Content of the article: "You can (and probably should) use Max Potions as your primary healing item. The benefits are tremendous."
I doubt this is news to many of you, but in my 400+ hours since picking up the game in April (woo lockdown) I never saw this mentioned when looking up tips to improve and I still see people in Iceborne's post-game not doing this and using Megas instead. I hadn't even considered it as an option until quite recently myself, so hopefully this is helpful to some out there!
You should (probably) be using Max Potions as your primary healing item during hunts, especially once you reach endgame but probably before then too. If you hadn't considered this as an option before then this might strike you as quite audacious or difficult – after all, you can only bring 2 with you per hunt (more on that in a bit…) so surely they're better served as an emergency option – but not only is it very practical and doable, it also brings a whole slew of benefits with it.
Let's break it down into "why" and "how"
- Better heals. This one is pretty obvious: a Max Potion heals you to full health every time, a Mega Potion only heals a fixed amount. This means less items needed to heal the same amount and less time spent healing.
- Faster heals. A Max Potion is an instant heal once used; a Mega Potion takes time to heal. With faster heals comes more windows to heal – no longer do you need to hope your Palico takes aggro allowing you to heal, or waiting for that one attack with the long recovery!
- Uninterruptable heals. Implied by the above, once a Max Potion procs, you are healed; when a Mega Potion procs, you have to wait while you heal over time. If you get interrupted by an attack or a roar, you haven't gained the full benefit of the Mega Potion and you've consumed one. You can still be interrupted before the Max Potion procs, of course, but that won't consume it!
- More decoration slots. Mega Potions only heal for 70 by default, which is pretty pathetic if you're running Health Boost 3 and have the canteen/Max Potion health boost. To make the amount acceptable you kinda need Medicine decorations. But if you use Max Potions exclusively, those slots are now freed up! (This was actually what motivated me to try this in the first place)
- No more eating the Chef's Special. It was quite common for me – and, going by some comments I've seen elsewhere, for others – to always pick the Chef's Special to get the +50 maximum health. But as Max Potions also give you that benefit (and they don't stack), you can switch to eating for Attack Up Large or ElemDef Up Large and simply using the Max Potion to get that health bonus. These are REALLY good buffs and getting them guaranteed for every hunt is so worth it. Sure, you won't get a smattering of random guaranteed food skills, but most aren't relevant, most builds don't need them, and few hunts require the extra edge they give. You can always use a Gourmet Voucher if need be (which, by the time you may start really considering the food skills, you will be able to get stacks of thanks to the Steamworks).
- Less reliance on the Vigorwasp Spray. This is a bit more marginal. Because your heals are so much faster, one of the Vigorwasp Spray's benefits (run over to this bit for an instant heal) are less relevant. Of course, random midfight heals and one cart prevention are still good and unaffected by that, but if you're healing better maybe you don't need either of those as much? Maybe you can start taking random buffs, or more DPS, or free items… your options open up a little bit.
So now you're convinced that, hey, this is probably a good idea, let's get into the how.
"But," I hear you ask, "I can only take 2 with me on a hunt and I need to heal more times than that!"
The answer to that is of course in-field crafting, and there are three aspects about it we need to consider: the radial menu, item loadouts and the farm.
If you weren't already you should be using the radial menu, as it allows you fast access to a bunch of items at once. Once you get the hang of it it helps out a whole lot. But the relevant part for us is that you can craft items from it. If you try to use an item that you're out of but you have the necessary materials to craft one, you will craft one! More usefully, you can bind "craft all" commands, allowing you to craft as many as possible in one go. Keep a craft all Max Potions command in your radial menu, and running out of heals is essentially not a concern anymore.
This ties in to item loadouts. A Max Potion is crafted from a Mega Nutrients and a Mandragora. You can bring 5 Mega Nutrients with you, which gives you a further 5 potential Max Potions per hunt. 7 Max Potions is, in my experience, more than enough most of the time, but if you need more bring Nutrients and Honey to in turn craft more Mega Nutrients (and bind the appropriate craft all command to your radial menu). As you can bring 10 Mandragora on a hunt, this gives you 12 Max Potions per loadout – more than enough!
So far so good, but the thing that really brings this altogether is the farm, especially with the extra slot upgrade it gets in Iceborne. To make Max Potion from scratch, you need Bitterbug + Blue Mushroom for Nutrients, +Honey for Mega Nutrients, and finally +Mandragora for the Max Potion itself. That's 4 materials, and you have 4 slots in the farm. Apply Choice Mushroom Substrate, Thick Summoner Jelly and Ancient Catalyst, and keep them all going by applying a Soft Soil every five hunts, and you will be flush with the necessary materials. A full harvest box yields at least 66 Max Potions if all were crafted, and I do not use anywhere close to that amount in that time.
It requires some setup and can feel a bit fiddly at first, but once you're over that hump it's all gravy.
Reasons why you may not want to do this
There are a few reasons why I think you may still want to keep using Mega Potions, but they're pretty specific:
- Wide Range. WR doesn't do anything with Max Potions. Megas will heal everyone. Many of the benefits of Max Potions superior healing are also less relevant if you're in a more supportive role, able to stand back a bit and safely take your time to heal.
- Bowguns. If you need the farm slots for ammunition, then taking up all 4 for healing is a harder sell. And if you're fighting at range, you're (hopefully) getting hit less too. But then, I've never played Bowguns so I don't know how relevant that is.
- You don't have the space. Max Potions require at a minimum 2 and more comfortably 4 slots in your item loadouts; if you heavily use a range of items I could see you simply not having the room to bring all those extra materials along. I'm aware it gets quite tight – some of my loadouts only have 3 slots spare now – but I'd still be curious to see how you got to such a full loadout!
- You've got some wild Peak Performance/Health Regen build heavily using Recovery Up. But even then it only weakens the benefits instead of contradicting them. But such a build could easily deprioritize Max Potions.
Max Potions heal better in just about every single way and open up your canteen and decoration choices, and with some radial menu/loadout/farm setup it's very practical to use them exclusively. It genuinely helped me take my hunts up another level, and I imagine most builds can benefit from it. If this is something you hadn't considered before, hopefully you try it and it helps with yours as well!
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