A simple guide to advantages, combos and the utility of various gunlances according to their shell types.
Other MHW Guides:
- Achievements and Trophies.
- All Camp Locations.
- All Palico Gadget Locations.
- Armor Skills (Guide).
- Where to Find Kirin (Elder Dragon).
- Bow Guide.
One of the less commonly-used shell types, it has some serious disadvantages compared to Long and Normal shells... But don't throw these in the bin just yet, okay? Like any weapon, this sub-type has its upsides as well.
While the range on the shelling AND wyvernfire is quite short (gotta press it into the beast's gut) the spread is the real draw. With damage from shelling equal to that of Normal shells, the charged shelling deals greater damage than usual and the spread allows these shots to hit multiple parts of the monster at once.
Wide shell gunlances also deal more damage with their pile than the other gunlances, so be sure to take advantage of your overhead, sweep, stab and stake combo! With fewer shells than the other shell types, you really don't need to bother with increasing their count. Focus on staking and slashing.
Also to note, wide gunlances while typically ineffective for normal shelling tend to have better sharpness and attack ratings, so they're generally more well-balanced for melee. If you wanna slice and stake, this is the shell type for you.
Unless the monster is stunned or downed, don't risk firing your wyvernfire. The range is so abysmal you'd just be wasting your time and chancing death.
My personal favorite, the Long shell type takes advatnage of those aspects of the gunlance that are truly unique.
Featuring the greatest range on shelling and the wyvernfire of all three shell types, this variety of gunlance is the best for its consistency, reach and ability to breach defenses. Against heavily-armored foes with a high chance for rebound, the Long shell gunlance accels.
Unlike Normal shell gunlances, the Long shell type focuses on damage per shot, rather than damage in a burst, allowing it decent recovery times so long as you don't fire your wyvernstake or wyvernfire prematurely.
To note, the Long shell type deals LESS damage with its wyvernstake than the other shell types. While it can still be effective against weak points (those with brightly-colored numbers to indicate such), it wears down your sharpness faster than almost anything else and also puts you into a lengthy recovery animation.
On the flipside, your wyvernfire has the best range and damage between all three shell types. While the recovery animation is lengthy as with your wyvernstake, however, it also sends you rocketing in reverse, allowing you a sort of 'quickstep' after firing to avoid any potential swings to beat you. If timed well, this can easily be used to avoid retaliation whilst vulnerable.
For optimal shelling, I highly suggest you fire twice, stab, fire till you're empty, then reload... And repeat. Your stake is cool, but it breaks your DPS, leaves you vulnerable and is only really effective when striking a weak point. Save it for when the monster is downed or stunned so you can easily select those vulnerable sections of its body. Even then, use it AFTER you've emptied your shells into it first.
In summary, the Long shell type is heavily focused on its shelling. Use and abuse it, blast with your wyvernfire and use your pile sparingly.
Normal shelling is an oddity among the shell types. It's brutally effective, but rips through sharpness. With average damage only slightly lower than that of Wide shelling, wyvernfire damage and range between Long and Wide, as well as the highest shell count of all the shell types... The uses of the Normal shell are pretty plain to see.
Use wide swings, slam, then blast away every shell all at once in a burst! The stake is also viable due to its half-and-half balance, as is the wyvernfire. That said, the best damage you're going to get is through your bursts.
For optimal pain, use your full combo, burst, then stake to rake in the pain. Keep in mind, there's one huge downside to using the Normal shell type in this fashion... Your recovery animations. You're going to be staggering after bursts, as well as during pile-insertions.
As such, while able to hit harder all at once than the other gunlance varieties with greater consistency, you're going to have to more carefully manage your assault.
As a result of your bursts, you'll also be tearing your sharpness apart. While not as severe as using the burst on Long or Wide shell types, it's still bad enough that you'll find yourself dropping sharpness levels every two or three bursts.
To offset this problem I highly suggest using the Mind's Eye / Ballistics skill to prevent rebounds when sharpness is lesser and/or the 3-part effect of the Xeno'jiiva armor set, Xeno'jiiva Divinity: Razor Sharp / Spare Shot, to halve sharpness loss.
Alternatively, Protective Polish can be used with quick sharpening skills or whetstone scales to quickly sharpen and outright prevent sharpness loss for a duration of sixty(60) seconds.