The Wrath of Rathalos
Hunting Quest: Hunt a Rathalos
Unlock: Complete “Heat Exhaustion” and the “Ancient Mask” Villager Request.
Time: 50 min.
Subquest A: Sever Rathalos' tail
Subquest B: Deliver 1 Wyvern Tear
If you've played a Monster Hunter game before, you know Rathalos. He is the large, red wyvern whose likeness graces the packaging of both the original Monster Hunter on the PlayStation 2 and Monster Hunter Freedom on the PSP.
You'll notice that this series staple looks a lot like Rathian, but you would be mistaken to pass him off as nothing more than Rathian with a colour swap and some minor physical differences. For one, Rathalos's move set and behaviour differ significantly from Rathian's. Furthermore, Rathalos hits harder and has more health than his female counterpart, making him a more formidable foe.
Rathalos is much tougher than his female counterpart.
Rathalos hits hard, so before setting out on this quest it would be wise to invest in some quality armour. The Barroth armour set is a good choice, as the materials needed to craft it are easy enough to gather. If you go with the Barroth set, just be sure to insert an Expert Jewel in one of the slots on the armour to remove the Critical Eye -1 skill. Another option is the Rathian armour set, but you'll have to be lucky enough to get a Rathian Plate to be able to craft the full thing. The Earplugs skill, which can be added to the Rathian set by slotting two Earplug Jewels, would be especially useful here and against almost any other boss monster.
As for a weapon, go with a Hammer or a Great Sword, although a Lance is also acceptable. The Peco Flint is a good choice for a Hammer. For a Great Sword, go with the Cataclysm Sword (follow the Ludroth Bone Sword path) or Sieglinde (start with Giant Jawblade, upgrade to Golem Blade, Golem Blade , Valkyrie Blade and then Sieglinde), although you'll need a Rathian Plate for that one. If you're lancing, get the Acrus Lance (upgrade from Knight Lance in the Iron Lance path) because Rathalos is weak against Lightning.
Bring the usual 10 Mega Potions, some Raw Meat/Well-done Steaks and Whetstones. You'll also want a couple of Dung Bombs and some Antidotes. To create a Dung Bomb, first combine a Sap Plant with a Stone or Iron Ore to create a Bomb Casing, then combine that Bomb Casing with Dung. Antidotes can be purchased from the market in Moga Village or created by combining Antidote Herbs with Blue Mushrooms.
Fighting Rathalos can be somewhat aggravating because he spends much of his time in the air. As such, Rathalos hunts can run long. This makes bringing stamina items such as Well-done Steaks all the more necessary.
Cha-Cha's Fluffy Mask is invaluable when facing Rathalos, as his movement between areas is very unpredictable.
Remove the Map, First-aid Meds, Rations, Antidotes, Paintballs (if Cha-Cha isn't wearing his Fluffy Mask) and EZ Flash Bomb from the Supply Box at the beginning of the quest. Take the time now to cook up some steaks if all you're carrying is Raw Meat.
Rathalos flies. A lot.
If this is your first time attempting this quest, head to Area 8 to watch a short cutscene introducing Rathalos. Otherwise, Rathalos spawns in Area 3. He always flies to Area 4 at the start of the quest, so make your way to Area 4 if you've already seen the video.
Although Rathalos and Rathian are two very different wyverns, they do share some unmistakable similarities. Like Rathian, Rathalos's weak spot is his head, which is low to the ground and thus quite easy to get at. Trouble is, positioning yourself in front of Rathalos is not the wisest idea, as doing so leaves you vulnerable to his trample and unpredictable rising fireball attack. There are still opportunities to get some quality hits in on Rathalos's head; it's imperative that you capitalize on these opportunities when they arise if you have any hopes of ending this fight in a reasonable amount of time.
Rathalos's most devastating attack is his rising fireball. In this attack, Rathalos simultaneously flaps his wings and spits a large fireball at the ground a few feet in front of him, hopping back and ending the attack hovering in the air. Hunters hit by this fireball will not only sustain massive damage, but also the Light or Severe Fireblight status ailment, depending on whether it was a direct hit or just splash damage. The Fireblight status ailment will gradually reduce your hunter's health, but can be cured by either rolling three to four times or by rolling once in water (which is only possible in Area 4). Like Rathian's cluster bomb attack, this fireball leaves behind a burning patch where it hit, which will damage and afflict your hunter with Fireblight if you run into it.
Know that Rathalos will always use this attack right after he becomes enraged (indicated by his flinch-inducing roar). This is especially dangerous because the time it takes for your hunter's ear cover animation to finish and for Rathalos to finish roaring and perform this attack do not sync up. This means if you find yourself in front of Rathalos when he enters rage mode and your hunter flinches, you won't be able to get out of the way before Rathalos spits the fireball, likely earning your hunter a trip back to Base Camp. This is where the Earplugs skill, which prevents your hunter from flinching when in range of a deafening roar, is especially valuable.
Rathalos's rising fireball attack is deadly, so be careful.
The best way to avoid being scorched by this attack is to play conservatively. When at Rathalos's head, don't just hammer the attack button; keep an eye on Rathalos and if you notice him begin to lift his head to roar, block or roll to the side. If you manage to block his roar, you'll have enough time to roll out of way. If you manage to roll, your hunter will still flinch if you don't have the Earplugs skill, but a half-roll to the side might just be enough to get you out of the way. Rathalos spits the fireball at the ground straight in front of him after entering rage mode, so you needn't worry about him angling toward you once you're out of the way.
Keep in mind that this rising fireball attack isn't reserved for when Rathalos enters rage mode. He can use this attack whenever provided he has the stamina, so avoid standing directly in front of him for extended periods of time. As with Rathian, there are several openings you can take advantage of to get a few hits in on Rathalos's head while remaining relatively safe.
As Rathalos spends much of his time in the air, it comes as no surprise that he boasts an arsenal of damaging aerial attacks. While hovering, Rathalos can spit fireballs at the ground, glide across the area or swoop down for a pin. All of these attacks are easily avoidable as long as you keep from being in front of Rathalos while he is hovering. Much as you would when facing Rathian, sprint or roll to keep at Rathalos's side as he turns to face you while hovering. This often leaves him vulnerable when he chooses to spit a fireball down and you're already at his side.
Rathalos's deadliest aerial attack comes when he is way up in the air and well out of reach of melee weapons. In this attack, Rathalos raises his claws, swoops down and scratches at his target, inflicting a potent poison if successful. There is also a high probability that this attack will render your hunter momentarily stunned, leaving him or her open to a subsequent attack. Rathalos seems to almost home in on his target when performing this move, which can make it difficult to dodge.
The best thing to do while Rathalos is flying out of reach is to sheath your weapon and sprint around the area, keeping the camera manually focused on Rathalos at all times. While panic running (the kind of running your hunter does while a large monster is behind him or her), you can perform a dive instead of a roll. This dive is the best way to avoid this particular attack. When you notice Rathalos turn to face you and raise his claws up, be ready to dive out of the way just as he swoops down. Your hunter is invincible while diving, so as long as you're paying attention you can avoid taking damage. If you are hit by this attack, be sure to down an Antidote to cure the poison. If your hunter becomes stunned, rotate the Left Stick to shake them out of it.
Be ready to dive out of the way when Rathalos dives down with his claws out.
While on the ground, Rathalos can use the standard tail whip, bite and trample attacks. Rathalos has a fireball attack similar to Rathian's in which he stands on the spot, lifts his head and spits out a fireball. Unlike Rathian, however, Rathalos always spits a single fireball directly in front of him. This fireball can be dodged with one roll, making this is a good opportunity to move in and strike Rathalos's head a couple of times -- more if he staggers.
As with many of the other large monsters you have faced, the end of Rathalos's tail can be severed by a cutting weapon, significantly reducing the effectiveness of his tail whip attack, giving you an additional carve and, in this case, completing a subquest. Rathalos's tail is of considerable length and wraps around his side when he whips it, so it's best roll into him rather than to the side to avoid being clipped by his tail when it comes around. Rathalos always swings his tail twice during a single tail whip but may chain two or more tail whips in a row, especially while enraged.
Rathalos's trample is another reason to avoid standing directly in front of him while attacking. If you must stand in front of him, such as to get at his head, always roll to the side after getting a few hits in to avoid being trampled. If hit by one of Rathalos's legs when he charges, your hunter will take damage and be knocked back. As such, avoid standing in front of either one of his legs while attacking.
Wondering what those Dung Bombs are for? Monster pinning is a new mechanic introduced in Monster Hunter Tri in which a monster pins your hunter to the ground and continuously deals damage until you manage to wrestle free. This can be a problem if you're hunting solo. . Normally while pinned you would have to rotate the Left and Right Sticks to drain the bar that appears at the bottom of the screen to break free. If you have a Dung Bomb in your inventory, however, you can select it while pinned and throw it at the monster to force them off. Rathalos's clawing move while hovering will go into a pin if it hits, so be ready.
The best time to hit Rathalos's head is while he is low on stamina. When low on stamina, indicated by occasional sluggish movement and a drooling mouth, Rathalos's fireball attacks will frequently fail, allowing you to attack his head without worry of being blasted by his unpredictable rising fireball move. Keep in mind that this holds true only when Rathalos is not in rage mode. Rathalos also seems to charge more while low on stamina, so avoid standing in front of his legs.
Attack Rathalos enough while he's hovering and he'll come crashing down.
It is possible to knock Rathalos out of the air if you attack his legs or tail while he's hovering. Accomplishing this is easier with some weapons types than it is with others. When knocked out of the air, Rathalos will fall to the ground and flail around for a few seconds, giving you an opportunity to strike his head. Be sure you're attacking him from the side while he is hovering to avoid being hit if he swoops. Similarly, attack Rathalos's legs enough while he is grounded and he will fall on his side and flail around for a few seconds. Take the opportunity to damage his head further should this occur.
Another opportunity to hit Rathalos's head is while he is feeding on an Aptonoth to recover stamina. When low on stamina, Rathalos will fly to an area with Aptonoth, swoop down on one and feed to recover stamina. If you follow Rathalos into this area and are right there while he's feeding, stand right in front of him and continuously swing at his head until he dismounts. It's easiest to hit his head with a Great Sword or Lance while he's feeding.
Completing Subquest B requires depositing one Wyvern Tear into the Delivery Box at Base Camp before completing the main quest. Rathalos may drop a Wyvern Tear while feeding on an Aptonoth to recover stamina. Gather at the glittering spot Rathalos leaves behind when he feeds for a chance to find a Wyvern Tear.
Rathalos will attempt to fly to Area 6 to sleep when his health is low. If Cha-Cha is wearing the Fluffy Mask and you notice Rathalos fly to Area 6, give Cha-Cha the signal (by first pressing the Select button to bring up the Hunter menu and then pressing the Start button) and wait until Rathalos's icon on the map turns light blue, indicating that he has gone to sleep. Enter Area 6 where he is sleeping and wake him with a charged Great Sword slash or, if you're using a hammer, a fully-charged Windup Smash to the head.
Continue attacking Rathalos until he falls or capture him to complete the quest.
Hunting a Rathalos