When you see a massive weapon like a Great Sword, you’ll be expecting some massive damage to match. Fortunately, these behemoths don’t disappoint — using a Great Sword will allow you to deal some of the highest-damage single attacks in Monster Hunter Rise. You’ll also be able to go toe-to-toe with the biggest monsters out there, shrugging off their attacks through sheer force of will. There’s a reason it’s not called the “Just OK Sword.”

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We’ll be covering some of the best Great Sword Builds in Monster Hunter Rise so you can start shoulder-bashing and charge-slashing with the best of them in no time. 

Let’s get started, hunters!

The Best Great Swords in Monster Hunter Rise

The Great Sword is all about pumping out raw damage. Since you’ll be focused on dealing single, big attacks, you don’t need to worry much about status or element damage. Instead, focus on affinity, raw damage, and sharpness.

WeaponRaw DamageElement/StatusAffinity
Dark of Night180None35%
Rampage Cleaver S210None0%
Abominable Great Sword22020 Ice-15%

Once again, a Nargacuga weapon tops our recommendations. The one downside to the Dark of Night is the low raw damage, but the high natural affinity and white sharpness help make up for that shortcoming. The Level 2 decoration slot also means you’ll have some flexibility in your builds. You’ll probably want as many attack boosting skills as possible in your build, since you’re starting from behind.

The Rampage Cleaver S can operate on a very similar level as the Dark of Night. You’ll need to ramp up the weapon, getting either Sharpness Type I for white sharpness (with handicraft) or Attack Boost IV. Either way, the complete lack of slots means your builds will run a little tighter and lands this weapon in second place of our recommendations. It is worth mentioning that this weapon can be layered to look like any other Great Sword in the game, so it might be worth dealing with less flexibility to have your favorite look.

The third spot is a pretty close race between the Abominable Great Sword from the Goss Harag and the Tigrex Great Sword. Both go the path of having high raw with a tradeoff of -15% affinity. There’s a strong argument to be made that the Tigrex wins the race with its natural white sharpness, but I’d prefer the ice element and Level 2 slot the Goss Harag boasts. Also, as a personal note, the Abominable Great Sword just looks really cool.

The Best Great Sword Switch Skills

The Great Sword is all about timing the big hit against the monster for big damage numbers, and none of its Switch Skills really change that. That said, you can decide to give up a little bit of damage for extra tankiness or vice versa. We’ve listed all the Switch Skills available along with some thoughts below:

Switch Skill 1A: Tackle

Gif of the tackle switch skill in MHR
Image: Capcom via HGG / Jacob Johnson
  • Description: A Shoulder thrust that withstands all attacks. 
  • Controls: Press A while charging an attack or after a Wide Sweep. Alternatively, press X after rolling with the Great Sword unsheathed. 
  • How to Unlock: Available by default

While the damage is low, the Tackle has knockback and damage resistance. This makes it a great way to tank a hit if the monster surprised you with an attack mid-charge. The move does stun damage if it hits the monster’s head, but the stun is low enough that it’s rarely worth going out of your way to land it.

Doing a Tackle in a charge combo will also let you skip to the next step of the combo. Tackling during a Charge Slash will let you move right into a Strong Charged Slash. This will let you get to your stronger charged attacks if you have a smaller opening.

Switch Skill 1B: Guard Tackle

Gif of the guard tackle switch skill in MHR
Image: Capcom via HGG / Jacob Johnson
  • Description: A forward-dashing attack using the flat side of the blade. More cumbersome than the standard tackle, but guards incoming attacks.
  • Controls: Press A while charging an attack or press X after rolling with the Great Sword unsheathed.
  • How to Unlock: Unlock ★3 Village Quests or ★2 Hub Quests.

The Guard Tackle does everything the Tackle does, but uses the edge of the blade to block incoming attacks instead of just shouldering through them. This sounds great, but comes with some sizable drawbacks. The first of which is the laggy startup and recovery. For a move that helps transition between charge attacks, it’s a hard sell to make it slower and more awkward.

The fact that this uses a guard rather than knockback resistance also means you’ll need to spend stamina on the block. You’ll also lose a hefty chunk of sharpness every time you block, since the Great Sword loses sharpness whenever it’s used to block.

Switch Skill 2A: True Charged Slash

Gif of the true charged slash switch skill in MHR
Image: Capcom via HGG / Jacob Johnson
  • Description: A devastating Charged slash attack, striking twice by making a large swing with the weapon.
  • Controls:  Press forwards and X after a Strong Charged Slash
  • How to Unlock: Available by default.

Your next Switch Skill choice allows you to pick the ending to your charge attack combos. The True Charged Slash is the hardest hitting attack in the game, but it can be pretty tricky to get it to work just right. The attack actually hits twice — to get all the damage you can, you’ll need to land the first swing. On top of the first swing’s damage, this also empowers the follow-up swing and causes it to do more damage.

You’re left completely open for the duration of the attack, but getting everything just right for those big damage numbers will be very satisfying. Consider using this option when you’re comfortable with the Great Sword’s moveset and timing (and maybe the monster’s moveset on top of that).

Switch Skill 2B: Rage Slash

Image: Capcom via HGG / Jacob Johnson
  • Description: A strike from a unique stance.
  • Controls: Press forwards and X after a Strong Charged Slash.
  • How to Unlock: Complete the ★5 Hub quest “Grasp the Great Sword.”

The other option for your combo-ender is the Rage Slash. This move doesn’t pump out the same damage as the True Charged Slash, but it comes out faster and can be aimed omni-directionally. This move also has knockback resistance during the charging animation, so your timing doesn’t need to be as perfect. Taking a hit during the charge will also increase the damage of the follow-up slash, so it can even be beneficial to get hit while charging up.

Switch Skill 3A: Hunting Edge

Gif of the hunting edge switch skill in MHR
Image: Capcom via HGG / Jacob Johnson
  • Description: A daring aerial attack, using a Wirebug to fly up for a hefty roundslash.
  • Controls: Press X while holding ZL.
  • How to Unlock: Available by default.

A big launch forward, followed by a flip into the air if you land the hit — I love how flashy this move can be. It’s also the only way to do a charged plunging thrust , which you can do by pressing ZR after landing the initial hit.

That said, this might be a case of a lot of flash but no substance. It’s easy to whiff if you’re not at exactly the right distance away from the monster. This means you’ll need to have the Great Sword unsheathed while standing a good distance away from the monster, and then hope the monster doesn’t do anything while you launch yourself at it.

Not to mention the two-Wirebug cost. That feels awfully steep for what amounts to a pretty underwhelming attack. I’d recommend using a regular Wirebug leap if you wanted to land some air charge attacks.

Switch Skill 3B: Adamant Charged Slash

Gif of the Adamant Charged Slash switch skill in MHR
Image: Capcom via HGG / Jacob Johnson
  • Description: A technique using a wirebug to dash forward, and deliver a Strong Charged Slash.
  • Controls: Press X while holding ZL.
  • How to Unlock: Craft or upgrade eight unique Great Swords. 

This move does three beautiful things. First, the starting dash lets you reposition quickly without needing to sheathe your weapon. Second, you’ll have knockdown resistance while dashing, so you can power through monster attacks while moving. Finally, it skips the first step of your charged slash combo, letting you get to either True Charged Slash or Rage Slash faster.

Since there are so many benefits to this one move, there are a lot of situations where you’ll be glad to have this in your moveset. When an enraged Tigrex hops back to roar, you can close the distance, tank through his roar, and land a charged slash straight to his face — all with one move. 

To top it all off, it only costs one Wirebug to use. As the final nail in the coffin, I’ve never found a reason to go back to Hunting Edge, once I unlocked the Adamant Charged Slash.

The Best Great Sword Builds

Now that we’ve discussed the Switch Skills, let’s get into some of our recommendations for the best Great Sword builds. We’re going to focus on pumping out as much damage as possible for most of these builds.

Build 1 — Early Ranks

Screenshot of a massive great sword in MHR
Image: Capcom via HGG / Jacob Johnson

Starting off with the Great Sword can be especially tricky, since you’ll be unfamiliar with monster movesets for timing charges and have limited access to important skills like Focus. That said, this set can be built about midway through Low Rank, and can help you get a handle on using the Great Sword.

WeaponArmor
Buster Sword IBarroth Helm
TackleBarroth Mail
True Charged SlashJaggi Gauntlets
Hunting EdgeBone Coil
Baggi Greaves

You won’t need to worry about decorations or talismans so early into Low Rank, so I’ve left off any recommendations on that front. The theme to this build is to get Attack Boost as high as possible, with a little bit of Focus to help land Charge attacks. 

Once you have the Anjanath fight unlocked, you can switch to the Anjantah Helm and Mail to cap Focus and help land attacks. The Goss Harag fight gives access to Gossblade I, which is a good upgrade on the weapon front.

Make sure to craft/upgrade eight unique Great Swords as soon as you can so you can switch over to the Adamant Charged Slash.

Build 2 — Endgame DPS

Screenshot of cool looking end game armor in MHR
Image: Capcom via HGG / Jacob Johnson

What is the purpose/gimmick behind this build? Why would hunters be interested in using this build?

WeaponArmorSkill Priority
Dark of NightValstrax HelmFocus 3
Attack Boost IIIValstrax MailCritical Eye 3
TackleValstrax BracesCritical Boost 3
Rage SlashValstrax CoilAttack Boost 7
Adamant Charged SlashValstrax GreavesSpeed Sharpening 3

The full set of Valstrax armor is going to give you five points into the Dragonheart skill. When fighting at 80% health with this skill, you’ll gain a large boost to your elemental resistances, and get a 10% increase to your attack. The dragonblight afflicted by the skill won’t hurt your damage since you’re not using element or status, but will trigger resuscitate for even more damage.

Additionally, Valstrax will give you three points into weakness exploit. With the 35% affinity on Dark of Night, you’ll only need three points of Critical Eye to get 100% affinity on weak spots. From there, you’ll want to cap Focus and Critical Boost at three points each before moving on to as much Attack Boost as you can get with your talisman and slots. 

Speed Sharpening or Stun Resistance will help fill in your Level 1 slots. A point into Flinch Free can also cut a lot of hassle from multiplayer hunts, if you don’t want to worry about making sure you avoid getting hit by allies with your Great Sword sheathed.

As for the Switch Skills, Rage Slash gives up a little damage for the benefit of being much easier to use. If you’ve mastered the timing and aiming for True Charged Slash, consider swapping to it to squeeze out every bit of DPS from your build.

Build 3 — Hassle-Free DPS

Screenshot of a DPS greatsword build character in MHR
Image: Capcom via HGG / Jacob Johnson

If you don’t want to bother with needing to fight below 80% health, this build will provide comparable damage without the need to keep Dragonheart active. Just keep in mind you’ll have less defense overall without Valstrax armor.

WeaponArmorSkill Priority
Rampage Cleaver SKaiser CrownFocus 3
Attack Boost IV, Non-elemental Boost, Affinity SurgeAnjanath Mail SWeakness Exploit 3
TackleValstrax BracesCritical Eye 6
Rage SlashAnjanath Coil SCritical Boost 3
Adamant Charged SlashIngot SSpeed Sharpening 3

Make sure to cap off Focus from the two points the Anjanath Mail gives you. Six points of Critical Eye and three points into Weakness Exploit gives 100% on weak spots. Even if you don’t have the room for Attack Boost once you get everything else you need, you’ve got four points from the armor.

Depending on the talisman you’re working with, you could switch Affinity Surge on your rampage skills for Attack Surge. You’ll probably want to cap off Critical Eye in that case. This can be extra beneficial if your hunting party is buffing your affinity through other means, like your Palico or a friendly Hunting Horn/Bow player

Build 4 — Tanky Kushala

Screenshot of a tanky greatsword build character in MHR
Image: Capcom via HGG / Jacob Johnson

Switching gears a little here, the Great Sword can pump out a lot of damage resistance with its Tackle and Rage Slash Switch Skills. This build combines those moves with some health recovery and defensive skills, so you can take some heavy punishment at the cost of a little damage.

WeaponArmorSkill Priority
Foreboding ShamshirGolden HeaddressFocus 3
Chameleos SoulKushala CistaHeroics 4
TackleKushala GripProtective Polish 3
Rage SlashKushala CocoonStun Resistance 3
Adamant ChargeDober GreavesSpeed Sharpening 3

Foregoing most of the usual damage skills, this build is all about taking a hit and keep trucking. The three points of Kushala Soul means you’ll be regenerating health passively. You should focus on tackling through your charge combo, then using Rage Slash. Both of these moves have damage resistance, so your constant health regeneration gives you a large well of effective health.

Getting Heroics to four means that if your health ever does fall low enough, you’ll get a massive bonus to your defense, letting the passive health generation do its job while you’re still slashing at the monster. If you get Heroics to five, you’ll get a massive damage increase instead, but at the cost of all that defense. Be prepared to dodge well or take a ride back to camp if you’re going that path

You can still get stunned through Tackle and Rage Slash, so Stun Resistance is an important addition. Your one point of Handicraft gives just a smidgeon of white, so Protective Polish and Speed Sharpening will cover that gap.

Finally, Chameleos Soul from the Foreboding Shamshir will give random little bonuses, like extra health recovery, stamina recovery, or defense.

For variants to this build, since you’ll mostly be focusing on Tackles and Rage Slash, you could drop some points of Focus for another damage-focused skill like Attack Boost. If you’re fighting a blight-heavy monster, switching the Golden Headdress to the Valstrax helmet will clear elemental blights. Just keep in mind that will strip your weapon’s poison application when at low health.

Join the High Ground

That’s our take on some of the best ways to use the Great Sword in Monster Hunter Rise. Feel free to share your favorite Great Sword build in the comments, and don’t forget to subscribe to our email list for more Monster Hunter build guides.

Happy hunting!