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 phantasmagoric might.
The weapon shows transformation capabilities, 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 than its standard variation, using 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 an infinite combo (however limited by stamina) that 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 if compared to GS. The player can simply hit with vertical or horizontal combos to benefit from the phial effect, but can also make a concentration 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, though naturally, 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" by attempting to switch to sword mode.
Types of Phials
Every switch axe is imbued with one type of phial, which boost or add up their abbility while in sword mode. The types and effects of the phials are as following:
- Power Phial: A phial that boost the raw power of a Switch Axe's sword mode, can be found in most Switch Axes.
- Element Phial: A phial that boost 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 draconic power in sword mode, since natural dragon element is very rare among Switch Axes, said weapons with this phial are treated as temporal subtitution. 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 paralystic effect 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 being famous to only come from the "Wild Axe" branches. It gives a Switch Axe the abbility to drain a boss monster's stamina in select attacks, making them more prone to exhaustion while also being able to stun monsters if sufficiently hit in the head like impact attacks but still 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 much more SAs, even with components 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 them by rolling.
- There are two new phials: an exhaust phial (causes the monster to fatigue quicker) and a poison phial (adds poison ailment to the weapon).
Changes in MH3U
- Switch Axe is already accesible from the very beggining of the game like in P3rd. A bone axe is already provided in your Equipment Box as you start a new game.
- The phial indicator icon was changed back into the one used in Tri.
- Weapon subpaths from Tri are diminished, and most latest weapon paths from P3rd are available, with addition of 3U's own new paths.
- The blood animation of elemental discharge is minimized like it was in Tri.
- Allows for easy evasion skills.
- Sword Mode features built-in ESP.
- Attacks come out relatively quick, and attacks even faster in Sword Mode.
- Can switch modes mid-combo.
- All of its combos are infinite.
- Doesn't require good presicion.
- Axe Mode's upswing attack has the highest range of any blademaster weapon.
- Loses sharpness faster than average.
- It's most powerful attacks are disruptive to other hunters.
- Seems to be a tad underpowerd in Tri, although does slightly more damage overall in p3rd.
- Combos are rather hard to get out of; another con that has been removed in p3rd.
- Poor range of weapon trees. (Again, fixed in p3rd, and even further in 3U.)
- Mobility is rather limited in axe mode, and has the same mobility of a great sword in sword mode.
- Lacks a guard.
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