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Discussion of the Week: Switch Axes

Lord Loss September 1, 2012 User blog:Lord Loss

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Welcome to Discussion of the Week: Switch Axes!
Hey, it's that time of the week again! We've not done a weapon DotW for a while, and with the recent discussion about the new weapon in MH4, I thought it'd be appropriate to have a look at this beauty originally from MH3.
3rdGen-Switch Axe Equipment Render 001

Overview

Switch Axe, also known as SA, are weapons first introduced in Monster Hunter 3. There are two modes: Axe and Sword. It is possible to transform between the two near-instantly. While the weapon is drawn, the running speed in Axe-mode is similar to that of a Long Sword; however, Sword-mode's running speed is similar to the Great Sword. Attack wise, Sword-mode is much faster than the Great Sword, and can link together in quick combos. While in Sword mode, the weapon will not bounce off a monster's hide. Sword-mode can only be sustained for a limited time, indicated by a gauge. Once the gauge had been depleted, it can be reloaded. Sword-mode can also use a powerful 'Burst' attack, although this drains the gauge considerably. Sword-mode has built-in Phials that are automatically activated and cause certain effects, such as Paralysis, or increased Attack power. Axe-mode is rather simpler - the Axe is swung slower than in Sword mode, but deals greater damage in a single hit.

Specific Games

Obviously, the SA wasn't around before Tri, so we can't talk about it in any games before that (although don't you think the Daora LS in Unite really looks like one?).

Monster Hunter Tri: First introduced - and it's just as well, because Tri didn't have too many other weapons to choose from. Obviously it could be used underwater (where the long range in Axe mode really gives it an edge, IMO) but apart from that... yeah, just a new weapon.
I still haven't worked out why Barroth's SA has a Paralysis Phial though, I feel like I'm missing the joke.

End-game wise, there wasn't that much choice - the conflict between the Jhen Mohran and Ceadeus SA was interesting if you wanted a Water element one, but beyond that... Black Harvest, right?
AlatreonSA

The interesting thing about SA is that most of them can't avoid looking really damn cool.

Monster Hunter Portable 3rd: Don't get too excited, they're stuck on land this time. Like in Tri, they're not really top tier damage dealing weapons (although like any weapon, they can kill anything quickly if used efficiently) - the emphasis seems to be more on them being fun to use. Which, in my opinion, they succeed at very well.

Doboruberuku SA (Axe)

Notably, this game introduced the Exhaust ailment Phial (on the Dobo SA) which technically meant it could do K.O damage if used on the head. I don't think it was possible to build it up quickly enough to ever actually K.O anything, though.

Monster Hunter Tri G: Consult Pink Fatalis if you want a detailed explanation. As far as I understand, they're much the same as they were in previous games.

There's a Plesioth Switch Axe this time though, which is really cool!
MH3U-Switch Axe Render 038


Questions

  • Which is your favourite SA, just in general?
    • I know it's hard to choose, but which is the best looking?
  • Are they good enough to merit being in MH4?
  • Sword Mode vs Axe Mode! Your thoughts.
  • Which monsters do they work really well on? Conversely, what monsters do they suck against?
  • Is there any better weapon for cutting tails?

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