[Top 5] Monster Hunter World Best Bow (2020)

Monster Hunter, World, Iceborne, Top 5, Bows
Monster Hunter World Iceborne's Top 5 Bows

Step aside Legolas cause we have rocket-powered arrows to shoot at dragons.  

Bows are one of my favorite weapons in terms of game design for Monster Hunter. Compared to the other weapons, bows are fairly simple to pick up. They don’t have the equipment/ammo complexities of the other ranged weapons, and they share just enough commonalities with the melee weapons to make sure you don’t feel like you’re playing a brand new game. The end result? Anyone can pick up a bow and have fun rattling off arrows at the nearest monster. 

But what makes the bow my favorite design, despite its simplicity, is the crazy level of depth the weapon offers to get high damage. To the Bow, stamina should be treated more like a regenerating MP bar than anything else. Take a look at this video by Jin Jinx and Tuna to understand how stamina management can be both complex and necessary to master. 

Once you’ve mastered the basics and want to start hunting, the best thing to do is to start by understanding what sets have been the most efficient for damage. 

The Bow gets most of its damage from elemental hits because it can abuse hit zones that are especially weak and also because the Bow hits often enough to make the investment into elemental worth it.  

Since we’re investing in elemental damage, the most common build you’ll see with the Bow will be some derivative of Silver Rathalos. If you want more information on builds, then please watch this video for more of an explanation of what you should be building with your armor and why. 

Now that we’ve got gameplay, armor, and builds out of the way, let’s take a look at what weapons you should be running. 

Here are the top 5 best bows of MHW: Iceborne - one for each element.

5) Deathbow Val Velos (Dragon)

[MHW:IB PC] Ruiner Nergigante 3'55"05 / TA wiki rules

The Deathbow comes in as our best Dragon element Bow because of the coatings it has access to, its high element, and some pretty solid slots to help build with. 

If you’re wondering which coatings are best to use, since we’re always obsessed with damage, we always want access to power coatings. If a bow has access to other coatings besides power coating, then that’s a nice bonus. 

Which leads me to the next best Dragon bow, the Dragonseal Aldbow II. The Deathbow barely beats this bow because it has access to power coatings, something the Dragonseal bow is missing. However, the Dragonseal Bow has 100 more Dragon element which will out-damage the Vaal bow when it doesn’t have power coatings on. 

Both Bows share the ability to use sleep coatings, but the Dragonseal has paralysis coatings to it. One can argue that the Dragonseal Bow can pull ahead because you can paralyze the monster so you have an easier time unloading damage combos on it. In my opinion, with slightly more damage through power coatings, you can accomplish the same thing with a faster knockdown or a drooling flinch. I think the biggest difference appears when you’re in multiplayer where more players can fit in more damage during a paralysis than you could do by yourself. In that regard, the Dragonseal will probably be better, but if you’re looking for just damage or for a bow that helps more with solo hunts, then I find the Deathbow to be better.

What's Great About the Deathbow Val Velos

  • It has access to power coatings compared to the Dragonseal Bow. As long as you’re using power coatings, you’re out-damaging the Dragonseal Bow. 
  • Can be made after you beat Blackveil Vaal Hazak. 
  • Access to sleep coating makes both bows pretty useful in multiplayer. Just remember to collect your free wall slam while the monster is waking up.

Deathbow Val Velos Stats

  • Rarity: 11
  • Coatings:
    • Close Range
    • Power
    • Sleep
  • Raw Damage: 300(389.4 Effective Raw)
  • Affinity: 0%
  • Element: 330 Dragon (33 Effective Element)
  • Slots: 
    • 1x Level 2
    • 1x Level 1

4) Royal North Wing (Water)

(MHW:IB PC) M5★ 2'29"38 | Bow TA Wiki Rules | Teostra

The Royal North Wing comes in as the highest damaging water bow, usurping our previously best water bow, the Laguna Shot II.

After all is said and done, the Laguna Shot II will have slightly more element than the Royal North Wing (clocking in at 5 more Effective Element after custom upgrades and augments). But the Royal North Wing not only brings more base water element, but also far more raw and base affinity than the Laguna Shot can muster. 

The end result? The Royal North Wing is the most effective water element build and since it has access to Sleep Coatings, it’s also far more useful to a team than the Laguna Shot II is. But, this power comes at the cost of being very decoration hungry. You have to have 100% Free Element active, and that will require a Release Jewel 3 and a Release/X Jewel to be efficient. You could replace the charm, but you’ll have to find a way to gem in Water Attack 6 instead.

Here’s an example of what this build would look like:

Royal North Wing Bow Build

Comparatively, the Laguna Shot II has a level 2 and a level 1 decoration slot and doesn’t require Free Element in order to perform well. On top of all this, the Royal North Wing can only be built with event drops, and since you can still build the Laguna Shot fairly early in the game, the Laguna Shot remains a great water bow if you can’t get your hands on the Royal North Wing and the decorations needed to run it. 

What's Great About the Royal North Wing

  • Its base stats are nuts. 420 hidden water element, 15% affinity, 324 raw, and a level 3 slot. 
  • It also has access to sleep coatings, which is useful in multiplayer. Again, remember to collect your free wall slam while the monster is waking up.
  • A level 3 decoration slot helps ease some of the burden of building for this weapon, but let’s be honest, you’re most likely going to fill that slot with a Free Element Jewel. 

Royal North Wing Stats

  • Rarity: 11
  • Coatings:
    • Close Range
    • Power
    • Sleep
  • Raw Damage: 324 (295.69 Effective Raw)
  • Affinity: 15%
  • Element: 420 Water (42 Effective Element)
  • Slots: 
    • 1x Level 3

3) Fulguring Bow II (Thunder)

[MHW:I] M★6 Special Arena: MR Gold Rathian | Solo Bow TA Wiki Rules | 02'24"88

Fulguring Bow wins the spot for our best Thunder bow since it out-damages the Kadachi Bow. Honestly, the Fulguring Bow is the odd duckling in this list. It barely has any thunder element on a weapon that wants to focus on maximizing elemental damage. What pushes it above the other weapons is its meaty raw. With Custom Upgrades (an option the Kadachi Bow lacks), its Thunder element can be boosted up to serviceable levels. 

Another positive for this bow is that it has 20% base affinity, which means you can hit 100% affinity with Critical Eye 4 and Weakness Exploit.

What's Great About Fulguring Bow II

  • Really strong raw damage.
  • Access to Custom Upgrades allows this Bow to have serviceable Thunder Element. 
  • Access to Paralysis Coatings provides some utility for multiplayer beyond just massive amounts of damage. 
  • Level 1 slot is nice to have. 

Fulguring Bow II Stats

  • Rarity: 10
  • Coatings:
  • Close Range
    • Power
    • Paralysis
  • Raw Damage: 300 (278.25 Effective Raw)
  • Affinity: 20%
  • Element: 180 Lightning (25 Effective Element with full Custom Mods)
  • Slots: 
    • 1x Level 1

2) Icicle Blizzard II (Ice)

[MHWI]Rajang Bow Solo 03'16''95

Icicle Blizzard II is able to beat the Legiana Bow for Ice Element damage since it has access to Custom Upgrades. The Legia Snowfletcher should have only 2 more Effective Element compared to the Icicle Blizzard II at full Custom Upgrades. Since the Icicle Blizzard has much higher raw and a base affinity of 25%, the Blizzard is able to dish out more damage. 

Because of its high base affinity, you can use Critical Eye 3, Agitator 2 and Weakness Exploit 3 to reach 100% Affinity while the monster is in rage mode. Since the Bow is a light weapon, you can always claw attack 3x to make the monster immediately enter rage mode to keep your Agitator buffs.

What's Great About Icicle Blizzard II

  • Better raw and Affinity than the Legia Snowfletcher.
  • With custom upgrades, it comes really close to the Legia Snowfletcher in Effective Element.  
  • Since it’s made from Barioth parts, this bow can be created fairly early in the game.
  • Level 1 slot is still nice to have. 

Icicle Blizzard II Stats

  • Rarity: 10
  • Coatings:
    • Close Range
    • Power
  • Raw Damage: 276 (260.31 Effective Raw)
  • Affinity: 25%
  • Element: 300 Ice (37 Effective Element with full Custom Mods)
  • Slots: 
    • 1x Level 1

1) Glavenus Arrow II (Fire)

(MHW:IB PC) M5 ★2'18"70| Bow TA Wiki Rules | Velkhana

The best fire Bow is the Glavenus Arrow II since the other options will lack the freedom that comes with having 2x Level 1 slots and the benefits of Custom Upgrades. 

Since this Bow also has access to poison and blast coatings, it can also do a little bit more utility than just damage. If you’re playing solo, then there’s nothing wrong with just running power coatings and blasting through the monster’s HP. 

What's Great About the Glavenus Arrow II

  • Great raw, slots, and Element.
  • Access to custom upgrades allows it to deal plenty of Fire element damage.
  • You can fight Glavenus pretty early in the game, providing fairly early quick access to this bow.
  • 2x level 1 slots allows for more build flexibility.
  • Blast and Poison can come in handy for multiplayer situations. In the least, it’s more damage in cases where you can’t keep hitting the monster’s weak spot cause it’s targetting an ally.

Glavenus Arrow II Stats

  • Rarity: 10
  • Coatings:
    • Close Range
    • Power
    • Blast
    • Poison
  • Raw Damage: 300 (265 Effective Raw)
  • Affinity: 0%
  • Element: 390 Fire (46 Effective Element with full Custom Mods)
  • Slots: 
    • 2x Level 1

If you’re interested in reading more about the Bow builds mentioned in this article, then please head over to this gallery. It will show you plenty of builds you can use for these weapons and the many ways you can adapt them to fit what decorations you have.

What About Safi'Jiiva?

When this article was written, Safi'Jiiva wasn't released on PC yet. Luckily, building a Safi'Jiiva set for the Bow isn't too difficult. If you're looking for a generalist build that will perform well against every monster, you want to build Safi's Shatterbow. Blast blight gives that weapon a lot of damage, and with full Safi gear, you can dish out a crap ton of damage. 

However, this doesn't change how well the Bow can work as an elemental weapon. If you don't like the recoil damage from Safi's armor set, you can still run Silver Rathalos and use whichever Safi Bow matches the elemental weakness of your target. 

Here's an album of more post-Safi'Jiiva Bow builds, I highly recommend giving it a look.

Thanks for reading!

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As a coffee-powered typist, Chris is an expert at playing through caffeine-powered binges and writing about what happens during those binges.
Gamer Since: 1995
Favorite Genre: FPS
Currently Playing: Monster Hunter World: Iceborne
Top 3 Favorite Games:Titanfall, Mass Effect 3, Megaman Legacy Collection

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