Ever Wondered what armor skill to choose? Trying to piece that perfect damage set together? Maybe you want to learn about some of the more obscure skills in the game, and some of their uses?
This guide aims to describe and talk about the different armor skills in the game, and offer opinions to how they can (or can't, in the case of many skills) be used. This guide isn't going to list absolutely everywhere you can find the skills; that would be exhaustive and you can easily google it or check the smithy in game.
Quick Note: Though I am a 'always build damage' kind of guy, I will try and look at the skills and their uses separate to how often I personally make use of them. If I didn't, this would quickly become the 'elementless handicraft Protective Polish guide'. My focus on damage, however, still colors my opinions.
Other MHW Guides:
- Achievements and Trophies.
- All Camp Locations.
- All Palico Gadget Locations.
- Where to Find Kirin (Elder Dragon).
- Bow Guide.
Alright, now that that's out of the way. Howdy, I'm Fightersword; I've been playing this series since the Freedom Unite days and have clocked in hundreds of hours with Monster Hunter World across the versions.
And now, I want you to forget all of that.
It doesn't matter how long I've played, how many monster hunter games I've played, and whether or not I'm a 'veteran'. What matters is my arguments and the information I provide in this guide. I'm not going to sit here and hide behind my experience to try and convince you to play one way or another: I expect you all to play however you want, and just want my guide to enhance that... though I'll still trash skills I don't like.
I've divided up the different armor skills into 4 sections so I can talk about them all seperately. While I try to be as objective and helpful as possible, keep in mind that I do play a certain way, and that may affect my opinions on many armor skills. I build for as much damage as possible most of the time when I play these games, because I like to kill things fast, and the knowledge I provide may somewhat reflect that. Regardless, I'm not going to immediately trash defensive or utility skills simply for not providing damage, even though I generally avoid them or use them as filler when I'm playing.
Quick Note: this guide doesn't tell you where to get the skills for the most part, aside from the set bonus section for obvious reasons, it simply talks about the skills and their usefulness. Take a trip to the smithy or google to find your skill and what it's on, it would be exhaustive to list all of it here.
The 4 sections are:
Attack Skills: These skills usually raise your damage directly, either through affinity or attack boosts, and some have requirements for activating. Handicraft goes in this section, because its primary use is to increase damage by accessing white sharpness.
Defensive Skills: Health Boost, Defense Boost, stuff like that. There will generally be less math in this section.
Utility Skills: Other things that don't fit into these two sections. Protective Polish goes here despite its prominence on Handicraft Damage Sets.
Set Bonuses: I'm seperating these out just for ease of access. They include a lot of things. Note that a few standouts won't be in this section, though these will be grabbable by gems too, like Elless.
Also, here's some common terms I'm going to use throughout this guide that you should be aware of, and some math.
TAV/True RAW: True attack value. This is what you get when you divide the displayed attack value (The number the game shows you) by the weapon modifier (different with each weapon). Monster Hunter games, other than Generations and Generations Ultimate, inflate both RAW and elemental attack values. The former is to make it clear to the player that a swing from a greatsword is going to do more damage than a hit from dual blades, and the latter seems to be to keep elements from looking like they suck. While weapon TAV is multiplied by their class modifier, Elemental and status displayed is multiplied by 10 for all weapons.
Crit/Affinity: This is crit chance. a crit does 25% extra damage in this game. If you have negative crit chance and land a 'negative crit', you do 25% less damage. This means crit is worth the same if added on to a weapon with negative crit or positive crit, unless you have the skill 'crit boost' (more about this in that section). The calculation to find out how much extra damage on average you get from crit chance is found by the simple equation x * .25 = Average Damage Increase, given no crit boost. X = the amount of affinity you're adding. For example, if you added 50 affinity, 50% * .25 = 12.5%, which would be the average amount of % damage increase you'd get from adding fifty affinity to your weapon, assuming you don't go over 100 crit chance.
Sharpness: Sharpness is divided into several categories, and affects your damage depending on the color. The modifiers are:
- Red: .5
- Orange: .75
- Yellow: 1.0
- Green: 1.05
- Blue: 1.2
- White: 1.32
Usually you lose 1 'point' of sharpness per hit, though some weapons have attacks that use up more (the gunlances shell attacks in general). if your attack bounces you'll lose 2 (including if you have minds eye and get the 'bounce' despite not actually bouncing), and guarding with the great sword and charge blade will also take up sharpness, since you're guarding with the part that actually hits the monster. Guarding against wind, roars, and tremors don't seem to take up sharpness even with these weapons.
As a general rule early game you'll be focused on staying out of orange and mainly playing with green and yellow, and late game you'll be playing exclusively with blue unless you're building a handicraft set, in which case your goal is to focus on white. As you can see, the biggest jumps are from green to blue and blue to white (not counting orange and red, because those are undesirable by default).
Status Buildup: Not a term I'll use often, but it's worth reflecting on how this works. Every time a status goes off, be it mount, poison, sleep, paralysis, blast, or stun and exhaust, the monster will gain further tolerance to it, making it tougher to get these to go off again. Further, Multiplayer autoscales Monster status tolerance and, in my opinion, overbalances it, making it much tougher to get these to go off if you're inflicting them by yourself in a multiplayer setting. Statuses other than stun/exhaust and mount are applied randomly per hit (sometimes it isn't, sometimes it is) unless you're using the appropriate bowgun ammos, adding some variance to how long it takes stuff like sleep to go off, but it's not too bad overall.
Everyone can mount though some weapons have attacks that let them jump without ledges (The insect glaive and lance immediately come to mind), all weapons with blunt attacks can stun (with head hit) and exhaust (though you shouldn't be bothering if you're using, say, the lance, it's just an extra), and the other statuses are built onto certain weapons (or shots/coatings for ranged weapons). Because status attacks don't care about about motion values, weapons that attack quickly like the dual blades are typically better at inflicting them. The bowgun status shots tend to also inflict statuses very fast. Status doesn't benefit from crit without Status Crit.
Elemental Damage: We mentioned it a tad earlier, but elemental damage is separate from RAW damage. It doesn't benefit from crit (unless you have elemental crit), and many weapons with element tend to cap out their element if you try to raise it too much, a baffling change to the formula that only does even more to keep element down compared to RAW. Elemental damage also doesn't care about your motion value, so once again faster, small weapons are better here.
Fashion Set: A set meant to look good. Some people will hunt in these sets, I mainly use them for my guild card or when I feel like helping lower ranked players. Skills don't matter on these sets, naturally, the only thing that matters is looking fine as hell.
Alright, that should get you up to speed, on to the skills themselves!
I sure love damage, and I'm gonna math the hell out of this section so you guys can see how much effective raw you get.
A quick note up front on how Elementless Boost interacts with other flat attack boosts: if I remember correctly, it seems to always come out first before those are added. I'll mention this again in its section, the skill is still amazing of course, just keep this in mind.
Raises your affinity by 30% for 15 seconds after sliding for a little while
This is a one point skill that boosts your affinity by 30% for a small amount of time after you slide for a small amount of time. That small amount of time on the slide thing is really key and often makes this skill sort of annoying to use, you can't just quick fire slope attacks and take the free 7.5% effective damage you get off of it.
Raises flat attack by 4/8/12/16/20, and affinity by 3/6/9/12/15%, while the monster is enraged
AKA Challenger, this beauty of a skill is one of the finer attack skills in the game. While the monster is enraged (which is almost all the time if you're building damage), you gain 4 attack and 3% affinity with this skill per point, up to 5 points. This means while the monster is enraged, on a 200 TAV weapon, this skill is worth 2.75% damage per point, which is actually pretty nice compared to other skills like attack boost and crit eye. You'll often pick up a few points of these from the nergi set while building other things, and it's a welcome addition.
This skill simply increases the attack of all your jumping attacks by 10%.
This may seem like a very solid amount, but jump attack spam isn't really efficient most of the time. This doesn't work with the long sword's flashy helm splitter, and only works for the midair spins for the hammer's spin move, not the big landing hit. The Insect Glaive also DPSes most efficiently on the ground, but if you really just fancy playing as a helicopter, this skill will serve you well.
Increases shell/ImpPhial/WYFire damage by 10/20/30%, decreases cooldown for Wyfire by 15/30/50%
This is a fantastic skill for you gunlance and impact charge blade users, greatly increasing your outputs on your big hitter moves like the full burst and Impact Phial Discharges respectively. This also increases sticky bomb damage, but not cluster ammo apparently. What's more to say, it makes these weapons better at doing what they do, and is worth picking up on their sets if you can, though keep in mind your damage with these weapons isn't only from these sources, so don't skimp elsewhere
Status Attack Up Skills
Status buildup +5/10/20%, with a flat bonus of 10
Specifically for Blast, Paralysis, Sleep, and Poison. All four of these skills do the same thing, and all four of them don't do nearly enough to be worth using. Besides the problem with these statuses already (blast and poison especially fail outright compared to normal damage builds), the gain you get from these skills just isn't enough. You'll notice especially in multiplayer that it's very hard to inflict statuses, even with these skills, because monsters are overbalanced status-wise in multiplayer setups.
Increases bomb damage by 10/20/30%
Another really simple skill to cover; though it only deals with items, since it's only use is for damage it still goes here. Makes your barrels do more damage. Use it if you plan on bombing the monster, like with sleep bombing, and really want to make the most out of it. Even there I don't find it too useful since you have to spend a lot of the fight not using the barrels to kill things.
You could for fun run this and try to kill things only with the bombs, but expect this to get old fast.
Capacity Boost simply increases the number of shells and charge blade phials you carry by 1, without hampering your ability to fill them (red CB will still fill all 6).
This may not seem like a big deal, but it is incredible with full burst gunlance shenanigans (straight damage increase essentially) and with charge blade in general, letting you throw more into your axehead buff up front and giving you both more flexibility in general and more damage with your Super Amped Discharge move.
This skill is specifically good if used with a decoration, it's a very hard sell when used via other means. So get grinding if you haven't found one yet.
This is one of the more misleading skills in the game, because it's poorly written. Your base crit modifier is 25%, and this skill increases it by a flat 5% per point, to 30/35/40% respectively.
This means this skill is worth a whopping 15% damage if you have max affinity. However, it has problems. The skill isn't easy to come by and get onto your set, especially without gems. Furthermore, many of the current best weapons in the game (the diablos and jho weapons mainly) don't play nice with it, since the negative affinity erodes its value. If you plan on using high or max crit sets though (WE 3, Max Might 3, AB 4+, affinity augment and a couple points of agitator will get you there with a 0% weapon, affinity booster also exists to help a lot), this isn't a skill you want to skip, but there are usually better ways to build damage overall than this one in this game.
Want to calculate how much damage this gives you at a given affinity? Do this calculation!
Damage Increase = Affinity * .3/.35/.4 (depending on level of crit boost) - Affinity * .25
For example, 100% * .4 - 100% * .25 = 15%
Crit Draw is a famous Great Sword Skill from previous monster hunter games. In those games, it would guarantee your unsheathe attack was a crit (well, it would increase the affinity by 100% technically iirc, which is the same thing unless the weapon has negative affinity), and here it increases the affinity by 30/60/100 on those unsheathe attacks.
The problem is that GS doesn't play the same in this game. Your aim in world is very much at getting to that true charged slash, which you don't get from unsheathe.
You can still use it if you want to play GS more like you did in older games, but it's far less effective here because of the new way the weapon plays. It's not very useful at all on other weapon classes, except for a niche use for fun with Bow Dragon Piercer spam sets.
Increases Affinity by 3/6/10/15/20/25/30%
I hate to break it to all you crit believers, but frankly, Crit eye is not a good damage skill in this game. Early on pointwise its effectively half as good as attack boost: on a 200 TAV weapon, you get .75% damage out of this for the first point, whereas a point of attack boost other than the fourth is worth 1.5% damage on a 200 TAV weapon.
Comparing the final stage damage increases given the same weapon, attack boost becomes worth around 11.75% damage at the final level, whereas crit eye is only worth a measly 7.5% damage. With higher TAV weapons this is slightly less in attack boost's favor, but the principle is the same. This slightly favors critical eye if you max out crit boost, turning that into 12% damage, but right now at least (drachen may change this, haven't really played with it much) that's a big cost and there are more efficient ways to max crit, whereas you often end up with attack boost on many sets in addition to the other powerful things.
Elemental Attack Up Skills
I'm also combining these all into one section because they all do the exact same thing. Elemental attack boosts increase the elemental attack of your weapon by a flat amount (30, 60, 100, which you can think of as 3, 6, and 10 because elemental values are inflated x10) until level 4, where you get percentage boosts (5 and 10%, which is not much).
Elemental attack is already far weaker in this game than RAW, but even forgetting this these skills don't do enough. What's more, for some god forsaken reason elemental weapons have a cap to the amount of element they can have, meaning you won't even get the full value out of these skills with many weapons. Early on you may use them as filler before you get better decos, but after you do these go straight to the trash bin.
If you're trying to work up a pure element set or an elemental crit set or something specific to change things up, then you should include these skills where you can, just be mindful of the element cap and don't sacrifice the better attack skills for it.
Are you surprised elemental weapons aren't used much (aside from Jho weapons, because of their huge raw and the fact blos isn't in every category), considering they get these skills while elementless weapons get a 2 slot gem that just boosts their RAW by 10%? I'm sure as hell not, they didn't even try to balance them.
This makes it easier to fill up your gauges on weapons that use them, and quicker to charge weapons, by 5/10/20% respectively per level. May be considered detrimental with the hammer because you don't always want to get to max charge as soon as you can, and even on weapons that enjoy it (i.e. Great Sword), it just doesn't do enough to warrant its inclusion.
Worth fitting on weapons you like it with as an extra, but not worth going out of your way for or sacrificng other good skills to get.
An old favorite, Handicraft increases your sharpness bar by 10 points per level, and with some weapons will increase their sharpness levels at certain thresholds.
This skill is used for one purpose: to get weapons like Jho or Blos Weapons from Blue Sharpness to White Sharpness. With Jho weapons the entire chunk from handicraft will be white, and with Blos about half of it or so at max Hcraft, though you can sorta tell how much you get by looking at the weapon's sharpness bar with the skill equipped. Blos weapons can fall out of the white zone early-ish if you don't combine this skill with protective polish (which I will talk about later). Even so, the jump from blue to white is a 12% increase in damage, and if properly equipped you'll get massive payoffs making use of this skill.
Note that there are some weapons this skill won't help with, like the Nergigante weapons. Remember to check accordingly if you're not running Blos/Jho weapons.
Increases the power of ballistae and cannons by 10/20%.
Makes the Zorah fight less tedious I guess. Oh, and there are cannons and ballistae in the special arena; the fact I have to point that out probably explains how useful this skill is.
Ironic normal artillery is amazing and heavy artillery is one of the most worthless skills in the game.
When health drops to 35% lower, you gain 5/10/15/20/30% attack, and 15/20/25/30/40 points of defense.
That's a lotta damage, but its activation can be kind of scary and frankly you can kill things so fast anyway that letting yourself take enough hits to drop down to sub 35% health may take off more time than you gain from using it. It's still a lot of fun to play the glass cannon though.
The defense boost is more relevant earlier in the game, but never particularly useful at all. You should never take heroics for the defense boost.
Increases Affinity by 10/20/30/40/50% and reduces stamina depletion by 10/10/30/30/50% when *ahem* certain conditions are met
So then, what are those conditions? I mean, that's 12.5% damage right there, so if it's easy to get to then maybe it's alright?
Latent power requires either taking 180 total damage (more than your max HP without health boost), or fighting the monster for FIVE MINUTES to activate for a grand total of 90 seconds.
It's basically like the game is giving you an enrage like the monster gets, where you can do more ♥♥♥ for a short amount of time. Since you can kill most monsters comfortably in less than 5 minutes and since taking 180 damage is no small ordeal, Latent power falls into useless territory.
Even when it gets activated, it's not that useful. It'll usually only go off once a hunt (if it does) and even given maximum use with minimum time (90 seconds of use given 5 minutes prior fighting, because if you're gonna sit around and eat ♥♥♥♥ you could just use heroics), that's a 12.5% attack boost at max level for around 1/4 of the fight. That's not very good for a 5 point armor skill.
Makes it easier to mount monsters.
Frankly, I'm not sure how much easier this is. In single player it's usually plenty easy to mount, and I haven't noticed a ton of difference when using this compared to when not using it. I've used it as filler a few times and never really noticed a difference, and frankly mounting is more of an auxilliary thing anyway, giving you opportunistic knockdowns when playing around ledges or with certain weapon moves (at the cost of real time, mounts do make hunts take longer by yourself especially) so going heavy on it with this skill is a bit silly. At least here it's only a one point investment.
P.S. don't be the ♥♥♥ that flashes monsters out of the sky when they're mounted. Just sharpen your weapon and heal up till he's done stabbing it. This goes triple for tempered monsters, who become immune to flashes.
Increases your affinity by 10/20/30% when stamina is full.
Another prime damage skill... for some weapons. that's a 2.5% damage increase per point, and it works well with crit boost getting it a spot with many crit set ups. The problem is it really just doesn't work with some weapons. Doesn't help you can't mega dash juice for infinite stamina in this game, so using this with weapons like the dual blades is really a no go. Still, it is great on the weapons it does work with, so use it there.
Quick note, the affinity is applied when the attack hits, meaning if you, say, charged an attack with the hammer and then swang, if the swing actually hits after your stamina recovers you still get the bonus. This isn't usually that relevant, but it's worth keeping in mind.
Shot Type Up Skills
These increase the damage of certain shots for your bowgun and certain attacks with the bow by 10%, depending on the skill.
It's basically another elementless, though the gems for these tend to be much harder to come by. If you're building for a certain shot, or want to amp up certain attacks with your bow (power shots, arc shots, piercer, etc), then these skills are godly. Naturally, if you don't plan on using the shot type it gives you, then the skill doesn't do anything.
The special ammo up skill can go here, though it's worth noting that it has two levels (10/20%), and only affects your bowgun's special ammo (mines, gatling, snipe pierce) and the dragon piercer for bow.
Elementless Attack Up
Speaking of Elementless, here we are at arguably one of if not the best attack skill in the game. It's pretty simple what this does: if you're using a weapon without an element, you gain 10% TAV. How hard is it to get this skill? Early on you have to use a set bonus which heavily limits it, but soon enough you'll get an elementless jewel that only requires a single level 2 slot to get the full benefit.
As mentioned earlier, the only caveat is that this always is added before flat attack boosts, so this skill doesn't actually make skills like attack boost better... but who cares, with hard hitting endgame weapons this is already giving you more raw attack than Attack Boost level 7. An absolutely insane skill that frankly I don't think should be in the game.
Note: the use of this skill is somewhat dependent on the weapons available to you. Some trees actually don't have weapons worth using even with this skill, especially now that Jho weapons are out (they have 230 TAV like the diablos weapons do, and very strong white with handicraft). You'll mainly be using this with diablos weapons, which you can also amp up with handicraft + P-Polish setups. And as always, you're very dependent on finding the deco, though in this case it's not usually too hard since it's not too rare and you only need 1 (I already have found like 4 of these).
Gives you 5/10/20 attack when you're at maximum health.
That's a lot of attack for little investment... but the caveat here is a little iffy a lot of the time.
So I just have to not get hit right? Surely that's easy enough, right?
The problem is that this skill needs you to be at totally full HP, and it's very easy for many monsters to poke you with little motions they make and completely disable the skill. Also, this completely destroys your ability to get hits in using hyperarmor, messes with guard setups via lancing especially, and limits your options for pushing damage because of your reliance at being on full health.
It does work fairly well with the guns in particular, because you can avoid the nudges and will generally be hit a lot less often when playing at range (unless you're running a spread shot set or something), making this skill actually pretty good with those weapons. With melee weapons though, it's very hard to keep up as much as you'd want it to be up.
I'd like this skill way more if it required, say, only 80 or 90% plus HP, so that monster footsies and chip damage wouldn't completely ruin it.
Allows weapon powerups (I.E. LongSwords white/yellow/red, charge blade's axehead and sword buff, extracts for IG, dualblades archdemon, switch axe's charged up mode) to last 10/20/30% longer.
I like to put this skill under Quality of Life: it makes it so your weapons do their things longer and gives you more breathing room to just focus on the battle trance and not have to remember to charge your axehead or grab red extract again. However, these things aren't really that difficult to do for the most part since they're worked into how the weapon is supposed to play anyway. Also in the case of charge blade, capacity boost will basically do the same thing and everything else it already does. Overall it's nice to have with these weapons in general, but I wouldn't go out of the way for it.
Increases Stun damage by 10/20/30%.
This skill's never really been amazing in monster hunter, in fact in older games it was laughable. In World it's usable and can shave off stun times for sure, but it's still not that useful overall; in solo play you'll still get plenty of stuns on your own and sacrificing damage to try and eke out maybe one extra isn't really worth it.
You can look up the stun values on certain attacks for your blunt weapon of choice to get an idea how much stun this actually adds at the different levels per attack, and check monster tolerance to see how many hits it will save in general. To list it all here would be exhaustive and outside the scope of this guide, and how much it helps is often dependant on what move you're smacking the monster in the face with.
Increases exhaust damage by 10/20/30% (blunt attacks also do exhaust)
This does for exhaust what slugger does for stun, and generally the two skills can be compared, though stun only goes off on the head. Frankly, I don't have many opinions about this skill, I don't even usually consider exhaustion in this game. If it helps you get an extra exhaustion you can compare it in that way to slugger, but stun is naturally more useful than exhaust (though exhaust does still often create free windows to attack... when it's not making the monster run across half the map to grab a snack). Overall I wouldn't be running this, but if you want to run an exhaustion set for some reason it's surely doable.
One of if not the premiere attack skill in the game, weakness exploit gives you 15/30/50!!!% affinity when hitting weak spots... which you should already be doing.
The effective damage increase for level 3 of this skill is a whopping 12.5%, and it's very easy to get it onto your set with either the rathalos beta chest piece or the eye patch (which one you'll use depends on what your other pieces have to be used, and there are other options) and a single tenderizer gem (can be bit of a pain but far from the worst deco to get). This damage increase is huge and applies exactly where you need it: when hitting weak spots.
Note, some monsters do have weak spots that can be hard to get at, especially for certain weapons. Keep in mind that though this skill is god tier, it's still relative crit, and if you're fighting a monster with which you have trouble hitting hitzones that get this skill to go off consistently, then this skill can become nearly valueless. Its use is very much determined by your skill as a player; a godly boost for a godly player.
Increases your attack by 3/6/9/12/15/18/21 TAV, and your affinity by 5% at level 4.
This is overall a good value skill, and naturally gets tacked onto many sets because of the single slot decorations and the way it's already on certain parts you use anyway. With a 200 TAV weapon, each point aside from the fourth is worth about 1.5% damage, which is nothing to sneeze at, and the 4th point in particular is worth somewhere near twice that. The 'percent effect' is stronger on weapons with less TAV since you're dividing the flat number by a smaller TAV, which makes it more competitive against crit and sharpness on those weapons, and vice versa at higher TAV weapons. Since base TAV in this game doesn't go higher than 230, this skill stays fairly good value the whole game, and will fit on many of your sets naturally because of its prominence on late game damage pieces.
Increases your elderseal by one level.
Elderseal is a mechanic on dragon weapons that disables certain 'auras' that monsters have when it goes off, like Kushala's windy boi aura. It does make an impact but you have to pay attention to notice when it goes off. The impact isn't really high enough to warrant this skill, and this skill is hard to tack on in general. Doesn't do anything for weapons without elderseal, making it functionally useless there.
Awakening (free element/ammo up)
Makes your weapon get access to its 'hidden element' for blademasters (it's the darkened element on many weapons), and gives bowguns more ammo for ammo types. you get 33%/66%/100% of your hidden element per point, and I'm not gonna list all the ammo up stuff (partly due to word count limits).
Just know that it's a considerable damage boost to have to reload less often, so if you can get ammo up on your set for your ammo type it's fantastic. For weapons with hidden elements it's always worse than elementless, though you can do some fun things with it for certain set ups.
Gives you 5/10/15/20/25 flat attack when you have recoverable health (a red portion on your health bar).
It feels a little less stingy to have up than peak performance, but still, requiring you take hits for a temporary boost is iffy. If you take a nick to get this to activate you will barely have any time to make use, and if you get launched for big damage you may find you have other problems to deal with. I still like this more than peak performance on melee, but I never really find myself using either, much preferring dependable boosts that are either always on (attack boost, elementless), or on reliably (weakness exploit, agitator). It doesn't help that if you take a big hit and then get nicked, you'll lose all the red you had and go down to a teeny amount of red. Happens all the time when hanging out in Hazaak's Vape Cloud.
I'd be crucified for even discussing these in Monster Hunter Hell, and for good reason. But they're skills in the game, so let's look at their value.
The first thing we should discuss is how you mainly die in Monster Hunter World. As you've probably noticed, you can carry a lot of health items and in World in particular you can restock them at any time. Even if you couldn't do this you get a ton of healing between 10 potions,10 mega potions, 2 max potions, and an ancient potion as a minimum base for how much you can carry around. That's not even counting crafting or the ability to pick up ♥♥♥on the field. So you don't really get whittled down in this game, generally if you can simply stay alive you will be able to kill the monster. The faster you kill the monster, the less time you have for something to go horribly wrong, meaning attack skills have a major defensive component in allowing you to kill the target faster.
So then, how do you usually die? Normally you die from taking a lot of damage in quick succession; either by getting one shot by, say, a tempered elder, two shot before you could heal, or stunned into a killshot. When you are thinking about defensive skills, you need to frame them as 'how do they stop these things from happening?'. This is also, again, why attack skills have a defensive component, because these major mistakes have far less time to happen when you're smothering the monster in less than 5 minutes.
Guard, Constitution and marathon runner are in the utility section by the way, as I didn't feel like they truly fit into either of these sections. I especially wanted to put guard in the offensive section given my love of lance, but decided that would require more explaining and that it was easier to put it there.
Status Resistance Skills (including stun resist):
These are generally slightly different, but the idea is the same: they either decrease the duration for certain statuses or make them harder to catch/do less otherwise, typically negating them when maxed out. Most statuses in the game like paralyze, Hazaak's vape cloud HP cutter, sleep with rado and ura, poison in general and so on, are very rare and don't happen very often. You can use these skills to try to shutdown or neuter a component from a monster, but generally It's unneeded. Furthermore the palico horn can cast immunity for the nastier ones (stun in particular), and there's a mantle and booster that deals with this stuff as well.
If you took any of these, stun resistance would be your go to, as every monster can stun (sometimes in one shot) and stuns are a common way you die. I'd go all or nothing with it, having reduced stun duration isn't great because they'll still often follow up regardless, but the full negation is nice though still far from necessary. Blight resistance also covers a lot, though I don't find the blights that bad in general. All else is mostly one off matchups and often aren't bad enough to warrant the investment, though I still slip in miasma jewels for Hazaak anyway for convenience's sake.
Increases defense by 5/10/15/20/25/30/25 points, and elemental resistances by 3 at level 4 or higher.
Frankly, this skill is a crappy way to reduce damage. Late game this isn't a big percentage increase for your total defense, and defense itself has diminishing returns once you get into the higher numbers. It almost never gets you that 'one extra hit' you'd want later game, and the elemental resistances are so minor they're barely worth mentioning.
Worth more earlier in the game, but still not worth running even over many other defensive skills.
Randomly when you get hit (25% of the time), this skill reduces damage taken by 15/30/50%
The amount of damage reduced here at level 3 is on average 12.5%, which isn't anything to sneeze at, when it goes off you'll notice it and it's one of the stronger defensive skills in the game for sure... but it's inconsistent, and this is a major problem. I can't roll on a 25% chance to take less damage when my health gets lower, I have to heal anyway, so though it can get me an extra hit(s), because I can't rely on it I can't make good use of it.
Still, it's good if you're making a cancer set defensive based set because it does give you a lot of value for its cost, just don't rely on it; would you gamble your life on a one in four? Unless you're suicidal that's gonna be a no.
Reduces the effects of monster's roars, negating weak ones at level 3 and strong ones at level 5.
This skill goes here arguably: though you can and will use it to push damage during roars, its main value in this game really comes from not getting roar comboed by tempered elders (kush especially loves to do this). The problem is it's very expensive to get all 5 points, like really really hard to do, and you can negate roars by simply bringing the rocksteady mantle, rolling through them, blocking them, Foresight Slash with longsword or simply using the evasion mantle to more easily roll through them (and get an attack boost). Rolling roars isn't typically that hard to do once you get the hang of it (except Xeno, who's roar is slightly too long to roll with a normal roll), and this skill is way too difficult to get maxed out given its level 3 gems and the way it conflicts with other skills you want. But if you really are having trouble with roar comboes, then you may want to look into it, just recognize you're probably sacrificing a lot to do so.
The cat's earplugs buff is the equivalent of the third level
Evade Window goes here, but not extender, Extender is in the utility section.
Evade Window extends the number of I frames you get on all evasions besides the superman dive by an increasing amount per point. It's good value if you know how to make use of the evasion, and allows you to roll through moves more comfortably, along with some moves you'd normally be unable to/have a lot of trouble rolling. Makes rolling roars easily too... but honestly, the base roll in MH World is pretty comfortable and good for rolling or hopping through what you need to, and for all else there's the evasion mantle which makes rolling trivial.
You can use this skill to engage in something called 'evade lancing' where instead of countering most things you hop through them and give things a stab. However, since you can shield advance in any direction you can basically 'roll' things by guarding, and have the superguard to direct your aim if you need to, this entire strategy is pretty much obsolete. Works better with gunlance since it can't do that, but even there it's far from necessary because the base I frames are already freaking good, but it's fun to use and worth giving a go despite this.
Prevents knockbacks (hit someone with a longsword, that's what a knockback is), and lowers/nullifies tripping, depending on level (tripping is basically a longer knockback).
Flinch free by itself isn't that useful in single player, because monsters don't actually do knockback or trippy stuff too too often when you don't have hyperarmor, you just get launched for the most part. However, one point is incredibly convenient for multiplayer, making those dual blade and long sword users among others unable to interrupt you whether or not your animations have hyperarmor by default with most of their attacks. I can't understate how convenient this is if you're running a weapon that doesn't get much hyperarmor against small and stupid stuff like that.
This is one of the only skills in the game I'd only ever bring to multi, and never to solo. Level 1 is so nice when playing with randoms who stand next to you and spam attacks, and does very little against the actual monster.
Increases your maximum health by 15/30/50.
Talk about a rally, health boost went from completely garbage in older games to probably the best defensive skill in Monster Hunter World. This is because of one change: Health Boost now lets you go up to 200 health with meal health/max potion health, rather than the cap always being 150. It's also easy to use as filler if you have extra gem slots and no good attack skills to put in, because it's a relatively common level 1 gem.
Having more health does more to counter the 'death conditions' I listed at the start than almost anything else: it turns one shots into 2 shots, 2 into 3, and so on. It acts as a nice buffer against any kind of damage you can take to keep you in the fight or simply keep you alive long enough to get back up.
If you see me running a defensive skill on a set at all, it will be some points of this on any leftover slots I have, because I recognize that the extra buffer is pretty valuable throughout the game... Though I still don't go crazy about it
Elemental Resistance Skills
increases elemental resistances by 6/12/20, and gives you 10 defense at level 3.
Another skill you can get in on for certain matchups, but I wouldn't take it over health boost even there. Still, that much elemental defense will at least be decent at reducing the elemental components of attacks, and will disable the blight associated with them, so if you're worried about a specific blight you can use these over blight resistance to also nab Damage reduction for those attacks.
Overall a harmless skill that you can use for some matchups, just don't expect it to be a gamechanger.
Leap of Faith
Let's you do the superman dive even when running towards the monster, and extends its distance.
Frankly this skill is weird. if you need to dive just run in a different direction, this doesn't help you get to the dive most of the time, and using the dive isn't something you do nearly enough to warrant this skill. The distance is worthless too. Overall no reason to run this skill.
Makes getting caught in the mud less bad... in all two matchups this is relevant in.
I felt like I could set this one apart, but it's still only usable in 2 of the easier fights in the game, and even then it's far from being helpful, so I'd just skip this one entirely.
Doubles/Triples/Quadruples the speed you recover your 'red' health after you take damage.
This helps you recover your health faster after getting hit. It's pretty nice but you can't really rely on it when you end up in the danger zone; you'll feel the need to recover with a potion or something instead to get out of the danger zone. Realistically this means the skill only makes a difference if you take damage, don't immediately heal that damage, and don't take damage again until you've already recovered the red, yet also take damage before you'd have recovered the red naturally. This makes the skill's usefulness awkward, but it does help you buffer up if you get hit semi regularly, but not all the time nor almost never. This inconsistency, however, limits its usefulness
Note: This skill does NOT work with the Vaal Hazaak set bonus. Recovery Up does, but not this skill. This is probably because the hazaak set bonus heals you rather than making it so you 'naturally' recover. It does, however, let you start benefitting from Super Recovery faster, since you'll barrell through the red portion quicker.
Increases the amount restored when restoring your health by 10/20/30%
Allows you to get more mileage out of potions, which I don't find very relevant considering how many you can carry. Also doesn't work with wide range, so you don't get any heal ♥♥♥♥♥ 'cleric' utility out of that combination, which is fine by me since anything that discourages playing a campy healer is good in my book. This skill does work with effects like nergi healer, insect heal clouds, Super recovery, etc., and I think there's more value in that use than the potion use, but overall if you're making use of this skill you're already safe enough to heal (either through potion use or smacking the monster for nergi hunger, or hazaak doing its thing), in which case it's sort of irrelevant, since if you didn't get enough you could just make it up somewhere else.
Improves Evasion and reduces stamina depltion when under abnormal status effects (Includes blights).
Honestly for a one off skill, I like this in certain fights. You'll get hit by certain blights pretty often by some monsters, or just find yourself in a bad spot with poison or something when you make a mistake, and this gives you higher evasion I frames and reduced stamina depletion to help you find a place to breathe. I don't go out of my way to include it, and certainly wouldn't shaft good skills to get a gem of this in, but if you have a leftover slot it's nice sometimes.
Naturally don't take it to fights that don't do anything but stun you. This isn't gonna help you tackle Black Diablos or Nergigante, so replace it appropriately if you do go for it. Honestly it basically comboes with waterblight and iceblight specifically... not that those are too common, but we may as well make Legiana cry even more.
Because I put earplugs in this section, I've gotta throw this one in too. This will negate weak tremores at level 1, and major ones at level 3. I have no idea who has which frankly, but generally I'd expect the longer ones to be major... Though they all feel like they last an eternity and a half with me. Frankly for the fights this is useful in, it's pretty alright, though Jho in particular is far, far less tremor spammy in this game than he was in older games, and we have more ways to deal with it generally speaking. Overall because of that and the fact tremors are rarer in general, I don't really find tremor resistance as useful in this game. But I wouldn't blame you for taking it so you don't have to stumble around like a newborn giraffe forever everytime Jho takes a step near you if you don't react in time (or are using a weapon that has to roll the tremor and can't do so reliably).
Also, rocksteady mantle does this along with everything else. You'd probably generally be better off just using that.
Weakens and negates wind pressure, negates minor wind pressure at 3 and major at 5.
Why on earth does this skill have 5 points? I thought it was overkill with earplugs but this is just stupid. You'll want the kushala set bonus to deal with his wind anyway if you need it, and frankly there's not another monster in the game that uses wind well enough or often enough to warrant investing in this skill.
Also, rocksteady mantle even does this along with everything else. You'd probably generally be better off just using that.
Everything else that I either couldn't or didn't want to put in those other two sections. Many of these will be rapid fire, because they're either one note or entirely worthless.
I haven't even bothered using most of these skills, much less made sets heavily with them. With a few exceptions, which you'll notice because I'll drop the mocking sarcasm.
Prevents Water from slowing movements, and at higher levels improves your evasion in water.
Oh wow, I find myself constantly using this due to the abundance of water filled areas in Monster Hunter World. All the time.
/sarcasm. You have a mantle that does this in case you really had trouble dealing with the like one or two areas that are filled with water, and you really shouldn't. I guess it can be a poor mans evasion when you're fighting... Jyuratodus? Yeah, who cares.
Makes it easier to cook well done steaks.
Guys, I have a confession to make... The one achievement I couldn't get... is the one that requires you to make a well done steak. The minigame is so hard, I could never finish it and I always burnt my meat, just like when I jack off, until I found this legendary skill. 10/10, I run this on every set.
Increases the success rate of flash attacks.
Success rate? I thought it always worked if you put it in front of the monster's face while they weren't swooping around like a cocaine addict. Does this let you inflict it more total times to tempered monsters? Because if so that could be alright, if not though this skill is functionally useless. I'd test this if my game wasn't broken, so if someone knows then please let me know. Since tempered didn't originally gain immunity from flash attacks anyway I doubt it, since I don't think they'd include that with the change. Frankly if that's not the sitiation it really should be, that would give it that niche use in those fights to keep the flash train rolling a little longer.
Botanist and every other skill that makes you pick up more stuff
Do you need more of that thing? use your farm. Is it unfarmable, or do you really need more? Then you could use one of these skills to cut out the chaff. Since gathering is painless in World, other than fucium ore due to awful luck I never really found myself running out of gathering materials, and all the other stuff I can more or less farm so I don't ever feel the need to bother worrying even before the soft soil train gets rolling.
Prevents Knockback from attacks while carving.
Who cares, they already disabled griefing at quest end, and half the time whatever is there just leaves as soon as the big baddy goes down. I can't think of any time this would have been useful unless I'm dinking around in an expedition, in which case I sure as hell don't care because I'm probably goofing off anyway.
Reduces stamina depletion while climbing by 25%.
I don't think I've scaled a wall in this game that uses more stamina than I have, even while grapple spamming. Even if I had I sure as hell wouldn't invest in this trash so I could climb the wall faster.
They could have at least made it completely eliminate stamina consumption, so I could cosplay as Tarzan climbing up and down over and over for a deep fried video.
Reduces fixed stamina consumption (I.e. rolling, blocking, bow spam) by 10/20/30/40/50%.
Actually pretty nice on bow, letting you get in extra spam without having to worry so much about your stamina. For everything else it's pretty unnecessary; rolls and guards generally don't danger your stamina unless you go way overboard, because stamina management in world is far more forgiving than it is in older games. Still, the bow use is worth mentioning, and it has offensive and defensive capablities overall (though the guarding component is trumped by what the guard skill does), so it goes here.
This skill marks rare gathering points on the wildlife map.
This skill saved my family from cancer and helped me reach enlightenment, because when I saw it I was so disgusted I knew I had to reach a higher standard, and was from that point on able to make use of faith healing. If you want to reach sainthood and ascend this mortal plane, use this skill once. If you want to break the fabric of reality, use it twice. But if you want to be good at Monster Hunter World, don't use it at all.
Makes Dung Pods do their thing better.
My in game shoutout when simply asks 'who the ♥♥♥♥ even uses these?' whenever I fire one. In truth, they're sort of useful to keep the gangbang down, but where's the fun in that? If I'm not fighting three monsters at the same time using only my left foot to control the game, then how can I have fun, and this skill actively detracts from that.
Dung pods are more than good enough without this skill, and I couldn't really tell a difference between using this skill and not using it.
Negates the vale effluvium, so you don't have to do the torchpod thing.
Honestly convenient, but the only monster I really find myself consistently fighting in effluvium is the Great Girros, and he's... yeah. Rado won't touch the stuff, Doggie starts at the bottom where there is none, Vape only goes up there if you're slow at killing him, and Jho/Bazel will come to you and generally don't hang out in it otherwise in my experience. Basically it's a QOL skill that doesn't do much most of the time.
Increases the chance of finding rare gathering points.
Helps you get better rocks and bones I guess? Again, that was never really a huge problem for me. Similarly I don't use this skill, but I guess if you were putting together a hardcore gathering set so you could pretend you're charm farming in Monster Hunter World you'd run it, because as we all know charm hunting was the height of fun and only enhanced the quality of older games.
Increases attack by 10% and defense by 15% each time you eat♥♥♥.
Using this skill is expecting failure. If you're expecting failure you should use this skill, and it does a lot after you've fainted, but you shouldn't expect failure. But if you do cart a lot even after that pep talk, I guess you can use it.
Useful for making crappy clickbait youtube videos about having a zillion attack or defense that cheapen the quality of content the community puts out considerably. So if you want to be scum of the earth, then fortify is the skill for you.
25% of the time, you don't actually use that potion you just used, or any other food or drink item. Because that makes sense.
Cures world hunger by increasing the worldwide food and water supply by 25%, but doesn't help you kill monsters or not die from monsters.
Decreases the impact of attacks when guarding (more per level, except for 3 to 4), and reduces stamina consumption by 0/15/15/30/50% when you guard something.
Guard is an amazing skill for lance users and generally gunlance users too, and even charge blade users get use out of it, allowing them to guard point more stuff to do more guard point into SAED shenanigans. I don't really find it needed on CB, but I do use it all the time on lance. 3 points is enough for all your needs in my experience, you can use superguard to fill in any gaps, though you'll use it anyway for the ability to aim your counter. Grab 3 points of this and turn into a demon of a lance user by shield advancing through everything, countering/superguarding everything, and never, NEVER getting off the monster's ♥♥♥ Lance charge lets you do cool ♥♥♥♥ too, but that's not related to this skill.
It's so much fun when you have it down, I can't recommend playing this way enough.
Nullifies Heat Damage.
Basically this means you don't have to carry cool drinks for when you fight monsters in the hot areas of the recess. Yay?
Increases the duration of Hunting Horn Songs (increases health recovery for those songs).
Pretty great for Hunting Horn, generally making repeating songs far more lax, which lets you focus more on using the melodies for damage rather than worrying about keeping them up as much, though you often will automatically keep them up anyway. Not what I'd call necessary, but given it's a 1 slot gem and only takes 1 point, it's worth putting in on any hunting horn set once you get the decoration to do so if you have space.
30/60% longer to lose stamina, and the third point makes it impossible to lose stamina entirely
Another skill that probably does more to solve world hunger than actually help you kill the monster. Realistically once you're doing good at the game, even without this you're not going to get far enough in the fight to have to eat a ration. If you do, who cares, they take like half a second to eat and you can easily slip one in while the monster is changing areas, because it will also instantly max out your stamina when eaten, so you just dash after it till you're almost empty and swallow the meat.
Discourages or prevents small monsters from engaging you in battle, depending on the number of points invested.
This is for those of you who really, REALLY hate it when you can't fast travel because a jagras wants to bite you. If that makes you want to punch a hole in your computer, invest in this. For everyone else, just make some distance and you'll be able to fly away fine. This skill is functionally worthless.
Makes items last 10/25/50% longer
Helps you get the most out of certain items, assuming the duration is used and you don't end the hunt before the extra time kicks in. I wouldn't call this super useful, but you can use it to get extra mileage out of item buffs... if you even use item buffs, frankly they're entirely skippable, and you'll mainly see them used specifically for speedruns and not much elsewhere. Even if you do I don't find this skill worth making space for, but your mileage may vary. You can look at the items you intend to use, get the amount of extra buff time you get from this, compare it to your average hunt time and determine how much actual benefit this skill gives you, and that's all assuming you wouldn't just eat another one... But I wouldn't bother.
Slows down stamina use for stuff that uses stamina over time (I.E. dashing, hammer charging) by 15/30/50%.
Far less useful than constitution in general, because normally these don't use enough stamina to warrant needing more. The charging in particular really doesn't unless you're very finicky with when you'll go in for a pound. weapon wise, probably most useful with DBs demon mode, but dash juice is enough imo. Makes you not accidentally use all your stamina when chasing a monster down after it tries to switch areas, but that's really the only time I notice my stamina bottoming out.
Makes the fishing minigame easier.
This isn't FFXV, the fishing minigame in this game is ridiculously easy anyway, even for someone as ♥♥♥ as I am. Most of the time I just fire my capture net in the water to be as lazy as possible anyway, which lets you skip the entire minigame, though you scare all the other fish away doing this.
You gather faster, and you can't be knocked back while gathering.
This is basically carving pro except for bonepiles and mining nodes, which means it's even more worthless. But again, combine this with geologist and forager's luck and you can truly pretend you're charm farming Generations style (I believe Gen U/XX changed where you charm farm to something less boring, but haven't bothered to confirm this). Pretending you're charm farming is still more fun than actually charm farming... not that that's saying much.
Let's you eat shrooms for effects, depending on the shroom. Each level lets you eat more shrooms.
- Blue Mushroom: Potion effect except all at once.
- Toadstool: Immunizer effect (Recovery up)
- Nitroshroom: Attack up (demondrug)
- Parashroom: Defense up (armor skin)
- Devil's Blight: Dash Juice, reducing stamina depletion (unfortunately not negating it entirely)
- Mandragora: Max Potion effect. You can carry ten of these, so this is the main reason Newbs people use this skill. Does not work with wide range.
- Exciteshroom: Provides one of the other effects at random.
This skill does work with item prolonger just as an FYI, for the appropriate mushrooms.
Notice how every one of these mushrooms simply copies another item's effect. Now, unless you need 12 max potions for some reason (you don't), or want to use a meme mushroomancer set, you really don't need this skill. You can simply carry the other items you want to use, and you'll have plenty for most of them on their own. The mushroomancer gem is also one of the rarest in the game so good luck with that. None of this deals with the main 'ways to die' described in the defensive section, and for the effects you do want, just grab the appropriate item. You can even refill mid-quest in this game, in the rare event 2 max potions isn't enough.
Increases Palico attack and defense by 5/10/15/20/25%
Some moron on Youtube has probably made a video where he gets his palico to kill an elder dragon or some ♥♥♥ by using this skill and other buffs. Neither I nor you have time for that, and palicos aren't there to carry your damage, and they're already freaking impossible to kill in this game even without this skill, so palico rally really doesn't do anything, especially if you're using the more supportive tools (I.E. horn, Vwasp Spray).
You do damage to parts as if you were doing 10/20/30% more damage, making it easier to break them.
Honestly alright in general when you're trying to get important breaks or neuter the monsters in other ways, since it's basically a damage boost towards that goal without actually making things die faster. Since things don't die faster, that makes the use of this skill limited, since you'd usually rather just take more pure damage skills, and that's why it's in this section. However, its real use is in the Kulve Taroth fight (which hasn't been released on PC yet). Since the entire point of that fight is to break things (the horns specifically but other stuff too for more moolah), this skill literally effectively becomes a straight HUGE damage boost, making Mommy Kulve eat ♥♥♥ even easier. Outside of that fight as I've said it's completely usable, but once that fight drops throw this on and go hyper mode on that steaming golden ♥♥♥ Partbreaker gems are especially useful for this goal.
Increases your move speed while carrying eggs or meat or whatever, and makes landings less painful.
Use this for delivery quests. Don't use it for everything else. Simple.
Speeds up Weapon Sheathing. The speed increase goes up per point.
You can use it if you want to play greatsword the old fashioned way (you really shouldn't, but you can, and it's sorta ok for that). Other than that it's not really ever useful, because most of the time when you sheath it's because you're already planning on running towards the monster because he's halfway across the area, so a few extra seconds to sheath isn't a big deal.
Probably makes it easier to get out of the way of supernova and Nergi's dive bomb, but that's not usually an issue, especially with the former since a lot of the time you can just walk out of the way.
Increases the amount of 'level points' you get when gathering tracks by 50%.
By the time you're worried about set building you're certainly not worried about finding the monsters, since you probably know where they spawn and have high levels on all of them that often reveal where they are the moment you drop in. I used it very early game when I had nothing else available, but past that you're never going to touch it.
Speeds up progress on research levels and special investigations (story things).
Doesn't increase the number of investigations you find apparently.
Helps you fill out the research levels and get through the special investigation part of the game faster. If you care about doing these things faster you can use it for that, otherwise you won't touch it.
I'm just glad I can slap on some armor to become a scholar instead of going to college.
Scoutfly Range Up
Increases how far your scoutflies will jump to materials, tracks, etc.
Another convenience with flies skill, and just as useless as scenthound, for more or less similar reasons. Makes collecting tempered tracks less annoying if you don't know where they all are yet I guess. Once you do though you'll never touch this again, if you even touched it for that.
Increases slinger capacity for Non Monster Ammo/Some Monster Ammo/All Ammo
Fairly useless, I remember when I didn't have good gems on the PS4 version I slotted one of these gems in to hold an extra scatternut/crystalburst, because scatternuts are actually really useful, and that was ok sometimes. But aside from that I've never touched it; your slinger is a side arm, not the main deal, and should be treated as such. having an extra piercing or thorn pod really doesn't make a huge difference in my book, so the higher levels of this skill aren't too helpful.
Makes you crawl faster in the few places you crawl
Helps Keep you from eating ♥♥♥ when you crawl back into the nergigante fight after eating ♥♥♥ the first time. But that's hilarious every time it happens, so why would you try to prevent it? This skill has negative worth because its existence means there's a slight possibility someone will run it and I won't get to see that happen because of it, and thus I damn it to hell.
Lets you eat/drink stuff 20/40/70% faster.
Most commonly used with 'cleric' builds that utilize wide range to pretend they're helping when they stand in a corner and drink potions the whole fight. I actually don't mind the skill itself too much since it lets you get back in the fight faster and have better windows to consume things. Frankly, I still never run it, but if you have nothing else it can be filler, and you do feel its effects. The animations really aren't long enough to warrant it, and we can walk around while eating now, which further limits its usefulness.
Speeds up WHETSTONE use by 1/2/3 cycles.
I emphasized whetstone here because there are other items that you can use to sharpen, specifically the great whetfish scale, which last a lot of uses on average and also acts as if you've got speed sharpening. So if you want to do the protective polish sharpening thing mid combat, you're better off using one of those rather than using this skill, because it completely eclipses the skill since it already does what the skill does by itself.
But if that didn't exist, I could see the use in this skill for the reason I outlined. Again, it's hard to get in given the quality available to us otherwise, and since we have an alternative, why bother? Having to find the scales may be annoying though.
Recover 20/35/60 health when using a sporepuff
Basically turns sporepuffs into vitalilies with a smokescreen for you. Since they already hide you, aren't too too common, and you probably tend to set them off accidentally, this skill really isn't helpful at all. You're stealthed due to the cloud so go nuts with a potion if you have to.
Speeds up stamina recovery by 10/20/30%
Since stamina already isn't a problem, and since if you get to the point where you're recovering stamina you're usually fine off, and since the other skills thus basically do what this does but better (and more too, as they go to 50%), I don't see much use in this. The amount also isn't that great for the cost to get it. It's far from the worst skill in the game (looks at speed crawler), but it's not helpful most of the time.
Makes it progressively easier for monsters to lose sight of you per point (hiding in bushes, sporepuffs too I guess)
You can use this to roleplay as a stealth player, which can be pretty bloody entertaining if you get bored, but otherwise it's functionally useless.
If you really wanna stealth for some reason outside of that Roleplay aspect, just bring the ghillie mantle, or use the bushes at their base, they typically work fine if you need them to.
Makes Hunter tools take 5/10/20% less time to recharge. Note you still have to take off the mantle or replace it with another mantle for it to start recharging.
Really getting one use out of a mantle and 1-2 out of boosters is usually enough to get enough of an advantage to close out the fight, and you can carry 2 tools post-Xeno. Hunts have to go on for a really long time to make this really pay off (at 20% you'd have to sit through 5 recharges to have gotten a 'free' recharge). While the mantles and boosters themselves are quite powerful, this skill doesn't contribute enough to being able to use them more often to warrant a spot.
Weapons sharpness doesn't decrease for 60 seconds after sharpening.
An absolutely beautiful skill, and frankly necessary with some weapons used with a handicraft setup, this lets you stay in white for a minute longer no matter how much you hit the monster during that time. This may not seem like a lot, but it's absolutely huge and translates to a pretty colossal damage bonus in the aforementioned setups. It's on the doggie set as a bonus, but you can find a gem for it which is the only time you'll really be using it.
Increases your evasion distance, more per point, doesn't impact your I frames at all, but may make it easier to get through attacks because you move farther per frame.
A great repositioning tool with some weapons, I especially tend to like it on gunlance since gunlance lacks the lance charge and other lance-y things. Not something I'd go out of your way for, but it can make it easier to get standing where you need to, and open up mobility with some weapons that you had a harder time accessing before.
Items affect nearby allies with 33/33/66/66/100% of their efficacy, and the radius also grows when investing in this skill.
This skill itself honestly isn't bad. It's nice to carry some points of this to offer some extra healing to your teammates whenever you decide to heal... However, this shouldn't be your focus. In multiplayer just you being there is increasing the health of the monster (2.7 times or somehting like that for the jump from solo to multi), so if you don't contribute damage, you're going to make the fight take much longer than it should have. Furthermore, going cleric mode is a snooze, and you already have several items that affect other hunters: life powder, demon powder, armor powder, health boosters, cleanser boosters, affinity boosters. All of these should be enough in their own right. I often carry a health booster myself because setting it down is easy to do and it can help a teammate out.
Most hunters are fully capable of healing themselves; this isn't an MMORPG raid, you don't need to sit there playing heals all day. Grab some points if you can fit it or just want to be an extra bit of a team player. The team will handle itself, and if you wanna contribute a little extra with a few points in this skill or by bringing health boosters or other boosters, then you do you, but don't go full ham with this setup unless you want to turn the game boring and have people make fun of you, just to feel like you're contributing despite not dealing damage.
Alright, that should be every skill in the game except for set bonuses. If I've missed any, which is very possible considering how many there are, please let me know and I'll add it to the list... hopefully without having to make a new section, but we shall see.
Some skills are activated with set bonuses. Generally I know less about these because I don't use them as often because of the high entry cost, but a few are useful.
Set bonuses (elementless and protective polish) that I've covered in other sections won't be covered again here.
Unlike the skills, the set bonuses will be listed with the armor set that gives them, but not how many pieces it takes most of the time (it's gonna be 2, 3, or 4). That would be a little overdone for skills, and you can just check the smithy and search around for what you're looking for and try to decide what gives you what you want. Experiment~
Note, even though Elless and Protective Polish aren't in here because they have decos, some deco skills may be in here. I'll mention it if the skills are found elsewhere, I separated those two out because of how important they are.
Adrenaline (Anjanath Set)
Halves stamina consumption when you're at 40% HP or less for a limited(?) time
Completely pointless if you have dash juice, and you may not wanna stick around at/intentionally get to low health in some fights. Doesn't do anything for many classes unlike heroics, but for the ones it does work with it can be pretty nice overall. The fact it's attached to the anjanath set limits it heavily though, but that sort of goes for most set bonuses that aren't on the armor sets you use to build the general sets you want to.
Stamina Cap up (Anjanath Set)
Raises your max stamina to 200.
Similar to adrenaline though it's always on and you can't get this bonus anywhere else, making it more useful, but since it's tied to using 4 pieces of high rank anja armor, you're very limited in what else you can do. Means you can do more spammy spammy with certain setups, or a longer demon dance before having to recharge, etc. It's the fact that it's a set bonus and that stamina is generally more plentiful in this game that holds it back.
Guts (Bazel Set)
Once, while above a certain HP threshold, you won't die from an attack that would normally kill you. (not sure if this resets upon carting).
The Bazel set is sort of awkward, but I don't hate it completely. This skill actually shows a little marker on your health bar so you can see where the 'survival' range is. With the one shots endgame, this skill comes in to its own, but the fact it's tied to this set and it has a once only stipulation limits its potential.
Apparently the Lunastra hammer also gives you this skill.
Commission Guidance (Commission Set)
Lets you get an extra carve after killing the monster.
You know what also essentially gets you an extra carve? Capturing a monster, and it doesn't require you to wear 4 pieces of armor of a virtually useless set.
Though I guess getting an extra carve is nice if you feel like cosplaying as the handler, since it helps make up for how much longer you'll take to kill things when using this set.
Apparently doesn't work if you join mid quest, and this is the same for other 'bonus reward' skills.
Bludgeoner (Diablos Set)
Gives you a damage boost when your sharpness decreases (starts happening at green)
Not that impressive, the damage boost doesn't keep up with the sharpness modifier lost (I forget exactly what it translates to, people have tested it). Worth using if you're lazy and want to run a green weapon specifically, but it's worthless in comparison to simply using a blue weapon, or a white weapon if you're running a handicraft set. It's honestly not that annoying to get at mid-game ish, so I often use it when running through the game until I'm up to nergi weapons, but when I'm past that it gets dropped.
Great Luck (Guild Cross Set)
Gives you more rewards upon quest completion on average.
Similar to the commission set, so who cares. It helps you get more stuff in less time, just like killing something faster helps you get more stuff in less time. The guild cross set also isn't as dope as the commission set, which automatically docks it a few points. It even has fortify on the waist, which makes me want to burn it because I am an easily enraged toddler.
Capture Master (Kirin Set)
Increased capture rewards on average.
Refer to the previous sections, and having to stack up 3 pieces for this is still painful here, though I'd say this set is less bad than the other 2, and getting more cap rewards is relevant since capturing is already better than killing for strictly farming purposes.
Nullify Wind Pressure (Kushala set)
Negates ALL wind, including Kush's super windy boi mode.
Rocksteady mantle says hi and that it still exists and is asking why you'd run this set bonus just for that. The kushala set does have some usable pieces, like the beta chest, but getting on 3 pieces is a hard sell. It's doable, but this set bonus isn't enough of a reward to warrant going out of your way to do it, even when fighting Kush himself.
Nergigante Hunger (Nergigante Set)
Aye, now here's a solid one. This set bonus restores your health every few hits you do to the monster, and the amount you get depends on the weapon and attack you're using. It's not a gamechanging amount usually mind you, but it really rewards aggression and does a great job of helping you stay in there. This is combined with the fact the nergi set already has several high value pieces. On my endgame Handi set in PC world, I do fall one piece short of activating this set bonus, and I always miss it just a little. The Nergi set is fantastic though, with all of its pieces having high value between the alpha and beta, except for the chest.
Health augments do the same sort of thing.
Punishing Draw (Odogaron Set)
Adds a stun component to draw attacks, and gives you 5 TAV.
Why is this a set bonus? This should just be a gem, like protective polish is. You can run it to even further roleplay Old Great Sword, but past that this skill is functionally useless, and the 5 TAV doesn't even come close to making this up.
Doggie armor will just have to continue being a swanky fashion set and little more.
Poison Duration Up (Pink Rathian Set)
Increases how long your poison lasts, assumingly making it more potent in general. This implies you have to be the one to inflict it, and that it odesn't help out poison cups.
Are you running a pure poison set? Then you should run this set bonus. If you're not, you shouldn't, it's that simple.
Strangely the set doesn't actually come with much poison attack up, so you'll have to find most of that elsewhere if you want to go pure poison for some reason.
Critical Element (Rathalos Set)
Makes it so elements benefit from crits. If you're running a heavy element crit set, then you'll want this skill. It also only needs two pieces with high rank rathalos, making this completely doable.
Mind's Eye/Ballistics (Rathalos Set)
This is the other most notable set bonus in the game that also has a decoration. A very rare decoration might I add.
This makes it so your weapons never bounce, which is meh, since if you're bouncing you're already swinging at the wrong part, but it is nice to keep from getting punted because Uragaan or Black Diablos turned their faces into your strike. For melee overall it's a quality of life skill that helps you keep the flow going.
For gunners however, this skill is amazing. It improves the total amount of range that is considered 'critical distance' which is the range you want to maintain to be doing good damage with these weapons. This allows you to be far more consistent with your damage dealing using these weapons, and overall makes you more flexible with your positioning.
However... the cost of 4 HR rathalos parts is pretty steep... but we do have the decoration which is where this truly shines... good luck finding it though.
You don't lose sharpness with your weapon when you score a critical hit.
This armor set skill allows you to run some really fun crit sets aimed at keeping high sharpness up forever. Its main problem that keeps it from truly shining, however, is the fact its limited to a set bonus (no deco here), and that it doesn't play nice with the strongest weapons in the game. Protective Polish, meanwhile, works consistently with everything and comes in deco form.
It's worth building master's touch sets for fun with the teo setup. The drachen setup I've heard has reached some prominence in general, due to having generally strong skills, good access to crit boost, and what looks to be a whole lot of slot potential despite this, which opens it up for a lot of tinkering with the right gems. I haven't tinkered with it yet myself, but that's what I have heard.
Guard Up (Uragaan Set)
Makes ordinarily unblockable attacks blockable. Also available in a charm and a decoration.
There aren't enough of these kinds of attacks to warrant going out of your way for this overall, but it's actually really nice to slot in in a few matchups if you're running lance. Makes attacks you might normally have trouble with lancing, like the jho grab, as simple to deal with as everything else. Far from necessary though, especially in most matchups in the game, there just aren't enough fast or tricky attacks that can't be guarded to make this a necessity, but it's still good.
Super Recovery (Hazaak Set)
You now recover all health naturally, not just the red portion.
Natural is a little misleading, because this skill doesn't actually work with recovery up, it works with Recovery Boost because it's not 'natural' healing, it's the bonus healing you. Seems pretty slow overall too, but you'll see it used in cancer 'tank' sets designed to be able to take and deal with a lot of damage. I don't think you should build for this at all, but if you want to do it for the memes or some other reason, the Hazaak set has you covered with this and the other things that are on it.
Don't expect it to save you, or neglect healing you need to let this do its thing, it's just a nice addition and should be treated as such.
Razor Sharp/Spare Shot (Xeno set)
Halves sharpness loss with melee weapons, shots with the bowguns/coatings used with bows have a 20% chance to 'not count', meaning your magazine in the case of bowguns is essentially 20% bigger on average, and you're basically carrying 20% more total ammo. Apparently multiple Lunastra melee weapons give this bonus too.
This set bonus is great with bowguns in particular, but the problem tends to be the rest of the set not being super good. Still, it's very hard to turn up your nose to a bonus like that, and you can use it to cluster bomb spam the hell out of things very easily on average. With melee weapons it's far less useful because of how much you sacrifice to get it by using 3 pieces of the xeno sets, and razor sharp tends to not be useful enough to warrant this.
Critical Status (Zorah Set)
This does for statuses what Critical Element does for elements. But it's a little... tougher to get set up in general, because 1. Zorah is a boring ♥♥♥ fight that no one wants to do multiple times if they can help it, and 2. it requires 3 pieces of a generally weaker set that doesn't itself contribute to crit chance, heavily limiting its usefulness.
Good Luck (Legiana Set)
Does what great luck does except worse. Next.
Bow Charge Plus (Legiana Set)
Increases your max bow charge level by one. This is also in decoration form, which is frankly crazy.
Bow charge plus is simply put an amazing skill for bow users... if you get it from the decoration. As it stands, having to use 4 pieces of the legiana set greatly hurts the potential of the skill, to the point it's not worth building the whole set endgame just for that skill, though it's still quite powerful even despite that.
If you DO find the decoration though, slot it into your bow set asap because it's great, and also rare as all hell, I sure as ♥♥♥ haven't seen one.
There are some DLC armor set bonuses, but other than the mentions I've made up to this point of them, I'm not going to mention them until they come out for PC for now. Assuming, of course, the game is fixed for me when that ♥♥♥ comes out, It's currently unplayable at the moment, and I know it's not my computer's fault