Welcome back, hunters! I hope you’ve been enjoying the Monster Hunter: Rise demo — it’s only available until February 1st, so be sure to download it while you can. It’s a great time to test the waters of the new game before it comes out in March.

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For now, though, we’re still firmly focused on Iceborne. This week, we’ll take a closer look at the MHW best Light Bowgun builds and all they have to offer. We’ll start by reviewing the pros and cons before going into the best weapons and skills for any well-rounded LBG build. Then, we’ll jump into three powerful loadouts for DPS, water, and support players.

Let’s get started!

Best Light Bowgun in MHW: Baseline

Light Bowgun 1
Image Credit: Capcom

The MHW best Light Bowgun may not have the hardcore, heavy-hitting power of its sibling, the Heavy Bowgun, but don’t let that fool you. What the LBG lacks in power, it makes up for in movement speed, rapid-fire capabilities, and improved element/status damage.

To be more specific, the Light Bowgun has a fast fire rate that can be improved even further with rapid-fire moves. With the wide range of ammo options available, this quick attack speed means it can be great for applying different effects and abnormal statuses to the monster(s) you’re hunting. It’s a short-to-moderate range weapon, but higher mobility keeps you pretty safe as long as you’re aware of your surroundings.

The LBG’s greatest disadvantage is that it’s not the HBG. It has worse ammo stats, only one type of special ammo, and one fewer attachment slot than the Heavy Bowgun. Other than that, it’s a pretty remarkable and variable weapon on its own.

Since the various weapon stats, ammo types, and attachment slots make the LBG so customizable, it can be difficult to know what to prioritize when putting a build together. That’s what we at High Ground are here for — let’s take a look at some universal recommendations and go from there.

Weapons

We’ll start by covering the best Light Bowguns in MHW: Iceborne. Contrary to what you might expect, the Fatalis LBG doesn’t make this list — it’s simply outclassed by older weapons. The negative affinity and high deviation aren’t impossible to work around, but your time is better spent investing in a good pre-Fatalis weapon.

WeaponDamageAffinityDeviationModsSpecial Ammo
Blizzard Gust33815%Average4Wyvernblast
Alatreon Dominator3380%Low4Wyvernblast
Safi’s Shot3255%High4Wyvernblast

Blizzard Gust is largely recommended as the best Spread 3 Light Bowgun in MHW, as it comes with pretty high base stats that are only improved with the right ammo pairing. Keep in mind that, as with all of the LBGs listed here, your actual numbers may vary depending on the ammo and mods you use.

Alatreon Dominator is the LBG of choice if you’re going for an element build. While it’s not as effective for raw damage, it can’t be beat when going up against monsters with specific elemental weaknesses.

The Safi’jiiva series is pretty variable depending on the build you’re going for, but I’d specifically like to recommend the Aquashot for Sticky 3 ammo. It’s got higher raw damage than other Sticky 3 LBGs, and it gets the added advantage of Awakened Abilities.

Attachments

Attachments (or mods) give you a few more ways to customize your weapon and fine-tune your build. They’re a great way to boost your current stats and correct any major issues built into your LBG of choice. If you’ve got high recoil, for example, you can use attachments to reduce the aggravating kickback.

The tricky thing about mods is that they’re extremely weapon-specific. The best Light Bowgun mods in MHW will depend not only on the LBG in question, but on the type of ammo you’re using. High deviation isn’t the worst downside for Spread builds, as the ammo explodes in larger areas, but it can be a nightmare if you’re trying to line up a precise shot with Pierce ammo.

All of this is to say that I don’t have any catch-all recommendations here. As long as you keep a close eye on your weapon’s stats and preferred ammo type before modding, you should have a pretty good idea of which mods will and won’t be helpful. It can still be tricky when you’re first getting started, though, so I’ll be sure to include a few recommendations on each of the example builds below.

Skills

Now that we have a few weapons in mind, let’s talk about the MHW best Light Bowgun tree of skills. Since the LBG is (obviously) a gunner weapon, the MHW best Light Bowgun skills will be ones that boost our ammo strength and capacity.

Different skills boost different ammo types, so be sure you’re slotting in the right ones when you put your build together. ArtilleryNormal ShotsPiercing Shots, and Spread/Power Shots all work to improve your overall DPS, and Special Ammo Boost can strengthen your Wyvernblast.

Free Elem/Ammo Up is an excellent choice for improving your loading capacity. Keep in mind that it won’t affect all weapons in the same way — your magazine size and the ammo you have equipped will affect the increase. You may have to invest more points into the skill to see a difference, so double-check your setup!

Finally, Focus decreases your Wyvernblast cooldown to help you swap between your standard and special attacks a little faster than you would without it.

From there, I recommend the usual affinity and damage-boosting skills to help increase your DPS and round out your build for comfort’s sake. Try slotting in the following:

  • Agitator (increases affinity when the monster is enraged)
  • Critical Eye (increases affinity)
  • Health Boost (increases health and max health cap)
  • Weakness Exploit (increases affinity when hitting weak spots)

That’s it for the baseline! Now that we have a template to work with, let’s dive into a few examples of the MHW best Light Bowgun builds!

Light Bowgun 3
Image Credit: Capcom

Best Light Bowgun Build: DPS

For our first example build, we’re focusing on raw DPS. This will be a Spread 3 build, so we’re using the Frostfang Barioth Light Bowgun. This particular LBG works best with the Recoil Suppressor and Close Range Up attachments, so feel free to divide your available mod slots between the two.

EquipmentArmor
Blizzard GustRimeguard Helm γ+
Challenger Charm VDragonhide β+
Temporal Mantle+Dragonclaws β+
Rocksteady Mantle+Dragonbarbs α+
Dragonfeet β+

The MHW best armor for Light Bowgun is, without question, the Fatalis set. Relying primarily on Fatalis ensures that we get both of those sweet, sweet set bonuses. Two pieces give us Inheritance, which unlocks the skill caps for all skill secrets. Four pieces give us Transcendence, which gives us True Razor Sharp/Spare Shot and a nice boost to our health and stamina.

The armor pieces themselves come prepared with a few nifty skills, including Critical Eye, Evade Window, and Weakness Exploit. With the addition of Agitator from the Challenger Charm V, our total skill list (before decorations) is as follows):

  • Agitator 5
  • Coalescence 3
  • Critical Eye 3
  • Evade Window 2
  • Resuscitate 1
  • Weakness Exploit 3

We have very few of our baseline skills built in here, so we’ll want to use our available decoration slots to get those set up. Remember that we’re using Spread 3 ammo, so you’ll want to invest in Spread/Power Shots. I recommend the following skills:

  • Attack Boost
  • Critical Boost
  • Focus
  • Free Elem/Ammo Up
  • Special Ammo Boost
  • Spread/Power Shots

Best Light Bowgun Build: Water

Our second build is a sort of all-purpose best elemental Light Bowgun build. This particular set can be customized to fit any of the elements covered by Elemental Ammo (Fire, Ice, Thunder, and Water). We’ll focus on Water in this example, using Safi’s Aquashot and the Water Attack skill. Since we’re using the Safi LBG, be sure to equip a few Recoil Suppressors!

EquipmentArmor
Safi’s AquashotSafi Crested Crown β+
Awakening Charm IIISafi Crested Chest β+
Temporal Mantle+Safi Crested Vambraces β+
Rocksteady Mantle+Safi Crested Belt β+
Safi Crested Boots β+

We’re back to full Safi’jiiva armor for this build, so we get the benefit of True Dragonvein Awakening. With all five pieces of Safi armor, the set bonus grants a bonus to attack damage and affinity as long as your weapon’s drawn, as well as improved health recovery while continually attacking. You’ll need that last bit to counteract the steady health drain, but the LBG’s attack speed should make it easy.

Our built-in armor skills are pretty useful, as well. Evade Window and Critical Boost are especially welcome, and the few points of Blight Resistance are handy if not crucial. Paired with the Awakening Charm III for a few points of Free Elem/Ammo Up, our skill list (before decorations) is as follows:

  • Blight Resistance 2
  • Critical Boost 3
  • Evade Window 3
  • Free Elem/Ammo Up 3

We have to be more judicious with our decoration slots since we don’t have as many to work with. Try to incorporate the baseline skills as jewels become available — we don’t need to boost any particular ammo type here, so slotting in Water Attack can improve your overall damage. Outside of the baseline, I recommend adding the following:

  • Agitator
  • Attack Boost
  • Critical Element
  • Resentment

Best Light Bowgun Build: Support

Light Bowgun 2
Image Credit: Capcom

The best Light Bowgun support build MHW will look a lot like the support build for the Sword and Shield. We’ll be using similar skills, but replacing any melee-specific boosts with gunner skills. We’re back to the Frostfang Barioth Spread 3 LBG, so use the same Recoil Suppressor and Close Range Up mods as before.

EquipmentArmor
Blizzard GustDragonhead β+
Challenger Charm VDragonhide β+
Temporal Mantle+Dragonclaws β+
Rocksteady Mantle+Dragonbarbs β+
Kulve Taroth’s Wrath α+

A nearly full set of Fatalis once again gives us the Inheritance and Transcendence set bonuses. An added benefit to Inheritance is that it unlocks Free Meal Secret, which just so happens to be the Kulve Taroth’s four-piece set bonus.

As mentioned previously, Fatalis armor gives us some helpful points into Critical Eye, Evade Window, and Weakness Exploit. By adding the Kulve Taroth legs, we also get a few points into Wide Range, which is a must-have for this support build. Adding the Challenger Charm V brings our skill list (before decorations) to the following:

  • Agitator 5
  • Critical Eye 3
  • Evade Window 1
  • Peak Performance 2
  • Stun Resistance 3
  • Weakness Exploit 3
  • Wide Range 2

Now, our baseline skills (particularly Free Elem/Ammo Up and Spread/Power Shots) will be important, but there are a few additional skills we’ll want to add in to fully round out the support build. I recommend slotting in and maxing out the following skills as you can:

  • Critical Boost
  • Free Meal
  • Mushroomancer
  • Speed Eating
  • Wide Range (it’s built in, but we’ll want to max it out)

The Hunt Begins

That brings us to the end of our MHW best Light Bowgun build guide — thanks for reading! If you have a favorite LBG build you’d like to share with us, please show it off in the comments. Don’t forget to subscribe and follow our social media for more Monter Hunter build guides!

Happy hunting!

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