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 MH4U GreatSword (Mini) Guide v1.0

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PostSubject: MH4U GreatSword (Mini) Guide v1.0   Sun Mar 15, 2015 11:06 pm

MH4U GreatSword (Mini) Guide v1.0
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00: Table of Contents }TACO{
01: Overview of the GS Weapon Class }GSWC{
02: Fundamentals of Playing to the Strengths of the GS }FPGS{
03: Other Basics of Doing More Damage with a GS }OBGS{
04: Overview of Basic GS Attacks }BGSA{
05: Overview of Special GS Attacks }SGSA{
06: Understanding the GS Charge Series }GSCS{
07: Overview of Common/Effective Attack Patterns }OCEA{
08: Overview of Important Skills }OOIS{
09: Miscellaneous GS Tips and Highlights }GSTH{
10: Other Reading, References, and Notes }ORRN{

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PostSubject: 01: Overview of the GS Weapon Class }GSWC{   Sun Mar 15, 2015 11:07 pm

01: Overview of the GS Weapon Class }GSWC{

The GS is a strategic powerhouse. If used effectively, it can land some of the strongest hits out of any weapon in the game on a regular basis and reliably stop monsters in their tracks from the sheer force of its attacks. Despite its large size and seemingly clunky basic attacks, the GS is a weapon that excels at precise surgical strikes, and hunters using it can often remain highly mobile or stand their ground as needed, delivering respectable damage either way.

When evaluating the details of a GS, the two most important aspects are its Raw value and Sharpness. Beyond that, I also consider it useful to account for innate Affinity and Decoration Slots to get an idea of how valuable the weapon might be in different sets. While the Attribute (Element/Status) of a GS is not completely irrelevant, the vast majority of the time, it does not matter anywhere near as much as the Raw value of a GS and its Sharpness.

Note that in the late game, most forged weapons are outclassed by excavated weapons. That said, some fo the best overall forged GS options are Ukanlos Skycleaver, Cera Cymmetry, Rogue Sedition, Black Fatalis Blade, Deified Grisblade, and Grand Shamshir. Other weapons of similar power in terms of Raw and Sharpness can also be expected to do decent, if not optimal damage. Unfortunately, in MH4U, a lot of the GS options that are effective in the early game are on dead-end paths or otherwise have short-lived value, so hunters would do well to keep an eye on the weapon tree as they go through the game and not get attached to any one weapon too much.

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PostSubject: 02: Fundamentals of Playing to the Strengths of the GS   Sun Mar 15, 2015 11:08 pm

02: Fundamentals of Playing to the Strengths of the GS }FPGS{

There are a number of things hunters can do to step up their game when using the GS. At the risk of oversimplifying things, the key to using the GS effectively is working on efficiency. Of course, the other major task is learning how to maximize damage output, primarily by specializing in increasing Raw damage delivery.

First and foremost, it is essential for GS users to master the various charged attacks that are possible. No matter what attack buffs and armor skills a hunter has, very little even comes close to raising damage dealt by a GS as much as simply being able to reliably charge attacks to a higher level or competently execute a chain of multiple charged attacks. A significant amount of the overall strength of a GS comes from the fact that its charged attacks have some of the highest attack type multipliers in the game. On top of that, they also have special stacking multipliers for both the Raw and Attribute (Element/Status) depending on the charge level.

In terms of efficiency, maintaining maximum sharpness is one of the most basic ways to keep up high damage output with a GS. Since charged attacks practically concentrate an entire combo's worth of damage into one devastating strike, using charged attacks and rarely comboing helps to maintain sharpness. Learning the weakest hitzones and other traits of the monsters to avoid wasting attacks or otherwise losing damage needlessly is also vital. Developing a good sense of positioning and timing for attacks goes hand-in-hand with these principles.

In addition to playing efficiently, one of the best ways to ramp up the damage potential of a GS is to maximize the chances of landing critical hits. In short, this means reading up on affinity and understanding the mechanics involved in scoring criticals. An excellent way to practically guarantee critical hits is to use the Critical Draw skill, a long time favorite of GS users due to its effect of raising affinity by 100% during draw attacks (including charged attacks from a drawn state). However, there are several other ways to increase affinity, and numerous weapons with innate affinity.

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PostSubject: 03: Other Basics of Doing More Damage with a GS }OBGS{   Sun Mar 15, 2015 11:09 pm

03: Other Basics of Doing More Damage with a GS }OBGS{

It is a fairly straightforward process to increase the damage output of a GS with direct attack buffs. Having a powercharm and powertalon in the item pouch on hunts and using consumable items such as demondrugs and might seeds/pills will boost damage quite a bit. There are also several armor skills to keep in mind for increasing damage directly such as the Attack Up skills, as well as a few skills that have a natural synergy with GS mechanics and increase overall damage output indirectly. Focus is a prime example, as this skill's effect results in the GS charging faster.

On the more strategic side of things, one of the best ways to improve damage output is to work on using the GS in a predictive rather than reactive manner. Learning a monster's attack patterns and figuring out how to land charged attacks in advance can make all the difference. Likewise, even though charged attacks obviously take some time, the flipside is that the target does not need to be in range during that time. The moment of the attack is all that matters in many cases, and because of this, GS users can take advantage of a wide array of brief attack windows and other opportunities to deal massive damage in a relatively short amount of time spent attacking.

Beyond that, it is also worth noting that despite the generally slow and clunky nature of the GS in its unsheathed state, hunters using a GS can actually remain highly mobile under many circumstances. Since the GS has such high damage output for each given attack and draw attacks in particular, it lends well to hit-and-run (HnR) style tactics and well-timed setup attacks (often referred to as GS sniping). Of course, hunters would do well not to rely too much on such tactics, as playing it safe for an extended period of time can be detrimental in the long run.

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PostSubject: 04: Overview of Basic GS Attacks }BGSA{   Sun Mar 15, 2015 11:10 pm

04: Overview of Basic GS Attacks }BGSA{

The basic attacks of a GS (from strongest to weakest) are as follows-
*A precise, vertical slash that cuts downwards, aka the overhead attack.
*A draw attack that executes faster than the overhead attack, but is otherwise mostly identical.
*A rising slash with a reverse vertical arc, typically called the upswing.
*A horizontal arcing slash, commonly called the sideswing or wideswing.
*A forward rushing lunge attack that impacts with the flat of the blade, aka the GS slap or side slam/bash.
*The kick, which is more of a special function than an attack.

The regular overhead attack is borderline useless in many cases, since it is basically just a slow draw attack for most purposes.

The standard draw attack is the go-to option for relatively quick and accurate strikes and decent damage delivery, and a common and effective tactic is to simply use this draw attack (aka an unsheathe attack), roll, sheathe the weapon, and run off or repeat.

The upswing takes a relatively long time to execute and is generally not worth using. It is also highly disruptive in multiplayer since it is a launching attack. That said, the upswing does have some extremely limited use, primarily due to its high vertical reach when attacking overhead targets, and it is possible for teammates to use jump attacks after being launched. Nevertheless, do not be surprised if you get kicked or scolded for carelessly launching other hunters.

The wideswing is a moderately powerful basic attack that is primarily useful for linking charged attacks together. It is also somewhat useful for clearing out mobs of annoying monsters or hitting targets outside of the immediate line of sight. Note that this attack can be somewhat inaccurate and slightly disruptive in multiplayer, so use it with care.

The GS slap is the only GS attack that naturally deals impact (aka bash) damage instead of cutting damage. It is also relatively weak for a GS attack. However, it does contribute to inflicting a KOd/exhausted state upon a monster, its execution is fairly quick, and it is valuable for linking some attacks when the wideswing would be inaccurate or otherwise problematic to use.

Finally, the kick is a simple attack that deals almost no damage at all. It primary use is tactical disruption. Teammates can be knocked out of many stunned animations if they are hit with a kick, and small enemies can also be momentarily interrupted by a kick.

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PostSubject: 05: Overview of Special GS Attacks }SGSA{   Sun Mar 15, 2015 11:11 pm

05: Overview of Special GS Attacks }SGSA{

*The midair/jump attack, which is roughly equivalent to a draw attack/overhead in form and damage.
*The regular charged attacks, which start as draw/overhead attacks but are much more powerful.
*The strong charged attacks (aka smash charge), which are even more powerful.
*The finishing attack, a horizontal strong cleave that can instantly charge to do more damage.

(Note that the above attacks are NOT listed or discussed in order of strength - the damage output of several of these attacks varies greatly.)

The jump attack is fairly self-explanatory. It is basically just a draw attack/overhead slash executed while jumping, dropping, or otherwise being in midair. Its main value lies in its ability to weaken a monster enough to be mounted and potentially knocked down. Beyond that, it has some tactical use for attacking enemies while they are flying or hitting certain weakzones on larger monsters.

The regular charged attacks are initiated as either draw attacks or standard overhead attacks, which are alternatively referred to as level 0 (L0) due to their charged state. Charged attacks do significantly more damage and charge up to L3. Note that the regular charged attack will also overcharge and automatically release after dropping to a lower charge level if the L3 attack is not triggered.

The smash charge series of attacks can be initiated after a slap or sideswing. These attacks are significantly more powerful than the regular charged attacks, but they have a slightly longer recovery and cannot combo into any additional attacks except for the finishing attack. The attacks themselves are still vertical slashes. Also note that the smash sequence does include its own L0 attack, a smash overhead slightly stronger than the regular overhead/draw attack.

The finishing attack of a GS is a powerful horizontal arcing slash that executes in a motion akin to a reverse wideswing. It can be performed after a jump attack or a smash charge. The finisher goes by a variety of names in the community, including strong side slash, side smash, and strong cleave. Personally, I prefer to refer to it as the shadow strike or echo slash, because it will duplicate the level of the charged attack used before it, instantly charging to deal damage roughly on par with that charge tier (so to speak - from what I have seen, the echo slash is not quite as powerful as a true charged attack of its level, but it is close enough to be worthwhile). Note that the finishing attack has a relatively long recovery, leaving the hunter vulnerable for an extended period of time before they are free to move or continue attacking.

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PostSubject: 06: Understanding the GS Charge Series }GSCS{   Sun Mar 15, 2015 11:11 pm

06: Understanding the GS Charge Series }GSCS{

Now that all of the charged attacks have been covered, here is an overview of the actual charge series-

The charge series progresses in a sequence of four phases. These can either be thought of in terms of thresholds for reaching a given charge level or as trigger windows during which to execute a charged attack.

After initiating an attack that can be charged, an aura will appear during a brief setup phase.
*First, the charge aura will be small and yellow. This is the preliminary (L0) phase and still part of the setup. An attack triggered during this phase will NOT be a charged attack; it will just be a delayed overhead/draw attack.
*Next, the charge aura will change to orange. This is the first phase. The GS can execute the L1 charged attack during this window.
*Next, the charge aura will grow and shine bright pink/red. This is the second phase. The GS can execute the L2 charged attack during this window.
*Finally, the charge aura will expand even more and shine brighter pink/red, with a characteristic blueflare briefly erupting from the aura. This is the third phase. The GS can execute the L3 charged attack during this window.

Again, the charge sequences for the regular and smash charges are practically identical. The only major functional difference is that the smash charge sequence does not overcharge. At the end of the series, the L3 smash attack will automatically be triggered, whereas in a regular charge series, there is an overcharge threshold after which the attack will lose some of its charged power.

In addition to visual cues, the charge phases can be distinguished just by listening to the sound of the charge. The L3 charged attacks in particular have a very unique sound when triggered, as well as a highly visible characteristic whitespark effect that is predominant among the reds of the overall aura.

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PostSubject: 07: Overview of Common/Effective Attack Patterns }OCEA{   Sun Mar 15, 2015 11:12 pm

07: Overview of Common/Effective Attack Patterns }OCEA{

Sniping, as it is often called, refers to predominantly using hit-and-run attacks and singular high-level charged attacks that are set up well in advance. The overall pattern is that of the hunter executing their draw attack (either uncharged or charged), rolling, sheathing, and continuing on without trying to get in ~extra~ damage. The central goal is to stay ahead of the game, prioritize predictive attacks when possible, and be free to occasionally take advantage of unexpected windows to attack.

On a related note, in addition to general sniping, isolated setup attacks, and hit-and-run potshots, adding in a brief slap after the initial hit before rolling way can often be fairly effective in the long run. This is especially true in multiplayer, where other players can contribute to exhaust/KO damage. This mini-combo of a draw attack and slap is especially useful with Punishing Draw.

Another valuable attack pattern with a GS is the charge chain - that is, linking multiple charged attacks together as quickly as possible. The standard charge chain would be a simple L3, followed by a slap or sideswing, repeating that as long as it is reasonable. It is usually ideal to end a charge chain with the L3 smash attack and the finishing L3 echo slash for maximum damage. Similarly, although it can be an effective tactic to start out with a lower-level charge such as the L1 or L2 if a monster might be close to staggering/tripping, more often than not it is best to simply charge to the highest level possible for each attack in the chain.

It is worth noting that because of the sheer damage potential of the finishing attack, a decent alternative to a more continuous charge chain is the simple pattern of L3, followed by a slap or sideswing, L3 smash attack, and finally the L3 echo slash. I occasionally refer to this as the Delta attack/chain. In many cases, this will effectively serve as the bread-and-butter attack sequence for moments when a monster is going to be relatively vulnerable for longer than usual, but not truly locked down or completely immobilized for an extended period of time.

A particularly useful attack pattern for moments when the GS is already unsheathed is the roll, slap, smash charge, echo slash. This relatively spontaneous yet powerful string of attacks is akin to a condensed charge chain, and it can be a valuable way to deal respectable damage without necessarily sheathing the GS and finding a better moment to attack. That said, it is a good complementary attack string for hunters who prefer sniping, but occasionally get backed into a corner.

While the aerial/jump attacks can be underwhelming if they are overused, it is worth keeping them in mind as part of the overall sniping/hit-and-run approach. Likewise, it is useful for hunters to get into the habit of being able to quickly execute a rebounding jump attack (basically, face a wall and quickly press A, A, X to grab the wall, jump off, and execute the midair attack). I tend to think of this as the screw attack, and it is an excellent trick for triggering mounts/knockdowns and hitting elevated hitzones or flying monsters quickly without relying on the placement of ledges or taking the time to climb up a wall while attempting to carefully find a good position to attack from. Also, keep in mind that the jump attack can combo into a reasonably-powerful echo slash that is occasionally worth using. I sometimes refer to this as a meteor strike.

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PostSubject: 08: Overview of Important Skills }OOIS{   Sun Mar 15, 2015 11:13 pm

08: Overview of Important Skills }OOIS{

The following skill effects are excellent options for increasing power-

*Critical Draw (Crit Draw+10)
*Sharpness+1 (Handicraft+10)

Critical Draw is one of the most consistently valuable skills for GS users. It adds 100% affinity to every draw attack, so weapons with at least 0% innate affinity are guaranteed to trigger critical hits with draw attacks (including charged draw attacks). Sharpness+1 can increase the maximum sharpness grade of many weapons, often providing a massive increase in power with the higher damage multiplier of the next color/level of sharpness.

*Adrenaline+2 (Potential+15)
*Fortify (Survivor+10)

These two skills, which I often refer to as hypermode skills are high-risk/high-reward options for massively increasing the damage potential of a weapon. Adrenaline+2 significantly boosts damage when at low health, and Fortify multiplies a hunter's power each time they kart after losing all of their health (up to a maximum of two times).

*Weakness Exploit (Tenderizer+10)
*Attack Up [Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large] (Attack+[10,15,20,25])
*Critical Eye+[1,2,3,4]/[Critical God] (Expert+[10,15,20,25][30])
*Peak Performance (Unscathed+10)
*Latent Power+[1,2] (Gloves Off+[10,15])
*Challenger+[1,2] (Spirit+[10,15])

These are all fairly straightforward options for increasing damage directly and/or raising affinity for a higher chance of scoring critical hits. Several of these skills have special conditions for activation, so make sure to research them to understand how to use them effectively.

The following skill effects have great synergy with GS mechanics-
*Focus (FastCharge+10)
*Quick Sheath (Sheathing+10)
*Punishing Draw (PunishDraw+10)

Focus is arguably one of the best skills for a GS under many circumstances if used well since its effect causes GS attacks to charge faster, although it can also be wasted if used carelessly. Meanwhile, Quick Sheath allows hunters to sheath their weapons faster, and by extension makes the frequent use of draw attacks and GS sniping more effective and safe. Punishing Draw's primary effect gives draw attacks the ability to contribute to inflicting the Exhaust/KO state upon a monster, so it can be a great option for immobilizing enemies, especially when paired with the likes of Quick Sheath and Critical Draw.

The following anti-disruption skill effects can be very valuable when using a GS-
*Rock Steady (Unshakable)
*Earplugs/[High-Grade Earplugs] (Hearing+[10,15])
*Tremor Res (Tremor Res+10)

Each of these skills have effects that are fairly self-explanatory. The less time a hunter spends being interrupted/stunned by the various disruptions from monsters, the more time they can spend attacking or otherwise on the move. Additionally, they also help avoid damage by negating some of the most potentially problematic disruptions for GS users.

Some other ~filler~ skills that might be worth using in some cases are-
*Speed Sharpening (Sharpner+10)
*Razor Sharp (Sharpness+10)
*Mind's Eye (Fencing+10)

Finally, note that in the late game, there are numerous hybrid skills that combine other skill effects. Keep an eye out for the following skills and look them up if they seem useful-
*Honed Blade (Edgemaster+10) {Sharpness+1 & AuL}
*Wrath Awoken (Fury+10) {Adrenaline+2 & Guts}
*Sheath Control (Readiness+10) {Punishing Draw & Quick Sheath}
*Bloodthirst (Ferocity+10) {Focus & Meat Lover}

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PostSubject: 09: Miscellaneous GS Tips and Highlights }GSTH{   Sun Mar 15, 2015 11:13 pm

09: Miscellaneous GS Tips and Highlights }GSTH{

The following is an assorted list of basic points that may be useful to keep in mind while learning the GS-

*Keeping a GS at maximum sharpness is extremely important.
*Using charge attacks instead of comboing will effectively help to maintain sharpness.
*Charged attacks are much more powerful than basic attacks or even combos in most cases.
*Using a GS predictively rather than reactively is a simple way to maximize damage output.
*The behaviors and patterns of most monsters have ~blindspots~ where they can be attacked safely.
*Reliably landing high-level charge attacks often requires charging while a monster is attacking.
*Elemental damage is usually a very small proportion the total damage delivered by a GS.
*When in doubt about attacks, it is often more effective to prioritize charge sniping.
*When in doubt about weapon options, the GS with highest raw and sharpness is often better.
*The GS can be used to block attacks and quickdrawn into a blocking stance as a last resort.
*Blocking with the GS decreases its sharpness and is generally ineffective - again, last resort.
*GS attacks have a natural "super-armor" effect that protects against minor disruptions/trips.
*Many GS attacks can be aimed in a specific direction and/or used to rotate a hunter mid-attack.
*Learn to manage downtime efficiently; sharpen your weapon, consume items, &c. while idle/running.
*It is usually better to focus on timing and positioning with a GS rather than rely on evasion.
*Except when farming- focus on only attacking a monster's weakest hitzones and/or tripping them.
*The high damage dealt by GS attacks makes it relatively easy to count hits to control staggers.
*A strong offense coupled with trips/knockdowns often negates the need for defense or evasion.

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PostSubject: 10: Other Reading, References, and Notes }ORRN{   Sun Mar 15, 2015 11:14 pm

10: Other Reading, References, and Notes }ORRN{

This is intended to be an introductory guide rather than a comprehensive/in-depth one. As such, readers are encouraged to do some research of their own and use this guide as a starting point for figuring out what to look up or work on.

Credit for information including the names of skills, attack damage, and similar technical details pertaining to MH4U goes to the usual sources, which I occasionally double-check for consistency/updates regarding the finer points of the game.
http://www61.atwiki.jp/3dsmh4g/pages/1.html
http://kiranico.com/en/mh4u
http://gaijinhunter.tumblr.com/post/93479030177/master-mh-article-archive

Beyond the basic details gleaned from the above references, this mini-guide was written from scratch, and is primarily based on my experience playing MH4U and general GS combat theory and principles developed over the extended course of the franchise.

Thanks for reading.

Feel free to PM me on GameFAQs (Anubis_Drac) or at Club1kJho (Anubis).
Alternatively, follow me on twitter @GSanubis for updates.

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