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Monster Hunter World - Intro to Lance for a New Player

Having put now 100 hours into MHW nearly purely on Lance, I wanted to share my experience with other people on here on how I successfully managed to down every monster thus far with Lance in a timely manner. MHW ranks this weapon as one of the least accessible to new players, so I just wanted to write a moveset analysis as well as some general guidelines to ease people into the weapon if they were curious. If people think that my advice is useful then I'd be happy to add advice about specific monsters later on! Also, feel free to provide input, I’m very open to making changes with new information.

Lance: What it do?
Lance is a weapon that comes with a heavy lance and a shield with the greatest inherent block strength in the entire game. While drawn, it has incredibly sluggish movement speed, and comes with a sheathing animation with average speed. Despite this, Lance is a god at positioning and excels at choosing a part on a monster to aggressively focus on.
The shield component really allows Lance's hyper aggressive nature to shine. Because they can choose to outright ignore certain monsters' attacks via counter blocking, or guard advance they can continuously deliver attacks to monsters’ weak points. Equally as important to note is that Lance's dodge animation is a short hop, which, when geared with evasion skills, can be equally as effective as guarding when it comes to outright ignoring monster attacks and continuing your assault. More can be covered on the two styles of lancing later on. Last thing to know is, unless the model has been changed from previous games, while the lance technically can cut off tails, its damage is calculated as piercing damage, which will deal the highest amount of damage to a monster’s part regardless of whether it’s weaker to slashing or impact damage (it calculates based on the lower of the two).
Moving on now to the

Moveset Analysis
(x) Hop:
Performs a short hop with invulnerability frames. Hops forward in whatever direction is inputted. If performed after an action, sideways directional inputs will instead turn the action into a sidestep. If Lstick[↓]+ x is inputted after an action, a backwards long hop will be executed. If no direction is inputted, then you will perform a backwards short hop by default. Can be done in sets of 3, in any combination of directions.

(△) Mid Thrust: MV: 21 for the first two thrusts, 29 for the last
Your bread and butter thrust attack. Hits in a straight hitbox ahead of you and has decent reach to poke monsters. Very useful for applying damage from a safe distance away from dangerous hitboxes (such as attacking a Uragaan/Radobaan during their sleep smoke attack, or if there's a paratoad paralysis cloud around the monster.)
(○) High Thrust: MV: 23 for the first two thrusts, 29 for the last
Same as with Mid Thrust, this is one of your most used attacks. As opposed to the mid thrust, it sacrifices horizontal reach for vertical and can be used to target monster parts that are higher up such as heads. Note that the first two thrusts are slightly stronger than the mid thrust. Mid and high thrusts can be used in any combination of 3.






(R2) Guard:
Self explanatory. Considers all attacks from the front to be blocked by using stamina. Halts stamina regeneration when stationary, but it resumes when the character moves while guarding. Note that the knockback and chip damage varies depending on the severity of the attack and the degree of the user’s Guard armor skills. (i.e. weak attacks won’t trigger any knockback or chip damage, while very strong monster attacks will trigger severe backwards knockback, severe stamina usage and at least 10+ hp in chip damage) Should guarding an attack use more stamina than you currently have, your guard will be broken and you will receive the full damage intended.

{during Guard} (△) Guard Thrust: MV: 21:
Performs a thrust during a Guard. Probably overall your safest attack, though not exactly the best or most aggressive tool in your kit. Can’t combo into anything, but has only a very small window in which you are not guarding, making it primarily an attack you use to keep up an offense when you are not entirely sure when the next attack is coming your way (like when your camera is having issues)
{during Guard}(△+○) Initiate Dash Attack:

Performs a charging action in which your character dashes forward with the lance out, attacking while continuously draining stamina. You have a lot of options while in this state, so rather than covering every move separately, I’ll include all the actions and subsequent motion values here to help condense an already rather long post. First the actual dash itself will continuously become faster over time.

Upon initiation, you will run at speed slightly faster than the character’s sheathed running speed, but slightly slower than their sprint speed. The lance itself will continuously deliver attacks with motion values of 11 every .35 seconds or so while running. Inputting (△) will perform a Finishing Thrust with a motion value of 52. Inputting Lstick[↓] + (△) executes a Reverse Attack with a motion value of 51. Ideally, it’s generally better to use the Reverse Attack from this particular speed tier if your charge will take you to the other side of the monster, because even with the slightly lower motion value, going completely through will net you one or two extra ticks of your charge attack. Jumping with Lstick[↑]+(x) will deliver an attack with a motion value of 25 while you have air time, and deal 13 motion value when you land. Hitting will (△) midair will execute a Jumping Thrust with a motion value of 30. Keep in mind, this jumping thrust deals “mounting damage” and can be used to initiate a mount on a monster (the attack you deliver when you are only jumping, without hitting △ does not deal mounting damage). Small tidbit of information is that a Jumping Thrust done from a ledge or mushroom wall from unsheath is slightly stronger and does 32 motion value.

After running at the base speed for about 3 seconds, your character will flash and run at about the speed of a sprinting hunter. Your standard ticks will now be 13 motion value, your Finishing Thrust will now have a motion value of 26 + 53 and your Reverse Attack will be 54. Jumping while in the second speed stage will deliver 26 motion value during air time, 13 when you land and the Jumping Thrust will hit with a motion value of 58.

After running at that speed for about 3 more seconds, your character will begin running at the fastest speed achievable in the game currently. The motion values will remain the same as the previous attacks but you will get to your destination that much faster.

At any point during the charge, provided you aren’t jumping, you can use the Lstick to slowly steer your character. Inputting either Lstick[←]+(x) or Lstick[→]+(x) will cause your character to hop towards that respective side at the cost of extra stamina.

Inputting Lstick[↓]+(x) will turn your character around at the cost of resetting your speed stage and simply hitting (x) will stop your charge altogether. Hitting R2 will also stop the charge and put you into a guarding state.
A few things to note about charging: Without mind’s eye, standard charge attack ticks will bounce if your weapon is at yellow sharpness so charging in the early game, with lances that don’t have a lot of green sharpness tends to be a little tedious until you can time your Finishing Thrusts and Jumping Thrusts which are not affected by this rule. Even then, any hitbox, even a dead monster’s, can trigger the bounce animation which leaves you very prone to monster counter attack. Related to that, your charge ticks eat sharpness very very *very* quickly. While they are a definitely a high source of damage, and useful for element/status application provided you can run into something continuously, this is something to keep in mind. (note: Reverse Attack suffers from a small weak hitbox when the attack hits from the startup frames on the hunter’s right. Motion Values are 49 for the weak hitbox on the standard and 50 for the enhanced)

(R2 + ○)[tap] Cancel Thrust: MV: 23
Same hitbox as the high thrust but has a slightly longer animation. Can be immediately performed at any point in the combo, and allows for infinite loop combos, provided you aren't moving forward too much to hit the monster. Also functions as the combo's "first attack" meaning the next two mid or high thrusts will be then the 2nd and 3rd. Also has a very brief window of blocking frames, when the shield is in front of you.

(R2 + ○)[hold] Counter Thrust: MV: 42
Performs a block motion that lasts for about 2 seconds before performing a charged high thrust. Should your character be hit with an attack of moderate strength or lower during the blocking animation (provided you have no guard skills) they will release the thrust early. The higher the strength of the attack you block, the closer to the max motion value your counter will be. Too strong of attacks however, will instead cause your character to skid backwards and remain in the guarding position. Very useful for guarding in a pinch, as the blocking frames come a fraction of a second sooner than if you were to simply thrust and then guard manually.

{during Counter Thrust} R2 + (x) Power Guard:
Initiates a heightened guarding state in which knockback will be severely reduced from attacks until you’re out of stamina. Can press (○) to perform a charged Counter Thrust or (△) to perform a Leaping Thrust. Can be essentially thought of as a Super Counter Thrust; in exchange for a steep stamina cost, you can up the scale of the attacks you guard and punish it all the same as if you were simply countering it, but with the added option of using a leaping thrust for positioning instead of damage. Becomes inherently less useful however, with better Guard armor skills. Also note that the counter thrust performed from Power Guard is fully charged, and comes out ever so slightly faster than if you were to charge it normally. That said, this is in exchange for the a large chunk of stamina taken from simply entering Power Guard.
R2 + Lstick[any direction] + △) Guard Advance
Performs a hop in the inputted direction that trades invulnerability frames for guard frames (moves that hit from behind will not be iframed through in my experience). Can be performed after any attack. If done in combo, inputting to the sides will turn it into a Guarding Sidestep and inputting backwards turns it into a Guarding Backhop. Also can be combo’d into and out of regular hops infinitely and in any direction, provided you have the stamina. Has better blocking capabilities than the standard guard and can even absorb multiple moderate strength hitboxes while still moving forward (without Guard Skills). An incredibly useful positioning technique that opens the door to really aggressive guard lancing, as it can lead into a leaping thrust, a shield bash, regular hops, or if the R button is held down, can continue guarding for an incredibly safe approach. Covers a greater distance than the standard forward hop as well, and generally allows lance to be more mobile than ever.

{during Guard Advance} (△) Shield Bash: MV: 14
Performs a quick shield swipe after a guard advance. Deals impact/KO damage. Generally the safest offensive option after a Guard Advance. Doesn’t deal stellar damage, but can be combo’d into a Counter Thrust unlike the Leaping Thrust. Do not try to use this to stun the monster. Not only is the damage incredibly low but getting the positioning right for it would result severe dps loss. Instead, only look at it as a quick way to get into a counter thrust, if you see the monster rearing up for an attack while you are guard advancing. Also, a small detail, you can Guard Advance off of a ledge to guard while jumping. If you attack, you’ll stop guarding but doing this is the only safe way in the game to jump and guard through an monsters attack before initiating your own attack.

{during Guard Advance} (○)//{during Power Guard} (△) Leaping Thrust: MV: 9+9+9
Performs a thrust that leaps forward and hits 3 consecutive times that’s done out of Guard Advance or Power Guard. With a total motion value of 27, this is one of my most used repositioning and offensive moves, as the Lstick can be inputted to slightly shift the angle of the jump as well. Great for dealing consecutive damage to the same point continuously. Also functions as the first hit of any thrust combo.
(△+○) Wide Sweep: MV: 21
Performs a wide sweeping attack. Personally, this move sees very little use from me, as it has an identical motion value as the mid thrust but has a longer animation. It also gets no motion value bonus from being the last attack in the 3 part combo and unlike the thrusts, actually has a weak hitbox (about a motion value of 13), if the attack hits from the right side of the lance as the sweep is starting. Can be used to attack hitboxes that are to your sides, but since it cannot combo into itself, simply turning and using one of the thrusts would be more effective. Sees more use to clear out a swath of small monsters that are in front of you more than anything else in my personal opinion.

If you’re still here after that (lengthy) moveset dump, I’d like to provide all you lancers to be with a general set of guidelines that have helped me get through the game pretty quickly and made monster hunting a lot of fun with a lance:

First and foremost, be aggressive. Lance’s strength doesn’t come from flashy super moves but instead from its ability to continue a relentless assault where no other weapon can. Guard Advances, Power Guards and Counter Thrusts are your lifeline. They keep you close and in the action. As long as you have health, stick to the monsters like glue. Don’t turtle and play defensively; your ultimate defense is there to brush off your enemies attacks like they’re nothing and punish them with your own.


Know what you can and you can’t guard. Generally speaking, really strong elemental/beam type moves cannot be guarded without the Guard Up that the Uragaan set provides. This is includes attacks like Vaal Hazak’s rotten breath beam and Xeno’Jiiva’s “Kamehameha Wave”. Beyond this, there’s attacks you’d simply rather avoid altogether as guarding them may take too much stamina, and end up killing you as a result, a good example being Nergigante’s aerial claw slam when he has spikes, as the move has three heavy hits and the last will more than likely drain all your stamina and kill you without any guard skills. There’s also another, more niche rule within this one; don’t counter thrust attacks that have several small hitboxes. What it’ll likely result in is you countering the first hit, but being hit by the second or third hitboxes, since you aren’t guarding for those attacks. An example is Vaal Hazak’s headswipe. Trying to counter thrust this attack in certain positions only results in you being thrown back without even so much as a trade. Using counter thrust to impulse block heavier hits with multi hitboxes is mostly ok, since you’ll block all of them instead of trying to counter. However, with better guarding skills, you put yourself at risk at accidentally countering more powerful multi-hit attacks, just something to keep in mind.

Don’t trade hits with monsters if you can. A natural tendency of playing aggressively is trading hits. With lance, this isn’t necessarily the optimal situation. A greatsword can accept a trade if they manage to get a true charged slash off, provided they don’t die from the trade, but a lance can’t accept those losses as readily. Remember, your damage comes from your never ending hail of attacks.

Mounts are great, but keep an eye on the big picture. As fun as it may be charging around and spamming jump attacks, it’s not the best use of your weapon’s traits and will result in slower kills and is generally more risky as you’re completely exposed for trades during jump attacks. See them more as a supplement. The monster ran to the other side of the arena? Your dash into a jump attack is an excellent tool to close distance and get back into the fray while dealing a good chunk of damage. If you get a mount out of it, that’s all the more damage for you and your teammates while the monster is downed. In multiplayer hunts, the most mounts I ever typically get is 2 before the monster dies, if that.

Stay away from Longswords/Dual Blades/Switch Axes. This might be a given for most weapons, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind for Lance. You don’t have very much poise during your thrusts, and allies can interrupt you out of anything short of a dash attack. Remember, as a lance, you have an advantage; You can attack exploit more hitzones for their weaknesses than any other weapon. Remember that, and if the switch axe or dual blades are going nuts on the tail (as they should), try and find another open space around the monster to go nuts in your own way.

If you want to play evade lancer, rever the (x) button. Evasion skills are so effective on lance because dashes generally have an excellent i-frame to ending lag ratio and evasion skills simply exploit that. This is going to be one case where I’m slightly underinformed; while I played primarily evade lance in previous games, I’ve been enjoying Guard Lancing so much with the revamped Lance, I’ve only had the opportunity to Evade Lance a few monsters in this installment and don’t have a fully formed opinion to advise others confidently. If it’s anything like past games, learn to use your hops to pass completely through a monster’s hitboxes. It takes some practice but as you’re able to upgrade your Evade Window skill, it should come easier and allow you to play more aggressively as you become accustomed to it.


Another thing to note; Evade Extender. In previous games, many swore by it, while others choose to do without. I was of the latter, i preferred the shorter hops, and found the long “super” hop to be more than enough backwards distance needed. The longer hops EE gave only seemed to mess up my positioning, and after trying it in this game, I seemed to reach the same result. The verdict on that one is up to you, but if it’s something that interests you, I’d suggest nabbing it early, so you can get used it it before you’re too well adjusted to the standard hops (If I remember correctly, an earlier piece in the game with an EE skill is the Kadachi Vambraces)

Pay attention to your skills. I’ve mentioned it several times here but Guard skills are an excellent investment to make lance more enjoyable. Fully investing in the skill can make you feel like a god who shrugs off even the heaviest of attacks and, because of the stamina reduction, there’s nothing in the game that could actually break your guard save for several monsters dogpiling on you with consecutive attacks. Other useful skills would be generally good offensive skills such as Weakness Exploit, Maximum Might, Critical Eye, Attack Boost, etc. Flinch free helps Lance deal with its inherently low poise on its thrust attacks. Earplugs can be useful as well but once you know when monsters typically roar, you can replace this skill with something more offensive, seeing as how you can just block their roars. Lastly, some people may wonder why Uragaan’s inherent ‘Guard Up” skill isn’t on here. That one is a personal preference. In my opinion, moves in this game that can’t be blocked with the help of Guard+ probably shouldn’t be blocked and are otherwise punishable. Guard Up is more of a safety net than anything but generally doesn’t contribute to its offensiveness.

Have fun! At the end of the day, it’s a game, so make the best of it! I just wanted to do my best to help others maybe give a weapon they may soon love a try! If it’s not for you, that’s understandable but I’d really like it if I helped even one person on here. If you’ve made it this far, please give me your thoughts! If you have more to add, feel free to let me know, I’ll edit on all that I can. I might write a full blown FAQ/Monster Strategy guide in the future if people find this to be helpful. Either way, have an awesome time with this game and hopefully, even more so with this weapon. Happy hunting!

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