Hello hunters! I figured that, since I like to make note of which lessons to take away from specific monsters, I should write up the lessons that each of these monsters teach for the benefit of current and future new hunters. If you have anything to add, please let me know and I'll try to include it. This might get a little long, but I hope it can be used as a resource for those potentially struggling with the mechanics of one monster or another. I will be listing them in order of encounter through the course of the plot and excluding those monsters that are not actually tied to the plot since those are more practice than they are tests or lessons. I will not be covering high rank monsters in this post unless you all would like me to. They will also all be marked with spoiler text, just in case you don't want to know what you're getting into ahead of time.
Great Jagras: This is a monster! No, really. Jagras has no lessons to teach aside from the most basic of hunting mechanics. He has a very predictable schedule that involves coming out of his den, devouring an aptonoth, going back to his den, feeding the tiny jagras, and then taking a snooze. Teaches that monsters low on life will try to run home and rest.
Kulu-Ya-Ku: This is what bouncing feels like. Ah, the jerkbird himself. Kulu is a quick monster without too many tricks or frills. Sure, he jumps around a bit and is more mobile than Great Jagras, but so is everything else in the game. Kulu is here to teach you that, sometimes, monsters have armor that will cause your weapon to bounce and you need to go looking for a squishy spot to hit rather than going head on. Another angle or another target entirely.
Pukei-Pukei: Poison dart frog bird monstrosity! Pukei is the first encounter with a monster that can do more than lay the smackdown on you. This is a monster that can cause status effects! Primarily poison by Pukei himself, but when he eats some scatternuts his spit will cause stun as well. Coincidentally, Pukei is the first monster in the game you can lop the tail off of, which is neat! The lesson here is that some monsters can cause lingering status effects and you want to come prepared to deal with those.
Barroth: Our first Brute Wyvern of the game. Barroth teaches easy tells for what a monster is about to do, and to look out for these tells and get out of the way of significant damage. He's also one of the monsters with a lot of parts to break off, thanks to the mud he's coated with. Fun fact: Barroth is the only monster I know of that drops two carve pieces. You can clip his tail, but you can also smash his head ridge enough with a blunt weapon to break a chunk off. Both of these can be carved for additional resources. Barroth can also cause a status effect called waterblight when you come into contact with his mud. This will cause your stamina to refill a lot slower than normal.
Juryatodas: Mud fish. He's here to teach you a lesson in changing elemental weaknesses. When he's muddy, he's much more weak to one element and, when the mud is peeled off, weak to another. Possibly also the first instance of seeing a turf war in the game, since he will most likely run into a Barroth and they'll have it out before you finish your first fight with him. Mudfish also causes waterblight, just like Barroth.
Tobi-Kadachi: Glorious flying squirrel snake with way too much static electricity. Toby is the first monster to really use a purely elemental attack and with this comes a more distressing kind of status effect. Thunderblight doesn't have an effect on your hunter aside from making any new lightning attack you get hit by hurt a whole lot more. Blights can be removed using a nullberry. Tobi is a fast and agile monster, forcing the hunter to track and react to attacks coming from all angles. Fun fact about Tobi, you can interrupt him when he's on a wall and charging up his static. If you smack him enough, he'll fall off and be stunned for an unhealthy dose of smashing. Now is the time to start picking up elemental weapons if you haven't already.
Anjanath: Welcome friends, to the first test. Anjanath has a couple tricks you haven't seen a monster pull before, but only one new mechanic. Fireblight will catch your hunter on fire, plain and simple. Roll three times or once through water to get rid of the status. Like Barroth, Anjanath is a brute that will hurt a lot if he hits, but most of his attacks have fairly noticeable tells. Like Tobi, Anjanath has some major elemental weaknesses. His being water. Taking down a couple Juryatodas and making water weapons will help. A hard enough bop on the nose when Anjanath has his ridges up can cause him to fall over like Tobi before and allow you to lay down some damage. Additionally, Anjanath is the first time environmental weapons are introduced to the Hunter. Things like the hanging boulder in the introductory cutscene can be found all over the world and, with proper timing, can be used to knock a monster down for a needed reprieve or to put some more damage down.
Zorah Magdaros: Weeeeeeeeeeee. Welcome to your first setpiece hunt of the game. Zorah isn't fought directly, but instead has you climbing all over his body to break specific points and, later on, firing cannons at him until he gets bored and wanders off. This fight teaches the use of cannons, ballistae, and other such setpiece weapons.
Tsitsi-Ya-Ku: Building off of Kulu, but also very different. It moves like the jerkbird for the most part, but has an ability all its own. Some of us call him the Photograptor. His special ability is to flash like a flash pod. This will stun your hunter and leave you open to attack if caught in the radius of the light, whether you're facing him or not. He can also knock flying monsters out of the air with this, so he's cool with me. Just remember the effect his ability has on flying monsters. It's gonna be very important.
Paolumu: Welcome to our first flying wyvern! At least, the first one that uses their flight as part of their attack pattern. Pukei all the way back there was technically the first flying wyvern, but he almost doesn't count. Paolumu splits his time either on the ground or in the air. Remember what we learned from Tsitsi? Bring flash pods with you on the hunt to bring him to ground if you're having some trouble taking him out.
Radobaan: Here we have a brute of a different kind. In keeping with how the brutes typically do, Radobaan has a fairly predictable moveset with big lead in motions to most of his attacks. What may catch you off guard with this guy though, is how heavily armored he is, and how mobile he is. Radobaan likes to roll. If you're playing a weapon that has a kind of counter mechanic, you can actually use this to your advantage. A good bop to Radobaan while he's rolling can put him off balance and knock him over for a while. Additionally, clipping his tail seems to give him a static chance to go off balance without interference. When Radobaan is down, you have an opportunity to mine his body for bone materials. Much like Barroth or Juryatodas, Radobaan will eventually find a place where he can roll around a bit and regain his bone armor, so don't count on him always being stripped down for the duration of the fight. Keep the pressure on and he'll roll over.
Legiana: Paolumu might have been our first flying wyvern, but he was the lesson. Legiana is the first test for flying enemies. This blue beauty is very fast and very strong, able to dish out melee and ranged elemental attacks. Touching any ice left over on the ground will give your hunter Iceblight, draining your stamina at double the rate and making it even harder to avoid Legiana's acrobatics. Just like any other blight, a nullberry will end the effect immediately. Keep your cool though, because it will eventually land and give you an opportunity to deal with it on your terms. More than any other monster so far, Legiana is a good place to talk about slide attacks. While running down a hill, your hunter will begin to slide. Attacking while in this slide animation will unleash a powerful attack that has a lot of potential to mount the monster, allowing you to bring it down and stun it for a round of damage.
Odogaron: Aggression is the name of the game with this beast. Odogaron is a lesson in relentless monsters and how to deal with them. Sometimes, the best way to deal with a monster that wants to stick to you and is constantly on the attack is to respond in kind. Odogaron moves like Tobi, jumping off of walls and trying to catch you at odd angles. It also comes with a special status effect called bleed which does about what you think it would. While moving around and attacking under the bleed condition, your hunter will lose HP. Crouching in place will heal you up, crouching and moving will do the same at a slower rate. If you really want to keep the pressure on though, bring Astera jerky. Use of that item will cut the effect immediately. To make up for the relentless aggression, Odogaron has a lot of places that can be broken, allowing you to knock him over and deal some decent chunks of damage. Stay on him, watch out for the pointy front end, and you'll be just fine.
Rathalos: Test number one for entry into High Rank content. Rathalos will put everything you've learned about elemental weaknesses, part breaking, and flying monsters to the test. He comes with poison talons and a fire breath, so plan accordingly. Clipping his tail will make his spin attacks much less deadly and damaging his wings will make it harder for him to get back into the air. When Rathalos decides it's time to cut and run, he'll go to his nest high up in the forest. Make sure to bring some bombs when he does this. By blowing up the back wall of his nest, you'll unlesh a waterfall that will drop him all the way to the bottom of the forest, dealing insane damage and giving you a very long stun window to try and finish him off. As with all flying monsters, flash pods are your friends.
Diablos: Test number two for entry into High Rank content. Diablos is your test for everything brute wyvern, even though it is technically a flying wyvern. Diablos takes cues from Barroth with the charge, though it doesn't announce the charge as clearly. Tail swipes, hip checks, and horn rends make standing near diablos without a dodge or counter mechanic firmly in mind rather difficult. Breaking the horns makes the charge hurt much, much less, and the tail can be clipped to do the same about the tail swipes. By far the most dangerous thing Diablos can do though, is burrow. It'll go underground and chase you down with impressive speed. In order to dodge this, run to the side of its path, not away, and you'll be fine. If you really want to mess with a Diablos though, bring screamer pods. When it goes underground, fire off a screamer and watch it pop right back up.
And that's all of the low rank lessons. If you all want me to continue this for high rank monsters and/or monsters I didn't cover here then let me know. I was trying to stick to the plot monsters exclusively because I feel they teach the lessons the game wants players to learn the best, but if people want a breakdown of every monster I suppose I can do that as well.
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