FoulFowl here, and firstly I would like to thank you for considering to join the glorious hammer master race.
In this guide I will be teaching you some of the basics and more complex strategies involving hammers in 3rd gen – Monster Hunter Tri and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. My credentials are – 1000+ hours of HAMMERING in 2nd gen (MH2 + MHFU) and 200 hours in 3rd gen (MH3U + Tri). I think I’ve adapted to the changes in 3rd gen and am again qualified to show you how to use them properly. I’ve been using hammers since 2008 and I am confident I can teach you a thing or 2 about their use.
1a – Strengths and Weaknesses
2a – Basics
3a – Combos
4a – Damage formula
5a – Damage type
6a – Best hammer lines
7a – Sets
8a – Skills
9a – General strategy
1b – Hammer strategy
2b – Specific monster strategy
3b – Shakalaka Masks
4b – Conclusion
[STRENGTHS + WEAKNESSES] (1a)
- Hammer has pretty much the highest DPS of all the other blademaster weapons in the game (rivalled by dual blades), so a good hammer user will usually get lower kill times than those using a longsword, for example. USUALLY. It does however get the prize for the highest raw damage per hit, but is edged out by greatsword charges, if you count those.
- Speed – hammer is a rather fast weapon, meaning rolling around monsters with the weapon unsheathed is possible, unlike similar large weapons like the greatsword. Surprisingly light when unsheathed.
- Impact damage – Impact damage exhausts monsters faster, giving you more opportunities to be aggressive. It also lets you KO monsters, which is very powerful and pretty easy to do when the monster is in a trap.
- The hammer has low reach. You have to make a point of learning good positioning – you need to know where you are and how it swings to effectively hit the monsters face and other weakpoints.
- You cannot block with a hammer. You must learn to evade the monsters attacks – G rank is not forgiving in this regard. You can evade in any direction (even up and down underwater) so this is a crucial skill to learn.
- Impact damage – YOU CAN’T CUT TAILS. This means you either have to give up the glory of the hammer while looking for tails, or need someone else to cut them for you. Unless, of course, you are a REAL MAN and use boomerangs to cut tails (don’t).
Hammer’s control scheme is pretty simple.
- X: down pound
- A: side pound
- B: dodge
- Y: use item
- Right bumper – Charge attack
- Left bumper – Switch items
- RB + X + A – Charge from sheathed position
Again, pretty simple combos.
X, X, X, tap RB, X, X, X etc – generic triple pound, ending in a golfswing. Bread n’ butter when monster is incapacitated (unless its about to get up, where the YYAYYY combo is more efficient). Tapping the right bumper resets the combo with a level 1 charge, which serves to both reposition you and set up another combo.
A, X X – Triple pound starting with side pound This is shorter then the normal combo – – Useful when you are looking to KO something or you need to save time on the golfswing in order to hit it.
B, X, Y – Rolls up to the monster and uses an unsheathe attack, then sheathes the hammer again. When you are fighting very fast enemies, or more than 1, this may be the only way that you can consistently hit them without being obliterated.
X+A+RB – Not really a combo, but important skill to learn From a sheathed position, puts you directly into charging your hammer. Saves time from taking it out, then waiting for animation to finish before beginning the charge.
X, X, B, X, X, X – Similar to the generic triple pound combo, but it skips the long recovery of the golfswing with a roll and does more damage when the monster is about to get up.
That’s pretty much it for the relevant ones. See, simple! This gives you more time to concentrate on what the monster is doing rather than what your weapon is doing. Try to keep the combos short and roll between the monsters attacks. Its not worth it to finish your combo but get smacked in the face by a tail.
[DAMAGE FORMULA] (4a)
Don’t worry about this too much, generally you should go for the hammer with the highest raw and decent sharpness. Early game, the barroth line is pretty good, mid game the Nargacuga line is pretty decent, and late game the generic hammer to go for is the Grongigas hammer. These 3 lines should get you through the main game pretty easily.
Damage formula for hammers – [ATP x TYPE x SHARP x HITZONE / CLASS] + [ELEMENT x SHARP x ELMZONE / 10] = DAMAGE
Sharpness modifiers – Red – 0.5 Orange – 0.75 Yellow – 1.0 Green – 1.05 Blue – 1.20, White – 1.32, Purple – 1.44.
Attack modifiers – Unsheathe attack – 20%, 15 KO
Pound 1 – 42%, 15 KO, 10 exhaust
Pound 2 – 20%, 15 KO, 15 exhaust
Golf swing – 90% (!), 50 KO, 10 exhaust
Side swing – 15%, 22 KO , 5 exhaust
Charge lvl 1 – 25% + 20%, 15 + 15 KO , 15 + 10 exhaust
Charge lvl 2 – 40%, 40 KO, 20 exhaust
Superpound – 15% + 76%, 5 + 27 KO, 5 + 40 exhaust
Charge spin start – 20 %, 2 KO, 2 exhaust
Spinning damage* – 10%, 2 KO, 2 exhaust
Overcharge – 40% + 20 KO, 20 exhaust.
Undercharge – 60% + 40 KO, 10 exhaust
Exhaust values for each attack (credit to /u/ShadyFigure) noted.
*Keep in mind this hits every time the hammer spins, so this damage can be done up to 4 times in succession. Contrary to popular belief, your weapons damage is not reduced if your weapon bounces.
Your weapon bounces if – sharpness multiplier * weapon adjustment multiplier * damage absorb < 25. There is a common misconception that you have to go up ‘levels’ of sharpness to stop bouncing. This is simply an increase in damage that causes this. Keep in mind the monster’s tolerance increases as the rank increases.
[DAMAGE TYPE] (5a)
The hammer does impact damage, as opposed to the slicing damage done by most other weapons. The weapons that can do impact damage are – Sword and shield (inefficient, as the only impact based attack they have is their shield bash), Hunting Horn and the Lance. Lance uses the higher of cutting hitzone or (impact hitzone * 0.72) However, the lance cannot do the most important feature of Impact based damage – the KO modifier.
When you hit the head (or wherever the brain of the monster is located), a yellow flash appears. Do not confuse his with the weapon ‘bounce’ sparks. This means that you are doing KO damage to the monster. Every monster has a ‘KO counter’. Essentially a percentage of the impact damage you do is taken by the monster as KO damage. When this counter reaches the monsters limit, it gets knocked out. This lets both you and the party SMASH ITS BRAINS OUT while it tries to regain its posture. Keep in mind it is often a good idea to do 2 hits, then roll to reposition, then do another triple pound combo when hitting a monster in this situation. This is because you can easily roll out of the first 2 hits, but the final golfswing has quite a few frames where you aren’t able to recover from. Rolling lets you reposition near its face and give the most DPS possible.
Another important aspect of impact damage is ‘exhaust’ damage. This is applied whenever you hit something with an impact weapon, and can also be dealt with bows/bowguns and switchaxes with the exhaust phial. KO is only applied when it hits the head of a monster, along with exhaust damage. Otherwise only exhaust damage is applied. Rather than having a flat number that every attack does, each individual type of attack does a set amount of KO damage. For example, the hammer’s superpound does x amount of stun, whereas the hammer’s SPIN2WIN does y amount. So, the amount of KO done changes with each hit. In general, slower attacks do more stun damage. Beyond these changes, stun works like all other status effects, in that YOU HIT IT TILL THE EFFECT ACTIVATES.
[BEST HAMMERS] (6a)
These are my suggested hammers for high and G rank. The colour in brackets is the sharpness this weapon reaches with sharpness +1. The element in square brackets is unlocked with the Awaken skill.
Dios Tailhammer +
Blue sharpness (White)
O – –
White sharpness (Purple)
O – –
None [300 slime]
Green sharpness (purple)
– – –
None [400 Slime]
Blue sharpness (Purple)
O – –
Hidden breaker +
None [120 poison]
O – –
None [200 poison]
O – –
(Good elemental hammer for high rank)
500 Dragon (!)
– – –
(One of the few viable element based hammers end game. Also looks awesome.)
Due to the charm table system in MH3U, I can’t give an end all set. However, as long as you aren’t on a ‘cursed’ table you should be able to make a cookie cutter set like this –
- Grongigas: 1 Bombardier +2 Jewel
- Helios Cap X: 1 Bombardier +2 Jewel
- Helios Mail Z
- Helios Vambraces X: 1 Handicraft +1 Jewel
- Helios Coil X: 2 Bombardier +2 Jewels
- Helios Greaves X: 1 Bombardier +2 Jewel
- Handicraft +4 charm, no slots needed (or +2 handicraft with 3 slots)
1 – The generic end-all hammer is the GODDAMN GRONGIGAS. When calculated, it (under most situation) has the highest raw (about 168) against most monsters, with other hammers only winning out in other situations. This is good already, but when you pair this hammer with an armour set with the skill ‘Awaken’, It gains 400 slime element, and considering this element is already considered overpowered, you can see why this is the best hammer in most situations. Other hammers can win out (slightly) in other situations, but because of this weapons ease of creation and use, I strongly suggest the GODAMN GRONGIGAS for everyday use.
2-6 – Helios Z + X WITH THE GUNNER HELMET. DO NOT GET THIS WRONG AS I DID. – This armour set gives very strong skills for use with the Grongigas.. These skills are – Bombardier, Sharpness + 1, High-Grade Earplugs, and Awaken, with a +2 Handicraft talisman.
7 – +4 Handicraft is not a very rare talisman, available on most tables that aren’t ‘cursed’. Charm tables are confusing to explain but there are plenty of other guides that explain them. However, If you don’t have a talisman like this you can forgo bombardier to keep sharpness +1 with a +2 talisman.
If your hammer already has natural purple, like hammers from the Nargacuga or Alatreon lines, another very good set is the Dire Miralis set (with skull mask). With good charms, this set has the potential to give KO king, Critical eye +2, Attack up large, Rock steady, and Latent power +1. If you are into Fashion sou…. Fashion hunter, I suggest getting the Nether set (From A.lagi). It looks awesome and offers Current Resistance (Hi), HONED BLADE, Stamina recovery up (and Critical eye-2). I do not really suggest this set but if looks are important, this is the way to go.
As you should know, armour pieces have skill points. Once these exceed a threshold of points (at 10, 15 and 20) an armour skill activates. There are very many in the game, but I will go over the most relevant ones to hammers. These are the key one to look for when building an armour set for hammers. –
Sharpness +1 – The best skill in the game. On the GODDAMN GRONGIGAS, it is more than overpowered. Usually Sharpness +1 increases the weapons sharpness by 1 level. This may not seem like much, but the weapons sharpness is tied to both KO damage and the weapons raw. Now, this is a very strong skill on its own. Some weapons gain 2 sharpness levels from this skill. This is a massive increase in damage. For example, increase from yellow to blue is an increase of 20% in damage. Critical eye +3 is only a 7.5% increase in damage, and requires 20 points instead of 10.
The Grongigas is not only one of the weapons that gains 2 levels, it goes from blue to purple. It goes from a multiplier of 1.20 to 1.44 – a 24% increase in damage, This is a massive improvement, much stronger than other similar damage increasing skills. (From an academic standpoint, the Grongigas line also has the Gigas hammer, which gains the most increase in damage from Sharpness +1 – It increases by 3 sharpness levels and damage is increased by 39%. This is the only weapon that goes up by 3 levels and is the only high rank weapon that can reach purple). 10/10
Awaken – The second best skill in the game. Every weapon in the game has an element. Most of these elements are not shown on the weapon stats – this is the ‘hidden element’. What the Awaken skill does is unlock that element, which significantly increases the utility and damage of raw based weapons. The GODDAMN GRONGIGAS has the most potential hidden within it – Awaken unlocks the 400 SLIME ELEMENT within it. Slime works on pretty much every monster in the game (even Brachydios, to an extent), and while elements are often more effective, you only require 1 slime weapon rather than 5 different elemental weapons for each class. 9/10
Evasion – One of my personal favorite skills to have as a hammer user. Evasion increases the amount of time you have to dodge an attack when you roll. Normally you have 0.2 seconds, evasion +1 gives you 0.33 and evasion +2 gives you 0.4 seconds. As hammers can’t block, it is a very valuable skill that lets you be more aggressive. Even if you consider yourself a good dodger, this will always help you out in preventing your brutal death to a G rank Diablos. Also can work as a decent replacement for earplugs, as this gives you the ability to easily roll through most roars. Not ‘necessary’ per se but definitely one of the top contenders for skills on a hammer set. 9/10
High-Grade earplugs – This skill blocks the effects of all monster roars. As hammers do not have the option to block, this is important for both building up the damage required to flinch monsters while they are roaring, and prevents you from being murdered by G rank monsters who attack you immediately after roaring (RATHALOS I’M LOOKING AT YOU). This is both a utility skill and an offensive skill, as the valuable hits gained while the monster is roaring is often enough to either trip it or at least stagger it. 8/10
Challenger +2 – ARE YOU A MANLY MAN (or woman)? DO YOU FIGHT MONSTERS WHEN THEY ARE AT THEIR ANGRIEST? ARE YOU THE NUMBER 1 BADASS OF MONSTER HUNTER? LOOK NO FURTHER THAN CHALLENGER +2. INCREASES YOUR *POWER* WHEN THE MONSTER IS PISSED. Increases affinity by 20% and TRUE raw by 25 when the monster is in its enraged state. Very powerful boost in attack if you decided to stick around when a monster is angry.
Bombardier – Bombardier is a 5 slot skill that increases damage from all types of explosions – namely ballista, barrel bombs, cannonballs and explosions from the slime element. This set is tailored for use with the GODDAMN GRONGIGAS, so the increase of damage from the slime explosions in a 5 slot skill is a useful addition to the damage of this set. This can be switched out for other 5 slot skills, but this one of the better choices in my opinion. 7/10
Honed Blade – not really a skill in itself, but it gives you both Sharpness +1 and Attack Up Large in 1 skill, 2 pretty good skills. Due to its rarity, however, it probably isn’t worth the massive investment required. 7/10
Rock Steady – Similar to Honed Blade, it is a combination of the regular earplugs skills, along wind pressure resistance. It also reduces the potency of knock-down effects, meaning you won’t get knocked down when charging your hammer. This also blocks Alatreon and Brute Wyvern roars, unlike regular earplugs. A very good utility skill, but due to its rarity it is often better to go for sets with a variety of other skills. However, if you just LOVE fighting G rank Jhen Mohran or Miralis, feel free to get his set for this nice skill. 7/10
Focus – Reduces the time it takes you charge up your hammer. Pretty useful, but if you like the hammers level 1 and 2 charges I would skip on this one. If the monster is fast, however, having the Focus skill will likely prove to be very useful. In my opinion evasion skills are more useful against fast monsters, but to each their own. If you use greatswords as well as hammers, this becomes a very good investment. 7/10
Critical eye/Attack up – Increases Affinity (Crit chance). Not as powerful as one would think, as the 20 points Critical eye+3 only ends up increasing DPS by about 7.5%. Attack up large usually beats it until you get to very high points of attack (which hammer fits into quite nicely) . Usually not worth it when other skills are avaliable, but is always nice to have. Attack up increases your attack. Go figure. Like critical eye, nice to have but not necessary. 6/10
KO King – this skill reduces the time it takes to KO a monster, adding extra KO damage to all your attacks. However, you can just eat for ‘Felyne Slugger’ at the cats, and as this skill doesn’t stack, is probably not worth it. It is nice to have, but do not fall into the trap of gemming it in instead of other, more important skills. 5/10
[GENERAL STRATEGY] (9a)
The old Monster Hunter mantra – “Don’t get hit, and hit it till it dies”. In that order. This is pretty much monster hunter strategy in a nutshell.
- Don’t get hit. Make sure that you don’t aim to trade with a monster. The hammer does a massive amount of damage per hit, so don’t worry too much about running out of time. You must learn to anticipate the monsters attacks and evade them before starting to focus on actually hitting the monster. While in low and high rank getting hit isn’t too painful, this changes in G rank and you REALLY need to learn to avoid damage as much as possible, otherwise you will likely get triple carted or run out of healing.
- Hit it till it dies. Hit the monster whenever you can, but make sure you follow rule 1. Good times include are when the monster is incapacitated with a trap or flash bomb, when it finishes a charge, when it is roaring, when it is tripped over and when it is taunting you. Try not to ‘trade’ hits with a monster – this is not worth it in the long run. Make sure you know how much damage the hammer’s different attacks do. The first hit of its triple pound does pretty respectable damage, so try to get those in when the monster cant act. When the monster is open for a considerable amount of time, use a level 2 charge to rush up to its weak point and spam the triple-pound to do as much damage as possible. You can often KO a monster if you keep attacking its head when it is open.
[HAMMER STRATEGY] (1b)
It is often a very good idea to go for the face of a monster, especially online – this is usually the weakpoint and will eventually lead to a KO. This makes impact weapons very effective against the Raths – their head is very easy to hit and they take a lot of damage when hit there. However, it is a bad idea / needlessly difficult against some monsters, for example the diablos. They take low damage to the head and have a very high sharpness resistance. Rule of thumb – if something bounces when you hit an area, don’t hit that area.
Superpound is the bread and butter ability for hammers. Its use is simple – charge it up and just release it when the monster is vulnerable. The fact that you aren’t locked into the superpound means you can dodge attacks in an emergency while charging it. This is generally what you should be using much of the time, unless a monster isn’t going to move for a while.
The level 3 SPIN2WIN does a massive amount of damage as well as KO damage, but is very difficult to effectively hit. However, once you learn the patterns of monsters, you can treat it a bit like a greatsword triple charge. Charge it up as a monster is advancing and time the upswing to hit them in the face. However it is usually better to do something more consistent. If you also combine this with learning the stagger limits for the monsters, this can cause impressive KO’s or flinches to charging monsters. This is very effective against the Zinogre’s ‘I’m a badass and I’m going to slowly walk up to you’ move.
The hammer is not all about its level 3 charge attacks. Use the level 2 charge to get up to the monster quickly. This doesn’t do much damage but covers considerable distance quickly – for example, if a tired Uragaan falls over far away from you, this can quickly close the distance, especially considering the Hammer’s short range. Level 1 charge is also very useful for chaining multiple triple pound combo’s when the monster is disabled, and also lets you reposition between the hits. Keep in mind the 2 charges actually do equal damage, its just that the level 2 pushes you forward. This is the reason I don’t recommend the ‘Focus’ skill – it gives less time to use the other levels of charge.
[SPECIFIC TIPS] (2b)
Don’t worry about this bit unless you know what you are doing, but after much practice against certain monsters make sure that you learn their stagger limits for their different body parts. Once you get this down you can chain-stagger monsters and do a massive amount of damage while they constantly flinch. While not always efficient to focus certain body parts, this staggering can be very useful in both solo and multiplayer games, because when a monster is down, you can do damage and it can’t brutally eviscerate you. Also, it looks very impressive =). If you are new to this, flash bomb the monster and note the amount of hits it takes for the monster to flinch when hitting only a certain body part. This changes based on your weapon, so you should only do this when you get your desired end game hammer.
Generally it is a good idea to roll towards him, especially when he does his jump attack in rage mode. He has a big head that is near to the ground, so hammer isn’t a bad choice against him – expect at least 2 KO’s. If the Brachydios is very large, you may not be able to effectively hit its head but you will be able to hide under its legs for many of its attacks.
Hit it till it dies. Hammer shines here as one of the highest DPS weapons you can get, but pierce heavy bowguns are more effective here. For some more general tips – Look at his abilities and only use the hunting gong / ballista binder when he is starting up an attack. ALWAYS PICK UP THE BALLISTA BINDER FROM THE CHEST AND USE IT BY SWITCHING TO IT IN YOUR ITEMS NEAR THE DAMN BALLISTA. SERIOUSLY. I see too many people confused as to what the ballista binder is after skipping it in the box. Use the dragonator when you just see its horns go up for the 3rd leap. Try to focus the ballista on its horns in order to break one, then focus on its legs in the final showdown to break both.
Sonic bombs then flash bombs. Before Diablos is enraged, you can chuck a sonic bomb at it as it goes underground, this gives you plenty of time to hit it while it is trapped in the ground, afterwards, it starts flying, and you can flash bomb it back to the ground and have more time to hit it. If you are feeling particularly cruel, put a trap under it afterwards and bring some bombs to break its horns. You don’t want to be distracted too much by trying to break its horns, then bounce and get charged by a G rank Diablos.
Will add more if I can be bothered.
[SHAKALAKA MASKS] (3b)
In my opinion these are the best masks you can get for your shakalakas –
Pitfall mask – Pitfall mask is especially very good for hammers specifically, as you can knock out the monster while it is in the trap – this stops it from moving entirely and lets you get many good hits in without worry of missing the all-powerful golfswing.
Ultimate mask – Ultimate mask is especially very strong in late high and G rank quests, as the shakalaka wearing it does not take damage at all until it is enraged (where it starts rapidly losing health). Considering how hard the later monsters hit, this keeps it alive for longer than any other mask. This mask is also great for adding status effects as the wearer attacks very fast when enraged.
Mock Melynx mask – This mask lets the shakalaka ‘steal’ items from the monster, essentially giving you some extra carves. However, this mask gives low defence and causes the shakalaka to be very aggressive, so don’t expect it to be alive for long.
You can also use the artillery mask/ lamp mask combo for long range damage against targets like Jhen Mohran. If you don’t like having shakalakas with you on the fight, take this combo and give both of them the ‘last stand’ skill. Makes them do quite a lot of damage with the artillery special, and you don’t have to worry about them for the rest of the fight.
Thanks for reading my hammer guide. I hope this helped you in some way. If you have any questions email me at ************
TL;DR – Hammer is love. Hammer is life. Praise be to hammer and the eight divines.