I’m pretty new to the Bow in Monster Hunter Rise. Anyone who followed our MHW build guide series knows I’m partial to the Lance, but Capcom did something incredible when they introduced Switch Skills and let players customize their move sets.

The Bow already had a pretty nice look going into Rise, but the inclusion of special, swappable moves that let me fire midair shots and pull off tight melee counters got me really excited about the new weapon type. 

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This week, we’re kicking off a new series that covers all the Switch Skills in MH Rise. The best skills for the Bow weapon type are included below, so let’s get started!

How to Equip Switch Skills in Monster Hunter Rise

First things first, it’s a good idea to know how to equip your Switch Skills. You can swap your Switch Skills at any time by visiting the Item Box and selecting “Change Switch Skill.” You can mix and match your available skills from this menu at any time.

MH Rise Bow Skills 3
Image: Capcom via HGG

The menu will automatically display all the Switch Skills you have unlocked for the weapon type you currently have equipped. Changing the specific weapon you’re holding won’t affect your Switch Skill lineup — the skills you have equipped will apply to every weapon in that category.

How to Unlock All Bow Switch Skills in Monster Hunter Rise

All the Switch Skills in Monster Hunter Rise are unlocked in stages. The first one is relatively easy to get — simply reach ★3 Village Quests or ★2 Hub Quests. Speak to Master Utsushi in the Gathering Hub, and he’ll give you the first Switch Skill for each weapon type. If you main the Bow, this is where you’ll pick up Dodgebolt.

You’ll unlock the second Switch Skill once you start building up your weapon stores. When you create eight weapons of the same type, Master Utsushi will notice and offer you a new Switch Skill for that weapon type. Once you’ve crafted eight unique Bows, you can speak to him to pick up the Aerial Aim skill.

The third and final Switch Skill requires you to complete a specific quest to unlock it. Once you’ve reached ★4 Hub Quests, Master Utsushi will begin assigning you special quests at specific levels to help you learn new skills. Keep in mind that some quests will be introduced later than others, so you might have to wait a few levels before you unlock your skill of choice. The ★6 Hub Quest “Be One with the Bow” unlocks the last Switch Skill for the Bow, Absolute Power Shot.

Monster Hunter Rise Best Switch Skills for Bow

Now that we’ve got the technicalities out of the way, let’s take a look at the Switch Skills themselves. For this guide, we’ll cover each Switch Skill in detail, discuss how they compare to the other skills in their slots, and talk about which skill players prefer for their hunts.

Dodgebolt

MH Rise Bow Skills 2
Image: Capcom via HGG

Dodgebolt (L Analog + B while aiming) replaces the Charging Sidestep move, allowing you to maintain your Bow’s charge level as you execute a short-range evasion. When timed correctly, Dodgebolt can even increase your Bow’s current charge level. The dodge is combined with a spinning melee attack, meaning you can also get a swift attack on the monster if they’re within range when you perform the move.

This melee attack is the biggest difference between Dodgebolt and Charging Sidestep, though there are a few other changes to keep in mind. The Charging Sidestep has a longer evade range and is guaranteed to charge your Bow one additional level (regardless of the timing). It costs a bit more stamina, but it relies less on timing and precise positioning. Dodgebolt has a much tighter performance, but likely won’t be as friendly to beginners who are still learning how to use the Bow.

Because of this, players are pretty divided on whether Dodgebolt or Charging Sidestep is a better addition to the Bow’s move set. Personally, I think it comes down to your level of comfort with the weapon — if you’re not confident about your timing and positioning, it may be better to rely on Charging Sidestep’s more traditional evade and eat the slight increase in stamina loss. If you’re a bit more practiced, you might want to take advantage of Dodgebolt’s melee attack. 

Aerial Aim

MH Rise Bow Skills 5
Image: Capcom via HGG

Aerial Aim (R + X) is a jump shot that uses your Wirebug to launch you upward, letting you fire up to three shots while midair. These shots deal increased damage, and you can even unleash a powerful close-range stabbing attack if you aim directly beneath you. Since this is a Silkbind attack, you also deal mount damage that fills your target monster’s Wyvern Riding gauge, making it easier to pin down and ride.

This Switch Skill replaces Focus Shot, which is really only useful when you’re first learning how to use the Bow. Focus Shot is a jumping evade that you can execute in any direction (you jump backward by default if you don’t specify a direction with the analog stick) to land in a crouched position. While crouched, you rapidly regain stamina, making this a great move if your stamina bar is low and you need to quickly dodge an attack and refill your gauge.

Most players tend to prefer Aerial Aim due to the sizable damage increase. Careful stamina management basically renders Focus Shot obsolete in most hunts — even when you’re in the middle of a tough fight, there are better ways of regaining stamina that don’t take up one of your Silkbind attacks. Once you’ve gotten into a pattern of attacking consistently without running your stamina bar into the ground, you’ll be fine.

Absolute Power Shot

MH Rise Bow Skills 4
Image: Capcom via HGG

Absolute Power Shot (A after shooting) is an upgrade to the basic Power Shot move. It does everything the normal Power Shot does — namely, firing off a high-speed arrow at the next charge level from your last arrow (whether it was a normal shot, a Charging Sidestep, or a Dodgebolt). Just like with the Power Shot, you can fire off one additional Absolute Power Shot after the first.

The main difference between these two moves is that the Absolute Power Shot costs a bit more stamina and has a chance at stunning the monster. Otherwise, the form and function remain the same.

In general, players prefer the regular Power Shot to its Switch Skill upgrade. You can typically only stun monsters once or twice during a hunt, and the increased stun chances aren’t particularly worth it for the added stamina cost. Even during Rampage quests (when you’re often assigned subtasks that involve stunning the monster), it’s better to simply install Ballistae and use their crag shots to stun and repel monsters. You might consider equipping Absolute Power Shot if you’re having trouble keeping up and want the increased stun chance during the Counter Signal boost, but it’s generally better to simply practice with the Ballistae and keep the regular Power Shot.

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That’s it for our guide to the MH Rise best skills for Bow weaponry — thank you so much for reading! There are a lot of different ways to mix and match these skills, so tell us about your favorite combo in the comments. Don’t forget to follow us on social media and subscribe to our newsletter for more guides like this.

Happy hunting!