Well, friends, we’ve done it. Over the past few months, we’ve covered almost all of the fourteen weapon types in Monster Hunter World: Iceborne, discussing the basic building blocks of strong builds and showing how these fundamentals are used in the meta. We want you to be the best hunter you can be, and we hope that our guides have helped you along the way.

This week, we’re finishing up our MHW build guide series just in time for Monster Hunter Rise to hit the Switch later this month. It’ll also be coming to the PC, so those of you who weren’t looking forward to migrating to the Switch still have something to look forward to.

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Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, though. We still have one last weapon to cover — the unstoppable, beautiful, absolute tank known as the Lance.

If you’ve been following our guides, you’ll know that I’m a proud Lance main. The other weapon types have their unique appeals, but nothing beats the sheer power rush from blocking those impossible attacks. Gone are the days of superman diving and praying you’ve timed your i-frames right — now you can sit back and relax behind your indestructible shield.

Without further ado, let’s jump into the best Lance build guide for MHW: Iceborne!

Best Lance Build in MHW: Baseline

To kick us off, let’s discuss the basic properties of the Lance. The Lance has the strongest block in the game, and every one of its moves can transition smoothly into a formidable guard. It’s got long range and high reach, its sharp point translating to precise attacks that minimize bouncing even as your sharpness goes down (which it will due to its higher attack speed).

The Lance does sacrifice a few elements for its high block capabilities. It’s got incredibly slow movement speed when drawn, forcing you to sheath your weapon or rely on dash moves for mobility. It also doesn’t have a dodge roll, instead giving you a series of short hops that you can use to slightly evade or reposition.

The best Lance MHW builds lean into the weapon’s strengths. Everything that could be considered a detriment to the Lance simply lends itself to a tankier playstyle, so you don’t have to worry as much about compensating for its weaknesses.

To show you what I mean, let’s continue exploring our baseline weapons and skills.

Weapons

MHW Lance 1
Image: Capcom

When determining the best Lance in MHW, you’ll generally want to look for options that offer high attack power and a decent sharpness bar. Lances are pretty average as far as element/status damage is concerned, so you won’t necessarily have to prioritize that in your search.

Here are our recommendations for MHW: Iceborne’s best Lances:

WeaponRaw DamageElement/StatusAffinity
True Fatalis Lance851120 (Dragon)-20%
Safi’s Shattersnout635120 (Blast)5%
Lightbreak Lance690270 (Blast)0%

The True Fatalis Lance offers high raw damage with very few drawbacks. As with other Fatalis weapons, you will have the negative affinity to deal with — thankfully, you’ll typically have plenty of room to slot in affinity-boosting skills since the Lance doesn’t require much by way of weapon-specific skills.

The Safi’jiiva series has significantly lower raw damage than the Fatalis Lance, but it makes up for the loss with a 25% increase in affinity and customizable stats. Safi’s Awakened abilities let you specialize your weapon with improved damage, sharpness, affinity, and several other benefits. We’ve highlighted Safi’s Shattersnout above for the additional DPS offered by Blast damage, but feel free to choose the weapon that best fits your intended build.

Finally, the Lightbreak Lance is a good option if you’re looking for a sidegrade to the Safi’jiiva weapons. You don’t get all of the customization options, but you still have relatively high base stats without needing to grind the Safi siege or the Fatalis hunt.

Skills

Now that we have our weapons lined up, let’s get into the MHW best Lance skills. Like I mentioned before, the best Lance skills will lean into the weapon’s strengths — namely, its intense guard and precise attacks.

The first skill on our list, unsurprisingly, is Guard. Equipping this skill decreases the impact of specific attacks while blocking — the more points you invest, the stronger your blocks become. A lot of Lance builds max out Guard to significantly reduce chip damage and stamina loss when tanking direct hits from the monster.

While not completely necessary, you could also invest in Guard Up for an added bit of tankiness. This skill lets you block monster attacks that would typically be unblockable, like Nergigante’s dive-bomb (with a few notable exceptions — Lunastra, Alatreon, Safi’jiiva, and Fatalis all have supernovas that can’t be guarded against).

Offensive Guard is a good skill for boosting your damage, especially for Guard-focused weapons like the Lance. Equipping this skill increases your attack power for a short time after executing a perfectly-timed guard.

Finally, we have Weakness Exploit. Affinity-boosting skills tend to be useful across the board, but Weakness Exploit works particularly well with the Lance. The weapon’s precise attacks make it much easier to take advantage of a monster’s weak spots, which are in turn easier to create using the Lance’s Clutch Claw Counter move. Landing this particular counter essentially guarantees a flinch shot or a Clutch Claw weapon attack, giving you plenty of opportunities to wound monsters.

If sharpness proves to be an issue for you, you might also consider slotting in skills like HandicraftRazor Sharp/Spare Shot, or Protective Polish. They’re not crucial to your build, but they can help if you have the slots to spare.

As usual, I also recommend slotting in the following skills for general DPS and comfort:

  • 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! From here, let’s bring these basics to the current meta and take a look at some example builds that show off the Lance at its best.

MHW Lance 3
Image: Capcom

Best Lance Build: DPS

Our first build will be focused on high DPS during solo hunts. MHW’s best Lance sets tend to mix DPS and defensive capabilities, so this also functions as a good all-around endgame set.

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

While the Fatalis armor is the best Lance armor in MHW, we’re not going to be using a full set just yet. Instead, we’re going to sub out the legs for a single piece of Velkhana armor. This still gives us the Inheritance and Transcendence set bonuses — the first unlocks the upper caps of all skill secrets, and the second gives us True Razor Sharp/Spare shot and a health/stamina boost.

The armor pieces themselves give us a few handy skills. We don’t usually use the alpha head piece in our Fatalis builds, but doing so here grants us three points of Guard that we won’t have to slot in later. Beyond that, we get Critical Eye, Weakness Exploit, and Evade Window (which isn’t the most useful for a Lance but can be helpful nonetheless).

After equipping the Challenger Charm V for a few points into Agitator, our total skill list (before decorations) comes to the following:

  • Agitator 5
  • Critical Eye 3
  • Evade Window 1
  • Guard 3
  • Peak Performance 3
  • Quick Sheath 2
  • Stun Resistance 3
  • Weakness Exploit 3

We’ve already got a decent amount of our baseline skills built in here, so we won’t have to do much by way of optimization. I recommend maxing out Guard and the affinity-boosting skills as you can and slotting in the following skills as they become available:

  • Attack Boost
  • Handicraft
  • Offensive Guard

Best Lance Build: Multiplayer

MHW Lance 2
Image: Capcom

Our next build looks pretty similar, albeit with a few distinct differences. This build is designed more for multiplayer than solo hunting, so we’ve made a few adjustments that increase your tankiness in light of the monster’s increased health.

EquipmentArmor
True Fatalis LanceDragonhead α+
Challenger Charm VDragonhide β+
Temporal Mantle+Dragonclaws β+
Rocksteady Mantle+Dragonbarbs α+
Dragonfeet α+

This time around, we’re going for a full Fatalis set. Doing so gives us the Inheritance and Transcendence set bonuses again, so we’re mostly making trades for added defense and better built-in skills.

Since we’re using most of the same pieces as our DPS set, there won’t be many changes to our overall skill list. One thing to keep in mind is that we’re using Fatalis legs in place of Velkhana, so we’ll get a few extra points into Evade Window and Handicraft. With the Challenger Charm V equipped, our skill list (before decorations) is as follows:

  • Agitator 5
  • Critical Eye 3
  • Evade Window 2
  • Guard 3
  • Handicraft 2
  • Stun Resistance 3
  • Weakness Exploit 3

Not too shabby. Still, since we’re going for maximum tankiness, we’ll want to add a few more skills on top of our baseline. Make sure to max out your Guard and affinity-boosting skills again, then add in the following when you have the chance:

  • Attack Boost
  • Critical Boost
  • Divine Blessing
  • Flinch Free
  • Guard Up
  • Offensive Guard
  • Provoker

Best Lance Build: Transitional Set

Finally, I’d like to include a build you can use leading up to Fatalis. This is still quality endgame armor, but it works as a good “in the meantime” set if you’re struggling with that final fight.

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

Mixing Teostra and Raging Brachydios gives us a few useful set bonuses. While we won’t get all of our skill caps unlocked with Inheritance, two pieces of Raging Brachydios unlocks Agitator Secret, raising the level cap from five points to seven. In the meantime, three pieces of Teostra armor give us Master’s Touch, which keeps us from losing sharpness on critical hits.

There’s a pretty nice variety of armor skills baked into these pieces. The best ones are Agitator, Blast Attack, Critical Eye, and Weakness Exploit. Adding in the Challenger Charm V maxes out our Agitator and brings our skill list (before decorations) to the following:

  • Agitator 7
  • Blast Attack 5
  • Critical Eye 2
  • Heat Guard 1
  • Latent Power 1
  • Weakness Exploit 3

From here, we can equip some of our missing baseline skills and a few other useful options. I recommend slotting in the following as the jewels become available:

  • Attack Boost
  • Critical Boost
  • Guard (no need to max it out this time)
  • Offensive Guard

The Hunt Begins

That’s it for our best Lance MHW build guide — thank you so much for reading! I’ve really enjoyed writing these guides, and I appreciate you sticking with me through this series. Please stay tuned and subscribe to our email list for more Monster Hunter content — I can’t wait to jump into Monster Hunter Rise with all of you.

Happy hunting!

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