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The 10 best monster designs in the Monster Hunter series

In a sea of great designs, these are the top of the food chain.

The Monster Hunter games feature some of the best monster designs you will find in gaming, and with each new game, more unique designs are added to the hundreds already in the series. Ranging from lizards, monkeys, and crabs all the way to hulking dragons and dinosaurs, there’s a design for every kind of player. While it’s a divisive topic, and everyone has different favorites, we’ve put together a list of what we feel are some of the best-designed monsters in the Monster Hunter Series. We’ve considered combat capabilities, music, and their general design, so know that we’ve put some serious thought into this list.

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Best monster designs in the Monster Hunter

10. Tobi-Kadachi

Image via Capcom

The Tobi-Kadachi is a simple yet slick monster design that shows not every monster needs to be over the top and brightly colored.

It features silvery-blue scales across its body, with white fur on its back and a flat, fan-like tail with spiked edges it uses to slam down on hunters after gliding with its membrane wings resembling a flying squirrel. Once charged with electricity, its fur will spike up and emit electric bolts across its body, and its attacks become quicker and more deadly. It may be a simple design, but it’s still an effective and cool one because of that.

Related: Wild Hearts vs. Monster Hunter – All similarities and differences

9. Nargacuga

Image via Capcom

Nargacuga is another simpler design like the Tobi-Kadachi. Still, its glowing red eyes and dark features make it an excellent and deadly predator that any hunter should be cautious of.

The Nargacuga sports black fur and spikes across its body, with its key features being its large spiked tail that extends its tip when enraged and its black blade-like wings that it uses to swipe at hunters. Its slick and minimal design makes it adept at sneaking around dark places, and its speed and power give it an advantage when it comes to surprise attacks. Then you also have its red eyes during its enraged mode, giving it a sinister look that lets you know you are in trouble.

8. Pukei-Pukei

Image via Capcom

The Pukei-Pukei is a colorful and slightly comedic design in the Monster Hunter Catalog, but it’s one of the more unique monsters you’ll find in the series, and it manages to pull off its interesting looks.

Pukei-Pukei’s resemble a mishmash of chameleon and frog details, featuring skin that can change to a limited amount of colors, big slitted eyes, and a massive tongue that its waves and throws around to slam smaller monsters and hunters. It also can release various poisons from its expandable tail and its mouth and sports vibrant, colorful feathers around its wings and neck that, when enraged, will become red. It’s a little goofy, but it’s a cool kind of goofy.

7. Gore Magala

Image via Capcom

Gore Magala is one of the edgiest designs in the Monster Hunter series, and it remains one of the coolest-looking monsters you’ll find since its introduction back in Monster Hunter 4.

Gore Magala has black scales covering nearly every inch of its body and features six limbs, with the two biggest being its massive, black fur wings that look like a torn cloak fitted with large claws on each. It also has a heavily fanged jaw and tail and a lack of visible eyes, adding to this monster’s eerie look. Add to that its size, strength, and intelligence when fighting, and you have a truly deadly monster that drips with edge.

Related: The 10 most fun monsters to hunt in the Monster Hunter games

6. Magnamalo

Image via Capcom

Magnamalo is the flagship monster of Monster Hunter: Rise, and with good reason, since it’s one of the game’s best-looking and new monsters in the series.

This bulky tiger-like monster features purple and yellow scaley armor across its body, big tusks on its lower jaw, and large yellow jagged horns on its head. Both front legs have a large blade on their sides and a spear-like tail that expand into a three-spiked trident shape. If that’s not enough, when enraged, it will release bone spikes and blades from its back and can engulf itself in purple flames. It’s very metal, and more than earns its place as one of the series’ best monsters.

5. Seltas Queen

Image via Capcom

We’ve had quite a few dragons and winged monsters on this list, so let’s throw something a bit different to the mix with the brutish Seltas Queen.

This monster is a large beetle/scorpion-like creature with a green, heavily armored exoskeleton. Its smaller front limbs act as little shovels it uses to dig and grab at enemies, and its large tail comes with a massive orange pincer it will use to swing and grab hunters. While strong on their own, they work best when they are with a male Setlas and combine to unleash combos together, provide the Queen with brief flight and protection, and on occasion, be used as a weapon by the Queen—a tough break for them.

4. Mizutsune

Image via Capcom

Where many monsters may be spiked, hulking creatures with aggressive appearances, the Mizutsune offers a different kind of beast to find and hunt in the series.

This fox-like creature sports a long, slender appearance and is covered in dark purple fur and light-colored scales resembling a fish. Its long, fox-like face is adorned with fin-like appendages and its back and tail with similar pink and yellow feathers. Another quirk of the Mizutsune is its ability to breathe and produce bubbles from its fur, which it uses to glide across and hinder monster and hunter movement. It’s got style, it’s got grace, and it will slam hunters right in the face and look good doing so.

3. Malzeno

Image via Capcom

The Malzeno is the flagship for the Monster Hunter: Rise DLC, Sunbreak, and it’s one of the best monster designs we have seen in recent games.

Its design is reminiscent of European-style dragons, with dark, slivery scales across its body. It sports pinkish-red feathery-looking scales on its front legs, chest, and neck, with large wings sporting a darkish-red underside. It has golden claws, horns, and a large tail with three prongs that can grab prey and hunter. When it has drained enough life energy, its eye glow, and its neck and wings will pulsate light while the rest of its body is coated in dark red energy. Add to that its immense strength and ability, and you have one wicked monster.

Related: 5 essential tips for successful hunts in Monster Hunter Rise and Sunbreak

2. Glavenus

Image via Capcom

Let’s get this out of the way. Glavenus has a sword for a tail, which is just awesome in itself, but there are some more details that make this a truly wicked monster.

The Glavenus is fitted with dark red scales across its body, with two rows of bony blue plates running down its back to its tail which share the same color. It shares a similar body type to a T-Rex with small, study arms and strong hind legs and a face and jaw for armor-plated scales. Glavenus will sharpen its bladed tail using its mouth, and with each attack, it grows hotter until it can deal more damage and cause explosions and fiery waves to erupt from its attacks.

1. Rathalos

Image via Capcom

You can’t make a Monster Hunter list and not include this quintessential, classic monster that has appeared in every series installment: the Rathalos.

The Rathalos is a dragon-like monster with a spiny, armored hide across its body, usually in bright red with black markings across its face and back. Its title, “king of the skies,” is well-earned thanks to its massive wings, featuring black ornament markings, and its expert flying ability. It also has a long thick tail with a club at the end, which it swings at enemies during flight, and a sharp, beak-like mouth fitted with fangs. There are multiple variations with different colors of this monster, but the classic red is iconic, and its timeless design has made it the icon for the series, at its well deserved.

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Matthew Fuller
Matt is a freelance writer based in the UK and has spent over three years covering and writing about video games. He discovered his love of games journalism while attending Canterbury Christchurch University, where he earned a bachelor's and master's degree in Game Design and has been writing ever since. He will find any excuse to play and write about games. When he isn't fighting dragons or exploring far-off galaxies, he spends his free time playing D&D, listening to music, or reading a good book. His primary game bests are Diablo IV, the Final Fantasy series, D&D, and anything new releasing that tickles his fancy.