*Keep in mind before reading that I have considered monsters throughout the entire expansion, so beware of spoilers if you don’t want to know which monsters are in Iceborne.*
While we wait for the update that brings in Alatreon, I thought it would be interesting to look back on the monsters we have so far in the Iceborne expansion to Monster Hunter World. I’m going to go over the monsters that I personally think are the best. These are monsters that were added specifically with the Iceborne expansion and will not include monsters that were in the base game. I have considered any monster added via update after initial release however. Additionally, at the end, I want to give an honorable mention of sorts to a monster I would really like to see added after Alatreon. I want to also mention that I’m not really a Monster Hunter veteran. I have played a little bit of Generations Ultimate and 3 Ultimate, but that’s the breadth of my experience.
5. Shara Ishvalda
Shara Ishvalda is a monster that is an entirely new creation for Iceborne and serves as the final boss for the main campaign. I have it on my list because the entire concept surrounding the monster and its items are very interesting. It is a two-phase boss fight in which it starts out in a rock armor form before revealing the monster underneath. It can manipulate seismic waves and thus uses rocks, sand, and vibrations to attack hunters. It’s slightly unsettling design is made more so by the fact that if its eyes are visible, it will be looking at the camera, not the player.
The fight itself can be a little obnoxious the first few times that you fight it though, so I can understand if some are questioning why I have this monster on the list. It can stun the player very easily and has a couple attacks that do an extreme amount of damage. However, it’s a monster whose patterns become fairly easy to learn. Given that, Shara Ishvalda has become a monster I like to test new builds on.
Shara’s armor and weapons also have a unique theming to them in that they’re all centered around eastern faiths and include things like lotus blossoms in their designs. To be honest, I’m not really sure what about the monster inspired this design for its gear, but I’m not complaining because the designs are very unique. I’d be lying if I said that the armor isn’t a little overdesigned, though. Overall, Shara Ishvalda provides a nice cap to the main campaign with its unique moves, appearance, and gear.
Brachydios is a monster I was familiar with from playing Generations Ultimate and that game seriously underprepared me for what I would face in Iceborne. For those who may not know, Brachydios secretes an explosive gel that coats its horn and arms. It uses this gel to coat its enemies and create explosions across the field. Perhaps it was because Brachydios showed up much earlier in Generations Ultimate than it does in World, but it was kind of a pushover in the former. That is certainly not the case in Iceborne. I lost count of the times I ended up rolling into a right hook wondering how I was meant to avoid getting hit. I really couldn’t be that mad though, because the entire concept and design for Brachydios is just so good. No matter how many times I get punched, I still love this monster.
Its gear can be pretty cool, too, with the blue and green aesthetic. Iceborne unfortunately only gives some weapon types unique designs, though, so some Brachydios weapons are rather bland. The armor makes you look like a Power Rangers villain or something.
Zinogre is kind of the opposite of Brachydios for me. I hated fighting Zinogre in Generations Ultimate. It felt like I was always getting pounded into dirt no matter what level of Zinogre I was facing. I think it’s a great testament to the quality of World and Iceborne‘s design that Zinogre seems no less intimidating this time around than it did before. However now, I don’t want to throw my controller out a window when I fight it. Quite the contrary. Zinogre quickly became one of my most fought monsters upon unlocking it. The fight keeps you on your toes, but it isn’t punishing.
It’s use of electricity, especially the attack where it sends out orbs of electrically charged bugs, seems much more avoidable. It still powers up more as the fight goes on, but it never feels like Zinogre is getting too powerful. I died a little inside every time it powered up in Generations. To be honest, I am not a huge fan of Zinogre’s gear. It’s certainly not bad, but it doesn’t do a whole lot for me. That is an indicator of just how much I like the fight though, that I would rank it this high despite the fact I don’t care much for the gear it provides.
Can you tell at this point that I appreciated a lot of monsters I knew from Generations Ultimate being added into the game? Glavenus was one of four “flagship” monsters from that game and the only one of them to make it into Iceborne. To be honest, of the four, Glavenus was probably my 3rd favorite, which isn’t a great ranking. However, the fight with it in Generations was one I always liked. All of the “Fated Four” were good fights. I may not have loved Glavenus conceptually, but I never dreaded fighting it. I think part of the reason I like Glavenus so much in Iceborne is it felt like it was the one monster whose fight was exactly what I expected. Maybe that sounds like a bad thing, but I found the familiarity nice.
Glavenus as a monster relies on its razor sharp tail. It can spew magma from its mouth, which allows it to stick its tail in its mouth and heat it up before attacking you with it. It will also use its fangs to sharpen its tail. It’s a unique concept to be sure, as monsters with tail attacks usually only have one, but virtually all of Glavenus’ moves are based around its tail.
The Glavenus fight comes in around the early-to-mid part of Iceborne, and when you first start the expansion, it takes a little bit of adjustment to acclimate to the fact that your best gear isn’t so great now that you’ve entered Master Rank. While there was really only a few fights in the entirety of Iceborne that I struggled with, there were a lot that kind of got on my nerves even if I beat them on the first try. But with Glavenus, I just fell back into a familiar rhythm. Glavenus wasn’t easier than before like Zinogre, or harder than before like Brachydios. It was just a nice balance and kind of provided a breather.
Glavenus’ gear is nothing to write home about, but as a bow user, its bow is one of the best fire element bows, even if it suffers from the boring design I mentioned when talking about Brachydios. Its armor is well designed, but personally not really my thing; a little too “heavy” for what I would consider to be appropriate for an archer. Therefore, Glavenus is another monster I rank very highly just because of its design and fight.
This may be a controversial pick, as I know some people hate the Namielle fight, but to me, this choice is an absolute no brainer. Namielle is one of the best monsters I’ve ever encountered, and while it’s true that I haven’t played many games, I fought a lot of them in Generations Ultimate. What makes Namielle so interesting is that in the World base game, really the only monster who had water as it associated element, was Jyuratodus. Jyuratodus was a very early game monster, so water as an element didn’t really have any representation in late game. In comes Namielle then as a new late game Elder Dragon with a fantastic design. It’s clearly got aquatic elements with its luminescence, whiskers, and scales. But what is really interesting is that it’s also able to use electric attacks. It is able to combine both elements to coat the battlefield in water before sending an electric charge through the water to attack players.
As a fight, I also enjoy it a lot. The fight with Namielle comes after one of the few fights in Iceborne that I struggled with, so it was an absolute pleasure to fight Namielle who wasn’t nearly as stressful. Oh, make no mistake, I fainted two times in my first fight, which was cutting it very close. But even having fought most of Iceborne‘s monsters several times, I still really enjoy the Namielle fight. I think what might make it a little less stressful for me compared to others is the fact that Namielle’s wings are interconnected. Which means if you “wound” one side with the Clutch Claw, the game considers the other side to be wounded as well, which gives me a massive area to shoot arrows at.
Additionally, Namielle’s gear is also aesthetically phenomenal with the bioluminescent quality being integrated. The weapons can be a little too orange in my opinion, but they still keep the neon aquatic look which sets them apart from the rest of the unique weapons. Namielle is a perfect monster. Its fight isn’t stressful or mindless. Its appearance and concept is wholly unique from what’s come before. And its gear is designed wonderfully.
Remember when I said that Glavenus was not my favorite of the Fated Four? Well here’s who is. I adore Mizutsune. Along with Namielle, Mizutusne is one of my favorite monsters from the entire series. I guess I have a thing for aquatic monsters. I would love to see Mizutsune make an appearance in Iceborne. I do know, however, that this is likely a pipe dream. Mizutsune is a “leviathan” class monster, which the developers have stated they had difficulty implementing into the game, which is why they were unable to include Lagiacrus. It’s nice to dream, though.
What makes Mizutsune so interesting to me is the way it takes a kitsune and combines it with a sea serpent. Additionally, Mizutsune isn’t just an aquatic fox. It doesn’t shoot water at the hunters like Namielle does, it uses bubbles to attack its foes. With those bubbles came an entirely new status condition in which the player was actually buffed when first hit, but if hit again, would lose control and start sliding all over the place. This made the fight rather unique, as getting hit once could actually prove to be beneficial, but getting hit twice would put you in trouble.
Mizutsune also had beautiful Japanese-inspired gear in terms of both its armor and its weapons. All of them were frankly beautiful and I’d love to see them in HD. I know it’s unlikely that we’ll see Mizutsune before development on Iceborne ends, but I hope against all odds that it makes it into the game. It would make an already fantastic game even better.