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As a new Monster Hunter player, I recently learnt that skills are obtained through: armor, talismans and decorations and that these three elements should be chosen in such a way that the desired set of skills is obtained.

Now, when it comes to armor specifically, I know that armor sets (e.g. the Tetsucabra armor set) come with specific features (good and bad). My hunter currently has the "Rathalos Armor Set" and it grants me Attack Up (M) and Recovery Down. But I read some articles posted by hunters who actually were going for different armor parts that were not from the same set (e.g. Rathalos Helm, Tetsucabra Vest...). So my question is: "Is this the optimal way to do things?"

This question is bothering me, especially since I learnt that a skill becomes active only if it has 10 points from the different pieces of equipment.

Thank you for your response.

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    Posting this as a comment because it's more of an opinion, but sticking with armor sets will easily work until G-rank. Once you get there you can start looking into different mixed sets -- search for "Athena's ASS" for a very useful program that lets you input different skills you want and it'll spit out any combinations you found. Once you start getting more useful charms, you can tell it which charms you have and it'll take those into account as well! – Pyritie Mar 10 '15 at 14:04
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    (You can start mixing sets as early as low rank if you want, though. I know there's a popular low rank set involving two Gore Magala pieces that gives Sharpness+1, a very useful skill for blademasters) – Pyritie Mar 10 '15 at 14:18
  • Thank you for your suggestion, I'm downloading it right now. Also, I'm a gunner, so I don't think the sharpness skill will benefit me. – SavedByJESUS Mar 10 '15 at 16:03
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    Sharpness might not benefit you, but the gunner Gore set has two pieces (chest/waist) that give +5 to loading, which you can combine with two pieces from the Seltas(queen) set to give you +10 to loading, which increases the clip of each ammunition type. Then you can gem/charm some of the other incomplete skills into something. – Trent Hawkins Mar 10 '15 at 19:13
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For a new player, you'll want to stick with regular armor sets. Once you become more acquainted with the armor skill mechanic, you can start branching out into mixed sets.

However, mixed sets are by no means required. Regular sets typically have a theme to their armor skills, so just going with a regular set is more than fine if you can utilize it. Mixed sets simply give you more control over what armor skills to put together, allowing you to craft a set that fits your particular style.

This is how the armor skill mechanic works: if you look on page 4 of your armor info, you'll see some names with positive and negative numbers. These are skill points. To acquire an armor skill, you total up all the pluses and minuses for a particular skill on all of your equipment. If that total reaches a certain threshold (10), you gain that armor skill. Having points below the threshold does not benefit you at all.

Now, most armor skills also come with a penalty skill. If you accumulate enough negative points in a skill (-10), you'll gain a penalty skill. Most regular sets also come with one penalty skill. For example, your Rathalos set has Recovery Down. These penalty skills are usually bad for you and you'll typically want to get rid of them by inserting gems into your gear. In your case, Recovery Down decreases the effectiveness of healing items like Potions and Herbal Medicine.

Also, note that many armor skills and their respective penalty skills have tiers. If you go over the first threshold and reach another, you'll gain an increased effect from your armor/penalty skill. For example, +10 in Attack will get you Attack Up (S) with a small boost in damage, but +25 in Attack will award you with Attack Up (XL) with a very large boost in damage.

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You should wait until late g-rank to get into mixed armor sets. As an example, for a great sword user the best skills to have are Crit Draw and Punish Draw, but very few (if any) armor sets have both of these skills.

Most players could use gems to get it, but some might want a 3rd skill that they could only get by using gems, so to solve this they find a mix of armor pieces that give enough skill points to get Punish and Crit Draw without having to use many gems.

This is usually something only professionals do, but it can be fun to mix and match armor pieces and make your own custom armor.

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