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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. Long Sword - Low Rank
  41.  
  42. Long Sword really favors stacking as much damage as possible. Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of options in the early game. Stamina Management and skills that let you reposition will be the focus of this guide, until you can stack the damage dealing skills. You may want to consider downgrading the Kulu Chest to the Bone Mail for more attack power.
  43.  
  44. The base armor set will have to tide you over to take on Pukei-Pukei and Barroth.
  45. .
  46. 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 spirit gauge. It’s actually not the best skill on Long Sword since it’s hard to quantify exactly how much it does. It’s a reasonable pick up, and there isn’t much else at this point in the game.
  47.  
  48. Then you’ll have to hunt Tobi-Kadachi.
  49.  
  50. The Kadachi Helm grants Constitution. It will reduce the amount of stamina dodging will consume. You’ll also want to build the Kadachi Vambraces for Evade Extender, which will help you reposition.
  51.  
  52. Finally, if you’re using Tobi-Kadachi’s weapon, pick up the Kadachi Coil for a bonus to thunder attack, which will be more consistent than Fortify.
  53.  
  54. The Kadachi Chest may seem good for Jump Master. Unfortunately the Spirit Helmsplitter actually doesn’t count as a Jump Attack (and neither do Insect Glaive’s vaulting attacks) so it’s not the greatest pickup, unless you’re desperate for an armor upgrade.
  55.  
  56. Anjanath is next, but has no reasonable options for us.
  57.  
  58. Recommended Set so far:
  59. Head: Kadachi Helm
  60. Chest: Kulu Chest OR Kadachi Chest (for style points)
  61. Arms: Kadachi Vambraces
  62. Waist: Kadachi Coil or Jagras Coil
  63. Legs: Jyuratodus Greaves OR Kulu Greaves
  64.  
  65. 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 can stay with the Kadachi Chest if you prefer keeping Jump Master.
  66.  
  67. 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 upgrade to the Lumu Coil if you find yourself taking a lot of damage.
  68.  
  69. Recommended Set so far:
  70. Head: Kadachi Helm or Lumu Hat
  71. Chest: Tzitzi Chest
  72. Arms: Kadachi Vambraces
  73. Waist: Kadachi or Lumu Coil
  74. Legs: Jyuratodus Greaves
  75.  
  76. Head down to the Rotten Vale and hunt Hornetaurs. Build the greaves for Handicraft, which increases your weapons sharpness. Pick these up since Focus doesn’t feel impactful on Long Sword.
  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 Gloves to regain focus, and the Boots to have a significant defense increase over Hornetaur Greaves.
  81.  
  82. Recommended Set so far;
  83. Head: Lumu Hat or Kadachi Helm
  84. Chest: Tzitzi Chest
  85. Arms: Death Stench Grip
  86. Waist: Kadachi or Lumu Coil.
  87. Legs: Death Stench Heel
  88.  
  89. Next is Odogaron, pick up it’s coil for Critical Eye before moving 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’ Head armor for attack up. Then build the Chest for Weakness Exploit giving you a massive affinity bonus while attacking weak points.
  94.  
  95. Just a little PSA: Tails also count as weakpoints, so yo u don’t have to rush to the head in every single group hunt and knock the Hammer user over constantly.
  96.  
  97. Finally you can trade the Death Stench Grips, or the Heel for Rathalos’ armor to gain Critical Element. Losing Handicraft isn’t great, and in my opinion Focus is less valuable.  The 3 piece bonus of Critical Element is decent on Long Sword, but not the end all be all, and you will lose it once we get into High Rank.
  98.  
  99. Recommended Set so far:
  100. Rathalos Helm
  101. Rathalos Chest
  102. Death Stench Grips OR Rathalos Vambraces (Grants Critical Element)
  103. Odogaron Waist
  104. Death Stench Heel
  105.  
  106. Build these pieces if you want, but it’s time to move onto High Rank.
  107.  
  108. High Rank
  109.  
  110. High Rank finally introduces to us some options.
  111.  
  112. 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.
  113.  
  114. 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.
  115.  
  116. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to lose all your set bonuses, and kind of start back from square one.
  117.  
  118. 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.
  119.  
  120. For gloves you have a few options. Since you’re likely using the Death Stench Grips, hunt Kestodons to pick up Kestodon Guards. These are a straight upgrade, and you’ll maintain Focus, while picking up the somewhat useful Affinity Sliding, and gaining improved Defenses. If you prefer, you can pick up the Bone Vambraces Alpha for Attack Up.
  121.  
  122. If you hunt Jyuratodus you can trade the Death Stench Heel’s Handicraft for 2 stacks of Focus, which will max it out on top of granting High Rank defenses. Focus isn’t the best skill for Long Sword, since the difference it makes feels marginal at best, so you may want to get the Hornetaur Greaves Alpha or Beta instead for Handicraft.
  123.  
  124. Optionally, you can hunt Tobi-Kadachi, and upgrade your Odogaron Coil to a Kadachi Coil Alpha for 2 stacks of Thunder Attack, which will be comparable damage wise to Critical Eye, provided you’re using the Kadachi Fang.
  125.  
  126. Now hunt Pink Rathian, and pick up it’s Rath Heart Coil Alpha for Handicraft and Poison Resistance.
  127.  
  128. That should make you adequately prepared to take on the higher tier monsters of High Rank.
  129.  
  130. Recommended Set so far:
  131. Kulu Headpiece Alpha
  132. Low Rank Rathalos Chest
  133. Kestodon Guards Alpha
  134. Kadachi Coil Alpha OR Rath Heart Coil Alpha
  135. Jyura Greaves Alpha OR Hornetaur Greaves Alpha/Beta
  136.  
  137. 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 has reasonable synergy with Longsword, as you’ll often be unsheathing because you automatically sheathe at the end of the Spirit Roundslash to fill your bars for Helm Splitters.
  138.  
  139. 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.
  140.  
  141. Of course, Rathalos will be the next target to upgrade the chest to the high rank version.
  142.  
  143. Protective Polish Set so far:
  144. Odogaron Head Alpha
  145. Low Rank Rathalos Chest (Upgrade to Rathalos Mail Beta as soon as possible)
  146. Odogaron Vambraces Alpha
  147. Odogaron Coil Alpha
  148. Odogaron Greaves Alpha
  149.  
  150. The next big set is the Rathalos Set. The two piece set is Critical Element which will represent a reasonable damage upgrade for elemental long swords of all types.
  151.  
  152. 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.
  153.  
  154. 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, and the decoration slot will be better if you have any decorations at all.
  155.  
  156. 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 Zorah Headpiece Alpha for Handicraft but a new option will be available shortly.
  157.  
  158. Recommended Set so far:
  159. Rathalos Head Beta
  160. Rathalos Mail Beta (unlocks Critical Element)
  161. Odogaron Vambraces Alpha
  162. Odogaron Coil Alpha (unlocks Punishing Draw)
  163. Rathalos Greaves Alpha
  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.
  166.  
  167. 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.
  168.  
  169. Recommended Set at this point and for the rest of the game:
  170. Rath Soul Helm Beta OR Rathalos Helm Beta (Stronger criticals vs. Attack Up)
  171. Rathalos Mail Beta (unlocks Critical Element)
  172. Odogaron Vambraces Alpha
  173. Odogaron Coil Alpha (unlocks Punishing Draw)
  174. Rathalos Greaves Alpha
  175.  
  176. Optional Protective Polish Set:
  177. Odogaron Helm Alpha
  178. Rathalos Mail Beta
  179. Odogaron Vambraces Alpha (unlocks Punishing Draw)
  180. Odogaron Coil Alpha
  181. Odogaron Greaves Alpha (unlocks Protective Polish)
  182.  
  183. 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.
  184.  
  185. The Elder Dragon sets are usually safe bets, but won’t necessarily be better or worse than this, just different.
  186.  
  187. 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 Long Sword since you won’t use Stamina for attacking. 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.
  188.  
  189. 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.
  190.  
  191. After Nergigante you’ll also gain access to Dober gear. The Dober Mail Beta and Dober Greaves Beta are excellent options for boosting your attack power.
  192.  
  193. Kushala’s gear has a lot of Handicraft. You’ll want to look at the Kushala Cista Alpha or Beta for Handicraft, and Focus.
  194.  
  195. 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 and 2 decoration slots.
  196.  
  197. Finally, Teostra’s Kaiser Vambraces Beta give level 1 weakness exploit and a decoration slot, making it a great option to pair with the Dragon King Eyepatch.
  198.  
  199. This final build style will depend on your weapon. For some you’ll want to incorporate as much handicraft as possible to push yourself to White sharpness. You’ll also want to get a protective polish decoration, and as much affinity and critical boost as you can stack. If you’re using the Divine Slasher from the Arena, you’ll also want to get an Elementless Decoration.
  200.  
  201. Dragon King Eyepatch
  202. Dober Mail Beta
  203. Kaiser Vambraces Beta
  204. Nergigante Coil Beta
  205. Death Stench Heel Beta
  206. Level 3 Handicraft Decoration
  207.  
  208. Level 3 Weakness Exploit
  209. Level 4 Attack Up
  210. Level 4-5 Handicraft
  211.  
  212. Slot in as much attack up and critical boost as possible.
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