Monster Hunter World Tier List (MHW Best Weapons Ranked)

Monster Hunter World Tier List
A team of hunters do battle with a massive monster.

Monster Hunter World Best Weapons

Monster Hunter World is a massive game, and the amount of complexity can be quite intimidating for a beginner, but fear not! At the core of it, all you have to do is use your favorite over sized weapons to kill the even more over-sized fearsome monsters... but with fourteen options to choose from, this can be a bit tricky. To help you out, here’s our breakdown of what we think the best weapons are, along with a short strategy guide on each one to get you started with your monster slaying.

Solo Weapon Tier List

  • Tier SSS: Dual Blades, Light Bowgun, Long Sword
  • Tier SS: Charge Blade, Switch Axe, Heavy Bowgun, Insect Glaive
  • Tier S: Lance, Gunlance, Bow, Great Sword
  • Tier A: Hammer, Sword and Shield
  • Tier B: Hunting Horn

Co-Op Weapon Tier List

  • Tier SSS: Dual Blades, Long Sword, Insect Glaive
  • Tier SS: Light Bowgun, Heavy Bowgun, Bow, Charge Blade
  • Tier S: Gunlance, Switch Axe, Great Sword, Hunting Horn
  • Tier A: Hammer, Lance
  • Tier B: Sword and Shield

[Tier SSS] Dual Blades – (High Damage Potential, Medium Accessibility)

Bigger isn't always better.

Easy to remember slashing and lunging on fixed LMB and RMBs makes the Dual Blades easy to start playing with, and when used correctly they have serious damage potential. The LMB+RMB Blade Dance attack is absolutely ferocious, but be careful, as the long, un-skippable animation means that enemies might run away before you finish it, leaving you dancing thin air. Ctrl will unleash your maniacal Demon Mode, which both increases your damage output and slowly drains your stamina. However, if you can land enough blows to fill up your blade meter, it will give you even higher damage, and hyper-charge your existing combos into even deadlier variations.

[Tier SSS] Long Sword – (High Damage Potential, Medium Accessibility)

Tried and true, the long sword is an excellent mix of stopping power and ease of use.

A fan favorite, the long sword is even longer than you might expect, certainly long enough to compensate for any... shortcomings you have. Since attacks aren’t fixed to a particular button, you’ll need to experiment with it to find your favorite ones, but the LMB+RMB fade slash will surely be in heavy rotation with it’s high mobility strafe-n-slash movement. When you manage to get your sword meter filled, mash Ctrl repeatedly to enter your Spirit Blade combo; if you manage to land the final hit you’ll be sent into Spirit Blade Mode, which will award you progressively higher damage buffs as you attack, noted by the white, yellow, and red sword meter linings. Finally, you can use that massive blade for a pseudo pole vault: Ctrl+LMB will activate your spirit boost attack, launching you high in the air for a high intensity slam attack that depletes a level of Spirit Blade, but also gives you a chance to mount the monster you’re fighting.

[Tier SSS] Light Bowgun – (Medium Damage Potential, Easy accessibility)

Light weight and easy to use, the Light Bowgun is perfect for scouts, trackers, and others who favor high mobility.

Long range weapons are a great tool in both solo and team monster hunting, and they all use the same control scheme, making them easy to shift between. V will aim, Ctrl shoots, LMB reloads, and RMB will deploy your super ability. In the case of the Light Bowgun, you super will stab mines into the ground that explode when attacked, allowing you to set traps for your prey and spring them from a safe distance. Both Bowguns have a large variety of ammo types that you can use, including team health buffs, armor piercing rounds, and elemental effects; different Bowguns have different options, so be sure to play around and find out what you like.

[Tier SS] Charge Blade – (High Damage Potential, Difficult Accessibility)

Large, charged, and rather complex, the Charge Blade is recommmended for more advanced hunters.

The most convoluted charge-able weapon by far, there’s no question that the Charge Sword lives up to it’s name. It uses a collection of five Phials that are charged up by attacking with the weaker sword and shield form, similar to the Switch Axe. The darker color the Phials, the more you can fill up at once, so make good use of your RMB combos to close ground and land enough hits to turn the Phail bottles red, then use Ctrl + RMB to charge your axe form. LMB + Ctrl morphs your weapon into an axe by attaching the shield to the end of your sword, and the damage you deal in this mode goes up significantly. LMB standard attacks will chip away at your enemies, but a well placed Elemental Discharge with a RMB combo or RMB + LMB will send them reeling. Pair with a full blade meter, and you’ll dispense a supercharged Elemental strike that explodes and shoots forward from your position, dealing additional damage. These will drain your precious Phials, however, and send you back to the beginning of the loop. To expedite the process, you can hold LMB after starting a normal weapon charge to buff your sword damage, which won’t consume your existing phials, but will help you refill them more quickly once they deplete. You can also charge your shield by morphing forms while in the middle of an Elemental Discharge, meaning that if done right, you can charge all three weapons at your disposal, and become a nigh-unstoppable elemental force.

[Tier SS] Heavy Bowgun – (Medium Damage Potential, Easy accessibility)

The most powerful ranged weapons in the game, Heavy Bowguns are a force to be reckoned with.

Monster Hunter World’s answer to heavy fire support, the Heavy Bowgun shines most brightly when using it’s special ammo and super attacks. Wyvern Snipe rounds have the longest range of anything in the game, and will burrow into the flesh of your target before exploding. Wyvern Heart rounds turn your gun into a rapid-firing minigun, and the Artillery Bomb turns you into a mobile mortar emplacement, able to rain down hellfire on your targets.

[Tier SS] Insect Glaive – (Medium/High Damage Potential, Difficult Accessibility)

It takes some practice, but the Insect Glaive can yield seriously effective results in both solo and co-op play.

A favorite for many hunters despite its bugginess (pun intended), the Insect Glaive is a powerful tool for both solo and Co-Op play. The primary attacks are fluid like the Long Sword, so you’ll need to do some experimenting to find your favorite combos, but where the Glaive really excels is with the Kinsect. A launch-able sentient insect, the Kinsect will fly to your target and return to you with precious extracts that will send your combo damage through the roof. If you want to mark a specific area on a monster, use Ctrl to slash your mark into it, or aim and shoot with V, then aim and fire with LMB. You call to return it with RMB, and if you marked your target, the Kinsect will leave a small green cloud behind. When you or your teammates attack the cloud, it will give you a small buff of your choosing, making it an ideal support weapon. To take matters into your own hands, you can vault onto a monsters back with Ctrl + Space and let loose a flurry of elixir-boosted combos.

[Tier SS] Switch Axe – (High Damage Potential, Difficult Accessibility)

The Swtich Axe is a swiss army knife of pain.

More advanced techniques are needed to maximize the potential of the higher damage weapons, and the Switch Axe is no exception, with it’s two complimentary forms. Essentially, you will use the slower and weaker axe form to fill up your inner blade meter so that you can attack properly with the sword; a much faster and deadlier weapon. Once the sword is out, you can wreak havoc with an infinitely chain-able RMB attack that will build the outer blade meter, which LMB + RMB will release in the form of an Elemental Discharge strike that will crush all but the most resolute foe. If you have residual charge left, use ↓ + LMB to chain into the Elemental Finisher for a dramatically explosive killing blow.

[Tier S] Bow – (Medium Damage Potential, Easy accessibility)

Release your inner elf with the Bow.

Very similar in control scheme and ability set to the Bowguns, the classic Bow comes with a number of perks that make it a versatile ranged weapon. The primary shot can be charged to fire up to three arrows, RMB lets out a fanning quick shot, and pressing RMB with a full charge will allow you to fire a close range Arc Shot that brings cannonballs raining down on your adversaries, dealing blunt damage and stunning them. While they’re stunned, hold LMB+RMB to use the Dragon Piercer ability, and shoot a long range, high damage exploding shot right into your quarry’s weak area. If they get too close, RMB, Space, LMB will send you into a lunging melee attack that stabs them with an arrow before mounting them, Legolas-style.

[Tier S] Gunlance – (High Damage Potential, Medium Accessibility)

Stylish and effective, the Gunlance is great for hunters seeking both ranged and defensive capabilities.

An excellent middle ground between the ranged and close-quarters weapons otherwise offered, the Gunlance is packed full of high-damage combos and devastating special attacks. LMB + RMB offers a powerful uppercut, and an additional tap of LMB will chain into the Wyrmstake special attack: a brutal stab paired with the insertion of a short fuse explosive directly into a monster. LMB + RMB followed by LMB, RMB will fire all six rounds in your gun simultaneously as the Burst Fire shot, and LMB + RMB while blocking with Ctrl will set loose the Wyvern’s fire, a blisteringly high damage shot with a proportionally long cooldown. Last but not least, make sure you reload regularly and watch your ammo count, as accidentally coming up empty in the middle of a battle can spell certain death against more difficult monsters.

[Tier S] Lance – (High Damage Potential, Difficult Accessibility)

Powerful defensive options make the Lance a great choice for player who like tanking.

The only class that truly shirks dodging incoming attacks in favor of tanking up and taking the punishment, the Lance is not for the faint of heart. It’s standard mid thrust, high thrust, and sweep attacks are straightforward, and they can all be paired with a block for more complex maneuvers. LMB + block will shield bash, great for stunning smaller enemies and making them easier to dispatch, while RMB + block will execute counter thrust: a short block immediately followed by a heavy thrust. Hit the Spacebar after the latter combo to enter your Power Guard and block any incoming attack, at the expense of your stamina quickly draining. Finally, LMB, RMB, and Block together will send you charging forward, shield raised in true jousting style; hit LMB right before you make contact for maximum impact damage.

[Tier S] Great Sword – (Medium Damage Potential, Easy accessibility)

Is that a giant bone sword or are you just happy to see me?

The Great Sword is a step up in weapon maturity and cool-factor from entry level weapons like the Sword and Shield, but it’s still simple and easy to remember. LMB lets loose an overhead bashing strike that works great against stationary enemies, and RMB triggers a wide sweeping slash that covers a wider area. The sword is so long that your overhead attack will usually be able to hit an airborne target, and both kinds of attacks can be charged up to do more damage.

[Tier A] Sword & Shield – (Low Damage Potential, Easy accessibility)

Easy contols, good blocking, and no complicated charge-up abilities make the Sword and Shield simple and effective.

A timeless combo, the Sword and Shield is great for beginners who need a tried and true method to survive getting their toes wet in the wild world of monster hunting. Your LMB and RMB will chain together a variety of attacks, none of which drain your stamina, allowing for a true hack-n-slash approach. Your trusty shield will defend you well, but keep in mind that it isn’t perfect protection, and some attacks will still get through. This is also the only weapon that will allow you to use items while unsheathed, so you can heal or sharpen your blade while behind the cover of your shield.

[Tier A] Hammer – (Medium Damage Potential, Easy accessibility)

Massive blunt damage and easy controls make the Hammer a great choice for beginners.

Hammer time! A beefed up version of the Great Sword, the hammer also has fixed attack types per button: LMB will unleash a variety of sweeping and overhead attacks, while RMB lets loose a Super Mario-style smash that can be chained repeatedly if you land the blow. The Hammer also allows you to run while charging-up an attack, and Ctrl unleashes a forward sprint that finishes with a devastating spin attack, great for closing gaps with your enemies.

[Tier B] Hunting Horn – (Low Damage Potential, Medium Accessibility)

Built as a buffing tool, the Hunting Horn only shines in multiplayer hunts.

Bring out the metal bagpipes! The Hunting Horn is a support class weapon in every sense of the phrase, and a solo hunter will find very little use for it. Information about each Horn’s playable notes and songs (aka combos) appear in the upper right hand corner, and each song will give you or your team a different buff. You can perform up to three song combos in a row before playing them all at once with Ctrl, and pressing Ctrl again will perform an encore that strengthens them further. Happy serenading!

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A level thirteen rogue hailing from the treacherous Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Nick thirsts for travel, exists (and games) in solitude, and has a strong penchant for wearing black.
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