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Elder dragons: ancient monsters that are so rare and powerful, that by simply existing they can affect the environment around them; in other words, they’re literal forces of nature. Some can summon intense electrical storms, while others are living mountains. The reason this list is so long is that it’s the elder dragons, it was impossible for me to narrow it down to only five or ten (also there is no particular order of favoritism). While I haven’t hunted all of them enough to create a full set of equipment, each one has left a strong enough impression to be put on this list. So grab your farcasters and ancient potions, it’s time to take a look at fifteen of my favorite elder dragons.
As one of the smallest elder dragons, Kirin is one unicorn that hunters have learned to not take lightly. While it might not look like much, the Kirin has been able to take out a full hunting party with little to no effort. How does it take out full parties? Well, it likes to hop and prance about while summoning bolts of lightning. It also likes to kick and charge with its horn. Although I don’t enjoy fighting the Kirin, I still find its overall design enjoyable to observe. Along with the resemblance of a unicorn, the Kirin’s body is covered with scales (as opposed to hair) and has a majestic mane of white fur on its head and neck, not to mention that the fur is also on the end of its tail and near the hooves. A simple, yet effective and memorable design, which always brings about different emotions whenever anyone sees it in the area.
The lion king of explosions and fire. While there are mixed feelings among the hunters about hunting the Teostra, I personally find a good challenge in the hunt. With the way he spreads explosive powders from his fur into the wind like pollen, only to detonate it into an explosion with his teeth, it never stops making the hunt exciting. Also, as a super special attack, Teostra can create a supernova-like explosion that covers a large area. This attack has claimed a number of hunters, even veterans can get unlucky and take a massive hit. Along with the explosive fur powder, Teostra is also able to breathe fire, which also brings plenty of pain to hunters. Even if you are able to dodge these attacks, the Teostra still has plenty of claws, teeth, and a tail to deal damage with. While the other members of the list all have fantastic designs, Teostra’s is one that always has a way to stand out. Like the Kirin and Kushala Daora, Teostra always finds a way to return.
The sapphire-colored queen of flames who will fight alongside the king, which makes the hunt interesting, and more challenging, when they’re together. While she used to have the same explosive abilities that Teostra has, Lunastra went through some changes when she moved to Monster Hunter: World. Now, a blue powder is spread about and creates blue flames that can sap away at a hunter’s health (if they don’t have equipment that protects them from it). She has similar regular attack patterns to Teostra (i.e. claw and tail swipes) Also, as a super move, Lunastra can fire a heat wave that drains a hunter’s health at a more dramatic rate. That’s not all that hunters have to worry about, oh no. Not only is there a health-draining heat wave, but the heat creates a large area of blue flames that are difficult to avoid. If that wasn’t bad enough, wind pressure is created from all this to keep unlucky hunters trapped inside. Oh yeah, remember when I mentioned that Lunastra and Teostra can fight together? Due to their bond, they can bring out a one of a kind move called a “special bond attack,” which is a combination of Teo’s supernova and Luna’s heatwave. While it doesn’t happen too often (unless you let the hunt drag on), it’s quite the terrifying experience. Other than that, it’s fun to watch the queen in action every once in a while.
12: Kushala Daora
Kushala Doara is another elder dragon that I rarely hunt but still love nonetheless. Kushala’s design, while not super flashy, is still memorable and breath-taking. It’s a dragon with shiny metal skin that can control the wind (as in create crazy tornados) . Sure, its wind attacks can be a pain to deal with, but that can be fixed with poison weapons. But yeah, there’s not much that I have to say about Kushala. It’s cool looking and the equipment that you can forge from it are pretty cool as well, they give off a Greek or Roman mythology kind of vibe in its design.
The Nakarkos is a massive cuttlefish-like monster that hangs around with bones and uses said bones as lures. This elder dragon was one of the final hunts in the main story for Monster Hunter Generations and it shows. This thing can destroy entire ecosystems just to satisfy its never-ending appetite, giving the Deviljho a run for its money. But yeah, I love the overall hunt and just the whole design of this thing. It’s challenging, it’s weird, and it’s just an awesome and epic fight. You start off just fighting the lures, which are covered in the bones of specific monsters (that it has devoured) and uses the abilities of said monsters to fight back. Do enough damage and hunters facing this monster for the first time are faced with a crazy plot-twist. What they’ve been fighting this whole time isn’t even the monster’s real face. While the hunters were spending most of their energy dealing with the lures, Nakaros’s real face had been biding its time to strike when the timing was perfect. Once it turns around, the fight becomes 100% more epic and adds an extra challenge, given the numerous ways it can deal status ailments (almost all of them) hunters (which the bone lures are responsible for). Even for veterans that have taken all of this knowledge to heart, this elder dragon can still provide a challenging hunt. As for the equipment that can be crafted, it has a macabre tone to it that also makes it eerily beautiful. All-in-all, Nakarkos is definitely one of the most creative monsters CAPCOM has created, not just as an elder dragon but as an overall monster.
10: Vaal Hazak (both versions)
The elder dragon that would fit in perfectly in the world of a number of survival horror games (i.e. Resident Evil, Silent Hill, The Evil Within). Given the title “Corpse Coat Dragon,” Vaal Hazak is one of the elder dragons that reminds fans that CAPCOM is more than capable of creating creepy monsters (even though it’s impossible to forget that fact). When it’s not sleeping under a literal pile of corpses, Vaal Hazak enjoys taking lovely strolls through the Rotten Vale. While going on its stroll, it has a habit of constantly emitting a miasma that slowly saps away at the strength and health of all who come into contact with it. This miasma (soon given the name Effluvium) is one of the reasons this hunt can lead to challenges for hunters. Without the proper equipment to counter the Effluvium, the hunt becomes tedious with the numerous healing items being used. So not only do you have to be careful about being in close proximity and dodge its regular attacks, Val Hazak can fire this Effluvium from its mouth and even create a massive cloud. If this wasn’t crazy enough, Vaal Hazak’s more powerful version, the Blackveil Vaal Hazak adds more challenges to the hunt. Blackveil is where you take a regular Vaal Hazak and combine it with spores from The Last of Us (although it’s more moss than fungus). Thanks to the moss (I say with great sarcasm), the Effluvium has an easier time affecting enemies and prey (although it does make the elder dragon look awesome). While the weapons aren’t anything to write home about, the armor itself has a hauntingly beautiful macabre look to it (not to mention that it provides protection against that pesky Effluvium). But yeah, both versions of Vaal Hazak are nightmare fuel and I love it.
The queen of the sea that has one of the best and most breath-taking introduction cutscenes in the entire series. If you love sea-life in every shape and form, you’re going to love Namielle. I still remember when some of my friends told me about this elder dragon and were hyping me up for this encounter. Every once in a while, I look up this specific cutscene online, just to relive the moment. Namielle is the combination of numerous deep sea creatures, but her design is done so perfectly that everything flows perfectly. Along with the bioluminescence abilities of deep sea life, Namielle also has the characteristics of jellyfish (hence her occasional electricity attacks) and manta rays. Given her design, Namielle mainly attacks with water, which also affects her appearance (use too much water and she literally dries up), but will also add some electricity to spice things up. Namielle also has some of the most beautiful equipment in Monster Hunter World, with the way it glows and really brings out the ocean’s beauty. This hunt will always be one of my favorites and I’m always up for facing Namielle whenever someone wants to hunt this absolute treasure of an elder dragon.
This elder dragon has two main goals that it lives by: destroy everything in its path and eat other elder dragons, hence its title “the Extinction Dragon.” As the flagship monster for Monster Hunter World, Nergigante shows up in numerous parts of the main story to give the hunters plenty of trouble when they’re already dealing with another elder dragon. Unlike other elder dragons, that have status ailment abilities, Nergigante solely relies on brute force to overwhelm hunters and its prey. With its body covered in tough, regenerative spikes and its massive horns (don’t even get me started on its claws and fangs), this elder dragon can give even the most skilled of veteran hunters a run for their zenny. Nergigante is an elder that made me go “never again” after hunting it in a mandatory story quest, then proceeded to cry when I learned that I had to hunt it at least two more times later on. However, despite my desire to never face this terror again, I still love its design. While the weapons only look breath-takingly awesome in their final upgrade form, the armor has a barbarian look to it (which really fits Nergigante’s behavior). Hopefully Nergigante won’t find its way to Monster Hunter Rise, I don’t think I’ll be able to handle that if it happens.
Chameleos is one elder dragon that more than deserves to make a comeback to the series. If the name itself isn’t a big enough clue, Chameleos’s design is largely based on the chameleon. A weird, giant chameleon. The eyes, the feet, the tail…heck, even the way it occasionally walks is inspired by the very reptile. Given its unpredictable behavior, hunters are constantly kept on their toes with its various abilities that can change the flow of the hunt. It can breathe out a fog (which can also be a poison cloud) that can help it camouflage with its surroundings and suddenly attack hunters (usually from behind). If that wasn’t tough enough, Chameleos can also use its tongue to steal items from hunters, so keep a sharp eye on your item pouch or you’ll find yourself missing an essential healing item. But yeah, this elder dragon moves and acts weird and I love it. Some of the equipment are given a unique design that works really well with the monster itself. The armor set reminds me of a djinn (or genie), which makes the designs of the hammer, hunting horn, and bow gun even more brilliant (genie’s lamp design). Given how long it’s been since we’ve seen Chameleos, I would love to see and hunt this brilliant elder dragon again in Rise.
6: Shagaru Magala
Remember when I talked about the Gore Magala in the previous Monster Hunter article? Shagaru Magala is what it becomes after it’s fully grown and has shed its skin enough times. This frenzy virus elder dragon of a brilliant gold color is more brutal and vicious than its immature stage, which makes the final in-store confrontation all the more memorable. Throughout the story of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, every encounter with Gore Magala has been building up for this big moment. The hunters know that it’s just at its immature stage, that it’s going to get bigger and more dangerous and now we get to see what that stage is like and it’s glorious. Heck, with titles like “Heavenly Revolving Dragon” or “Heaven’s Wheel,” it’s almost ironic given how it affects the numerous ecosystems. At the same time, it’s all the more fitting given how it feels like you’re fighting a fallen angel. Even its equipment shouldn’t be as beautiful as it is, but it just works so well.
5: Shara Ishvalda
Shara Ishvalda is one of those endgame hunts that will forever remain in the memories of every hunter that faced it. With its numerous stages and the overall difficulty of the hunt is what makes it both memorable and gives it a spot on my list of favorites. Throughout the stories of both World and Iceborne, hunters have been investigating this mysterious “song” that can be heard throughout the various ecosystems. After numerous investigations, we finally find the source of the song; the source being Shara Ishvalda. At first, you’re fighting a winged being covered in stone that can create vibrations in the earth, which can knock hunters off their balance. Once they chip away enough at the stones, Shara’s true form is revealed. Underneath its earthy armor is a fleshy being of purple, white, and yellow, with fingered “wings” and two bulging yellow eyes. It honestly looks like something straight out of the Souls games. Which makes this elder dragon more unsettling, is the fact that the eyes are constantly staring at you. What I mean is that it’s staring at you, the person playing the game, not your character. So, while you’re trying to avoid getting hit by literal soundwaves, you’re also trying to ignore the fact that this elder dragon is constantly staring into your soul. While the hunt itself is one of the most difficult, completing the hunt is all the more rewarding, giving how breath-taking the equipment is (brings me back to Shagaru Magala’s equipment designs). Fun fact about Shara Ishvalda, it’s design focuses on the ideas of Hinduism (not to be mistaken with Buddhism, which is a different religion).
The flagship monster of Monster Hunter World: Iceborne is one that I couldn’t avoid talking about. Both beautiful and deadly, Velkhana is an elder dragon that I’ve grown to appreciate in both its design and hunt. This elder dragon probably has one of the most elegant themes in the series (in terms of elder dragon themes), which is perfect given how it acts and its overall design. While it already looks beautiful by itself, Velkhana becomes even more stunning when it covers itself in armor made of ice. I will admit, I didn’t enjoy hunting this elder dragon. Over time, however, I warmed up to it, despite its mastery of the ice elements. Hunting Velkhana reminds me of a pair skating performance, which is honestly the best way I can describe the overall experience. You’re literally dancing around each other, striking only when you see an opening, and it’s really beautiful. The equipment is all the more beautiful as it makes you look like the ruler of an ice kingdom. Honestly, everything about this elder dragon is breathtaking and it will forever hold a special place in my memories.
While I wanted to put the juvenile form Xeno’jiva on the list, Safi’jiva left a much more powerful impression on me. As the final, fully grownup form of Xeno’jiva, this red dragon (that will never stop reminding me of Smaug from The Hobbit) offers plenty of challenges to all hunters that make it this far in the story of Iceborne. Instead of a hunt, you’re performing a siege to weaken it enough that it can be hunted (which is not easy). It has tough scales, which have to be tenderized before hunters can deal any real damage, and powerful blue blasts of fire and pure energy that can take out a careless hunter in seconds. Along with these attacks, Safi can also absorb energy from the surrounding area to heal any and all damage done to it, before moving to the next stage (yes this hunt had multiple stages). Also, can we take a moment to talk about how breath-taking and terrifying its “sapphire star kiss” ultimate attack is? I know its official name is “Sapphire of the Emperor,” but “Sapphire Star Kiss” sounds just as epic and terrifying. So while you’re trying to avoid and survive everything else Safi’jiva is throwing you, you also have to worry about whenever this ultimate, insta-kill move is going to be fired. You heard me right, this ultimate move will instantly kill any unlucky hunter that doesn’t find cover behind the few indestructible stone pillars in the final stage. Another thing that I love is how epic the music is, which more than fits perfectly with the siege; let’s not forget that moment where there’s silence, minus the heartbeat that can only be heard when Safi sends down the Sapphire Star to bring in that moment of destruction. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything to say about the equipment. There are two sets of armor that can be crafted, but I never did that. Also, the weapons are more siege rewards, which can be “awakened” and I never got around to that step. So, I love Safi’jiva’s design, theme song, and the siege/hunt, I’m just not a fan of the equipment part.
CAPCOM!! Please bring back this beautiful elder dragon!! In case that wasn’t a big enough hint, I love Gogmazios. I love its design, its equipment, and even the overall hunt (which is beyond epic). This elder dragon has been in only one game (Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate) and we haven’t seen it since. Covered in indigo scales and tar, with a freaking draginator sticking out of its back, it is both breathtaking and terrifying. It also has this scowling face on its throat (which is kinda cute) that adds plenty of extra character to its design. During the hunt, everyone has to be alert and ready to move when things get hairy, or in this case, avoid getting stuck in puddles of tar and exploded by gunpowder-fueled fire attacks. This thing literally eats gunpowder for breakfast (and every other meal of the day), which adds more punches to its attacks. Heck, its ultimate attack is just Gogmazios firing a super concentrated beam that creates a massive explosion. It might not sound impressive, but when you see this happening in person, it’s a sight to behold. This is also why the only location you can hunt it is in the Battlequarters. As for the equipment, Gogmazios has one of my favorite designs. The weapons are a mixture of medieval torture devices and gothic macabre styles; even the armor is breath-taking. Again, CAPCOM, please bring back Gogmazios, more newcomers to the series need to experience this hunt at least once. Also, I really, really miss the iron maiden hunting horn.
1: Fatalis (all of them)
They had to be on this list, it would be a literal crime to not have all of the Fatalis on this list. These are the ultimate elder dragons, the ultimate challenge for hunters to face. When Fatalis was originally introduced, it was an online-only quest and for good reason. The big rule of the Fatalis: you don’t hunt any of them alone. I know that there are hunters that can take one on alone, but come on, it’s more epic and manageable when you have a full party. Whenever there is a new Monster Hunter game, Fatalis will always find its way back to give hunters one final challenge. While there are technically four different Fatalis, I’ve only had the honor of hunting three: Fatalis (aka Black Fatalis), Crimson Fatalis, and the infamous White Fatalis; each offer different levels of challenges. While Fatalis is your standard black-scaled dragon that breathes fire and is only found at Castle Schrade. Crimson Fatalis focuses on fire and is mainly found in the Volcanic Belt environment. After these two is the White Fatalis (also known as the Ancestral Dragon), which is one of the most difficult monsters (in my opinion), and can summon storms that send down red lightning. Yes, you heard me right, White Fatalis summons red lightning, which is a nightmare to deal with. What is even more concerning is the lore. These elder dragons are so powerful that all monsters, including other elder dragons, fear them. And when things get tough, White Fatalis can summon monsters known as the Origin Dragons, which includes the other Fatalis (thankfully this doesn’t happen in the actual hunt). After doing some more research, I also discovered that the Fatalis will melt together hunters that it’s killed and wear them as armor. In other words, it’s mocking every hunter for the very same thing they do with monsters they hunt. Yeah….that’s disturbing beyond words; I wonder if CAPCOM will have us face a Fatalis with literal hunter armor. Also, the lore brings up a rumor that any hunter that wears White Fatalis armor will eventually transform into a White Fatalis (that’s a scary thought). Also anyone that wears the armor of the regular Fatalis is said to hear abyssal screams that lead to them going mad and the Crimson Fatalis’s armor leads to hunters hallucinating and possible possession by a dark entity. But hey, the theme songs are awesome, yeah? So, long story short, if you want your character to live a somewhat decently long life, don’t have them wear any type of Fatalis armor. Oh, who are we kidding? The armor looks awesome and is some of the best in the game.
And there you have it, a long list of my favorite elder dragons (in no particular order) from the Monster Hunter franchise. This one was particularly tough given how many there are and which ones I actually found any enjoyment in their design and hunts. Did you see any of your favorites on this list? Which of these elder dragons are your favorites and why? Feel free to let me know down in the comments, I really want to know. Also, since it’s the merry month of March, the release date of Monster Hunter Rise draws ever closer. So I just have to ask one last question: which of these elder dragons (other than Fatalis because it’s obviously going to come back) are you hoping to see again? Again, feel free to leave your answers in the comments below. Until then, this is Tracy Preston/CuriousCat-13: signing off.