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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. Heavy Bow Gun - Low Rank
  41.  
  42. There will not be a lot of good bowgun specific gear until High Rank. Even then, a lot of it is situational. The main loading types for Heavy Bow Gun are pierce, and spread and those will be the focus of this guide. You can also pepper in normal, slicing, wyvernfire, and cluster, but these different styles won’t really emerge until midway through High Rank.
  43.  
  44. The base armor set will have to tide you over to take on Pukei-Pukei and Barroth. Since Heavy Bow Gun is quite slow, and sheathing is slow, you may want to consider the Vespoid Helm for Quick Sheathe over the Bone Helm’s Health Boost. You may also want to consider downgrading to the Bone Mail, since there isn’t anything better for a long time. If you’re using a Shield on your Heavy Bowgun, you can pick up the Barroth Head for Guard.
  45.  
  46. Hunt Jyuratodus, followed by Tobi-Kadachi.
  47.  
  48. The Kadachi Helm grants Constitution. It will reduce the amount of stamina dodging will consume. You’ll definitely want to build the Kadachi Vambraces for Evade Extender. This will help you reposition faster and easier, and has good synergy with Constitution. It will be a great pickup for Heavy Bowgun.
  49.  
  50. Anjanath is next, it has a few reasonable options for us. The Anja Greaves grant Artillery, which will boost the damage of sticky ammo, as well as Wyvernfire ammo. It’s not a great pickup, but there won’t be much better for a long time, so feel free to stick with the Kulu Greaves for Critical Eye. The Anja Vambraces grant Special Ammo boost, which will increase the damage on your Wyvernheart and Wyvernsnipe. You will be trading Evade Extender for Special Ammo boost, but it is worthwhile.
  51.  
  52. Recommended Set so far:
  53. Head: Kadachi Helm
  54. Chest: Bone Mail OR Kulu Mail
  55. Arms: Anja Vambraces OR Kadachi Vambraces
  56. Waist: Jagras Coil
  57. Legs: Anja Greaves
  58.  
  59. 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. You will also have the option of the King Beetle Thorax (or Butterfly if you’re female)  for Quick Sheathe if you prefer that, and with Heavy Bowgun, Quicksheathe is actually really nice, so that’s what I would go with.
  60.  
  61. 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. You can also pick up the Lumu Coil for Divine Blessing if you find yourself taking a lot of damage.
  62.  
  63. Head down to the Rotten Vale, finish off Radobaan. If you’re using a lot of Sticky Ammo, you can pick up the Baan Helm for Slugger, which increases the potency of the KO effect on sticky shots to the head. I wouldn’t recommend it though.  You can also pick up the Baan coil for Guard if you’re using a shield.
  64.  
  65. Then hunt Legiana. Since there isn’t much better, you may want to consider the Legiana Mail for Evade Window, which slightly increases your i-frames while dodging.
  66.  
  67. Recommended Set so far;
  68. Head: Lumu Hat or Kadachi Helm
  69. Chest: King Beetle Thorax OR Legiana Mail
  70. Arms: Anja Vambraces OR Kadachi Vambraces
  71. Waist: Lumu Coil.
  72. Legs: Anja Greaves
  73.  
  74. Next is Odogaron, pick up it’s coil for Critical Eye. If you want to upgrade, you can also pick up the Greaves trading Artillery for Quick Sheathe, which will be a reasonably nice pickup for Heavy Bowgun. Then move onto Rathalos and Diablos.
  75.  
  76. 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.
  77.  
  78. 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.  The 3 piece bonus won’t be useful on Heavy Bowgun since you’ll prefer to use Spread, or Pierce to elemental shots. Unfortunately weakness exploit isn’t the best skill for the pierce style, since you will frequently miss weakpoints by going through the body. It’s by far and wide the best option available here despite that however.
  79.  
  80. Recommended Set so far:
  81. Rathalos Helm
  82. Rathalos Chest
  83. Anja Vambraces
  84. Odogaron Coil
  85. Odogaron Greaves OR Anja Greaves
  86.  
  87. Build these pieces if you want, but it’s time to move onto High Rank.
  88.  
  89. High Rank
  90.  
  91. High Rank finally introduces to us some options.
  92.  
  93. 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.
  94.  
  95. 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, Critical Eye, or even Evade Extender.
  96.  
  97. The Kulu Headpiece Alpha should be picked up immediately for a second stack of Weakness Exploit. It has excellent synergy with the Rathalos chest, provided you’re using the spread or normal style. Weakness Exploit isn’t great on Pierce, so you’ll have to look for some alternatives.
  98.  
  99. You can pick up the King Beetle Helm Beta for Evade Window, which will give you more forgiving dodges.
  100.  
  101. The Bone Mail grants attack level 2, and it’s a more consistent pickup for Pierce. You can also pick up the King Beetle Thorax Beta for Quick Sheathe if you prefer. You can also pick up the Anja Mail Alpha for Marathon Runner, and Special Ammo Boost. These should be picked up at your discretion. If you’re using Spread or Slicing, you should probably stick with the Low Rank Rathalos Chest for Weakness Exploit.
  102.  
  103. Then you’ll want to pick up the Bone Vambraces Alpha for Attack, and Slugger. Alternatively, you can also pick up the Anja Vambraces Alpha for Special Ammo boost. Your final option is to pick up the Kadachi Vambraces Alpha for Evade Extender. Any of these will be viable options and it’s really just a matter of your preference and playstyle.
  104.  
  105. The Kulu Greaves Alpha grant Item Prolonger and Critical Eye, which will be a nice pickup for any style.
  106.  
  107. You won’t have a lot of waist armor options for awhile. If you like Quick Sheathe, you can pick up the King Beetle Elytra Alpha. You can stick with the low rank Odogaron Coil otherwise.
  108.  
  109. That should make you adequately prepared to take on the higher tier monsters of High Rank.
  110.  
  111. Recommended Set so far:
  112. Kulu Headpiece Alpha OR Rathalos Helm (low rank) OR King Beetle Helm Beta
  113. Low Rank Rathalos Chest OR Bone Mail Alpha OR King Beetle Thorax Alpha
  114. Bone Vambraces Alpha OR Anja Vambraces Alpha OR Kadachi Vambraces Alpha
  115. Odogaron Coil (low rank) OR King Beetle Elytra Alpha
  116. Kulu Greaves Alpha
  117.  
  118. Now you’ll be reasonably equipped to take on the higher tier monsters of High Rank.
  119.  
  120. If you’re using Spread, hunt Lavasioth as soon as you enter the Elder’s Recess to build the Lavasioth Greaves Beta for a bonus to your Spread Shots. This should be considered a must build for this style.
  121.  
  122. Odogaron’s set is a reasonable choice.  The set bonuses will not be useful on Heavy Bow Gun, but it provides a lot of critical eye. You can pick up the Coil for Critical Eye, and the Greaves for Quick Sheathe and Critical Eye, provided you’re not using Spread.
  123.  
  124. The next big set is the Rathalos Set. The two piece set is Critical Element which you won’t be able to utilize effectively on Heavy Bowguns. You’ll pick it up because the Rathalos gear is good anyways.
  125.  
  126. For pierce, you’ll want to pick up the Rathalos Helm for attack up.
  127.  
  128. You can pick up the Rathalos Mail for Weakness Exploit, as well, but it won’t have as much benefit. You will want to hunt Azure Rathalos to get the Rath Soul Coil Alpha. This gives you a bonus to your piercing shots, and is an amazing pickup. The Rath Soul Chest also gives Free-Element which will be a nice pickup for Spread style further down the line.
  129.  
  130. For spread, you can stay with the Kulu Headpiece Alpha and just pick up the Rathalos Mail Beta for maxed out weakness exploit. You can pick up the Rathalos Helm for attack up if you prefer.
  131.  
  132. Finally, if you’re using Normal Shots, hunt Black Diablos for the Diablos Nero Greaves Beta to increase the damage of Normal Shots.
  133.  
  134. Recommended Set For Spread:
  135. Kulu Headpiece Alpha OR Rathalos Helm Beta
  136. Rathalos Mail Beta (unlocks Critical Element, mostly unusable)
  137. Odogaron Vambraces Alpha OR Bone Vambraces Alpha OR Zorah Claws Alpha
  138. Odogaron Coil Alpha (unlocks Punishing Draw, unusable)
  139. Lavasioth Greaves Beta
  140.  
  141. Recommended Set For Pierce:
  142. Rathalos Head Beta
  143. Rathalos Mail Beta (unlocks Critical Element)
  144. Odogaron Vambraces Alpha OR Bone Vambraces Alpha
  145. Rath Soul Coil Alpha
  146. Odogaron Greaves Alpha (unlocks unusable punishing draw) OR Rathalos Greaves Alpha
  147.  
  148. 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.
  149.  
  150. 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. It’s your choice between the Rathalos Helm Beta, and the Rath Soul Helm Beta. You trade level 2 attack for critical boost and an extra level 1 slot. It’s your call.
  151.  
  152. For spread, you’ll want to pick up the Rath Soul Mail Beta for Free Element/Ammo up. This may not be useful now, but you will want level 3 Ammo Up incorporated into your final set.
  153.  
  154. For pierce, you’ll definitely want to pick up the Rath Soul Coil Alpha for Piercing Shots, giving you a significant damage bonus to all your piercing shots. It should be considered a must build.
  155.  
  156. 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.
  157.  
  158. The Elder Dragon sets are usually safe bets, but won’t necessarily be better or worse than this, just different.
  159.  
  160. Nergigante’s set is a great general purpose set. It has Maximum Might which gives you a 30% affinity increase while at maximum stamina. This works well on Heavy Bowguns since you won’t use Stamina for attacking. It’s a very consistent affinity increase on all monster parts, not just their weakpoints, which is very beneficial for pierce. 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.
  161.  
  162. Nergigante’s Dragonking Eyepatch has Weakness Exploit 2 and a tier-3 decoration slot, making it a good pickup for Spread and it will free up your chest for the Rath Soul Mail for Free Element/Ammo Up..
  163.  
  164. Kirin has some good pieces for Bowguns. You can get Free Element/Load Up on several pieces, which gives you the ability to load more in your magazine. This obviously means you spend more time shooting, and less time reloading. This is most useful for spread, as the loading options are low compared to Pierce. Pick up the Kirin Legguards Beta for Level 2 Free Element/Ammo Up.
  165.  
  166. Xeno’jiva’s set has a great set bonus of Razor Sharp/Spare Shot. Spare Shot makes it so sometimes you won’t consume ammunition when you shoot. It’s a great skill, and the only way to get it is from 3 piece Xeno’jiva. Since you can stockpile so much pierce and spread, this is mostly only useful for ammo types that have low capacity like Cluster or Wyvernfire.
  167.  
  168. Maximum Might Set for Pierce:
  169. Nergigante Helm Alpha
  170. Dober Mail Beta
  171. Nergigante Vambraces Alpha OR Kaiser Vambraces Alpha
  172. Rath Soul Coil Alpha
  173. Nergigante Greaves Alpha or Beta (unlocks Nergigante Hunger)
  174.  
  175. Spread Build:
  176. Nergigante Helm Alpha OR Dragonking Eyepatch
  177. Rath Soul Mail Alpha OR Rathalos Mail Beta (Free Element vs. Weakness Exploit)
  178. Kaiser Vambraces Alpha or Beta (depends on weakness exploit levels)
  179. Nergigante Coil Beta OR Odogaron Coil Beta OR Kaiser Coil Beta (Attack vs. Crit Eye vs. Weakness Exploit)
  180. Lavasioth Greaves Beta OR Kirin Legguards Beta.
  181.  
  182. Once you access to Piercing, and Spread/Power Shots decorations you’ll be able to free up your waist and leg armor for more options. Your main goals will to get Free Element/Load Up maxed out, with Spread Shots, and as much attack power, and affinity boosting skills like weakness exploit and critical boost as possible. Pierce is the same, but you’ll want to emphasize consistent affinity like Maximum Might and standard Critical Eye over weakness exploit. Also picking up Special Ammo boost will be a nice bonus for any style.
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