Iceborne Bow progression gear guide for Main Story

Iceborne Bow progression gear guide for Main Story - Monster Hunter World: Iceborne

By zanuffas
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If you are coming with Defender gear: Defender Armor and Powerbow V, you will need some crafting to do

Unfortunately, as the bow is an elemental-focused weapon, you are at a disadvantage at the beginning. But I will try to cover the build options, this will cover

How to follow the builds?

You should follow the builds as a frame, rather than rules set in stone. Every player plays differently so do not be afraid to switch to more defensive equipment or decorations

The guide covers mostly the story and leaves endgame builds (Silver Rathalos, Kjarr, Safi) untouched.

So the information in this post should be enough to beat the story before moving to endgame

Decorations priorities

Due to the randomness of how you acquire decorations and some luck, I will try to avoid recommending what is “the best” build. The issue is that most people will have access to base decorations. However, they may not have some rarer ones. The priority of offensive decorations:

  • Mighty Bow

  • Elemental decorations (Thunder, Water, etc.)

  • Forceshot

  • Weakness Exploit

  • Critical Eye

  • Normal/Spread Up – more damage with spread and rapid arrows

  • Constitution (Physique)

  • Stamina Surge (Refresh)

However, if you feel overwhelmed or die too often you can switch them out with these decorations:

  • Health Boost (Vitality)

  • Speed Eating (Gobbler)

  • Specific element resistance  (Fire, Ice, etc.)

Beginning Iceborne

The sets in this category work with all elemental weapons. To maximize the damage you can do some minimal changes

Build if you are using Rath

As it is recommended in Monster Hunter World, bows should be using Critical Element skills. So if you come with Defender armor I would recommend switching parts of it to Rath Soul Helm beta and Rathalos mail beta (be sure to upgrade them) of the base game.

As you progress switch out the gear to this one:

Iceborne starting bow build

Iceborne starting bow buildYou can also use Barroth Greaves Beta+ if you have good decorations available, but I would recommend using it at a later stage of the game.

Build if you don’t have Rathalos gear

However, if for some specific reason, you do not have Rath armor and do not want to make there is an alternative. The downside is that you will be losing a lot of damage, but this should still allow you to have decent survivability

Iceborne starting bow build

Iceborne starting bow buildThe downside of this build is the loss of a lot of DPS. You will not have Critical element skills. However, due to having all Master rank gear:  Beo Mail, Hornetaur Helm, Kulu Vambraces, etc. you will have high defense and high survivability

Prioritize offensive decorations as you will be at a disadvantage in terms of damage compared to build with Rathalos high-rank armor.

Progression Builds

Progressing through Iceborne you will need to hold out until you beat Velkhana. This is when good gear with Critical Element skill will unlock for you. Otherwise, keep pushing

If you are using Rathalos armors

Continue to use Rathalos item pieces from the base game, as they are still the cornerstone for dealing damage.

Icebowrn progression rathalos build

Icebowrn progression rathalos buildAt this time you also should have some decent decorations and can incorporate Barroth Greaves beta+. Odogaron Vambraces and Coil have great skills to incorporate for you.

Try to make elemental charms for each element. You will be removing the Fitness charm and replacing it with them. You will be getting constitution from Odagoron Vambraces + Dash juice (you should be using it)

No Rathalos or you dropped it

I would go For Legiana Helm and once you are able get Fulgur Anjanth Helm. Get Rathalos Mail from Master Rank.

Iceborne progression bow buildIceborne progression bow build

Beating Velkhana

Once you beat Velkhana, you can now use her armors for your build. They will be the best in slot for the time being. And only should be replaced later on with Silver Rathalos armors. So your set should be looking like this:

Iceborne Velkhana bow starter buildIceborne Velkhana bow starter build

You can use this set for different elements and replace the Charms with the bow element.

Progression Velkhana

Now with good armor available at your hands, you should concentrate on making sets for each element damage type as your progress through the story.

Because some of the item pieces provide bigger bonuses to selected elements.

So check what items you can craft at that time and replace them with the ones recommended in the card

Lightning/Thunder set

Kirin arms help here to get an additional boost to thunder damage. Moreover, it has a good slot to put. however, Kirin can be difficult, so I suggest getting Fire set first (you can find it below) or the parts until Garuga Greaves (which opens up later in the game).

Until you get Garuga Greaves Beta+ and if you keep doing you can craft Odagoron Greaves which will give a good boost to the defense. However, always remember that you can slot more Vitality decorations.

Iceborne progression set thunder

Iceborne progression set thunderAgain add Fitness Charm 3, and if you start farming Guiding Lands, try to upgrade it.

Fire set

You will need to get your hands on some blaze jewels, as you want to maximize your elemental damage. Of course, you can also get Blaze Charm and use the slots for Critical Eye (expert jewels)

Garuga greaves Beta+ and Frostfang Vambraces Beta+ are the cornerstones of this loadout. You can also use Kaiser Vambraces Beta+ until you get Frostfang

Do not forget to get a good Elemental fire bow, which is Glavenus Arrow 2. It is much better than Azure Mightbow (lower elemental and raw damage) or Anjanath Flamebow 2 (low affinity)

iceborne progression fire build bowiceborne progression fire build bow

Ice set

The best ice bow available at this time would be Mist Glacia. You should be able to craft it with materials from Velkhana.

Because it comes with fewer slots, take Frost Charm 3, and if available upgrade it. You should keep the Ice attack skill at level 6, so take out Ice jewels and replace them with a critical eye or attack boost.

Do not forget to add Physique Jewel to have at least level 3 Constitution.

Garuga Greaves B+ is essential to get as soon as possible as with other progression builds after beating Velkhana

Get Frostfang Vammbraces Beta+ from Frostfang Barioth. It is accessible via events and at Master rank 18. A good alternative to it is Kaiser Vambraces Beta+

Iceborne progression ice bow buildIceborne progression ice bow build

Water Set

Similar to ice you should only replace the Charm and elemental jewels.

Your objective should be to get the Azure Era "Soaring Dragon"+ bow. It is obtainable via USJ: Shine On Forever and USJ: Ballet of Frost event quests. The quests are permanent to obtain this extremely good bow

Until then use Laguna Shot 2 which comes with an additional decoration slot to try to fit in Critical Boost. If you don’t have it add Spread Jewel.

Once you have an Azure Era bow feel free to put in the best decorations you have because of its generous jewel slots. For example Refresh/Expert 4 slot decoration.

Iceborne bow progression build water elementIceborne bow progression build water element

Dragon set

You should have Deathblow Vaal Velos. Due to how raw damage plays a larger role because of tenderizing. However, if you do not use power coatings Dragonbone Aldbow, may outperform the Vaal. So decide based on your playstyle select the dragon bow. I prefer the latter

Equipment stays the same: Garuga Greaves Beta+, Tentacle Coil alfa+, Kaiser Vambraces beta+, Rimeguard Mail Beta+ and Rimeguard Helm Beta+

Decorations should be based on what Wyrmsbane charm level you have. The higher level you have the more Critical Eye decorations you can put in. If you are at max or do not have them, use attack boost or some defensive ones

MHW Iceborne Dragon progression build bowMHW Iceborne Dragon progression build bow


So bow is an elemental weapon and he starts to shine once you get Velkhana armors. These builds should be enough for you to beat the story. After that (or even before that at MR 70) you should start Farming Kulve Taroth weapons or Silver Rathalos armor set, check some builds here. These will be your end-game items until you beat Fatalis.

If I have time I will make a post about endgame builds and which ones you should start getting

Feel free to leave a comment below if you find any information incorrect


Post author zanuffas avatar zanuffas
Gamestegy Founder. I have been writing game guides and builds for 4 years. I like to push myself to create something wonderful for the readers!