Monster Hunter World

Unbreakable Defense & Unstoppable Offense – A Lance Guide for MHW

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Introduction

The Lance has been one of my favorite weapons since the original Monster Hunter on PS2, and the Lance in Monster Hunter World is better than ever.

The Lance is a powerful and rewarding weapon that can take on the toughest challenges MHW has to offer. If you ever wanted to block energy beams, counter lightning, and charge faster than a monster flees, you've come to the right place.

Aside from all that awesomeness, why place Lance?

1) Mobility: you walk slowly with the Lance out, but don't be fooled; the Lance is secretly one of the most mobile weapons in Monster Hunter. High-speed charges, safe guarded advances, triple dodging in 4 directions, leaping and jumping thrusts – other weapons wish they could move this well

2) Mounting: there are few weapons in the game that can get consistent mounts without the use of terrain. The Lance counts itself among them, as the jump you can access from charging leads to a jumping thrust that deals mounting damage

3) Piercing: the Lance is unique in that it is the only weapon that deals piercing damage, which allows their weapon to alternate between a monster's part's weakness to Slash or Blunt damage depending on the part's modifier. To keep it (overly) simple, the Lance gets the best of both worlds when it comes to damage. For a more detailed explanation, see this post (https://www.reddit.com/r/MonsterHunter/comments/83fthv/damage_types_and_you_aka_how_to_get_tail)

4) Counter-attacks: the Lance can counter attacks from monsters to keep themselves safe while attacking, allowing them to be both incredibly aggressive and incredibly safe

5) Counter Roars/Tremors: in addition to countering attacks, the Lance can also counter roars and tremors to continue their offense without missing a beat

6) Attack Reach: Lance has great reach, and is usually able to hit tails and heads even of taller monsters with upward thrusts

7) Attack Precision: your Lance thrusts have a narrow attack range, so it's easier to hit specific parts you're aiming for

8) Tail cutting: the Lance is capable of cutting the tails off of monsters. Combined with the last two points, you can start to see why the Lance can be a great choice when trying to attack certain body parts of a monster

9) Offensive Versatility: some weapons lean towards raw damage, elemental damage, or status application. With a mix of solid and consistent strikes, the Lance can do any of these well

10) Rewarding / Rewards Skill: the Lance is a very rewarding weapon, being simple to use yet difficult to master. Anybody can poke a monster to death. Breaking specific parts, attacking weakpoints, and utilizing all your mobility and defensive options to go through a hunt efficiently and unscathed requires considerably more skill and is very satisfying to do

11) The Best Defense: and on top of *everything* above, you also get the best defensive weapon in the entire game and the best blocking capability in the entire game. Your stellar offense is enhanced by your ability to stay on the front line and block/counter attacks that would send other blademasters scrambling. If there was ever a weapon in Monster Hunter to exemplify "the best offense is a good defense", it would be the Lance

So why wouldn't you want to use the Lance?

1) Dependence on Armor Skills: the Lance usually requires some defensive investment to get the most out of it, usually in the form of Guard or Evasion skills. This can result in less freedom when creating your armor sets compared to other weapons

2) Weakness to Blights: since the Lance can't roll, it's more difficult to get rid of fire and blast blights, and ice/water blights hurt the Lance's stamina usage

3) Less Flashiness / Big Numbers: the Lance isn't as flashy as other weapons, instead relying on a solid defense and continuous offense. If you're looking for big damage numbers or explosions, look elsewhere

4) Chews through Sharpness: since the Lance attacks consistently and often, it will chew through Sharpness faster than some other blademaster weapons

5) Long Sheathe: the sheathing animation for Lance takes a decent amount of time, which can limit your opportunities for using items at certain moments

6) Repetitive: although you have a lot of options with the Lance, you'll still be using your basic thrusting attacks a considerable amount. Be prepared for less attack variety than some other weapons

7) Ease of use: for all the benefits the Lance has, there's no doubt that other weapons can be easier to just pick up, move around with, and attack monsters with. Not only does the Lance get tripped up by teammates more often, but it will also require some adjustment if you're used to other weapons where you can move around freely and quickly without using weapon-specific attacks and movement

Basic Controls

Note: I'll be explaining things in Xbox controls. This is to help out newer gamepad users on the PC version as well as everyone on the X1 version.

Your basic Lance attacks are fairly simple:

Y = Mid Thrust, a forward thrust that can be done up to 3 times in a row. Also your draw attack

B = High Thrust, an upward thrust can be done up to 3 times in a row

Y+B = Wide Sweep, cannot be done twice in a row

All of these are interchangeable with one another, up to 3 attacks in a row. You can do YYY, BBB, YYB, YBB, BYB, BBY, and any other combination of the three attacks. You can even substitute the Y+B sweep at any point, with the restriction that you can't perform two Wide Sweeps in a row.

Keep in mind that the third attack in the combo is slightly more powerful than the first two, so try to finish your combos when it's safe to do so. The only exception to this is the Wide Sweep, which is the same power regardless of when it is used in a three-hit combo. That – plus it's slower speed – means you should refrain from using the Wide Sweep unless you have a good reason to use it (such as many smaller creatures attacking or surrounding you).

Alright, you did three attacks. What now? Well, the most basic option you have at this point (or after any Lance attack) is to dodge. The thing is, the Lance doesn't have any dodge rolls.

A = Backstep, you hop backwards

Back + A = Large Backstep, you hop a larger distance backwards; the only dodge that can't be followed up by other dodges

Forward + A = Forward Step, you do a very short short step forward

Left + A = Left Step, you hop to the left

Right + A = Right Step, you hop to the right

As a Lance, you get small evasive hops or steps instead of a dodge roll. Like your attacks, these evasive hops can be chained up to 3 in a row in any combination (excluding the Large Backstep)! They are very useful for repositioning yourself or evading an attack at the last second.

Since basic Lance attacks tend to move you slightly forward, a popular loop to use is:

Attack > Attack > Attack > Backstep > repeat

So you can mix-and-match up to three attacks, followed by being able to mix-and-match up to three dodges. Aside from this, you can also block incoming attacks using your shield.

Hold RT = Guard

The Lance has the strongest guard in the game and can use it to great effect. To see how, exactly, it's time to move onto some advanced moves.

Advanced Controls: Guard Dash

So by now you know how to attack, dodge, and guard. Now it's time to kick it up a notch and start showing what makes the Lance so unique. We'll start with the Guard Dash.

Hold RT + Forward + Y = Guard Dash

Hold RT + Backward + Y = Backward Guard Dash

Hold RT + Left + Y = Left Guard Dash

Hold RT + Right + Y = Right Guard Dash

The Guard Dash is one of the key elements of the Lance's mobility, offering a way to reposition while keeping you safe based on your guard instead of your evasion. You move the direction you were holding while blocking the entire time; you can even use it to safely go up or off ledges! Use it to close the distance, retreat, or reposition while keeping yourself safe.

The forward Guard Dash can be done anytime, but the other guard advances can only be performed following an attack or dodge. That being the case, you might want a small attack that doesn't take much time.

Hold RT + Y = Guard Thrust

The Guard Thrust is a short attack that doesn't deal much damage and doesn't chain into any other attacks. In fact, the only thing it chains into is dodges, Guard Dashes, and the Dash Attack (which we'll be covering next). Even so, this can still be useful in certain situations – such as quickly retreating by using a Backward Guard Dash.

Okay, so you used a Guard Dash. What now? You could dodge, which can chain into itself (guard dash > dodge > repeat), or you could keep guarding by holding RT, but more than likely you want to attack! Fortunately, there are two follow-up attacks following a guard advance:

(after Guard Dash) Y = Shield Attack

(after Guard Dash) B = Leaping Thrust

The Shield Attack is a nice short attack. It doesn't use up sharpness and inflicts a little stun/exhaust in addition to what little damage it deals. It's a decent enough opener that can lead to a full combo of 3 lance attacks.

The Leaping Thrust is a leaping attack that hits three times. It doesn't deal mounting damage, but its multi-hit nature makes it excellent for applying status or elemental damage. As it is a thrusting attack itself, it counts as the first attack of your next 3-attack combo and can be followed up with two more lance attacks.

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Both Shield Attack and Leaping Thrust have Mind's Eye, meaning they will never bounce off a monster regardless of how low your sharpness is or how hard the monster's hide is. Since Leaping Thrust counts as a thrusting attack, you can cancel it into a Guard Dash, which means something like Guard Dash > Leaping Thrust > repeat can be used to repeatedly attack monster parts you would normally bounce off of. This will chew through your sharpness incredibly quickly, however, so beware of that.

Advanced Controls: Dash Attack (aka: Lance Charge!)

So the Guard Dash is very nice, but sometimes you need to cover a bit more distance than a forward Guard Dash > Leaping Thrust can cover. You could chain those repeatedly to close the distance, but the Lance has something better: the Dash Attack.

Hold RT + Y+B = Dash Attack, the lance deals constant damage while dashing, continuously drains your stamina, and you gain increased speed and momentum the longer the dashing lasts or as you dash downhill. There are 3 speeds: normal, fast, and fastest

(during Power Guard) Y+B = Dash Attack, same as above. Power Guard will be explained later

(while jumping off a ledge/cliff) RT = Dash Attack, same as above

(while Guard Dashing off a ledge/cliff) Y+B = Dash Attack, same as above

(during Dash Attack) Y or B = Finishing Thrust, a powerful lance thrust that deals one large hit of damage; stops the Dash Attack when used

(during Dash Attack) Y or B = Finishing Twin Thrust, a more powerful 2-hit lance thrust that can only be done after gaining additional speed (can be done at fast or fastest speed); stops the Dash Attack when used

(during Dash Attack) Hold Back + Y = Reverse Attack, a sweeping attack that attacks behind you in an arc with the same power as a Finishing Thrust; stops the Dash Attack when used

(during Dash Attack) A = Stop, you stop the Dash Attack

(during Dash Attack) Hold Back + A = Dash Turn, a 180 degree turn that also resets your speed to normal Dash Attack speed

(during Dash Attack) Hold Left/Right + A = Dash Step, a small sidestep to the left or right that reduces your Dash Attack speed by one level (fastest > fast > normal)

(during Dash Attack) Hold Forward + A = Advancing Jump, a small jump in the air that keeps your forward speed and momentum upon landing

(during Advancing Jump) Y or B = Advancing Jump Thrust, an aerial thrusting attack that deals mounting damage (you can mount monsters with it); stops the Dash Attack when used

(during Dash Attack) RT = Guard, put up your shield to protect you against attacks; stops the Dash Attack when used

As you can see, the Dash Attack gives the Lance a lot of options. In addition to moving forward quickly, attacking repeatedly, and giving you options to reposition safely (dodges and guarding), it also gives us access to powerful grounded thrusts as well as an option to jump up for mounting attacks.

As you attack, keep in mind that dodges and Guard Dashes aren't your only options; you can start Dash Attack at the end of nearly any lance attack! Consider ending your combos with Dash Attack instead of other options when monsters move away, and you'll be surprised just how well you can stay on top of a monster.

The Dash Attack is one of the biggest reasons why the Lance is so versatile, mobile, and aggressive. Master it, and you take the Lance from one of the slowest weapons in the game to one of the fastest.

Advanced Controls: Counter-thrust and Power Guard

So by now you already have a lot of attacks and movement options. It's time to see just how defensive the Lance can get, and we'll start by looking at the Counter-thrust.

Hold RT + B = Counter-thrust, activates a counter stance for a short time. If no attack is countered or no action is taken during this time, the Counter-thrust is released as a higher-damage, upward thrust attack

(during Counter-thrust) release RT = Cancel Thrust, cancels the counter stance and performs an upwards thrust attack that counts as the first attack of your next three attack combo

(if attacked during Counter-thrust) no input = High Thrust, one attack is blocked and then the High Thrust (same as the B lance attack) comes out

(if attacked during Counter-thrust) hold any direction = Mid Thrust, one attack is blocked and then the Mid Thrust (same as Y lance attack) comes out

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The Counter-thrust lets you stay right next to the monster and keep attacking. Whenever they throw something your way, start a Counter-thrust. If you're hit, you'll unleash a counter attack and can use it as the first attack of your next combo. If you aren't attacked during the counter stance, you'll release a more powerful thrust attack at the end of the stance.

Alternatively, you can simply release RT quickly to cancel the Counter-thrust, unleash a regular High Thrust, and begin another combo. This is a useful option since it will keep you in place and won't eat any of your stamina like a dodge would.

Keep in mind the Counter-thrust will block and activate on any 1 attack that hits you during it. If a monster uses an attack that hits multiple times, the first hit will activate your counter and the remaining hits will hit you. Also, it's possible to have teammates activate your counter, which can lead to the monster's attack (the attack you were actually trying to counter) hitting you. Learning when to counter and when to simply block is part of learning the Lance.

Lastly, the Counter-thrust will pause your stamina regeneration and act like a block (use up a bit of stamina and possibly take chip damage) when activated. It also benefits from the Guard and Guard Up skills, which makes it a staple for guard lancers.

So the Counter-thrust is awesome, but not without its drawbacks. Fortunately, the Lance doesn't stop there. New to Monster Hunter World is the Power Guard, a special kind of guarding stance accessed through the Counter Stance. The Power Guard will block incoming attacks from all directions with zero stamina use, at the cost of increased chip damage from blocking and rapid stamina depletion while not blocking attacks.

(during Counter Stance) Hold RT + A = Power Guard, if you want to stop it without doing anything just release RT

(while recovering from a lengthy guard animation*) Hold RT + A = Power Guard, same as above

(during Power Guard) Y = Leaping Thrust, same as the B attack after a Guard Dash

(during Power Guard) B = Counter-thrust (enhanced), a powerful upward thrust attack with no counter frames at the start of it (unlike the other Counter-thrust)

(during Power Guard) Y+B = Dash Attack, same as described before

The Power Guard is a powerful defensive tool, allowing you to cover yourself from an ill-timed Counter-thrust or blocking several attacks in succession without losing stamina from each attack. However, that's only the start: it also provides us access to some useful attacks and repositioning. The Leaping Thrust and Dash Attack are great as described previously, and the more-powerful Counter-thrust after a Power Guard is one of the hardest-hitting single attacks the Lance has. In addition, from a Power Guard the Leaping Thrust and Counter-thrust (enhanced) attacks can be aimed in any direction – even directly behind you! This is immensely useful for re-orientating yourself when a monster moves itself behind you or to the side of you.

*This is the animation that plays when you block a particularly brutal or explosive attack, and you'll notice it because your character will slide backwards while holding the shield in front of them. Since the slide backwards doesn't occur as often with more points in the Guard skill, this may to enter Power Guard may be of less use to guard lancers.

Guard Lancing vs Evade Lancing

So the Lance offers a lot, and over time two distinct ways of playing the lance have emerged: Guard Lancing and Evade Lancing.

Guard Lancing uses the lance's various ways to block to keep safe and stay on the defensive. Their staple is the Counter-thrust, which allows them to block an attack and immediately counter-attack. However, the Guard Dash and Power Guard are also incredibly useful tools in the arsenal of a Guard Lancer.

If you like the idea of blocking attacks and counter-attacking, Guard Lancing might be for you. Guard Lancers mainly focus on the armor skills Guard and sometimes Guard Up to enhance the effectiveness of their blocking moves.

Evade Lancing uses the lance's unique sidesteps to evade attacks entirely and begin attacking as soon as the attack is evaded. Evade Lancers usually focus on skills like Evade Window and sometimes Evade Extender (evade distance is mostly personal preference) to dodge through attacks cleanly and start counter-attacking immediately.

In previous games, Evade Lancing was considered more popular and powerful as the heavy-hitting G rank monsters would make evading their attacks entirely preferable to taking heavy chip damage and stamina loss from blocking.

In Monster Hunter World, this has basically been reversed – Guard Lancing is considered more popular and powerful due to the wide variety of additional ways to block attacks, not to mention the strength of the monsters is only High Rank.

Honestly, they're both fine ways to play the Lance; try them both out and see what you prefer. The main reason for identifying yourself as one or the other is to determine which armor skills you want to be aiming for on your armor set.

Armor Skills

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As mentioned before, the Lance depends on certain armor skills to be effective. I'll cover them here, as well as some other skills I recommend you consider for lance armor sets.

Guard – the quintessential skill for a guard lancer, this skill decreases the knockback and stamina cost of blocking attacks (including for the Counter-thrust) with each point put into it. Generally, Guard 3 is considered the 'sweet spot'; enough points to guard almost anything without too much knockback or stamina loss, yet not too many points as to significantly restrict build freedom. Guard 5 is a noticeable boost in blocking capability should you choose that route, with almost no knockback and minimal stamina loss from almost all attacks, but isn’t necessary in most circumstances.

Guard Up – an optional but extremely helpful skill, this armor skill lets you block/Counter-thrust attacks that are ordinarily unblockable. This includes attacks like Anjanath/Deviljho jumping on top of you, Kirin’s horizontal lightning, Radobaan/Uragaan gas attacks, Teostra’s supernova, and more. This isn’t required on every hunt, however – there are many monsters without any unblockable attacks at all. I recommend having a normal lance build and then a Guard Up lance build, so you have a set you can switch to should the need arise to defend against such attacks.

Guard Up can only be obtained in MHW from the Uragaan armor set bonus (requires 3 pieces of Uragaan armor) or from a decoration acquired from defeating tempered monsters much later in the game. Fortunately, Uragaan armor is quite good for Guard skills so getting 3 pieces of that is not at all bad – in fact, some of my armor sets still use 3 pieces of Uragaan instead of the decoration even after I acquired it.

Evade Window – the quintessential skill for an evade lancer, this skill increases the invulnerability window (i-frames) of your sidesteps. In previous games, this skill was simply called Evasion.

Evade Extender – an optional skill for evade lancers, or really for lancers in general. Each point in it further increases the distance that your sidesteps can cross. This skill is mostly up to personal preference, so try it out and see if it’s for you.

Those are the 4 main skills to consider as a Lance user. Once they’ve been addressed, you can start considering other skills, such as:

Flinch Free – okay, the lance doesn’t really need this skill if you’re going solo. But when you’re playing with others, you’ll be so glad you have this skill. The Lance – even more so than other weapons – is prone to getting tripped, knocked around, or otherwise interrupted by your teammates. A single point in Flinch Free is enough to prevent almost all of that, and is such a huge quality of life improvement to playing the lance in multiplayer that I always include it in my builds.

Handicraft – the lance chews through sharpness, so having a few points of this isn’t a bad idea on any lance (except Nergigante’s). Some of the best lances in the game can really benefit from this skill, so don’t overlook it.

Non-elemental Boost – if you’re using a pure raw-damage lance, like Barroth or Odogaron, you’ll love the sizeable power boost you gain from this decoration. You can skip it otherwise.

Weakness Exploit – one of the best affinity skills can really do wonders on a lance, especially given the lance’s precision. You should be consistently attacking weakspots with a lance, so this skill can be of great value if you’re looking to increase your damage.

Blight Resistance – since most blights can ruin your day as a lance user, negating them entirely is pretty sweet. 3 points in this skill and you won’t have to worry about them at all.

Resuscitate – also a way to combat blights, this won’t negate them but will greatly reduce your stamina consumption while you’re afflicted with one. Since a lot of blights can be removed by rolling, and the backsteps/sidesteps of the lance count as part of a roll, you can remove blights similarly by repeatedly backstepping/sidestepping. Normally this would chew through your stamina quickly but this armor skill makes it much more manageable. I consider this a nice one 1-slot alternative to getting Blight Resistance 3.

Fire Resistance / Thunder Resistance / Ice Resistance / Water Resistance – a final way to combat blights, increasing your resistance to an element to 20 or higher prevents you from getting that blight in addition to reducing the damage you take from it.

Blast Resistance – getting 3 in this skill prevents Blastblight. Especially useful on lance since you can’t roll to get it off quickly.

Airborne – obviously not a huge priority on a build, but this skill does help by increasing the damage of your jumping attacks. Since getting a bunch of nice two-slot decorations (Weakness Exploit, Critical Boost, Non-elemental Boost, etc) can take some time, I don’t mind slotting this early on in for the boost in attack power while going for mounts.

Other than that, the lance is the same as other weapons: Attack Boost to increase your attack, Critical Boost if you’ve got good affinity, Health Boost for more health, Partbreaker to help break parts, Effluvia Resistance vs Vaal Hazak, etc. The Lance can make good use of most skills so don’t be afraid to go for what you like or what suits the situation at hand.

Lance Recommendations

At this point, you should know know everything you need to grab a lance and start practicing. But that’s the question – which lance to make?

Well, I have a few recommendations for you. These recommendations are based off of my own views and experience, so while these lances may not be the ‘best’ in the strict sense they’re lances I’ve used before and I highly prize them for what they are.

Low Rank

In Low Rank, I found the Kulu-Ya-Ku and Pukei-Pukei lances to be quite nice. Kulu brought some much-welcome affinity to your attacks early on, and a large chunk of the monsters I like to hunt with lance are weak to poison (Radobaan, Barroth, Legiana).

High Rank

In High Rank, the Kulu lance seems to lose a bit of its steam so trading it for Nergigante is a solid upgrade.

Surprisingly, the Pukei-Pukei lance remains useful throughout thanks to its high poison amount and variety of targets vulnerable to it (Dodogama, Lavasioth, Uragaan, even the final boss).

If you’re looking for something a little different, the Bazel lance can be incredible if you can manage to make it; just make sure to pair it with a lot of Handicraft to get the most out of it.

End-game High Rank

At this point the Pukei-Pukei is only really good against targets weak to poison. You can keep it around for that but you might have better options in terms of raw damage output.

Nergigante remains a strong choice as always, and the Bazel lance remains a good choice if you have high Handicraft on it plus some other offensive skills.

If going for a crit build, Odogaron is phenomenal with its white sharpness and 30% affinity out of the box. Its low raw damage can be compensated for easily once you start getting some armor and decorations that improve your affinity and damage.

All that being said, my favorite end-game lance is probably the Deviljho Lance. It has monstrously high raw damage, can get a significant amount of white sharpness with Handicraft, and comes with High Elderseal. It’s a complete package, and it spins! Good stuff all around (see what I did there?).

Conclusion

The lance is an awesome weapon with powerful offensive, defensive, and mobility options that enable a constant stream of thrusting attacks. Its deceptively simple attacks make it easy to learn, but difficult to master.

It’s true that the Lance isn’t as flashy as many other weapons in Monster Hunter, but it is very satisfying and rewarding to use. If you are looking for one piece of advice to be left with or a tl;dr, here it is: Try it. Take the lance into a few quests and just try it out, using some of the tips provided in this guide.

The beauty and satisfaction of the lance cannot be conveyed in words, gifs, or livestreams. You need to play it for yourself, have all these options in your hands, and see the way they weave together. When you do, perhaps then you’ll finally understand why the Lance has been one of my favorite weapons since the PS2.


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