So I'm a lance main since Tri. I've done everything under the sun regarding lance builds — Evade lancing, guard lancing, aerial lancing…
Something I've noticed in MHW is that after playing with and without guard/evade is that I don't need guard at all. I only use guard up again like two monsters (Teostra and Kulve).
This is because of the new abilities granted to lance in the game. Power guard, the long back-hop, the shield advance to jump thrust, the charge to jump and attack in any direction… Lance feels both tankier and more mobile than ever before.
So I've been playing with the advice of others and using Guard 3. The sweet spot. That alongside guard up. I've since taken away those skills and only use guard up on the aforementioned monsters. With these empty slots, I am able to attain 98% critical (with weakness exploit) and critical boost 3 on top of attack 4 and protective polish, sharpness +2 and non-elemental boost on my Taroth Crest "Claw". Using the health augment on my lance, I rarely if ever use potions anymore. There's just no need, I'm always at full health.
My findings are this: Sometimes, I get hit through a power guard or counter hard enough to make my character recoil and not be able to get a hit off in return. This is when guard 3 would be nice. But that is very, very rare. The rest of the fight..? Well, I'm dishing out insane amounts of damage. Lance is all about sustained dps, and I've found to have increased my dps significantly with the removal of guard and guard up.
Tl;Dr: Think you're good at lance? Try without guard and guard up. I think you'll be surprised at how much more damage you can kick out overall, and how unnecessary guard actually is. Also health augment on lance is overpowered if you're hitting as strong as I am.
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