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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. Dual Blades - Low Rank
  41.  
  42. Dual Blades favor anything that can increase their damage output and sharpness. Unfortunately, most of these skills aren’t available until high rank. We can increase our damage potential in a different way in low rank. Dual Blades can enter Demon Mode, which continually drains your stamina. By getting skills that increase our stamina recovery speed, and decrease the amount of stamina drained by Demon Mode, we can increase our uptime with it. The focus of low rank will be the skills Marathon Runner, Constitution, and Stamina Surge as they help manage your stamina usage, and give you more opportunities to use Demon Mode.
  43.  
  44. The base armor set will have to tide you over to take on Pukei-Pukei and Barroth. Thankfully Barroth has an upgrade. The Barroth gloves grant Marathon Runner 1 which is exactly what we want. Marathon Runner decreases the amount of stamina drained from continuous stamina drain. This includes sprinting, and using Demon Mode.
  45.  
  46. Pick up Barroth’s Gloves as soon as possible, you’ll be using them until High Rank.
  47.  
  48. After hunting Jyuratodus there’s an optional upgrade you can take. Focus increases your fill gauge for the archdemon meter. It’s your call whether you prefer the 3% critical eye or the improved meter building from Focus. I’m not a huge fan of Focus on Dual Blades and Critical Eye is likely a higher net damage increase.
  49.  
  50. Then you’ll have to hunt Tobi-Kadachi.
  51.  
  52. There are a few upgrades you can pick up from Tobi-Kadachi. The Kadachi Helm gives the skill Constitution. This reduces your stamina drain while dodging. It also represents a reasonable defense upgrade from the Bone Helm and should be picked up regardless.
  53.  
  54. If you’re using Tobi-Kadachi’s Pulsar Hatchets 1, you should also pickup the Kadachi Coil. It gives +30 Thunder Elemental damage and will increase your damage output, and will be more consistent than the Jagras Coils Fortify. As well as being a defense increase.
  55.  
  56. Armor so far:
  57. Kadachi Helm
  58. Kulu Chest
  59. Barroth Gloves
  60. Kadachi Waist
  61. Kulu Greaves
  62.  
  63. Your next hunt is Anjanath. It’s chest is extremely good, but does require a plate which can be rare. You’ll want to pick it up if you can, to get a second stack of Marathon Runner. This will greatly increase your uptime with Demon Mode.
  64.  
  65. After you’re in the Coral Highlands you’ll have to hunt Paolumu as part of the story.
  66.  
  67. There are 3 optional upgrades here. Pick up the Lumu Hat for Stamina Surge. Constitution vs. Stamina surge are similar in practice, but Stamina Surge will be a better pickup, on top of having better defenses.
  68.  
  69. If you didn’t get an Anjanath Plate and the Anja Chest, you can hunt Tzitzi Ya Ku to get it’s chest armor, which provides Constitution.
  70.  
  71. If you swap out the Tobi Hat for Paolumu’s Hat, and the Kulu Chest for the Tzitzi Chest, your skills will remain the same, and you’ll get a reasonable defense increase, provided you didn’t build Anjanath’s Chest Armor, which is the preference here.
  72.  
  73. If you’re struggling with taking damage, the Lumu Coil will give you Divine Blessing which often reduces the damage you take from attacks. It can be a nice pickup if you’re struggling, and the damage you get from the Kadachi Coil isn’t great.
  74.  
  75. You’ll have to go down into the Rotten Vale as part of the story. You’ll want to kill Hornetaurs down here for materials. You may want to equip your old Bone Greaves for Entomologist to have a better chance of getting carves.
  76.  
  77. After gaining enough materials, pick up the Hornetaur Greaves. These provide Handicraft, which extends your weapons sharpness gauge. This is a great skill when stacked on end game weapons, but level 1 handicraft isn’t very noticeable. It will be better overall than both Critical Eye, or Focus.
  78.  
  79. Ideal Set:
  80. Lumu Hat
  81. Anjanath Chest
  82. Barroth Gloves
  83. Kadachi Waist OR Lumu Waist
  84. Hornetaur Greaves
  85.  
  86. Less farm heavy set:
  87. Lumu Hat
  88. Tzitzi Chest
  89. Barroth Gloves
  90. Kadachi Waist or Lumu Waist
  91. Hornetaur Greaves
  92.  
  93. This current set will tide you over for awhile. You’ll have to take on Radobaan, Legiana, and Odogaron with this. Odogaron has some upgrades, but overall, it’s not worth picking up because of rare material requirements for marginal gains. You’ll trade most of your stamina management skills for things like Speed Sharpening which is going to be your preference. The Coil is a nice pickup if you get a plate for Critical Eye. The gloves are OK, but you’re trading the extremely valuable marathon runner for less valuable constitution.
  94.  
  95. Afterwards you’ll want to hunt Rathalos and Diablos. Both of these monsters have good 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.
  96.  
  97. 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. If you pick this up, you may want to get the three piece set bonus for Critical Element. The best Rathalos Gear to pickup for this bonus is the Head, for Attack Up, and Boots for Jumpmaster. The other skills are Fire Resistance, and Fire Attack, both of which aren’t great.
  98.  
  99. You can also get a second or third piece of Marathon Runner by picking up the Diablos Coil, but it has a bit of Anti-Synergy with Critical Element as you’re giving up the Kadachi Coil’s +30 thunder damage provided you’re still using it.
  100.  
  101. Build this set if you want, then move onto High Rank.
  102.  
  103. Ideal Set:
  104. Rathalos Helm
  105. Rathalos Chest
  106. Barroth Gloves
  107. Diablos Waist
  108. Rathalos Greaves
  109.  
  110. High Rank
  111.  
  112. High Rank finally introduces to us some options.
  113.  
  114. 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.
  115.  
  116. 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.
  117.  
  118. The big upgrades will be to upgrade your headgear to the Kulu Headpiece Alpha. This gives Fire Resistance, and Weakness Exploit, one of the best skills in the game. It’s an easy build, and should be your first priority.
  119.  
  120. You will lose out on the Rathalos 3 Piece Set bonus if you built it, of Critical Element, but that’s a small price to pay for an extra 15% affinity on weak points. Pick this up as soon as possible.
  121.  
  122. Next, you’ll want to hunt Barroth to build Barroth Vambraces Alpha. This will let you maintain Marathon Runner, and also give you stamina thief. Stamina Thief isn’t the best skill for dual blades, but it’s a free upgrade.
  123.  
  124. Since you lost your 3 piece Rathalos set bonus, also consider the Barroth Greaves Alpha. These give 2 points of stun resistance, and 1 point of Marathon Runner.
  125.  
  126. You can hunt Tobi Kadachi in High Rank for the Kadachi Coil Alpha which will give you 2 stacks of Thunder Attack, and 1 point of Thunder Resistance. This is a good pickup if you’re using the Kadachi Fangs.
  127.  
  128. After you beat Pink Rathian, you can build the Rath Heart Coil Alpha, which will give you handicraft and poison resistance. Handicraft is a good, and you can stack it much higher in high rank. It’s also more universally useful than the Kadachi Coil for other weapons.
  129.  
  130. Recommended Set so Far:
  131. Kulu Headpiece Alpha
  132. Low Rank Rathalos Chest
  133. Barroth Vambraces Alpha
  134. Kadachi Coil Alpha OR Rath Heart Coil Alpha
  135. Barroth Greaves Alpha.
  136.  
  137. That should make you adequately prepared to take on the higher tier monsters of High Rank.
  138.  
  139. Odogaron’s set is a reasonable choice. The 4 piece bonus is Protective Polish, which is one of the best skills in the game for most weapons, but especially dual blades. It makes your weapon not lose sharpness for 60 seconds after you sharpen it. If you choose this, keep the Kulu Head Alpha for weakness exploit, and build the chest, for 2 speed sharpening and 1 bleed resistance, the vambraces for constitution and critical eye, the coil for critical eye and speed sharpening, and the greaves for quick sheath and critical eye.
  140.  
  141. You’ll need a plate and a gem to make this set which is less than ideal. This set is great for maintaining your sharpness and has a good amount of critical eye. It’s reasonable as a bridge to other sets but lacks the damage potential of higher tier equipment.
  142.  
  143. Optional Set preferring protective polish:
  144. Kulu Alpha
  145. Odogaron everything else
  146.  
  147. OR
  148.  
  149. Odogaron Head
  150. Rathalos HR Chest
  151. Odogaron everything else.
  152.  
  153. You can trade the Kulu Headpiece Alpha for the Odogaron head, because the Rathalos Chest is starting to feel weak at this point. Of course, the high rank version of Rathalos Chest is definitely the next target.
  154.  
  155. The next big set is the Rathalos Set. Rathalos has 2 great set bonuses for Dual Blades which are Critical Element, and Mind’s Eye. Mind’s Eye prevents your attacks from being deflected, and you’ll be able to combo on the hardest monster parts regardless of sharpness level. Mind’s Eye is not super useful, as you’ll be wanting to go for weak points to capitalize on weakness exploit, but it can be a decent pickup.
  156.  
  157. 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.
  158.  
  159. 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. The alpha set has Fire Attack, which is not a useful skill for much of the game because Fire is weak in the context of world, and the decoration slot will be better if you have any decorations at all.
  160.  
  161. 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 Kadachi Helm Alpha for Constitution, or the Lumu Hat Alpha for Stamina Surge. You can also build the Rathalos Helm Beta for 2 Attack Boost and a slot.
  162. Maintain the Barroth Gloves and Pink Rathian Coil.
  163.  
  164. Recommended Set at this point:
  165. Lumu Hat Alpha OR Rathalos Head Beta
  166. Rathalos Mail Beta
  167. Barroth Vambraces Alpha
  168. Rath Heart Coil Alpha OR Kadachi Coil Alpha
  169. Rathalos Greaves Alpha
  170.  
  171. You can now reasonably hunt Diablos and Black Diablos. You can pick up the Diablos Coil Alpha for 2 Marathon Runner and 1 Critical Draw. You’ll then want to hunt Black Diablos to pick up the Diablos Nero Braces Alpha for Focus and Marathon Runner. Doing this will also net you the 2 piece Diablos Mastery of Bludgeoner, which will increase your damage as your weapon loses sharpness, which will happen a lot without protective polish.
  172.  
  173. Recommended Set at this point:
  174. Lumu Hat Alpha OR Rathalos Head Beta
  175. Rathalos Mail Beta
  176. Diablos Nero Braces Alpha
  177. Diablos Coil Alpha
  178. Rathalos Greaves Alpha
  179.  
  180. OR if you desperately want protective polish
  181.  
  182.  
  183. Recommended Set at this point
  184. Odogaron Head Alpha
  185. Rathalos Mail Beta
  186. Odogaron Hands Alpha
  187. Odogaron Coil Alpha
  188. Odogaron Greaves Alpha
  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. 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.
  191.  
  192. Recommended Set at this point and for the rest of the game.
  193. Rath Soul Helm Beta
  194. Rathalos Mail Beta
  195. Diablos Nero Braces Alpha
  196. Diablos Coil Alpha
  197. Rathalos Greaves Alpha
  198.  
  199. Final Skills without Decorations or Charms.
  200. Rath 2 - Critical Element
  201. Diablos 2 - Bludgeoner
  202. Weakness Exploit - 3
  203. Marathon Runner - 3
  204. Critical Boost - 1
  205. Focus - 1
  206. Critical Draw - 1 (somewhat useful on sprinting draw attacks)
  207. Jump master - 1 (can be useful on slopes)
  208.  
  209. Of course, you can trade bludgeoner for Mind’s Eye by swapping one of the Diablos pieces for a Rathalos piece, but that’s your judgement call. I prefer Marathon Runner 3 and Bludgeoner to Mind’s Eye, since you should be hitting weak points anyways.
  210.  
  211. This set will be adequate for everything else in the game. Everything after this is just a matter of customization and preference.
  212.  
  213. The Elder Dragon sets are usually safe bets, but won’t necessarily be better or worse than this, just different.
  214.  
  215. Nergigante’s set is reasonable, but not exceptional. Agitator has a reasonably high uptime, and it grants stamina surge and decent attack bonuses.
  216.  
  217. 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.
  218.  
  219. Kushala Daora’s set has a lot of Handicraft, if you want to upgrade your weapons sharpness. You’ll likely want to pick up the boots, and chest for the handicraft bonuses. You’ll probably want to pair this with the Dragon King Eyepatch, or Teostra’s Gloves. Keep in mind, some weapons, like the Nergal Gouge, won’t benefit from Handicraft at all, and you will lose the very useful Critical Element set bonus, and the Critical Boost from Azure Rathalos head by mixing with this.
  220.  
  221. Teostra’s set is really interesting. The 3 piece bonus is Master’s Touch. It makes it so Critical Hits won’t reduce your weapons sharpness, and this obviously has amazing synergy with Weakness Exploit which you get on the gloves. It also has Latent Power, which while active, is extremely powerful, giving a massive affinity bonus, and the equivalent of Marathon Runner. Unfortunately, to activate it you need to take around 180 damage in a short time frame, or be fighting a monster for an extended period of time. Then it’s only up for a short timeframe. It’s not a great skill, but if you like using Blast weapons, it could be worth looking into Teostra’s set for Master’s Touch and the bonuses to blast.
  222.  
  223. Xeno’jiiva’s set bonus is great. It gives you Razor Sharp, which doubles the length of your weapons sharpness. The set itself isn’t great, and you’re probably better off going for Odogaron’s protective polish instead. The most interesting piece is the Gloves for Critical Boost.
  224.  
  225. Any of these sets will be adequate for getting you through Tempered Monster hunts, but I would recommend the Rathalos/Azure Rathalos and Diablos Mixed set. From there you’ll have to customize your sets on your own based on your luck with Decorations and Charm making materials. You’ll probably want to work towards a Handicraft Charm, and Protective Polish and Weakness Exploit decorations, which will open up your mixed set build options.
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