
  30.  
  31. This will be an acceptable set of baseline armor for the next mandatory fights. From here on though, things will be handled on a weapon by weapon basis.
  32.  
  33. Armor so far:
  34. Bone Helm
  35. Kulu Chest
  36. Kestodon Gloves
  37. Jagras Waist
  38. Kulu Greaves
  39.  
  40. Switch Axe - Low Rank
  41.  
  42. Switch Axe like most of the other weapons really favors stacking as much attack, affinity and sharpness as possible. Switch Axe does suffer from relatively low mobility, so skills like Evade Extender are definitely welcome and recommended.
  43.  
  44. The base armor set will have to tide you over for longer than I’d like. Take out Pukei-Pukei and Barroth, unfortunately, there are no offerings here that benefits switch axe.
  45.  
  46. After hunting Jyuratodus there’s an upgrade you could take take. Jyuratodus’ Greaves grant Focus. Focus decreases the amount of time required to charge your gauge. It’s actually not the best skill on Switch Axe. It will reduce the amount required to fill by the gauge by one swing at the most. It’s can be a reasonable pick up, and there isn’t much else at this point in the game. Feel free to stick with the Critical Eye from Kulu Greaves.
  47.  
  48. Then you’ll have to hunt Tobi-Kadachi, and finally there are some reasonable offerings.
  49.  
  50. The Kadachi Helm grants Constitution. It will reduce the amount of stamina dodging and your wild swing will use.
  51.  
  52. You’ll also want to build the Kadachi Vambraces for Evade Extender, which will help you reposition. This is an extremely valuable pick up for Switch Axe as it makes you much more mobile. It also has great synergy with the Kadachi Helm’s constitution.
  53.  
  54. Anjanath is next, but has no reasonable options for us.
  55.  
  56. Recommended Set so far:
  57. Head: Kadachi Helm
  58. Chest: Kulu Chest
  59. Arms: Kadachi Vambraces
  60. Waist: Jagras Coil
  61. Legs: Jyuratodus Greaves OR Kulu Greaves
  62.  
  63. Once you’re in the Coral Highlands you’ll have to hunt Paolumu, but you should deviate and hunt Tzitzi-Ya Ku. Tzitzi Chest grants Constitution, reducing your stamina drain while dodging, as well as giving a reasonable defense increase.  The King Beetle Thorax is also a reasonable choice for quick sheathe if you prefer.
  64.  
  65. Then hunt Paolumu as part of the story. You can switch the Kadachi Helm for Paolumu’s hat to trade Constitution for Stamina Surge. Both will have similar performance, but the Lumu Hat will have superior defenses.
  66.  
  67. You can also upgrade to the Lumu Coil if you find yourself taking a lot of damage, and the Jagras coil is starting to feel quite weak at this point.
  68.  
  69. Head down to the Rotten Vale and hunt Hornetaurs. Build the greaves for Handicraft, which increases your weapons sharpness. The extra sharpness will be more worthwhile than the marginal improvement Focus gives.
  70.  
  71. Recommended Set so far:
  72. Head: Kadachi Helm or Lumu Hat
  73. Chest: Tzitzi Mail
  74. Arms: Kadachi Vambraces
  75. Waist: Lumu Coil OR Jagras Coil
  76. Legs: Hornetaur Greaves
  77.  
  78. Then finish off Radobaan, then Legiana. Neither of these monsters have much offerings for us, but after Legiana you’ll have access to Monster Bone+, and can build the Death Stench gear.
  79.  
  80. Build the Death Stench Heel to maintain Handicraft, while gaining significantly higher defenses.
  81.  
  82. Recommended Set so far;
  83. Head: Lumu Hat
  84. Chest: Tzitzi Mail
  85. Arms: Kadachi Vambraces
  86. Waist: Lumu Coil.
  87. Legs: Death Stench Heel
  88.  
  89. Next is Odogaron, pick up it’s coil for Critical Eye. You may also want to consider the Vambraces for Constitution, since the Kadachi Vambraces could use an upgrade. Then move on to hunt Rathalos and Diablos.
  90.  
  91. You’re so close to High Rank here that you may want to avoid farming and just move on. Of course this is an idealized armor guide.
  92.  
  93. Rathalos has good gear. Pick up Rathalos Helm for attack up. Then build the Mail for Weakness Exploit giving you a massive affinity bonus while attacking weak points.
  94.  
  95. The 3 piece bonus of Critical Element can be OK on Switch Axe. You’ll have to choose to give up your hand or leg armor, neither of which are great options.
  96.  
  97. Recommended Set so far:
  98. Rathalos Helm
  99. Rathalos Chest
  100. Odogaron Vambraces OR Rathalos Vambraces (Grants Critical Element)
  101. Odogaron Waist
  102. Death Stench Heel OR Rathalos Greaves (Grants Critical Element)
  103.  
  104. Build these pieces if you want, but it’s time to move onto High Rank.
  105.  
  106. High Rank
  107.  
  108. High Rank finally introduces to us some options.
  109.  
  110. There’s a lot of upgrades available now, and you can immediately go and hunt high rank versions of everything in Low Rank. The easy answer is that anything that worked for you in Low Rank will work here while providing additional skills and high rank defenses.
  111.  
  112. This guide assumes you have no useful decorations, as such the Beta gear is simply worse than the Alpha Gear as it loses skills for decoration slots. If you have decorations, consider the beta versions of some pieces, otherwise, stick with Alpha. The same goes for Charms, and this armor guide is Charmless. Go ahead and pick up whatever charms you see fit, like Attack, or Handicraft.
  113.  
  114. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to lose all your set bonuses, and kind of start back from square one.
  115.  
  116. The Kulu Headpiece Alpha should be picked up immediately for a second stack of Weakness Exploit. You’ll lose Critical Element, but gaining the extra affinity will be worth it.
  117.  
  118. Then head to the Rotten Vale to hunt Hornetaurs to pick up the Hornetaur Greaves Beta for Handicraft.
  119.  
  120. Afterwards, you’ll want to hunt Tobi-Kadachi to build the Vambraces Alpha to regain Evade Extender. Level 3 Evade Extender is ideal, but the 2 you get here is a fair compromise, and is quite noticeable. If you don’t feel like you need evade extender, you can pick up the Bone Vambraces Alpha for Attack Up.
  121.  
  122. Now hunt Pink Rathian, and pick up it’s Rath Heart Coil Alpha for Handicraft and Poison Resistance.
  123.  
  124. That should make you adequately prepared to take on the higher tier monsters of High Rank.
  125.  
  126. Recommended Set so far:
  127. Kulu Headpiece Alpha
  128. Low Rank Rathalos Chest
  129. Kadachi Vambraces Alpha
  130. Rath Heart Coil Alpha (OR Beta, if you can utilize the slot over poison resistance, or be a boss and get the Vangis Belt from Deviljho)
  131. Hornetaur Greaves Beta
  132.  
  133. Odogaron’s set is a reasonable choice. It provides a lot of critical eye, speed sharpening, and the 4 piece bonus is Protective Polish. Protective Polish prevents your weapon from losing Sharpness for 60 seconds after sharpening. It’s a great skill, but you give up a lot to get it. The two piece set bonus of Punishing Draw won’t have great synergy with Switch Axe, but you’ll pick it up on the way if you go for the set.
  134.  
  135. Build the head gear alpha for critical eye, the gloves for constitution and critical eye, the coil for critical eye and speed sharpening, and the boots for quick sheathe and critical eye. You’ll want to pair this with the low rank Rathalos chest to maintain Weakness Exploit. The Coil is a good pickup regardless of going for the 4 piece bonus or not.
  136.  
  137. Of course, Rathalos will be the next target to upgrade the chest to the high rank version.
  138.  
  139. Protective Polish Set so far:
  140. Odogaron Head Alpha
  141. Low Rank Rathalos Chest (Upgrade to Rathalos Mail Beta as soon as possible)
  142. Odogaron Vambraces Alpha
  143. Odogaron Coil Alpha
  144. Odogaron Greaves Alpha
  145.  
  146. The next big set is the Rathalos Set. The two piece set is Critical Element which will represent a reasonable damage upgrade for elemental switch axes of all types.
  147.  
  148. This set is not easy to build, and the ideal setup requires multiple gems, but it will be a great set for the remainder of the game.
  149.  
  150. The two piece set is extremely easy to get, and has amazing synergy with the chest and boots, which give 3 points of weakness exploit. Grab the Rathalos Greaves Alpha for jumpmaster, and weakness exploit. Then pick up the Mail Beta for the decoration slot over Fire Attack.
  151.  
  152. You’ll need a plate and a gem, but these are great pickups. You’ll regain Critical Element, and Weakness Exploit 3. This also frees up your head piece to upgrade to something else. You’ll want to consider things like the Rathalos Head for Attack Up, or the Rath Heart Helm Beta for finishing out Evade Extender, and finally the Zorah Headgear Beta for Handicraft.
  153.  
  154. Recommended Set so far:
  155. Rathalos Helm Beta OR Rath Heart Helm Beta OR Zorah Headgear Beta
  156. Rathalos Mail Beta (unlocks Critical Element)
  157. Kadachi Vambraces Alpha OR Bone Vambraces Alpha
  158. Rath Heart Alpha/Beta OR Odogaron Coil Alpha
  159. Rathalos Greaves Alpha
  160.  
  161. With this you will be extremely well prepared to take on the remaining bosses in the game. You can hunt Azure Rathalos to upgrade further.
  162.  
  163. The Rath Soul Helm Beta gives Critical Boost, and 2 decoration slots. The Alpha version gives intimidator, which is not a great skill, so take the slots, and put whatever you have in there. This again, requires a Rathalos ruby, but will be a great addition for end game content.
  164.  
  165. Recommended Set at this point and for the rest of the game:
  166. Rath Soul Helm Beta OR Rathalos Helm Beta (Stronger criticals vs. Attack Up) OR Rath Heart Beta (for level 3 evade extender)
  167. Rathalos Mail Beta (unlocks Critical Element)
  168. Kadachi Vambraces Alpha
  169. Odogaron Coil Alpha OR Rath Heart Coil Alpha/Beta OR Vangis Coil
  170. Rathalos Greaves Alpha
  171.  
  172. Optional Protective Polish Set:
  173. Odogaron Helm Alpha
  174. Rathalos Mail Beta
  175. Odogaron Vambraces Alpha (unlocks Punishing Draw)
  176. Odogaron Coil Alpha
  177. Odogaron Greaves Alpha (unlocks Protective Polish)
  178.  
  179. These sets will be adequate for everything else in the game. Everything after this is just a matter of customization and preference once you get access to better charms and decorations.
  180.  
  181. The Elder Dragon sets are usually safe bets, but won’t necessarily be better or worse than this, just different.
  182.  
  183. Nergigante’s set is a great general purpose set. It has Maximum Might which gives you a 30% affinity increase while at maximum stamina. Maximum Might works really well on Switch Axe, but you won’t be able to utilize it shortly after sidestepping or after a wild swing. It’s a very consistent affinity increase on all monster parts, not just their weakpoints. It also has Agitator, which has a very high up time of increased attack and affinity. Then it has attack and stamina surge to round it out. It’s a good general purpose set that’s easy to build.
  184.  
  185. Nergigante’s Dragonking Eyepatch has Weakness Exploit 2 and a tier-3 decoration slot, making it a good pickup. If you get a Tenderizer Decoration you can get Weakness Exploit 3 on one armor slot which is great.
  186.  
  187. You’ll be able to build the Dober gear with Elder Dragon Bones and Blood after Nergigante. Pick up the Dober Mail Beta, and the Dober Greaves Beta for more attack up options.
  188.  
  189. Kushala’s gear has a lot of Handicraft. You’ll want to look at the Kushala Cista Beta for Handicraft, and the Kushala Crus Alpha or Beta for more Evade Extender options.
  190.  
  191. Teostra’s vambraces beta are a great pickup and tie nicely with the Dragon King Eyepatch to max out weakness exploit, while providing some very valuable decoration slots.
  192.  
  193. Vaal Hazak’s gear isn’t the best, but the materials can be used for the Death Stench set. You can use the Death Stench Heels Beta for Handicraft
  194.  
  195. Your final build will want to incorporate level 2 Evade Extender but preferably level 3, with as much Handicraft, and damage boosting skills as you can get your grubby little paws on. Your final build may look something like this, but keep in mind, you’ll have to adjust based on your own luck with Decorations and Charm materials. You’ll definitely want to incorporate a protective polish decoration, and non-elemental boost decorations for Raw Switch Axes.
  196.  
  197. Dragon King Eyepatch
  198. Dober Mail Beta
  199. Teostra Vambraces Beta
  200. Nergigante Coil Beta
  201. Kushala Crus Alpha
  202.  
  203. Handicraft Charm 3.
  204.  
  205. Weakness Exploit - 3
  206. Attack - 4
  207. Evade Extender - 2
  208. Handicraft - 4
  209.  
  210. Enough Decorations slots to get in:
  211.  1 Attack Decoration (I used a Motor Chopper, but you should use Diablos’ Axe of Demons, it also has a level 1 slot)
  212. 1 Non-Elemental Boost Decoration (slot into Nergigante Coil Beta)
  213. 1 Protective Polish Decoration (slot in anywhere)
  214. 1 Evade Extender Decoration (slot in anywhere, maxes out Evade Extender)
  215. 1 Handicraft Decoration (slot in anywhere) OR Whatever level 3 Decoration you want.
  216.  
  217. Final Build:
  218. Attack - 5
  219. Weakness Exploit - 3
  220. Evade Extender - 3
  221. Handicraft - 5
  222. Non-Elemental Boost
  223. Protective Polish
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