How to play Gunlance from Zero,
Monster hunter Rise Edition.
This is the transcript of a video I have created of the same name
If you don’t feel like reading a 8 page long document about gunlance, you can watch it instead.
The objective of this video is to explain gunlance at the most basic level so anyone can pick and use it effectively whenever the Demo or when starting fresh in MHR.
Chapter 1: Understanding Gunlance.
Gunlance is a weapon with a high unpopularity rate. One of the major reasons being lack of good information in-game of how it should be played.
Basically forces you to seek online guides and videos of how to be played.
And well… this is yet another of those guides.
True is that gunlance is a contradictory weapon with both a low and high skill cap. Is a weapon very easy to pick up and start killing stuff with little effort.
But also has a lot of advanced techniques that are hard to master.
The duality of gunlance comes from the duality of its attacks.
Gunlance has two attacks types: melee and shelling.
Shelling is the easiest attack of the game, basically it is a cheat:
You don't have to learn about hitzones, your attacks never get reflected and you can virtually ignore your weapon sharpness.
It is decently garantized damage easy to use.
The major problem of shelling is because is fixed damage, you can only raise it by a few methods
What can be raised to deal more damage than shelling are the melee attacks.
Gunlance's melee attacks are precise quick lance thrusts or brutish slow slaps
The thrusts are weaker than of a regular lance but the swinging one are a powerful source of damage
The main advantage than gunlance puts in the table is versatility and capacity for adaptation.
It expects you to use your shells on monsters with hard skins or hard to access weak points and your powerful melee attacks on good hizones.
It allows you specialize your builds in shelling, melee or go 50% 50% basically, it is three weapons in one, a gunlance main never finds the need to learn other weapons and mastering the difference combos and way to play makes it an ever fresh weapon.
To complement the attacking capacities gunlance also offers the best grade of shield in the game with 3+ different kinds of autoshielding moves.
Monster Hunter Rise in general has boosted the movement of all weapons thanks to the wirebugs and gunlance greatly benefits from it. It also features quick steps that can be used to get through attacks or position yourself with quick steps than are more a movement tool than a way to evade attacks.
In multiplayer, gunlance role is a flanker and a suppressor. High shelling damage allows to break monster parts and trip monsters very easily making the whole team benefit from those knockouts. One of the main disadvantages of most weapons in MP is that when the monster doesn't have your attention, the head and other typical weak points get out of reach and they either waste time repositioning or attack dealing mediocre damage. Gunlance’s shelling since it always does nice damage allows you to attack anywhere as long you have the monster at reach.
If the place of a hammer is hitting the head and the place of cutting weapons is the tail. The place of a gunlance are the legs tripping the monster and gaining knockdowns for the whole team.
After this introduction. Let's get into matters.
Chapter 2: How to gunlance
In the demo and early low rank you are stuck playing with the combination of a Normal gunlance, Charged shells, Hail Cutter and Quick Reload.
Other shelling types and “switch skills” (swappable moves) are unlocked later.
Also, you start virtually skill-less, no damage boosters, no guard improvers, no evade extenders, nothing.
Check the advanced guides where I cover Shell types, Switch skills and armor skills once the game is out.
Because these restrictions when you just pick the gunlance at the demo or the beginning a lot of gunlance moves are trash.
Namely, your poking moveset.
Just pressing the A button makes you throw a stab. You can repeat this up to three times and all three do the same damage. After the third one, you will pause a little.
The problem of these pokes is that by themselves they are weak, very weak and it is a better use of your time using the other moves.. Or combine them.
Normal shells are done with the A button, I usually call it a “shell button” in my guides. Just like the pokes, they are very weak themselves. They can do either more or less damage than a poke depending where you hit the monster.
Shelling consumes 1 shell in the upper left corner. You may recover all your shells doing a quick reload by holding guard + shell (zR+A) after any attack, shell included.
Now, something much better than just using pokes or shells themselves is doing a poke, with X and immediately shell with A. This is what is normally called a poke shell. The shell comes out faster than what would take another poke to come out. The time between shell and poke (A then X) is the normal one without any kind of combo capacity… it was different in Monster hunter World.
This is still pretty weak for the demo and early game but take this into mind for later when you unlock Wide which features very strong shells
The other poke move is done while holding the guarding button. Hold zR and tap X repeatedly.
This move is slower and even weaker than the regular pokes but present two good features:
The first and main feature is that it puts you back into guard very quickly. Unless you are dumb and spam it, you can be totally safe just using this move… of course you are also murdering your dps doing only this. A good nickname of this move is the chicken stab. Use it if you are a coward and you are afraid of getting hit.
The second more important is that it is a diagonal poke that makes it easier to hit weak points like heads.
And like regular stabs you can combo it into shells and other attacks I haven’t talked about yet: Charged shells, Wyrm Stake and upswing.
Charged shells are an essential gunlance move in Monster Hunter Rise. A charged shell is done by holding A and releasing it after an instant. You can visualize when it is ready when your weapon is glowing red. Holding the button any further gives no advantage with the starting Normal shell type. With good timing you can release it a bit before glows red but is tricky. Use the visual confirmation at first and then try to make your timing shorter and shorter.
A charged shell does roughly a 50% extra damage. It is untested yet if it also does extra staggering to monsters like in Monster Hunter World and how much.
You can cancel charged shells evading (Press B) while you still hold A.
You also may tilt up and down in the left stick to change the angle of the shot.
Traditionally Normal shell type is considered awful with charged shells but here seems stronger plus they have a special quality: Fast Wyrm Stake.
Wyrm Stake is one of the three gunlance power moves.I’m talking about it before the others because mastering this move is the key to gunlance in Monster Hunter Rise, is an edge on damage you can dismiss. Unlike shells, it uses its own ammo type that is only reloaded by doing a full reload.
A full reload is done with the same motion as the quick one (zR+A) but when you are in a passive position or while you are guarding. As its name implies it is slower than a quick one and it's only use is to reload your stake.
Wyrmstake can be done from a myriad of commands and depending on how can be faster or slower. In all cases the damage is the same.
Hold A, release A, Back in the left stick and A: The quickest way to pull out the attack. It is also the fast version. You can do it from any angle, the angled versions are even a bit faster!
A, A, A: After shelling twice in a row, a try to shell again will result in a wyrmstake instead. This one is pretty bad compared with the previous one. Is way slower and the only benefit is a 50% extra damage that is pitiful. You seriously are better off doing a charged shell after the first one for the quicker version.
X+A, X+A: the first motion is called upswing and puts your cannon aiming upwards. Doing the same motion again will produce a wyrmstake. This is good for two things: Hitting flying monsters or hitting tall monsters heads. Once again, taking your time to do a charged shell is beneficial.
X+A, X, X+A: Upswing, slam, and then you can go directly into a slow wyrmstake. This combo is done when you have a short opening on a monster down and you down have enough ammo to fullburst.
X+A, X, A, A: Upswing, slam, fullburst and wyrmstake: I will talk about the fullburst attack shortly, basically for the moment, it unloads all your remaining shells. If you press A again, you will toss a wyrmstake for a lot of extra damage. You will use this a lot every time you use a fullburst whenever possible.
X+A,X,A,X,A: Upswing, slam, fullburst, sweep and wyrmstake: basically is the same as before but adding an extra attack. The sweep is the second stronger melee attack after the wyrmstake. Basically you use this when you are sure you can land both the stake and the sweep. If you aren’t sure, go for the stake because it gives the biggest payback.
With the weapon sheathed, zL+X, zR+A+X, zR+A, A: Wire bug, Air shell, Air fullburst, Wyrmstake. This is a complicated motion and the first air combo we talk about. I will cover the air combos later, for now, remember that when you land after using a fullburst, you will be able to follow up with a stake. This is the quickest access to the stake from the air.
And finally, with the weapon drawn, zL+A, (get hit), A: zL+A is called Guard Edge, is a SilkBind attack that requires one bug. If you get hit while performing it, you will guard the attack, gain some sharpness back and get the choice to either do a slam with X or a quick wyrmstake with A. Best thing is that after activating it you can aim your stake into any direction. If you aren’t sure if you are going to land it, use instead the slam move.
In resume about the wyrmstake is that you have access to it from virtually any point of your combos and you should learn when to go for it that is always. When you start playing, use the faster options first and then when you get a battle sense, go expanding the combo with the criteria of how long the opening is.
A great thing about the wyrmstake is that after the first hit, you will deal the full damage. This is great because you can choose to willingly get hit after using it and still get all the damage in.
Now, let’s talk about slam and fullbursting. The slam is a move that is done from multiple situations. How its name indicates consists in slamming your gunlance into the ground, is like twice as powerful as a poke. After any slam, you can follow up with a fullburst pressing A.
A fullburst unload whatever remaining shell you had in your gunlance. Each shell has a hitbox and you are not guaranteed to hit them all, so the better the closer you are to the monster.
The only situacion you shouldn’t fullburst after a slam is if you don’t know you can recover from the huge recoil of the burst before getting hit.
After doing a fullburst you can’t do a full reload directly, your only options are either going for the full reload killing your momentum or going into a sweep.
I already mentioned it as one of the strongest gunlance melee attacks. You can do a Sweep either after fullbursting or after a slam or after landing with an air fullburst. Other than damage, the advantage is that you can perform a quick reload after it.
This is important because that creates an infinite combo:
Upswing, slam, fullburst, sweep, quick reload, slam, fullburst, sweep quick reload and repeat.
Normally in an opening you only get the chance to do this motion one or two times, when the monster is about to recover control, consider breaking the combo with a wyrmstake to maximize your damage.
The common ways to perform a slam are:
X+A, X: Upswing, slam. This is the most common way to start the combo with your weapon drawn.
Forward + X, X+A: Forward lunge, slam. The forward lunge is another essential gunlance move, moves you shortly a couple of steps and does an upswing. It actually does the same damage and all. This is also nice in that you can lunge with the weapon sheathed or turn around and attack with it. A very versatile move.
(on the air) zR+X+A, X: The air slam. Has the properties of a normal slam and is the fastest access to a slam when you have your weapon sheathed this is awesome to both move and attack at the same time, you usually get enough time to Wyrmstake after this.
A, zR+A, X+A: Shell, Quick reload, Slam. The major use of this combo is that none of your attacks will bounce off the enemy. If you need to move a bit forward or have your weapon sheathed you can do forward + X and quickly A to cancel the running lunge into a shell. The shell also can be charged instead but I would always go for a stake after a charged shell
Finally, activating Guard Edge and successfully countering an attack allows you to slam (X) into fullburs (A) into any direction.
Guard Edge is both attack and defense and the backbone of gunlance in the early game. Its main advantage is that you can cancel most moves recoveries using it allowing to guard against attacks you would get hit instead. The activation is not immediate and can’t be really used as a last moment reaction or you will still get hit and lose one of your bugs without benefit.
Guard Edge also gets push back protection unlike the regular guard and can be used to guard against stronger attacks.
As said before, holding your guard button is a bad thing because not only are you limited to your weakest move but also turns a sitting duck and strong attacks will still do some chip damage. Successive strong attacks will deplete all your stamina and kill you.
Guard edge can save you from that and put you back into attack allowing to slam or wyrmstake immediately.
Because this, the number one advice I can give you is:
Always keep one or both bugs at hand to be used with Guard Edge.
I have not talked about Hail Cutter yet, the skillbind done with zL+X and this is because it is a move that offers no real benefit. I have enough motives to make a whole video telling why it is a bad move but to make things shorter, the principal reason is that it costs two whole bugs, so since you will be using your bugs for Guard Edge, there will be few situations where you will be able to perform it. Using Hail Cutter disables one of the bugs for 10 seconds and the other another tens only starting to recharge after the first one. Guard Edge on the other hand only consumes one bug for 15 seconds, using both will have both bugs recharging at once at the same pace.
The main situation where using bugs other than for Guard Edge is for using zL+X with your weapon sheathed to jump into the air and initiate an aerial attack.
The two really useful aerial combos are zR+A+B, X, A for an air slam into fullburst or zR+A+X, R+A then either X or A to do an air burst into either a sweep or a wyrmstake upon landing. The air shell (R+A+X) totally stops your momentum in the air and because of that, you should only initiate it when about to hit the ground. If you use an airburst just when about to hit the ground, you will negate the recoil and land faster. This is a complicated combo, so feel good just doing air slams when you start playing.
Gunlance starting mobility on the ground is frankly terrible, basically you never should try to chase the monster with your weapon out. There exists this technique called charged backsteps that works great for mid distances but is the kind of advanced technique with a complicated input. I got a video about how to use it here
Can still be useful for not too long distances.
Much easier is to just sheath your weapon and yeeet yourself towards the monster using a wirebug.
As noted before, not only is a very quick movement but also a super fast way to initiate an air slam and fullburst. The recovery of a wirebug used this way is just 7 seconds and will not compromise your defense too much. It is better used if you go past the monster and land on its back because it will take him longer to target you and begin his attacks.
Now, finally the last move you sure are missing, the Wyvern Fire done by zR+A+X on the ground on neutral or after virtually any attack. Wyvern Fire is great, but has one big problem: its recovery time is three full minutes. The damage is neither spectacular for being something so slow to use and escase. A wyvern fire does 210 damage, a fullburst including the slam 150+ damage and a wyrmstake 180+ damage.
Its use more than a source of damage is that it deals a great amount of stagger damage on a single point of a monster, this is good for tripping a monster again just when it stands up after being tripped once. Other great use is to initiate a mount since the mounting animation will cancel the recovery.
A third advance use is exploiting that you can initiate it after one attack to cancel the recovery and use it as a guard point. If the attack is strong you will be pushed back and the wyvern fire will not be consumed ready to use in another situation. If you don’t get pushed back, you will hit the enemy for 210 damage, no bad.
Hail cutter can be used to discount 45 seconds of cooldown but once again, is not worth expending all your bugs for this. Only exception I would consider would be using a Hail cutter just after a wyvernfire to cancel the huge pushback.
And with this have gone through every gunlance gives to you out of the box. As you advance the game you will unlock a plethora of tools that will make the weapon even stronger and more versatile.
To close up, the next chapter is a review of the moves and the battle plan.
Chapter 3: The battle plan.
In general, a gunlance battle plan is an active one because how fixed damage works there is one truth: the more you hit the monster, the most damage you deal. Attack skills will not boost your damage as much as with other weapons and because of that, your main damage increase is staying on top of the monster as much as possible stopping the offensive as little as possible.
And getting hit is the worst dps loss of the game. Gunlance works the best when you are familiar with the monster moveset, knowing when an attack is coming up allows you to stop your offensive and use a guard edge to defend against it and continue with a slam into fullburst into wyrmstake.
Because of this, when fighting an unknown monster the key is observation. Instead focusing on the higher commit moves, go for the poke shell combo or charged shells keeping your fingers ready to start a guard edge as soon the monster is initiating an attack. Guard edge has a long duration and you can still counter monster moves with a lot of start up.
After unloading your stake ALWAYS do a full reload. Wyrmstake is your best source of damage and there is no worse feeling that losing such big damage just because you weren’t ready.
If the monster moves away, consider instead of chasing it to stay your ground and wait the monster to come back to you. A typical error of newbie hunters is wasting too much time chasing monsters.
The best place to fight a monster is on a corner or a corridor, that limits their movement and allows you to focus on attacking and dealing damage. If you are in a corner and the monster uses a charge attack, it will end close to you and you can attack its back. If you are in the middle of the map, he will go through you and get far to you wasting your time.
If you decide to chase it, initiating your offensive with a wirebug into an air slam is fast and powerful. Just be ready to guard edge the monster counter attack.
And of course whatever you get hit, get back into the fight with the recovery bug motion (zL+B)
With practise and knowledge you can also find holes in the monsters attacks where you can place yourself avoid the full attack and still be in position to attack, in these positions is the moment to use your full burst combo of slam, fullburst, sweep, quick reload and repeat.
Try to always land a Wyrmstake the moment the monster is going to recover from a trip. The delayed damage will count for the next flinch done.
If you aren’t sure how to avoid an attack, just guard, wait and observe, learn the tell and the timing and next time you will be able to Guard Edge that attack.
After guarding an attack the normal way, you can get into a slam quickly doing the guard stab, upswing, slam. If you want to shell, your best option is doing one hop and shelling.
Charged shell into Wyrmstake does as much damage as a wyvern fire, don’t forget about this.
And this is all for this total beginner guide to gunlance.
I hope it was helpful and have you join us with the boomstickers, the funlancers, the blasters and other cool names we call ourselves.
For additional help a very good place is the gunlance subreddit gunlance. We accept all kinds of gunlance players of any level and play style because we understand how versatile the weapon is and the myriad ways to play it.
Thanks for ready and I hope you join us!
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