I can (and will) get poetic about the various Monster Hunter weapon types while writing these guides. The allure of a fantasy RPG makes it nigh on impossible — who among us doesn’t want to imagine ourselves as heroes wielding a graceful Long Sword or a set of sharp and deadly Dual Blades? Simply putting these build guides together is an exercise in imagining the adventurous quests we can embark on when properly kitted up.

I could probably think of a million flowery, purple prose-y things to say about the Hammer, but the problem is that one word always echoes out louder than the rest:

BONK.

Whether you’re bopping a few Jagras on the noggin or crushing the skull of the other-worldly Safi’jiiva, the best Hammer MHW is all about the big bonks. This week, we’ll cover the best Hammer build MHW: Iceborne has to offer in different situationsstarting with a few baseline weapons and skills and moving onto some custom builds that show the weapon in action.

Let’s get started, hunters!

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Best Hammer Build in MHW: Baseline

MHW Hammer 4
Image Credit: Capcom

To begin, let’s discuss what makes the Hammer such a formidable weapon. The Hammer is a solid melee pick that works best when brought directly down into a monster’s unsuspecting face. It deals KO damage when hitting the head and applies exhaust when hitting anywhere else, so it’s sure to be an asset even if you’re not yet the best at hitting your mark. On top of all that, it also boasts high raw attack power and strong charge attacks without being so heavy that it significantly impairs your mobility.

That’s not to say it doesn’t have its share of flaws. While it does have decent mobility, it doesn’t have any guard or evasion moves built in — you’ll have to rely solely on your own dodging ability. This is made a little more frustrating by the fact that the charge attacks consume stamina, meaning that you’ll have to keep a close eye on the monster to know when to execute your combos and when to save your stamina bar for a timely dodge roll.

The Hammer’s greatest advantage is its raw damage, so focusing on high-level weapons and damage-boosting skills will be your best bet. Most of the best weapons and skills will be pretty self-explanatory, but let’s take a closer look.

Weapons

The best Hammers in MHW are the ones with high raw damage. You don’t really need much else — the Hammer isn’t great for dealing element/status damage, so you won’t need to prioritize those damage types as much. You’re still welcome to use Hammers that sacrifice raw damage for a bit more element/status, but with KO damage being your main goal, they’ll generally fall short compared to their harder-hitting raw counterparts.

WeaponRaw DamageElement/StatusAffinity
Fatalis Demolisher1820150 (Dragon)-20%
Safi’s Shattercrusher1612210 (Blast)5%
Lightbreak Hammer1560270 (Blast)0%

The Fatalis Demolisher is the best Hammer MHW: Iceborne has to offer. There’s little else that needs to be said — just look at those numbers! With just over 1800 raw damage before any augmentation, it’s difficult for other Hammers to measure up. The negative affinity is a bit of a pain, but you can easily compensate for the dip by slotting in affinity-boosting skills as needed.

Next up are the Safi’jiiva Hammers. You could theoretically go with any of them, especially if you choose to go with an element/status build of some sort. Awakened Abilities help boost your base stats, letting you make the most of your damage across the board. I’ve specifically highlighted Safi’s Shattercrusher here (since Blast damage just compounds your raw damage), but feel free to mix and match according to your build.

Finally, the Lightbreak Hammer is my recommendation if you’re looking for an alternative to the Safi Hammers while you’re out farming Fatalis parts. It’s a good sidegrade that offers greater Blast damage at the expense of a bit of raw damage and affinity. I know it sounds a little counterintuitive, but if you’re just looking for a good Hammer without having to deal with the Safi’jiiva siege and messing with the Awakened Abilities, the Lightbreak is an excellent option.

Skills

The MHW best Hammer skills are essentially just the best melee skills. There aren’t a lot of skills that are specific to the Hammer, but there are a few recommendations I’d like to highlight nonetheless.

First up is Slugger, which makes it easier to stun monsters. For each point invested, your stun chance on hits dealing KO damage (i.e., your head bonks) increases by 10%, to a maximum of 60% with Slugger Secret equipped. 

Next is Weakness Exploit. While affinity-boosting skills are useful for any build, Weakness Exploit is nice for Hammers in particular because it’s so easy to create weak spots. Two of the Hammer’s charge attacks lead into Clutch Claw attacks, meaning that you can launch a charge attack on the monster’s head, use your Clutch Claw to wound it, then use the increased critical chance from Weakness Exploit to deal even more damage to the tenderized hide. It’s a quick and easy recipe for an instant damage boost.

These last two skills are a bit more situational but still worth mentioning. The first is Earplugs, which (depending on the number of points invested) reduces or nullifies the effect of monster roars. It’s not for everyone, but it’s useful to have on hand if you’re still working on timing your attacks — spending stamina on a charge attack only to have it negated by a roar can get irritating quickly for new Hammer players.

The second is Handicraft, which is only useful if your weapon can actually benefit from it. It sounds obvious — “it’s useful if it’s useful” — but you should check your stats to see if Handicraft gives you any real benefits. It’s always good to get a bit of extra sharpness, but if you’re using valuable decoration slots to sink points into Handicraft just for a tiny extra tick of purple, it’s probably not worth it. Keep an eye on whether your weapon has room for Handicraft, and slot it in accordingly.

From here, I have my usual comfort recommendations that can help improve the quality of life for any Hammer build — slot them in as you can, not necessarily as a rule.

  • Agitator (increases affinity when the monster is enraged)
  • Critical Boost (increases damage when dealing critical hits)
  • Critical Eye (increases affinity)
  • Health Boost (increases health and max health cap)

That takes care of our baseline build! Now that we have MHW’s best weapons and skills for the Hammer under our belt, let’s look at a few example builds.

Best Hammer Build: DPS

MHW Hammer 3
Image Credit: Capcom

Our first build is designed around pure DPS. As a quick disclaimer, this is a pretty general meta set for the Hammer — you’ll likely see some version of this in other build guides, give or take a few different skills.

EquipmentArmor
Fatalis DemolisherDragonhead β+
Challenger Charm VDragonhide α+
Temporal Mantle+Dragonclaws β+
Rocksteady Mantle+Dragonbarbs α+
Rimeguard Greaves γ+

The best armor for Hammer MHW has to offer is the Fatalis armor. Not only do we get some useful built-in skills and more than a few high-level decoration slots, we also get the Inheritance and Transcendence set bonuses. The first unlocks the skill caps for all skill secrets, and the second gives us True Razor Sharp/Spare Shot and a nice boost to health and stamina.

As far as those built-in skills are concerned, we get a few points into Critical Eye, Evade Window, and Weakness Exploit courtesy of the Fatalis pieces. The Velkhana legs give us Peak Performance and Quick Sheath — while not the most crucial skills for the Hammer, they’re pretty nice to have on hand.

The addition of the Challenger Charm V and its five points of Agitator brings our total skill list (before decorations) to the following:

  • Agitator 5
  • Critical Eye 3
  • Evade Window 2
  • Peak Performance 3
  • Quick Sheath 2
  • Stun Resistance 3
  • Evade Window 2

Now, there isn’t much we’ll need to do for our baseline. We’ve already maxed out Weakness Exploit, and we don’t need Earplugs or Handicraft here. Feel free to add Slugger in if you like, but since this is a DPS-first build, we’ll mostly want to focus on raising our affinity to 100% and boosting our attack damage as much as possible. I recommend slotting in the following as the right jewels become available:

  • Agitator (max out)
  • Attack Boost
  • Critical Eye (max out)
  • Dragon Attack

Best Hammer Build: Slugger Secret

MHW Hammer 1
Image Credit: Capcom

Our next build is designed around Slugger Secret, which really just means tacking a lot of Slugger onto our meta DPS build. It may not be remarkably different, but I’d be remiss not to mention that this is a great build if you’re a fan of dealing lots of stun damage.

EquipmentArmor
Fatalis DemolisherDragonhead β+
Challenger Charm VDragonhide α+
Temporal Mantle+Dragonclaws β+
Rocksteady Mantle+Dragonbarbs α+
Rimeguard Greaves γ+

Since this is the same set as the one listed above, I won’t spend too much time describing the set bonuses and armor skills. They’re the same. Suffice it to say, you can do pretty much anything with Fatalis armor — it’s just a matter of using your decorations to personalize your preferred build.

As a reminder, our total skill list from this equipment (before decorations are added, of course) looks like this:

  • Agitator 5
  • Critical Eye 3
  • Evade Window 2
  • Peak Performance 3
  • Quick Sheath 2
  • Stun Resistance 3
  • Evade Window 2

Since this is a Slugger Secret set, we’re dialing back on the DPS-boosting skills in favor of maxing out Slugger. This may take some time, depending on the jewels you have available — feel free to play around with the other comfort baseline skills in the meantime, and just add in Slugger as you get the chance.

Best Hammer Build: Transitional Set

MHW Hammer 2
Image Credit: Capcom

If you’re looking for the best Hammer set MHW, but the thought of taking on the Fatalis with mid-grade armor gives you pause, never fear. This is a transitional build for those of you that are still working on putting together your bigger endgame builds and need something functional and formidable for the time being.

EquipmentArmor
Lightbreak HammerKaiser Crown β+
Challenger Charm VBrachydium Mail β+
Temporal Mantle+Kaiser Vambraces β+
Rocksteady Mantle+Kaiser Coil β+
Brachydium Greaves β+

Since we’re not using Fatalis armor, we’ll need to make up for the lack of the Inheritance set bonus. Two pieces of Raging Brachydios armor give us Agitator Secret, which unlocks Agitator’s upper levels and gives us access to higher affinity-boosting percentages. Besides that, three Teostra armor pieces give us Master’s Touch, which prevents sharpness loss on critical hits.

The armor itself gives us some nice skills to start with. The Teostra waist offers a couple of points into Blast Attack, which pairs well with the Lightbreak Hammer. Pairing the Raging Brachydios chest with the Challenger Charm V gives us all the necessary points of Agitator without needing to spend decoration slots. Altogether, our skill list (before decorations) is as follows:

  • Agitator 7
  • Blast Attack 2
  • Critical Eye 2
  • Heat Guard 1
  • Latent Power 1
  • Weakness Exploit 3

We’ll want to slot in Slugger and our comfort baseline skills, as the goal is to increase both DPS and survivability. I recommend the following skills in particular:

  • Attack Boost
  • Coalescence
  • Critical Boost
  • Health Boost

The Hunt Begins

That’s it for our take on the best Hammer build MHW — thanks for reading! Please feel free to share your favorite Hammer build in the comments, and don’t forget to subscribe to our email list for more Monster Hunter build guides!

Happy hunting!

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