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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. Sword and Shield - Low Rank
  41.  
  42. Sword and Shield actually has the most options for build variety. You’ll be able to pick up gear mostly reserved for Hammers, and Lances and use it effectively. You’ll want to use elemental weapons through the game. You have KO damage with your shield bash attacks, and can use items while sheathed. This allows you to build a more support-style build if you prefer to be an asset to your team in Multiplayer. Just don’t expect any thanks for your hard work. Of course, the main goal of any weapon is to deal damage so stacking attack, affinity, and sharpness works well too. There will be a lot of options and “if’s” in this guide, choose what works for your playstyle.
  43.  
  44. The base armor set will have to tide you over to take out Pukei-Pukei and Barroth. Barroth has some reasonable offerings for us. Barroths Head grants Guard, which can be utilized effectively on Sword and Shield.
  45.  
  46. You’ll also want to consider picking up the Barroth Mail for Stamina Thief. Stamina Thief will add extra exhaust damage to your shield bash attacks. It can be a reasonable pick up over the Kulu Chest, since you won’t be using a lot of stamina with Sword and Shield, and you will be using the shield bash all the time.
  47.  
  48. Now hunt Jyuratodus, unfortunately it doesn’t have any offerings for us.
  49.  
  50. Then you’ll have to hunt Tobi-Kadachi, and there are some reasonable offerings.
  51.  
  52. You’ll want to build the Kadachi Vambraces for Evade Extender, which will help you reposition. This is a reasonable, but not mandatory upgrade for Sword and Shield.
  53.  
  54. Also consider the Kadachi Coil if you’re planning on using the Tobi Kadachi’s Thunder Edge once you reach the Coral Highlands.
  55.  
  56. The chest may seem worthwhile for jump master, and the Sword and Shields ability to rocket into the air, but it’s not the best. It only works on attacks that attempt to mount the monster. It can be OK, but it’s mileage will vary.
  57.  
  58. The Helm is also a reasonable pickup for Constitution. This will reduce your stamina drain while dodging and guarding. In practice it’s similar to Guard level 1, while having more applications, so it’s probably worth picking up.
  59.  
  60. Anjanath is next. The Helm grants Fire Attack, which can be a reasonable pickup if you’re using Anjanath’s Blazing Edge, but you will be giving up Guard.
  61.  
  62. Recommended Set so far:
  63. Head: Kadachi Helm OR Anja Helm (if using Blazing Edge)
  64. Chest: Barroth Mail OR Kadachi Mail (for style points)
  65. Arms: Kadachi Vambraces
  66. Waist: Jagras Coil OR Kadachi Coil (if using Thunder Edge after Coral Highlands)
  67. Legs: Kulu Greaves
  68.  
  69. Once you’re in the Coral Highlands you’ll have to hunt Paolumu, but you can deviate and hunt Tzitzi-Ya Ku. Tzitzi Chest grants Constitution, reducing your stamina drain while dodging, and guarding. This will be your judgment call on Constitution vs. Stamina Thief from the Barroth Mail.
  70.  
  71. You can get another piece of equipment from Tzitzi Ya Ku. The Tzitzi Coil grants Wide Range. This skill is 100% useless while playing solo, but if you’re consistently playing online it can be extremely good. Wide Range makes items you consume affect nearby team mates. This includes healing potions, and items that let you buff yourself like Might Seeds or Demon Drugs. This is a great pickup if you’re consistently playing online and will allow you to be the unsung hero of the team.
  72.  
  73. Now 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. You can also upgrade to the Lumu Coil if you find yourself taking a lot of damage.
  74.  
  75. Finally, the Lumu Mail grants master mounter, which makes it easier to mount monsters and take down mounted monsters. This is a reasonable option for Sword and Shield because you can reliably boost yourself up to mount. Consider it an option.
  76.  
  77. Recommended Set so far:
  78. Head: Kadachi Helm or Lumu Hat (Constitution vs. Stamina Surge)
  79. Chest: Tzitzi Mail OR Lumu Mail (Constitution vs. Master Mounter)
  80. Arms: Kadachi Vambraces
  81. Waist: Lumu Coil OR  Tzitzi Coil (To be a team player)
  82. Legs: Kulu Greaves
  83.  
  84. Head down to the Rotten Vale and hunt Hornetaurs. Build the greaves for Handicraft, which increases your weapons sharpness. There isn’t much better for leg options for a long time, so pick these up.
  85.  
  86. Then finish off Radobaan, more options are available to you now. You can pick up the Baan Helm for Slugger, which will increase the KO power of your shield bash attacks. You can also pick up the Baan Coil for Guard. Both of these are more of a preference thing, as are any of the options available here are reasonable.
  87.  
  88. Now hunt Legiana. If you’re using Legiana’s Ice Sword and Shield, consider the Legiana Coil for a bonus to Ice Attack. Legiana’s Vambraces also grant Airborne, which just like Jump Master, isn’t as good as it sounds. You’ll only get the bonus on a few attacks, but it could be worth picking up.
  89.  
  90. After Legiana you’ll have access to Monster Bone+, and can build the Death Stench gear.
  91.  
  92. Build the Death Stench Heel to maintain Handicraft, while gaining significantly higher defenses over the Hornetaur Greaves.
  93.  
  94. Recommended Set so far;
  95. Head: Baan Helm
  96. Chest: Tzitzi Mail OR Lumu Mail (Constitution vs. Master Mounter)
  97. Arms: Kadachi Vambraces
  98. Waist: Lumu Coil OR Tzitzi Coil (to be a team Player) OR Baan Coil (for Guard)
  99. Legs: Death Stench Heel
  100.  
  101. 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. Since you can use items while unsheathed, you’ll never really need to sheathe, which makes the 3 piece bonus of Punishing Draw not worth investing in.
  102.  
  103. Then move on to hunt Rathalos and Diablos.
  104.  
  105. 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.
  106.  
  107. Rathalos has good gear. Pick up Rathalos’ Head armor for attack up. Then build the Chest for Weakness Exploit giving you a massive affinity bonus while attacking weak points.
  108.  
  109. The 3 piece bonus of Critical Element is definitely worth picking up on Sword and Shield since you deal a large amount of elemental damage. You’ll have to choose to give up your hand or leg armor, neither of which are great options.
  110.  
  111. Recommended Set so far:
  112. Rathalos Helm
  113. Rathalos Chest
  114. Odogaron Vambraces
  115. Odogaron Waist
  116. Death Stench Heel OR Rathalos Greaves (Grants Critical Element)
  117.  
  118. Optional Team Player Set:
  119. Head:  Baan Helm
  120. Chest: Rathalos Chest OR Lumu Mail (Weakness Exploit vs. Master Mounter)
  121. Arms: Odogaron Vambraces
  122. Waist: Tzitzi Coil
  123. Legs: Death Stench Heel
  124.  
  125. Build these pieces if you want, but it’s time to move onto High Rank.
  126.  
  127. High Rank
  128.  
  129. High Rank finally introduces to us some options.
  130.  
  131. 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.
  132.  
  133. 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, or even things like Wide Range.
  134.  
  135. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to lose all your set bonuses, and kind of start back from square one.  You do have some options depending on your playstyle and preferences here though, I’ll break it down into a damage build, and a support/utility build.
  136.  
  137. You’ll want to pick up the Bone Vambraces Alpha for Slugger and Attack Boost, this is a great pickup for Sword and Shield.
  138.  
  139. The Kulu Headpiece Alpha should also 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.
  140.  
  141. Then head to the Rotten Vale to hunt Hornetaurs to pick up the Hornetaur Greaves Beta for Handicraft.
  142.  
  143. You’ll have a bunch of options for waist armor depending on your weapon type. If you’re using the Lightning Nemesis, pick up the Kadachi Coil Alpha for thunder attack.
  144.  
  145. Now hunt Pink Rathian, and pick up it’s Rath Heart Coil Alpha for Handicraft and Poison Resistance.
  146.  
  147. That should make you adequately prepared to take on the higher tier monsters of High Rank.
  148.  
  149. Recommended Damage Set so far:
  150. Kulu Headpiece Alpha
  151. Low Rank Rathalos Chest
  152. Bone Vambraces Alpha
  153. 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)
  154. Hornetaur Greaves Beta
  155.  
  156. If you prefer a more utility style, you have a few options for head gear. You can build the Jagras Helm Alpha for Speed Eating, or you can build the Mosswine Mask Alpha for Mushroomancer. Speed Eating will let you heal your team mates faster, and Mushroomancer will allow you to eat mushrooms to buff your team mates.. You should pair these with Wide Range by picking up the Tzitzi Coil Alpha, and the Tzitzi Vambraces Alpha for Stun Resistance, Wide Range and some Water Attack.
  157.  
  158. Then pick up the Lumu Mail Beta for Master Mounter.
  159.  
  160. Finally pick up the Jagras Greaves Alpha for Free Meal. This makes it so you sometimes won’t consume an item giving you more opportunities to use them throughout a hunt.
  161.  
  162. Recommended Support/Utility Set:
  163. Jagras Helm Alpha OR Mosswine Mask Alpha (Speed Eating vs. Mushroomancer)
  164. Low Rank Rathalos Chest OR Lumu Mail Beta
  165. Tzitzi Vambraces Alpha
  166. Tzitzi Coil Alpha
  167. Jagras Greaves Alpha
  168.  
  169. Unfortunately if you prefer the support style, you’re severely limited in options from here on out. You won’t be able to do much else until you get decorations, and access to the end game gear.
  170.  
  171. 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. You won’t really use the 2 piece set of Punishing Draw on Sword and Shield. You can optionally upgrade your gloves to Odogaron Vambraces Alpha, and your waist to Odogaron Coil Alpha, if you want.
  172.  
  173. Of course, Rathalos will be the next target to upgrade the chest to the high rank version.
  174.  
  175. The next big set is the Rathalos Set. The two piece set is Critical Element which will be a great skill for Elemental Sword and Shields.
  176.  
  177. 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.
  178.  
  179. 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.
  180.  
  181. 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 Zorah Headgear Beta for Handicraft.
  182.  
  183. Recommended Set so far:
  184. Rathalos Head Beta OR Zorah Headgear Beta
  185. Rathalos Mail Beta
  186. Bone Vambraces Alpha OR Odogaron Vambraces Alpha
  187. Odogaron Coil Alpha OR Rath Heart Alpha/Beta OR Vangis Coil Alpha
  188. Rathalos Greaves Alpha (unlocks Critical Element)
  189.  
  190. 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.
  191.  
  192. 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.
  193.  
  194. Recommended Set at this point and for the rest of the game:
  195. Rath Soul Helm Beta OR Rathalos Helm Beta (Stronger criticals vs. Attack Up) OR Zorah Headgear Alpha (For Handicraft)
  196. Rathalos Mail Beta
  197. Bone Vambraces Alpha OR Odogaron Vambraces Alpha
  198. Odogaron Coil Alpha OR Rath Heart Coil Alpha/Beta OR Vangis Coil
  199. Rathalos Greaves Alpha (Unlocks Critical Element)
  200.  
  201. Optional Protective Polish Set:
  202. Odogaron Helm Alpha
  203. Rathalos Mail Beta
  204. Odogaron Vambraces Alpha (unlocks Punishing Draw)
  205. Odogaron Coil Alpha
  206. Odogaron Greaves Alpha (unlocks Protective Polish)
  207.  
  208. 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.
  209.  
  210. The Elder Dragon sets are usually safe bets, but won’t necessarily be better or worse than this, just different.
  211.  
  212. 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 Sword and Shield, but you won’t be able to utilize it shortly after dodging or guard. 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.
  213.  
  214. 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.
  215.  
  216. 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. If you like using the Mushroomancer Buff set, you can pick up the Mail Alpha for Attack 2 and the final stack of Mushroomancer
  217.  
  218. 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.
  219.  
  220. 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
  221.  
  222. Your final build will want to incorporate Critical Element if you using elemental sword and shields, which severely limits your options as you need 2 pieces of Rathalos Gear. The best choices are the Helm and Mail, since they have excellent synergy with Critical Element. Then incorporate as much Attack, Handicraft, Critical Boost, and other utility skills as you can muster.
  223.  
  224. Rathalos Soul Helm Beta OR Rathalos Helm Beta
  225. Rathalos Mail Beta
  226. Kaiser Vambraces Beta OR Vaal Hazak Braces Beta
  227. Nergigante Coil Beta OR Kaiser Coil Beta (if using Blast Element Sword and Shield, swap out Kaiser Vambraces)
  228. Death Stench Heel Beta
  229.  
  230. Handicraft Charm 3
  231.  
  232. For the support style, you’re really looking for as much decoration slots as possible. The Vangis Greaves grant 2 speed eating ad 2 slots.  The Lavasioth Vambraces give Affinity sliding and some extra wide range. You can also use the Hornetaur Vambraces Alpha for Free Meal. Use the Mosswine Mask and the Dober Mail to max out Mushroomancer.
  233.  
  234. Mosswine Mask Alpha
  235. Dober Mail Beta
  236. Lavasioth Vambraces Alpha OR Hornetaur Vambraces Alpha
  237. Tzitzi Coil Alpha
  238. Vangis Greaves Beta
  239.  
  240. Friendship Charm 3
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