With the addition of Master Rank quests, players can expect a fairly significant difficulty spike compared to the base game. This is of course a tradition in the franchise, where “ultimate” editions of previously released games would introduce harder quest levels to further challenge hunters.
Some of these hunts are quite a lot more demanding than those in the base game. This is especially true for those that were unable to finish the base game’s post-game content prior to Sunbreak’s release date on June 30th, as they may find themselves undergeared for the expansion. After all, Master Rank monsters hit much harder, and some even sport a few new moves to throw hunters for a loop.
But fear not — we’re here to guide you through the most difficult encounters in Sunbreak. If you’re stuck behind some of these hurdles, we’ve got the tips for you to get past the hardest Master Rank hunts in the game.
Before we jump into it though, a small disclaimer: we’ll be excluding monsters that already show up in the base game from this guide. We want to put the spotlight on Sunbreak-exclusive monsters, since they do have new things to discover and practice against. We also won’t include any post-game monsters here, as we will focus primarily on the main campaign before the MR cap is unlocked.
- Class: Fanged Beast
- Associated ailments: Blastblight, Fireblight, Waterblight
- Weaknesses: Thunder
Arguably the first wall in Sunbreak, the Garangolm is a fearsome gorilla-like monster that wields the elements of fire and water in its rock-hard fists. As far as new monsters go, Garangolm is certainly unique, and can even catch veterans of the Monster Hunter franchise by surprise.
Sporting a thick shell that surrounds its arms, tail, forehead, and chest, Garangolm can shrug off most hunters’ attacks — especially at this stage of the game where purple sharpness can be hard to come by. It also uses its head plating as a weapon, brutally clubbing its adversaries whenever it gets the chance.
As for its arms, well… one inflicts Fireblight, while the other inflicts Waterblight, along with tons of raw damage. Dealing with its status effects can be a real pain, especially if you find yourself fighting Garangolm in an area of the map with no water. Expect to chew through several Nulberries in the process.
Interestingly, Garangolm’s arms do not take on the aforementioned elements for the whole fight. Garangolm must first imbue them by slamming its arms into the ground, thus enlarging them and applying the elements accordingly. When its arms are in this active state, they actually become weak points — turning the fight into a high risk, high reward affair. If you’re brave enough or have good positioning, going for the arms is a good way to dish out major pain.
But beware: you’re in for a world of hurt if you get hit. Be patient and don’t overcommit, tempting as it is to see the big shiny damage numbers onscreen.
- Class: Carapaceon
- Associated ailments: Waterblight, Bleeding
- Weaknesses: Thunder, Ice
Encountered in the 3-star key quest “My Ceanataur Gently Weeps”, the Shogun Ceanataur is a more dangerous variant of the Daimyo Hermitaur. They have more or less the same moveset, but Shogun Ceanataur brings a new danger to the table: the Bleeding status effect.
Its huge, sharp claws inflict the status effect through a lot of its attacks, making up close, frontal encounters risky. With Bleeding, you take damage over time to your red health (and eventually to your green health) whenever you attack or sprint. This heavily restricts the actions you can take while you have it, and makes it so that you likely have to sacrifice health to avoid the monster’s next attack.
To cure Bleeding, you have two options: eat a Well-Done Steak (which works for some reason), or crouch without moving for a short time. The latter is free, and actually takes less time to execute compared to eating a Well-Done Steak barring the presence of the Speed Eating skill. However, it is riskier due to the fact that you’re basically sitting still the whole time — likely right next to the monster.
Its rage mode is also quite intimidating. It gets the usual buffs like higher movement speed, faster animations, and higher damage, but it also gets additional range on its claw-based attacks. Best to keep your distance while this crab is angry.
As for your offensive gameplan, we recommend hitting Shogun Ceanataur’s shell until it breaks, exposing its soft back. Weakness Exploit users will love hitting this area for huge damage. Going for the claws is also a good idea, as breaking them limits the extended range of Shogun Ceanataur’s attacks when enraged.
- Class: Flying Wyvern
- Associated ailments: Paralysis, Thunderblight
- Weaknesses: Ice, Water
With the same skeleton as other Flying Wyverns like Rathalos, new players might look at Astalos and think that it fights the same way — only with Thunder-based attacks instead of Fire or Poison. Well, it’s not quite that simple with this shocking foe. Astalos has more than just a fireball and fire breath as its ranged attacks, and its Paralysis-inflicting tail strikes make it more dangerous than some of the earlier fliers in the game.
Instead, expect to fight what is essentially a Zinogre with wings. Astalos is all about charging its extremities with electricity, thus increasing their individual attack power. Its body parts hit very, very hard when charged, and retain their charge for quite some time before going back to normal.
Your goal is to get aggressive and hit charged parts over and over until they go back to normal, much like knocking Zinogre out of its own imbued state. Naturally this is easier said than done, so if you play with a ranged weapon, you can always keep your distance and chip away at any charged parts. Otherwise, you’ll have to get up close and personal as a Blademaster.
Astalos’ Paralysis is also a major concern. While it’s entirely possible (and quite frankly, a really good idea) to pack stun resistance versus Thunderblight, Paralysis bypasses this completely. We recommend gemming up for it as well, even if it means sacrificing some damage decorations in the process.
- Class: Flying Wyvern
- Associated ailments: Fireblight, Paralysis, Poison
- Weaknesses: Ice
Espinas will be unfamiliar to those that did not play Monster Hunter Frontier — which is probably a majority of our readers considering Frontier was a Japan-only exclusive. And yet, it’s eerily similar to the Rathian, which it shares a skeleton with.
Well, it’s that, combined with the Rathalos in one horrifying package. This thing spits out fireballs that inflict both Poison and paralysis at the same time. Yeah, absolute nightmare fuel, we know. Get hit by one of its projectiles and you’re most likely dead unless you have immunity to Paralysis, or one of your Buddies whacks you out of your immobilized state in time for Espinas’ next attack.
Oh and did we mention that the rest of its body is also covered in venomous spikes? The horn on Espinas’ head is especially lethal, dealing massive damage as it gores you while squeezing venom into your wounds. Stay far, far away from this when the monster is enraged, or suffer the consequences.
Bring Antidotes, Herbal Medicines or (preferably) both. Lots of them. Because you’re going to need all of them here. Gemming for both Poison and Paralysis immunity is asking a bit too much, so we recommend just going for the latter if you really need to. Poison is dealt with easily enough with Herbal Medicines for example, so it’s the smaller of the two concerns.
Other than that, the usual Flying Wyvern tactics apply. Stay in between the monster’s legs if you’re a melee player, and aim to trip the monster up that way. If it takes to the air, bring it down with a Flash Bomb. Severing the tail early is also a good idea, as doing so significantly reduces the reach of its tail-based attacks.
- Class: Flying Wyvern
- Associated ailments: Bleeding
- Weaknesses: Thunder, Ice
Seregios is back after a long absence from the main series, appearing last in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate in 2014. This Flying Wyvern has bar none one of the coolest designs in the franchise, both in terms of visuals and in terms of its gameplay mechanics. This blade-scaled monster takes the Bleeding mechanic that the Shogun Ceanataur has and cranks it up to 11. Practically all of its attacks — some of which can come from a fair distance away — can inflict the status effect.
It’s worth noting that with the release of Sunbreak, Bleeding is actually worse than it’s ever been in the franchise; performing actions with the status effect on fills up the hidden Bleeding Buildup gauge, which inflicts extra damage when you get hit by an attack. Seregios thus forces you to make snap decisions more often: crouch and get the free Bleeding recovery, or eat a Well-Done Steak in order to retain your mobility?
Other than those points, this is more or less a straightforward encounter. Look out for its double claw attacks, which is telegraphed by Seregios standing on its tail and winding up for a swipe. Try to avoid its projectiles as well, either by rolling or keeping a safe distance. Finally, watch out for its divebomb attack, which has a ridiculously large hitbox that you can actually dodge by rolling to its right side. If you see that you won’t make it that far in time, it’s better to just execute a dive-evade so that you don’t get clipped and possibly faint in one hit.
- Class: Elder Dragon
- Associated ailments: Bloodblight, Dragonblight
- Weaknesses: Dragon
Malzeno is the flagship monster of the expansion for a reason. It’s menacing, it’s got a set of really awesome weapons, and has a unique mechanic of its own to make life hell for hunters. And while Malzeno isn’t quite the final boss of Sunbreak, it will feel like it with the kind of armor you’ll have access to at this stage in the game.
Apart from the huge damage you can expect from an Elder Dragon, Malzeno has one really nasty trick up its sleeve: Bloodblight. This status effect greatly reduces the health recovery you get from consumable items, while also whittling away at your red health every second. It does have one caveat: the status effect actually grants you lifesteal.
Yes, that’s right, you can actually heal yourself through Bloodblight by attacking Malzeno. This poses the usual risks, of course, especially for Blademasters who will have to be right in the monster’s face to take advantage of the benefits. But considering that Bloodblight itself has no cure other than waiting for it to time out, getting aggressive is the only way to deal with it properly.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t take your time, however. Malzeno will undoubtedly have the largest health pool of any monster you’ve had to face thus far, so the entire fight will be a marathon. Expect to spend 25-30 minutes taking this thing down, and don’t just rush in blindly. Calculated aggression is the way.
It doesn’t end there, though. Malzeno actually has the ability to teleport, which makes it an even scarier opponent to face the first time around. Your camera work will be put to the test in this encounter, as you try to get a bead on Malzeno as he blinks all over the place. Stay on your toes to avoid getting hit this way.
There’s also the issue of Malzeno’s rage mode, which powers up all its attacks and even grants additional strikes to some. The latter is especially dangerous, as it punishes hunters that recover too quickly with Wirefall. When the monster is angry, don’t get up right away if you can help it. Stay on the ground if you take a hard knockdown, and don’t just spam Wirefall to get back on your feet. Use the invincibility frames of the knockdown animations to your advantage.