I may love gunlance a little too much, so sorry for this wall of text in advance.
This is an extract of the narration of the first chapter of the ultimate gunlance guide I'm building and where I want to include every single detail about the weapon.
It is a good alternative if you don't want to read all this. Besides providing visual proof of the statement so is a little more easy to digest.
I also want to remind that gunlance is a thing a everyone is welcome there.
This first part covers the basics of the three main shelling attacks, uncharged shells, charged shells and full burst that are the main tools of gunlance. I plan to write another wall about Wyvernstake and Wyvern Fire, besides another chapter dedicated to melee attacks.
You can find current shelling numbers for all styles and shell levels plus WSB duration chart here.
First of all, a brief explanation about the nature of shelling to thoses who are totally new to the weapon and or the concept of shelling.
Shelling refers to all attacks from gunlance that spends ammo.
Their common characteristic of shelling attacks is that the large part of the damage dealt ignores hit zones. Everything is a 100% damage hitzone for shelling.
Direct damage from shelling is only affected by the following factors:
–Sharpness below yellow does less shelling damage. Green or better keeps the maximum damage.
-Ranks modifiers. In practical terms, shelling in High rank is 20% greater than on low and master rank.
-The artillery skill that can grant up to a 50% extra damage
-The meal food bonus of felyne bombardier for an extra 10%
-And finally there is an external factor of Defense being a monster attribute that reduces damage from all possible sources. Safi jiiva is famous for having it on parts that are not broken.
On top of the fixed damage, there is a small amount of fire damage, this changes shell values a couple of points around and have a couple of gameplay consequences like heating Lavasioth armor or igniting Lunastra puddles of fire.
Hitting sleeping monsters also gives you a x2 bonus damage. But only works on the first hit of Wyvern fire.
And finally, the least known of all. Assassin mantle multiplies all damage including shelling. It even works on multiple hits like Wyvern fire! True, that is not very practical but it is there.
Shelling does neither status nor interacts with stuff like impact mantle sadly.
The final lesser known fact about shelling is that it includes a minor rocksteady effect. While you are shelling, charging a shell or doing a reload. You are protected from minor flinches, winds and tremors.
shelling moves overview
Now, let's get into specific shell moves.
The most basic and boring of gunlance’s attacks in the shell, aka, uncharged shell or normal shell. It is just pressing the shell button.
Basically, it is the weakest of all shoot type attacks on the gunlance, but you will be using a lot regardless your shelling type.
This is because it will be used as the fastest way to unload your wyrmstake cannon blast by using the shell button three times in a row.
Most often than not. you will want to avoid using your Wyrmstake and shell more times with your clip without doing a quick reload.
You got two options here of how to proceed.
The first one, almost never used, is on the third shell to hold a button to do a charged shell. I will cover charged shells in this same part later.
The other most common is by tossing a poke between shells, or after the second shell.
And The game really pushes this second option for several reasons.
The very most important one is that there is a combo mechanic between pokes and shells.
Shells combo into Pokes. Pokes combo into Shells.
It takes 50 frames to toss two shells in a row while it takes 58 frames to use shell, poke, shell.
This means that as long your pokes are doing at least a 16% of your shell damage, you are not losing damage at all by using shell poke shell.
In the worst case scenario of using a wide 6 that has the highest shell damage of 130 including WSB, we find out that 16% is only 21 damage than is very very easy to meet.
The timing for the combo is a little tight, if you do it too slow, you end with chaining the attacks instead of being a true combo lessening your damage.
To learn the timing, use the visual clue of the numbers on screen. When you see the number from the poke and the shell, then is when you can input the next attack.
Also, as a vice that I got from playing a lot of fighting games. I’m used to always double tap my inputs to make it easier for the game to recognize it. This is a good tip for consoles where frame drops where the game ignores your inputs.
Using these pokes allows you to apply status on your shelling combo, you can easily put to sleep a monster one or twice per hunt.
The third advantage is that the poke counters one of the mayor drawbacks of shelling being the pushback.
One poke moves you forward about the same amount that two shells push you back.
So, even if you poke is weak, you may consider tossing extra pokes to position you forward and avoid having to hop to get closer.
Hopping while having some used shells is something that every single gunlancer hates.
When you hop and have shells or wyrmstake missing from your chamber. If you push the shell button, you will do a full reload.
While full reload is useful in that also recharges your wyrmstake, it is often overkill to reload when you are just missing a shell.
But there is a way to avoid this from happening. A slight delay before using your shell will avoid it.
There is an unfailable way to know when you can press the button and not reload.
Just watch your stamina bar. After hoping a bit amount will be depleted and stay there for a split second.
Well, the full reload will only happen in that frame when the stamina is not regenerating and if you shell just when you begin to regenerate, you will shell and avoid the dreadful full reload.
After practising the timing on the training room you can get muscle memory of the timing and you will not need to focus on the stamina bar anymore. Try it!
Another thing regarding reloading is the awkward situation where your clip is empty and you must reload.
Normally you would be forced to do a full reload but consider the other option of using a poke and then a quick reload.
This is faster and the poke deals some extra damage and status.
Of course, full reloading means getting your Wyrmstake back, so both can be good to use.
Another awkward situation where guarding also has the inconvenience of that you can’t initiate a shell attack from your guard stance.
Your options here are letting go the animation and then shell, do a hop and shell or do a guard poke and shell.
I will go into more detail about your defensive options in a future part of the series, because gunlance defense is much more than just guard or i-frame through attacks.
All this is the very least basic information you need for playing wide style.
Wide shelling type it is all around using regular shells and pokes to do your damage. Combined with a Wyrmstake Blast a single shell does 130 damage that is a good number by itself.
I decided to focus first about wide, because it is the king of low and high rank.
Since a little ago they included the Defender series of weapons into the game. The gunlance one is a wide type. It got insane high sharpness for this early on the game and the raw is top tier on top of blast status.
Use it at least for low rank since it basically eliminates the need to grind for other low rank weapons.
But you will not use uncharged shells only with wide gunlances.
On Long style. It will be often used as the mandatory attack before you can use charged shells and when you know that you will not have time for a charged shell. Damage is damage.
And on Normal shell type is used often for setting up a full burst without having your melee attack deflected at a hard target. It has a nickname like “mind eye combo”.
Also, if you are wielding a sleep gunlance it is pretty nice to use the poke shell combo on enrage monsters to trigger the status and make it waste a good chunk of its rage.
Just wake it up using a wall slam for a very big opening.
Now that I have touched. poked. Styles let’s change to the other two staples shelling attacks:
Charged shells and full burst
A charged shell is done by holding the shell button after performing most other attack options.
This increases both the damage and part damage values from the base shell attack.
Monsters are divided on different hitzones as you may know already.
Each part has its own separated damage counter. When the counter is filled. The monster is staggered. And good things happens: a flinch, a knockdown or a part break. The counter is reset after this at the same value and you can repeat it again.
The usual case is that the correlation between health damage and part damage is 1 to 1. But this is not true for some gunlance attacks. And charged shells are one of those.
Long gunlance gets the biggest damage bonus on charged shells, but to compensate it, the stagger bonus is lesser than wide.
A maximum damage long charged shell does a total of 270 of health damage and 368 stagger damage.
This is split between the actual shell and the wyrmstake blast explosion. The shell does 209 stagger and the 160 rest from the Wyrmstake explosion.
Let me repeat how Wyrmstake blast is a huge contributor to all gunlance damage and staggering and you never should play without hitting it as much as possible.
This is the secret behind long style feeling much more powerful than the other two. While damage is capped and actually lower, the stagger bonus plus fixed damage makes very easy to keep monsters flinching and being knocked over for very easy hunts.
But while long is the king of charged shells, wide is pretty much the queen.
Health damage is just 8% behind than long charged shells. At 250 damage. And this is compensated by a higher stagger modifier of 50%. This means that paradoxically Wide is stronger at staggering monsters.
Charged shells are criminally underused on wide and can be exploited for hybrid tactics like using charged shells on legs to trip monsters and then use poke shells on the head for extra damage… or a well placed Wyrmstake that can deal massive damage.
Normal have penalties to using charged shells, it is a no-option.
By the way, I’m forgetting to mention that the focus skill speeds up the charging of shells. I go into detail on this on the long focused part.
I’m dabbling too much on the styles when I am going to have a whole part dedicated to each. So, to get back on track, let me tell you the “secret” tactics behind charged shells.
First one is that you can evade out of your charged shells while they are still charging up. This is absolutely great because you don’t have to worry to start charging a shell about being hit or even if it is going to hit the monster.
You charge it anyways and if the monster by example gets knocked out of range, just just hop forward saving for having to fire spending one shell, sharpness and recovery time. Of course you also can avoid attacks with this.
While you are charging you also get the possibility of change the angle of the shell by tapping up or down. There are three angles of horizontal, diagonal and vertical.
Changing the angle also resets the charge time delaying the shot. This can be used as a special tactic to counter monsters, by example savage jho counter hit or a tigrex charge.
The final secret is how you don’t really need to throw a stab or shell before you can use a charged shell.
The forward lunge move can be canceled while your character is moving into both regular and charged shells. The forward lunge into shells is a good alternative to using hops to move forward since it does not consume stamina. You also main let the attack end for doing a diagonal charged shell.
Finally, like poke shells, the timing is hard to nail at first.
The trick here is the very same. Just hold the shell button at the moment you see the damage number on screen and you will get your charged shell out. Charging a shell from Quick reload also can be tricky and you are lacking this visual feedback. In this case, the timing is about the click sound when you expel the shell, hold it there and boom. Smooth charged shell.
The final shell attack to cover in this part is the fullburst.
Fullburst only can happen from a slam of any kind and an aerial fullburst.
This is an attack that has an ultra slow start up. Leaves you totally open for counter attacks of any kind and devours all your sharpness.
But man, it feels good when you land it.
At the current moment, a fullburst from a normal 7 gunlance deals a whooping 696 damage being the second most powerful attack you can do.
After doing a fullburst, you only get three options: Hop, do a sweep or toss a Wyrmstake.
The hop is great for repositioning or if you are going for a pure shelling build or know you are not going to do good damage on your sweep.
Wyrmstake is the most powerful attack of gunlance in this very moment. Ever at base strength at a Safi’jiiva weapon do over 1000 damage. I will get into this attack in one of the following parts because it is more a raw attack than a shelling attack.
Sweep is a melee attack that can be canceled into a quick reload than can be followed up by another slam full burst. When people think of normal style, think of this combo, although there is a lot more on it on the current status of the weapon.
Full bursting is all about how to capitalize on it and chain as much as possible.
All the normal guide will be about setting it up.
- Gunlance rework idea
- Let’s make a list about the moveset changes
- The Huge Comprehensive Gunlance Shelling Guide.