One of the most celebrated additions to the 2.0 Update in Capcom's smash hit, Monster Hunter Rise was the series of new monsters. Elder Dragons from past games made their return, as well as the Apex variations of monsters. The combination of these new quests, monsters, and DLC items has provided more than enough content to keep experienced Hunters busy until the next large update at the end of May.
What are Apex Monsters?
Monsters can be encountered at various difficulty levels in Monster Hunter Rise. Low-Rank monsters, for example, are made for beginners who still need to learn the movesets and weaknesses of a certain monster. Once you get into High-Rank, the movesets change a bit and you can get even stronger weapons and armor with all-new Armor Skills.
Apex Monsters are monsters that are so fierce and diabolical, that they are considered the Apex of their entire species. You can think of them as Apex predators — they destroy everything in their path. The havoc wreaked by an Apex Arzuros, for example, was exponentially more than any regular Arzuros could hope to achieve. These Apex Monsters are characterized by the blue hue of their monster icon in your Hunter's Notes. You will have to raise your Hunter Rank up to at least High Rank in order to encounter them in a Rampage Quest. After you've gotten to Hunter Rank 8, you can encounter even more Apex Monsters in Rampage Quests and regular quests.
What makes Apex Monsters different?
Apex Monsters have more HP and are even more aggressive than their High-Rank counterparts, as they're always in an "enraged" state. This makes their attacks hit you like a truck when they land — you'll find yourself using many Mega Potions.
Their blue tint makes them easy to distinguish from the Low- and High-Rank variations, which means the feeling of dread will overcome you that much faster. Even the most seasoned of hunters will find these monsters challenging, as they have all-new moves and won't fall for the same tricks as their weaker relatives.
Can I trap Apex Monsters?
Unfortnately, no. Apex Monsters cannot be trapped, which means you must whittle their HP down to kill them. This means that if you're having a tough time with a hunt and you've already carted two times, you can't just cheese your way out of a hunt by capturing them instead of killing. You also cannot use Wyvern Riding to get some extra damage in, although nothing can stop you from riding any other non-Apex monsters in the area to perform a Mounted Punisher. If you somehow don't find Monster Hunter Rise challenging enough, go find yourself an Apex Monster to fight.
Which Apex Monsters can I fight?
As of the time of writing, players can encounter Apex variations of the Arzuros, Diablos, Mizutsune, Rathalos and Rathian. These monsters will appear in both Rampage Quests and regular quests at differing High Rank levels.
Apex Arzuros is a Fanged Beast, and is basically a giant teddy bear who is anything but cuddly. Definitely make sure you grab an extra Wirebug before getting into a tango with this bear, as it can lock you into a combo with its swinging punches. Using ZL + B to Wirefall will save you from carting a lot.
Arzuros is weak to just about any type of physical damage, so don't worry too much about whether you're using slicing, blunt or piercing damage. It is weakest to fire element damage, followed by ice and thunder damage. Water damage doesn't affect it all too much, and Arzuros is completely immune to dragon damage. In terms of ailments, Arzuros is susceptible to most of them, with poison, paralysis, sleep, and exhaust having three-star effectiveness. Stun, blast and Fireblight have two-star effectiveness, so that's definitely a viable option if you're more comfortable with that.
Diablos is a Flying Wyvern with terrible horns who has been around since the dawn of Monster Hunter. Despite being a flying beast, they do enjoy burrowing underground to escape the conflict or to sneak up on an unsuspecting hunter. Make sure you keep an eye on the cracked earth that shows you what path the monster is taking.
Diablos is weakest to blunt damage, followed by slicing and piercing damage. Ice is the element it's weakest to, followed by dragon/water and thunder damage. As far as ailments go, paralysis is king, followed by blast and Iceblight at two stars.
Mizutsune is a Leviathan Monster known for its speed, powerful water beam attack and bubble attacks that inflict Bubbleblight on anyone caught up in them. Should you see Mizutsune use its terrifying water beam, try your best to get under its body and stay there until it's finished. If you're hit with Bubbleblight, a Cleanser should fix you right up.
Like its regular counterpart, Apex Mizutsune is weakest to slicing and blunt damage. It is immune to water element attacks, and is weakest to thunder element attacks. In terms of ailments, blast and Thunderblight is the way to go.
Rathalos is a Flying Wyvern who has served as the series' flagship monster. Like its female counterpart, the Rathian, Rathalos loves to breathe fire on unsuspecting hunters. Make sure you've got your fire resistance all the way up before going into this hunt, and take some Antidotes as well, since the Rathalos' foot talons can inflict poison damage.
Rathalos is most susceptible to blunt damage, followed by slicing and piercing damage. Dont' bother bringing any fire weapons with you, as Rathalos is completely immune to fire. Rathalos will suffer most under dragon-element attacks, followed by thunder and water/ice. The most effective ailment is Thunderblight, with everything else outside of posion and blast damage being moderately effective.
Rathian is a Flying Wyvern who is the female counterpart to Rathalos. While she loves breathing fire as well, hunters should take extreme caution with her somersault attack, as the barbs on her tail inflict some serious poison damage. Hunters going into a Rathian fight should definitely stock up on Antidotes to mitigate this problem.
Just like Rathalos, Rathian is weakest to blunt, slicing, then piercing damage. Fire-element weapons are useless, though dragon, thunder and ice/water weapons will do the trick. Rathian is weakest to the Thunderblight ailment, with all others outside of poison and blast damage being somewhat effective.
Can I get anything special for fighting Apex Monsters?
In short, no. Apex Monsters do not drop any new monster-specific parts, so you won't be able to craft Apex Arzuros armor, for example. There are, however, Apex Monster-specific parts that all Apex Monsters can drop, which can be used to craft some of the more high-end talismans, weapons and armor sets. They also drop the coveted Lazurite Jewels as well, which are used in top-of-the-line Decorations that can help you buff your equipment even more. Apex Monsters are mostly there for the challenge, as opposed to the snazzy hides you can rip from their dead bodies.
The 2.0 Update has definitely been rich in content, even though Monster Hunter Rise is already jam-packed with hundreds of hours of content for both you and your friends to enjoy. For hunters who feel a tiny bit bored, these new Apex Monsters and Elder Dragons are sure to breathe some life into their save files. With more Nintendo Switch games on the horizon, it's clear that they have some pretty big shoes to fill — after all, Monster Hunter Rise offers one of the best multiplayer experiences on the system.
Rise to the top
Monster Hunter's gameplay loop is equal parts challenging and addictive. Take on quests to hunt a wide variety of amazingly designed monsters on your own or with friends as you protect the peaceful Kamura village from the impending doom that is the Rampage.
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Nadine is a freelance writer for iMore with a specialty in all things Nintendo, often working on news, guides, reviews, and editorials. She's been a huge Nintendo fan ever since she got to pet her very own Nintendog, and enjoys looking at Nintendo's place in the video game industry. Writing is her passion, but she mostly does it so that she can pay off her ever-growing debt to Tom Nook. Her favorite genres are simulation games, rhythm games, visual novels, and platformers. You can find her at @stopthenadness on Twitter, where she'll more than likely be reposting cute Animal Crossing content.