The Great Sword in Monster Hunter World, is well... great! As if the sight of your hunter wielding a sword so large that they shouldn’t be able to lift it wasn’t enough, the Great Sword also deals the most damage per hit in the game. You can easily solo most monsters with a Great Sword, as long as you hunt them well, and in a team you can decimate a monster in seconds with a few powerful swipes once it’s downed.
The key to the Great Sword is the combination of that massive damage with a larger than average range and reach. You can perform both vertical and horizontal attacks, making it possible to target specific parts of a monster, even with such a massive weapon.
The Great Sword becomes even more powerful when using Charge Attacks. Combined, all of the Charge Attacks can actually flinch a monster, opening them up for further attacks from your team.
The caveat to this power is that the Great Sword is incredibly slow to use, even on Charge Attacks. If you find yourself in the middle of an attack, and you see the monster about to hit you, you can tackle out of the attack animation. This will not help you avoid damage, but if you time it properly, you could manage to deal some blunt damage to the monster, and even stun it.
As I mentioned, tackling doesn’t prevent you from receiving damage. If you tackle successfully, you’ll still take the full damage that the monster was going to deal to you, but you won’t be knocked back. This might sound like a stupid move, but it allows you to keep your combos flowing without interruption, and keeps you close to the monster where you can deal that all important damage.
If you don’t have time to dodge, you can use the Great Sword to block an incoming attack. Blocking will consume stamina, but it’s worth doing because it will also deal a small amount of damage to the monster.
Blocking will also lower your Great Sword’s sharpness gauge, just like it would when you attack with it. Thankfully the sharpness gauge lowers slowly on the Great Sword in particular. If you’re doing a lot of blocking, keep an eye on the sharpness gauge, and use a Whetstone if it gets too low. The last thing you want is to block an attack, only to find that your Great Sword is so blunt that it bounces off the monster’s hide.
Tips and Tricks for Using a Great Sword
The most basic tip that everyone needs to know about the Great Sword is that you can sheathe it. Once drawn, you can deal the massive damage I mentioned earlier, but you’ll be extremely slow to chase the monster when it flees. At the point that you need to close the distance between you and said monster, sheathe the Great Sword and run. You can then draw the weapon when you’re closer to it, and get those combos rolling.
If you absolutely cannot dodge away from an attack, then block, but try to only use it when there are no other options. The reason I say this is because guarding will use up a lot of the weapon’s sharpness, and that will force you to stop and use a Whetstone much sooner than you need to.
When you’ve tracked a monster down and found it sleeping, sneak up on it and use a Charged Slash. Sleeping monsters are susceptible to higher damage, so it makes sense to use your most powerful move on them in this state. Stay back from the sleeping beast though, this move requires some distance and time to work, and charge the Great Sword until you can perform the True Charged Slash. Maximum damage will be achieved from hitting the monster while sleeping in either the head or tail, so aim well.
The best tactic for attacking a fallen monster is to get in, do a Charge Slash attack, and then dodge out and sheathe your weapon. The Great Sword makes you slow, so getting in and out fast, whilst also dealing a bit of damage makes the most sense in intense combat situations.
New Moves in Iceborne
With Iceborne the Great Sword got a couple of new moves. First, as with most weapons in the expansion, I need to mention the Clutch Claw. This can damage a monster’s hide, making that location weaker. Use the Clutch Claw and slice that same region on the monster for higher damage.
Another new move is Slinger Burst. Use this directly after an attack to stagger the monster. You can use it after pretty much any attack, apart from True Charge Slash. Using Slinger Burst straight after a Charge Slash is probably the best combination.
Is the Great Sword Viable in Iceborne?
One of the big changes the Great Sword saw with Iceborne was an increase to the attack power of True Charged Slash. If you manage to hit with True Charged Slash, the next hit will also be more powerful as a result.
Slinger Burst also makes it easier for you to pull off True Charged Slash more often. Really it’s whether you’re okay with the lack of movement this weapon brings with its increased power. That balance hasn’t changed in Iceborne, so if you enjoyed using the Great Sword already, you probably still will.
There you have it, all of my tips for using the Great Sword in Monster Hunter World, plus the upgrades it has seen with Iceborne. Overall you can’t fault the weapon, and it’s probably the most iconic in the series.
Yes, you’re going to look like the dog that picked up a tree in its jaws and won’t admit that it’s too small to fit through the gate. Unlike that dog however, you can smash the gate, kill a giant monster using your stick, and put some fancy feathers all over it. If you want to be the dog with the fancy feathers, then the Great Sword is for you.