Are you indecisive? Do big, hulking axes and even bigger, hulkier swords appeal to you yet you can't figure out which one you want? Then the Switch Axe is for you! In axe mode, the Switch Axe has powerful attacks and great verticle reach. In sword mode, unleash explosive attacks based on the Switch Axe's phial types, and use up your phial gauge for a special phial discharge burst attack! Phials range from the elemental phials to status phials, or even the unique (but disappointing) exhaust phial.
|Axe mode has great verticle and frontal reach and sword mode is extremely powerful||Axe mode attacks are slow and leave you open to being attacked|
|When in axe mode, you are still relatively mobile||When in sword mode, your walking speed is greatly hampered, slow sheathing and morphing speed|
|Both modes have access to an "infinite combo" that can be unleashed very quickly||If you empty the phial in sword mode you are forced to morph back which interrupts you and leaves you vulnerable|
|In sword mode, attacks will never bounce|
|Controls||Attack (Guild Style: Axe Mode)|
|X||If unsheathing, peforms a lunging slash, otherwise is an overhead slash, can be comboed three times|
|A||Side slash, cannot combo|
|X+A||Upward slash (this can send ally players flying)|
|R||Morph into Sword Mode, or if below 50% phial gauge "reload" the Switch Axe's gauge|
|R+X+A||Attack and morph into Sword Mode at the same time, or unsheathe directly into Sword Mode|
|B||Evasive roll or sidehop|
|Controls||Attack (Guild Style: Sword Mode)|
|X||Overhead slash, mash repeatedly to combo infinitely|
|A||Side slash, mash repeatedly to combo infinitely|
|X+A||Phial discharge attack|
|R||Morph back into Axe Mode|
|B||Evasive roll or sidehop|
Axe mode is great for when you're taking pop shots at the monster. With such high raw damage, the Switch Axe can deal a large amount of damage in just a few hits. Its spectacular reach, particularly with its upward slash, allows you to reach things like tails and heads that other weapons have issues getting to. Axe mode is also where you're going to be sitting when your phial gauge is below the 50% mark so get used to it! When you're ready to unleash the hurt and you won't need to move around much while doing so, switch to Sword Mode and spam X or A to hack and slash away at the monster. You can also Hack and Slash in axe mode by first performing the upward slash and then mashing A.
If the monster is incapacitated, now is the time to unleash a phial discharge. Mash X+A to completely deplete your gauge to deal enormous damage. The Power phial increases damage done, the Exhaust phial will drain a monster's stamina (the least effective phial), and elemental/status phials will deal an enormous amount of damage in their respective element or status.
You get two Hunting Arts so pick whichever ones you'd like!
You lose your ability to combo as well as you can in other styles. Your X combo remains intact, but your A attack, the side swing, is basically a useless lone attack that can't really chain into anything. Sword Mode has been simplified slightly but its X and A combos remain intact, and you still retain the ability to discharge your phial. In exchange for a dampened combo potential in axe mode, you can equip three Hunting Arts, so be sure to pick a few that can deal some damage, and others that are good for utility. You will want to be reloading your phial often since axe mode has lessened usability in this style.
Aerial Style takes away your ability to dash forward do a small slash, so you no longer have that in your arsenal to cover ground, further increasing your dependency on the evasive somersault as a way to close in on the monster. The biggest change you will notice aside from that is that you can no longer phial discharge on the ground, rather, you must successfully vault off a monster and then press X+A. You will begin charging in the air, and unleash the phial discharge shortly after you land. Plan your aim carefully. If in axe mode and you need a quick reload because your phial gauge is below 50%, vault and then you can do a reload faster than on land.
Aerial Style's sword mode, aside from the loss of the ground discharge, is really fun. If you successfully vault a monster, you automatically perform a quick downward slash, free of charge, and you can continue to attack as you descend! So if you can't get any attacks in but you can vault you'll still be able to get in an attack. You can pick one Hunting Art.
Similar to Aerial Style you lose a few moves that have been shifted to if you complete a perfect evade. After a perfect evade, you'll perform a wide 360 slash finisher attack. This can disrupt other players but hits for a truckload of damage if it makes contact with the monster. From there you can press R to morph slash and then chain directly into a phial discharge! If you make a perfect evade in sword mode (a little more difficult due to your lack of mobility), you'll perform a free, automatic double upward slash.
In regular combat, if in axe mode you perform an upward slash, you can press R and morph directly into sword mode, something other styles can't do. You can equip one Hunting Art so pick carefully.
Due to a Switch Axe's huge raw, improving affinity for improved critical damage can be a great way to stack damage very rapidly. Critical Eye thus is a great skill. As with other weapons without shields, the Switch Axe relies heavily on your ability to evade as your primary form of defense, so Evade Distance Up or Evasion +1/+2 can help you immensely.
And as always, general Blademaster skills such as Sharpness +1/+2, Mind's Eye , and Razor Sharp are always helpful. Due to sword mode having automatic Mind's Eye in every single one of its attacks, Mind's Eye is not as necessary.