So in a core game the last tier of gear in my eyes would be the lantern set and the phoenix set. Whilst I don't think the lantern set or phoenix set have any major issues (lantern could stand to be a little better) I do think that most of the lantern weapons are useless. They have decent looking stats but that's where they trick you. Early iron is a really bad downside. Even though it might not sound too bad at first you begin to realise rolling a 1 is more likely than you'd perhaps think. It's weird because to me this makes them almost unusable... I feel like it is perhaps a design artifact of what was going to be expanded on in the lantern festival expansion. What do you think about the early iron weapons?
The Lantern Glaive is really good (it's an Axe and a Spear).
All Early Iron items get better when in the hands of a Red Savior or if you wear a Rainbow Wing Belt (from the Dung Beetle Knight).
I thought dragon slayer just had frail and not early iron too. I'm sure rainbow wing belt helps but I don't own DBK sadly. I do think it's clever how expansion gear seems to be designed with synergies in mind.
The Lantern Sword has saved my ass on more than one occasion and it has a 3 speed. It sucks when you roll a 1 but I get more wounds out of it than most other swords. However, I've not delved into the expansions yet though.
Yes, early iron can be a downside. However, if you want to hunt higher level monsters, often you want to guarantee damage whenever you hit, and that makes sharpness shines. The Lantern Sword is probably one of the best and easy to get sword you can get in game.