The Slash Axe, or Switch Axe as its known internationally, is a powerful weapon, with a nimble far reaching axe, heavy hitting sword attacks, morphing attacks for unrelenting pressure, chase-down abilities, positioning tools, the Sword’s built in Mind’s Eye and explosions. And as we all know, everything’s better with explosions! This is the first episode of my Slash Axe tutorial for Monster Hunter World. In this video I want to build a foundation, before we move on to the “how to” part when it comes to approaching each monster individually.
Let’s start with the basics, unsheathing your weapon. You have four options to choose from whilst grounded, as well as three when you’re airborne or sliding: Triangle is a simple unsheathing animation without an attack. A directional Input + Triangle is an Axe Side Slash. R2 with sufficient Sword Gauge will execute a Sword Overhead Slash and R2 with insufficient Sword Gauge will perform a manual reload and stay in Axe Mode.
Triangle performs an Axe Jumping Slash. R2 with sufficient Sword Gauge is a Sword Jumping Slash and R2 with insufficient Sword Gauge will perform a reload mid-air. Triangle executes an Axe Jumping Sweep. R2 with sufficient Sword Gauge will perform a Sword Jumping Rising Slash, this can be followed up with Sword Jumping Slash by hitting Triangle or Sword Jumping Elemental Discharge by hitting Triangle + Circle. R2 with insufficient Sword Gauge will perform a reload and stops you dead in your tracks Each one of the available options has its purpose in one form or another, some are very situational such as the sliding and jumping ones of course, or simply there to punish you for not paying attention, such as the sliding manual reload.
For the most part you will want to draw straight into Sword Mode so long as your Sword Gauge is Turquoise. Having said that, we will stay in Axe Mode for now though. In Axe Mode you have the following moves available to you: From an idle position, Triangle which is an Axe Side Slash, Forward + Triangle or Circle is the Axe Forward Slash, Circle is your Axe Wild Swing, CAUTION: This can trip your teammates when you’re playing online and Triangle + Circle is your Axe Rising Slash, Again CAUTION: As this can send your teammates flying From these starters you have of course options to chain other attacks into them. Hitting Triangle repeatedly as is, or from an Axe Forward Slash will loop the chain of Axe Side Slash, Axe Rising Slash and Axe Overhead Slash. Pressing Circle at any given point without a directional input will execute Wild Swing, which if you want to stay in Axe Mode, can only be chained into the Overhead Slash. From any Axe attack other than Wild Swing you can hit forward + Circle to go into Axe Forward Slash and Back + Circle to go into Axe Fade Slash. Back + Circle can smoothly chain back into Axe Side Slash, but also rather choppily into Axe Wild Swing Following any Axe attack up with a directional X button input will lead to the following scenarios: Neutral and Forward will be your standard forward roll.
Left and Right turn into a quick hop and back has a custom dodge roll animation which feels somewhat sluggish If after any dodge roll or hop the Circle button is pressed, while in Axe Mode, Axe Forward Slash will be executed regardless of a directional input. Lastly and we’ll move over to Sword Mode immediately after, while Airborne the only Axe attack you have access to is Axe Jumping Slash. Sword Mode is where the majority of your damage will come from. To activate Sword Mode simply press R2 at any point from an unsheathed position or while in Axe Mode.
Please be aware that you need to have a sufficient amount of Sword Gauge available to you before you can go into into Sword Mode. Unlike Axe Mode, your Sword Gauge will no longer passively charge up and each attack in this mode will subsequently drain that very same gauge. With that in mind here are the moves that you have available to you in Sword Mode: From an idle position Triangle is a Sword Overhead Slash. Circle is the Sword Double Slash and Triangle + Circle is your Elemental Discharge, mashing Triangle will lead to the Elemental Discharge Finisher. If you’re holding Back while mashing Triangle, this will execute the Elemental Discharge earlier, albeit with diminished damage.
The Elemental Discharge finisher will always revert back to Axe Mode. To avoid this, let’s say your target moved out of range, you can simply stop your inputs altogether and the whole process will be cancelled. As long as you still have Sword Gauge available, this will allow you to stay in Sword Mode In regards to positioning it is important to note that, unlike Axe Mode, your forward- and back-roll cancels in Sword Mode also turn into hops. Airborne you have Triangle which is the Sword Jumping Slash and Triangle + Circle which is an aerial Elemental Discharge Starting with the Sword Overhead Slash you can indefinitely chain Triangle Attacks together, the second hit being Sword Right Rising Slash and the third one named Sword Left Rising Slash, I know, exciting naming conventions. You don’t really want to go past the third input, as there’s a rather lengthy pause in between the third attack and the reset, but at the same time and whenever it’s possible you should always try to get to that third input. That is because, your Circle input, the Sword Double Slash, for some reason gains an extra Sword attack that acts as a transition to the Sword Double Slash, further expanding on the damage you’re doing.
This move is neither recognised with a name, nor is it added as a separate instance in your input history. Maybe they forgot? Maybe this was supposed to change Sword Double Slash into Sword Triple Slash… I don’t know, but this is for all intents and purposes your absolute bread and butter. From Sword Double Slash, including the mysterious Double Slash that has three attacks, you will most likely want to go back to hitting triangle three times and repeat this process for as long as it’s safe to do so. You can however go from your Sword Double Slash into another Circle input which executes your Sword Heavenward Flurry.
The move itself does decent damage, but it’s main purpose is that it will charge your Amped Gauge by a significant amount compared to any other attack. As this mechanic is both new and rather important to the Slash Axe’s damage output in Monster Hunter World, this of course needs to be covered as well, but we’ll skip this for a second, as there’s still one type of Move Set that needs to be covered. The localisation team actually had good reason to rename the Slash Axe to Switch Axe for the western versions of Monster Hunter, as that is of course due to the mechanic of switching back and forth between Axe and Sword mode.
Everything related to this process is relegated to the R2 button. Hitting R2 at any point, idle or attacking, will do one of the following: R2 from Axe Mode with insufficient Sword Gauge will lead to a manual reload. R2 from Axe Mode with enough Sword Gauge will change into Sword Mode. From an idle position it will simply do a morph without attacking. From an attack you transition into a morph attack. R2 from Sword Mode will switch back into Axe Mode and same as from Axe Mode, an idle position is just a straightforward morph Whilst coming from an attack will transition into a morph attack First up the movelist: From Axe Mode, any Axe attack into R2, with the exception of Wild Swing, will execute your Axe Morph Slash, which will effectively count as your first Sword Mode Triangle input.
Holding forward will execute a Forward moving Axe Morph Slash, which leaps forward by quite a bit, making it much easier to close the distance to your target. Fun Fact: While the input is recognised, it doesn’t have a different name within the game. Hitting R2 from a Wild Swing will initiate Axe Mode’s most powerful attack, the Axe Morph Sweep an attack that hits four times, where the second hit is the most powerful and the fourth hit is once again essentially your first Triangle input in Sword Mode This is another attack that can trip your teammates online. Once again it is very important to keep in mind that if you do not have enough Sword Gauge available, you will stop dead in your tracks and execute a manual reload, which will leave you open to pretty much every single attack the monster has in store for you, do NOT reload by accident.
Unless you get lucky, it will hurt real bad! From Sword Mode with the exception of Elemental Discharge which cannot be morph cancelled, any R2 input following a Sword attack will always execute Sword Morph Slash. Holding Back while hitting R2 will initiate the Sword Downward Fade Slash, which is identical to the Axe Fade Slash. While this move doesn’t have iFrames it can be used to move out of harm’s way due to it’s backwards moving animation. First and foremost, manual reloading during combat is bad. It takes long, you cannot move and it leaves you open to get hit. The only thing that’s worse is letting your Phial drain completely with normal Sword attacks, this animation, a forced switch back to Axe mode, is even longer. Conscious Morph cancelling on the other hand, that’s hitting R2 chained from a previous attack, comes with benefits! Most notably there is no downtime, as your Morph is now an attack you will continue to wreak havoc non-stop! Just keep an eye on your Sword Gauge, as when it’s too low, we’re once again stuck with that dreaded manual reload.
The biggest benefit by far is that morphing from Sword Mode into Axe mode will actively charge your Sword Gauge. If we for example were to spam morphs, which as tempting as it may be, is not great in terms of dealing damage due to being moved around a lot, you can see that the Sword Gauge now fills up rather steadily. As long as you’re aware of your Gauge, you should always be able to maintain Sword Mode, with Morph Attacks that transition back and forth. When your Sword is in an Amped State, this is where you will be able to deal the most amount of damage, so you want to make sure that you can maintain Sword Mode for at least the duration of that Amp.
I mentioned this a few times now, so what exactly is this? Your Amped Gauge is invisible until you make contact with the Slash Axe in Sword Mode, you need to be hitting something for it charge. Once it starts charging, it will present itself as a separate outline around your Sword Gauge. The rate at which this gauge charges is dependent on the phial type you’re using, as you can see here Once this gauge is full, you’re now in an amped state. This state, without an armor skill that extends this, will last for about 45 seconds. This comes with a bunch of benefits, your sword attacks do more damage, anywhere from 5% to 13% more, I couldn’t get exact numbers during my tests, but it’s roughly around that point, dependent on the move you’re using.
Also dependent on the choice of your attack you’ll get small explosions following most attacks doing very small damage, but nonetheless, extra damage you didn’t have before. To top it all off, your Elemental Discharge changes drastically and will turn into your weapons most powerful attack; the Zero Sum Discharge. Important to note is that the Amped State, A) does not affect your Axe attacks in any shape or form and B) doesn’t change how you use Sword Mode. With the exception of Zero Sum Discharge all your moves animate and function the exact same way they did without it, all of your Sword moves are now simply enhanced versions of themselves. Given this rather significant additional output in damage you might now understand why I put such an emphasis on using manual Morph cancels, to keep charging your Sword Gauge.
The more attacks you get out during your Amped State in Sword Mode, the more damage you’ll do overall. While Axe Mode doesn’t utilise the Amped Up state, it doesn’t pause the timer on it either. Knowing that, any extended periods of time in Axe Mode, while your Amped State is activated, is essentially lost damage potential. This is of course not the end of the world, this is still better than getting hit, because of greediness that can lead to an accidental manual reload, but this is something in your gameplay that can be optimised, to fully take advantage of what the Slash Axe has to offer.
There are a total of six Phial Types available for the Slash Axe in Monster Hunter World. The Phials are only relevant to Sword Mode and as is the case with the aforementioned Amped State, do not affect Axe Mode at all. While the Phials don’t necessarily change how you should be utilising your move set, they’re relevant to the type of playstyle you might be looking for: Power Phials increase your raw attack power, Paralysis and Poison Phials add the respective status build ups to your attacks, Power Element Phials increase both attack power and the available element on your weapon, Dragon Phials add dragon elemental damage to your attacks and lastly, Exhaust Phials will put your target into an exhausted state much quicker, plus attacks to the head can deal KO damage and will over time lead to a KO.
The last part might sound nice on paper, but it’s rather weak and tedious. If you’re playing in a group and there’s a Hammer and/or Hunting Horn user present, let them do that job. In that scenario, you’ll be in the way more than anything anyway! Personally, I am more of a Solo player, so I can’t really vouch for too many of the Phials in practice, as nothing really ever beat the damage output of a Power Phial, but in group play they might have their uses. Especially paralysis and exhaust. Over time those will lead to everyone getting more safe hits in, due to the monster being less active. The Phial types also have a cosmetic effect on your weapon once you’ve filled up your Amp Gauge. Power is a glowing orange, Power element is bursting out with a green aura, Paralysis is yellow, Poison is of course purple, Dragon has a mancing red glow to it, while Exhaust sports a blue one (or white… I guess). None of the Phials are bad, as they all come with their Pros and Cons, be they attack power, sharpness, affinity, elemental or status value, or even the amount of slots available on them.
So it’s really up to you to choose which Slash Axe you want to be using against which monster. And this directly leads us to the final part. The following recommendations are just that, recommendations. These aren’t must haves and no one is forcing you to use them either. You should be using skills that you’re having the most fun with and these are simply the ones that do exactly that for me! As real Armor Skill customisation becomes available only very late in Monster Hunter World, charms and decorations not even being a thing in Low Rank, with the exception of Download Charms of course, this is pretty much only relevant once you reach High Rank and even then, for the best stuff you will still need materials that are only available at the very end of the game.
So once again, do not worry too much about this, as these are just recommendations. Critical Eye and Weakness Exploit are by far my most beloved armor skills on any Slash Axe build, but there are of course a few other skills as well, that I can wholeheartedly recommend. I am still gonna start with my absolute all time favourite though, which is Weakness Exploit Level 3, granting a whopping 50% affinity boost when attacking weak-spots… which of course, you should always be aiming for anyway. Critical Eye goes up to 30% affinity at Level 7 and while it is a rather hefty point investment, being 7 levels to max out, this is a permanent 30% extra on all of your attacks. Unlike Weakness Exploit, the increased affinity is active regardless of where you aim your attacks at. Combining the two would give you 80% extra affinity whenever you hit a weak-spot. Even though that’s a lovely number, I don’t really recommend this combination, as Monster Hunter World actually gives you better options to increase your critical chance. We’ll get there shortly, so instead I recommend to pair up either of those two skills with Critical Boost.
This skill can raise your critical damage up to a maximum output of 140%! There is quite a bit of misinformation regarding this skill though, mostly thanks to the bad explanation on the skill itself no doubt. You do not get 40% added to your critical attacks, your criticals will now DO 140%, as critical attacks already do 125% out of the box. So really, it’s just a 12% increase in overall damage, BUT that still doesn’t change the fact that this is a substantial amount of extra damage on criticals and an absolutely wonderful skill to pair up with any high affinity setup. Handicraft is pretty much dependent on the weapon you’re using, as some, like the Nergigante tree for example, get no benefit out of it. My favourite weapon for instance is the Axe of Demons, the Black Diablos Rarity 8 final form, which extends its blue sharpness by a lot and even grants some nice white on top. Handicraft has always been a top tier skill, it doesn’t really matter which melee weapon type you’re using, Great Sword, Hammer, Weaboo Bug Stix, more sharpness translates to more damage and who doesn’t want more damage? Handicraft is best paired up with any skill that allows you to prolong the use of the extra sharpness you have acquired.
There are several skills that can achieve this and their usefulness is dependent on both your playstyle, as well as the amount of sharpness available on your weapon. If for example you have a lot of white sharpness available, Razor Sharp might be your go to choice, as it will halve the sharpness expenditure for each attack. If on the other hand you don’t have much sharpness of whatever your highest available sharpness tier is, Protective Polish might be better, as it will prevent all sharpness-loss for a set amount of time after sharpening. Lastly, the budget-version of sharpness preservation would be speed sharpening, which can bring down your sharpening animation to a single swipe. This can be paired with any variation of sharpness really, but it’s also the most time consuming to do in battle, even if the sharpening animation itself is very short now.
Evade Extender Level 2 and above will make you unrelentingly and successfully chase down your target at all times. Your normal rolls go so far now that sheathing and running, for the most part at least, are no longer a necessary step to take. Couple this with your rolling R2 morph attack and any target that’s trying to run away from you, will have to deal with you being all up in their grill again. Oh, and your hop cancels are affected by this too. Evade Window has always been a pretty strong skill to have, it became at little useless in MHX and MHXX due to the Bushido and Brave styles, but as styles are gone now, it is once again a more desirable skill to obtain.
It simply increases your i-frames during evasive maneuvers, those are your dodge rolls and hop cancels. It’s your hop cancels in particular that will get the most mileage out of this skill, as even with abysmal timing, at just Evade Window Level 2, you’re likely getting away scot free trying to get out of an incoming attack. This skill does go up to Level 5 though… I haven’t tested it up to that point, but it’s most likely going to be a rather ridiculous amount of time that you will be invulnerable. You can jack this up as high as your available charms and armor pieces will allow you to, whatever floats your boat mate, I am not judging, but whatever the case this skill does pair rather nicely with Evade Extender.
The Rocksteady Mantle is by far the most amazing Hunter Tool you will get your hands on, of course you won’t until you are at the absolute end of the game though. You have super armor at all times, which means you won’t ever flinch, fall or be interrupted in any shape or form. It has earplugs protecting you from all roars in the game, it makes you windproof and even slightly diminishes the damage you sustain from attacks. This is out of reach until you’re Hunter Rank 50+ though, but once you get there you will likely never put it away again due to how much of a swiss army knife it is in the Endgame grind.
Unlike the mantle, this is something that can be enjoyed by everyone… even your cat I believe. It increases affinity by 50%! Now let’s pair that up with a 0% affinity weapon, plus Weakness Exploit Level 3 and we’re at 100% affinity when hitting a weak spot. It’s THIS item, that makes combining Weakness Exploit and Critical Eye a waste of points in my opinion. This one you will get access to earlier than the Rocksteady Mantle, but it’s still a very late game item. There are of course a plethora of reasons to use other skills and tools as the quests you’re heading out on require them. Whenever I go out to hunt a Tempered Vaal Hazak for instance, I will always sacrifice whichever skills I can part with to have Effluvial Resistance Level 3 on me. When I am hunting a Kirin for example, tempered or not, because screw Kirin, I will just jack up my lightning resistance as far as I can AND bring the Thunderproof Mantle with me.
So again and to close this out, all of these were just recommendations of skills and tools that I find most useful, in most situations. Use whatever you enjoy using and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, just because they saw it in a Speedrun once and claim that’s the META. F%^& the META! Thanks for watching my Tutorial on how to use the Slash Axe in Monster Hunter World Episode 1. In the second episode we’ll take a closer look at how to use all of the information provided in this video, to comfortably and successfully hunt an Anjanath.
If you liked this video a thumbs up would be greatly appreciated and if you didn’t like it you’re of course more than welcome to hit the dislike button. I’ve been playing Monster Hunter and with that the Slash Axe exclusively, since Monster Hunter Portable 3rd on the PSP. I am by no means a veteran though, nor am I great Monster Hunter player overall and with this being my first tutorial on Monster Hunter I am sure I might have missed something and maybe even got something wrong. If that’s the case, or if you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.
Once again thank you for watching. My name’s Sasa and I’ll see you next time!.
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