Since it’s inception in 2019, Monster Hunter World: Iceborne has been nothing but a slew of quality monster-slaying content. From the barbaric raging beast Rajang to the blazing black dragon Alatreon, there is much to discover on Iceborne’s endgame. Even for someone that has already clocked more than 900 hours in like myself, there is always a reason to come back to Iceborne thanks to its consistently rewarding post-launch free updates.
Now that I’ve basically gotten past the Darwinism-invoking Alatreon after killing it over and over, I believe it’s time for me to move on and look towards the next step in Iceborne’s game cycle. This brings me to Iceborne’s fifth major title update which is due to release on fall, according to the latest developer diary.
In the roadmap showcased on the dev diary, it was stated that the hunters will be getting a ‘returning monster’ alongside the new Master Rank Layered Armor feature (which I’ve craved since Iceborne’s release). Now the term ‘returning monster’ lends itself to a wider interpretation, at least compared to Capcom’s previous ‘return of a fan-favorite monster’ wording when alluding to Alatreon. It could mean a variant, a deviant, a sub-species, or ideally, a brand-new monster that has made an appearance in previous Monster Hunter titles.
That being said, on this story I want to share the three potential monster candidates that I’d like to see make an appearance as the ‘returning monster’ Capcom mentioned. I’d also like to point out that Iceborne is my first full-experience Monster Hunter game, and thus information on these monsters is based on research as I haven’t faced any of these monsters before.
3. Gore Magala
First appearing in Monster Hunter 4, Gore’s most defining feature is its ‘frenzy virus’ mechanic that can infect both monsters and hunters alike. The virus, carried by Gore’s scales and breath, can cause other monsters to kick into a more aggressive behavior coupled with increased speed and strength. The danger of the virus is so severe that most monsters will die from the virus if not they are not already killed by the hunters, and they can spread the virus to other monsters by scratches and bites as well. Those that didn’t die, however, will overcome the virus’ lethal afflictions and enter the ‘Apex State’ where they are able to utilize and weaponize the virus’ properties against their opponents.
The virus is one thing, but Gore is another entirely. It was classified as an ‘unknown’ type monster that bears resemblance with the Xenomorphs from the Alien franchise. Its jet-black color with menacing aura thanks to the virus that cloaked it made for a terrifyingly intimidating monster. Fighting it is no joke either; as I’ve mentioned before, the virus also afflicts human hunters, although in a different way as it does monsters. The virus incubates in hunters which offsets natural healing ability as well as lowering the hunters’ defense. It can be nullified through a variety of ways, but the most effective way is through dealing enough damage to another monster before the incubation process is complete.
And of course, Shagaru Magala. In other words, Gore Magala will eventually evolve into its elder dragon form, Shagaru Magala. Faster, deadlier, and angrier, it was almost as if Gore evolved with the player throughout the game. Its star-shaped golden wings are surefire signs of calamity and its virus has been enhanced, turning the previously hard fight into a binary life-or-death situation. For me myself that hasn’t played 4, how cool would it be to fight this guy in Iceborne?
Much as I’d like to see the virus-laden monster in Iceborne, the possibility of it appearing in the New World is quite unlikely. Part of it is due to the Gore-Shagaru evolution: if you have Gore, you’ve got to have Shagaru. Having one without the other is like drinking Demondrug without drinking Armorskin afterwards. Capcom so far haven’t released a two-in-one monster update in Iceborne; Rajang and Furious Rajang were released in different updates, and Safi’jiiva’s ‘first’ recon encounter does not count as a full-fledged slay quest. Not to mention the ‘frenzy virus’ mechanic basically has a story of its own, too big to be included in a post-launch update in my opinion. Still, encountering Gore Magala would’ve made a great hunt to remember.
One of, if not the most, iconic elder dragons in Monster Hunter lore. Its first appearance dated all the way back to the first Monster Hunter game and it has since appeared in all mainline Monster Hunter titles save for Monster Hunter 3 and Monster Hunter World (so far). Fatalis is quite literally the stuff of legend in the lore, said to be capable of wiping out entire worlds and civilizations with its flames. Its hatred extend far beyond humanity, as other monsters and even elder dragons steer clear from its path.
I have noticed a pattern in Monster Hunter lore where the more an elder dragon resemble a traditional dragon in popular media, the more powerful it will be. Fatalis sure enough looked like a good old-fashioned dragon with its long serpentine neck, large imposing pair of wings, and humongous figure that looked like it came straight out of a kaiju flick. Its control over the fire and dragon element is supreme, which resulted in a deadly combination called the Black Flame.
More towards the disturbing side, Monster Hunter lore stated that it melts the bodies of fallen hunters to be worn as its own armor in a move that can only be described as poetic black dragon justice. Because you know, who else in Monster Hunter kills other creatures and wear their hides as armor? Anyways, it is also said that wearers of its armor can be killed just by wearing it and bearers of its weapon can feel abysmal screams coming from them. When described that way, it can be assumed that Fatalis never truly dies, even when us the hunters killed it and used its skin as our armor.
Scary as the armors’ nightmarish description might be, I have experienced part of it when wearing a full Safi’jiiva armor set, so I wasn’t too intimidated from it as of now. Still, Fatalis’ appearance in Iceborne can only make sense: with every post-launch update, the monsters that we encounter get stronger and deadlier. Safi shoots a sapphire ball of fiery death. Raging Brachydios pits you in a explosion-filled death battle. And of course who can forget Alatreon, whose Escaton Judgement made a third of the Monster Hunter community question the game’s balance. If the escalating power level is to be seen as a pattern, then the only monster that Capcom can go from here would be Fatalis, Monster Hunter’s recurring final boss. Especially if this upcoming update is the last major post-launch update for Iceborne, then Fatalis will definitely fit in like a glove.
Objectively I would want Fatalis, but subjectively I will always favor the jet fighter, the red shooting star, the sky comet dragon Valstrax. First appearing in Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, Valstrax is the epitome of skyward majesty. Silver in color and sleek in design, the main appeal of Valstrax came in its trident-shaped wings that expel red dragon energy, which made it look like it’s shooting jet engine flame. Valstrax usually uses this red dragon jet as primary means of flight, making it look like the secret boss of an Ace Combat game.
Unlike the other two monsters on this story, Valstrax can be described as, for a lack of a better word, chill. Until it was scratched by a hunter’s longsword, it will remain relatively calm and indifferent to the hunter’s presence. Compared to its cataclysmic elder dragon peers, Valstrax might seem simple and inconsequential. Especially when compared to the previous two entries in this story, Valstrax’s destructive power can seem mediocre, even trivial. Then again, the fight against Valstrax are not to be taken lightly, as it fully utilizes its red dragon jet in its fight against the hunter. It was capable of flipping its wings forward towards the hunter, turning its dragon jet engine into a dragon jet turret that fires red dragon energy at the hunter. Not only that, but Valstrax also utilizes its jet engine wing as an offensive tool, jabbing its rocket-propelled wings towards the hunter like a rapier.
And of course, the move dubbed by the community as “Around the World”, where Valstrax shoots from the ground, breaking the sound barrier in the process, circles around the arena leaving a blazing red trail, and finally crashes into the hunter as a deadly projectile of pure red dragon energy. Coupled with a fight theme song that makes you feel like you’re in a dogfight against an archangel, Valstrax is truly a sight to behold — and a fight to remember.
I mean, need I say more? A jet fighter elder dragon. It simply doesn’t get any cooler than that. Even if its fight somehow turned out as a disappointment I would still be impressed (less so, but still impressed) since Valstrax’s design serves as a perfect matrimony between Monster Hunter’s high-fantasy aesthetics and modern technological marvel. Fighting it would’ve been the pinnacle of my Iceborne experience and I can already feel my blood pumping fighting it just as I fought Glavenus, Safi’jiiva, and Alatreon before it. And it would appear I’m not the only one hoping for its appearance, as most comments on YouTube videos on him wished for his comeback at the New World. One day, Valstrax. One day.
Yes, this turned into me raving about wanting Valstrax to appear in Iceborne. Still, I wouldn’t mind either Gore Magala or Fatalis making an appearance before Valstrax did. After all, Capcom had to make sure the fifth major update delivers a lasting impact on the community, and I believe the inclusion of Gore or Fatalis can do just that. Still, one man can hope, right?