Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate Lance Guide

                        By Lance100usa/Transmorphic Wyvern

                      Version 1.01 Copyright 2013 Lance Dart


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                                Contact Information
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      Please contact me regarding errors, incomplete, or missing info at:

                               Lance100usa@gmail.com


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                                 Legal Information
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I do not own Monster Hunter, nor any of the content within or about the series.
I only own this guide and the personal ideas that are presented within it. With
this being said, please do not redistribute this material anywhere outside of 
GameFAQs or Neoseeker without my consent or my permission.

If there are any questions, comments, or concerns about the guide or the series
as a whole, please contact me and I will address them if and when I am able to
do so.



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                                    Changelog
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5/29/2013 Version 0.25 - Initial Creation

6/14/2013 Version 1.00 - Finalized Initial Creation

6/14/2013 Version 1.01 - Allowed Usage at Neoseeker.com
                         Added secondary screenname


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                                 Table of Contents
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1. - Introduction
2. - Basic at it's Best
   2.1 Know your weapon
   2.2 Know your opponent
   2.3 Know your environment
   2.4 Know your armor
3. - To Guard or Not to Guard
   3.1 Advance Guard
   3.2 Block and Counter
   3.3 Backhop and the Sidestep
4. - Worthy Mentions
   4.1 Armor Skills
   4.2 Items
5. - Frequently Asked Questions
6. - Foreword


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                                    Introduction
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Welcome to my guide on the usage of the lance! Apart from the irony that it
happens to be my namesake that is further re-enforced as my most proficient
weapon class, it is a weapon that is as aggressive as it is defensive.

But before we begin, my whole experience only dates back to Monster Hunter Tri.
By no means does that does mean I am ignorant to the series, nor that of it's
history and mechanics (for the most part). I am by no means an expert, but I
have my fair share of experience.

This is a guide with the intention of helping a player who wants to learn how
to use the lance but may not know where to start. It will touch over some key
points of interest as well as providing some info that may be beneficial to
those who hold more experience. I go by the belief where if you don't know how
to use a weapon in Monster Hunter, force yourself to use it. While the method
works the best for me, I realize that not everyone can learn best "on the go".

For those people, this guide is for you.


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                                Basics at it's Best
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                            -----Know your Weapon-----


The lance is a rather simple weapon, is it not? You have a large protective
shield, and you have a stick. A long, stabby stick made for poking.

Very violent, controlled poking.

And it is a very precise weapon, one capable of penetrating defenses in a way
other weapons cannot. Since Tri, the Lance deals it's damage based on monster
hitzones in regards to whether the particular point of impact is weaker to 
cutting or impact damage.

In other words, if a particular spot happens to be weaker to impact instead of
cutting damage, it will use that value since it results in more damage output. 
This makes the lance potentially able to break parts that require impact damage
as long as the given part is weaker to impact. It is important to note that
even if the head of a monster is weaker to impact, the lance is NOT dealing
impact! It merely is using the value that results in the most damage.

It's attacks primarily go either straight ahead, at an upward 70 degree angle
directly in front of you, or in a wide horizontal arcswing. But before we get 
too wrapped up in telling you what you can do, lets talk about HOW you can 
perform them.


--Forward Stab----> Push X if weapon is drawn; if sheathed, push X while moving

This attack has quite a good reach straight ahead of you, but slightly less
damage than the following attack below.


--Upward Stab----> Push A

The Upstab is known to provide the most damage of the three attacks, as well as
being the least disruptive. This will generally be your go-to attack; however, 
it tends to be harder to use when underwater compared to the Forward Stab.


--Arcswing----> Push X+A

Contrary to popular belief, the Arcswing does have a number of uses other than 
just clearing the area in front of you (which is a highly ignorant reason to
not even CONSIDER using it). Granted it is a tad situational, but not useless.
The main perk of this attack mostly lies in how it is performed, particularly
on your left side. You character swings your lance from right to left, and the
blade actually moves skyward with surprising reach. The best part is that the
attack has a rather extended timeframe that the lance can contact a monster
and deal damage to it.


These may be used in any order up to three times in a row before a dodge must
be used to restart the cycle. Furthermore, they are your weapon's attacks- but
wait! We are forgetting the most important part of the lance.

Your shield!


--Standard Block----> Press and hold R with weapon drawn; if sheathed and
                      moving, hold R and press X+A to block; R+X if idle

--Advance Guard----> While blocking, move forward and push X


Both heavy and defensive, your shield is made for taking blows with as little
knockback, recoil, and chip damage as possible. Both of these moves have their
uses and will be explained more indepth later on in this guide as to why this
is. But for the general sake, it all boils down to stamina. Blocking with a
lance will actually consume less stamina than blocking with a sword and shield
or a greatsword, but the lack of knockback may have you needing to endure a
number hits while doing so.

The most important thing I should mention is that when the Advance Guard is
performed, you will ONLY lose the stamina consumed to perform the move. This
means that you could be bombarded with pellet shots and only lose the stamina
to execute the move. The only things that will make this fail is if your
stamina is too low after performing the move to sustain oncoming hits, or the
incoming hit is too strong and knocks you back.

And so you have your defensive capabilities, but remember when I mentioned that
it is as offensive as it is defensive in the introduction? That's because you
have a big heavy shield to bash and counter with!


--Shield Bash----> Press X after an Advance Guard

--Counterpoke----> When blocking, hold A for a couple seconds. Player will
                   charge a single powerful, upward stab upon execution. If the
                   player is hit while charging a Counterpoke, they will
                   instead counter the oncoming attack


It is worth mentioning that the counterpoke method of the lance has changed in
only one aspect since Tri. Beforehand, you were able to perform a counterpoke
after any attack in the 3-poke sequence. In 3U, they removed the ability to use
it after the third poke, forcing one to use a dodge to reset it.

Therefore, you MUST be able to identify whether or not to counter or dodge any
particular attack sent your way by an incoming monster.

Finally, the lance has one final surprise for immobile or runaway monsters you
should take advantage of.


--Charge Attack----> Either press X+A when blocking or press the special move
                     icon on the custom interface. Pressing X with deliver a
                     finishing blow; pressing B will cancel the charge


The (in)famous charge attack! Taking anything out in it's path like a bowling
ball through bowling pins, it deals a large amount of hits rapidly in
succession against anything in it's path! The entire charge is considered as
a single attack, so if an affinity mark or a status display appears for one of
the hits, it will appear on all of the hits. The amount of raw that you deal is
only half the normal amount when performing this, but the rapidity of the said
hits, not to mention that ONLY the raw is affected by this, easily makes up for
it.


                             -----Know your Opponent-----


It seems pretty simple, does it not? Whether you are a veteran or a newbie, the
very thing that makes part of the gameplay experience is facing unknown terrors
that may be a Great Jaggi, the Dire Miralis, or even...

THE KELBI!

As fearsome as the kelbi is (which is not at all), the world of Monster Hunter
has an impeccable way of making you learn on the go. This is crucial when using
any weapon, especially shield-based ones. Often you will find yourself thinking
along the lines of "Can I block or counter this?", "Should I dodge at that?",
or even "Am I even capable of blocking this?" when facing any kind of monster.
Proper knowledge of your weapon helps a lot in answering these questions, as it
helps you to figure out these answers for yourself. 

Ultimately, you will want to choose the right weapon for the job. Every monster
has it's own elemental weaknesses, hitzone weak points, and status tolerance,
duration, and damage per second in the case of poison. Everything is weak to
something, constantly or dynamically. All monsters have an inherent, constant
weakness, but a few of them have both.

Let's take Barroth, for example. Barroth has a constant weakness to ice, but is
weaker to either water or fire depending on if there is mud on any given body
that is attacked. The weakness to water only applies until the mud is removed,
where the water will stop doing damage and the fire starts to do so. Likewise, 
the opposite is also true once the Barroth has put the mud back on.

You will also find that your weapon will ocassionally bounce off of a certain 
part of a monster. This will happen when your weapon's sharpness is unable to
penetrate the spot, making your attack literally bounce off from recoil. It is
absolutely important that, in most cases, you should STOP ATTACKING. Seriously,
stop pushing the attack buttons until the animation is finished and you can
move freely again. If you continue to push the button, your character will
contantly attempt to use the same move (usually the standard X-attack) over and
over again and you will be unable to do anything else until you stop hitting it.
With a weapon like the lance, it results in a relatively lengthy period of
leaving you wide open.

And speaking of wide open...


                             -----Know your Environment-----

Again, it seems rather easy to figure out, but it needs to be said regardless.
When fighting new monsters, you will enter landscapes that these monsters dwell
in. Some places are resource abundant, some require a hot drink or cool drink,
and, exclusive to the third generation, some will need you to go underwater!

While you will end up swimming in the deep blue sea from time to time, you must
take precautions ahead of time. If you're heading into the Tundra, bring a hot
drink. Going to the Volcano? Take a cool drink. The Desert? The quest will have
either (D) or (N) for day or night, so take a cool or hot drink, respectively, 

And if you're underwater, bring some oxygen supplies and/or air philters!
Because once you start drowning, your entire health bar glows a brilliant
magenta, covering your visible health as it begins to rapidly deplete. The only
way to remedy this is to either surface, move over a stream of bubbles on
certain parts of the sea floor, or use an oxygen supply or an air philter/weed.

Knowing your environment also involves knowing how to get to certain areas the
quickest, which areas hold what resources, and any environmental hazards you
may encounter.


                               -----Know your Armor-----

This ties into everything listed above in every way in some form. While I will
go more indepth about specific armor skills of interest later in this guide, 
the fact of the matter is that, most of the time, you NEED armor! Preferrably
a whole set! The number of people who don't know how to effectively use their
armor and utilize the skills they grant is staggering. Back in Tri, those 
individuals were what made and defined the joke: That guy with the Guan Dao and
Auto-Guard. Auto-guard was their only skill in the joke, with those individuals
usually entering any and all rooms and ask every single time, "Ala(treon urgent)
plz."

And nobody wants THAT guy.

Every armor has it's strengths and weaknesses, based on the monsters they came 
from. Armor weaknesses are handy for helping to figure out what a monster might
be weakest to after you have obtained something from the said beast, but also
means that you have to take caution against whatever you may be fighting that
uses the very element your armor may be weakest to. Every armor set is useful 
for any given situation, and sometimes you may come across a set or two that 
might not even fill every equipment slot. These particular sets are unique in 
the very fact that they aren't a 5-piece set, because you can actually get much
more out of them by filling in the empty spots with anything you want to get 
more skills out of the equipment.

Because every piece of equipment of an armor set has a certain amount of skill
points to certain skills, even ones that aren't activated with the full set.
For these, making use of talismans and armor decorations will help you get more
out of your gear. This applies to all armors, but moreso to partial sets like
Plesioth or Artian.


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                             To Guard or Not to Guard
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Sometimes the line between decisionmaking to either block or dodge something is
blurred to the point where you could easily do one or the other. Especially if
one's sense of timing and the use of Guard and/or Evasion skills come into 
play. Both Evasion, Evade Distance, Guard, and Guard Boost play a factor into 
these decisions. For the first two of the three catagories in this section, 
both Guard and Guard Boost are the primary factors in their successfulness. 
Likewise, the third part relies more heavily on Evasion and Evade Distance.

Both are important, because you will have to switch between the two within a 
moment's notice, if any notice at all. Some attacks you will be unable to block
normally. For this, Guard Boost allows you to block anything.

Anything. Literally.


                              -----Advance Guard-----

I mentioned earlier that the Advance Guard and it's extreme usefulness for not
only being able to allow you to move barge forward and block at the same time, 
but also for the fact that anything and everything that hits your shield during
that movement has literally no effect on your stamina, finishing off with the
handy ability to bash your shield into whatever may be in front of you. This is 
probably the most useful defensive purpose your shield will grant you. Ever.

Unfortunately, it is also extremely difficult to utilize without the use of the
Guard skill. This is because you are trying to close the distance and block at
the same time, which is NOT an easy feat- especially if you have a several ton
Elder Dragon barrelling into you like an overexcited puppy once you walk in the
front door. Overexaggerated, but it gets the point across.


                           -----Block and Counter-----

The counter will arguably be your most common tactic when using the lance, and 
makes the weapon really stand out. The Counterpoke will be your best friend 
when used properly, or your worst enemy when you either pass the counter period
and stab that Nargacuga that took too long to attack you or you countered at 
the wrong moment on the fireball that Rathalos sent at you because you 
countered the actual fireball, but not the impact of it blasting the ground.

Some attacks have multiple parts to it, making it a bad idea to try and counter
the oncoming hits once you discover them. The most notable examples that come
to mind would be the Lagiacrus' Supercharged Electric Cage of Death (as I like
to call it) with Guard Boost. You can counter the initial hit, but then will
instantly become hit by the next one. (I also would not recommend even 
attempting to block Ivory Lagiacrus' even with Guard+2 and Guard Boost- that
stuff hits hard through it!)

Like with the Advance Guard, Guard skills will come in handy for standard 
blocking and countering.


                       -----Backhop and the Sidestep-----

Sometimes it is more efficient to dodge an incoming hit rather than using your
shield. This will usually (but not always) be used when you know that the
incoming hit will result in too much recoil, inability to block, or from sheer
necessity in some form or other. The Moment of Invulnerability (or MOI) is
vital to your performance. Anything and everything can be soloed with the
standard MOI, but use of the Evasion skill will always be helpful.

There has been always been arguements whether or not Evade Lancing is superior
to the normal Block and Counter. Evade Lancing usually involves the use of the
Evade Distance skill for it's ability to allow the player to backhop towards
the monster faster that walking to it or using the Advance Guard (which is 
unfortunately seldom considered). This used to be a very viable method for
speed runs in past games, but the updated movement and evasion mechanics has 
made this more tedious to pull off. To some players, this might not seem to be
worthwhile.


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                                 Worthy Mentions
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                              -----Armor Skills-----

I realize that not everybody likes to use full sets as opposed to mixed sets, 
and vice versa. So instead I will list some skills of interests that would
be beneficial to the Lance as a whole.


Sharpness+1:Handicraft+10 = More sharpness to your bar is always a welcome 
                            addition! While it may or may not give another
                            level or two (or three) of sharpness, you really
                            can't go wrong with this!

Razor Sharp:Sharpness+10 = Rather than adding a chunk to your sharpness bar, it
                           makes it last twice as long! Razor sharp halves the
                           rate at which your weapon will loose sharpness with
                           every hit you deal with it. Again, you can't go
                           wrong with more sharpness.

Mind's Eye:Fencing+10 = Ever had yourself bouncing off of a monster, forcing
                        you to be mindful of where you swing? Not with Mind's
                        Eye! Sometimes referred to as ESP, this skill will
                        prevent you from bouncing off of a monster no matter
                        where you hit. Despite not ever bouncing, you will
                        still loose your sharpness at an increased rate if you
                        would have bounced normally on a particular spot.

Guard+1/+2:Guard+10/+15 =  The Guard skill will reduce the knockback, recoil, 
                           and stamina that is drained whem blocking that giant
                           several hundred pound dragon hurtling right for you.
                           While not essential, I would personally recommend
                           having this skill or Guard Boost when using a lance.

Guard Boost:Guard Up+10 = Guard Boost will allow you to block anything, quite
                          literally! Some players prefer to use it, some don't.
                          The choice really depends on the playstyle of the 
                          reader.

Evade+1/+2:Evasion+10/+15 = This skill is really quite handy because of the 
                            much longer periods of MOI granted from it. I don't
                            prefer to use it, but some others do.

Evade Extender:Evade Dist+10 = As the name implies, this skill increases the 
                               distance traveled when dodging. The usefulness of
                               this skill varies from monster to monster.

Constitution+1/+2:Constitutn+10/+15 = This skill helps to reduce the amount of
                                      stamina consumed when blocking or dodging.
                                      This stacks with the Guard skill.

Stamina Recovery Up:Stam Recov+10 = An invaluable skill no matter the situation.
                                    As a stamina-intensive weapon, the lance is
                                    going to benefit a lot from your stamina bar
                                    recovering at twice the speed from this one.

Weakness Exploit:Tenderizer+10 = Due to the nature of the lance, it will choose
                                 the value that will result in more damage in an
                                 attacked hitzone, whether it be from impact or
                                 cutting damage. Because of this, the weapon is
                                 going to probably benefit from this skill the
                                 most out of any weapon in the game!

Latent Power+1/+2:Gloves Off+10/+15 = Once activated, this skill DRAMATICALLY
                                      reduces the stamina consumed by anything
                                      that would drain it, no matter what. It
                                      will also grant a very nice affinity bonus
                                      on top of that.


                                  -----Items-----

(Mega) Dash Juice x5 = These handy little items will grant you infinite stamina,
                       for a time.

Tanzia Chips x5 = Like the grilled fish in Monster Hunter Portable 3rd, this 
                  item will not only completely restore the red portion of the
                  health bar, but also grants a short Recovery Up buff.

Whetstones/Whetfish x20 = This is rather obvious, but you can never have enough
                          of these to sharpen your weapons with.

Farcaster x1 = You should always, ALWAYS bring one. Even if you never use it,
               it's better to be safe than sorry should you ever get in a bind.

Power/Armor Charm/Talon x1 = I personally don't care what anyone says when I say
                             "I always take both kinds of both." They all will
                             stack with each other, and is (in my opinion) worth
                             sacrificing the 4 inventory spots every time.


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                              Frequently Asked Questions
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I currently have nothing to place here but questions will be added in due time.


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                                      Foreword
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I certainly hope that this guide will help those interested in learning about 
the use of the lance. If you feel that something is wrong or missing, any typos
I might have missed, or you would like something to add that would help another 
player, feel free to contact me at:


                               Lance100usa@gmail.com

Thank you, and happy violent poking!