Content of the article: "After careful consideration: The SA in Rise is underwhelming"
(Take everything I'm saying with a grain of salt)
Listen. I love the SA. I consider myself a SA main after playing roughly 1000 hunts in Iceborne alone and pretty much soloing everything in the game. I fairly accurately calculated Rise MV's. I tried to figure out the most efficient combos and most efficient ways of getting to the amped state and using discharge efficiently… I played over 50 mizu hunts solo with the weapon (just to be clear, I'm not a speedrunner).
I still reaaally really enjoy the SA. But after playing other weapons like Hammer, GS, HH, DB, Lance, Gunlance and LS (although its apparently busted, I hope so because its absolutely ridiculous), it really feels like the SA takes so much more effort to play effectively while other weapons are much more flexible, and some of them even deal more damage. I was never the guy to subscribe to tier lists, but if you put hundreds of hours into a weapon and then pick up a GL just to clear the hunt in around the same time (except that it was MUCH EASIER because you have a shield) then something seems off. Keep in mind that I LITERALLY NEVER played GL and have yet to reach double digit quests with it.
There are a few changes that really kinda butched the SA and make it much more difficult to play without the proper skills equipped. Most notably, the amped state takes an eternity to charge. I am absolutely aware of the new power axe buff and yes, I am not only aware of the fact that the heavenward flurry combo is still the most efficient, but also that a fully charged elemental discharge charges up quite a bit of your gauge. Yet it still feels like I am locked to sword mode for the majority of the hunt because I spend at least half of it just charging my amped gauge. What's really the point of buffing axe mode if you don't even get that much time to spend in it? Unless you plan to not amp you weapon, in which case: G f****** G.
Oh, you made it to amped? Well you better use it real quick because its gone in a minute. But that's pretty much the same as it was in World, which makes… uhh.. not much sense honestly. Because here's the deal guys: After spending minutes to charge your weapon, you are now under pressure to give it all you got. There are however 2 problems that occur quite frequently: 1. The monster decides to f*** off and go to another area, leaving your amped state in the GUTTER, forcing you to do all that shit over again. Yikes. Oh and the other problem… SHARPNESS. SA is EASILY top 3 sharpness SHREDDING weapons. Elemental discharge AND ZSD (bye bye iceborne ZSD) completely shred your sharpness, yet they are probably your best offensive options. So by the time you fill up that juicy amped gauge, you are very likely to at some point chase after the monster or sharpen your weapon. Which significantly wastes your amped state. Which you spend like a minute or more building up.
Oh! But at least axe mode is buffed right? Except THAT IT'S NOT. Both the heavy slam and the morph sweep, the axe mode's strongest attacks, have been significantly nerfed! The whole 3-hit morph sweep combo does like 25% less damage compared to Iceborne. Same goes for the second hit of the heavy slam, NERFED! The moveset has been improved a lot, but what exactly am I supposed to do in Axe mode? Everything deals less damage than sword mode, because aside from the fact that Axe mode is barely better than World when amped, SWORD MODE GOT BUFFED! SO WHATS THE POINT OF EVEN HAVING THIS NEW SYSTEM? SWORD MODE IS STILL VERY MUCH SUPERIOR IN PRETTY MUCH EVERY WAY EXCEPT MOBILITY…. *takes deep breath*
So essentially you'll be spending much more time getting to amped state to… still mainly use sword mode. I just don't get this design logic. If Axe mode could also charge the gauge, that would be fan- f****** tastic way to compensate this BUT IT CAN'T. There's literally EVEN LESS reason to use axe mode in Rise than before, because if you wanna go pure Axe mode you get extra punished by essentially never getting the benefit of the amped state. If you go axe mode when amped, good for you! But its still weaker than sword mode because they nerfed the strongest attacks.
The switch charger silkbind is absolutely fantastic. The invincible gambit however? The only thing that "attack" is good for is its super armor. Its slow, the damage is barely any better than that of regular attacks, and more often than not you will miss 1 or 2 hits, IF NOT COMPLETELY because of how awkwardly it sends you forward. Aside from punishing the occasional roar and last-second-tanking through some unavoidable attacks, it barely adds anything for the hunt. You're better off using the switch charger for repositioning and just doing regular attacks for damage, this things completely blows offensively speaking.
Now, what does all that mean? It means that the SA needs to run at least 3 skills in every set to counteract these points. Focus, Power Prolonger and Razorsharp. And this is just for the offensive aspect of the weapon (ignoring the fact that you DEFINITELY want attack, affinity and crit boost too if all of these make a return), since it has no defensive abilities you still might want to run something like evasion, evade extender or divine blessing if you get hit a lot. But that was always fine in my opinion because SA was able to dish out pretty crazy damage when it gets going. This time around though, it seems like some very significant restrictions were put on its offensive capabilities. Managing your amped state can negatively influence your gameplay experience because you're way too focused to fill up that bar instead of just playing the game the way you want. The monster disappearing right as your weapon gets amped can get straight up frustrating. Sharpness issues will force you to disengage multiple times a quest.
All of this is further supported by the fact that SA is one of the worst performing weapons in speedruns of the demo. It might obviously be a match up thing, but man is it difficult to get a good SA run. Too many factors to consider, while other weapons can just… go nuts and dish out more damage.
Anyway, that's it. Whoever read this, shout out to you. Tell me your thoughts and experiences. Subscribe to the channel I don't have. Happy Hunting!
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