It took a while, but MHW Master Rank layered armor is finally here, courtesy of Title Update 5. That’s a lot of jargon you may or may not be familiar with. Suffice it to say that Monster Hunter World just had its final major content update. It includes the endgame beast, Fatalis, as well as several quality of life changes. One such change is to the fashion — allowing players to layer, or “transmog” nearly every armor set in the game. That means no matter what you wear for the stats, you can make it look like something else.
But how does this system work? It’s neither super simple nor absolutely obvious once you boot up the game. As with so many things in MHW, layered armor is somewhat obscure. Even if you understand the system itself. Master Rank layered armor won’t show up immediately in your list of craftable gear. You need to jump through some hoops to make each individual set appear for you to create. Let’s look at what that means!
First things first: head to the forge. This is where you create weapons and armor in MHW. It’s also where most (though not all) layered armor appears for perusal. The sets are also split into Low Rank, High Rank, and now Master Rank. It defaults to Master Rank if you’ve reached that level of content, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find, assuming you’ve started the Iceborne campaign.
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If you really have just started Iceborne, however, your options will be extremely limited. Some equipment — like the Innerwear layered armor and Goldspring Macaque — is tied to event quests. That means you need to play special missions during specific windows to get unique items with which to craft them. This is how Monster Hunter has long operated. It’s mostly the “normal” gear (the stuff you craft for gameplay purposes) that got added recently. And that won’t appear at all if you haven’t put a ton of time into the game.
The reason being that most Master Rank layered armor is tied to the Guiding Lands. This is a unique zone in MHW that only unlocks after you complete the Iceborne campaign. It’s a special endgame area different from the rest of Monster Hunter history — with every biome all in one place, allowing you to hunt almost indefinitely, without having to load into new areas. But you probably already knew that. Odds are, if you’re reading this, you’re already familiar with the Guiding Lands to some degree. That still isn’t enough to get you all the Master Rank layered armor, however.
That’s because these cosmetic sets are actually tied to the tempered creatures of the Guiding Lands. These stronger versions of beasts sport increased health, damage, and resistance to certain items. They’re tough! They also drop special crafting material exclusive to their tempered selves in the Guiding Lands.
For example, if you want to craft the Master Rank Teostra layered armor, you must fight a tempered Teostra in the Guiding Lands. “Normal” tempered versions in Investigations and other quests won’t count. Though the Guiding Lands offer some extra options for farming materials.
Monsters drop extra materials in the Guiding Lands. You can knock “shinies” off of them to pick up off the ground in a number of ways. That includes breaking monster parts and wall banging them with the Clutch Claw and Slinger ammo. Equipping one point in the Geology skill will also give you double shiny drops — vastly improved your chances of getting what you want and your haul at the end of each investigation. One good tip is to always wall bang a monster that tries to sleep when it gets close to death, as sleeping gives you a free chance to do so, even if the beast was previously enraged. You can always capture it afterwards if you want.
Once you have one tempered item from a monster in the Guiding Lands, that creature’s layered armor sets will appear at the forge. That’s… pretty much it! You’ll need many other items to actually craft the gear, of course, but the tempered bits are the most difficult. They also seem to be the “key” to making the layered armor appear in your available options. Without them, the gear won’t appear.
There is of course the process of finding the tempered monsters themselves. This takes some work. You need to play inside the Guiding Lands, ranking up discrete areas by hunting monsters there, until you reach a high enough level for tempered variants to appear. This is easy to track! Just open your Hunter’s Notes from the main menu. Near the bottom of the screen, you’ll see a section labeled Guiding Lands. Access this to check each zone, what level you’ve reached with it, and whether or not tempered monsters (surrounded in a purple glow) will appear. If you’ve reached the correct level, you can use bait at a Guiding Lands camp to summon guaranteed tempered monsters in that region.
Yes, it’s a lot of work. But that’s cosmetics for you! Unlocking all the best fashion is the true endgame for many players. The reward is often worth it. MHW has incredible fashion at times. And being able to mix and match designs without affecting your stats is a godsend. It’s mostly free, too, as almost no layered armor is tied to DLC or microtransactions (outside of Iceborne itself of course).
Good luck and happy hunting!