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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. Light Bow Gun - Low Rank
  41.  
  42. There will not be a lot of good bowgun specific gear. Even then, a lot of it is situational. This guide will assume Rapid-Fire Normal 2 as that’s the easiest style of Light Bow Gun to use. You may want to downgrade to the Bone Mail for Attack instead of any of the options available for awhile, since Light Bow Gun is so mobile.
  43.  
  44. The base armor set will have to tide you over to take on Pukei-Pukei and Barroth.
  45.  
  46. Barroths Chest grants Stamina Thief. This will only be useful if you’re using a gun that can utilize Exhaust ammo.  It’s not recommended otherwise.
  47.  
  48. Hunt Jyuratodus, followed by Tobi-Kadachi.
  49.  
  50. The Kadachi Helm grants Constitution. It will reduce the amount of stamina dodging will consume. You’ll also want to consider building the Kadachi Vambraces for Evade Extender. This will help you reposition faster and easier, and has good synergy with Constitution.
  51.  
  52. Anjanath is next, it has a few reasonable options for us. The Anja Greaves grant Artillery, which will boost the damage of sticky ammo. It’s not a great pickup, but there won’t be much better for a long time. Feel free to stick with the Kulu Greaves if you can put up with it’s inferior defenses.
  53.  
  54. The Anja Vambraces grant Special Ammo boost, which will increase the damage on your Wyvernblast mines by 10%. Neither of these are phenomenal pickups, but will be better than the alternatives.
  55.  
  56. Recommended Set so far:
  57. Head: Kadachi Helm
  58. Chest: Barroth Chest OR Bone Mail
  59. Arms: Anja Vambraces OR Kadachi Vambraces
  60. Waist: Jagras Coil
  61. Legs: Anja Greaves OR Kulu Greaves
  62.  
  63. 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 for Quick Sheathe if you prefer that.
  64.  
  65. 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.
  66.  
  67. If you find yourself struggling, picking up the Lumu Coil for Divine Blessing is a very reasonable upgrade.
  68.  
  69. Head down to the Rotten Vale, finish off Radobaan. Technically Radobaan’s headgear gives slugger, which can be used effectively with Sticky Ammo on Monster’s heads, but it’s so minor of an upgrade that it’s not really worthwhile.
  70.  
  71. Then return to the Coral Highlands and 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. It’s not the best on Light Bowgun as you are fairly mobile, but can be a reasonable pick up.
  72.  
  73. Recommended Set so far;
  74. Head: Lumu Hat or Kadachi Helm
  75. Chest: Legiana Mail OR Tzitzi Chest OR Bone Mail
  76. Arms: Anja Vambraces
  77. Waist: Lumu Coil OR Jagras Coil
  78. Legs: Anja Greaves OR Kulu Greaves
  79.  
  80. 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. Do this is you don’t find yourself using sticky ammo. It’s the same thing for the Anja Vambraces, if you don’t find yourself using your Wyvernblast mines, then pick up the Odogaron Vambraces for Constitution. You won’t be able to utilize the 3 piece bonus of punishing draw, but that’s alright, since most of the pieces are good anyways.
  81.  
  82. Next up is Rathalos and Diablos.
  83.  
  84. 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.
  85.  
  86. 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 unless you’re rapid firing elemental shots. If you have been, you can pick it up by grabbing the Gloves or Boots at your discretion.
  87.  
  88. Recommended Set so far:
  89. Rathalos Helm
  90. Rathalos Chest
  91. Anja Vambraces OR Odogaron Vambraces
  92. Odogaron Coil
  93. Anja Greaves OR Odogaron Greaves(3 piece Odogaron unlocks unusable punishing draw.)
  94.  
  95. Build these pieces if you want, but it’s time to move onto High Rank.
  96.  
  97. High Rank
  98.  
  99. High Rank finally introduces to us some options.
  100.  
  101. 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.
  102.  
  103. 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.
  104.  
  105. After the Zorah Magdaros Setpiece to enter High Rank, you’ll want to build the Zorah Vambraces Alpha for Free Element/Ammo Up. This will increase your ammo loading capacity slightly. It’s a reasonable pick up. You can also pick up the Bone Vambraces for Attack Up and Slugger, which will up the KO power of your sticky shots to monster heads. Your final option for gloves are the Anja Vambraces Beta which will give you Special Ammo Boost, beefing up your Wyvernblast mines.
  106.  
  107. 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, especially if you’re rapid firing normal 2’s.
  108.  
  109. If you use Sticky Ammo often, you can pick up the Anja Coil Alpha for Artillery, otherwise, stick with the Low Rank Odogaron Coil.
  110.  
  111. You’ll have a few options for boots. You can pick up the Kulu Greaves Alpha for Item Prolonger and Critical Eye. Your alternative is to pick up the Anja Greaves Alpha for more artillery to boost your sticky ammo.
  112.  
  113. That should make you adequately prepared to take on the higher tier monsters of High Rank.
  114.  
  115. Recommended Set so far:
  116. Kulu Headpiece Alpha
  117. Low Rank Rathalos Chest
  118. Bone Vambraces Alpha OR Zorah Vambraces Alpha OR Anja Vambraces Beta
  119. Anja Coil Alpha OR Odogaron Coil (low rank)
  120. Kulu Greaves Alpha OR Anja Greaves Alpha
  121.  
  122. Odogaron’s set is a reasonable choice.  The set bonuses will not be useful on Light Bow Gun, but it provides a lot of critical eye.
  123.  
  124. Build the gloves for constitution and critical eye, and the coil beta for critical eye since you won’t need speed sharpening , and optionally the boots for critical eye and quick sheathe. There will be a better boot option soon so feel free to skip this.
  125.  
  126. The next big set is the Rathalos Set.
  127.  
  128. 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.
  129.  
  130. The set bonuses on Rathalos aren’t great for Light Bowgun, but can be good if you’re rapid firing elemental shots.
  131.  
  132. Regardless of the set bonus, you’ll want to pick up the Mail Beta for level 2 weakness exploit and dramatically improved defenses. You’ll also want to pick up the helm beta for level 2 attack, which will buff up your Rapid Fire Normal-2.
  133.  
  134. Now, you’ll want to hunt Black Diablos to build the Diablos Nero Greaves Beta. This will give you Normal Shots, which increases the damage of all normal ammo. It should be considered a must build, and thankfully, doesn’t require much to make it.
  135.  
  136. If you’re using a Spread build, hunt Lavasioth instead and pick up the boots for Spread/Power Shots which will increase your damage on all levels of spread ammo.
  137.  
  138. Recommended Set so far:
  139. Rathalos Head Beta
  140. Rathalos Mail Beta (unlocks Critical Element)
  141. Odogaron Vambraces Alpha OR Bone Vambraces Alpha
  142. Odogaron Coil Alpha (unlocks Punishing Draw, unusable)
  143. Diablos Nero Greaves Beta OR Lavasioth Greaves Beta (Normal Shots vs. Spread Shots)
  144.  
  145. 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. Consider this optional, as it will be slightly stronger crits, vs. more base damage.
  146.  
  147. 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. You’re trading attack 2 for critical boost 1 and 1 decoration slot, so it’s your call here. The Rath Soul Mail Beta also has Free Element/Ammo Up which can be a nice pickup for some bow gun builds. Right now, Weakness Exploit 2 will be better than it, so avoid it for now, but keep it in the back of your mind down the road.
  148.  
  149. Recommended Set at this point and for the rest of the game:
  150. Rathalos Helm Beta OR Rath Soul Helm Beta
  151. Rathalos Mail Beta (unlocks Critical Element)
  152. Odogaron Vambraces Alpha
  153. Odogaron Coil Alpha (unlocks Punishing Draw)
  154. Diablos Nero Greaves Beta
  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 Bowguns since you won’t use Stamina for attacking, and you’ll only lose the bonus immediately after dodging. 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.
  161.  
  162. You’ll also have access to the Dober Gear after Nergigante, you can pick up the Dober Mail Beta for Attack, and the Greaves for more attack options.
  163.  
  164. 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.
  165.  
  166. Kirin has some good peices 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. It’s a nice quality of life pickup, but is mostly only useful on Spread Bowguns due to their innate lower loads than Normal Shots.
  167.  
  168. 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. It’s going to be questionable if this is worthwhile for you, as you have access to tons of Normal-2 and can bring level 2 gunpowder with you if you ever do run out.
  169.  
  170. You’ll want to pick up the Headgear Alpha for Flinch Free and Special Ammo Boost, the Claws for Flinch Free and Critical Boost, and the Spine Alpha for Blight Restistance and Special Ammo Boost. You’ll unlock Spare Shot, and max out Special Ammo boost with this. Then tie it together with the Diablos Nero Greaves for Normal Shot, and the Rathalos Mail Beta for Weakness Exploit. Alternatively, you can use the Dober Mail Beta for attack vs. weakness exploit.
  171.  
  172. This will be a good general purpose set, but does suffer from lower damage output because of lower attack power than other sets. If you can forgo spare shot, you’ll have a lot more alternatives. Once you get a Normal Shots decoration, you’ll free up your legs for alternatives like the Kirin Legs.
  173.  
  174. Spare Shot Set
  175. Xenojiiva Helm Alpha
  176. Rathalos Mail Beta OR Dober Mail Beta
  177. Xenojiiva Claws Alpha
  178. Xenojiiva Spine Alpha
  179. Diablos Nero Greaves Alpha OR Dober Greaves Beta OR Kirin Legguards Beta
  180.  
  181. Maximum Might Set:
  182. Nergigante Helm Alpha
  183. Dober Mail Beta
  184. Xenojiiva Claws Alpha
  185. Nergigante Coil Beta
  186. Nergiagante Greaves Alpha (Unlocks Nergigante Hunger)
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