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Best Skills For Sword & Shield

MHW: ICEBORNE | Best Skills For Sword & Shield

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Read this Monster Hunter World: Iceborne guide to know the best & recommended armor skills for the melee weapon - Sword & Shield!!!

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Related Article On Sword & Shield

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Sword & Shield Features & Overview

Need Time To Learn Elemental Attributes

The Sword and Shield can be tough as its strength lies in knowing different elemental attributes of weapons & monsters in the game. However, if you've mastered them & know which weapons to bring per hunt, you'll be very efficient!

Only Weapon That Can Use Items When Unsheathed

In the Monster Hunter series, only the Sword & Shield allows Hunters to use items even when their weapon is unsheathed. This makes this weapon a great support in multiplayer hunts.

Recommended Skill List For Sword & Shield

Skill Recommendation Criteria
Critical Element Increases elemental damage dealt with critical hits, exploiting the weapon's affinity to different elemental attributes
Critical Status Increases abnormal status effect damage deal with critical hits, good for weapon's use of abnormal status effects
Attack Boost Increases attack power and affinity at later level, allowing you to deal more damage to the monster
Maximum Might Since this weapon doesn't consume stamina, you'll have increased affinity rates when your HP bar is full
Weakness Exploit You'll deal more damage and have increased affinity rate when landing hits on monster weak spots
Critical Boost The damage you do when you land critical hits will increase, great to combo with Weakness Exploit
Handicraft Longer sharpness gauge will let you sharpen less & prevent damage loss when weapon becomes blunt
Wide-Range A great support skill that lets you buff other Hunters near your area when you consume items
Speed Eating Consuming items faster allows you to hunt more efficiently & leave you less open to monster attacks
Earplugs This prevents you from being stunned for too long from monster roars, allowing you to move away from monster attacks
Mind's Eye/Ballistics Lessens chances of your attacks to be deflected, letting you deal more damage to your target
Sleep Attack Attacking with sleep-based weapons will increase frequency of monsters falling asleep, making them open for bombs or special attacks
Paralysis Attack Attacking with paralysis-based weapons will increase frequency of monsters getting stunned, making them open for bombs or special attacks
Poison Attack Attacking with poison-based weapons will increase frequency of monsters getting poisoned, chipping away at monster's health over time
Blast Attack Attacking with blast-based weapons will increase frequency of causing explosions on monsters that can deal tremendous damage
Mushroomancer Allows you to eat inedible mushrooms - combined with Wide-Range, you can share these buffs with your teammates

Best Sword & Shield Skills To Equip

Critical Element

Lvl Effect
1 Increases elemental damage (fire, water, thunder, ice, dragon) when landing critical hits

Useful In Exploiting Monster Element Weaknesses

The Sword & Shield's strength lies in its capacity to deal elemental damage and abnormal status effect. If you utilize elemental attributes in the game, you'll be able to do increased damage to any target monster.

Critical Status

Lvl Effect
1 Increases abnormal status effect damage (paralysis, poison, sleep, blast) when landing critical hits

Increases Chance To Inflict Abnormal Status Effect

Aside from utilizing elemental attributes, the Sword & Shield is also effective in inflicting abnormal status effects. These debuffs can help you lower a monster's health, stamina, and even immobilize them to deal further damage to their HP.

Attack Boost

Lvl Effect
1 Attack +3
2 Attack +6
3 Attack +9
4 Attack +12 and Affinity +5%
5 Attack +15 and Affinity +5%
6 Attack +18 and Affinity +5%
7 Attack +21 and Affinity +5%

Critical Skill To Have For Any Weapon

Since this skill increases a weapon's raw physical damage and then increases affinity rate at later levels, it's a very important basic skill to have in any loadout or build.

Maximum Might

Lvl Effect
1 While active, increases affinity by 10%
2 While active, increases affinity by 20%
3 While active, increases affinity by 30%

Higher Affinity Rate When Stamina Is Full

When your stamina bar is full, especially during the start of the fight, you'll receive an increase in your affinity rate. This will give you higher chance to deal critical hits & do more damage to your target monster.

Weakness Exploit

Lvl Effect
1 Attacks that hit weak spots have 15% increased affinity
2 Attacks that hit weak spots have 30% increased affinity
3 Attacks that hit weak spots have 50% increased affinity

Allows For Efficient Hunting

Weakness Exploit gives you bigger chances to deal more damage to monster weak spots, making it easier for you to break monster parts or lower monster health. Utilize the Sword & Shield's mobility to target weak spots & make for efficient hunts.


Lvl Effect
1 Weapon sharpness +10
2 Weapon sharpness +20
3 Weapon sharpness +30
4 Weapon sharpness +40
5 Weapon sharpness +50

Elongates Your Sharpness Gauge

Having the Handicraft increases your weapon sharpness. This lessens your need to sharpen your weapon and prevents you from being open to monster attacks.

Alternative Sword And Shield Skill List

Critical Boost

Lvl Effect
1 Increases damage dealt by critical hits by 30%
2 Increases damage dealt by critical hits by 35%
3 Increases damage dealt by critical hits by 40%

Combine With Attack Boost & Weakness Exploit

When you combine this skill with Attack Boost, Weakness Exploit, and Critical Eye, you'll be dealing a whole lot of damage to any monster you encounter.


Lvl Effect
1 Items affect nearby allies with 33% of their efficacy
2 Items affect nearby allies in a wider radius with 33% of their efficacy
3 Items affect nearby allies in a wider radius with 66% of their efficacy
4 Items affect nearby allies in a much wider radius with 66% of their efficacy
5 Items affect nearby allies in a wider radius with full efficacy

Great Support Skill In Multiplayer

With this skill, you'll be able to share your own recovery items to fellow Hunters in a multiplayer hunt when you consume them.

Speed Eating

Lvl Effect
1 Slightly increases item use speed
2 Moderately increases item use speed
3 Greatly increases item use speed

Useful When Weapon Is Unsheathed

When using a Sword & Shield, you can consume items even when your weapon is unsheathed. Speed Eating is a good support skill that can be combined with Wide-Range for a great support build.


Lvl Effect
1 Lets you digest Blue Mushrooms and Toadstools
2 Lets you digest Nitroshrooms and Parashrooms
3 Lets you digest Mandragoras, Devil's Blight, and Exciteshrooms

Can Create Buffs With Mushrooms

With Lvl 3 Mushroomancer, it's easy to use all mushrooms to create buffs not only for you but for your teammates as well, when combined with the Wide-Range skill.


Lvl Effect
1 Slightly reduces the effects of weak monster roars
2 Reduces the effects of weak monster roars
3 Nullifies weak monster roars
4 Nullifies weak monster roars and reduces the effects of strong monster roars
5 Nullifies weak & strong monster roars

Disable Roars To Continue Attacking

With the Earplugs skill, you'll be able to attack through monster roars without being stunned. This allows you to keep yourself safe or still deal continuous damage.

Mind's Eye/Ballistics

Lvl Effect
1 Slightly reduces the effects of weak monster roars

Can Prevent Attack Deflects

Having this skill will lessen the chances of your attacks deflecting on a monster's tough hide. You'll be able to deal more consistent damage and lessen the stagger caused by the deflects.

Sleep Attack

Lvl Effect
1 Sleep buildup +5%, Bonus: +10
2 Sleep buildup +10%, Bonus: +10
3 Sleep buildup +20%, Bonus: +10

Increases Chance Of Inflicting Sleep

With this skill, you'll increase your chance of inflicting the sleep status effect on your target. Monster will be vulnerable to bombs and special attacks.

Paralysis Attack

Lvl Effect
1 Paralysis buildup +5%, Bonus: +10
2 Paralysis buildup +10%, Bonus: +10
3 Paralysis buildup +20%, Bonus: +10

Good Skill To Have In Multiplayer

Paralysis is a good abnormal status effect to inflict on monster and is highly welcomed in any hunt. As a Sword & Shield user, make use of Paralysis to help out other Hunters in multiplayer mode.

Poison Attack

Lvl Effect
1 Poison buildup +5%, Bonus: +10
2 Poison buildup +10%, Bonus: +10
3 Poison buildup +20%, Bonus: +10

Deal Damage Over Time With Poison

Inflicting poison on a monster is very useful as this not only whittles down their health over time, it can also suppress some of their attacks.

Blast Attack

Lvl Effect
1 Blast buildup +5%, Bonus: +10
2 Blast buildup +10%, Bonus: +10
3 Blast buildup +20%, Bonus: +10

Easier To Break Monster Parts With Explosion

Blast can make it easier for you to break monster parts by causing explosions that deal a great amount of damage. Building up Blast in a specific monster part will make it more susceptible to breaking.

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