Have you suffered one too many dive bombs from a Nergigante? Received the full brunt of a Rajang’s onslaught? Or sent flying by a Deviljho? If any of this sounds familiar to you, then congratulations, you’re in good company.
Monster Hunter has been a long time favourite in the JRPG genre, where players get to band together, defeat powerful beasts, and harvest their carcasses to make better equipment. And it is no walk in the park even for a group of seasoned veterans, as monsters scale in difficulty to the number of players in a group. Each monster has its own unique physiology with distinct strengths and weaknesses. Players will need a decent level of strategy on top of skill lest they get sent back to camp over and over again.
Here are some monsters who have made a notorious name for themselves over the years. For objectivity, we will only be looking at the base forms you find these monsters in, and not their variants or subspecies, which can vary between titles. And do note that as everyone approaches each of these fights differently, what we consider to be toughest may not be the case for you.
A Piscine Wyvern that thrives in molten lava, fighting a Lavasioth requires tremendous concentration and perseverance due to the tough coat of hardened magma he coats himself with.
Go for the underbelly as soon as he surfaces, and having a Water-type of weapon should benefit you greatly in this fight.
Queen of the Land, and Rathalos’ female counterpart. Rathian will happily greet a player with fireballs and poison.
Fire-resistant gear works well, and you can cut off her poison attacks by well, literally chopping off her tail.
The fire-breathing King of the Skies, Rathalos is a Flying Wyvern that often stays out of a player’s reach while simultaneously dishing out punishing attacks.
For most of the fight, you should be trying to ground Rathalos as soon as you can. Once grounded, focus your attacks on his head and underbelly. You can also chop off his tail. Keeping several Antidotes in stock will help you if you ever get poisoned.
As far as special abilities go, Chameleons has it all. This Elder Dragon can poison, turn invisible, and even steal items from players.
To seal his camouflage effect, players will need to cut off his tail, and break his horn. The caveat is his horn can only be broken with Dragon-type damage, whereas his tail can only be cut off when he is at 30% health or less.
Although he’s classified as a Flying Wyvern, the Tigrex is most often seen on the ground, where he will relentlessly attack players until either one is dead. His moves are powerful and have decent range, but his charge can throw players off if they let down their guard too soon.
Avoid his charges by dodging to the side and create some space in between. If he turns around and charges again, you will then have enough room to avoid it. As aggressive as he is, the Tigrex has a pretty easy tell and an overly heavy bias for charging you down that you can exploit.
If you strike My Little Pony with lightning, you get an Elder Dragon known as a Kirin. Due to his agility and small hitbox, he’s fairly hard to take down, especially for melee players. It doesn’t help that his one weak point is the horn on his head either.
Use lighter weapons if you have to go melee. It’ll help in getting hits in, but also making sure you have room to dodge. Even though his windups are short, they’re pretty easy to read. Also, bring Thunder-resistant gear.
Deviljho is a chronic party crasher that loves swooping in while you’re engaged with a different monster(s), and an extremely hostile Brute Wyvern that attacks with little warning. While his moves are well-telegraphed, they have a wide reach, making it hard to dodge when using close-combat weapons. In addition, he has an insane health pool.
To bring Deviljho down for good, aim for his head, belly and tail, all of which are breakable with enough damage. Consider using medium-range weapons like bows or heavy blowguns. The insect glaive is also a good option for leaping up and dealing damage to the parts of his body which are usually out of reach for melee weapons and gives you extra mobility. He is fairly susceptible to all ailments, thus allowing for a wide array of strategies that involve some use of status effects.
If you never thought herbivores could be so hostile, think again. Not only is this Horned Wyvern aggressive, he is also capable of burrowing underground and launching ambushes from different angles.
Diablos can be forced above ground and staggered with enough noise, so make sure to stock up on items such as screamer pods for an easier time. His horns, wings and chest are all breakable weak points, so use that to your advantage. He is also weakest against the Ice element.
Like Deviljho, Bazelgeuse loves dropping in unannounced when you’re engaged in battle. And the guy makes a pretty explosive entrance at that. That said, this Flying Wyvern is not as difficult as he is annoying.
This goes without saying, but stay away from his explosive pods even if they’re dormant. Luring him into battle with other monsters will make both opponents weaker. His weak points are his head and tail, and the use of Thunder weapons should trivialize this battle.
Having the ferocity of an Odogaron and wielding lightning like a Kirin, the Zinogre is a Fanged Wyvern that’s both agile and aggressive. When he’s supercharged, it will add lightning to some of his attacks.
Preparing ways to mitigate Thunderblight will help you deal with Zinogre more effectively. In Iceborne, the Thunderproof Mantle works perfectly. His moves are relatively easy to read, so you should do fine as long as you stay cautious.
A T-rex with a giant sword for a tail, Glavenus’ attacks are far-reaching and deadly, especially when his tail is glowing. He is also a fairly aggressive Brute Wyvern.
While you might want to try focusing on his tail, do note that your damage only goes into the severe threshold when Glavenus’ tail is glowing. You can also do massive damage by triggering his throat to explode while it’s firecharged.
14. Vaal Hazak
The Effluvium surrounding this Elder Dragon not only nourishes him but also lowers your health significantly. To add insult to injury, you mainly encounter Vaal Hazak where there are plenty of acid pools to further drain your health.
Be careful of his beam attack, which is premeditated by Vaal Hazak ‘playing dead’. Nulberries will dispel the effects of Effluvial Buildup while equipping 3 Miasma gems will immunize you completely.
Aggressive, quick and deadly best describes Odogaron as an opponent. This Fanged Wyvern is hard to pin down and can make players bleed, effectively restricting their movements.
A cheap way to win would be to lure him into a fight with Great Girros for a better chance of paralyzing him. Lightweight weapons work well and he’s fairly weak against Ice and Thunder damage.
Never did we think you could attach a jetpack to a dragon and make it look cool. Then came Valtrex. This Elder Dragon is highly nimble, aggressive and has a ton of moves to deal with players at both close and long range.
While he has a pretty impressive moveset, it doesn’t take much getting used to figure out his tells. Valstrax also has several breakable parts, namely his head, front claws, back, chest, and wings. His tail can also be cut off.
The Brute Wyvern of Exploding Fists, Brachydios loves punching the living lights out of players with his slime-coated fists and head. He also leaves slime prints on the ground that will deal damage when in contact and explode after a certain amount of time.
You can use Water-type weapons to wash off the slime on his hands until he decides to reapply them. Breaking his hands will cause the slime to be used up more quickly.
The monarch of flames, Teostra is an Elder Dragon that moves fast and strikes to kill. He spreads a black powder that can explode when ignited and is capable of shrouding himself in the fire.
Teostra is especially weak against Water damage, so use that to your advantage. Most of his attacks are well-telegraphed, but you can also avoid them by staying under him.
As quick as he is deadly, Barioth is a Flying Wyvern that loves jumping around and hits insanely fast. When angered, he becomes a literal speed demon, giving players little room to even breathe, let alone try and kill him.
Breaking the spikes on his wings will kill some of his mobility. Bring Fire type weapons for the best elemental advantage against him.
Teostra’s more testy, female counterpart, Lunastra has all of Teostra’s moves, but tacks on top of them her own signature blue flames of death. Her Supernova also has huge range and damage, and has very little windup, and often kills if met unprepared.
Fire-resistant gear will help you outlive Lunastra, if only by a little bit. Like Teostra, she’s weak against Dragon or Ice(MHW) damage.
Don’t let her beautiful appearance deceive you. Namielle is a powerful Elder Dragon with the fastest one-hit KO special in the game. A lot of her moves will create puddles that enhance Namielle’s attacks, and you could get Waterblight if you get hit by them. She’s also proficient with lightning attacks, which are augmented by her puddles, and inflicts Thunderblight.
Namielle is weak against Fire and Blast type weapons, and using Brightmoss will help drain some of the puddles in the area. If you see her charging up for her Supernova, head for the hills immediately.
As part of a collaboration event with FFXIV, Behemoth was added into Monster Hunter World as an Elder Dragon. This fight does carry some MMO elements to it, and a proper understanding of them will make it easier to win. Behemoth’s two deadliest moves are Charybdis — which displaces players — and Ecliptic Meteor — which insta-kills.
Unlike other hunts, Behemoth has an aggro element to him. This means that he effectively targets the player who’s dealing the most damage, much like a raid boss in MMOs. If you’re in a team, managing aggro will allow for the whole team to sustainably whittle down Behemoth’s health while keeping him occupied. As such, a tank is almost vital to this fight. Another tip for dealing with Charybdis is to chuck a Flash Pod as soon as you see the prompt. This will reduce the number of tornadoes and make the fight easier to deal with.
The Rajang is a Fanged Beast with anger management issues that goes absolutely bonkers when it turns ‘Super Saiyan’. Due to his high mobility and aggressive moveset, it takes a certain amount of skill to take this guy down.
Lightning-resistant gear will help mitigate some of the elemental damage he does. You may also want to familiarize yourself with high mobility weapons like dual blades for better stamina management and dodging. For maximum damage, take the fight to him straight up as his weak point is his head. Using weapons with blast damage will help make the fight go smoother as well.
4. Gore Magala
The flagship monster for Monster Hunter 4, Gore Magala is a very unique wyvern in the sense that while he bears similarities to an Elder Dragon, he isn’t technically considered one, unlike his adult form Shagaru Magala. What makes him so tough is that on top of being a highly aggressive creature, he is able to inflict the Frenzy Virus on you, nullifying health recovery and lowering your defences.
Gore Magala’s moves are well-telegraphed, albeit have a short recovery time. Adopting a hit-and-run approach can work well if your weapon allows for it. You want to deal consistent damage to Gore Magala while avoiding some of his more destructive attacks in order to mitigate the effects of the Frenzy Virus.
The ultimate endgame Elder Dragon that players will face in Iceborne, and interestingly enough, is also the final online boss for the first Monster Hunter game. Fatalis is a fire-breathing monstrosity that has almost nothing but one-hit kill moves in his arsenal. Again, we’ll be looking at the Iceborne version.
Navigating this fight will require you to know Fatalis’ attack patterns and the arena like the back of your hand. Fatalis’ fire breath will likely insta-kill if you’re not prepared, and he uses some of them at close-range, so melee fighters will need to think on their feet whenever they’re on the offensive.
Siege weapons play a massive role here but do be warned that Fatalis has a higher chance of targeting whoever’s operating the siege weapon. The first two Novas can be avoided by taking shelter, and you can circle your way around and out of the remaining three Novas due to their cone-shaped trajectory. Breaking Fatalis’ head will weaken the damage of his attacks, and you can do this twice. Aside from that, every second Dragon Pod shot at him will cause him to inadvertently flinch.
Master of all the elements, this Elder Dragon is quite possibly the one fight where strategy is absolutely vital. For this entry, we’ll be looking at Iceborne’s version of Alatreon as it is most recent.
Alatreon’s Eschaton Judgement has an elemental DPS check, and if you didn't fulfil the requirement beforehand, it can one-shot you. Additionally, if his horns are not broken during Dragon Active phase, he will switch to the opposing elemental form, further increasing the difficulty of this fight.
Find out the name of the quest Alatreon is under to know his starting element. Use Ice weapons if he begins in Fire Active and vice versa. Once he’s in the Dragon Active phase, his horns can be broken. This is crucial as he will switch to the opposing element if they’re not broken in time. Subsequently, this will make it harder for you to do enough elemental DPS to mitigate the damage from his Eschaton Judgement. One tip is to clutch claw his head and try to ram him into a wall. Lastly, a well-timed Astera Jerky should help keep you alive when taking the Eschaton Judgement.
A cross between a porcupine and a bat, the Nergigante serves as the poster boy for the base game of Monster Hunter World. And rightfully so. This Elder Dragon that you meet in the middle of the main story is likely to be the first tough opponent you meet. His constantly hardening spikes are a ticking time bomb that eventually deflects all your attacks, and he will ultimately greet you with his signature dive bomb that more often than not will one-shot you if you get hit. On top of that, he is highly agile and gains increased range and damage with the help of his spikes.
To effectively deal with Nergigante, you will need to do constant damage to his spikes, breaking them repeatedly so that they don’t get to harden. Aim to break his horns and tail to reduce the damage on some of his attacks. As he is mildly susceptible to every ailment, effective use of paralysis or sleep weapons can buy you the frames (yes, frames) you need to heal or buff.