TL;DR: RIP Axe Mode 2010-2016 unless…. you are using a non-Power Phial SA without Demon Riot equipped. Then it’s kinda OK. Scroll to Conclusion section for details.

After putting together a nicely formatted list of MHGen motion values for the Switch Axe I decided to put those numbers to use and try to figure out what exactly is the highest DPS combo we can do to a monster in an extended opening like a pitfall or trip. I’ve heard it said that the infinite axe chop combo is one of the highest DPS attacks in the game but I’ve also heard that Sword mode beats everything now because of Demon Riot. So which is it? Does Axe chopping beat Sword swinging? By how much? Do we need power phials and demon riot to make it worth it? Well, let’s see…

———– THE GOOD STUFF ———–

Base (No Power Phial or Demon Riot)

ChopChop (w/ open + finish)37.20
Discharge Cancel35.28
Slash Discharge35.19
Slash Discharge (Striker)35.08
Quick Cancel34.50
A > A33.73
Striker Discharge Cancel32.68
X > A / Striker A > A30.00
Full Elemental Discharge29.06
X > X28.50

Power Phial or Demon Riot Active

Discharge Cancel (P)42.43
Slash Discharge42.23
Slash Discharge (Striker)42.10
Quick Cancel (P)41.40
A > A (P)39.74
Striker Discharge Cancel39.22
ChopChop (open + finish)37.20
X > A / Striker A > A (P)36.00
Full Elemental Discharge34.88
X > X (P)34.20

Power Phial and Demon Riot Active

Discharge Cancel (P+R)49.50
Slash Discharge (7.9 sec)49.27
Slash Discharge (Striker) (6.1 sec)49.11
Quick Cancel (P+R)48.30
A > A (P+R)46.37
Striker Discharge Cancel45.76
X > A / Striker A > A (P+R)42.00
Full Elemental Discharge40.69
X > X (P+R)39.90
ChopChop (open + finish)37.20

What is Discharge and Quick Cancelling?
This is when we initiate an Elemental Discharge mid combo but instead of finishing with the final explosive blast we cancel out of it with another A input. In the case of Discharge Cancel we initiate the discharge, hit X until all 6 mini blasts go off, then cancel out with an A input. Quick Cancelling is initiating an Elemental Discharge then immediately cancelling out of the first stab motion with an A input before any of the mini discharges happen.

Here are the exact inputs for each.

Discharge Cancel:            A > A > X+A > X*6 > A Cancel > Repeat
Quick Cancel:                A > A > X+A > Immediate A Cancel > Repeat
Striker Discharge Cancel:    A > X+A > X*6 > A Cancel > Repeat

Full Elemental Discharges / Slash Discharging
It takes 6.4 seconds to perform a Full Elemental Discharge and it deals 40 MPS over this duration with Power Phial and Demon Riot up. It also forces you in to Axe Mode so it is generally a catastrophic DPS loss.

However, by opening with an A slash (like in Cancelling) we can enter Discharge without the lengthy startup animation which improves the MPS value to competitive levels. Again, after a full Discharge we are forced back in to Axe Mode making efficient follow up DPS impossible. Thus, if your attack opening is longer than the animations for these combos you would be losing damage by performing them.

Full Elemental Discharge:    X+A > X*6 > Complete Discharge > Disengage            6.4 Seconds
Slash Discharge:             A > A > X+A > X*6 > Complete Discharge > Disengage    7.9 Seconds
Slash Discharge (Striker):   A > X+A > X*6 > Complete Discharge > Disengage        6.1 Seconds

Assuming we are equipped with a pure physical Power Phial Switch Axe.

Guild Style
Discharge Cancelling is the highest damage combo available to Guild Style by a decent margin. Slash Discharging is never worth doing – it is weaker and prevents continuous DPS after 1 combo. Quick Cancelling is a fantastic option for when you aren’t sure your attack window allows for Discharging; it is high MPS and maintains the ability to roll out at very short notice.

Striker Style
Slash Discharging is the highest damage combo possible for Striker but prevents continuous DPS after 1 combo. For any opening longer than 6.1 seconds Discharge Cancelling beats it out. Note: A>A for Striker is the same as X>A for other styles (ie, Down Slash (32) > Side Slash (28)).

Aerial Style
Cancelling is unavailable to Aerial Style users as Elemental Discharge has been moved to an aerial attack. A > A wins in all cases. Edit: It has come to my attention that vault attack spamming and, by extension, vault attack discharge cancelling is actually fairly high MPS. More testing will be done soon.

Adept Style
Same as Guild.

Element/Status Phial
With Demon Riot up Discharge Cancelling wins with Quick Cancelling coming close second. Without Riot up Chopping comes out on top.

That’s About It

Lastly, it should be mentioned that it is considerably more difficult to consistently target a monster weak spot with sweeping A attacks. If you are 100% accurate with X it may still edge out the more inconsistent accuracy of A. Likewise, it is not uncommon to miss as your sword raises during Discharging. My calculations are purely motion value based and don’t account for accuracy or human error. In addition; if you miss an A sweep completely, say, by sweeping under a monsters chin when trying to hit its head, you’ve lost far more damage than using X instead. Though these numbers are mostly aimed at giving you an idea of your DPS over an extended opening like a trip or pitfall trap so missing all together shouldn’t be a problem.

Also, elemental damage is calculated differently to physical damage. Element damage doesn’t care at all about motion; it only cares about how often you hit and where you hit. This means high attack-per-second combos like axe chopping (1.58 APS) and Striker Discharge Cancel (1.95 APS) may prove to be more effective with an elemental weapon.

Thanks to Radicool21 and CynicalCrit who pointed out it’s possible to cancel AA XA AA very smoothly

For those that want to know how I worked out these numbers so they can do it themselves or check and correct anything here I’ll explain a bit what I did.

The motion values I’ve used for this are these which I compiled myself from this source: .

Switch Axe
Axe Mode
Upward ChopX + A32
ChopChopChop* ComboX+A > A*24
ChopChopChop FinisherX+A > A* > R30+30+40 (100)
Sword Mode
Down SlashX32
Up SlashX > X25
Back SlashA28
Double SlashA > A28 + 36 (64)
DischargeX + A28 + 13×7 + 80 (199)

I had to get some animation timings down to figure this out so after a few minutes with a stop watch (no frame counting here, sorry!) I determined the following timings.

ChopChop: 1.58 attacks per second
X > X: 1.0 attacks per second
A > A: 0.72 attacks per second
ChopChop opener takes 1.4 seconds to perform.
ChopChop finisher takes 1.9 seconds to perform.

Using this information it’s easy enough to quickly determine the total motion value for the basic X > X, A > A and chopchop combo (excluding the opener and finisher) over any given time.

The base formula I used is:


For example, 10 seconds of Chopping (excluding the opening and finishing attacks) ends up being (10 x 1.58) floored x 24 = 360 total motion.
While 10 seconds of X>X’ing ends up being (10 x 1) x 28.5 = 285.

We floor the first part to determine how many whole attacks can be performed in the given time (ie before the monster interrupts you). We can’t perform half an attack in monster hunter.

Since X > X has two different motion values I averaged the motion to make it easier to calculate. It also makes it less accurate but it should not be by any considerable amount. As for A > A the motion difference between hit 1 and hit 2 in the combo is much larger so averaging this will lead a greater margin for error depending on the specified time. Unfortunately I’m not well versed enough in excel to understand how to calculate the alternating motion values in to more accurate motion per second figures.

For sword attacks with power phial or riot we just multiply the motion by 1.2. With both power phial and riot we multiply by 1.4.

To fit the ChopChop opener and finisher in to the equation we simply subtract their animation time (1.4s and 1.9s respectively) from the total given time before calculating the actual ChopChop damage for the remaining seconds then adding the opener/finisher motion on at the end. It looks like this:

=FLOOR((TIME - Opener and Finisher Animation Time) * APS) * Chop Motion + Opener Motion + Finisher Motion

Which ends up being:

=FLOOR((10-3.3)*1.58)*24+32+100 = 372


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