Topics: Weapon TypesWeapon Mechanics

Weapon Types: Sword and ShieldDual BladesGreat SwordLong SwordHammer
Hunting HornLanceGunlanceSwitch AxeCharge BladeInsect GlaiveTonfa
Magnet SpikeLight BowgunMedium BowgunHeavy BowgunBow

Switch Axe Weapon Trees:

Switch Axe SA-IconSA2-Icon

3rdGen-Switch Axe Equipment Render 002

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 and Monster Hunter X.

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.

3rdGen-Switch Axe Equipment Render 003

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.


Energy meter (yellow bar)

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.


  • 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.
  • It's 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.



The Monster Hunter Wikia does not take credit for these videos

MHP3rd Switch-Axe Movements Controls

MHP3rd Switch-Axe Movements Controls

Title MHP3rd Switch-Axe Movements Controls
by MHP3rdFrance
MHP3rd Switch Axe Tutorial (MHWikia Edition)

MHP3rd Switch Axe Tutorial (MHWikia Edition)

Title MHP3rd Switch Axe Tutorial (MHWikia Edition)
by MHWikia
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate - Switch Axe Tutorial

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate - Switch Axe Tutorial

Title Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate - Switch Axe Tutorial
by billybobjho
MH4G MH4U Switch Axe Tutorial (Revised)

MH4G MH4U Switch Axe Tutorial (Revised)

Title MH4G/MH4U Switch Axe Tutorial
by gaijin hunter
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Switch Axe (Slash Axe) Tutorial MH4U Basics

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Switch Axe (Slash Axe) Tutorial MH4U Basics

Title MH4U Switch Axe Tutorial
by Arekkz Gaming