If you are someone who is playing Monster Hunter World Iceborne into its third year, chances are you are currently participating in the game’s second-anniversary event. For a game that (in previous years) didn’t see as much support as one would hope from a long-running series, Monster Hunter World has indeed become Capcom’s biggest title in recent memory.
At Monster Hunter Fest ’19-’20, Capcom laid out a nice roadmap for what’s to come for Iceborne up to June 2020. These include some nice additions such as special event quests that will give players more rewards, new Arch-Tempered Master Rank Versions of existing monsters, and a “Fan-Favorite Monster” making its return. While we could cover any of these topics (including the returning monster which we will cover next time) let’s take a look at what we are going to get for March, new Variant Monsters.
What are Variants?
So when we talk about Variant Monsters, you might assume that we are talking about subspecies. Monsters like “Pink/Gold Rathian,” “Blue/Silver Rathalos” or the various other versions we saw such as Acidic Glavenus or Coral Pukei Pukei, to name a few. While it would be nice to see even more subspecies appear, later on, variants operate under a different format.
Variants in the world of Monster Hunter are a part of rare individuals, or anomalous groups, of a given species of monster. They can be nearly identical to the common individual but possess one or more traits that set them apart tremendously, rather than those differences appearing due to the environment they are in. Currently, in Iceborne, we have six Variants. The first two were returning monsters from previous titles: Scarred Yian Garuga (an even more aggressive monster which has survived battles and uses more air attacks and barrage of small fireballs) and the Savage Deviljho (an overall deadlier version of a regular Deviljho).
From the new set of monsters in World, we saw four of them get variant designs. These include Shrieking Legiana (can manipulate ice even more than the usual Legiana), Seething Bazelgeuse (which has developed its explosive scales to be even more devastating), Blackveil Vaal Hazak (which is covered in moss-like Pustules which can emit effluvium constantly and leave hunters in a weaken state faster) and Ruiner Nergigante (which can grow metallic spikes and be even tougher to break).
So in March, we will be looking for two monsters that would have seen an evolution to become stronger from where they are found rather than being in an entirely different location of the world. Who could they be? Well, we do have three examples we can point towards.
The Second Version of an Elder Dragon?
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, we got to see two Elder Dragons get entirely new forms in Iceborne’s Master Rank: The Blackveil Vaal Hazak and the Ruiner Nergigante. The Teostra remains the same, but we got an update during World that let its female counterpart Lunastra into the game. Even World‘s final boss got to see itself evolve into a raid monster in Iceborne. That only leaves two monsters which, up to now, do not have any special second versions of themselves. These are Kirin and Kushala Daora (three if we counted Namielle, but since it saw its first appearance in Iceborne, it seems unlikely it would see another version so soon).
While we could say that Kirin would deserve to see the second version of its majestic self in Iceborne, many are still under the impression that its subspecies version: Oroshi Kirin (a dark navy blue version which uses ice shards instead of lightning strikes) does exist and could come in the future if there’s a demand for it, and hopefully, there will be considering that this expansion is “Iceborne” after all.
Rusted Kushala Daora
So that leaves us with the other Elder Dragon which does have a variant form back in Monster Hunter 2: Rusted Kushala Daora. As you can imagine from a monster with metallic-like skin, this variant’s skin has begun to rust due to oxidation with the air. This results in its skin being even harder than the usual monster and thus, attacks can bounce off it more than it usually does. It is also known to be far more aggressive than the usual Kushala Daora too as it looks to shed its skin and will attack anything nearby it as it can be extremely vulnerable after shedding.
Now the reason why many players would rally behind the idea of a Rusted Kushala Daora being in Iceborne is that in the Hoarfrost reach, players have found it. Or at least what looks to be it’s shedding skin. Could this be a hint that we might hunt them down soon? Perhaps, but we’ll have to wait and see if that happens.
If you are new to the series of Monster Hunter and got the chance to see a Rajang for the first time, you might not think much of the giant ape with bull horns and its gigantic muscles. And then you see it fight a Kirin to a standstill before literally ripping off its horn and eating it to turn golden. If you have fought it and got to experience just how dangerous it is, you might be asking yourself, “Does it get any worse than that?”
Well my friends, imagine that giant punching monkey was constantly golden as though the Rajang was in a permanent rage mode. Well, imagine no longer because that’s where the Furious Rajang comes into play!
Scaring Hunters since Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, this rare and special version of the Rajang is constantly enraged for unknown reasons. Some say the cause could be because the Rajang lost its tail and the power the Rajang possesses became too unstable for it to handle. While they are just like regular Rajangs, Furious Rajangs are far stronger, faster, and even more aggressive. And when it becomes enraged and surrounded in an aura of golden lightning… well, let’s just say “Nice knowing you.”
It can certainly be a whole new challenge for Hunters to confront and while many have just grown accustomed to how one can fight one or two off at a time, a Furious Rajang would crack that difficulty up to 11 and rip the knob right out. Who knows if Capcom will be so evil to bring this one back into the fold, but no denying how fun it would be to get a crack at this monster once more.
If we were to talk about unique monsters that brought something new and exciting to the table, it would be the Brachydios. Not only did we get a giant creature that attacks hunters through the act of punching, but it also brought a brand new element into the Monster Hunter series: Blast. At first, the ailment was known as “Slime” as Brachydios would apply slime to its fists to have more explosive punches, and even after its return to Iceborne, it was the only monster to have this specific kind of Blast.
So what’s worse than dealing with a regular Brachydios? A raging one, of course! The slime this variant possesses is rather abnormal as the usual green slime it has is now orange and the slime is much more powerful and faster to blow up (although the creature is slower). Many believe the reason behind this is because of a strange organ it has that keeps the slime mould active much more than for a regular Brachydios. Funny enough, many thought the Raging Brachydios was going to be in Iceborne at a later time due to how many felt its weapons were incomplete.
Much like some of the monsters in the game, instead of having unique designs to the monster, they only have the base Metal or Bone with different handle designs. Some thought returning monsters would not suffer from this, but even the Brachydios has some reasons that look very lacklustre. When you look closer at the weapon tree though, you notice something rather interesting: there’s enough space for one more weapon upgrade there (if there was one more to be thrown in). Could this be a hint of things to come? Perhaps, but let’s wait and see if we get a rematch.
There are plenty of options out there that we could consider, and for all we know, the variants could be monsters we have never seen before now. Much like how we got four brand new variants in Iceborne, the developers could reach into the lost list and find new ways to make them even more dangerous to hunt down. It is difficult to say where the game will go as we move through 2020, but considering how much we got in Iceborne so far, it is probably best to not underestimate whoever comes next.
Of course, it could be just as fun to think of what we could see beyond the variants and the Arch-Tempered. If they can make monsters like the Great Jagras and the Lavasioth become gigantic threats, who knows what other basic monsters can see the same treatment. Just look at the Final Fantasy crossover event with Monster Hunter in 2019 and how the Kulu Ya-Ku grew itself into a nightmare.
Whether if it is Variants or Subspecies, we got plenty to look forward to in terms of challenging fights. For all we know, if Iceborne does move into a “Year 4” plan, we could see even bigger challenges come. As fun as it would be to see the return of Deviant Monsters from Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate (versions of monsters that made them far more dangerous to deal with), we’ll just have to wait and see what new challenges come our way in the upcoming months. Happy Hunting everyone.
Thank you for Reading
Which monsters do you think will have Variants coming soon? Will they be returning? Or brand new threats? Be sure to leave a comment and follow us here at Culture of Gaming for more coverage on Monster Hunter World Iceborne and other things in the gaming world.