Guide on guard pointing your way to victory
I’ve been seeing a lot of questions here about how to guard point and I figured I’d write up a guide on how to do it, and what to do with it. Note that I call all phials and phial damage blasts. You can also get charge blades elemental phials that do a lot of elemental damage at once.
For this guide I’m going to assume that you’re already familiar with the charge blade although unfamiliar with some of its nuances. To get a comprehensive look at its moves take a look at this video
What is a guard point?
Guard points are those frames in certain moves when your character is able to auto-block an incoming attack. This happens in a few different moments all of which are described in gaijinhunter’s video. It’s similar to the moment of invincibility during a dodge roll but with a block that does damage. He’s also got a good video as well where he practices guard points so you can see what it looks like.
The first and easiest to pull off is the morph from blade to axe. There seems to be about a ~1/2-1second window (not sure how long) when your character has their shield out in front of them while morphing to the axe. The monster will hit your shield, it’ll cancel the animation and put you back into sword mode. There’s a few different things you can do after this that are important that I’ll talk about later. The other one is at the end of the circle slash in sword combos or the morph from axe to sword.
There are also two distinct types of guard points, an uncharged shield and a charged shield type. Check out gaijinhunter’s video to see how to charge your shield (sword attack →X→X+A→X+A→R) and why it’s important. It gives your axe attacks a 20% damage boost, gives your guard points blast/KO damage and gives you the guarding ability of a lance making your guard point that much more powerful. YOU ALWAYS WANT TO HAVE YOUR SHIELD CHARGED. The uncharged shield just builds energy, is weaker so you get knocked back a bunch and doesn’t do blast damage.
All guard points also build up phial energy, which is nice. Sidenote, it eats up a point of sharpness I believe whenever you guard point
Why do I want to guard point?
Guard point is basically charge blade’s moment of invincibility (although you can still dodge roll/sidestep through attacks). The thing that’s great about guard point is that you inflict blast damage, which when it’s to the face does KO/Elemental damage and otherwise does true raw damage.
Because you can chain guard points after any attack in sword/axe mode, you can basically fluidly keep attacking THROUGH an enemy’s attack, even using the fact that they attacked you against them by giving yourself a larger opening. Check out this guy’s channel to see why guard pointing is so powerful. Monsters are usually knocked back/react a little bit when they are guard pointed and this can be abused to put the pain onto monsters. If you want the most out of your charge blade you NEED to incorporate guard points into your play. I do believe that on some level the charge blade was designed around this idea of infinitely attacking and guard points allowed the designers to bridge that allowing for a high level of play. They’re so vital in how they allow you to keep your damage output up that you always want to guard point over evading pretty much (unless it’s an unblock able attack)
The biggest benefit of guard point over dodge roll moment of invincibility is that it’s significantly longer. If you’re good, you can guard point pretty much every attack a monster can throw at you as long as you can predict it. Since it’s so easy to chain into combos, you can very quickly panic a guard point in and usually you’ll hit it. It’s a lot faster to go into a guard point then it is into a straight guard. Personally, I rarely, if ever roll through attacks. I either avoid monster attacks entirely or basically guard point it.
How do I do it?
Basically there’s a few ways to get into guard point. I’ll list the ones I know here and if others come up with more, I’ll add it in.
- From any sword attack or neutral, press R+X and your character will pull their shield out in front of them while morphing to an axe and block the attack. This is the easiest to do. Basically as soon as you see an attack coming, press R+X in the direction of the attack and it will be blocked. The one from a sword attack is longer than the one from neutral so you may see yourself going X→R+X more often than the other since it’s easier to time out. If you’ve had practice doing dodge rolls though hitting it from neutral is easier than that so you should be fine.
- When in axe mode morph back to sword by pressing R and at the end of the morph, your character will have their shield out in front of them for a while blocking the attack. This is harder to time out since you’ll basically have to predict an attack 1-1.5 seconds before it comes in. It’s not easy but it’s doable (a Tigrex scrabbling back at you can be guard pointed like this).
- If you do a circle slash (x-x-x combo) or charge your shield (basically a shield thrust into the circle slash) your character will have their shield out in front of them blocking the attack. This is usually accidental. I can shield charge into a guard point somewhat reliably but not the other way around.
What should I do after a guard point?
I posted a thread and a link to a channel a few days ago and the biggest question I got is the things that you can do after a guard point. This is something I haven’t seen discussed in much detail by gaijinhunter or in guides so I decided to work on explaining this part. What you do is incredibly situational and playing well will rely on knowing the monster and reading what will come next correctly. This channel I linked yesterday has a guy who does wonders with the charge blade. Immediately after a guard point (after the short stagger by your character) you can
- Sit there: you will sit there with your shield out in front of you for a little while, you’ll be safe for a short time but your guard will be down briefly before you can attack again. I would recommend never doing this.
- Dodge roll into sword attacks, Press B, then x/a: Roll or sidestep through an attack and then keep attacking with the sword. Press B and the direction you want to move in and you can immediately keep attacking although with a sword. If you don’t feel like you can correctly predict the next move or you know there’s not much time, do this.
- Axe Attack, Press X: Morph to axe and then begin wailing on the monster in axe mode, do this if your opening is a bit longer, but there is a better alternative
- Ultra Burst/Shield Charge, X+A→X+A/R: This is incredibly situational and you should only do this if your angle is good and you think you can land this on the head or a weak spot on the monster. It has a very long wind up, discharges all your phials and does a shitload of damage. Consequently it’s hard to pull off and should only be used if your opening is big. You can also charge your shield by pressing R immediately after the first X+A. It’ll consumer all your phials but refresh your shield.
- Super Burst, X+A→Down/Direction+X→circle pad in direction of monster’s head: The best thing to do since a decent number of correctly done guard points cause the monster to momentarily buck, especially if you use guard+2, is to super burst. Wind up as you would for the ultra burst and when your character pulls the blade behind them, immediately push your circle pad down and press x (if you’re using orientation 2 for the circle pad in options). Otherwise if you prefer orientation 1 move the circle pad in the direction that would be behind your hunter (can be down if you tap L twice beforehand) and hit X. Once wound up and when the axe is over your character’s head, you can position your super burst’s direction (about a small cone in front of you) so that you can aim for the monster’s head. After the super burst (which does 90KO damage, after 2GPs to the face and this, you have a KO!!) your character switches to sword again. This is my favorite one to use and I abuse it constantly.
Guard+2. IMO, this skill is crucial to getting the most out of charge blade. It reduces knockback (the time your character takes to steady themselves after guarding) to the point that it’s trivial and you can really abuse this to inflict massive damage or if you’re good knock out the monster. Using rank appropriate gear, with this skill my kill time for tigrex went from from 14-15 minutes to 7-9 minutes so you can see how powerful it is.