If Arch Tempered Elder Dragons have been handing your ass to you, boy, will you enjoy this build.
Here’s the thing, though. If you’re really good at Monster Hunter: World, this build probably won’t help you much. My switch to Gunlance (from Charge Blade) was born out of sheer frustration. I was getting utterly destroyed by the AT Elders (except AT Vaal Hazak; I killed him with a Charge Blade but he’s the only AT Elder I’ve managed that with) and just wanted something safer.
And that is the goal of this build – to be as safe as is humanly possible while slowly and steadily whittling down the AT Elders so you can get those sweet Gamma armour sets and layered armour. If you don’t care about the explanation and just want to see the build, screenshots are at the top and bottom of this article.
Safety, not speed
First off, this build is aimed at solo players.
Second, it’s not any kind of optimal. It won’t get you world record times or anything; that isn’t the point. At most, you need to fight AT Elders five times to get their armour set and two to three more to get their layered armour. This build is meant to make those runs as safe and as easy as possible. My AT Teostra build got me through five clears in roughly twenty minutes each with only two carts total, and both of those times I got greedy and tried to squeeze in a little more damage when I should have blocked instead.
The overall strategy is to block every single swing, get a couple of safe pokes in, rinse and repeat until you’re dead or the Elder is.
Gunlance. Specifically, Empress Shell Styx. If you prefer Lance, that will work just as well because this build doesn’t revolve around shelling. Swinglance is king, so we’re going to be poking AT Elders in the head until they fall over and then unloading on them with the Gunlance’s 3-swing big damage combo. If you’re new to Gunlance, Arekkz has a nice tutorial for you.
The Empress Shell Styx has one big thing going for it – Razor Sharp. Halving sharpness loss means your aim doesn’t need to be perfect but you won’t run out of white sharpness in any given area of the fight as long as you land most of your hits on weak points. With Kushala, my strategy is to camp his left arm and keep poking him in the face until he flops down – and then unload with the Swinglance’s big combo.
Also, since the Styx Gunlance comes with a nice level 3 slot, shove a Handicraft jewel in there if you have one.
Augment for Health Regen if you don’t have it on your Gunlance or Lance already. Blocking allows you to mostly ignore AT Kushala’s damage, but you will take a crap ton of chip damage that will add up really, really quickly. Health Regen on your weapon allows you to get small amounts of health back with each poke, with more substantial healing with he’s down and you’re whaling away on his face.
I’m using 3 pieces of Kushala Daora beta armour – head, waist, and legs – for the Kushala set bonus. Negate Wind Pressure allows you to hug his body without getting knocked back when not guarding, and the edges of his tornados won’t stagger you either. Obviously, being at the center of a tornado will still send you flying and absolutely wreck your butthole, so don’t stand in the middle of one.
A nice bonus from the Daora armour is 2 points in Evade Extender. Slightly longer hops can make repositioning a lot easier, allowing you to stick to the side of his head with relative ease.
The Bazel Mail is specifically for the 2 points in Guard and the two level one slots. If you have an Ironwall jewel, shove that into the chest for 3 points in Guard, which is plenty to deal with AT Kushala’s windspit. If you have more than one Ironwall jewel, you can replace the chest armour with whatever you want. I only have two, which isn’t enough for me to get Guard 3 on this build without the Bazel chest.
The Drachen Vambraces are non-essential; I use them because I have them and I like points in Critical Eye. If you don’t have the Drachen set, don’t worry about it; swap them out for whatever you’re comfortable with.
The Bulwark Charm is mandatory. Kushala has one incredibly powerful wind attack with a massive blast radius on impact. I often find myself caught by the very edges of it and sent flying, taking massive damage in the process. With Guard Up from the Bulwark Charm, you can sit there with your shield up and completely ignore that particularly energetic fart.
Only the 3 Vitality Jewels are mandatory; everything else can be swapped out for whatever you’re comfortable with. Having 200 total health (100 base, plus 50 from the jewels, and 50 from food and/or buffs) goes a long, long way towards keeping me alive during the AT fights. It basically means you can take two hits from most attacks instead of getting instantly carted by one.
I’m fond of affinity so I just shoved as many Critical Eye and Weakness Exploit jewels as the build could hold. Nothing about the other decorations is set in stone, so feel free to use whatever you want. Plug in stun resistance, slugger, speed eating – whatever you enjoy and are comfortable with.
Buffs and Healing Items
I usually have at least 1 Mega Demondrug, 1 Mega Armourskin, 10 Might Seeds, and 3 Demon Powders on me when I’m going up against AT Elders. Having Powercharm, Powertalon, Armourcharm, and Armourtalon in your inventory is also great, but if you’re going up against AT Elders, you probably know that already.
Also in my inventory are 10 Healing Potions, 10 Mega Potions, 2 Max Potions, 1 Ancient Potion, and 1 Farcaster (for a quick escape if I need to get the hell out). Everything else is up to you.
It’s worth noting that Flash Pods don’t drop AT Kushala out of the sky, so they’re not worth carrying (to me). I have heard, however, that it’s viable to use them to prevent him from flying, so you can also carry 3 Flash Pods and 10 Flashbugs if you want. My aim with Flashpods is garbage, though, so instead of trying to flash I just sit and tank until he’s within poking distance – and then I simply continue to poke him until he drops.
Here’s what the build looks like
Again, to summarize, the mandatory items are:
– A gunlance (or a lance, preferably the Styx variants because they have Razor Sharp)
– Health augment on your weapon
– 3 pieces of Kushala Daora armour
– 3 points in Guard (either through armour or through decorations)
– The Bulwark charm
– 3 Vitality jewels
Literally everything else you use in the build is up to you. Good luck, happy hunting, and give AT Kushala a swift kick in his windy nuts for me.