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MHR: Sunbreak Best Switch Axe Build Guide

If you want to lay waste to giant monsters in style, then the Switch Axe is the perfect weapon for you. One of two switch weapons, the Switch Axe gives you two weapons in one sweet package. Players can switch between slow, powerful axe attacks and quick, long-reaching sword attacks with flashy finishers. An absolute treat to play, Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak makes an already fun weapon even better. And with the right build, you can easily cleave your way through any challenge that comes your way. In this guide, we’ll be going over some of the best Switch Axe builds in Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak to get you from Low Rank to Master Rank.

Let’s get started!

MHR: Sunbreak | Best Switch Axes

As you probably already know, not every weapon in Monster Hunter is created equal. Hunters new and old need to pay attention when choosing which Switch Axe they want to ride into hunts with. Much like the Charge Blade, when choosing a Switch Axe, you need to be aware of which phial type your weapon has, along with its other stats.

Since this guide will focus on general builds that can be used for most monsters in the game, we recommend Switch Axes that use the Exhaust phial. Exhaust tires out the monster and leaves them vulnerable to big damage attacks, which makes it great for both solo and multiplayer hunts. I highly recommend experimenting with the different Switch Axes in the game, however, as elemental builds can be very rewarding.

Once again, we have some added disclaimers. Firstly, some elements of this guide (mostly those concerning Master Rank quests) are unique to the Sunbreak expansion. Secondly, we’ll be referencing the Switch controller scheme for any relevant controls, as that is the platform I play on. It should be simple enough to know which controls they translate to for your chosen platform, though!

Without further ado, here are our recommendations for the best Switch Axes in Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak.

Champion Switch Axe

  • Raw Damage: 150
  • Defense: 30
  • Elemental Status: N/A
  • Affinity: 0%
  • Phial Type: Exhaust Phial
  • Rampage Slots: 1
  • Rampage Skills: Attack Boost I, Affinity Boost I, Defense Boost I

Conqueress

  • Raw Damage: 210
  • Defense: 10
  • Elemental Status: N/A
  • Affinity: 0%
  • Phial Type: Exhaust Phial
  • Rampage Slots: 1
  • Rampage Skills: Attack Boost III, Boost Equipped Coating, Silkbind Boost

Conqueress II

  • Raw Damage: 260
  • Defense: 30
  • Elemental Status: N/A
  • Affinity: 0%
  • Phial Type: Exhaust Phial
  • Rampage Slots: N/A
  • Rampage Skills: N/A

Each weapon here is meant to carry you through each stage of your hunting career. You’ll be sticking with each weapon and its upgrade path until you’re ready to move on to the next one. These weapons are not set in stone, however. If there’s another Switch Axe you want to swap in, then do so! These builds were built with general use in mind, meaning there’s some give before its effectiveness begins to dwindle. Experiment with what you like while using these builds as a roadmap to help you get started.

MHR: Sunbreak | Best Switch Axe Switch Skills

The Switch Axe’s mechanic to switch between axe and sword mode lets you choose between strong, heavy attacks and quick, mobile cuts. While this lets you dance between the two modes, the weapon’s Switch Skills presented allow you to fine-tune your playstyle to focus more on mobility or damage. 

For new players, I recommend learning the mobility abilities for safer hunts, then switching to damage abilities when you’re more comfortable with the weapon. While this choice is dependent on your preferred playstyle, the skill swap system introduced in Sunbreak makes it less of a visceral choice. Regardless, we’ve listed every Switch Skill below to help you choose which option is best for you.

Switch 1A — Forward Slash

Monster Hunter Rise Switch Axe Switch Skills: Forward Slash
Image: Capcom via HGG / Justin Moniquette

Description: Thrusts the axe’s blade forward while stepping. Doesn’t do a lot of damage, but is versatile.

Controls: L+X in Axe Mode.

How to Unlock: Available by default.

Swappable: Can be swapped with Forward Overhead Slash.

Switch 1B — Forward Overhead Slash

Switch Axe Switch Skills: 
Forward Overhead Slash
Image: Capcom via HGG / Justin Moniquette

Description: A lunging attack performed by winding up the axe and smashing it down. Difficult to pull off but delivers good damage. A subsequent Sword Mode attack will turn into a Double Slash.

Controls: L+X in Axe Mode.

How to Unlock:  Craft or upgrade a total of 8 unique Switch Axes.

Swappable: Can be swapped with Forward Slash.

Switch 2A — Finishing Discharge

Monster Hunter Rise Switch Axe Switch Skills: Finishing Discharge
Image: Capcom via HGG / Justin Moniquette

Description: A finishing blow for the Elemental Discharge attack. Performs a thrust attack while fortifying elemental energy, ending with a massive explosion. If your Amp Gauge is full and the target is a large monster, the action becomes a Zero Sum Discharge Finisher.

Controls: X after an Elemental Discharge (Pressing multiple times increases the number of hits). By tilting L backward, this move will fire off a quicker, simplified explosion.

How to Unlock: Available by default.

Swappable: Can be swapped with Compressed Finishing Discharge.

Switch 2B — Compressed Finishing Discharge

Switch Axe Switch Skills: Compressed Finishing Discharge
Image: Capcom via HGG / Justin Moniquette

Description: A finishing blow for the Elemental Discharge attack. Puts you into a knockback-resistant stance and delivers a swift strike accompanied by an elemental explosion. The Amp Gauge has no effect on this action.

Controls: X after Elemental Discharge.

How to Unlock: Complete the ★4 Hub Quest “Study the Switch Axe.”

Swappable: Can be swapped with Finishing Discharge.

Switch 3A — Axe: Wide Sweep

Monster Hunter Rise Switch Axe Switch Skills: Wide Sweep
Image: Capcom via HGG / Justin Moniquette

Description: A technique that closes the distance to your target by using the centrifugal force of swinging with an Axe: Wild Swing. Useful for when the target is out of swinging range or when you want to get in close for Sword Mode attacks.

Controls: During Axe: Wild Swing press ZR.

How to Unlock: Available by default.

Swappable: Can be swapped with 2-Staged Morph Slash Combo.

Switch 3B — 2-Staged Morph Slash Combo

Switch Axe Switch Skills: 2-Staged Morph Slash Combo
Image: Capcom via HGG / Justin Moniquette

Description: A two-staged Morph Slash attack that follows an Axe: Wild Swing. The first stage morphs into Sword Mode, the second stage morphs into Axe Mode. During this combo, the power of Sword Mode attacks increase and Axe Mode attacks fill the Switch Gauge faster.

Controls: After Axe: Wild Swing press ZR for Axe: 2nd Morph Slash I then ZR for Sword: 2nd Morph Slash II.

How to Unlock: Reach Elgado Outpost (the main hub for Sunbreak) and learn skill swap from Master Utsushi.

Swappable: Can be swapped with Axe: Wide Sweep.

Switch 4A — Invincible Gambit

Monster Hunter Rise Switch Axe Switch Skills: Invincible Gambit
Image: Capcom via HGG / Justin Moniquette

Description: A technique using a Wirebug to surge forward and dish out three strikes. You will be impervious to knockdowns until the strikes are completed, making this attack useful in a slugfest or pinch.

Wirebug Gauge recovery speed: Medium

Controls: While holding ZL, press X.

How to Unlock: Available by default.

Swappable: Can be swapped with either Soaring Wyvern Blade or Wire Step.

Switch 4B — Soaring Wyvern Blade

Switch Axe Switch Skills: Soaring Wyvern Blade
Image: Capcom via HGG / Justin Moniquette

Description: Uses a Wirebug to fly up while slashing, ending with an Advancing Slash from midair. If the Advancing Slash is successful, the weapon’s Amp Gauge fills up, a large explosion goes off where it is connected.

Wirebug Gauge recovery speed: Medium

Controls: While holding ZL, press X. After jumping up, pressing X performs an Advancing Slash. If activated mid-air, an Advancing Slash will be performed automatically.

How to Unlock: Unlock ★3 Village Quests or ★2 Hub Quests.

Swappable: Can be swapped with either Invincible Gambit or Wire Step.

Switch 4C — Wire Step

Switch Axe Switch Skills: Wire Step
Image: Capcom via HGG / Justin Moniquette

Description: A wirebug-based evasion technique that allows you to morph into Axe Mode while flanking the enemy. Highly effective for maneuvering while in Axe Mode.

Wirebug Gauge recovery speed: Fast

Controls: While holding ZL press X. Uses the L stick to move left or right. Flanks right by default.

How to Unlock: Reach MR 4 and complete the first two key quests before the Astalos Urgent Quest. 

Swappable: Can be swapped with either Invincible Gambit or Soaring Wyvern Blade.

Switch 5A — Switch Charger

Monster Hunter Rise Switch Axe Switch Skills: Switch Charger
Image: Capcom via HGG / Justin Moniquette

Description: A technique that uses a Wirebug to restore your Switch Gauge as you move. Once active, your Switch Gauge won’t deplete for a while, so use this technique to gain the advantage at the start of battle.

Wirebug Gauge recovery speed: Medium

Controls: While holding ZL, press A. Movement is possible with L.

How to Unlock: Available by default.

Swappable: Can be swapped with Elemental Burst Counter.

Switch 5B — Elemental Burst Counter

Switch Axe Switch Skills: Elemental Burst Counter
Image: Capcom via HGG / Justin Moniquette

Description: Compresses Switch Gauge energy that can be released as an Elemental Burst. If the burst is released right as a monster attacks, you’ll perform a Power Finisher and your Switch Axe will go into an Amped State.

Wirebug Gauge recovery speed: Fast

Controls: While holding ZL, press A. With an Elemental Burst Counter readied, press ZR to perform an Elemental Burst.

How to Unlock: Reach MR 4 and complete the first two key quests before the Astalos Urgent Quest. 

Swappable: Can be swapped with Switch Charger.

MHR: Sunbreak | Best Switch Axe Builds

With all the Switch Skills out of the way, we’re ready to go over our best Switch Axe builds in Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak. As a quick reminder, these builds will focus on giving an easy-to-follow path from Low Rank to Master Rank. These builds will be a starting point for each portion of the game that can be personalized and tweaked as you move through the game.

Each build here should give you a strong start in whatever stage of the game you’re in. Whether you’re new to the game or just new to Switch Axe, these builds should give you an easier time learning the ins and outs of the weapon without too much fear of the monsters.

These builds also offer a level of flexibility, as many pieces of the build can be swapped out without sacrificing its overall effectiveness. This way you can customize to your heart’s content with a nice roadmap to follow.

Build 1 — Low Rank

Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak Best Switch Axe Builds | Low Rank
Image: Capcom via HGG / Justin Moniquette

If you’re new to the Switch Axe, this build will be a good starting point for your Switch Axe career. The morph mechanic adds a little complexity to the weapon, but it’s nowhere near as technical as the Charge Blade. This set can be crafted mid-way through Village Quests and should get you to the beginning of High Rank hunts.

Weapon / Switch Skills / Rampage SkillsArmor
Champion Switch AxeAlmudron Helm
Forward SlashAlmudron Mail
Finishing DischargeAlmudron Vambraces
Invincible GambitVolvidon Coil
Affinity Boost IIngot Greaves

This is a build to get you started and get you on the road to learning this weapon. Almudron has a lot of useful skills for the Switch Axe, so a lot of our build is going to take from this set. Rapid Morph is gonna let us switch between forms quickly mid-fight. Razor Sharp keeps us from losing our precious weapon sharpness, and Attack Boost and Critical Eye let us do a little more damage with our base weapon stats.

For our Switch Skills, I go with a mix of defensive/mobility options and damage options. If you have Sunbreak, however, it doesn’t really matter that much. For our Rampage Skill, I choose Affinity Boost I so we can do a little more damage with criticals.

Keep following the upgrade path for the Champion Switch Axe until you’re ready to move on to the next weapon to make sure your damage doesn’t fall off, and you should be fine. There’s nothing worse than forgetting weapon upgrades.

Build 2 — High Rank

Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak Best Switch Axe Builds | High Rank
Image: Capcom via HGG / Justin Moniquette

Next up, let’s get into our best build for High Rank. Not much changes here, as we’re really just upgrading our Low Rank set in preparation for harder quests and tougher monsters.

Weapon / Switch Skills / Rampage SkillsArmor
ConqueressAlmudron Helm S
Forward SlashAlmudron Mail S
Compressed Finishing DischargeAlmudron Vambraces S
Invincible GambitAnjanath Coil S
Affinity Boost IIIIngot Greaves S

Almudron is still going to be our main set. Once again, we’re picking up Rapid Morph and Razor Sharp to keep our morphing quick and our blade sharp. We’re also adding more Attack Boost so we hit even harder for the tougher High Rank versions of the monsters. This should make sure that you’re not only hitting hard, but combating the quick sharpness degradation that the Switch Axe suffers from.

Our Switch Skills don’t change much either. We stick mainly with our original set, but we switch Finishing Discharge out with Compressed Finishing Discharge for its utility. We also choose Affinity Boost III for our rampage skill to keep the crits coming.

At this point, I would also recommend looking at decorations and talismans. They are a great way to fine-tune your build to better fit your playstyle.

Build 3 — Master Rank

Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak Best Switch Axe Builds | Master Rank
Image: Capcom via HGG / Justin Moniquette

With Sunbreak and the introduction of Master Rank, hunters are given a couple of new tools to work with during hunts. As I mentioned before, we can switch different Switch Skills mid-hunt, so the switch skills you slot really doesn’t matter as much. We’re also given access to a new, more powerful tier of gear to contend with the more difficult hunts we’ll be faced with. And while you can start Sunbreak as soon as you reach HR 7 and defeat Narwa, I’m writing this build with the assumption that you started within the HR 20–40 range, as I believe that’s a good place to start the hunts in the DLC.

Weapon / Switch Skills / Rampage SkillsArmor
Conqueress IIIngot Helm X
Forward SlashVolvidon Mail X
Compressed Finishing DischargeVelociprey Braces
Invincible GambitAnjanath Coil X
N/AVolvidon Greaves X

At first glance, you can already see that the purpose of our build doesn’t really change from High Rank to Master Rank. We’re still going for Rapid Morph, but this time around we’re getting the skill from the Volvidon armor. The major change comes from the dropping of Razor Sharp and doubling down on Attack Boosts to maximize damage.

At this point in the game, make your Switch Skill loadouts and make sure you have the ones you want on when you join a hunt. You can make some pretty cool combos, so experiment with your loadouts and see what you like.

We don’t have any Rampage Skills this go around, since our weapon has no rampage slots. Use decorations and talismans to build on whatever you need or want during a hunt. Remember to upgrade your weapons and armor whenever you can, and enjoy your first foray into Master Rank quests with this powerful build.

Join the High Ground!

And there you have it. The best Switch Axe builds in Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak to get you through every stage of the game. Do you agree with these builds? Do you have your own builds that carried you through Monster Hunter? Comment them down below and don’t forget to subscribe for more content like this in the future.

Happy hunting!

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