The Switch Axe (スラッシュアックス Surasshuakkusu; known as Slash Axe in Japan) is a Blademaster weapon class first introduced in Monster Hunter Tri, and is present in Monster Hunter Portable 3rd, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, Monster Hunter 4, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, Monster Hunter X and Monster Hunter: World.
Switch Axes were also introduced to the Frontier series in Monster Hunter Frontier G10.
Official description : A powerful melee weapon, capable of such momentum that the hunter swinging it is dragged around by the momentum of each swing. Described as a marvel of technology capable of phantasmagorical might.
The weapon has transformation capabilities, with one blade shifting while being sheathed as well as sliding to a different position to change its attack style. In its secondary form, the weapon behaves far differently from its standard variation and uses a phial of specialized coating to add certain effects to the weapon. The weapon is also able to overload this phial, ending in a concentrated burst.
The true power of the weapon is its versatility, with the 2 different forms and the combos to link the two types together. Rather than dodge rolling, the Switch Axe has a quick step to the side, allowing the user to keep focused on his attack while keeping out of harm's reach.
It consists of two forms: Axe and Sword. The axe possesses a great range and can hit difficult-to-reach parts of the monsters very easily, especially with the rising slash which can even hit a Rath's wing while it is flying. It also has a potentially infinite combo which is limited by stamina. It consists of swinging the axe very quickly from left to right and right to left after a rising slash. Apart from that, its power and mobility are similar to Long Sword's without spirit bar effects.
The Sword mode, which uses the phial, looks similar to Great Sword in form, but is a much faster weapon with less powerful attacks when compared to GS. The player can simply hit with vertical or horizontal combos to benefit from the phial effect, and can also make a concentrated burst (or discharge): after a forward slash, the weapon will rise while dealing damage, then produce a powerful explosion which produces recoil and makes the weapon revert to axe mode. Of course, this move will still benefit from the phial effect.
The time spent in Sword mode is limited to an energy meter found under the Sharpness indicator. The bar only decreases when the weapon is swung while in Sword mode. Of course, standing around and looking at your marvelous Switch Axe in Sword mode does little to slay your target. Once this energy bar is depleted, the weapon will change back into Axe form and will need to be reloaded before going back into Sword form. The energy meter automatically recovers over time, but can be "reloaded" 40% by attempting to switch to sword mode while below 40% charge.
Types of Phials
Every switch axe is imbued with one type of phial, which boosts their capabilities while in sword mode. The types and effects of the phials are as follows:
- Power Phial: A phial that boosts the raw power of a Switch Axe's sword mode. One of the more common phials.
- Element Phial: A phial that boosts the natural elemental/status power of a Switch Axe in sword mode. Only Switch Axes with natural element/status can have this phial.
- Dragon Phial: A phial that gives a Switch Axe a fixed amount of Dragon Element in sword mode. Since natural Dragon Element is very rare among Switch Axes, these weapons are treated as quick substitutions. Switch Axes with this phial are always Raw, and have Dragon Element as their latent elemental power.
- Poison Phial: A phial for raw Switch Axes, giving them venomous properties in sword mode. Switch Axes with this phial always have the Poison status as their hidden latent power.
- Paralysis Phial: A phial for raw Switch Axes, giving them potential paralytic effects in sword mode. Switch Axes with this phial always have the Paralysis status as their hidden latent power.
- Exhaust Phial: A unique, raw-exclusive Switch Axe Phial that famously only come from the "Wild Axe" branches. It gives a Switch Axe the ability to drain boss monsters' stamina on select attacks, making them more prone to exhaustion while also being able to stun monsters if sufficiently hitting the head like impact attacks. They still are able to cut tails like slice attacks. However, Switch Axes with this phial have no hidden latent power that can be activated with the "Awakening" skill.
Changes in MHP3rd
- The icon of the Switch Axe has changed.
- There are many more SAs, including some from monsters already present in Tri (for example, there are now Qurupeco and Rathian switch axes). There are also new SAs with MHFU monsters and MHP3rd exclusive monsters.
- One problem of Switch axe in Tri was the difficulty to stop the "Hack 'n' Slash" combo which could easily make the player become vulnerable. It is now very easy to stop it by rolling.
- Strength of attacks is overall weaker than in Tri, and Power Phial has been reduced from 1.25 to 1.2.
- There are two new phials: an exhaust phial (causes the monster to fatigue quicker) and a poison phial (adds poison status to the weapon).
Changes in MH3U
- Switch Axe is accessible from the very beginning of the game like in P3rd. A bone axe is provided in your Equipment Box when you start a new game.
- The phial indicator icon was changed back into the one used in Tri.
- Weapon sub-paths from Tri are diminished, and most of the latest weapon paths from P3rd are available, with the addition of 3U's new paths.
- The blood animation of elemental discharge is minimized like it was in Tri.
- The weapon receives minimum additional moves in Axe mode, which now allows the player to execute Cyclone finisher as an alternate finisher to Wild Swing. This attack could link to a morphing slash.
- The Sword mode's moveset now consist of a double diagonal Slash. The input and combo chain differs between MH4 and Generations.
- The weapon, like all other, allows dodging into all four directions. Dodging backward ￼will have the player roll on Axe mode and step on Sword mode.
- Morphing attack to either form can be chained from almost all available moves.
- The weapon now has an Amped mechanic on the Sword mode.
- By landing enough hits on Sword mode, the weapon will enter "amped state". This enhances the attack power of Sword mode and will have the phial leak onto body parts that got hit before bursting violently.
- Discharge attacks during Amped state are modified; if the initial thrust make contact, hunters will cling to the monster's body part that got hit while charging the thrusted blade for a violent explosion. Players are vulnerable towards attacks that involves said body part during this moment.
- Amped state will naturally go out over time. The duration can be improved with the Power Prolonger skill.
- The axe retains all moveset from previous generations with an addition of a fading slash (backward + secondary attack).
- After some attacks, it is possible to add 'move forward' input along with Morphing slash to have the hunter rush a few steps ahead while executing Morphing slash.
- The primary combo now consist of downward Slash followed by two separate diagonal slash.
- The secondary combo consist of a double horizontal slash and a 360 spin that hits twice in the front.
- Initiating the secondary combo after the second diagonal slash will have the player do horizontal slash thrice instead of twice.
- The Discharge attack is instantaneous if executed after the horizontal slashes.
- Inputting morphing attack + backward will execute a morphing fade slash.
- Like all weapons, Switch Axe now allows its users to use the Slinger and Clutch Claw tools even if your weapon is drawn.
- The Clutching Attack only uses the Axe Mode.
- The Axe mode primary combo is reverted back to its classic pattern, where the initial attack from idle and the follow-up from Thrust Attack is the Overhead Slash and not the Side Slash.
- Slinger Burst attack can be linked from several of the Axe mode moves, including forward Thrust and Wild Swing.
- Using Slinger Burst from Wild Swing will have the hunter trick backward, which could function as an evasive maneuver.
- Wild Swings can now conclude with Super Overhead Slash. Players need to press the primary attack button after at least two swings, the attack will then replace the normal overhead finisher. The player avatar will emit a faint flash if this could happen.
- Executing a Super Overhead Slash will buff the Axe with Powered State, which makes it easier for the Axe mode to inflict stagger on monsters.
- The Fade Slash move from the base game of Monster Hunter: World is replaced with a new one where the hunter tricks backward while doing a vertical upward slash. This move is faster and covers more distance than the old Fade Slash.
- Element Discharge can now link to a melee Clutching attack mid-animation.
- If the Clutching attack makes contact while the Sword is on a normal state, the hunter will cling to the monster as if successfully using the Clutch Claw
- If the Clutching attack is done after the Sword turned to Amped State in the middle of Element Discharge, the hunter will execute the Clinging Discharge attack instead without needing to re-initiate another Element Discharge.
- The Clutching attack link by default is impossible to do from an already Amped Sword mode.
- Quick sidesteps allow easy evading through monster attacks.
- Sword Mode features built-in ESP.
- Attacks come out relatively quick with little recovery, and attacks even faster in Sword Mode.
- Can switch modes mid-combo.
- All of its combos are infinite.
- Can target weak spots with precise hits.
- Very high DPS in Sword Mode outside of Monster Hunter 4/4U.
- Axe Mode's upswing attack has the highest range of any blademaster weapon.
- While in a combo it has super armor effect and won't be affected by small hits from monsters and even teammates. However powerful hits will make the hunter flinch.
- Loses sharpness faster than average.
- Its most powerful attacks are disruptive to other hunters.
- Weak damage and low mobility in MH4/4U, making it a very underpowered weapon overall.
- Despite having extremely powerful numbers in Tri, lacks solid endgame weapon options. The weapon is less powerful in P3rd, but received a more solid weapon selection improving its overall performance in the endgame.
- Combos are rather hard to get out of; another con that has been removed in p3rd.
- Mobility is rather limited in sword mode, and has the same mobility of a great sword.
- Lacks a guard.
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