Throughout the 20 years of Monster Hunter, there has been a group of monsters that get special attention in the series.
These are the flagships, monsters that have special significance to the games they first appear in, either introducing gameplay challenges or having story moments. Here is the ranking for the best flagship monsters.
The flagship monster of Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, Valstrax is an elder dragon that uses their unique dragon energy to fly like a rocket with specially designed wings.
When the Wycademy set out the Soaratorium on her maiden voyage, reports of Valstrax across the world placed the Wycademy on the case to investigate the creature. Valstrax is a versatile creature whose wings can shift forms between movement and attack, from launching dragon-based projectiles to using its long sharp wings like spears to swipe from a long distance.
The ferocious lord of lightning. Zinogre is the flagship monster of the Japan-exclusive Monster Hunter Portable 3rd and was the first and only member of the fanged wyvern class before the fifth generation. Zinogre is a strongly built wolf-like monster whose symbiotic relationship with thunder bugs gives it the thunder-based attacks it is known for.
They even use the thunder bugs around them to charge up into a much more powered-up state that makes them faster and stronger the cost of softening their hide. Zinogre were driven from their original territory by the massive elder dragon Amatsu, bringing them in proximity to Yukumo and spreading their population across the world.
A sleek wyvern with sharp, cutting scales across its body, Seregios is the flagship of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. Seregios also introduced the bleed status effect in which players are perpetually losing portions of health but recover a set amount when they crouch or eat sushifish.
Seregios are agile in the air and can match Rathalos in aerial superiority, using their unique talons to cover long distances and weird angles. Seregios were a menace during the events of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate when the caravan was looking for materials for the defense of Dundorma during an elder dragon attack. They were driven from their home by one of their own kind afflicted with the frenzy virus, revealing the apex state that’ll be present in the tougher G-rank quests in the game.
The flagship of Monster Hunter Tri, Lagiacrus is also one of the most recognizable leviathan monsters of the series. Lagiacrus is one of the big difficulty spikes of the low-rank village quest and really tests hunters’ abilities to hunt underwater.
Lagiacrus was thought to be responsible for the earthquakes that plagued Moga Village and it was the hunter’s mission to build up strength and skill to defeat it. Lagiacrus is a large predator with electrical organs on its back that strengthen its attacks as well as generate powerful bursts of electricity. Along with large sweeping motions and an imposing figure, Lagiacrus is essentially fighting a larger and tougher Royal Ludroth with move sets and timing being similar.
6. Kushala Daora
The flagship of Monster Hunter Dos, the only Japanese exclusive game from the second generation. Kushala Daora is the series’ first elder dragon flagship and is the first one to include elder dragon mechanics in hunts. These mechanics include how elder dragons can’t be captured, only slain affect the environment of the locale.
For Kushala, his control of wind causes storms in the jungle and blizzards in the Tundra. Kushala’s effect on the locale around him also prevents certain items from being usable in the older games, making battles with the elder dragon a true test of skill. Kushala Daora is also one of the few monsters where wielding status effect weapons is advisable in making the fights somewhat easier. Poison is effective at both draining its health and weakening its powerful windshield that would keep the hunter from getting close enough with weapons. In their debut game, the Kushala Daora was an ancient threat to the people of Jumbo Village and defeating one is the main trial in the village quests.
Brachydios is the flagship of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate and is a fearsome long-armed brute wyvern that packs a destructive punch. Brachydios is the first monster to use the blast status effect, in its debut game it was known only as the slime. The slime on Brachydios’s arm braces and head crest are green molds that stick on any surface the monster touches. Once detached from the creature, they turn yellow before going orange and finally exploding.
When enraged, the slime becomes primed so that any contact will trigger an explosion and cause double damage. Brachydios is unique compared to the other brute wyverns, strafing left and right in battle very akin to a boxer in combat, they’re much more agile compared to the rest of their kin and rival the Glavenus in terms of speed and agility.
Nergigante is the flagship of Monster Hunter World and the primary monster that is present throughout the story of the game. Even a stronger variant of the creature plays a big part in the Iceborne expansion. Nergigante are ferocious elder dragons that hunt and eat other elders in the New World.
Nergigante is sheer brute force with the ability to regenerate the spike on its body and when they turn black the monster becomes harder to damage until it finally lets out a bellowing roar and delivers a save dive bomb that breaks all the spikes and tears through health. Nergigante is the first elder challenge for many players starting their run of the series with this entry and is one of the most thrilling elder battles and rewarding once the flow of combat is learned.
The flagship of the first Monster Hunter and the expansions of it. Rathalos is also the face of the entire franchise. Wherever there’s something new going on in Monster Hunter, Rathalos will be there to represent the series. From the many crossover collaborations like Super Smash Brothers, Arknights and Final Fantasy XIV, Rathalos will be the main crossover element of Monster Hunter.
Rathalos are a part of every game installment since the first and has been the basis in which the series has evolved, from the simplicity of Monster Hunter to the near-realistic appearance and behaviors shown in Monster Hunter World. Rathalos also shows how far the series has come from its humble concepts and is always a fun and engaging monster to face, often being the proving ground for novice hunters in the later installments.
The latest flagship monster mainly featured in Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak, Malzeno is an elder dragon with the motif of vampires like Count Dracula and is one of the three lords that live in the CItadel. Malzeno is a formidable monster with the ability to inflict bloodblight with the qurios that fly around them. Along with several swift attacks from the wings and tail, Malzeno is a fearsome challenge for hunters in Elgado.
The elder dragon’s relationship with the knights of the Kingdom along with its history with the blood-sucking Qurio and the Citadel it inhabits plays a big part of the Sunbreak story. Once Malzeno is slain, the Qurio become the main focus and threat after returning to their original host and causing monsters to become afflicted by them.
1. Gore Magala
Gore Magala is the flagship monster of Monster Hunter 4 and of all the major monsters of the series it was the most involved with the story of the game compared to the other flagships. Fighting the monster has two different stages, the first is when it’s just flying around, spreading frenzy clouds and swiping away at the hunter.
The Second stage reveals Gore Magala’s frenzy mode, releasing so much frenzy that it shrouds the immediate are and its massive forewings become a part of its new moveset along with more potent frenzy attacks. Gore Magala is the source of the Frenzy virus, a disease that plagues the different environments featured in Monster Hunter 4. Monsters affected enter a zombie like state where they rampage and kill anything in sight until they expire. Monsters that survive the frenzy state become apex monsters, which become so impossibly difficult to fight that hunters would need to apply wystones to battle them.
Gore Magala spreading its scales as frenzy-ridden powder caused many of the conflicts and disasters in the story of Monster Hunter 4 and one individual is a recurring boss for the player to fight until its “defeat” after which it molts into its adult form, an elder dragon known as Shagaru Magala. Gore Magala is one of the few monsters that is a consistent part of the overall plot of their introductory game from start to finish.
It never reached the same level of danger as it did in the Monster Hunter 4, but as the flagship of the game Gore Magala remained relevant to the game’s story and mechanics, inspiring the future games of installments to include similar ideas and premises.
- This article was updated on November 27th, 2023