I've updated my stat spreadsheets (for HBG and LBG) with the new Lunastra weapons, and I thought I'd share my opinions on how they fit into the existing meta builds.
Empress Cannon "Ruin": This weapon is a small but substantial improvement over the Destruction's Fullisade for spread 3 builds. It has almost all the same ammo types, but with +10 raw, Wyvernsnipe, and a 2 slot. It isn't as strong as the Taroth Assault "Glutton" obviously, but as far as craftable weapons go this is the new king for spread 3.
Empress Cannon "Blaze": With no level 3 ammo with usable recoil, this weapon gets a hard pass from me. It seems to be geared towards elemental ammo, but like all the other HBGs with elemental capabilities it falls short of being a viable strategy.
Empress Cannon "Styx": Possibly the most interesting addition among the Lunastra weapons, the skill granted by this weapon (Spare Shot) is one so valuable that certain builds are prepared to spend three armor slots to get it despite those armor pieces granting no other useful skills. Though its raw is noticeably lower than the Zorah and Jho HBGs, the easy access to this skill means you have much more flexibility in your build options for skills like Attack Boost, Peak Performance, Agitator, and possibly even Heroics. At this point I must say I am unsure whether the extra skills are enough to make up for the lower raw, but you can be sure that I'll be spending quite a bit of time finding out in the near future. The weapon is also in the running for best Normal 3 bowgun, and is almost certainly a close second at Pierce 3 (among craftable HBGs), so I expect to see some people using it for its versatility even if it isn't quite the best in any of those arenas.
Empress Shell "Ruin": a Normal 2 RF bowgun, this weapon seems like a side-grade from Cataclysm's Trigger. It has a 2 slot, but lacks all status ammo which is a substantial disadvantage for an LBG. I'm not sure how well the Hasten Recovery skill pairs with Normal 2 RF, but the answer to that question weighs heavily in my analysis of this weapon.
Empress Shell "Blaze": As a Normal 2 gun, this weapon seems like it might be an upgrade for the Karma (or at least a sidegrade with +10 raw, -10 aff, and a different array of status ammos). That seems pretty exciting to me on its own, but on top of that this gun is also the new staple for fire and ice elemental builds, for what it's worth.
Empress Shell "Styx": With its decent clip size and built in Spare Shot skill, this may possibly be the first and only LBG on which pierce ammo is viable. I'll have to test it. Something I don't need to test is that this weapon is the new standard for Water and Thunder ammo builds. Elemental ammo builds occasionally have to worry about running out of ammo, but Spare Shot really puts a stop to that.
TLDR: most of them are upgrades over other craftable bowguns, but few are better than KT relics.
© Post "Lunastra Bowgun Meta-analysis" for game Monster Hunter World.
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