The Lance is a very defensive and versatile weapon, comprising two parts: The lance itself, a very precise weapon with impressive range, and the towering shield that can take attacks that would make every other kind of shield buckle. Use the shield to its fullest and punish monsters who dare try to hurt you with devastating counterstabs, or use your unique backhop to dance around the monster like a hornet.
|One of the heaviest shields in the game||When unsheathed, you walk very slowly|
|Deals damage that the monster is weakest to (e.g. if a monster part is weakest to impact, the Lance inflicts the amount of damage an impact weapon would, as cutting damage)||You lose the forward evasive roll in favor of a backwards hop|
|Impressive vertical reach and quick, easy combos||The weapon is very precise and so it is surprisingly easy to miss your target|
|Controls||Attack (Guild Style)|
|X||Middle-range poke, can be chained three times|
|A||High-range poke, can be chained three times|
|X+A||Sweeps horizontally across the area in front of you|
|R||Use your shield to guard|
|R+A||Successfully block an attack and then counterpoke the monster|
|R+X||Use while moving to lunge forward|
|R+X+A||Forward charge. End with B, or B+X for a jump attack, or X for a finishing blow|
Lances are all about the rule of three. Your X and A attacks can be chained with each other up to three times. After that, you can backhop or sidehop and then keep on poking, resulting in surprisingly quick combos for such a large, hefty weapon. If you choose to make use of your powerful counterattacks, use your shield to guard. This is a common playstyle known as "guard lancing". If you choose to forego your shield entirely and capitalize on your ability to sidestep quickly (and perhaps abuse its invincibility frames), you can adopt the playstyle known as "evasive lancing".
You can equip two Hunting Arts so choose whatever suits your playstyle.
You loose your side sweep (a minor loss, as the side sweep is rather slow and cumbersome), and you also cannot perform a jump attack or reverse directions if you choose to charge. Additionally the last attack of a three-combo chain will be different from Guild Style. In exchange for a relatively small price, you can equip three Hunting Arts! With so many different damaging arts to pick from, pick ones that suit your playstyle the best. Additionally if you charge and finish with the regular X finisher, the power is greatly amped up compared to Guild Style.
Aerial Style favors aggressive comboing, and instead of a backhop, the evasive somersault makes its return (naturally). Vault onto the monster after finishing a ground-based combo and deal more damage through another 3-hit combo! You get your jumping dash attack back, and generally speaking you now have a lot more versatility in the air. Be aware that any pokes done from the air have a very narrow range, meaning it's that much easier to miss. Time your vaults carefully and make sure you are very intentional with your aim. You can equip one Hunting Art, so pick carefully
You completely lose out on the counterpoke attack (ouch!) and in exchange you gain the Adept Style's trademark perfect evade in lance form: "Perfect Guard". If you are standing still and you guard at the right time, you can unleash a powerful 2-hit counterattack that packs almost as much power as a 3-hit combo! It can then be immediately chained into your standard 3-hit combo. Guard lancers rejoice! Adept Style will require a much more sophisticated knowledge of your enemy than other styles since you have to anticipate attacks to guard precisely, but Perfect Guards can be repeatedly chained and even better, you will not be knocked back.
Guard lancers should definitely equip Guard +1/+2 to fortify your shields. Evasive lancers, meanwhile, should pick up Evasion +1/+2 . Aerial users should definitely invest in Airborne . Just having Guard or Evasion skills will greatly help with whichever playstyle of lancing appeals to you the most. Quick Sheathe is a nice luxury to have, considering the lance's relatively slow sheathing speed.
General Blademaster skills such as Sharpness +1/+2, Mind's Eye , and Razor Sharp are always recommended for helping your weapon deal more damage and go for longer without needing sharpening (and of course, not bouncing is always appreciated). Other universal skills affecting your Attack power are also great to have if you can fit them in.