Can't decide between blowing stuff up and poking stuff to death? Well, why not have both? The Gunlance combines explosive, spectacular artillery fire with the stabby-stabby of the Lance so that you never miss either. Mix and match stabbing and shooting in a variety of deliciously over-the-top combos that will leave you feeling fabulous and your monster feeling deader than disco.
|Similar to Lance, the Gunlance has an extremely durable shield||The new Heat Gauge heavily nerfs your damage if you overheat your weapon|
|There is so much combo flexibility, as you can shoot a shell after almost every melee attack||Shelling consumes sharpness and cannot be used if your weapon drops to a low enough sharpness level|
|Shells deal fixed damage, making them a prime choice for breaking parts that aren't tails||When weapon is out, mobility is very limited|
|Controls||Attack (Guild Style)|
|X||Lance poke attacks. Can combo in a variety of permutations. Becomes a powerful overhead smash at the end of a combo|
|A||Fire off a shell. Press A again to reload. Can loop A-A indefinitely or follow up with an X attack. After an overhead smash, this becomes a full burst attack|
|R+A||Charged shot. Hold to charge|
|R||Hold up shield and guard|
|R+X||Poke while shielding. Hold R and press X repeatedly for a special combo|
|X+A||Upward verticle slash, can follow up with X-X or a shell attack|
|R+X+A||The legendary Wyvern Fire!|
|B||Sidehop or backhop|
In case the Heat Gauge in the cons section hasn't confused you yet, let's start to talk about it to make it clear how critical Heat Gauge management is in this game. In the top left corner there's a gauge ranging from red to orange to yellow. That's your Heat Gauge and indicates how hot your Gunlance is. Normally your Gunlance is'nt going to be too hot, especially if you're not shelling. If you hit the red zone, which is the zone right before overheating, you'll get boosted damage. Increase the heat of your Gunlance by shelling. A ton.
If you use the Wyvern Fire , you'll blast the monster. It has a long cooldown and is a very long animation, but it will lock your Heat Gauge in place for 2 minutes! If you're unfortunate and you manage to overheat your weapon, however, you'll be locked down to minimal gimped damage for 2 minutes, and be unable to use Wyvern's Fire on top of that. Aw shucks.
When playing Gunlance, capitalize on the sheer flexibility of combos you have, plus the advantage shots have over melee attacks in terms of fixed damage. Each Gunlance has a different type of shell, it is fixed and cannot be changed (although it gets more powerful as you upgrade it). Normal Shot type is balanced, with average power Wyvern Fire. Spread Shot has a chance of hitting unwitting allies if you're not careful, and Long Shot has a (obviously) longer range and also has the most powerful Wyvern Fire.
In Guild Style, you can equip two Hunting Arts
You completely lose your full burst ability. Normal Shot type Gunlances have the most powerful full burst in comparison to other shot types, so they suffer the most (if you're using a Gunlance with Normal Shots, consider a different hunting style). Focus on building up your heat gauge, then find an opportunity to unleash a Wyvern Fire. After that, the Striker Gunlance plays surprisingly similar to Lance, but follow your melee combos with shelling.
You can equip three Hunting Arts.
You lose your backhop in favor of your evasive somersault (of course). In addition, you cannot slam to full burst on the ground. Instead, if you successfully vault the monster, press X for an aerial overhead slam, and then follow up with a full burst attack upon landing. Or reverse the process and fire a shell in midair as you vault, followed up by the overhead slam on the ground. Considering the letdown that Striker Style is for Normal Shot Gunlances, they naturally shine brightest here with their high-damage full burst attacks, which you should be focusing on as you're leaping about. As always, mind your Heat Gauge.
Aerial Style can equip one Hunting Art.
You can't reload quickly after using a shell anymore (bummer). In exchange, when you do a perfect guard (no perfect evasion because you hop around), you can then press X immediately afterwards for a powerful upward poke attack that reloads all of your shells instantaneously. Follow up with another X attack for a slam and then you can finish with a full burst. Again, Normal Shot Gunlances will have a party (although of course any Gunlance is viable in this style, as with anything). This style, due to the nature of the perfect guard, requires a lot of knowledge on the monster you're facing to guard at precisely the right time.
Adept Style can equip one Hunting Art.
Artillery Expert is an absolute must! This not only boosts the power of your shells, but helps with Heat Gauge management. Each shell will increase the Heat Gauge by a smaller amount than without this armor skill, allowing you to finetune your Heat Gauge and have more control over its whims. The Gunlance's sheathing animation can sometimes be a bit of a drag so Quick Sheathe is a nice luxury.
Razor Sharp is a particularly good armor skill to have for this weapon to slow down the rate at which the sharpness decreases. You already have shells eating your sharpness, you don't need your melee attacks to make you worry even more! Other skills like Sharpness +1/+2 and Mind's Eye are handy as always.