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Monster Hunter Rise best weapons tier list – how to choose your early game tools

Monster Hunter Rise best weapon
(Image credit: Capcom)

Choosing the Monster Hunter Rise best weapons will always create some debate as there's so much choice on offer. After all, there are myriad categories of weapon and within each one are even more upgrades to forge and optimize within Monster Hunter Rise. We weren't Monster Hunter veterans going into this game but after beating the game, we've settled on the three best Monster Hunter Rise weapons in a tier list for players just starting out in the game. Every weapon in the game is viable – we've covered the rest of the list down below – but first up are our choices for the Monster Hunter Rise best weapons.

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Best Monster Hunter Rise weapons tier list

This Monster Hunter Rise weapons tier list isn't quite a traditional tier list, but instead is aimed towards those just starting out in the game. We've got three recommended weapons – essentially S tier – followed by the rest of the weapons in the game. Every weapon in Monster Hunter Rise is viable if you know how to make the most of it, so there are no outright bad choices, but stick to the top three at the start of the game.

1. Dual Blades - fast, light attacks that get up close and personal

Monster Hunter Rise best weapons tier list: Dual Blades

(Image credit: Capcom)

Suggested upgrade tree: Bone

Our top choice for the best newbie weapon is the Dual Blades. You need to get in the face of the monster and never stop hitting with A or X, because you can unleash a colossal amount of damage if you only relent to dodge the big attacks coming your way. Pressing R2 will initiate Demon Mode, which you almost always want to be in with the Dual Blades, because it unlocks moves like Demon Fangs and Demon Flight, the latter of which enables you to jump atop the monster you're fighting and ride it from top to bottom while slashing away.

To maintain Demon Mode, you need to keep an eye on and manage your stamina. Demon Mode will constantly deplete it, so don't enable Demon Mode if you've only got a sliver of stamina remaining. Since there's no blocking with two small blades in each hand, dodging is of the utmost importance too.

The silkbind attacks, Shrouded Vault (ZL+X) and Piercing Bind (ZL+A), are incredibly powerful too. The former essentially dashes you forward – perfect for a bit of range with this extremely close range weapon – and if you get hit in the motion, you'll enact a counter-hit. The Piercing Bind attack throws a kunai that will detonate before too long, and the damage the kunai deals will increase the more you hit the enemy with the kunai embedded.

For pure damage, when upgrading the Dual Blades, focus on the Bone tree. Stick to the main line and you'll eventually get Talon Carvers which have incredibly high damage, or you can break off and grab the Kadachi Twinblades one step before for some thunder elemental damage.

2. Longsword - heavy attacks with a lot of combos and versatility

Monster Hunter Rise best weapons tier list: Longsword

(Image credit: Capcom)

Suggested upgrade tree: Bone Scythe

For a weapon that hits a lot harder, but considerably slower, look no further than the Longsword. This is a weapon with a staggering amount of combos and potential, though it can be difficult to master. Repeating X performs a basic combo which does a solid amount of damage, though leaves you vulnerable if you're stood too close, but you can connect this to a bunch of other attacks. X+A will perform a Fade Slash (hold a direction on the analog stick to execute a Lateral Fade Slash) which dodges in the same motion as the attack.

Attacking with the Longsword will fill up the Spirit Gauge, which is necessary for some of the most powerful attacks. Pressing ZR repeatedly will do a Spirit Blade combo for way more damage than the standard variant, while it's worth heading to the training area to practice the Special Sheathe Combo which is utterly lethal. Following up the Special Sheathe with either X or ZR for an Iai Slash or Iai Spirit Slash, again, for even more damage.

The Soaring Kick silkbind attack is a simple one to pull off with ZL+X, but the kick isn't the important part; it's the automatic Plunging Thrust afterwards that does the heavy lifting as you hurtle towards the ground. If you know an enemy attack is coming at you, Serene Pose (ZL+A) is the move for you, as you'll anticipate it and counter attack swiftly.

When you unlock it, forego the standard Bone Tree and look a little further down for the Bone Scythe Tree. When you've taken down a Somnacanth or two, you can get the Frilled Slash longsword, which has the sleep element and is incredibly useful. Until then, the Bone Reaper is one of the highest raw damage longswords at that level.

3. Light Bowgun - quick ranged attacks to keep some distance

Monster Hunter Rise best weapons tier list: Light Bowgun

(Image credit: Capcom)

Suggested upgrade tree: Ore

Using ranged weapons in Monster Hunter Rise is very hit and miss, mainly thanks to the right-stick on the joy-cons being a pain to aim accurately with. If you've got a Pro Controller (or some other variant) you won't run into the issue as much, but one way to fix it is to always play with the Focus Camera enabled in the settings, so you stay locked on to your foe.

When it comes to actual attacks, the Light Bowgun is as simple as they come, really. It offers much more manoeuvrability than the Heavy Bowgun and while you do sacrifice some damage for that, it means you've got a much higher chance of staying alive unless you're a pure tank build.

For the most part, the Light Bowgun works like a standard ranged weapon in another game. Press X to whip it out and you can load different ammo types by holding L and cycling through the ones in your inventory with X and B. Aim with ZL, fire with ZR, and if an enemy gets too close, you can press X+A to melee attack.

You can also equip a Wyvernblast by pressing A, which is essentially a land mine your foe can trigger by walking on. These are worth putting down whenever possible because they'll do some serious damage – just make sure you get out of the way. 

There aren't too many combos available for the Light Bowgun, but pressing B and a direction immediately after firing a shot will allow you to take a quick step then fire again. ZL+X will also perform Silkbind Glide which gets you up close and personal with the monster, while ZL+A is an evasive attack over the top.

Monster Hunter Rise weapons list

Below are the rest of the weapons in Monster Hunter Rise, in no particular order. Still very worthy choices, but a little harder to master.

Great Sword

Monster Hunter Rise best weapons tier list: Great Sword

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The Great Sword is probably the weapon everyone has in their heads when they think of Monster Hunter. That's for good reason as it can deal a massive amount of damage if you know how to use it but that power is countered by its slow, heavy swings and charging time required to get the most out of it. Because it's so slow and deliberate to use, it's the sort of weapon where your knowledge of the monster you're attacking is almost more useful than your knowledge of the weapon – the better you understand a creatures motion, the more likely you are to time and deploy the Great Sword's moveset so you can actually connect all that high damage. One bonus of Rise's wirebug addition is that you do have a little extra mobility to close gaps faster, which almost feels more important than the extra moves the mechanic unlocks.

Sword & Shield

Monster Hunter Rise best weapons tier list: Sword & Shield

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The Sword and Shield is one of Monster Hunter's more dependable weapons. It might not excel at anything but it's got a decent combination of mobility, combos, and damage that make it a good option both for beginners and to master overall. Because you're so mobile, the shield is best used for stunning bashes, as you can easily move and evade, and overall it gives up on big flashy surprises in favor of just getting the job done. You only have to master a few simple combos to get the most out of it and because most of its moves are faster, you won't miss quick monsters with slow wind-ups. Its backstep charge move is also great for both making space, closing gaps, and landing a good run of damage if you can connect all the blows it unleashes. One of its wirebug moves, Windmill, is also a useful trick to have, slashing your attacks 360 degrees, which is great for crowd control or dealing damage at almost any angle.


Monster Hunter Rise best weapons tier list: Lance

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The Lance is a bit of a tank weapon and probably not one you want to touch initially. It's big, slow, and heavy, making it hard to wield without skill. It dishes out decent damage, however, and has some protective counter and guard potential, that makes it a weapon where you take it as much as you dish it out.  Most of its moves are very direct ahead attacks which, combined with slow movement, can make landing blows a challenge if you're not 100% confident with the big pointy stick - if you mash and hope for the best you'll likely be prodding empty air half the time. However, master evades for positioning, and moves like Counter Thrust - which takes you from a guard position to a counter thrust attack - and you can hurt monsters a lot. The Twin Vine wirebug move is also very powerful, letting you attach yourself to a monster and reel yourself to them if they start getting too far away.


Monster Hunter Rise best weapons tier list: Gunlance

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Like the Lance, the Gunlance is powerful but requires plenty of skill to use. Its key ability is that it can inflict damage via blank shells that ignore a monster's resistances and inflict fixed damage on parts you might not normally reach. You're not actually firing bullets here, just using the explosions to amplify the damage you inflict. Again, like the Lance, this is really a tank option with a powerful block and low mobility. It's not a weapon to wave around wildly as its high damage potential really needs a user with the ability to land their blows. Its Wyvern's Fire and Wyrmstake Cannon moves, for example,  are two of the hardest hitting attacks in the game but have a big cooldown/recharge to deal with once used.


Monster Hunter Rise best weapons tier list: Hammer

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The Hammer is in interesting compromise if you want high damage and mobility. It's a real heavy hitter and focuses on blunt damage to stun monsters, but despite its size you're actually still pretty mobile while carrying it. Its various moves have a fairly decent speed although it lacks reach and guard options. To get the best from it you need to charge its attacks, which you can do while moving, and unleash them to pound a monster's head or body to exhaust and stun it quickly.

Hunting Horn

Monster Hunter Rise best weapons tier list: Hunting Horn

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The Hunting Horn is really a support weapon best used in teams. It deals blunt damage and works well enough as a weapon, although it's not got the best attack stats, amount of moves, or speed. However, its real strength comes from the buffs you can use by playing notes as you attack. In Rise this process has been simplified to a few simple attacks that can boost abilities like defense, attack, moment and open up combos for more powerful buffs. It definitely is a weapon that works best as part of a larger team strategy. 

Switch Axe

Monster Hunter Rise best weapons tier list: Switch Axe

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The Switch Axe is definitely not a beginner weapon as it uses two unique, interchangeable forms and involves the ability to add elemental effects using phials. It has an axe mode that has good range and damage, while the sword mode is faster and can use phials. The ability to use phials then adds explosive elemental damage options to attacks. There's a lot to take on and you'll only get the most out of this if you take the time to master the intricacies of using, managing, and switching between three distinct opportunities.

Charge Blade

Monster Hunter Rise best weapons tier list: Charge Blade

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The Charge Blade is another complex weapon that takes time to master if you really want to maximise its potential. Like the Switch Axe it has two forms, along with a phial system to add in elemental damage. This time the options are a sword and shield configuration that has good movement and protective guard options, and an axe option which is slower, more powerful, and dishes out elemental damage. Again, not a good choice for a beginner because of the various combinations to switch between and master.

Insect Glaive

Monster Hunter Rise best weapons tier list: Insect Glaive

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This is another weapon best left alone unless you really know what it's doing. That's mainly because its chief power comes from its ability to launch and recall special insects, called kinsects, that gather extracts from monsters that can boost attack, speed, and knockback protection. In terms of raw weapon abilities the Glaive is an incredibly mobile weapon, using vaults and dashes to move through the air with great fluidity. Its attacks, however, are best used on the ground with slashing combos to deal damage. The insect part sees you launching kinsects at monsters to harvest stat boosting extracts, as well deal damage and leave powders that deal elemental damage. Given that there's a lot to make use of here, and there are numerous kinsects with their own properties and nuances to choose between, this isn't really a beginners button mashing option.  

Heavy Bowgun

Monster Hunter Rise best weapons tier list: Heavy Bowgun

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If you really like the idea of ranged damage with a sprinkling of support then the Heavy Bowgun is a great option. Probably its biggest sell is the ability to use a range of special ammo for different effects. These largely control 'how' you inflict damage - so piercing, blunt and so on, as well as things like sticky and cluster bombs - and gives you a great deal of flexibility across different situations if you have the ammo. It also packs a few options to buff teammates which make all the difference in a tricky hunt. Rise also adds a few new tricks like the ability to charge shots to inflict more damage, and improved mobility via a side step move that's limited only by your stamina.


Monster Hunter Rise best weapons tier list: Bow

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The Bow is very much about highly mobile ranged damage and status effects. You're able to apply coating to your arrows that can boost damage, or inflict things like poison, paralysis stun, and so on. It's a fast weapon generally but you can also charge shots not only by holding fire but by dashing, meaning you can both reposition or avoid attacks while building damage. There's also the arc shot, which applies an effect over an area. In Rise these are all support arrows that can buff health, prevent knockbacks and increase affinity (critical chance).

Give me a game and I will write every "how to" I possibly can or die trying. When I'm not knee-deep in a game to write guides on, you'll find me hurtling round the track in F1, flinging balls on my phone in Pokemon Go, pretending to know what I'm doing in Football Manager, or clicking on heads in Valorant.