Y’all playin Monster Hunter Rise? We sure are. While our pal Jesse is over wreaking absolute havoc on Rise, I’m taking things more slowly. But I have to say, I am all about the Switch Axe.
I made a point to start a totally new weapon, and have found a ton of utility in what seemed like a complicated weapon from a distance.
After getting my feet wet with several hunts, I’ve come up with some key points for getting the most out of this strange weapon.
Monster Hunter Rise Switch Axe Guide
As its name suggests, the Switch Axe is an axe that can switch modes to more of a sword-like deal. You can swap between the two with the press of a button (ZR), but naturally there’s more going on under the hood. At a high level, your goal is to know when to switch, which has more specific timing than you might expect.
Either mode of the Switch Axe has a limited move set, which really helps you focus on the Switch Axe’s other properties. X is going to be an overhead with either mode, while A will be your more specialized moves.
With the axe you also have a thrust attack from forward+X, which can help you confirm a hit before you start smashing buttons. For Axe and Sword, mashing X will give you a basic combo that can transition into A button stuff.
Tapping A makes the axe go into Wild Swing, which will last as long as you keep tapping and have stamina to burn. You’re stuck in place while swinging (two swings per press), so you have to be careful. You can follow up with different moves depending on what else you press.
X+A together with the axe will provide an underhanded upswing, which has lots of vertical reach and can be followed up directly with an overhead. With the sword, you get a thrusting move called “Element Discharge.” That’s your big boy damage button; more on that later.
The Switch Axe comes with its own UI element next to the sharpness meter; it’s an outline of the axe mode, with a meter inside the outline. As you deal damage with the axe, the meter will fill up.
Having meter lets you switch to sword mode, which serves multiple purposes. You need to get the meter past the little white arrow at a minimum, otherwise you’ll get locked into a reloading animation. First of all, your physical properties change depending on your mode.
Axe attacks more slowly, but gives you a little more mobility. Sword mode has quicker strikes and can’t be deflected, but your hunter moves painfully slow. Either way, both modes let you sidestep (left or right+roll), which help you quickly reposition without rolling away.
The axe-shaped outline is also a meter. This fills up as you do damage with the sword. Once it’s full your weapon’s phial activates, and you can deal extra damage and phial effects in either mode while that lasts. In axe mode, if you make sure to hit with wild swing a little arrow will appear next to your meters, giving a slight speed buff to the meter.
Pressing X+A with the sword, as we mentioned before, is a thrust move. But if you keep smashing the button when it hits, you’ll get extra damage by spending the phial/axe meter.
However, you’ll generally want to save that until the meter is totally full. Once your switch axe is in full on phialmurder mode, Elemental Discharge will actually let you latch onto the monster (if you hit) and mash X for some huge damage output. This spits you out back in axe mode, so it’s basically a finisher for that rotation.
You can switch your weapon mode while you’re standing, but you can also sneak it in during various combos. For example, if you hit ZR a few times during a wild swing, not only will you spin out of it with a unique attack, you’ll swap right into sword mode. If you hit ZR too many times, you’ll mess up the switch.
During wild swing you can also press X instead to do a big ol’ axe mode smash, which is great for damage. Pulling back+A during X attacks will make your hunter do an attack followed with a backstep, which is good for setting up things like your Silkbind attacks.
If you’re in the air you can press X for a downward strike, but make sure you’re aiming it well. You’re stuck in whatever direction you’re falling in once you press the button. It’s easy to overshoot, especially from a Wirebug leap. You can also do this when jumping off your Palamute, which is a great way to wake up a snoozing beast.
ZL+A is Switch Charger, which sends your hunter sailing forward while charging the switch gauge. This also blocks the meter from dropping, briefly.
ZL+X is Invincible Gambit. This is a huge, multi-swinging technique that sends you forward quite a distance before the ending smash. You can’t be knocked out of it while it’s active, but you can’t aim it either.
You have to be careful, but if you can get it to land all the way through you’ll do tons of damage. After a while you’ll unlock Soaring Wyvern Blade, which you can swap with Invincible Gambit if you’d like. This is a combination upwards slash and forward slash, sending you up with the Wirebug then violently back down.
If the second slash hits you’ll get a big boost to the phial meter, and cause an explosion!
We hope this guide will help beginner's approach the switch axe with more of a plan, or understanding of all its moving parts. This is a super fun, hard-hitting weapon that can feel a lot more versatile than some of the other big weapons.