(basis for the video game!mark lee series I’m writing!) Please note that the level is related to XP, or experience, which denotes the amount of experience in defeating enemies or completing quests! This aspect is mostly impacted by the character’s personality (generally peaceful people have lower levels because they do not fight as much). It does not mean that one member is better (or stronger or more skilled) than another! I’ll write out more about the other members soon!
Taeyong (lvl. 58) Class: Stealth > Subcategory: Stealth-based Assassin; favors long-range combat (but can do close-range) Base: Accuracy and invisibility (executing tasks unnoticed) Specialty: Throwing knives/daggers > Secondary Specialty: Ice magic Favored Weapon: A self-repairing throwing knife capable of locking onto targets and teleporting back to its wielder; similar to a boomerang but with more controlled movements Description:Lee Taeyong, infamous for his work as an underground assassin, provides a great deal of surprise among those who only know his name; his considerate and almost mother-like nature sharply contrasts his coldly handsome appearance and systematic approach to his work. What comes as even more shocking is the quickly spreading rumor that Taeyong is a formerly pure-blooded ice mage who chose to abandon his roots and pursue training as a stealth class fighter under the SM guild. He spends his days as a part of the guild’s NCT unit, watching over his fellow members.
Jaehyun (lvl. 55) Class: Cleric/Healer > Subcategory: Battle Cleric; both long-range and close-range (mostly close) Base: Defense and restoration Specialty: Rare ability to heal and calm others through both touch and speaking > Secondary Specialty: Various weapons that change accordingly with the current situation Favored Weapon: A silver staff with a snake design embedded within its surface (concealed within his sleeve), mostly used for defense (although it has two compartments: the top one containing a vial of non-lethal poison, and a bottom one containing the antidote to the poison, as provided by Taeil) Description: The caring and warmth-filled battle cleric, Jung Yoon-oh, who unsuspectingly has the ability to fluster even the most reserved rogues with his kind demeanor and good looks, is often found honing his healing abilities with assistance from nature mage Taeil. Despite hailing from a non-magic family, his ancestry dates back to a line of healers who had eventually married into human society, bestowing upon him the lucky gift of healing, a talent some people would kill for.
Taeil (lvl. 47) Class: Elemental Mage; Cleric/Healer > Subcategory: Nature; long-range Base: Defense and restoration Specialty: Nature magic (anything living and of the forest) > Secondary Specialty: Knowledge in herbs and medicines, which allows him to work as an effective medic for those with sicknesses and internal damage Favored Weapon: Using his magic to create traps/cages (usually out of wood) Description: The oldest member of the NCT guild team, Moon Taeil, is known for his altruistic and kindhearted mindset, along with his incredible affinity with nature and vast knowledge of plant life. Despite being a rather withdrawn and eccentric persona, once he overcomes his initial timidness, he has a startling talent of being able to keep order (as his abilities are very closely tied to light), making him a reliable person to come to when overtaken by chaos.
Doyoung (lvl. 50) Class: Ranger > Subcategory: Archer; long-range Base: Accuracy and quality (making his shots count) Specialty: (Usually) light, thin bows that are easy to carry and shoot with, and a few feather-tipped arrows made of silver (that are extra hard to break and sometimes are enchanted to leave a trail of dust for easy tracking) > Secondary Specialty: A lute that is able to either distract enemies or provide debuffs to allies (controllable) depending on the tune Favored Weapon: A thin, light bow made of elderwood and enchanted with sturdiness and straight aim spells Description: Possessing impressive observational skills and a good sense that can border on slight premonition or clairvoyance when in a focused state, Kim Doyoung is an archer with advanced shooting capabilities, almost to the point in which his shooting form can be considered art. His shots are meticulous and calculated, causing many to believe him to be of an elvish descent. Despite being teased often for his humorously awkward but charming personality, his skills are well respected.
Ten (lvl. 49) Class: Fighter > Subcategory: Dual Wielder Swordsman; close range Base: Speed and agility Specialty: Incredible reflexes, which allow for an ability bordering on being able to slow down time (from his perspective only), making him appear to be much quicker than his opponents > Secondary Specialty: He can fight with anything and everything (even unorthodox things like frying pans, believe it or not) with at least some competence Favored Weapon: Two, thin, katana-like blades made of iron with inscriptions on their hilts (the one he holds in his right hand says his full name in Thai; the one in his left says his alias, Ten, in Korean) Description:Ten Chittaphon Leechaiyapornkul, or really just Ten, as most people call him, is quite infamous for his mischievous and youthful personality. He’s rumored to have been quite the troublemaker in his younger years, which earned him the ability of being able to use anything and everything for defensive (and offensive) purposes. Despite being known for his cutesy and youthful personality, he is a very skilled swordsman who can pose a serious threat to any enemy when in a serious mood. He’s a sly and mischievous speaker who specializes in sweet talking when it comes to negotiations, and is startlingly good at getting his way with his charming personality and devilishly handsome looks.
Mark (lvl. 50) Class: Fighter > Subcategory: Knight; close range Base: Power and accuracy Specialty: (Usually) thin but heavy swords, although he is generally able to wield any kind of sword capably > Secondary Specialty: Affinity with animals (usually dogs and deer) Favored Weapon: 小刀 [ Xiăo
Dāo ], or “small knife” (as jokingly suggested by intel gatherer Kun), a steel claymore-like sword with a silver hilt and a bright red ruby at the very bottom Description: The knight popular and well-known for not only his skill but bright personality, Lee Minhyung, also known as the cheerful sword-wielding newbie, Mark, usually spends his spare time practicing his swordsmanship with dual wielder swordsman Ten. His energetic but laid-back and generally charming appearance has carried him through a lot of tough times, and he has been teased by the older members of the unit for his young age ever since he first joined the guild as a little boy.
Hundreds of small monsters kicked to death and dozens of large monsters and websites later, I have finally finished the research needed to make this guide, which I have been looking forward to writing. Charge Blade is an exciting new weapon in MH4 and while it appears rather simple, understanding how the damage works and also the different combo routes is important to using it well.
- Sword mode is very similar to the Sword and Shield. It is slower, but can do sidesteps and has better reach/guard
- As you attack with the sword you build up energy you can then charge into phials
- At anytime you can morph back and forth between sword and axe
- The axe is like a switch axe with huge reach but stupidly slow and limited mobility
- The axe has a special combo that uses the energy you charged in sword mode to deal big damage (kind of like the spirit combo of the Long Sword)
Unlike the Switch Axe, which is basically two weapons in one, the Charge Blade is meant for being constantly morphed between sword and axe. They made it really easy to do – just Press the R Button (or R+X when in sword mode since R is guard). You can do this in the middle of pretty much any attack and over and over again.
How Charging Phials Works
You have 5 phials that are shown at the top of the screen. As you land attacks with the sword you gather energy, and after a few hits your weapon will glow yellow. Press R+A to charge the energy (3/5 phials), or keep attacking and then it’ll glow red. Charge when red to fill all 5 phials, but be careful, if you keep attacking after that, you’ll enter “overheat” mode and your attacks will bounce of the monsters. You can charge even when your phials are full so no worries, just don’t forget to do so. Like other weapons, if you accidentally go to charge when you have no energy you’ll be stuck in a ‘mischarge’ animation and will be open to attacks (but really, who accidentally charges?).
What the Phials do
In axe mode, there is an elemental burst combo that works a lot like the spirit combo for Long Sword – just consecutively press the A Button and you’ll do the combo, which consists of 3 attacks (a single hit, a double hit, then a big finisher). You can still do the combo even when your phials are empty, but the finisher will get a 50% damage cut and you won’t get any explosions, explained below.
Each Charge Blade uses one of two different phial types: KO and Elemental. When you do your elemental burst combo, the first attack (single hit) causes a single explosion where you hit the monster, the second attack (double hit) causes 2 explosions and the final third attack (the big finisher) get 3 explosions. The effect of these explosions depends on your phial type.
KO phial: Stun damage + fixed explosive damage (see below for details)
Elemental phial: Each blast does elemental damage (see below for details)
Simply put, KO phial type lets you KO a monster and deal damage to tough spots on monsters and Elemental lets you exploit their weakness to your weapon’s element.
Using the Charge Blade
Now it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the main flow is to attack with the sword, charge up energy phials as you can, and when an opening presents itself, to switch to axe and go for the big combo.
The real strategy comes in knowing how to use each of the 3 elemental burst attacks. The game presents them as a combo but in actuality they are 3 separate moves that are simply easily chained together.
Elemental attack 1 (side slash): Press A after you charge with the sword to go straight into the first hit of the ‘combo’. Alternatively, press you can press A right after the second axe strike if you do the X-X combo. This is pretty much only used if you have a big opening and you go straight from a sword charge into the combo and not really activated on it’s own.
Elemental attack 2 (double slash): Press A after attack 1 to go straight into it, or at anytime with axe drawn, press X+A.
Elemental attack 3 (finale): Press A after attack 2. Or, press X+A after attack 1 or a slam attack (the move you do when you draw to axe, or press X->forward + X).
So you can access any 3 of the attacks using only a single phial. The question becomes, how big of an opening do you have?
Big opening: A, A, A (attack 1, 2, and 3)
Mid opening: X+A, A (attack 2 and 3)
Small opening: X+A (attack 3)
Many new charge blade players just go for the charge->A/A/A but in high-level play, you would only really do this if the monster was down or something. It’s more effective to not miss and get in one of the 3 attacks than to risk it on the full combo.
One big strategy a lot of pro hunters use is to sheathe the Charge Blade when not in the middle of a combo, preferring to open with a draw to axe (R+X+A) since the attack does good damage (41 versus 22 if you open with the sword attack) just and has huge reach. Then press R to go into sword mode and start slashing away. If you have phials, you can open with the axe and go right into elemental attack 2 by pressing X+A and you can simply judge if you have the time to follow-up with the finale or not. To go for elemental attack 2 or elemental attack 3 depends on the monster and how good you are at timing things out.
Damage wise, here’s how they look (these numbers will vary from site to site, so use them as reference, not exact science):
Elemental attack 1: 14 (+1 explosion)
Elemental attack 2: 14+47 (+2 explosions)
Elemental attack 3: 62 (+3 explosions)
Let’s look at how powerful those explosions are:
Attack 1: Weapon power * 0.05 x 1
Attack 2: Weapon power * 0.05 x 2
Attack 3: Weapon power * 0.1 x 3
*Weapon power = Attack number shown / 3.6 (control variable for charge blade)
*This explosion damage ignores monster resistance so the same damage regardless of how hard the spot you hit is
*Not quite sure how much the stun damage is but I think 30
Attack 1: Weapon elemental power * 2.5 x 1
Attack 2: Weapon elemental power * 2.5 x 2
Attack 3: Weapon elemental power * 3.5 x 3
*The elemental power does not take into consideration sharpness, etc.
The KO phial is good if you have a Charge Blade and it’s not of the elemental type that the monster is weak too and on the flip side, that is a massive amount of elemental damage so if your charge blade is strong against that monster, expect huge results.
Common misconceptions about Charge Blade:
1. Thinking Artillery Master does more damage than it does:
2. Always going for the full 3 hit combo from a charge. The gap for this is huge and often you’ll miss or end up hitting the monster on a part of its body that is not optimal. See my post about weapon damage here:
It’s far more effective to just do attack 2 or jump straight into attack 3 than to blow it and miss the shot completely. Getting the mentality that this is not a combo, rather it’s 3 moves that can easily be chained together or executed separately, will change the way you approach the weapon. Attack 1 is weak and is merely there as a convenience move to jump to Attack 2 from sword mode.
Attack 2 is underused my most players. It does the same physical damage as attack 3 but takes less time to do and is easier to aim than attack 3 (which you can micro adjust to the left/right during the activation in case you didn’t know).
3. Thinking Elemental Phials are weak
While a KO phial type weapon is far better for general usage since the combo does the same damage no matter who you are up against and its blasts do the same damage no matter what part of the monster you hit, it is not as strong as using an elemental phial type against a monster that is weak to that element and hitting with precision. Elemental phials require expect play – missing a shot to a monster’s head makes a huge difference.
Let’s look at the Fatalis Charge Blade, which has 576 attack and 410 dragon. Hitting Shagaru Magara in the head with attack 2 deals a whopping 188 damage, while the more powerful Caedus Charge Blade (720 attack) deals only 64 damage. Overall if you land the full 3 attacks on the head you do 350 damage while Caedus does 264 (Shagaru Charge Blade does 293). Even with artillery master, the Caedus charge blade is less (300).
But if you are not very good and you miss the head, you’ll see a huge drop. A full 3 hit combo done to Shagaru’s body (tough as shit) will give you 132 damage while Caesdus Charge Blade does 197 (Shagaru Charge Blade = 181), or 230 with Artillery Master.
In other words, KO phials are kinder to hunters who are not precise and allow you to not have to swap weapons often.
General Strategy Notes:
Expect players will typically sheath the weapon a lot and go for a draw attack with axe to start things off (R+X+A), and only draw to sword when no phials are full. There are several reasons why:
- Reach is fantastic
- Let’s you position yourself to hit the head should you go into the elemental attacks from there
- Even if you follow it up with R (switch to sword) the speed is fast and damage high
You have the option to do any of the 3 element attacks with each phial. You could even do 3 finishers on a single charge. Knowing this, you should be far less focused on getting phials filled up and more focused on looking for openings to use them wisely.
The charge move for the sword not only charges energy really fast, but it also has great upward reach and deals high damage. Don’t just waste it on a bad body part to get a charge – aim for the head when possible.
Advanced Note: Guard Points
Not to be confused with super armor (which is a term for attacks that let you take damage but finish the move uninterrupted). There are a few special points during an attack where you will auto-guard should you be attacked in the middle of it. These are moments where the shield is outward facing at the end or start of an attack.
One hunter put this together in an absolutely fantastic video:
This is significant since this is the move you do when you press R to go from axe to sword. You can also get at this move through an x-x-x- combo or evade-x-x combo.
Point 2: At the start of the sword to axe attack
When you press R+X during an attack in sword mode, you’ll actually see the hunter thrust the shield into the sword in front of him then swing back to combine them. During this point if you are attacked you’ll guard automatically. If you go from guard to axe (hold R + X) you will see that the hunter pulls the shield back, then combines it with the sword and swings. You will NOT auto-guard during this. That means when you are not in a combo, you need to press R+X at the same time in order to activate the more safe version of the move.
Now, not only will you take less damage if you keep these in mind, but if you get hit and auto-guard, you will charge energy quite fast (because your sharpness goes down).
High-Level Note: Guard Canceling
The charge blade will let you cancel out the tail end of a guard motion with an evade maneuver or axe attack. See 5:10 in the video above. This lets you react really fast almost like a semi-counter. The auto-guard when you get hit during the tail end of an axe-to-sword morph is quite big, so be sure to cancel the end with a sidestep!
The charge blade is an incredible fun weapon. They dropped the ball in that there are only 11 final forms to choose from and the Caedus one is powerful enough to cover most situations.
The weapon appears quite simple but after understanding how deadly it is when you are precise with your hits and also the most complicated things like guard points and guard cancelling and activating any of the 3 elemental attacks at will, you realize that this is actually not a simple weapon. It offers more flexibility than most realize or utilize.
I wrote a post about how the axes lack a solid hook but after reevaluating the charge blade, I think it will be just fine. Switch axe needs some changes though if they want to keep it being used.
As a bonus, here are two videos of some very good Charge Blade hunters:
The circus is a jungle, why would I stop blazin O’s?
You actin’ like I’m out here rapin’ hoes
I’m not a criminal, so what the fuck you take me for?
Cause I’m a lower class citizen
Tough pill to swallow like broken glass and cinnamon