There are a ton of different ways you can go about combat in this game, with 14 different weapon types, they each have their own unique flavor and combat flow, and each with their own in-depth and diverse upgrade trees.
There is no one weapon that is objectively better than the others, and every weapon is effective with a certain playstyle or within a certain group if you aren't playing solo. That being said, certain weapons excel easier than others, and there are some that just fall behind a bit.
I've taken a look at some community opinions on weapons and combined it with my own experience in the game to make a list of my personal ranking for every weapon in Monster Hunter: World.
14 Dual Blades
Coming in at number 14 are the Dual Blades. Simply put, these things have absolutely bonkers damage potential, capable of chaining incredibly long combos together that rack up damage fast.
Using these means you forego any type of defense, requiring you to roll when in danger, but once you learn a monster's mechanics, this isn't too big of an issue. Once you get into Demon and Archdemon mode, you'll be a force to be reckoned with.
13 Long Sword
At number 13 I have the Long Sword. This is a pretty versatile weapon that's relatively easy to understand how to use effectively; combine that with the long reach and ability to roll out of most attack chains, and it's one of the most well-rounded weapons in the game. Each attack with the Long Sword fills the weapon's Spirit Guage, enabling Spirit Attacks that will not bounce off a monster's hide and deal extra damage.
12 Light Bowgun
Number 12 is the Light Bowgun, an excellent choice for players who like a ranged playstyle and prefer to have a high-level of movement.
While this weapon doesn't have the highest range, it does have a fast fire rate, meaning you can keep quick sustained damage on a target. You can supply this weapon with different types of ammo to apply different effects too; make sure you do your homework on the monster you're hunting.
11 Charge Blade
The Charge Blade is one of the most complicated weapons in the game, but learning how it works is worth the effort. It has two forms: the sword/shield form, and the axe form. The former is used to build up a charge in the weapon's phial system, and the latter is used to unleash that phial bonus.
The Bow is a highly versatile ranged weapon that allows for a lot of mobility, a ludicrously high damage per second, and unlimited ammo. However, the Bow requires a high-level of knowledge both with the Bow itself and the monster that you're fighting in order to be used to its fullest capabilities. Figure out the monster's weak point and stay inside your optimal range, and this weapon can't steer you wrong.
9 Heavy Bowgun
The Heavy Bowgun has a very high range and has a pretty high damage per shot, too.
Keep in mind that it's going to limit your mobility quite a bit and you're going to need to supply your own ammo, just like with the Light Bowgun, but the damage potential and kiting possibilities make this weapon a solid choice for a ranged playstyle.
8 Switch Axe
Another weapon with a phial system and two forms, the Switch Axe is pretty versatile, with good reach and damage and a high level of mobility, especially when in the sword mode. The sword mode is when you're going to be using the phials you've stored up, and when you're going to see an incredible amount of damage come in. This is another one of those weapons you'll need to take some time to learn properly but is worth your time.
7 Great Sword
The Great Sword has the highest damage per hit of any weapon in the game. It does have a definite lack of mobility; you'll need to make sure you're positioning yourself wisely because you can't rely on moving with any quickness.
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The sword itself can block; it's the weakest block of anything in the game, but it's better than getting hit with full force.
The Gunlance is one of the most interesting weapons in the game, boasting solid reach and defense. It really excels in breaking certain parts of monsters that aren't easily broken because of its super-reliable damage output. It has a severe lack of mobility, but it combats this somewhat with the second-best guarding capabilities of any weapon in the game.
The Lance is a great defensive weapon, tied with the best guard of any weapon in the game and the ability to block while moving. It has excellent range and good damage; couple that with the ability to deal damage while staying relatively safe, and you've got a recipe for a pretty decent weapon.
All that said, it requires a good knowledge of a monster's weak points and does hamper mobility a bit.
The Hammer is a pretty unique weapon. It only deals blunt-type damage, making it a great weapon for stunning monsters with attacks to the head. Despite its heavy weight, it doesn't have any severe mobility disadvantages, either; you can even run with the weapon unsheathed. The downside is that it has pretty low reach and the attacks are incredibly slow, requiring you to stay on your toes to get your timing right.
3 Insect Glaive
The Insect Glaive rewards players who like to have high-mobility, and if you've got this weapon equipped, you'll be spending a lot of time in midair.
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It combines the weapon itself with a Kinsect, each of which can apply different effects to monsters or heal you and your friends. It has great reach, but the damage output is pretty low, and you're going to need to keep an eye on your stamina at all times.
2 Sword And Shield
The Sword and Shield is another weapon that allows you to attack or use items while blocking, though each attack is not going to do much damage itself. And although you are able to guard most of the time while using this weapon, the guard itself is a little bit lacking. You're also going to need to spend quite a lot of time sharpening the weapon since the sharpness decays super quickly.
1 Hunting Horn
The Hunting Horn, like the Hammer, is capable of stunning monsters pretty easily with repeated blows to the head.
Each attack with this weapon can be weaved into a melody, and once created, these melodies can be played to give you and your friends various buffs. This is probably the most creative weapon in the game and always makes for a good time.