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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. Great Sword - Low Rank
  41.  
  42. There are really two ways to use a great sword. One is what was considered good fundamentals in previous Monster Hunter games which was to run in, do an unsheathe attack, immediately sheathe your sword, and then run away to wait for another opening. This largely eliminates the Great Swords one weakness of being really slow while drawn. This style favors critical draw, quick sheathe, and focus for charging the initial attack. It won’t be as high damage wise as the second style, but it will be a safe and reasonably effective way to take down every monster in the game.
  43.  
  44. The second style is new to Monster Hunter World. It involves going for a true charge by chaining together 3 charge attacks through the shoulder tackle. It’s much more difficult to pull off, but will offer significantly faster kill times and damage output. You’ll want to get skills like Focus for faster charges, and any kind of damage, affinity, and sharpness boosting skills you can get.
  45.  
  46. Since the Draw Style is much easier to use, it will be the focus of this guide. There will be alternatives presented for the True Charge style, but they won’t really emerge until the end game.
  47.  
  48. The first upgrade available will be the Vespoid Helm, which grants Quick Sheathe. This is a reasonable pick up for both styles of great sword play, and it’s roughly equivalent defense wise to the Bone Helm.
  49.  
  50. The base armor set will have to tide you over to take on Pukei-Pukei and Barroth. Since there isn’t a lot of Great Sword specific gear, there will be several options available to you, these aren’t necessarily good for great sword it’s just there isn’t anything better. You can build Barroth’s Head for Guard. You can also build the Gloves for Marathon Runner. Neither of these are overly good for Great Sword, but you may want to consider them.
  51.  
  52. After hunting Jyuratodus there’s an upgrade you should take take. Jyuratodus’ Greaves grant Focus. Focus decreases the amount of time required to charge your Great Sword attacks. This will be a good pickup that will last you for the majority of low rank, if not the entirety.
  53.  
  54. Then you’ll have to hunt Tobi-Kadachi.
  55.  
  56. There are a few upgrades you can pick up from Tobi-Kadachi. The Kadachi Gloves grant Evade Extender. If you haven’t upgraded your gloves yet, you should pick these up now. It’s a decent pick up for repositioning while your Great Sword is drawn. You can upgrade your Vespoid Helm to a Kadachi Helm for constitution to help with dodging and will help out in a pinch if you’re forced to guard. It does offer a reasonable defense boost on top of that.
  57.  
  58. Anjanath is next and it’s offerings aren’t anything special, so move onwards into the Coral Highlands.
  59.  
  60. Once you’re in the Coral Highlands you’ll have access to the King Beetle set. The chest armor grants Quick Sheathe. You should pick this up, as the Kulu Chest is starting to feel weak. If you have bad luck with Great Hornflys from your Ancient Tree, hunt Tzitzi Ya Ku, and pick up the Tzitzi Mail for Constitution.
  61.  
  62. Set so far:
  63. Head: Vespoid or Kadachi
  64. Chest: King Beetle
  65. Gloves: Kadachi
  66. Waist: Jagras
  67. Legs: Jyuratodus
  68.  
  69. Then hunt Paolumu as part of the story. Paolumu’s Coil will be a good replacement for the Jagras Coil if you feel you need more defenses. Otherwise Fortify will be helpful if you cart to boost your attack power, and there isn’t much better at this point. You can also pick up the Lumu Head for Stamina Surge. Constitution is better when you’re forced to guard or dodge, but the defenses on the Lumu head are better, it’s your call.
  70.  
  71. Once you’re in the Rotten Vale, you’ll have access to Warped Bones and Sinister Cloth from the Tailrider Safari. This is when we finally get some good Great Sword gear. Pick up the Death Stench Grips for Focus. You can also pick up the Hornetaur Greaves for Handicraft. Over all, a second stack of Focus from Jyura Greaves is preferred since you won’t benefit much from Handicraft at this point.
  72.  
  73. Finish off Radobaan, then Legiana. Neither of these monsters have much offerings for us, but Legiana’s Monster Bone+ can be used to make the Death Stench Heel. It’s an optional pickup, as you will lose focus from the Jyura Greaves.
  74.  
  75. Next is Odogaron, and it’s set is reasonable. The 3 piece set bonus of Punishing Draw can actually be utilized effectively on Great Sword. Pick up the Odogaron Coil for Critical Eye, and the boots and helmet if you want to get Punishing Draw. The Odogaron helmet is only good for hunting Odogaron, but you’ll lose the valuable Quick Sheathe or Focus by dropping the chest or gloves. The odogaron greaves double your defense compared to Jyura greaves so that’s a reasonable trade off.
  76.  
  77. Armor so far:
  78. Head: Odogaron
  79. Chest: King Beetle
  80. Hands: Death Stench Gloves
  81. Waist: Odogaron Waist
  82. Legs: Jyuratodus Greaves OR Odogaron Greaves (grants punishing draw)
  83.  
  84. Afterwards you’ll want to hunt Rathalos and Diablos. Both of these monsters have great upgrades, but you are so close to high rank you may want to skip them as High Rank armor is universally better. Of course, this is an idealized armor guide.
  85.  
  86. Rathalos Chest is the most desired for Weakness Exploit. It does require a plate, but will be used for a huge chunk of High Rank because Weakness exploit is that good. Great Sword’s wont benefit much from the 3 piece bonus of Critical Element as you’ll prefer Raw damage.
  87.  
  88. You’ll want to pick up Diablos’ helmet for Critical Draw. This will help offset the negative affinity of most of the Great Swords you’ll be using.  
  89.  
  90. Build this set if you want, then move onto High Rank.
  91.  
  92. Ideal Set:
  93. Head: Diablos Helm
  94. Chest: Rathalos Chest
  95. Hands: Death Stench Gloves OR Odogaron Gloves
  96. Waist: Odogaron Waist
  97. Legs: Jyuratodus Greaves OR Odogaron Greaves (If going with Odogaron, take both for punishing draw)
  98.  
  99. High Rank
  100.  
  101. High Rank finally introduces to us some options.
  102.  
  103. 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.
  104.  
  105. 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.
  106.  
  107. The Kulu Headpiece Alpha is usually the go-to but it’s not so black and white here. If you’re using the hit and run strategy of unsheathe attacks, then critical draw’s +30% affinity will beat out the +15% from Weakness Exploit, as well as being more useful against non-weakpoints if you miss. If you’re using the True Charge style, then you should upgrade to the Kulu Headpiece Alpha.
  108.  
  109. If you’re still using the Death Stench gloves, upgrade them to Kestodon Guards Alpha to maintain Focus, and gain affinity sliding as well as high rank defenses.
  110.  
  111. Also hunt Jyuratodus and pick up Jyuratodus’ greaves. With the Kestodon Guards, this will max out Focus, and you’ll have the fastest charges possible.
  112.  
  113. You can also pick up the King Beetle set for some Quick Sheathe  Picking up King Beetle Chest and Waist will grant maxed out Quick Sheathe. This will be arguable if it’s worth losing Weakness Exploit and Critical Eye, but it’s your call.
  114.  
  115. Now you can focus all your remaining armor skills on strictly damage upgrades, or utility skills.
  116.  
  117. Ideal Set so far.
  118. Head: Diablos Helm OR Kulu Headpiece Alpha
  119. Chest: Rathalos Chest OR King Beetle Alpha
  120. Hands: Kestodon Gloves Alpha
  121. Waist: King Beetle Alpha
  122. Legs: Jyuratodus Greaves Alpha
  123.  
  124. Hunt Pink Rathian, it’s coil is a decent option for Handicraft and Poison Resistance. Of course, now that our big pickle Deviljho is in the game, you can also build THE CHAMP BELT as a viable alternative.
  125.  
  126. That should make you adequately prepared to take on the higher tier monsters of High Rank.
  127.  
  128. Odogaron’s set is a reasonable choice. You’ll be able to pick up Punishing Draw for two pieces. Pick up the Odogaron Mail, and Waist to get Speed Sharpening maxed out, and 2 stacks of critical eye, as well as unlocking Punishing Draw if you’re using the Draw-style. If you don’t want to farm Odogaron, you can skip straight ahead to Diablos.
  129.  
  130. Ideal Set so far:
  131. Head: Low Rank Diablos Helm
  132. Chest: Odogaron mail Alpha
  133. Hands: Kestodon Guards Alpha
  134. Waist: Odogaron Coil Alpha (unlocks Punishing Draw)
  135. Legs: Jyuratodus Greaves Alpha
  136.  
  137. You can now reasonably hunt Diablos and Black Diablos. This will be the go-to for the Draw-style. You won’t be able to use Punishing Draw, but you will have 100% crit rate on draw attacks, with maxed focus, and the extremely valuable non-elemental boost. You’ll want to build the Diablos Helm Beta for Critical Draw and a slot since Heroics is too hard to utilize for most players. Then you’ll want to pick up the Diablos Coil Alpha to max out Critical Draw. Then build the Diablos Nero Mail Alpha for Resentment, which increases your attack power when you have a red portion of your health meter. Finally pick up the Diablos Nero Braces Alpha for focus and marathon runner. Combine this with the Jyura Greaves Alpha to max out focus.
  138.  
  139. You will need a lot of Majestic Horns and Black Spiral Horn+ to make this set. It’s recommended to do “Horn Runs”. Simply focus all your efforts on breaking both the horns, by using things like Traps and Barrel bombs, then select return from quest. You’ll save a lot of time doing this, and you won’t have to finish off the monsters to get the rewards. Of course, you will need other materials so only do this if you just need the horns.
  140.  
  141. Ideal Set for Unsheathe Style:
  142. Head: Diablos Helm Alpha
  143. Chest: Diablos Nero Mail Alpha
  144. Hands: Diablos Nero Alpha
  145. Waist: Diablos Coil Alpha
  146. Feet: Jyuratodus Alpha
  147.  
  148. Skills:
  149. Focus 3
  150. Resentment 2
  151. Crit Draw 3
  152. Marathon Runner 3
  153. Diablos 2 piece bonus: Bludgeoner
  154. Diablos 4 piece bonus: Non-Elemental Boost
  155.  
  156. This set will give you 100% critical on draw attacks, maxed out focus for faster charges, and bludgeoner with non-elemental boost. It’s a great set for Raw great swords using the Draw Style. Obviously once you get a non-elemental boost decoration your gear options are freed up significantly.
  157.  
  158. For the True-Charge style:
  159. The next big set is the Rathalos Set. Rathalos’ 2 and 4 piece set bonuses are not useful at all for Great Sword. You’ll end up picking them up because of wanting to get the excellent weakness exploit skills.
  160.  
  161. 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.
  162.  
  163. Pick up the Rathalos Chest Beta for Weakness Exploit 2. The Alpha version has fire attack which isn’t worth it, even if you’re using Anjanath’s Great Sword, but you should be using a Raw Greatsword like the Jagras Hacker at this point in the game.
  164.  
  165. 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. 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. Critical Boost will give you massive damage potential if you can land True Charge hits on weak points.
  166.  
  167. Ideal set for True-Charge Style:
  168. Head: Rath Soul Beta OR Kulu headpiece Alpha (Stronger Crits vs. More Crits)
  169. Chest: Rathalos Mail Beta
  170. Hands: Diablos Nero Braces Alpha (or Beta)
  171. Waist: Pink rathian Coil Alpha
  172. Legs: Jyuratodus Alpha
  173.  
  174. This set will be adequate for everything else in the game. Everything after this is just a matter of customization and preference.
  175.  
  176. The Elder Dragon sets are usually safe bets, but won’t necessarily be better or worse than this, just different.
  177.  
  178. Nergigante’s set is a reasonable option. The big skill for True Charge style Great Sword is Maximum Might. This gives you a large affinity increase while your Stamina is full. This stipulation should be a non-issue, as Great Sword attacks don’t use stamina. Maximum Might is a very consistent alternative to Weakness Exploit, but it can also be combined with Weakness Exploit to reach extremely high affinity.  Of course, if you find yourself missing weakpoints, Maximum Might is a lot easier to use. The rest of the set has a lot of attack, and agitator, which works well on Great Sword.
  179.  
  180. The Dragonking Eyepatch has Weakness Exploit 2 and a tier-3 decoration slot, making it a good pickup. I used 4 piece Nergigante with Dragonking Eyepatch for the entirety of my tempered monster hunts with reasonable efficiency. It’s not the best set, but it’s an easy to farm option that’s not reliant on Decorations.
  181.  
  182. After Nergigante you’ll gain access to the Dober, and Damascus Gear. Dober has a lot of attack options, and Damascus has lots of Focus options. The Damascus Mail Beta has level 2 Focus and 3 level 1 slots, which can free up your boot options for something more desirable like Handicraft. Likewise, the Waist armor has level 1 focus, and 3 level 1 slots, making them easy ways to max out focus, and slot in a lot of extra skills.
  183.  
  184. Bazelgeuse’s set also has some interesting pieces and build options. It has a ton of Earplugs, as well as critical draw. You give up a lot to take maximum earplugs without decorations or charms, but it will work well if you’re extremely annoyed by monsters roars.
  185.  
  186. After beating Vaal Hazak, you’ll have access to High Rank Death Stench. The gloves give 2 stacks of Focus, giving you more build options. The boots give 2 stacks of Handicraft, which will be really desirable to push yourself to white sharpness.
  187.  
  188. Kushala Daora has a lot of pieces with Handicraft, the chest armor has excellent synergy wtih great sword by having 2 stacks of handicraft and 1 stack of focus.
  189.  
  190. Finally Teostra’s vambraces have 2 stacks of weakness exploit, which gives you more options for head gear.
  191.  
  192. Unfortunately it’s actually quite difficult to get 1 stack of Critical Draw, which means a Critical Draw decoration is extremely valuable. It will free up your waist, or leg armor for something more valuable like Handicraft.
  193.  
  194. Your final build may look something like this, but it’s all a matter of mixing and matching once you get access to better decorations and charms. No matter what, you’ll want level 3 focus, and Critical Draw, or Weakness Exploit and Maximum Might maxed out, with as much handicraft as you can muster.
  195.  
  196. Diablos Helm Beta
  197. Kushala Cista Alpha
  198. Death Stench Grips Beta
  199. Diablos Coil Alpha
  200. Death Stench Heel Beta
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