Bow Guide by Piggy Mog

Version: 0.4 | Updated: 05/09/13 | Printable Version

 M O N S E R   H U N T E R   3 ( T R I )   U L T I M A T E   B O W   G U I D E

                                  Piggy Mog


 1)  Introduction
 2)  Why choose a bow?
      -Bow vs. Bowguns
 3)  Controls
 4)  Basic shots
 5)  Arc shots
 6)  Melee attack
 7)  Bows in underwater
 8)  Shot type selection
 9)  Coatings
10)  Armor skills
11)  Online etiquette
12)  Credits

1) Introduction

Hello, fellow hunters, welcome to the Monster Hunter Archery Club.  Just 

Monster Hunter 3 (Tri) Ultimate, or Monster Hunter Tri G in Japan (MH3U for 
short) is the upgrade and portable version of Monster Hunter Tri.  Bows, along
with a few weapons disappeared in its predecessor, and gets improved in 
Monster Hunter Portable 3rd (PSP game), it finally once again makes its 
appearance in MH3U, along with 11 other weapon classes that came out in
previous MHs.

This is an in-depth guide that will cover bows in MH3U.  Since it strictly
covers the mechanics and properties of the weapon, therefore basic statistical
data (such as monster hitzones and weapon trees) will not be included here.
Please refer to other guides for them.

2) Why choose a bow?
It is quite simple, because it is fun.

Actually, bows appear to be some very easy weapon to handle, however, it 
actually requires the most technical knowledge to harness properly.

So ask yourself...

-Do you prefer ranged battle?
-Are you frustrated in ammo management?
-Are you consider yourself flexible?

If you answer "yes" in all the above questions, you should try the bow out.

[ Bow vs. Bowguns ]

So both bows and bowguns are ranged weapons, so what's the difference and 
what should you choose?  Characteristics of each ranged weapon class are 
listed below:

* Bow *
-Most actions consume stamina
-Fixed element and shot types
-Unlimited elemental attacks of different power
-High mobility but is restricted by stamina consumption and slow sheathing 

* Light Bowgun *
-Can have many different types of attacks simply by switching ammo
-High elemental attack power, but limited to amount of ammo and mixes in 
-Highest mobility for both movements and items usage
-Has Rapid Fire to ensure both high elemental damage output and ammo 

* Heavy Bowgun *
-High damage output
-Low mobility and sheathing speed
-Siege mode can dash out tons of damage, yet impractical solo
-Limiter pushes attack power even further

3) Controls

<< Basic >>

X Button - unsheathe (if bow is sheathed) or sheathe (if bow is unsheathed)

Left Circle Pad + X - Unsheathe Attack (Arrow)

Holding X - Charging

Releasing X - Releasing Arrows

R + X + Y - Unsheathe Attack (Melee), you can use Left Circle Pad to direct 
            the attack

A Button - Melee Attack (when bow is unsheathed)

L + X or B - Select coating and unequipping coating (if a coating is equipped)

X + A - Equipping coating (if an unequipped coating is highlighted)

R Button (hold) - Aim Mode

<< Aim Mode >>

D-Pad / Virtual D-Pad - Move Aim

Left Circle Pad - Jogging (camera will follow character's back)

<< Evasion >>

B Button - Backhop (on land) or Back Leap (underwater)

Left Circle Pad (character's forward direction*) + B or Y (when charging) -
Front Roll (on land) or Upward Leap (underwater)

Left Circle Pad (character's left or right*) + B - Side Dive (underwater)

*Note:  only if you choose Type 1 for Orientation in Options.  If you choose
Type 2, you simply aim the Circle Pad toward the direction you want to evade
into.  However, your character's orientation can affect how well you can evade
to a specific direction.  Therefore it is the best to keep the camera behind
your character's back.

4) Basic Shots
The following are the introduction of bow's basic mode of attack.  You simply
charge the bow, then release it.  However, their power are affected by charge
level, distance, and shot type.  Details will be fill in later, or you can
consult my previous bow guide for MH Freedom Unite.

<< Rapid >>

This is the most basic type of bow arrows.  Mid-ranged and concentrated damage
on a single spot.  You shoot multiple arrows that fly to the same spot.  Good
for hitting small targets  

-This is the best shot type for destructing small body parts
-It is great on small monsters
-Excellent with armor skill Weakness Exploit

-Weakest elemental output because of the least number of shots (4 maximum)
-Requires too much precision aiming for decent damage output, therefore not
great for very fast paced battle and especially for those who depend on Target
Camera because of the lag.  Entering Aim Mode will set the camera at the back
of your character, however (except if you have camera type 2)

<< Spread >>

Previously named Scatter in 2nd gen.  Arrows spread horizontally into a fan
shape, and have short effective range (approximately 1 roll or 2 back steps
away, with the "hot spot" just around a hunter's shoulder width).  It is
basically the "melee mode" for bow because you need to stay close to the
monster.  It is good against wide or large monsters that move around too much.

-Great elemental damage output
-Does not need precision aiming
-Can kill monsters very quickly
-Easiest shot type to use for those without Circle Pad Pro

-Short reach
-Very difficult to break small body parts
-Requires point range for small monsters
-Requires armor skill Pellet Up to become useful
-Does not work well with Weakness Exploit


This charge releases a single arrow that deal multiple hits.  It is great for
large or long monsters, but also requires you to keep a distance for maximum
damage output.

-High elemental damage output (only if the monster is large or long enough to
get all the hits)
-Very long ranged (level 4 and especially level 5)

-Very bad for small monsters (the capability of hitting small monsters after
staggering is gone in 3rd gen.) or minor large monsters such as Bird Wyverns
and Fanged Beasts
-Does not work well with Weakness Exploit unless the weakpoint is very large
(such as Devil Jho's stomach)
-Requires to keep certain distance for maximum damage (1.5 rolls or 3 hops
away from monster for pierce 3, and closest range increases by approximately
0.25 roll for each of the next 2 levels)

5) Arc Shots

Arc Shots were first introduced in Monster Hunter Portable 3rd, which was
released in Japan only.  Therefore, this is the first time westernized players
who did not import that game to experience this new attack.  There are three
types of them:  Focus, Wide, and Blast.

The idea of Arc Shot basically is shooting a "package" to the sky, follows by
releasing arrows midair and hitting targets on the ground.  The arc for
underwater is different.  That will be covered later.

Properties of Arc Shots in general:

-Long ranged and therefore can compensate the normally short effective range
of bows
-Can hit targets blocked by boulder or another monster, or the monster's head
if it is facing away
-Can deal KO damage without using Fatigue Coatings

-Cannot hit targets at close ranged (within 1.5 rolls)
-Can be interrupted by trees or short ceilings
-If you hit the monster (such as airborne) with the package, the arc shot is
-As a long delay between shooting and the attack, hard to hit monsters who
moves around randomly

Now, the following is about the details of each Arc Shot type:

<< Focus >>

The Arc Shot equivalent to Rapid arrows.  Since the arrows only land on an
area of a very small radius, this Arc Shot type also requires extreme
precision to become effective.  However, if you can harness it well, it can
literally rip monsters apart.  Has tendency to hit body parts that attract
Pellet Shots of Bowguns if more than one hitzones are within the radius.

6 (package) or 7 X 5 hits (arrows)

-Highly concentrated damage
-Excellent elemental output (still 5 hits like Spread or Pierce arrows, but
you can all hits  to the weakest spot unlike those two)
-Capable to KO monsters
-Can be used as a support weapon for KO or additional damage input when melee
hunters are attacking the monster, therefore accelerating killing speed.

-Bad for hitting monsters that move randomly
-If hit a teammate who is in guarding position, you could completely deplete
his/her stamina with one shot
-Will stop other hunters within the radius and deplete their stamina if
they're blocking.

<< Wide >>

The sort-of equivalent of Spread arrows.  Although its based attack power is
identical to Focus Arc Shot, it is less effective in terms of combat because
the arrows are hitting randomly without a much larger radius.  Has slight
homing capabilities and would also attract to hitzones that normally attract
Bowgun's pellet shots, such as Zinogre's head.

6 (package) or 7 X 5 hits (arrows)

-Requires less precision aiming as effective radius is larger
-Can hit multiple targets as long as they are in the same radius
-Good for elemental attack

-Dispersed attack, and therefore you can't aim for a specific body part, with
very little exceptions (such as Zinogre's head)
-Bad for killing small monsters or small sized large monsters
-Cannot be used to cause KO
-Not ideal if you have multiple targets within the radius as you won't know 
how the damage will be distributed
-Will stop other hunters within the radius and deplete their stamina if 
they're blocking

<< Blast >>

This is a more unique type of arc shot.  Instead of having arrow rain, the 
package keeps falling to the ground and will explode upon reaching ground.  
Has small radius which is larger than Focus arc shot.

6 (package) + 35 (blast)

-This is the single attack that will accumulate the most status points, if 
both hits of the arc shot hit the monster
-Every monster within the radius will receive full damage of the blast
-Deals highest KO damage if both hits reach the head
-Can be used to blast other hunters out of danger

-Requires monsters to be close to ground to receive the blast attack; useless
for airborne monsters
-Blasts other hunters away unless they are blocking
-Mediocre for dealing elemental damage as it has only 2 hits

6) Melee Attack

A major difference between Bows and Bowguns is that, even though both weapon 
classes can cut tails now, but instead of shooting bullets with Slash 
properties, you simply get personal to the monster and slash them with an 

Since it is a melee attack, therefore it also has properties of "Sharpness" 
just like melee weapons, which is assumed to be green normally, and white with
Close Range Coating equipped.  Another property would be they don't consume 
coatings even if you have them equipped.

However, it is a rather clumsy attack and has very short range, and requires 
you to sheathe your bow all the time if the monster loves to move around (such
as a Barioth), and is not capable of cutting tails that stay high up unless 
you trip the monster's legs.  In other words, if you find a monster easy to 
access to such as a Royal Ludroth or Zinogre, go for it.  Otherwise, it's 
better to use boomerangs instead.

As for melee attack in underwater, it surprisingly works against the law of 
physics and you slash much faster than you do on ground.  However, once again,
because of the short reach and lost of mobility underwater, it is not 
recommended to cut monster tails underwater.

Finally, even status coatings would have effect when you use the melee attack 
with said status coatings equipped, but since the status point inflicted on 
monster with it is laughably low, do not bother to use melee attack to inflict

7) Bows in Underwater

Bows in underwater is very different than how it is like on ground.  Although
the effective range for basic shots are the same, but the tracks would become 
very different.  Basic shots will sink the moment you shoot then, and Arc 
Shots would only be effective from insanely far away, like around 5 front 
leaps (with weapon sheathed) away.  If you can't figure out how the arrows 
would fly, keep your eyes on the aiming line.

Basically, if you can avoid underwater battle, avoid it at all costs.

8) Shot Type Selection

Alright, now you all know the basic types of attacks a bow would provide, now
let's move on to the decision making process.  You may wonder, with so many 
options, what should you choose?  Here comes a beginner guideline:

If a monster is small in general, or has a constantly accessible small 
weakpoint?  Rapid.

If a monster is big and long and it is far?  Pierce.

If a monster is wide, do not expose its weakpoint all the time, or it simply 
moves so quickly and you don't want to aim too often, then Spread.

If you want to deal elemental damage and don't care about hitzones, then 
Spread or Pierce, followed by Rapid, depending on the monster's size and 
shape.  However, Arc Shot can be used to compensate the basic shots.

As for Arc Shots, they should not be the primary factor you consider when you
choose a bow, unless you are confident to constantly keep a distance to the 
said monster, or the bow is uniquely built, such as Arko series and Phoenix 
bow, which have very high elemental attributes, and focus arc shot, or bows 
crafted with Uragaan materials, as the basic charges are all crappy yet have 
very high raw power.

And of course finally, your own safety.  Sometimes a specific shot type may 
sound good, but if you cannot attack the monster while ensuring your safety 
(such as staying at far range is more dangerous than staying close, or vise 
versa), choose a shot type that is safe for you.  Even if you can do lots of 
damage from a single shot, but spending time constantly running from the 
monster or getting carted is not going to be beneficial for a weapon that 
emphasizes damage output over time.  At the end of the day, you do not want 
to get stuck just because you made a wrong choice.

But in the end, you should try everything out and see what works for you.  
What you think might not work can actually be very practical, especially with 
the right skills combined together.  But please do not forget to learn to use 
AT LEAST 2 different basic shot types against each monster, even though if 
the shot type is not a perfect match, because unlike Bowguns that you can just
switch to another type of ammo for the other monster, you are stuck with the 
same bow along with the shot types, element, and very limited supply of status
coatings for the entire quest.  This is going to benefit you if you're doing
multiple monster quests, especially those quests do not always feature
monsters of similar nature, and there is no guarantee for what monsters you
will get in Free Hunts and Moga Forest, if you decide to pursuing them.

9) Coatings

Bow's coatings, unlike Bowgun's ammo, are mostly used for support.

The following would be a brief description of what each coating does.

<< Power Coatings >>
Increases the raw component of the bow's power by 50%.  Does not disable the 
bow's  element.  You can carry 50 of them.

<< Poison / Paralysis / Sleep Coatings >>
Poisons / paralyze monsters and put them to sleep respectively.  Large 
monsters  requires multiple coatings to be inflicted by status.  Please note 
that the damage caused by the very first attack landed on the monster when it
is sleeping will be increased by 300%.  Bow's elements are replaced by the
coatings' effects if equipped.

<< Exhaust Coatings >>
Depletes monster's stamina and inflict KO damage if the arrows hit the head.  
KO effect stacks with Arc Shots.  Bow's element will be replaced by coating 

<< Close Range Coatings >>
Increases bow's close ranged attack by 30% (normally range multiplier would 
be 1.0).  Has no effect at optimal range and further.  Melee attack's 
"Sharpness level" will become white relatively to melee weapon.  Bow's 
element remains intact.

<< Slime Coatings >>
Apply slimes to monster for fixed damage which can be increased by Bombardier
and Felyne Pyro.  Excellent for body part destruction.  Bow's element will be
replaced by coating effect.

<< Paint Coatings >>
Hitting monsters with them equipped will have the same effect of using 
Paintballs or shooting Paint S with a Bowgun.  If you hit the monster with 
melee attack, no coatings will be consumed just like any other coatings.  You
don't need them, but great for when you are gathering since they will be put 
in Gunner's Pouch.  Replaces bow's element while equipped.

10) Armor Skills

The following are skills you should pay attention for:

<< Rapid Up / Pierce Up / Spread (previously Scatter) Up >>
Increases power of respective shot types by 10% and 30% (Spread only).  Please
note that unlike everyone rumouring about Spread Up being 20% boost like how
the skill acts on Bowguns, it is ALWAYS 30% increase for Bows in ALL Monster 
Hunter games.

<< Use Power / Poison / Paralysis / Sleep / C. Range / Exhaust / Slime Coat >>

Enables a bow to use a coating that it normally is not able to.   Useless if
it already does so.

<< Focus >>

Increase charge speed by approximately 20%.  However, in order to make this
skill useful, you need to release the arrows as soon as you reach the charge,
otherwise it is going to be useless.  Becomes available at High Rank.

<< Fire / Ice / Thunder / Water Up +1/2 >>

Increases power of respective element by 10% and 20%.  Essential for bows
with high  elemental attribute.  Does not stack with Element Attack Up like
they did in Portable 3rd, however.

<< Element Attack Up >>

Increases Fire/Ice/Lightning/Water damage by 20%.  Do not stack with 
individual element up like in Portable 3rd, however.

<< Load Up >>

Previously Capacity Up.  Unlocks 4th charge of the bow.  Only useful if the
bow doesn't have innate Charge 4.  This time, this skill is G rank only.

<< Constitution+1/2 >>

Decreases stamina consumption for evading by 25% and 50% respectively.

<< Marathon Runner >>

Previously named simply Runner.  Decreases stamina consumption for
running,accelerated swimming and charging by 50%.

<< Stam Recover Up >>

Increases stamina recovery speed twice the normal speed.

<< Reload Speed +1 >>

Increases coating applying speed.  It affects bows, but isn't that useful as
you won't need to equip coatings as often as reloading a Bowgun.

<< Reload Speed +2 >>

Automatically equips coating simply by selecting it.  Beware of wasting them
accidentally just because you forget to check.

<< Bombardier >>

Previously Bomber.  Increases both Slime attribute of slime bows and increases
the power of slime-induced explosions and bombs.

<< Awaken >>

Unlocks certain bows' hidden elemental attribute.  Available only in G rank.

<< Quick Sheath >>

Increases weapon sheathing speed.  It may become useful if you need to swing
around  quickly to safety while fighting a monster because of bow's extremely
slow sheathing.

<< Evade +1/2 >>
Increases the invincibility moment of rolls and backsteps.  Moment of 
invincibility (MOI) increases more as skill level increases.

<< Evade Extender >>
Increases the distance of rolls, backsteps, side dive, back leap and upward
leap.  Particular useful in underwater because you would lose a lot of 
mobility the moment you jump into water.

11) Multiplayer and Online Etiquette

For those who have the Wii U version or lucky enough to have a few friends 
living close by, you will be introduced with the even more exciting world of
Monster Hunter, and that is multiplayer.

When you are engaged in multiplayer hunt, you will not be able to adopt into
your usual tactics anymore, and you will always need to consider your 
teammate's actions.  For instance, you will never be able to dash out as much
damage as blademasters until you use heroics.  In multiplayer, teamwork is 
more important, so you can bend rules such as distance or arrow types so you
can compensate your partners.

Because you simply won't be the major damage dealer, so it is better to place
yourself in the support role.  Being support can mean a couple things: 
inflicting status on a monster, assist attack/KO, and even free your teammates
from negatives status rendering them immobile by shooting them from far away.

*    *    *

The next topic is mainly based on my online experience when I was playing 
MH3Prd.   While there are a few things everyone should pay attention to while
hunting with others, there is a specific factor fellow blademasters hate
archers very much for.

And you've guessed it.  It is the inappropriate usage of Arch Shots.

Okay, so you may ask, "all I'm doing is shooting from far away and not getting
into their way, so why are they complaining me bothing them so much?"  The 
answer is quite simple:  just like Long Sword users tripping others and Hammer
and Great Sword users sending people flying, you are essentially doing the 
same things, with Wide/Focus and Blast Arc Shots respectively.  You can be
even more annoying to noob LS/GS/Hammer users because of 2 things (that I can
 think of):  you may be going trigger happy with Arch Shots and fail to pay
attention to your fellow hunters therefore fail to acknowledge you're hitting
them instead, or you use bows only when you're online and use ONLY Arch
Shots (therefore lacking the practice to use them properly).  Or both.

And to your surprise, Blasts are actually the least harmful poison, except
for disturbing their offenses.  However, inappropriately shooting Wide and 
Focus Arc Shots can stop their attacks like tripping, and quickly reduce a 
blocking blademaster's  stamina, emptying all 150 points of stamina with one
"well aimed" shot.  The result can be the blademaster lost all his mobility 
for a moment, or getting hit by a monster he's been blocking from because of
running out of stamina (and running out of it ONLY because of your 

Therefore, before you go on a quest, ASK your fellow hunters whether you
should be using Arc Shots at all, unless everybody acknowledges each other's
skill levels (of course that means everyone knows each other being 
sufficiently skilled).  Sometimes it also helps to ask your fellow 
blademasters to rate your performance, so you know how you're doing and be
able to improve.

To its defense, well-placed Arc Shots can hugely accelerate the hunting
process, such as contributing KO, fixating monsters in place by constantly
staggering it, or destroying specific body parts by shooting somewhere
blademasters can't reach (they  will LOVE you for breaking Alatreon's wings),
or save your teammates from something that may kill them by blasting them 
away from danger or release them from Mud or Snowball status.  So use your 
Arc Shots wisely.

A short summary...

-Please, please do NOT treat bows as multiplayer-only weapon.  At least use
them sometimes while you're offline so you get enough practice and understand
the mechanics.

-Unless you know it is appropriate, NEVER use Blast Arc Shots, ESPECIALLY if
there is ANYONE staying close to the monster you're aiming at (unless you're
trying to blast them out of danger).

- If you  are not skilled enough, FORGET ABOUT ARC SHOT'S EXISTENCE.  Using it
inappropriately can sabotage the whole team.

12) Credits
-Boldrin's Monster Hunter Freedom Unite Bow Damage Guide

-MH3G@Wiki (Japanese source)

-Monster Hunter Portable 3rd Damage Simulator (Japanese source)

-Brady's MH3U Official Guide (I got the digital version as preorder bonus)

And last but not least, those I have met online that inspired me to write a
guide again.

Of course, Capcom for creating this amazing game.

Copytight to Piggy Mog @2013