As a diehard SnS main, I wanted to take a good look at it’s new options in the Iceborne demo. While I am seeing things from a SnS focused mindset, other weapon types may also find the information on Slinger Bursts and Flinch Shots useful
Slinger Bursts and Flinch Shots:
While SnS is no longer the only weapon that can fire the slinger while unsheathed, it now gains the ability to fire Slinger Bursts at any time as opposed to only in specific windows during combos. While unsheathed, hold L2 then R3 to switch between regular slinger shots and Slinger Bursts. This can be done at any time and you can keep whichever setting you chose while having your SnS unsheathed. If you swap slinger ammos via your item wheel/radial menu while still unsheathed you will stay in the slinger mode that you are currently using. You walk slower when you are aiming a Slinger Burst instead of a regular slinger shot and it has a longer recover animation after firing. Not by too much but it is noticeable so be careful to not get hit though you can roll cancel the firing recovery animation. If you sheath your weapon you will be automatically switched back into regular slinger mode and will have to L2 -> R3 again to get back to Slinger Burst mode.
The below table lists the various slinger ammos I have tested with regular slinger shots and Slinger Bursts. I tested some of them on the training room’s pole/wagon (1) but some of them are unavailable in the training room so I had to test them out in the field using Aptonoth (2) instead. If I missed any, please let me know and I’ll look into them.
|Slinger Ammo Type||Regular Slinger Shot||Slinger Burst||Notes|
|Stone (1)||4||13 x 3||Splits into three projectiles that hits once and pierces through the target to hit whatever’s on the other side (punch through)|
|Pierce Pod (1)||8/tick||17 x 9||Shotguns into nine projectiles (has punch through)|
|Thorn Pod (1)||4 + (17 x 3)||13 + 3(17 x 3)||Increased damage from the initial hit thorn ball sticking as well as tripling the number of thorn balls that stick to the monster. Hitting the thorn balls still deals the same damage and takes the same number of hits to deplete. As long as you hit with the burst, even on the very edge of it, three thorn balls will stick|
|Bomb Pod (1)||4 + 40||3 + 105||Initial hit leaves a cloud that explodes about a second later in an AOE|
|Dragon Pod (1)||19||4 + 28(3)||Initial hit leaves a cloud that explodes after around two seconds later and deals three quick ticks of damage in an AOE|
|Para/Poison Knives||4||8||The slinger burst has punch through and deals increased status buildup. I tested this on two Great Jagras with Para Knives, it took 3 regular shots to proc paralysis on the first while it took only 2 Slinger Bursts for the paralysis on the second|
|Redpit (1) (2)||4||13 x 4||Works the same as stones. Same damage and same number of projectiles. Possibly has higher KO values|
|Puddle Pod (2)||11||15||Hits only once but in a larger AOE (as expected)|
|Brightmoss (2)||1||18||Deals thunder damage with the slinger burst. Whatever the slinger burst hits is illuminated in a much greater area than with the normal shot|
|Torchpod (2)||16 (12/fire patch tick)||30 (12/fire patch tick)||Damage increase is only for a direct hit. When shooting the floor to make a fire patch, each damage tick has no difference in damage between the regular shot and the slinger burst|
|Scatternut (2)||11||4 x 13||Might also deal additional KO damage|
|Flash Pod/Dung Pod (2)||Long range||Close range||I couldn’t find a noticeable difference between the regular shot and the slinger burst aside from the range difference.|
For Bomb and Dragon Pods, the initial hit of the slinger burst doesn’t actually have to hit to land the AOE. If you do the burst at the ground and then a monster jumps on you then it will get hit by the explosion. That being said, it can go the other way around and can whiff if the monster moves out of the cloud before it explodes. This is more of an issue for Dragon Pods as it has a much longer fuse on it’s AOE exploding than with Bomb Pods.
Flinch Shots (pressing R2 to fire the slinger while latched onto a monster via the Clutch Claw) do the exact same damage and have the exact same shot properties that the respective Slinger Burst have despite using up all the equipped slinger ammo at once. For example, doing a Flinch Shot with stones equipped will fire three projectiles that do 13 damage each, exactly like doing a Slinger Burst with stones. Flinch Shots also do the same damage and have the same slinger ammo properties regardless of how much ammo you have remaining. So doing a Flinch Shot with 20/20 stones or 3/3 pierce pods has the same effect as doing a Flinch Shot with 1/20 stones or 1/3 pierce pods. Because of this the Slinger Capacity skill is useless for Flinch Shots. It’s still pretty nice for Slinger Bursts though.
You can hold L2 and then press R2 while mounted to shoot the slinger. However, even if you activate Slinger Burst mode prior to mounting the monster it will always fire regular slinger shots. You can also hold L2 and then press O to perform a Clutch Claw attack & grab. Generally speaking this is not worth doing as Clutch Claw grabs are much more available than mounts but there is a niche use for if you are about to run out of stamina during a mount as you can transition into a Clutch Claw grab attack to at least get some damage instead of getting nothing from the mount.
Clutch Claw & Claw Uppercut:
If you hold L2 and then press O you will shot out the Clutch Claw. It has a motion value of 6 and if it lands you will grapple onto the monster. If you press triangle while latched on you will perform a clutch weapon attack that does four hits and have the motion values of 11 + 11 + 20 + 31. The SnS, being a light weapon, will get slinger ammo from the monster after performing this attack which is great because the SnS can go through slinger ammo really quickly.
If you roll and then press L2 you will perform the Claw Uppercut. This has a motion value of 6 which is the same as the regular Clutch Claw shot but has you leaping up into the air while doing an uppercut with the Clutch Claw and if you land the hit you will go into the Clutch Claw grapple just like with the normal Clutch Claw. The benefit of this is mainly in that it can be done from a roll and doesn’t require taking the time to aim and fire the Clutch Claw, making it smoother and more reactionary which is great for fighting flying monsters. It also reduces the travel time as you are bringing yourself to the monster which reduces the risk of being hit enroute. The monster also doesn't have to be in the air to land the grapple, it works exactly the same for grounded monsters. The button input needs to be early/mid-way through the roll as if you press L2 when the animation for getting back up from the roll starts you will enter slinger aim mode instead. Keep in mind that if you whiff the uppercut you can’t attack/backhop/etc until you perform the full recovery animation or roll cancel it. You also can’t re-adjust where you are facing during the uppercut. Finally, it doesn’t work with the glider mantle.
Leaping Slash & Perfect Rush:
After either a backstep or a Slinger Burst, you can press triangle to do the Leaping Slash which has a motion value of 22. You need to press triangle right around when you land from or anytime while you are charging the Charged Slash after the backstep. Doing it too early or too late will cause you to enter a different attack. Fully charging after the backstep and then doing the Leaping Slash doesn’t increase the damage dealt but it does allow you to choose when you want to enter the attack for some timing flexibility. After the Leaping Slash you can either press O to go into the Lateral Slash, roll cancel, or go into the Perfect Rush. Sadly, Leaping Slash cannot be followed directly by a backstep. This also makes the Leaping Slash good for a stronger gap closing attack after a backstep that doesn’t lock you into Scaling Slash -> Falling Bash/Jumping Slash.
Pressing triangle after the Leaping Slash will bring you into the Perfect Rush. It has three button inputs for three separate sets of attacks and by pressing triangle at the right times you will deal much higher damage. These timing windows are indicated by the hunter taking a stance before a red flash appears around them and if you hit the correct timing a very noticeable red flash and aura will appear alongside an audio cue. The visual cues are as follows:
- After the leaping slash, the hunter finishes winding up the SnS to their back left side. This is followed by
- The hunter crouches down raising the shield up and behind their back. This is followed by a
- The shield is held up in front while the sword is chambered back for a stab. This is followed up by a
The motion values for performing the Perfect Rush without hitting any of the input timings are <16 + 14 + 14>, <25>, <20 + 20>. On the other hand performing the Perfect Rush with perfect timing has the motion values of <35 + 30 + 44>, <44>, <35 + 65> (the very last hit is a disengage attack that only works on large monsters and not the training pole/wagon). As you can see, by hitting the timing windows perfectly you can more than double your damage output. This isn’t even including the supposed elemental bonus that is supposed to be included along with the already hefty motion values (untestable seeing as how we don’t have an elemental SnS in the demo). Luckily, even if one of the timings is missed it is still possible to hit the others. For example, if you missed landed the first timing but missed the second you can still get the full damage on the third part of the combo.
During the Perfect Rush, the only options are to finish the Perfect Rush or roll cancel out of it. No other types of attack or backstepping is possible. Furthermore, if the third sequence of attack connects with a large monster, the last attack will end with you leaping off the monster akin to the Switch Axe’s Zero Sum Discharge (this can actually miss or be blocked by a small monster which will prevent the leap). This makes it impossible to do the full Perfect Rush as an infinite combo. The closest that we can get at this point to an infinite Perfect Rush combo is to do the first two parts of the Perfect Rush -> roll cancel -> backstep -> Leaping Slash -> rinse and repeat.
As mentioned earlier, hitting the timing windows is supposed to give Perfect Rush a bonus to elemental damage and we cannot make conclusive DPS and optimal combo comparisons without this information. That being said, we can still theorycraft from what we know right now. The main competitor is the ‘Unga Bunga’ Falling Bash infinite combo as it also starts from the backstep and generally has the highest DPS output amongst the various SnS combos. Starting from the backstep, it takes around 4.3 seconds to do the backstep -> Charged Slash -> Scaling Slash -> Falling Bash for the combined motion values of 40 + 35 + 43 + 39 = 157MV (some of the motion values listed Kiranico are kinda off). It’s very rare to hit that 29MV shield bash during the Charged Slash’s jump so I’m disregarding it. This gives us 36.52 MV / second which we can repeat however many times we want until we have to either reposition or dodge. Comparatively, the Perfect Rush semi-infinite combo of backstep -> Leaping Slash -> Perfect Rush 1 -> Perfect Rush 2 -> roll cancel takes about 5.5 seconds to perform for the combined motion value of 22 + 35 + 30 + 44 + 44 = 175MV and thus 31.82 MV / second. The full Perfect Rush starting from the backstep and finishing upon gaining control after leaping off the monster takes about 8.5 seconds for a combined motion value of 22 + 35 + 30 + 44 + 44 + 35 + 65 = 275MV which gives us 32.35MV / second but is a definitive combo finisher. While the MV/S is indeed lower we need to keep in mind that Perfect Rush has less animation commitment as you can roll cancel at multiple points in the combo string, has less of an issue with you accidentally jumping over and onto the wrong side of a monster and having to reposition, and is MUCH better suited for elemental damage with the greater amount of sword hits and the promised elemental damage bonus on perfect timing (this comparison isn’t taking elemental damage into account as we can’t test it).
So it looks like that while Falling Bash spam is still going to be pretty up there for outputting max DPS, Perfect Rush will add some needed competition for DPS options. With it’s good motion values and the promised elemental damage bonus it looks to be well suited for a more balanced raw & elemental playstyle. It is also a much safer and tactically flexible option and looks like it will be a better style matchup against fast and/or smaller monsters where it would be difficult to land Falling Bashes. It’s accessibility from a backstep allows it to be weaved in between combos and evades and I can definitely see it being thrown in after doing a couple of regular sword hits, backstepping through a monster’s attack, then going right into the Leaping Slash and Perfect Rush. When a monster is downed/tripped/CC’d you can usually pull off 2-3 Falling Bash combos before having to evade/reposition (8.6-12.9 seconds). Because the full Perfect Rush combo has you automatically leaping away from the monster at the end, it looks like a good option to do one Falling Bash combo followed up by a full Perfect Rush as you will most likely be doing the final stab and leap right around when the monster finishes getting back up or alternatively do the first two parts of Perfect Rush and then either finish it or roll cancel into a different attack depending on the situation.
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