Monster Hunter World Sword and Shield Builds and Guide

Monster Hunter World Sword and Shield Builds and Guide by Giraffeguin

Well since there was a post earlier about a lack of guides I got thinking I might as well try and post one for the weapon I’ve played 100+ hours on in World and however long I played MH4U. Obviously, I am just a sample of one user so please feel free to add your own thoughts on how to improve my builds and play-style or post your own.

About my play-style:

I make it a rule for myself to always challenge every monster solo once before fighting it in multiplayer. I don’t want to be a liability to the team and cart to something I could have prevented had I knew the tell.

That said, I still often play sloppy due to being really aggressive. As a result, I am often met with a tail whip to the face when trying to mount or may get greedy and forget that I’m seeing a monster’s tell that he’s about to do something awful to me.

But when things do go south I do my best to back off and find a safe place to heal up and regroup. If it’s just minor chip damage such a monster walking over me while I’m under them, it’s usually not a big deal and I continue the offense.

How does the SnS Play?

It is a very versatile weapon which is why I enjoy it so much. It’s a jack of all trades where anything it can do, another weapon probably does better, but it’s enjoyable and is still very viable to get the job done.

Here are some possible roles:

Status Ailments (Poison, Blast, Para, Sleep, even Stun)

Since SnS strikes quickly and often, it is good at applying status effects. Due to the Shield aspect of SNS, blunt attacks with the shield are possible. Enough of these shield bashes to the head (especially paired with the slugger skill) can daze a monster.

Mounts

While not able to mount as easily as insect glaive the SnS is still able to attempt a mount without a ledge. The combo That is Slash, slash, back hop and charge, hit the enemy and rise in the air, then you can choose to slash again on way down (attempt to mount) or bash with your shield (good for attempting a KO on the head). Triangle, Triangle, Back + HOLD Circle, followed by Triangle (Slash) or Circle (Shield)

Support

SnS gimmick is that it can use items while the weapon is still drawn. This can be done by holding down block and then use the item. What this means is that you can assess a situation and quickly respond with a well-timed item. With Wide-Range skill, you can apply buffs/heals from these items to your teammates. Also, the SnS is pretty quick at sheathing which is useful if you need to switch to a panic dive dodge (dodge while running) such as when avoiding a Diablos from below.

DPS

As mentioned before the SnS is quick and so it can be on the offense most of the time. A SnS user is often right up in the monster’s face (or rather below it or at its legs) and can quickly roll to the side out of an attack and continue the assault. There’s also lots of element weapons that can be used. I’m probably not the best to discuss DPS though as I like playing support and while I like increasing my damage output I’m fairly sure mine isn’t optimized.

Drawbacks

Reach

SnS has rather poor reach, I often find myself whiffing attacks I thought I should be making. Some tails and monster parts are a huge pain to reach without knocking the monster down or using traps. Multiplayer can compensate this, though tails do come off much faster solo when you are able to reach them.

Sharpness

Since the weapon is used a lot, it will drain sharpness pretty quick, especially solo when you’re the only one dishing damage (well other than your cat pal). It’s not as big of a deal in this game since whetstones are now infinite. But it’s still a pause in DPS. Generally though, in multiplayer I find end-game my SnS never drops to green as long as I sharpen every time the monster leaves an area. I start with white, and eventually drop to blue but keep attacking instead of sharpening (unless a good reason to stop occurs such as someone else mounted the monster).

Armor and Skills

There are a lot of options to go for and it really depends what you want to do. AS a support that likes to still dish damage, I use the following in multiplayer: Earplugs 5

Handicraft 4

Wide Range 3

Flinch Free 1

Resusicate 1

Evade Window 2

Evade Extender 2

Nullify Wind Pressure or Guts

Anything else I have on is just a bonus or I gem for specific monsters: i.e. Resistances, boost status build up, etc.

I achieved this build through:

Bazel Helm B (Earplugs 2 + Lvl3 Slot + lvl1 slot)

Kushala Torso B (Handicraft 2 + Lvl 2 slot)

Kushala Grip A (Handicraft 1, Evade Window 2)

Bazel Coil A (Earplugs 2 + Lvl3 Slot)

Kushala Greaves B (Handicraft 1, Evade Extender 2)

Wide-Range Charm lvl 3

I was lucky enough to get an Earplugs and Flinch Free Jewels (each lvl3). Before the earplugs jewel, I had Bazel gloves on still so had less handicraft but full earplugs.

So rationale for these skill choices: Earplugs:

My personal priority skill. I hate getting locked by monster roars. Plus, it’s an opportunity to do quick support, dps, or attempt a mount. I often get an early mount thanks to getting some free hits when the monster is busy roaring at me.

Handicraft

More sharpness = more damage. I could go for Lvl5 with the charm, but that +10 sharpness is not worth losing lvl3 wide-range, imo.

Wide-Range

Great for support, but it’s also to compensate for my earlier alluded sloppy play. I know I will take a lot of chip damage so might as well heal others when I top myself off. Usually at least someone else needed heals as well. I stick with level 3 because the range is still fantastic and 50% effectiveness isn’t bad. Not worth to go full effectiveness and lose my other skills. I would gem it in if I had them though.

Evade Skills

Good for staying alive, probably higher levels are priority for a more focused solo/dps build.

Flinch Free

Dual Blades are the bane of my existence. Due to our similar reach, I often find myself getting hit by dual blades who either don’t realize they are hitting me or do not care. In demon-mode they probably out-dps me anyways but getting knocked over is still an annoyance, so I usually instead go “Oh” and roll out of the way to hit something else. Without the skill I’d probably spend the whole time the monster is down falling over myself.

Some other good possible skills I didn’t mention but I used during Low-Rank or while building up to this set: Attack Boost (I personally would increase until the affinity boost then stop) Slugger (for shield attacks)

Weapons

Personally, I skipped the elemental weapons except for dragon type and went for status weapons. This was mostly because I am way too poor to afford more weapons due to armor-whoring and trying out other weapon types.

My personal order of weapons:

Pukei Line (do not finish this line)

Rathian Line

Girros Line

Teo Line

Xeno Line

Pukei is easy to make and poison serves well for a majority of the game. What poison cannot do well again, paralyze or blast probably will. I avoided sleep because I felt with a group of randoms sleep status often gets wasted. My personal experience anyways. Usually the monster wakes up immediately because someone was still comboing.

Anyways, Pukei is inferior to the Rathian line however. So once you can switch over to making the Rathian line I recommend doing so, it was my first weapon I was able to make the last weapon in the tree, as it did not require materials from the final boss (if I am remembering right).

When you have a nice collection of weapons, check your field guide to see what is best to bring! Otherwise, when in doubt, go with the Royal Rose (Rathian) as poison works against pretty much everything, even poison monsters (although 1 star) and is super effective against quite a lot of beefy monsters. In multiplayer, paralyze might be more desirable due to holding the monster in place for free hits.

Where do I attack the monster?

As I mentioned in the quip about dual blades, positioning matters, especially when the monster goes down. However, it largely matters who else is with you. If there is a hammer or hunting horn, get away from the head and let them deal with it. Longswords are better for tails as well. If you can help out on the tail in a way you aren’t tripping others. Otherwise go for the wings, belly, or back whatever is a weak spot.

When the monster is moving, it depends on the monster but generally you want to be sticking to it constantly attacking it. If you get separated from it, run at it from the side or an angle. Do not charge it head on, that is like asking to get run over by a truck. (of course I still sometimes do that in my hurry to hit the head… )

SnS is fast and not many of its attacks have huge commitment, allowing you time to react and roll out of the way or sheathe and dive. Keep this in mind and when in doubt, stop, drop and roll. Don’t be like me and try and mount the monster while it’s doing a tail whip attack and get whacked into outer space.

Loadout

In your inventory you are going to want to bring the usual healths, traps, tranqs, armor/powertalons and charms, etc. Also flash pods with 10 flashbugs to craft on the fly. Remember not needing to sheathe while using items? That includes the pods so you can make some great saves with the flash pod, for example, stopping Teo from his supernova while you’re still in his melee range.

For boosters/mantles I generally swap between these 3: Health, Affinity, Vitality

Vitality I use for Diablos because he hits like a truck and I don’t always perform the dive in time, especially if both Black Diablos and Diablos are bulldozing the whole map together.

For affinity, be mindful of your team. Sometimes I drop the affinity on a team mate rather than using it myself, especially if they have a good position at the head or tail or other part I desire broken.

Farm

I typically farm Might berries, the armor version, and flash bugs. Might alternate with bitter bugs and honey as well. Reason is I make a lot of Demondrugs/Armorskins to chug and buff up my teammates. If one goes down, I chug again when they come back.

Mounting

I mentioned already a way to mount from a combo (Triangle Triangle, Back and Hold Circle, Triangle again). SnS can also mount jumping off a ledge as usual. But, SnS can also mount upwards. Meaning they can do a mount attack when the monster is on the ledge above them. It takes practice and I still mess it up sometimes. You face a cliff and press Triangle+Circle at the same time and you should do a jump attack up the ledge.

Note, you can usually focus the mount on 3 places: Head, Back, Tail. Sometimes the tail isn’t an option.

Focus on whatever part you want to break, especially for the Triple Strike. Another good trick is to focus on the same spot, and when the monster tries to crush you against a cliff, jump to another. Then jump back to where you were before. If they injure the same spot (at least works for the head) multiple times against the wall trying to get you off, it will sometimes end the mount early as they reel in self-inflicted pain. This means no triple-strike but it’s fun to happen.

Probably had more to discuss and forgot. Feel free to leave your own thoughts. Hope this helps someone.

Edit: Forgot I wanted to add a mounting tips section, did so now.

Edit2: Now that I have better jewels I explored different armor/jewel options and now have a build with weakness exploit (as heavily inspired by all the crit focus builds below). I’d recommend adding that skill over others. I swapped out the Kushala gloves for Teo gloves to get the Weakness Exploit. Added a tenderizer jewel to my set to finish it off.

Also Kushala greaves can be swapped with death stench for handicraft 2 while also having 2 lvl 1 slots. It’s handy for filling out slots with other stuff. I’ve put steadfast (anti stun) for now. I’d say for DPS build you will want to prioritize Weakness Exploit and Handicraft (unless you’re running nerg sns where handicraft is pointless)

For Support, some other good ideas for skills to go with Wide-Range would be recovery up, speed eating, and jewels/skills for boosting item effect duration or the tool use refresh to drop more boosters.

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