Greetings! Blockaholic shield user here. I know this PSA comes really late and most people who care already know, but for any interested parties, here's a brief summary of when it is and isn't appropriate to find room for it in your build.
Offensive Guard – what is it, why run it?: Offensive Guard is a three-tiered skill that increases your physical damage by 5% per skill level (to a maximum of 15%) for 12 seconds if you time your block just before a monster attacks. It appears as a charm, in a few armor pieces, and as either a singular two-pronged decoration, a doubled four-pronged decoration, or a single point in a split four-pronged decoration. The reason this skill is so good is because on weapons where blocking is a key function, that's a free 1.15x attack damage multiplier for a short while just for doing your thing. Since numerical attack boosts are subject to bloat diminishment (a separate topic involving this game), this skill is extremely valuable since it's a scaled attack bonus (therefore not subject to bloat) rather than being directly numerical.
Great! What's the problem then?: The problem is that not every weapon is going to see significant use from it as expected, or it won't put in as much work as other decorations might. Some weapons don't rely block as much as you would expect, some weapons have strange block timing, and some weapons are not reliant on physical damage to crank out their big DPS numbers. Most weapons also want to prioritize getting Critical Boost before this skill, as Critical Boost is a 1.4x multiplier on crit, which generally leads to greater output in a majority of circumstances.
Below are my recommendations for each class based on my experiences using them with Offensive Guard.
Lance – MANDATORY: Lance is, out of the dedicated shield classes, one of the least skill hungry. Unlike charge blade and gunlance, lance has a relatively low pool of required skills, mostly just requiring Guard Up, Guard 3, Weakness Exploit 3, Critical Boost 3, and a couple points in Handicraft. Making room for this is pretty much required for getting the best damage possible on lance. In addition to having an extremely dependable block that transitions relatively quickly, lance also has two different counters in MHW:I, clutch and combo. Combo counter in particular really makes Offensive Guard shine on lance, as it quickly transitions to a block when activated and is also lance's major combo reset. If you are playing lance effectively, there will be basically no downtime on your Offensive Guard, blessing you with a permanent 1.15x damage increase for the entirety of the hunt.
Impact Charge Blade – MANDATORY: One of the few cases where Offensive Guard is MORE valuable than Critical Boost. Impact charge blade's phials have a unique damage type that ignores armor and does not crit. Impact phials are completely dependent on attack damage and the Artillery skill alone. Given that guard point blocks can be performed at nearly any point in a charge blade combo, Offensive Guard can be consistently activated for that delicious 1.15x increase, which adds a lot to the power of an impact SAED. Going without Offensive Guard is a major loss in impact damage since there are so few skills that can actually raise impact power.
Elemental Charge Blade – if it fits: Elemental phials are ONLY dependent on your weapon's elemental damage. Bringing offensive guard will exclusively raise physical attack, which will help, sure, but perhaps not as much as other skills might. If you meet all of your other major skill criteria for your build and have some leftover slots to accommodate then go for it. The question then is IF you have room enough after meeting your criteria. Elemental CB is relatively skill hungry, and by the time you've filled all of your slots with relevant decos, there isn't much room left afterwards for much else. The ultimate verdict here is that it's nice but not necessary.
Gunlance – not recommended: Gunlance is skill hungry, has no counter moves, and has a longer transition to blocking than lance and charge blade. Furthermore, gunlance's primary damage is derived from interspersing shelling between physical hits. The physical hits themselves will generally benefit much more from crit overall, and shelling power is ONLY dependent on shelling type, shelling level, and the Artillery skill. Nothing else will make a difference. Offensive Guard for gunlance seems very nice on paper but in practice it does not contribute as much to output as other skills, and it will not be activated very often due to gunlance's limited options for quickly transitioning to block.
And the rest: This should probably go without saying but sword & shield, greatsword, and shielded heavy bowgun are not going to see very strong returns or consistent reliability from this skill for various reasons. These all get way greater use out of other skills and will not see the skills activate very often since their blocks are very limiting both in terms of options for blocking and reliability.
TL;DR: Run on lance and impact CB, maybe run on elemental CB if it's possible, and generally speaking don't run on gunlance or anything else.
Thanks for reading! For those of you who weren't in the know before, I hope you now have a much better idea of which weapons work and which don't work with the new Iceborne skill, Offensive Guard. Of course, you're free to disagree with my thoughts on this. It is a game, after all, and if you think you'd have more fun throwing Offensive Guard on SnS then be my guest. I just want everybody to have an idea of what skills will benefit them and their weapons as they continue to explore the New World and the isle of Hoarfrost Reach. Happy Hunting!
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