Monster Hunter World

Gunlance 101, MHW edition: or walk softly and carry an explosive stick (a Guide)

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Greetings, fellow hunters. I'm back again to talk about my favorite weapon. This guide's purpose is to serve as an introductory guide for new prospects looking to learn how to use what I consider to be one of the most destructive weapons in the game. I will cover controls and Gunlance types, and useful skills and tips. This guide will currently not cover weapon or gear choices outside of a few recommendations. The reason for this is that I have not finished the game yet, and I don't have access to all of the weapons and armor yet. I appreciate your understanding, and hope you enjoy this introduction to the weapon. Please note that my "What is a Gunlance" introduction is taken from my previous guide, as I felt I did a good job with that intro to describe what the Gunlance is. After all, the purpose for this guide is to entice newcomers, under the assumption they don't know what a Gunlance is or does.

What is a Gunlance?

The Gunlance is exactly as it sounds; It is a fusion of a Gun (in this case, a shotgun) and the Lance. The Lance and Gunlance are similar in their attack styles, yet have enough differences to warrant separate playstyles.

The weapon (Gunlance) has two forms of attack. The first, like the Lance, is a series of attacks that perform stabbing motions, rather than slashing like it's other bladed counterparts. The second, is referred to as 'shelling'. These attacks ignore defense (no form of 'bouncing'), and deal a small amount of fire damage (further testing needed for MHW). Shells need to be loaded into the weapon, similar to bowguns. However, you have unlimited shells, so you don't have to worry about ammunition management.

The other notable thing about the Gunlance is the shield. The shield blocks most attacks, with little to no staggering compared to Sword and Shield. However, it will not block all attacks without Guard Up. A minor introduction to some useful skills will be covered later.


I highly suggest going into the Training Area via your house to get a feel for the weapon. The Gunlance is not a particularly fast weapon in regards to movement speed. This section will cover controls, and what your weapon can do with each button press. I play on Xbox, so these controls will be translated as if I was using an Xbox control (I have listed a translation before the controls. Someone please correct me if the PS controls are wrong. I haven't used a PS controller since PS2). Combos will be covered later.

Xbox to Playstation translation:

  • Y = Triangle

  • B = Circle

  • A = Cross

  • X = Square

  • LT/RT = L2/R2

  • Y – Lateral Thrust (this is your basic stab. You can tap this button up to three times for three stabs, and then you will either need to start over, or perform another action. I will cover options later)

  • B – Shelling (Fire your Gunlance. This is under the assumption that you are standing still with your weapon drawn. You can also hold B after most attacks to do a charged shell attack. Charged will take a little longer to fire, but it will also deal more damage. Note that if your sharpness gets too low, you can't shell.)

  • Y+B – Rising Slash (This raises your lance in an uppercut. Excellent for reaching tails. You can also shell after doing this attack, and you will fire straight up. Great for reaching monsters trying to fly away, that are flying above you, or climbing a tree (Kodachi).)

  • After Rising Slash, Y – Overhead Smash (You will bring your lance back behind you, and slam it in front of you. This can only be achieved one of two ways, and that's from being close to a ledge and pressing Y to leap from the ledge, and do an Overhead Smash. Or, you can do this after a Rising Slash.)

  • After Overhead Smash, B – Full Burst (this fires all of your loaded shells. Useful with Gunlances that have a high capacity, which is typically the Normal type.)

  • After Overhead Smash/Full Burst, Y – Wide Sweep (probably the most damaging move for a melee attack in the Gunlance arsenal. You swing the lance in a wide arc in front of you.)

  • After Full Burst/Wide Sweep, B (after burst) / Y(or B)(after sweep), or after shelling twice, B – Wyrmstake Cannon (To clear this up a little, after shelling twice in a row rapidly, shell again to do this. After a Full Burst, shell again. After a Wide Sweep, hitting Y or B will do this. What this does you will jab your lance into the monster, and fire a blade into them that does a very DoT. The lance attack itself does some decent damage, and the wrymstake is flashy. It jabs a blade into the monster, does a 'drill' attack into them, and then explodes. The wrymstake will cut tails.

    That gif url is a little on the nose, huh?

    "But bigbossodin! Can't you shell after most attacks?"

    Why, yes you can.

    You can actually shell after the slam, into a wide sweep. After the wide sweep, you can do the wrymstake cannon…


    After the wide sweep, we can reload, and then slash, slam, blam, sweep, reload, repeat…

    I apparently don't have any clips of an infinite burst combo. I'll work on that.


    The flashiest combo you can do would probably be:



    Stab,stab,stab,Rising Slash,Slam,Blam(Full Burst),Wide Sweep, Wrymstake, and then Wyvern's Fire.

    I recommend only doing this for big openings, such as, a monster in a trap of some sort or if they fall over. You're doing a lot with this, but it leaves you wide open.

    Keep in mind too, you can reload after a Wide Sweep, so if you have opportunity, you can do everything up to the Wide Sweep, reload, then do your infinite combo of choice.

    Now, for your stand run of the mill melee attacks, outside of cheesy infinite combos, try this:

    Y->Y->Y->Y+B->A, repeat

    Stab,stab,stab,Rising Slash, backhop/sidestep, repeat as needed.

    Gives you a chance to do a lot of melee damage, and the sidestep/back hop will help reposition you so that you can adapt as needed.

    The key to being a good hunter is knowing when to move out of the way, when to stop attacking, and when you have an opening.

    This will take time. You're not going to know all of that overnight. I mean, you could I guess. I'd advise against it, cause sleep is really good.

    My point is, learn when you're overextending, and when you have the right openings.

    Shelling and you

    Shelling be done after nearly every attack. It is fixed damage, and is not affected by any defense on the monster, meaning you won't bounce on that attack. In fact, for the most part, it ignores a good portion of the monster's defense when shelling. So if you hit an area with your lance, and do white damage, try shelling. You'll notice you're going to do a little more damage, and it's orange, indicating the defense was ignored. Shelling also makes the sharpness of your weapon deplete twice as fast. There are three types of shelling:

    • Standard/Non-Charged: Just your regular, run of the mill shot. It does damage.

    • Charged: Holding B after an attack will do a charged shot. It will take longer to fire, but does more damage.

    • Full Burst: After performing your slam attack, hitting A will fire ALL remaining shells in your weapon. This can be great, if you're using the right Gunlance.

    Types of Gunlances; Variety is the Spice of Life

    Much like our types of shelling, we have three types of Gunlance. They all have differences amongst each other:

    • Normal : This is your basic Gunlance. This type also does the most damage within a full burst shot, since you can have 5 shells loaded at one time. That's pretty much all that this Gunlance has going for it. It has the worst non-charged shelling, and worst charged shelling, and average Wyvern Fire, Wrymstake Burn, and Wrymstake Explosion. Pretty much, with Normal, you want to be burst firing.

    • Long: In prior games, long used to be the best at Wyvern Fire. Now it's the best at charged shelling. It also has better range on its shells. Average Wyvern Fire, Wrymstake Burn and Explosion. This type only carries 3 shells. Burst fire isn't recommended, but it's not as bad as Wide type.

    • Wide: This type the best non-charged shelling attack. It also has a wider shot. This type is recommended for chaining attacks with stabs and shots (remember stab, stab, stab, shoot?). You'll do the most damage with a combo like that with this type of Gunlance. But, this Gunlance only carries two shells. It has the worst burst fire of the three. But, this type now sports the best Wyvern Fire damage. It also has the best Wrymstake Burn and Explosion.

    Next to your weapon type, you will also see a number listing 'shot type'. This number will range from 1-4 (5 in previous games. 🙁 RIP). This affects the damage your shells will do.

    I am not a numbers guy, so I would suggest going to this thread by /u/Sharpshard , and his excellent guide into damage numbers for Gunlance.

    He also recommends some Gunlances, which I would say listen to him for now. I haven't hit end game just yet.

    A brief overview of skills

    I'll cover some skills briefy. I don't have access to all skills, so I haven't been able to test all of them.

    The most important skill for Gunlance is Artillery. This directly boosts your shelling damage. I believe this affects your Wyrmstake, but I haven't had a chance to test. If you do any type of shelling, get this. It can go up to level 3. This skill will also reduce the cooldown on your Wyvern's Fire.

    Capacity is another fun skill, that is quite popular with Full Burst builds. Capacity will increase the number of shells your Gunlance has by one. So that's 6 shells in Normal, 4 in Long, and 3 in Wide. You can see the benefit for Normal, it's an extra shot for Long and Wide. I still wouldn't recommend doing Burst Fire with Long and Wide, even with the Capacity boost. There is only one level for Capacity.

    Guard is a great skill. It will reduce the amount of bleed over from attacks you block. I haven't had a set yet with Guard, so I can't really comment on it. Goes to level 5.

    Guard Up is still a thing, I believe. This helps you block attacks that you normally couldn't block. Again, no sets with this skill, so can't really comment more on it.

    Handicraft is helpful for extending your weapons sharpness meter. Depends on what playstyle you're using (shelling or melee focused?). Has 5 levels.

    Speed Sharpening is one of my favorite skills for Gunlance. If you do a lot of shelling, you're gonna eat through sharpness quickly. And sharpening… Takes a bit. Speed Sharpening will help with that.

    Attack/Critical Eye/Weakness Exploit are great skills for damage, but they don't affect shell damage at all. Recommended for more melee focused playstyles. Not if you intend to focus on shelling.

    For food, eating 4 white food types will get you Felyne Bombardier, which increases your shelling damage. This should stack with Artillery.

    I would personally advise against Evade Extender. This is a personal preference. The reason is because you can extend your backhop and sidesteps to far, and it could really mess up your spacing. But you do you. If you wanna try it, go for it.


    This wraps up the Gunlance 101, MHW edition of my guide. As I continue to play more and more, I'll probably come out with another guide, detailing some more tips and opinions. I hope this is a great starting point for newcomers and veterans alike. I think you'll enjoy this great weapon, and see the explosive playstyle that it brings to the table.

    /u/elgoonties had this guide reach the front page today:

    Definitely give it a read.

    /u/ZOZOT3 also posted this guide for a Zombie Gunlance build. I know the Zombie armor has grown popular (and I just got to the point where I can start getting parts myself), so give it a look.

    Let me know if you have any questions. I'm happy to help.

    Good hunting.

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