Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate Bow Guide By Polantaris; 5/9/2013 Version 1.01 ========== Disclaimer ========== This is a Bow Usage Guide written around the game Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. There is no difference whether you're playing the 3DS version or the Wii U version, they are identical in gameplay. This guide was written by Polantaris. This guide is not to be distributed without authorization in any situation, especially without proper credit, or it will be forcibly removed if necessary. If you wish to have my guide posted on your site or forum, please contact me, and I will likely be happy to allow it so long as proper credit is given. I do not own the rights to MH3U in any way, shape, or form. All rights belong to Capcom. This is a weapon usage guide based upon their game. Special thanks to Phanir for proofreading and mechanic confirmation, wherever it was necessary. ============ Introduction ============ Honestly, I wasn't really sure if I was going to make another guide for Bow. I had made one back in the Freedom Unite days for a few friends who were starting out on the game, and posted in GameFAQs. Now, those friends know how to use Bow, so I really don't need to help them out anymore with it, however the amount of people using Great Kelbi Deershot just to spam 1st charge and then saying they have no idea how to use Bow at all, let alone properly, has disturbed me as an avid Bow player. It's really disappointing to see people play Bow only because it's considered "OP" and not because it's actually a fun weapon to use. Especially in Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, monsters don't last long enough to really call for such play. My hopes with writing this guide are that people who still insist on using Great Kelbi Deershot will at least use it properly, and stop the first charge spamming nonsense that is detrimental to Damage, especially for any other Bow in the entire game but still is for the Great Kelbi Deershot contrary to popular belief. The guide will also hopefully help people who wish to learn Bow, or want to learn more about it, because Bow is significantly more than meets the eye. If you have any questions at all about Bow, please feel free to let me know. You can contact me at any time by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. ===== Index ===== Controls [BOW01] Basic Damage Information [BOW02] Shot Types [BOW03] Arc Shots [BOW04] Coatings [BOW05] General Combat [BOW06] Underwater Combat [BOW07] Blights [BOW08] Felyne Skills [BOW09] Armor Skills [BOW10] Incorrect "Facts" [BOW11] Conclusion [BOW12] ======== Controls [BOW01] ======== Bow has very simple controls, especially in comparison to other weapons. This directly influences what people think about Bows, that they are simple and weak, however this is not the case. While Bows have simple controls, they are still hard to master, probably one of the hardest weapon classes to optimize damage with. Below is more information in regards to that, however this section is the controls of Bow. X(While Standing Still and Sheathed) = This will unsheathe your Bow slowly. This is not recommended unless you intend to immediately equip a coating. X(While Moving and Sheathed) = This will immediately unsheathe your weapon and load an arrow in a quick motion. It is recommended to unsheathe this way, or the following way. R+X+A at once(While Sheathed) = This will immediately unsheathe your weapon and perform a melee attack. This can be done while moving or while standing still. This is useful for attempting to cut a tail. X+A = Equip the selected Coating from your Inventory. You can change your Coating by opening the Inventory and using X/B to sort through Coatings. Keep in mind that changing from the active coating will unequip it once you close the menu, however you can prevent this from happening by reselecting the correct coating before closing the menu. The equipped coating has yellow text. Note that Coatings with Coating Up on your Bow will have a red background instead of blue. Hold X = Load and Charge an Arrow. The longer you hold X, the more powerful your shot will be, and it will proceed through the Charges list that you can see on your Bow's information. You can determine when the shot has charged to the next level by a sound affect and a small flash. Fourth Charge will change the aura around the arrow to red. Directly after you load an arrow is First Charge, and the first flash is Second Charge. Release X to shoot at the current charge level. A while Holding X = At Charges 1 + 2, this does nothing. At Charges 3 + 4, this releases an Arc Shot. What Arc Shot is released depends on the Bow itself, and does not change at any point on that specific Bow. Keep in mind that Arc Shots take significantly more time to shoot and recover from, leaving you open longer. A while not Holding X = Melee attack. This is a two-part attack, and is recommended for cutting tails and not much else. It's not very strong, but can get the job done if you're good enough. Some tails are just not cut out for Bow to cut off, however many are, and with skill you can get it done. It requires practice above all else. Y while Holding X OR B(While Moving) = Dodge Roll. This can be done at any time unless you are shooting or loading an arrow. Y while Holding X OR B(While Standing Still) = Backhop. This can also be done at any time unless you are shooting or loading an arrow. Hold R = Aim. This can be done at any time, and you can control the aim with the D-Pad. You can move while aiming, however your aim will be reset after you stop and overall your camera goes out of control. It is not recommended to move while aiming. Y while Idle = Sheathe. ======================== Basic Damage Information [BOW02] ======================== With any Bow, there are overall two major factors that determine your damage when you release a shot. The first is how close you are to the enemy. There's something I like to call Optimal Range with Bow. Optimal Range is the range in which you will do the most damage with any shot. If you are too close, your overall damage will decrease, and if you are too far away it will also decrease. So where is Optimal Range? A rule of thumb for getting Optimal Range quickly is that it is approximately two backhops away from whatever you are targeting. To find the exact Optimal Range at any time, aim by pressing R. On the aim line that appears, the peak of the arc that you will see is your Optimal Range. You want to hit enemies as close to that as you possibly can to deal as much damage as you possibly can. The second factor is your Charge level. Charge level does more than determine what shot type and shot level you will shoot; it is also a direct modifier on your damage, similar to how Sharpness affects hits on a Blade. The damage ratio is: First Charge = 40% -> Second Charge = 100% -> Third Charge = 150% -> Fourth Charge = 170%. To put it in comparison, First Charge is like hitting with a Red Sharpness weapon, Second Charge is like hitting with a Green Sharpness weapon, Third Charge is like hitting with a White Sharpness weapon, and Fourth Charge is like hitting with a Purple Sharpness weapon. These comparisons are in pure damage, and have nothing to do with bouncing. It is debatable (in my opinion) on whether or not Fourth Charge is worth using in a situation in which there is no distinct shot advantage. For example, on the Great Kelbi Deershot, Third and Fourth Charges are both Rapid Lv.4. The question is whether or not the 20% damage boost is worth the time you have to wait to charge between Third and Fourth. My personal opinion is that the DPS is pretty much equal, provided the situation was correct to shoot at either charge. I have never really done extensive testing on this, it is just my opinion on the matter. Others may argue differently, but there really hasn't ever been any massive investigation into which is better to my knowledge. My suggestion is to use your best judgement on the matter. ========== Shot Types [BOW03] ========== Another important factor with Bows is Shot Types. There are three main shot types, and then there are arc shot types. Arc shots will be gone into further detail later. The three regular shot types are Rapid Shot, Spread Shot, and Pierce Shot. --Rapid Shot-- Rapid Shot is the most precise of the three shot types but also mathematically the worst damage dealer. It has the least amount of hits available to it, but it is the best for hitting weakspots, and as a result excels from this. Rapid Shot shoots arrows in a vertical line. How many arrows depends on the level of the shot type. Arrows = Level, except in the case of Rapid Lv.5, where there are only 4 arrows still. Each level also increases your overall damage with each individual arrow. Rapid Shots are best used to deal damage to weakspots and to break monster parts. You should always aim for what you want to hit, not just shoot arrows willy-nilly. Know where to aim, and aim true to do the maximum damage you can. Rapid Shot is usable and affective on all monster types. --Spread Shot-- Spread Shot is the least precise of the three shot types, and mathematically the middle damage dealer. It excels in dealing Status Effect and Elemental Damage, not base damage, and as a result in my opinion is best used as a Second Charge dealing Paralyze, Poison, Sleep, KO/Exhaust, and high Elemental. Spread Shot shoots arrows in a horizontal line. How many arrows depends on the level of the shot type. Levels 1 + 2 = 3 Arrows, and Levels 3+ = 5 Arrows. The size of the spread increases in Levels 2 + 4. This creates a serious issue where you cannot obtain Optimal Range and also hit with all Arrows, which is the primary reason I personally find it the worst shot type. You rarely have the ability to hit with all shots at Optimal Range, and as a result you waste damage. Theoretically, you COULD do more damage then Rapid, however you cannot obtain the correct range, and you cannot hit the weakspots on most if not all monsters with all arrows, making this the worst damage dealer. Status Effects are not affected by range(but are by Charge Level, remember this Kelbi Spammers), so you can point-blank KO, Para, or anything like that to quickly dish them out with Spread, which is why I say it is best as a Second Charge shot type. My own experimentation has shown that a Second Charge Spread shot is still better than a Third Charge Rapid or Pierce in terms of dealing Status Effects. Spread Shot is only really usable on very large monsters for dealing damage, like Duramboros, and is otherwise best left for Status Effects. --Pierce Shot-- Pierce Shot is the middle shot in terms of precision, and mathematically the best damage dealer. It has the most amount of hits available to it, and is best on large monsters. Pierce Shot shoots a single arrow that can hit multiple times. The amount of hits you get in is determined by Shot Level +1, which allows for a maximum of 6 hits. You can tear apart larger monsters with this shot type, dealing damage throughout them. Pierce Shot is the worst shot type when dealing with breaking parts, as you have no way to continually hit the same spot except with a hit an arrow, two if you're lucky. Naturally, you should not use Pierce on smaller monsters. Pierce Shot is the hardest shot type to aim correctly. You must aim for the point in which you will get the most hits out, regardless of weakspots, because hitting everything 6 times as opposed to hitting the weakspot once results in more damage. Pierce Shot is the hardest shot type to master, but also the best in killing enemies. Pierce Shot is best used on larger monsters, especially if they have large weakspots. ========= Arc Shots [BOW04] ========= Like regular shot types, there are three Arc Shots that are possible on Bows. These are Wide, Focus, and Blast. These do not have levels, and do not change based on your charges, but are able to be used at any point in Third or Fourth Charge. You cannot use it beforehand. Arc Shots have a longer shooting time, a longer recovery time, longer range, a further minimum range, and do KO and Exhaust damage on anything they hits. You must take all of these variables into account at all times, because you are left very vulnerable when you use an Arc Shot, which can result in your death. Never forget that Gunners have less Defense than Bladers. Note -- I am not really sure on Optimal Range with Arc Shots. I don't know if it matters how far/close you shoot it. If anyone has any information on this it would be great. --Focus and Wide Arc-- Focus and Wide Arc are identical in everything except Pellet distribution when they rain down upon your target. Wide has a larger radius, while Focus has a smaller one. Each pellet does low damage (but can add up if you hit with everything), low KO, and low Exhaust. You can KO with these Arcs, however it is hard and usually not worth the time to bother unless you have a Hammer/HH friend or have used Exhaust shots. Both of these shot types are left for Exhausting if you do not have them, but there's no reason not to try to KO if you get a good shot on the head considering KO hits are also Exhaust hits. Just don't be disappointed if you fail to KO with it on a constant basis. In my honest opinion, Wide Arc is worthless. It mirrors everything about Focus except for the imprecision that hurts its damage and KO capabilities. I've seen pellets miss from the tiniest cracks on monsters that just wouldn't happen with the increased precision from Focus. I personally rarely use a bow with Wide Arc, and likely do not use the shot if it exists on the Bow. It is far too easy to stagger allies with it, and overall get them hurt. That doesn't mean that you can't use it, that's just my personal opinion. If you can do well with it, then great. --Blast Arc-- Blast Arc Shot is, in my opinion, the best, but also most dangerous to allies, Arc Shot. It does High KO and Exhaust, and also combines all the damage from each individual Pellet from Focus and Wide Arcs into one explosion. The explosion has a large range, which can result in tossing allies, so watch how you use it. Blast Arcs can actually hit twice, once while falling, and again when it hits the ground, giving it the highest damage output of all the Arc Shots. The falling hit does not do KO or Exhaust, however does a decent amount of damage on its own. Overall, I find the Blast Arc to be the most powerful, but also most dangerous one. As mentioned earlier, it can easily toss allies, so you have to watch how you use it. In solo runs, I find Blast Arc to be extremely useful, and sometimes use it more than my regular shots. You can easily get in KOs as well with enough dedication and precision. ======== Coatings [BOW05] ======== There are eight available Coating Types in the game. Seven of which will make your life easier, and help you kill your enemy quicker. The available Coatings are: Power, Poison, Paralyze, Sleep, Exhaust, Close Range, Paint, and Slime. Poison, Paralyze, Sleep, and Slime can receive "Coating Up" on some Bows. These improve the efficiency of those Coatings so long as they are equipped. All Coating types will eventually be purchasable, depending on how far into the game you are. There's no reason to make any in advance. Also, with the Gunner Pouch, you have exactly enough slots to hold all Coating types at once, regardless of if your Bow can use them or not. Use this to your advantage, so that you never accidentally forget a Coating type that you can use. Keep your inventory stocked with all eight, and there will never be any issues of forgetting some. Nothing else relevant to Bows can go into the Gunner Pouch, so take advantage of the free space. Here are specific details on each Coating type. Power Coatings increase your total damage by 50%. You can hold 50 of them at once, and you can create more by combining Nitroshrooms with Empty Phials. Poison Coatings inflict Poison upon your enemies. After Poison is inflicted, you want to unequip the coatings as you cannot extend the Poison in any way, and can only re-activate it after it has ended. You can hold 20 of them at once, and you can create more by combining Toadstools with Empty Phials. Paralyze Coatings inflict Paralyze upon your enemies. Save the remainder once a Paralyze begins, and if you bring materials for more you should be able to get at least two off a run, depending on the Bow and the Monster in question. You can hold 20 of them at once, and you can create more by combining Parashrooms with Empty Phials. Sleep Coatings inflict Sleep upon your enemies. Once an enemy is sleeping, the waking hit to them will do double damage. Keep in mind that if you shoot directly into the enemy, your arrow will hit first. This is bad if you dropped bombs or something like that. Make sure you shoot so that you only hit the bombs, and not the enemy. You can also aim a Blast Arc Shot so that the explosion hits the enemy. You can hold 20 of them at once, and you can create more by combining Sleep Herbs with Empty Phials. Exhaust Coatings Exhaust your enemies. You can also cause KOs directly with basic shots by shooting the head of any enemy. It is generally pretty easy to KO with Exhaust Coatings, and if you do not cause a KO you can finish the job with a few well placed Arc Shots. Exhaust Coatings DO NOT turn your melee attack into Impact damage, it stays Cutting. You can hold 20 of them at once, and you can create more by combining Wanchovies with Empty Phials. Close Range Coatings increase your melee attack's damage and sharpness level (To either Blue or White, I need confirmation on that), from a base of Green. This makes the job of cutting a tail with Bow significantly easier, provided you can hit it. This also removes the close range issues in regards to basic shots. Instead of reducing damage by being too close, you will instead increase it. The end result is that point blank shots, and by extension Spread (due to no arrow spread issues) are significantly more powerful than normal. You can hold 20 of them at once, and you can create more by combining Whetfish with Empty Phials. Slime Coatings inflict Slime upon your enemies. It's not A LOT of Slime, however you can generally get 3-4 explosions off with one set of Slime Coatings. You can hold 20 of them at once, and you can create more by combining Bomb Arowanas with Empty Phials. Paint Coatings Paint your enemies. That's all they do. You can hold 99 of them at once, and you can create more by combining Paintberries with Empty Phials...but why would you? If you're using 99 Paint Coatings in a run you have bigger issues than this guide will help you with, no offence. ============== General Combat [BOW06] ============== Whether in Water or on Land, the following information is things you should be aware of with Bow. Whether they be based on your actions or just simply rules of thumb, always keep these in mind. - Always know the default aim. If you know the default aim line, you won't need to aim nearly as much, which saves you time and also reduces your vulnerability. You know your default aim when you know exactly where Arc shots will land when you shoot them, and you know exactly where Optimal Range is at all times. - Always be charging, with exceptions. If you know you will need to dodge soon, then you shouldn't be, and if you need to recover Stamina, then you shouldn't be, but in just about every other situation you should always be charging a shot. The problem I see with a lot of Bow users is that they don't charge as much as they should. To do damage you need to be charging. If you're not charging, you're not doing damage. That's just a simple fact. Every second wasted that you could be charging is damage thrown out the window. The biggest perk of Bow is your mobility and the fact that you stay away from most attacks enemies can throw at you. As a result, there's no reason you should not be charging if you don't need to evade and your Stamina is at least half full. If you are not charging when you could be, you're wasting time and damage. It's that simple. - The hit affect has two major indicators that you should learn. The first is that the intensity of the white effect is how weak the spot you hit is. It's hard to really see this, it takes a keen eye, however a hit on the weakspot is a more intesnse, white, hit effect. The second is that if the effect is pinkish and looks weak, that means you hit the enemy too far away and you need to move closer. If you are REALLY far away, you will get a bouncing animation and sound, which means you did essentially no damage. - If the enemy ends up a considerable distance away, and you cannot or do not want to use an Arc Shot, dodge to cancel charging. This is especially useful if you have a coating equipped, however it also saves stamina, and you could put your weapon away and do a Panic Dive, if necessary. Unless you know for a fact you're fine, don't run to the enemy with a charging arrow, because you waste Stamina and can put yourself into danger. This is for situations in which the enemy ends up very far away, and is often valid in underwater fights, but can be a big issue on land as well. Use your best judgement, and keep an eye on your Stamina. Don't waste it needlessly. - Bows CAN cut tails, however it's not very efficient and can take a while if you're unlucky or unskilled at it. The best tactic is to attack the legs with regular shots and rush in for the cut when the enemy trips. A good practice is to equip Close Range Coatings, and shoot at point blank for the trip. Then, when the enemy trips, you are already at the tail and already have Close Range Coatings equipped to make your life easier. You DO NOT NEED Close Range Coatings, but they do help. - Don't be afraid to use Arc Shots. If you are in a group, pay attention to where they are because Arc Shots will disable them (especially if it is Blast) if you hit them, however there is no reason to never use an Arc Shot. In Solo quests, you are better off because there is no one to hit, however that doesn't mean you should never use them in Multiplayer. Just be smart about it. If you do hit an ally, apologize, it's the right thing to do. - Know what Shot Types are what Charges. There's occasionally a use for a Second Charge, especially if it is Spread and you want to dish out Status Effects (Spread at Second Charge is still better at Status affects than Rapid or Pierce at Third). Also, if you have a Bow with Fourth, know what's at Third as well as Fourth, because you never know when you will need to fire in a hurry, or sometimes you want to snipe with Pierce, or anything like that. Know your weapon. Bows have a lot more stats than Blades, and as a result there's more to remember. Remembering this information will help you out, and could potentially save you. If it doesn't save your life, it could just save you time. - In any situation in which the enemy will cancel what you are doing, but you will not be harmed or will take very little damage (like from a Roar), you can press Y to begin a Sheathe. If you do this, and then are cancelled, the rest of the animation is also cancelled, and you will recover with your weapon Sheathed. This doesn't seem like much, but with some enemies it can save your life if you need to Panic Dive directly afterwards, or are simply in a bad spot when the enemy starts their action. This tactic works on any weapon, however Bows have one of the longest Sheathe times, so it is especially useful for Bow. - Don't dodge unless you have to. If you can get away from an attack simply by walking away, do it. Don't waste a full charge and Stamina by dodging if you don't need to. As you get better with Bow, you will learn what situations are good for this type of action. - On land, you can turn quickly and are able to hit enemies that have passed you, if you have the skill and the memory of how enemies act when they charge. You can use this to your advantage. You can also quickly turn around after retreating from an attack and get quick damage in from a charge you were charging while retreating. This changes underwater, please see below. - Criticals and Slime affect are determined when you shoot, not when you hit. As a result, either all of your hits in any particular shot will do Criticals/Slime, or none of them will. It's not really that big of an impact on how you play, just good information to know. ================= Underwater Combat [BOW07] ================= Combat on Land is significantly easier than Combat in Water, especially for Bow. Arc Shots are easily predictable and easily used, and default aims are easier to remember. I would suggest learning Bow on Land long before you start using underwater, because underwater is significantly harder to Bow. Once you are ready to bow in water, please take the following things into account. - Default Arc Shots in water are TERRIBLE. You will always need to aim an Arc Shot in water, because the default landing spot is literally below the camera. I don't know who set up this default aim, but they need to get punched in the face because it is just plain terrible. Always remember this, because it is easy to waste shots if you don't. - In my experience, default aim regular shots have similar issues to Arc Shots, but not nearly as bad. I find myself aiming up in almost all situations. This may vary based on your play style, but you will definitely need to re-learn your default aims for underwater specifically. Get your bearings the first time you go underwater with Bow before you fight any large monster, and you will thank yourself later. - Default Aim on any shot is not based upon the camera, but the exact angle of your character. You can use this to your advantage, but if you do not know this it can cause you issues. You must think about your shots based on the perspective of your character, and not the perspective of the camera. If your camera is facing up but your character is facing down, you will shoot down, your character will not adjust to the camera at all. - Turning is significantly slower underwater, especially vertical turns. You cannot make flash shots when a monster passes you, because you turn very slowly in comparison to on land. Adjust accordingly. - Evading is all kinds of screwed up underwater, in my opinion. Dodge in advance, and just stay out of the way of the enemy at all times. Personally, I have serious issues perfect dodging underwater, even with Evasion +1. I don't recommend trying without knowing exactly what you are doing, and the Panic Dive is nearly worthless as well. Take pre-emptive measures. - There's also a serious mechanical issue with dodging underwater with Bow. You cannot dodge twice in quick succession. The game will register the second dodge as a backhop. You must begin moving again before you dodge again, as the game will temporarily pause you after the first dodge. Be aware of this, it can get you killed if you do not know about it. ======= Blights [BOW08] ======= There are six types of Blights in the game caused by elemental enemies. Some are not that big of a deal, however others are very serious issues, especially since two of them deal with Stamina. If you fear blights, bring Nulberries with you on all runs. Fire Blight - This blight is essentially pointless. Roll 3 times to remove it, or roll 1 time in water. This Blight isn't really an issue. Water Blight - This blight halves your Stamina Recovery. It is a very serious Blight for Bow users. Dash Juice, or Stamina Recovery Up can solve this issue, or just use a Nulberry. If you do not have any of the other options, keep a careful eye on your Stamina, and don't risk running out. Thunder Blight - This blight increases the chance that the next major attack will KO you. It essentially reduces the amount of consecutive hits needed to be KO’d. This blight is not extremely serious, considering you shouldn't get hit too much anyway, but keep an eye on it before you take any risks. Ice Blight - This blight increases the speed in which you drain Stamina while Running and Charging. This blight is the same type of threat as Water Blight, and should be removed as soon as possible. If you cannot remove it, keep a close eye on how much Stamina you are using. Dragon Blight - This blight reduces Affinity, however exact values are unknown. With 3U, it also negates elemental and status affects on weapons. This is a VERY serious issue if you are using Coatings. If you get Dragon Blight while using a Status Coating, unequip it immediately! These include Paralyze, Poison, Sleep, Exhaust and Slime. Do NOT use these coatings while under Dragon Blight. Slime Blight - This blight is similar to Fire Blight in terms of pointlessness, if you deal with it. It is easy to remove by Rolling 3 times, but just beware that if you get hit while under Slime Blight you will explode, and take more damage. Remove it as soon as possible. ============= Felyne Skills [BOW09] ============= Felyne Skills are significantly easier to get than they used to be, when it comes to getting ones you want. As a result, it is good to note down some Felyne Skills you do, and, in one case, do not want. Felyne Sharpshooter - This is a skill you DO NOT want to ever get. It increases damage for Normal S. In some situations when the game references Normal S, it also means Rapid Shot. This is not the case here. This skill does not work on Bows. Never eat for it. This is not obvious, which is why it is mentioned in this guide. Felyne Black Belt - This skill reduces the Stamina loss from Evading. Since Evading is useful and common on Bows, this is a decent skill to get if you have Stamina issues. Felyne Combiner - If you intend to make more Coatings, this skill can assist you. Felyne Defender - Considering Gunners have about half the Defense as Bladers, reducing damage taken can help you survive, if you have issues dodging. Felyne Moxie - Against monsters that deal a lot of damage with powerful attacks, like Deviljho's Dragon Breath, this ability can save you from a death. Felyne Riser - This increases your invulnerability time while you get up after damage. Can help you when you solo, or if you deal out a lot of damage and the monster decides to pick on you. Not a bad skill to have. Felyne Temper - Although it is not mentioned that it works on Bows, this skill does work on Bows. This skill increases your Attack, however increases your Arrow Deviation as well. Trust me when I say it increases Deviation, because your aim becomes very weird (I've had Rapid shoot in a square formation before). It's not too much to matter in most situations, but sometimes it is good to compensate for it if you do use this skill, so be aware of that. Felyne Slugger - If you intend to KO with Arc Shots or Exhaust Coatings, this will help you do the job. It increases KO damage by 10%. Felyne Specialist - If you intend to use a lot of Status Coatings, like Poison and Paralyze, this increases their potency. It is useful for getting as many Paralyzes out as possible. Felyne Supercat - This ability decreases Stamina depletion from Dashing and when charging. It also prevents knockbacks when transporting items, but that's irrelevant for this guide. It is essentially Marathon Runner as a Felyne skill. ============ Armor Skills [BOW10] ============ Armor Skills, if you don't know, are abilities that activate from equipping armor. You can see points added in by your armor by checking out the armor's details. All skills require at least 10 points to activate, and some have negative versions if you have -10 points in them. You should always attempt to use Decorations to gem out negative skills. Some skills can become stronger than normal with 15 or even 20 points, however that depends on the skill. All Armor Skills can be looked at within your Equipment Details to determine if they have a negative skill, how many points you have in any skill, and how many levels there are to a skill. Armor Skills in this Guide are divided into three categories: 1) Core Skills, which are skills that are extremely important to Bow. All sets you make should have had these skills considered at some point, and at least one is completely essential to optimizing damage. 2) Useful Skills, which are skills that are nice to have, but not at all necessary. If you have extra slots, points in it already, or a decent Charm that gives it, consider trying to activate these skills. 3) Useless Skills, which are skills that are pointless or don't even work on Bow. There are many Gunner exclusive skills, many of which are for Bowguns, and not Bow. To ensure that you don't work on armor that doesn't help you at all, these skills will be listed. Listings will use the following format (so it's easier to follow): Activated Skill Name (Point Name) - Explanation --Core Skills-- Focus (FastCharge) - Focus is one of the most important skills for Bow in the entire game. This skill decreases charging time by 20%. This doesn't sound like much, however less Charge time not only increases your attacking speed, but also reduces Stamina loss, and allows you to get off shots with less Stamina and be able to save it for Evading. You can get more shots off before you need to recover Stamina, and you overall increase your damage by far more than 20%. It also increases your surviability because you save more Stamina. Rapid/Spread/Pierce Up (Rapid/Spread/Pierce Up) - These skills increase damage with the specific shot type by 10%, or in the case of Spread, 20%. These are direct modifiers to your total damage. If you are having issues dealing damage, consider adding these skills to a set. Evasion +1/2 (Evasion) - Evasion increases the invulnerability time from Dodges. +1 increases it by a lot more than +2, so +2 isn't all that necessary. +1 is an extremely important skill to have, and is recommended in most, if not all, sets. With proper timing, you can dodge through most attacks in the game, including most roars. Load Up (Loading) - Load Up unlocks the Fourth Charge on any Bow that does not have it. There is no Fifth Charge on Bows that already have Fourth Charge, and as a result this skill is useless on those Bows. On many Bows that can make use of Load Up, Fourth Charge is a different and higher level shot type in comparison to the normal Third Charge. This skill is best obtained with the Barrage Piercing, which gives all 10 points in one piece of armor, however you need to do every single Arena Quest with every single weapon type to unlock it. --Useful Skills-- Silver Bullets (SteadyHand) - This skill combines all three Shot Type Up skills into one. It is very useful to have, however extremely hard to get into a good set, due to only one set in the entire game having this skill, Abyssal Lagiacrus. Unless you intend to mix shot types up (Like between Third and Fourth Charges), I suggest you instead make sets specific to shot types, as those skills are easier to get. Use [Coat Type] Coat ([Coat Type] C+) - These skills, available in all types of Coatings except for Paint (because every Bow can use Paint Coatings), unlock that specific Coating Type on every Bow so long as the skill is activated. A lot of Bows have limited Coating Availability, so these skills are nice to have if you can get them, and there are a lot of Charms that give +10 in them as a secondary skill to something else. Consider these if you have them available. Attack Up Small/Medium/Large (Attack) - This group of skills increases your base attack by an amount dependent on your starting attack. This is a decent skill, however it is hard to get it to Large, or even sometimes Medium, without sacrificing other skills that could be more helpful to you. Critical Eye +1/2/3 (Expert) - This group of skills increases your Affinity (Critical Rate) by 10% a skill level, to a maximum of +30%. This skill is in the same boat as Attack, with it being difficult to get it in a set above +1 without sacrificing other skills that could be more helpful. Defense Up Small/Medium/Large (Defense) - This skill increases your Defense based upon your base Defense. If you have trouble dodging or are afraid of 1-shots, this might be a decent skill to invest in, however I wholly recommend Evasion +1 over this. Divine Blessing (Protection) - This skill gives you a 25% chance to take 70% damage on hits. Can be a decent alternative to Defense Up. Blightproof (Blight Res) - This skill negates all elemental Blights. It is a decent skill to have if you tend to get affected by them, or against certain monsters that cause them a lot. Challenger +1/2 (Spirit) - This two level skill is a great alternative to both Attack and Critical Eye. When the monster goes into Rage Mode, you receive a buff of Attack Up Small AND Critical Eye +1 or Attack Up Large AND Critical Eye +2, depending on if Challenger is +1 or +2. A lot of monsters are in rage mode all the time, which makes this an exceptional skill to have. A good example of this is Gigginox. Others, though, are rarely in rage mode. Another good example is Zinogre. Status Atk +1/2 (Status) - This skill is decent to have on Bows with a lot of Coatings. It increases the potency of Poison, Paralyze and Sleep. If you have a Bow that can use two or three, these skills can help you. They're not as useful as they are on Blades, since you eventually run out of Coatings, however they are still useful nonetheless. Marathon Runner (Stamina) - This skill has less use the further you are into the game, and the more Ludroths you kill. It reduces the Stamina Loss over time from Running and Charging shots. If you have Dash Juice in affect, this still is worthless, however if you do not, it is an extremely useful skill that practically makes Stamina usage non-existent, depending on how quickly you can get shots off. Constitution +1/2 (Constitutn) - This skill is in the same boat as Marathon Runner. The more Dash Juice you have and use, the less useful this skill is. It reduces the Stamina usage from dodging by a third or half, depending on the level of the skill. Stamina Recovery Up (Stam Recov) - This skill increases the speed in which your Stamina is recovered. It is a nice skill to have, but is worthless with Dash Juice. It's very similar to Marathon Runner. Evasion Up (Evade Dist) - This skill increases the distance of your dodges. I honestly have never found it all that useful for Bows, however it can move you out of attacks without the need to perfect time a dodge. Speed Sheathe (Sheathe) - Bow has one of the longest sheathing times. As a result, it could be helpful to you to sheathe quicker. I never use this skill, but if you want to activate it it's not a bad skill to have. Guts (Guts) - If you fear that your Defense is not appropriate, you can get Guts. Guts make it so that if you have at least 65 Health, you cannot be 1-shot at all. If a situation in which you should have been 1-shot arises, you would end up at 1 HP. The more current your armor is the less of an issue this is, however even at G Rank you can get 1-shot by some enemies at 100 HP, so this is a decent skill to have. Adrenaline +2 (Potential) - Adrenaline +1 is not a skill you want to purposely go for, don't bother with it. Adrenaline +2, however, increases your damage by 30% and increases your Defense when you have less than 40% HP. Use this at your own risk, it is easy to get killed when this is active, however if you are skilled enough you can tear apart monsters without even trying. Wrath Awoken (Fury) - Combines Guts and Adrenaline +2. Only available on Deviljho armor, though. Awaken (FreeElement) - Awaken is only useful on a very few Bows. Most Raw Bows do NOT receive an element with Awaken, so keep this in mind before you go for it just because there's a Raw Bow you like. [Element] Attack Up +1/2 ([Element]Atk) - There are 6 Elemental based buffs available in the game. There's +1/2 for each individual element, and then there is also ElementAtk+1, which is a combination of all Element Attack Up +2 skills into one. The latter is only available on Alatreon armor, so it is hard to gem in, however considering Bow's forte is in Elemental Damage, these are all decent skills to have. Elemental Damage is not required any more, not like it used to be in FU, however they still do very well with Bows, so these are all skills that are worth your time. Peak Performance (Unscathed) - This skill gives you a buff equivalent to Attack Up Large as long as your Health is COMPLETELY full. This will deactivate if you get hit even for 1 point of damage, so always make sure your HP is at 100%. Knockout King (KO) / Stamina Thief (Stam Drain) - If you intend to use Exhaust Coatings and Arc Shots together in excess, these can be decent skills to have, provided you have good aim. Sneak (Sense) - This skill is pretty useful. It reduces the likelihood in which you are targeted by enemies. Most monsters act differently towards Gunners because of your distance from them. It can make grouped runs take longer because the monster charges you constantly, and your Blader allies have to chase after them. If the monster targets you less, you have less issues with them running out of your allies' ranges. --Useless Skills-- Bonus Shot (Rapid Fire) - Capcom can never decide what they want this skill to do for Bows. In Freedom 2, it was the same thing as Focus, because Focus did not exist at the time. In Freedom Unite, it automatically equipped any Coating that was selected in your Inventory (So no need to equip them yourself). In 3 Ultimate, this skill does absolutely nothing for Bow. It doesn't even activate. Don't bother with it. Reload Speed +1/2/3 (Reload Spd) - This skill increases the speed in which you load coatings. Although this skill does have an affect with Bows, the very slim amount of times you equip Coatings in a run makes this skill simply not worth your time or the points to level it. It is significantly more useful for Bowguns, but not for Bows at all. Recoil Down +1/2/3 (Recoil) - There is no Recoil on Bows, and as a result this skill does nothing. Steadiness +1/2 (Precision) - Unless you are using Felyne Temper, there is no visible deviation on Arrows. This skill is not necessary in any way. [Shot Type] [Level] Up ([Shot Type] S+) - These seven skills are for Bowgun Shots. They are essentially Shot Add for Bowguns. They do nothing for Bow. Guard +1/2 and Guard Boost (Guard / Guard Up) - Bows cannot guard at all, so these skills do not help you at all. Other Skills - There are quite a few skills that prevent problems that are easily solved by items. Poison Negate, Health Up, and things like that. There's really no point to have these skills on a set. You waste points on your armor with issues that are easily solved without much effort. If they just came with a set with other good skills, then go for it, however do not go out of your way to get these skills, because there are so many better options (see above!). ================= Incorrect "Facts" [BOW11] ================= There's quite a few things that people spew about Bows that's simply wrong, or otherwise incorrect. Many are due to inexperience, or simply trying to bash Bow at every occasion because they don't like it, or any other of a plethora of reasons. Below are some of the things I've heard, and why/how they are wrong. Some of these things are repeated from earlier in the guide, so just be aware of that. Statement: "This guide is wrong, I spam First Charge with Great Kelbi Deershot and I have no issues!" Truth: The Great Kelbi Deershot is overpowered, due to Capcom's mistakes with Slime, which is in general too powerful, especially with Bows. You can spam First Charge shots because Slime is only halved at First Charge, and you can still spread it in massive amounts quickly. The affect chance for Slime is reduced on First Charges, as well as how much Slime you actually apply. If you were to Third Charge with Great Kelbi Deershot and treat it like a regular Bow, you would kill things even faster and more efficiently. Spamming First Charge is bad and wrong in every single situation, no matter the Bow. Great Kelbi Deershot is not an exception, it just seems like it is because of Slime. Statement: "Bows cannot cut tails," OR, "It is impractical to cut tails with Bow." Truth: The first statement is completely wrong, in every single way. The second statement is also wrong, but it is certainly hard to cut tails on some monsters. It requires diligence and practice. As mentioned earlier, a good practice is to trip monsters and then attack the tail while they are tripped, especially with Close Range Coatings. It's not impossible, and its not impractical, it's just difficult. Statement: "Close Range Coatings can cut tails with regular shots." OR, "You can just shoot a tail until it is at 1 HP and then one cut will cut it off." Truth: These are both completely impossible. Regular shots are classified as Projectiles, and Projectiles cannot cut tails. Coatings never change this. The only Cutting attack Bows have is the melee attack. I have personally tested this in Portable 3rd using an HP Display hack, and the health on Tails does not decrease from anything other than the Melee attack (but you still do regular damage, obviously). This has been a false rumor for years, starting back in the days of Freedom 2, and I disproved it then as well. Nothing has changed. Statement: "Raw is irrelevant, Element is all that matters." Truth: If this was Freedom 2 or Freedom Unite, this would be correct. It's not any more. Since Bows were revamped in Portable 3rd, they received a significant overhaul to their damage formula, and as a result Element is not nearly as important as it used to be. It is not irrelevant, it certainly is still important and it is still a good idea to use a Bow with the elemental weakness of your enemy, however it is no longer required. Raw Bows do fine all by themselves, elements are not required, and your Raw plays an important part in your overall damage. ========== Conclusion [BOW12] ========== I'm sure by now you have noticed that Bow is significantly more complex than it seems. There are a lot of factors going into dealing as much damage as you can. I really want to help people play Bow the way it was meant to be played. I honestly wish that First Charge worked like it would in reality, where the arrows would fall straight to the ground, to prevent the kind of spamming I have seen. Unfortunately that is not the case. As a result, this guide is the best effort I can make to get people to use Bow properly, and to make it an enjoyable weapon for everyone as much as it is for me. Bow is one of the most enjoyable weapons to use when you use it right. The last thing I want to mention in this guide is that Bow is not weak, not any more. If you are having issues killing monsters, please re-read the guide, because it means you are doing something wrong. Bow is on par with the rest of the weapons, Capcom really did a good job on balancing the overall weapon types with this game. If you have any questions, please let me know.