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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. Hammer - Low Rank
  41.  
  42. Hammer really favors getting as much damage as possible, and really wants ways to increase sharpness. There are a few skills like Slugger, and Stamina Thief that do benefit hammer, but their impact isn’t very noticeable in most cases. There isn’t a lot of good stuff early on, so we will be picking these up along the way.
  43.  
  44. You may want to consider using the Bone Gauntlets over the Kestodon Gaurds. You’ll have Slugger, making it easier to Knock Out monsters vs. the unreliable nature of affinity sliding.
  45.  
  46. Otherwise, the base armor set will have to tide you over to take on Pukei-Pukei and Barroth.
  47.  
  48. There are two main upgrades you should pick up from Barroth. Barroths Armor grants Stamina Thief. Stamina Thief makes it take less hits to make a monster tired, and need to eat to recover stamina. While a monster is tired, it will stand in place and drool allowing you to get some free hits. It’s not a great pickup, but it’s going to be better over all than the Kulu Chest’s stamina surge.
  49.  
  50. Also pick up the Barroth Gauntlets for Marathon Runner. This will reduce your stamina drain while charging your hammer, which will be an extremely common occurrence.
  51.  
  52. Then you’ll have to hunt Jyuratodus. Jyuratodus’ Greaves grant Focus. This reduces the time it takes to charge your hammer. It’s an arguable pick up, as occasionally you do want to use the lower-tiers of charge to do the uppercut. It’s a safe pick up and will be similar in performance to the Kulu Greaves.
  53.  
  54. Then hunt Tobi-Kadachi.
  55.  
  56. You’ll want to pick up the Kadachi Helm for Constitution. This will reduce the amount of stamina drained while you’re dodging and it’s a good defense increase over the Bone Helm.
  57.  
  58. Set so far:
  59. Kadachi Helm
  60. Barroth Chest
  61. Barroth Gloves
  62. Jagras Coil
  63. Jyuratodus Greaves
  64.  
  65. Anjanath is next. If you’re finding yourself running low on stamina, considering building it’s chest for a second stack of Marathon Runner. Stamina Thief vs. Marathon Runner will be arguable, but in an ideal world you’ll get the plate to upgrade.
  66.  
  67. You’ll hunt Paolumu as part of the story. Paolumu’s Coil will be a good replacement for the Jagras Coil, since Divine Blessing is actually extremely helpful for new players. There isn’t any good alternatives to waist armor for a long time, so probably pick this up. You can also consider picking up the Lumu hat if you’re having trouble with your stamina management.
  68.  
  69. If you’re still using Barroths Chest, consider hunting Tzitzi Ya Ku to build it’s chest armor for constitution, reducing your stamina consumption while dodging.
  70.  
  71. Once you’re in the Rotten Vale, you have upgrade options.
  72.  
  73. You can hunt Hornetaurs to build the greaves. You’ll be trading Jyuratodus’ focus for some much needed Handicraft. Hammers suffer from low sharpness so picking up handicraft here is desirable.
  74.  
  75. You’ll have to hunt Radobaan. You can make it’s helmet to give you Slugger, which will up your knock out power. This will be your choice between Radobaan’s head for  Slugger or Stamina Surge from the Lumu Hat.
  76.  
  77. Then take on Legiana.  It’s offerings aren’t useful for a hammer but it will give you access to Monster Bone+. This when combined with Sinister Cloth from the Tailrider Safari will allow you to build Death Stench gear. Death Stench gloves grant Focus, and the Greaves grant Handicraft. The Greaves are worth picking up as they have significantly higher defenses than the Hornetaur Greaves.
  78.  
  79. Next is Odogaron. Pick up the Odogaron Coil for critical eye to help reduce the number of feeble hits you’ll get on your awesome Barroth or Anja Hammer.  If you don’t like Focus on hammer, you can pick up the Odogaron Vambraces as well for constitution.
  80.  
  81. Armor so far:
  82. Radobaan Helm
  83. Barroth Chest OR Tzitzi Chest OR Anja Chest
  84. Death Stench or Odogaron
  85. Odogaron Waist (Lumu Coil is reasonable if you’re struggling)
  86. Death Stench
  87.  
  88. 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.
  89.  
  90. 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. This is especially true if you’re using Barroth or Anjanath’s hammer which have negative affinity you can largely offset with Weakness Exploit.
  91.  
  92. You can also consider the helmet for attack up.
  93.  
  94. You’re likely not using an elemental weapon, so the 3 piece bonus isn’t worth looking at, and even if you are using the Anjanath Hammer, your critical hit rate will be so low you’ll barely be able to utilize it.
  95.  
  96. Diablos’ Chest also has Slugger. Weakness Exploit will be preferred to Slugger, and twisted horns are usually better spent elsewhere. The 3 piece set bonus of Bludgeoner isn’t bad on hammer, but you will need to sacrifice a lot to get it at this point. The Coil grants Marathon Runner, which will be your preference over the Odogaron coil’s critical eye.
  97.  
  98. Build this set if you want, then move onto High Rank.
  99.  
  100. Ideal Set:
  101. Radobaan Helmet OR Rathalos Helm
  102. Rathalos Chest OR Diablos Chest
  103. Death Stench OR Odogaron Gloves
  104. Odogaron Waist OR Diablos Waist
  105. Death Stench
  106.  
  107. High Rank
  108.  
  109. High Rank finally introduces to us some options.
  110.  
  111. 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.
  112.  
  113. 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.
  114.  
  115. The Kulu Headpiece Alpha should be a first pickup. Weakness Exploit will allow you to over ride the negative affinity on many of the better hammers..
  116.  
  117. If you’re still using the Death Stench gloves, you can upgrade them to Kestodon Guards to maintain Focus, and gain affinity sliding as well as high rank defenses.
  118.  
  119. You can also consider the Bone Vambraces Alpha, for Slugger and Attack Boost. It’s arguable which of these are better, but Bone Vambraces Alpha are likely much more consistent.
  120.  
  121. You will have a few options for boots as well.
  122.  
  123. You can hunt Jyuratodus and pick up Jyuratodus’ greaves. With the Kestodon Guards, this will max out Focus, and you’ll have the fastest charges possible.
  124.  
  125. If you like Handicraft, pick up the Hornetaur Greaves Beta to maintain Handicraft and gain a decoration slot as well as high rank defenses.
  126.  
  127. If you want more marathon runner you can use Barroth Greaves Alpha for Stun Resistance and Marathon Runner.
  128.  
  129. These choices are all subjective. They will all have similar performance.
  130.  
  131. 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.
  132.  
  133. Recommended Set so Far:
  134. Kulu Headpiece Alpha
  135. Low Rank Rathalos Chest OR Low Rank Diablos Chest
  136. Bone Vambraces Alpha OR Kestodon Guards Alpha
  137. Rath Heart Coil Alpha
  138. Barroth Greaves Alpha OR Hornetaur Greaves Beta OR Jyuratodus Greaves (tie with Kestodon Guards for max focus)
  139.  
  140. That should make you adequately prepared to take on the higher tier monsters of High Rank.
  141.  
  142. Odogaron’s set is a reasonable choice. You won’t get much benefit out of the set bonuses, but a few pieces are reasonable. It’s arguable if they’re worth picking up, but the Vambraces Alpha, and the Coil Alpha will be reasonable choices to offset the negative affinity of your hammers
  143.  
  144. The next big sets are the Rathalos and Diablos Sets. The Rathalos Set bonuses will not be beneficial to you at all on a Hammer, since you’ll be using a Raw Hammer.  Pick up the Rathalos Mail Beta to give you level 2 weakness exploit. This will be enough to offset the Negative affinity of the Diablos and Barroth hammers and provide a reasonable damage increase. You still won’t be getting very many critical hits, if any at all, but it will negate the feeble hits.
  145.  
  146. If you’re feeling up to it, you can pick up the Rathalos Head and Boots for Attack, and a final stack of weakness exploit. I would consider these 2 pieces extremely optional, since the next set is the real target.
  147.  
  148. Recommended Set at this point:
  149. Rathalos Head Beta
  150. Rathalos Mail Beta (unlocks Critical Element (won’t be used by hammer))
  151. Bone Vambraces
  152. Rath Heart Coil Alpha
  153. Rathalos Greaves Alpha
  154.  
  155. You can now reasonably hunt Diablos and Black Diablos. The 2 piece set bonus of Bludgeoner is a nice pickup especially considering you’ll only have a sliver of blue with the Diablos Shatterer 1, which you should be using. The biggest asset will be the 4 piece set bonus of Non-Elemental Boost. This adds 10% raw damage to your weapons that don’t contain any status or element, which the Diablos Shatterer will, as well as the Barroth Breaker.
  156.  
  157. You have a few options to work through. You’ll want to maintain level 2 weakness exploit from the Rathalos Chest, so you need to fill out your head, arms, waist and leg armor with a mix of Diablos and Black Diablos parts.  
  158.  
  159. The easy choices are the Diablos Nero Helm Alpha for level 2 focus, as the standard Diablos Helm has critical draw which you won’t benefit from on hammer.
  160.  
  161. The Diablos Nero Braces Alpha, which will give you Focus and Marathon runner vs. Heroics, which is too risky for most players to benefit from.
  162.  
  163. The Diablos Greaves Alpha are the preferred choice for Tremor Resistance and Slugger. The Nero Greaves grant Normal Shots which is strictly for bows and bowguns.  
  164.  
  165. Finally for waist armor you can choose between the Diablos Coil Beta for maxing out Marathon Runner and a slot, or the Diablos Nero Coil Alpha for resentment and partbreaker.
  166.  
  167. Recommended Set at this point:
  168. Diablos Nero Helm Alpha
  169. Rathalos Mail Beta
  170. Diablos Nero Braces Alpha (Unlocks Bludgeoner)
  171. Diablos Coil Alpha OR Diablos Nero Coil Alpha
  172. Diablos Greaves Alpha (Unlocks Non-Elemental Boost)
  173.  
  174. This set is not easy to build, and will require multiple Majestic Horns and Black Spiral Horn+ but will provide the very valuable non-elemental boost skill. You do give up quite a bit of other good skills to get it, but this will represent a huge damage spike.
  175.  
  176. The level 2 Weakness Exploit will also offset the Negative Affinity of the strongest Hammers at this point while attacking heads, providing massive damage output. You’ll also gain maxed out Focus, and Marathon Runner, with level 1 slugger, and level 2 Tremor Resistance making it a reasonable set.
  177.  
  178. This set will be adequate for everything else in the game. Everything after this is just a matter of customization and preference.
  179.  
  180. Once you get a Non-Elemental Boost decoration you will free up all your armor options. Of course, if you’re using Nergigante’s Hammer, you won’t benefit from Non-Elemental Boost, so you can pick up some other gear choices.
  181.  
  182. Hammer really favors stacking as much attack power as possible.
  183.  
  184. Nergigante’s set is reasonable, but not exceptional. It has a good amount of attack bonuses, and stamina surge. Agitator has a reasonably high uptime for further increased attack and affinity. Maximum Might can also be utilized effectively on hammers during your Big Bang Combo, but you will not be able to utilize it for a short time after performing a charging attack. The Nergigante Coil Beta is an extremely valuable piece of gear and should be picked up.
  185.  
  186. The Dragonking Eyepatch has Weakness Exploit 2 and a tier-3 decoration slot, making it a good pickup, especially once you get a Weakness Exploit Decoration, or Non-Elemental Boost decoration.
  187.  
  188. After Nergigante, you can build the Dober set using Elder Dragon Bones and Blood. Build the Dober Mail Beta for attack 2 and a slot. The Dober Greaves Alpha or Beta also have a good amount of attack power.
  189.  
  190. Teostra’s Gloves give more weakness exploit options. You can tie the Teostra Gloves Beta with the Dragonking Eyepatch to max it out Weakness Exploit and gain valuable Decoration Slots.
  191.  
  192. In an ideal scenario, you’ll get at least level 4 handicraft to push the Diablos Shatterer 2 to White Sharpness. The easiest way to do this is with a Handicraft Charm 3 and the Death Stench Heel Beta which will max out your sharpness. These will be available after beating Vaal Hazak.
  193.  
  194. This is what your end game Hammer set could look like. It’s just a matter of adding more skills as you unlock more decorations. Keep in mind, some of these should be Beta versions for the decoration slots, like the Teostra Vambraces, and I have a level 2 Handicraft Charm on to push Handicraft to level 4.
  195.  
  196. Final Target Idea:
  197. Dragonking Eyepatch
  198. Dober Mail Beta
  199. Teostra Vambraces Beta
  200. Nergigante Coil Beta
  201. Death Stench Heel Beta
  202.  
  203. Weakness Exploit - 3
  204. Attack Boost - 4
  205. Handicraft - 4
  206. Stamina Surge -1
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