When Monster Hunter Rise’s Switch Skills were first announced, I knew I had to try out all the new moves for the Lance. The hunting styles from Generations Ultimate had piqued my interest, and I was excited for new ways to capitalize on my favorite weapon’s built-in tankiness.

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The Lance’s new skills turn your heavy shield into a battering ram and introduce some impressive mobility that lets you launch airborne attacks and charge your way through incoming damage. No longer is the Lance a slow-moving, impenetrable wall with a single dash attack — now, you’re a hard-hitting machine that deals as much damage as it deflects.

This week, we’re continuing our Switch Skills series with a guide to the best Switch Skills for the Lance in Monster Hunter Rise. Let’s get started!

How to Equip Switch Skills in Monster Hunter Rise

Before we get into the Switch Skills themselves, let’s run through a quick overview of how to use them. Once you’ve unlocked the Switch Skills for a given weapon, you can swap them out and change your moveset at any time by visiting the Item Box and selecting “Change Switch Skill.”

Switch Skills in Camp
You can change your Switch Skills in camp, too!

The menu automatically displays any 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 available skills will apply to every weapon in that particular category.

How to Unlock All Lance Switch Skills in Monster Hunter Rise

All the Switch Skills in Monster Hunter Rise are unlocked in stages. You don’t have to pick them up in any certain order, but the first one is generally the easiest to earn. You simply need to reach ★3 Village Quests or ★2 Hub Quests, then speak to Master Utsushi in the Gathering Hub. He’ll give you your first Switch Skill for each weapon type — if you main Lance, this is where you’ll pick up Shield Charge.

The second Switch Skill is unlocked by building up your weapon stores. Once you’ve created eight weapons of the same type, Master Utsushi will take notice and offer you a Switch Skill for that weapon type to reward your dedication. After you’ve crafted or upgraded eight unique Lances, you can talk to him to grab the Insta-Block skill.

The last Switch Skill is unlocked by completing a specific quest. Once you’ve reached ★4 Hub Quests, Master Utsushi will assign special quests to help you learn new skills for your weapon of choice. The quests unlock at different levels, so you might have to wait a little longer for your next skill. Spiral Thrust, the final Switch Skill for the Lance, is unlocked by the ★5 Hub Quest “Learn the Lance.”

Monster Hunter Rise Best Switch Skills for Lance

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.

Shield Charge

Shield Charge (ZR + X) replaces the Dash Attack move, allowing you to run a short distance with your shield up to close in on the monster and block incoming attacks. The charge can be concluded with a Shield Attack (X) or a Leaping Thrust (A), both of which add a helpful burst of damage at the end of your rush.

Rushing with Lance
Rushing in head (and shield) first

Equipping the Shield Charge costs you some of the mobility offered by the Dash Attack — you can’t run as far, you can’t perform an Advancing Leap, and you can’t change direction with the Dash Turn. What it lacks in mobility, however, it makes up for with higher damage numbers and a more reliable defense while running.

Shield Charge in Action
Shield Charge in action against a Rathian, plus my dog

Players tend to prefer the Shield Charge for this exact reason. While the Dash Attack was a staple of the Lance in earlier Monster Hunter games (especially when the Advancing Leap dealt mount damage), the extra movement simply doesn’t hold up to increased damage and a solid blocking ability.

Insta-Block

Insta-Block (ZR right before you take a hit) is a replacement for the Guard skill, adjusting your shield’s blocking motion for quicker and more effective counters. If you time your block correctly, you can deflect a monster’s attack without suffering any stamina loss or chip damage and counter by pressing X to perform a Cross Sweep. Even if you get a little over-eager and block too early, Insta-Block transitions easily into a regular Guard to keep you from taking too much damage.

Insta-Block
It’s not the flashiest move, but it does the trick

This probably sounds like an easy swap if you’re confident in your timing, but don’t be so sure. The standard Guard move has a more effective block, offers more combo potential (since you can hunker down right after a Thrust), and has a more forgiving counter window.

While Insta-Block does have its advantages in the form of added DPS and opening a few skill points that would otherwise be allocated to Guard, most players prefer to stick with the regular Guard move. Even those of us who liked Adept Lance in Generations Ultimate and Offensive Guard in World recommend against Insta-Block unless you’re particularly good at timing and don’t mind the way Cross Sweep leaves you vulnerable.

Spiral Thrust

Spiral Thrust (ZL + A) is a Wirebug attack that launches you forward with a powerful thrust. Once you’ve landed, you can immediately use L Analog to reposition yourself for a second attack, sending you slicing through the monster a second time. Since this attack only consumes a single Wirebug, you can potentially release up to six devastating attacks in a row, spiraling around the monster from all directions (hence the name).

Spiral Thrust
Prepare to launch

This Switch Skill swaps with Anchor Rage, a powerful counter move that uses your Wirebug to absorb the impact of a monster attack and unleash it in the form of temporarily enhanced attack power. The stronger the attack you absorb, the stronger your counterattack will be.

Player consensus is split on this one — some hunters like pulling out the Spiral Thrust without having to time a counter, others favor a more defensive play style and like the extra power Anchor Rage gives them. I recommend testing both moves out in the field and seeing which one best fits your favored approach.

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Become a High Grounder

That’s it for our MHR Lance Switch Skills guide — 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!