MHW Iceborne Best Bow Builds [Top 5]

Monster Hunter, World, Iceborne, Weapons, Bow, Builds
Monster Hunter World: Iceborne's Best Bow Builds!

The Bow is probably one of the best-designed weapons in the game. Not because it has the highest damage (it comes close), but because to a casual player, it is one of the easiest weapons to pick up. But in the hands of a serious hunter, this is one of the most complex weapons in the game.

So before you dig into this article, I highly recommend you watch this video. Jin Jinx and Tuna do a wonderful job of summarizing how you can squeeze out every last bit of DPS from your Bow and the theory that goes behind Bow DPS. 

Once you’ve watched that video, you can jump into these builds with a little bit more understanding. So here are the top 5 best Bow builds.

5. Dragon Piercer

Broken Best Bow Build - Highest Damage Dragon Piercer - Monster Hunter World Iceborne!

Since most bow builds have been refined into our top 2 spots, I’m going to start this list with two powerful but off-meta builds. The first one is a build based around the Dragon Piercer.

What's Awesome About Dragon Piercer Build

  • Dragon Piercer is crazy fun to use.
  • If you wanted a fun build that you can show off to friends, make this build.
  • More of a raw build, which makes it flexible in the Guiding Lands if you don’t want to switch bows very often.

Build Details

  • The majority of the build’s damage comes from pairing the Rajang bow, which already has crazy high raw, with Frostcraft from the Velkhana set bonus.
  • Small side bonus, but Velkhana’s 2 set bonus of crit element also increases the little lightning damage on the Rajang bow as well.
  • Agitator is used to make up for the Rajang Bow’s inherent -10% affinity.
  • Critical Draw is used to increase the damage of an unsheathe Dragon Piercer and give it close to 100% affinity.
  • Critical Boost, Piercing Shot, and Special Ammo Boost are all ran to further increase the damage of your Dragon Piercer shots. 
  • Evasion Mantle helps to further increase your Dragon Piercer damage.
  • The build in the video runs a few skills for comfort, but you can switch these out for more damage or stamina reduction skills.
  • When all skills are active, you should be hitting the training post for 277 damage per tick of the Dragon Piercer.
  • Be aware, that this build does not run Weakness Exploit, Constitution, or Stamina Surge, which are usually meta-skils for the Bow.

4. Thousand Dragons Bow

Ultimate Highest Damage Best Bow Build - No Arrows - Monster Hunter World Iceborne!

Next is a build based around the Thousand Dragons shot that was introduced in Iceborne. For those who may not know how this works, you can load your slinger ammo into an arrow and then shoot it. Based on the slinger ammo loaded, you can do some pretty chunky damage with it. Again, this isn’t the most meta build, but it’s still fun enough and powerful enough to make it onto this list.

What's Awesome About Thousand Dragons Bow

  • Just got buffed with the recent buffs to the skill Slinger Capacity.
  • A bow build that can do lots of stun damage.
  • Gets better when other players can help you get more pellets, but it can also make its own pellets.

Build Details

  • The weapon of choice here is the final Tigrex bow since it has a very high raw value. However, while this video is a bit on the older side, the Rajang bow could also be used here for even more damage.
  • You’re using an affinity and health augment here just for more damage and a comfier hunt.
  • Affinity, Weakness Exploit, Special Ammo Boost, Spread/Power Shot, Critical Boost, and Attack are used here to further increase the damage of Thousand Dragons shot. 
  • Slinger Capacity recently was buffed. Now you’re able to Flinch shot twice off of one pellet. At level 5, you should be able to Flinch Shot the monster twice and still have some slinger ammo for a Thousand Dragon shot.
  • You can deal 1100 damage to the cart with just stones. With Piercing Pods, you can hit something close to 1800 damage.
  • Ideally, you want to use Piercing and Stones for all of your Thousand Dragon needs.
  • The recommended build here also uses an Affinity Booster to make up for its lack of crit damage. While you can do that, you could also try dropping some of the comfy skills like vitality for more damage as well.

3. Blast + CC Bow

MHW ICEBORNE| Best Meta Bow Builds + Comparison (Both CC and Blast)

The Most Blasts Possible - Ultimate Blast Bow Build - Monster Hunter World Iceborne! (Just Blast)

This is where we’re starting to get closer to the meta builds. While still off-meta, there are two feasible builds here: Blast and CC. These two builds are going to be very similar, except for the skills that focus on whichever abnormal status effect you’re interested in running.

With the blast bow, you are focusing on raw damage and triggering as many blasts as you can. 

With the CC bow, you’re going to focus on just getting as much CC onto the monster as possible to give you more damage windows.

What's Awesome About Blast Bow

  • These builds are pretty flexible against every monster. While Elemental bows will out-damage these two builds, the best part of these builds is that they are equally effective against all monsters, so you don’t have to switch builds constantly.
  • Blast allows you to get more monster part breaks.
  • If you’re getting tired of using Elemental Bows, then this is a nice change of pace without losing too much damage.
  • Since this build uses fewer bows, it’s going to be a bit easier to farm than the meta builds.

Build Details

  • The build revolves around the Gold Rathian set bonus to help deal more status effects, whether it’s blast, sleep, or paralysis.
  • The Alqas Al-Nasr II is the preferred bow here since it can also do paralysis and sleep along with blast shots. 
  • This bow also has a decent 300 base raw on it. 
  • Para and Sleep are extremely useful in these hunts since Sleep can give you a free wall slam when the monster wakes up, and Paralysis can help you build more KO if you’re using the Impact mantle.
  • The build found in RageGaming’s video is more blast oriented than the previous build. If you’re looking to dish out more explosions than the other CC effects, then I recommend you use that build.

2. Team Darkside’s Elemental Bows

MHW Iceborne | All 5 Best Elemental Endgame Bow Builds

Now that we have finally reached our first round of Elemental Bows, we can talk about what makes Elemental Bows the best. In short, the elemental motion values for Bow were buffed in Iceborne. On top of that, the Bow also strikes often enough to take advantage of the way Elemental damage is calculated. 

Team Darkside, known for their amazing speed runs and crazy monster related shenanigans, has created a video that features an elemental build for each element. I find it to be a great place to start if you’re looking for comfy, feasible builds that require very few changes between hunts.

What's Awesome About Elemental Bows

  • Elemental Bows are the damage meta.
  • If you need a resource for the best elemental bows, then look no further than here.
  • These sets aren’t made for speedrunning, but they’re very optimized for damage.
  • Each set in this video shows you how to make the most of the different number of slots that come with the build.

Build Details

  • For all 5 builds, it’s going to feature the same mantles: Evasion and Impact. Evasion is there to increase your damage, while Impact Mantle is there to stun monsters so you can deal even more damage.
  • Make sure you are always upgrading increased elemental damage and one upgrade in affinity when you’re augmenting your bows. The affinity increase is to get to 50% affinity so Weakness Exploit can bring you to 100%.
  • 100% Affinity is crucial since you’ll be running the Silver Rathalos set which will give you more Elemental damage when you crit.
  • These sets tend to run Constitution 3, which makes your combos and shots a little bit more lenient on Stamina consumption. 
  • Mighty Bow is necessary because it grants another charge level to the Bow’s shots. This allows you to do more damage since you can fire a quick shot, have it be stamina positive, and then start firing more arrows to deal even more damage.
  • Between each of these builds, the only things you should have to swap out are the weapons and Charms to match the elements you want to use for the hunt.
  • Some skills like Fortify can be swapped out for more comfy skills like Vitality.

1. Elemental Speedrunning

And finally, we reach our meta builds. There will be plenty of variations in skills among these builds, but the common theme is to use an elemental bow with Silver Rathalos and Garuga Greaves. This gives you the damage skills you need while boosting elemental damage. 

The builds shown here are good enough to be used in speedruns with minor tweaks tailored toward the monster the runner is slaying. 

Since these are higher-end damage builds, feel free to tweak and customize them with comfier skills to your heart’s content.

For an in-depth explanation, watch the beginning of this video:

MHW ICEBORNE| Best Meta Bow Builds + Comparison

For a run using one of these builds:

MHW:I ティガレックス亜種 弓 3'27"78 TA wiki rules + Clutch claw / Brute Tigrex × Bow

What's Awesome About Speed Running sets

  • Since it’s a speedrunning set, keep in mind that parts of it are geared toward a specific monster (Brute Tigrex in the example) and there is also very little room for error when using these builds.
  • Some flex in skills these builds are tailored toward specific monsters, so you can replace them with whatever skills you need.
  • This will give you a great base to start getting some of the highest damage numbers for the bow.

Build Details

  • Silver Rath is the star of all of these builds since it can increase your elemental damage to absurd heights. 
  • High affinity is necessary to make sure you are getting the most out of Silver Rath’s set bonus.
  • The video above will feature a few different bows to choose from for each element. While some people will argue for one over the other, remember that some spots of the monster may not have good elemental weakness zones, so if you struggle to aim for the same spot again and again, then err on the side of more raw.
  • These builds are made to slay monsters as fast as possible. As a result, it’s advised to focus on the weakest hitzone to the element, and then hammer on it until the monster dies. 
  • Since these builds are so streamlined for damage, once you understand how they work and where all the damage comes from, then you can start tweaking them for comfort. You can drop some damage skills for Vitality for example, or find a way to include Earplugs if you aren’t very good at using dodges to make up for it.
  • You can also find a way to add the health augment to the Bow if you feel like you really need it. 
  • Be aware, since these builds are tailored, it means you will have to switch between these builds in places like the Guiding Lands when you are out hunting multiple monsters. More general builds like the Blast heavy or CC heavy builds tend to be better for multiple monsters/Guiding Lands.

Also be sure to check out these articles:

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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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