I'm a Switch Axe main, the weapon is used in like 95% of my hunts. And I like making builds. Normally I'd use the highest dps builds by JinJinx and Tuna:
https://imgur.com/a/LQW7faN (Link to the builds except I put Health augment on all of them because Health to me is the highest dps buff, you sometimes don't even need to sheath to heal).
So one day I decided to make builds for all the switch axes I have and this is when I found my new favorite switch axe to replace the Jho Axe that I've been using forever.
That SA is the Vaal SA or the Hazak Demios II. It's an incredible Switch Axe that is not only flexible but can also deal some heavy damage that in some cases, stronger than the Jho Axe. WHAT?!?!? A SA that can pass the almighty Jho? How could this be? Let me show you.
Here's the two builds I use for these 2 weapons:
The Jho build hits 534.07 EFR + 20.25 EFE while the Vaal build hits 539.62 EFR + 23.63 EFE. Both uses dragon element so no matter what, the Vaal build actually hits harder in AXE mode. Yes, sadly only in axe mode. However, this is actually important because the highest dps move of the SA is actually the Morph Sweep, an axe move, so the dps increase is acutally there, and each sweep deals ~15 more damage, neat.
But the problem actually shows itself when we talk about the sword mode dps simply because of: Sword Phial Type. The Jho SA has a Power Phial meaning more raw while the Vaal SA uses the Power Element Phial meaning more elemental damage.
After taking into account these Sword Phial Types, the Jho build hits 624.62 EFR + 20.25 EFE while the Vaal build hits 539.62 EFR + 30.38 EFE. And as we know, SA favors raw more (though in some very rare cases, elemental SA is better). This means DPS loss and each sword hits of the Vaal build deals ~10 damage less. So yeah, you only need to hits twice in sword mode to compensate the damage in axe mode if you're using the Jho build.
However, I'm here to defend the Power Element Phial and this is because of: Amped State Charge Speed. See, each sword phial types actually has a different charge speed into amped state.
The order is Dragon > Power Element/Exhaust > Poison > Power/Paralysis.
The Power Element Phial charges incredibly fast, you only need 2 Triangle+Circle combos to reach Amped while Power needs 3. Power Element only needs 2 Circles (Heavenward Fury) to reach Amped while Power needs 3 (Heavenward Fury + another Circle). This seems like nothing but is actually important because 1 Triangle+Circle combo is ~3 seconds long. So you will reach Amped 3 seconds faster, that 3 seconds can decide your fate if the monster can one-shot you. This also allows you to ditch Heavenward Fury completely and just focusing on the Triangle+Circle combos while the Power Phial might sometimes rely on a good Heavenward Fury or when the monster is down to actually reach Amped, especially against agile monsters. This safety to me, like a health augment, is a pseudo dps increase because your dps uptime is higher, granted you're not a demi-god that can i-frame everything perfectly.
Also some more pros and cons:
The weaker the monster to dragon, the better the Vaal SA will be. I tested these builds on Behemoth's forearms which have a 15 dragon HZV so anything higher is more beneficial.
Incredibly flexible, you can actually make a build that has Evade Window 4 and Health Boost 2 while still keeping 100% affinity and Master's Touch, this is impossible for the Jho SA, as the only way to reach 100% affinity is with Crit eye 7, Attk Boost 4, Weakness Exploit 3 and Max Might 3 so no slots.
Only 1 point in Max Might, so if you're evading and attacking, it's still 90% while the Jho build will drop to 70%.
CAN MORPH SWEEP BEHEMOTH BACK TO ITS OWN FRANCHISE.
Biggest con is the fact that the Vaal SA needs Peak Performance. This might be a completely turn down for some people so if you really hate Peak, stick to the Jho or the Taroth Water.
If you rely more on sword mode for dps and don't even use the morph sweep (which is not the optimal and manly way), the Vaal SA is not your cup of tea since the Vaal SA shines when you play a morph sweep spam style.
The weaker the monster to Sever damage, the weaker the Vaal will be in sword mode. Behemoth's forearms HZV for Sever is 50 and the difference in damage is ~10.
Less units of white sharpness (20 compared to 30 of Jho).
There you guys have it. The Vaal SA is not here to dethrone completely the Jho SA but it is an incredibly strong alternative depending on your playstyle and the monster, my PB on Behemoth solo is actually with the Vaal SA because I can slot in Evade Window and Evade Extender to keep my dps uptime consistent during all 4 areas. I'm surprised that no one even mentions this SA as a top-tier SA, probably because of the Power Element Phial but no, this bad boy can put any monster down as hard as the top-tier ones. Also, did I mention how incredible the morph sweep is on this SA?
So if you're a vet SA, a newbie or a player that wants to try the SA, give the Vaal SA a try, this SA definitely deserves more love than it currently has.
Sorry for the long post, also credits to JinJinx and Tuna for the builds and the amazing videos explaining these concepts of EFR and EFE so that I can go and make my own builds. Seriously, their channel is fantastic.
Source: Original link
© Post "A very strong Switch Axe that sadly no one talks about (long post)." for game Monster Hunter World.
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