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“The Hunter Joins the Hunt” Monster Hunter Character Analysis

Welcome to the ninth article of Smashboards Character Analysis! These articles will not be looking at why a character is or isn’t likely, so please do not expect that going in. Instead, they will focus on how a character might play in Smash and how their series might be represented within the boundaries of the Fighter’s Pass.

”Monster Hunter Joins the Hunt!” Smashboards’ Monster Hunter Character Analysis


Introduction Monster Hunter
The Monster Hunter series first debuted in 2004 on the Playstation 2 and is one of Capcom’s more successful and popular franchises. Its success and popularity in its home country of Japan is gigantic. The series, like many others like Mario and Pokémon , has seeped its way into pop culture and contemporary mass media. It’s not uncommon to hear the titular theme song play in television shows much like how it does for the Dragon Quest theme. If that wasn’t enough, the numbers show that it has plenty of games within its already massive library with over 30 games in the series including spinoffs and offshoots. The Nintendo Switch will get its own game with Monster Hunter Rise, which will release in 2021 so we can take our hunting on the go!

The premise is simple: players partake in quests to slay powerful and large beasts while wielding standard weaponry such as swords and shields, bows, and hammers, but also more fantastical weapons like gunlances, axes that become swords, and glaives. Monsters come in all shapes and sizes from the cat-like Felyne who aid the Hunter to gigantic creatures like Lao-Shan Lung. While it may seem strange seeing a small character like the Hunter taking down monsters the size of skyscrapers, it’s all in good fun and that is the allure of the series. Every creature in the games has its own set of abilities, characteristics, behavior, and traits; so knowing what they are and how to counter them is key to taking them down.

Its vast library of monsters, weapon and armor sets, customizable options, and sprawling environments has helped the game go from a little known Japanese action game to a full-blown global franchise. There is even a Hollywood adaptation coming to the big screens starring Mila Javocvich. While its start was on the PlayStation, Monster Hunter has found its way on Nintendo systems - particularly the Nintendo 3DS. Monster Hunter Rise is certain to bring additional features, content, and monsters to a franchise that is already full of amazing content.

Hunter Character Overview


The Hunter is a slow yet strong fighter who has plenty of unique attributes and traits. Their biggest trait is the ability to wield several weapons in their home games and this is true in Smash. If people thought Byleth was unique using a sword, bow, and axe, then you have seen nothing yet. The Hunter can use various weapons in combat with each one having unique properties and abilities which is true for their home games. From now, let’s take a brief look at the Specials.

The Hunter’s Specials are all mapped to a particular weapon except for the Up Special and the Hunter, like Terry, has a Back Special. Each one of these Specials is unique in execution and has additional properties. Thier Neutral Special, Gunlance, can deliver up to eight shots before the weapon becomes empty, but will gradually reload. Players can unleash all eight shots in a massive blast or triple tap it to release any leftover shots. Their Forward Special is Long Sword Strike, which has a gauge and attacking with it fills up the gauge. When fully filled, it becomes a powerful slash attack. The Back Special is Hunting Horn and becomes a powerful attack when charged. Charging the weapon will produce a musical note with a successful hit and lining up three musical notes together will give the Hunter a temporary stat buff. The Down Special is Switch Ace and, much like the other Specials, has a gauge which can be filled by attacking with the Switch Axe. Once full, it switches to the Sword Version, and gives the Hunter an unique buff. This will gradually decrease until the sword switches back to the axe and the gauge resets.



It’s understandable that four gauges positioned above the HUD would be hectic and cramped so to ease this problem, only two are present at one time. This includes the current one (or the one most recently used) and the gauge previous to that one. It’s the player’s job to remember the progress of the other gauges. The gauges will decrease when not used, but this decrease is very gradual and small. For example, let’s say the player uses Hunting Horn and gathers notes shots followed by several hits from the Switch Axe. From there, they rely on Neutrals and Smash Attacks to attack the opponent and forget to use Hunting Horn and the Switch Axe. Within time, the player will lose the three musical notes and any progress with the Switch Axe Gauge. The only Special not affected by this is Gunlance as it will generate ammo over time. All the progress for the gauges will reset to 0% if the player is KO'd, but the ammo for the Gunlance will be reset back to 8. It may confuse the player if they switch between specials (and gauges) so that’s why the Specials mechanics were tailored to encourage the player to focus on a single weapon to build up these gauges for extra damage output and stat boosts. These stat boosts and weapon attributes are the same as they are in Monster Hunter, though tweaked for better balancing for Smash.

Speaking of stats, the Hunter’s play style and attributes were never discussed. Being a powerful and armor-clad warrior, the Hunter would be on the slow side but capable of tremendous damage output in the right hands. The Hunter isn’t a typical “heavy swordsman” though thanks to their uniqueness. The Hunter can change up how they play to fit the battle, which is yet another aspect of Monster Hunter. In these games, the tide of battle can swiftly change which forces the player to change up their strategy and to try something different. It’s also important to note that the Hunter will typically hold the last used weapon. That being said, the Hunter’s default weapon is the Sword & Shield. Finally, the Specials use weapons universal among the four alternate costume armor sets for the Hunter. The Great Sword and Sword & Shield, however, are a part of the neutral attacks and these change based on the alternate costumes.

Hunter Specials and Final Smash


Neutral Special: Gunlance


The Hunter equips the Gunlance and stabs forward. Pressing the special button while in mid-attack again will release the shot which is called Shelling. It has up to eight shots before it loses its ammo, which at that point, it becomes a normal lance. The ammo will slowly recharge overtime with a single shot restoring every 45 seconds.

Charging the input does Full Burst Attack. While it has high damage, it uses all the shots left over unless there are only two shots left. Full Burst Attack causes the Hunter to point the Gunlance downward and fire an explosive blast all around the Hunter. This attack will deplete all of the currently stored ammo but. Despite it being great for offensive and defensive purposes; only downside is that it lacks an aerial variation. Finally, if all eight shots are present, charging the input will instead go Wyvern Fire which uses all eight shots at once. This deals massive amounts of damage with a wide radius but also hinders the Hunter as they can’t access the move until the shots fill back up. The Gunlance that the Hunter uses is the L'Onde which comes from Shagaru Magala.

  • Gunlance: 14.5% (close), 9.2% (far)
  • Full Burst Attack:18.2% (full), 17.5%~ (7 shots left ~ damage decreases the less shots there are), 10% (3 shots left)
  • Wyvern Fire: 28.3%

Forward Special: Long Sword Strike


The player can charge the attack, which causes the Hunter to sheathe their Long Sword. Holding down the input causes the Hunter to continue to keep their sword sheathed while pushing forward causes Hunter to inch their way forward. Letting go causes the Hunter to release a powerful sword slash that has a wide arc that’s fast, strong, and can cut through shields.

The attack has another unique feature that, upon releasing the button input, smashing the control stick to the side quickly causes the Hunter to sprint ahead quickly before slashing forward. This allows the Hunter to close gaps and get within striking distance with little warning for the opponent. The Long Sword has a unique gauge called the Spirit Gauge which fills up by attacking the opponent with the Long Sword. Once filled, it will cause the Hunter to perform the Spirit Strike, a powerful strike with zero start up or ending lag and has a vacuum effect as the sword swings down. The will then gauge reset back to zero after being used. The weapon used is the Lion Dance Sabre, which is crafted from a Lunastra.

  • Long Sword Strike: 13.1%, 15.5% (fully charged)
  • Long Sword Strike (Sprint): 11%
  • Spirit Strike: 18.2%

Back Special: Hunting Horn


The Hunter will pivot backwards and take out the Hunting Horn. They will then swing it downwards with a powerful blow and charging it increases the damage, however, much like a Smash Attack. The big difference is that the Hunter will receive a Note based on how much they charged it. Notes come in three colors: yellow, blue, and red, and these depend on how much the attack was charged with yellow being uncharged and red being fully charged. Gaining three Notes, regardless of the color, causes the Back Special input to do the Recital Attack. The effect granted to the Hunter depends on the collected three Notes. These include:
  • Yellow, Yellow, Yellow: Adds electrical damage to attacks for 10 seconds
  • Blue, Blue, Blue: Adds ice damage to attacks for 10 seconds
  • Red, Red, Red: Adds fire damage to attacks for 10 seconds
  • Yellow, Blue, Red: Increases overall attack damage for 15 seconds
  • Yellow, Yellow, Blue: Increase speed for 15 seconds.
  • Yellow, Yellow, Red: Greatly increase jump for 15 seconds.
  • Blue, Blue, Yellow: Increase Shield strength for 15 seconds.
  • Blue, Blue, Red: Increase damage to Shields for 15 seconds.
  • Red, Red, Yellow; Increases Smash attack damage for 15 seconds.
  • Red, Red, Blue: Greatly increases launch resistance for 15 seconds.

Despite the Recital Attack being called “an attack”; it doesn’t actually do any damage. The player cannot perform further notes while the buffs are active and doing so causes Hunter Horn to be a standard chargeable attack. Danger Call, which is crafted from the Najarala, represents the War Horn.

Damage: 7% (uncharged), 12.3% (fully charged)

Up Special: Wire Bug


The Hunter summons a Wire Bug, which will appear some distance above the Hunter. The Hunter will then use their energy chain to grab a hold of the Wire Bug. From there, the Hunter can do one of three different actions: perform an air jump, attack out of it, or to launch themselves even further like a sling. This is down by smashing the control stick to the direction you are moving after hooking with the hug which launches the player. The Bug will always hover at an upward diagonal angle in front of the Hunter.

Damage: 0%

Down Special: Switch Axe


The Switch Axe can transform between an Axe Version and a Sword Version. The Axe Version is the weapon’s default and is a quick horizontal slash attack. Inputting a second command causes the Hunter to perform a vertical slash and finally by a third attack that’s a powerful smash attack. Once the Switch Gauge is filled, players can access the Sword Version. The Sword Version is noteworthy because it has a Phial effect which boosts the Hunter’s Special Attack damage output. After starting up the Sword Version, the gauge will continue to drain overtime, but attacking with the Switch Sword will slightly delay the timer, thus increasing the duration of the transformation. This is done so players don’t rely on using the Phial buff to attack using the other Special and, rather, switch to other weapons.

Once it finishes, the Sword version and Phial vanishes and it becomes the Axe version. The two versions differ in attributes with the Axe Version having less reach and slower but deals more knockback while the Sword version has more reach, is faster, and does slightly more damage yet less knockback. The weapons used is the Akantor Subjugator, which comes from the monster, Akantor.

  • Switch Axe: 5%, 7%, 9.3%
  • Switch Sword: 6%, 9%, 12.2%

Final Smash: Let the Hunt Begin

The Hunter pulls out a Barrel Bomb and ignites it. It will explode, which traps anyone nearby in the blast. The Hunter can damage the bomb by hitting it with a projectile for a premature surprise blast. This starts a cinematic cutscene which seems to be a staple for DLC fighters.

The trapped opponent(s) will find themselves in a wide field before the Hunter whistles and runs away. The opponent looks up to see a Deviljho running at them who will rush and grab the opponent before throwing them into the air.

As they fall, a Nargacuga will swoop in and perform several attacks before a Diablos reaches up from below and grabs the opponent. They slam back down into the ground followed up by a joint attack by Rathalos and Rathian who unleash a powerful fireball attack which will deal final hit and launch the opponent(s).

Damage: 65.4%

Hunter’s Smash Attacks and Other Notable Attacks
The following are the weapons used based on the chosen alternate costume. Please note the two main weapons, the Sword & Shield and the Great Blade have variations based on which alternate Armor is worn.

Sword and Shield: Djinn (Rathalos), Princess Rapier (Rathian), Kirin Bolt (Kirin), Lagia Sword (Lagiacrus), Hana no Nogoriwo (Mizutsune), Black Dragon Sword (Fatalis) Sucher-Ankh (Gore Magala)
Great Sword: Rathalos Firesword (Rathalos), Valkyrie Blade (Rathian), Emperor Thundersword (Kirin), Lagiacrus Blade (Lagiacrus), Hanayoko Yohino (Mizutsune), Fatalis Blade (Fatalis), Schattenstolz (Gore Magala)
Dual Blades: Demolition Blades (Brachydios)
Bow & Arrow: Tigrex Vibrissa (Tigrex)
Hammer: Mane Malice (Ranjang)
Insect Glaive: Altair (Seregrios)

Jab Attack: The Hunter has three attacks using the sword and shield. The first is a standard horizontal slash followed by a shield bash while the third is a downward slash attack.

Damage: 3%, 3.8%, 5%

Dash Attack: Demon Rush: The Hunter pulls out dual blades and rushes forward while striking multiple times. This is one of the longest dash attacks in the game and potentially the most powerful as it does multiple hits of damage.

Damage: 2%, 2.2%, 2%, 3.6%, 4%

Forward Tilt: Sword Slash: The Hunter takes out the Sword and Shield again and performs a sweeping horizontal slash attack.

Damage: 7.2%

Up Tilt: Giant’s Blade: The Hunter takes out the Great Blade and performs a half-crescent forward slash that does high damage.

Damage: 12%

Up Smash: Bow and Arrow: Hunter pulls out a bow and arrow and fires a barrage of arrows pointed upwards. The amount the Hunter fires depends on how long the player charges the attack. Uncharged, the Hunter fires off three arrows while the fully charged version fires six total. The reach of this Up Smash is high and one of the highest in the game. They will then fall back down to the ground which can do meteor smash.

Damage: 3.2%, 9.6% total (uncharged), 4.7%, 28.2%, total (fully charged), 2.2%, 6.6 total (uncharged arrow descent), 3.1%, 18.6% total (fully charged arrow descent)

Down Smash: Barrel Bomb: The Hunter pulls out a Barrel Bomb and then places it down. Once the fuse ignites its payload, it will explode. It can prematurely detonate by using various projectiles and can roll along the ground after getting knocked over. The attack will do damage the longer it is charged but also shortens the fuse.

Damage: 14% (uncharged), 25% (fully charged)

Neutral Aerial: Hammer Strike: Hunter pulls out the Hammer and swings downward. It does the most damage when the hammer head makes contact and can cause a meteor smash if sweetspotted. However, the attack suffers from significant start up and ending lag, making it hard to nail the sweetspot. It’s great for meteor smashing opponents hanging from the ledge but it has to be hit on the sweetspot to do so.

Damage: 12% (whiff), 20.2% (sweetspot)

Forward Aerial: Double Blade Storm: The Hunter pulls out the Double Blades and does an aerial spin attack while hitting two to four times. Short-hopping the attack results in significant landing lag.

Damage: 3.3% (per hit)

Down Aerial: Insect Glaive Descent: Hunter pulls out their Insect Glaive and hovers in the air momentarily before striking down in a stall and drop type attack.

Damage: 14.1%

Up Aerial: Insect Glaive Spike: Hunter takes the Insect Glaive and performs three upward stabs while in the air. If the attack is short hopped, it only produces two upward strikes.

Damage: 4.2% (per hit)

Entrance Animation
The Hero appears with their back turned and hunched over a piece of meat on a cooking spit. The Hunter then stands up and the meat and cooking spit vanishes with a poof.


  • Up Taunt: A Felyne appears next to Hunter and jumps up twice while punching into the air. The Hunter folds their arms while looking down at the Felyne approvingly.
  • Side Taunt: Hunter puts away their weapon and pounds their fists together before using their hand to do a “bring it on” gesture. This is based on the Taunt emote from Monster Hunter World.
  • Down Taunt: The Hunter pulls off the cooking spit and rotates the meat on the spit. If the Hunter presses an input, attacked or disrupted, the Hunter will cease cooking. If the Hunter cooks all the way through, they can eat the meat to gain 1% health.

Idle Animations
  • Shuffles back and forth on their feet.
  • Rotates their arm while stretching.

Victory Animations
  1. The Hunter performs several slashes with the Great Sword before slamming it down into the ground.
  2. The Hunter heaves the Hammer over their shoulder while a Felyne jumps up and down in celebration. If the player allows it to continue, the Felyne will occasionally trip and fall.
  3. The Hunter rolls into view and arms themselves with a bow and arrow as Rathalos swoops in from behind and does a low fly by attack. The Hunter then kneels down and takes aim before firing it.

Classic Mode: A Monster Hunting Quest
This classic Mode Route is a reference to how the Hunter goes on quests to find and defeat a rampaging creature. Each battle is fought gain at a gigantic version of the character who are based on the monsters found in the games.

Round 1 - Vs. :ultdk:

The fight is highly similar to the Rajang battle in Monster Hunter World: Iceborn DLC.

Round 2 - Vs. :ultgreninja:
Great Bay

Greninja comes from some amphibious monsters from the series.

Round 3 - Vs. :ultkrool:
Wuhu Island (Mountain)

King K. Rool is reminiscent of the Brute Wyvern monster class.

Round 4 - Vs. :ultbowser:
Gaur Plains

Much like King K Rool, Bowser was based on the larger monsters found in the game.

Round 5 - Vs. :ultridley:
Kongo Falls

Ridley draws inspiration from the Flying Wyvern monster class.

Round 6 - Vs. :ultcharizard:

Like Ridley, Charizard is based on the Flying Wyvern class but also reminiscent of the Fire-breathing variants.

Final Round Vs. Rathalos

Rathalos as the end boss is an obvious and easy decision.

Victory Theme

Note: Allowing the victory screen to continue interrupted will allow the overture to continue much like Cloud’s from Final Fantasy.

Also Note: I chose the Triumph theme from Monster Hunter 4 instead of World because 4 was on a Nintendo console.

Series Symbol

Rathalos and it’s symbol depiction in Monster Hunter 4 was used due to Rathalos prevalence in the series


Alternate Costumes
All alternate costumes for Monster Hunter have a male and female variant for each set. The first two, Rathalos Armor, come in male and female variants but the other alts are based on individual armor instead of male/female sets. These armor include iconic armor as well those that come from Monsters introduces Monster Hunter games that appeared on a Nintendo system.



It was odd that the Monster Hunter was absent in Ultimate despite the fact the series was already present in the game. Perhaps including Ryu and Ken were one-too-many Capcom characters in the base game? Whatever the reason is, Monster Hunter deserves to stand toe-to-toe with the other gaming all-stars. While the Hunter might not be the mascot of the series (this distinction goes to the Felynes and Rathalos), the Hunter is the most realizable character to include. Everything from their weapons, the attributes they gain from each weapon, and their armor sets them apart from many other characters on the roster - even Byleth. In the next article, I will explore what kind of content, such as stages, spirits, and music, could come from Monster Hunter so please look forward to diving further into the world where humans hunt gigantic monsters.

Graphics: Venus of the Desert Bloom Venus of the Desert Bloom , @Zerp
Social Media: @Zerp
Sources: Monster Hunter Wikia
Special Mentions: Feliciafan’s Monster Hunter Character Showcase, Arekkz Gaming Channel

Author’s Note: I may not be a Monster Hunter player, but I would love to see this unique fighter, with all of their weapons and armor, come to Smash. Monster Hunter is an unique series that spans generations. Do you agree with this moveset? Perhaps you have other ideas? I am interested in hearing what you think, so please leave a comment!
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Venus of the Desert Bloom


Instead of trying to cram all these weapons in a single moveset, how about having different themed "loadouts" to switch between?

Speed: Sword & Shield, Dual Blades and Long Sword
Power: Great Sword, Hammer and Switch Axe
Range: Bow, Light & Heavy Bowguns
Defence: Lance & Gunlance
Tricky: Hunting Horn, Charge Blade and Insect Glaive

Regardless of how many loadouts get used or if in-battle switching is permitted, I'd also like for the hunter to be able to enter a "sheathed" stance, whether they have little to no normal attacks available, but increased mobility and a set of specials including traps or flash bombs to be better able to set up their weapon hits.
Monster Hunter is one of Capcom's most successful and well known titles. I would say it will be a battle between Devil May Cry's Dante or Monster Hunter for Capcom's next Smash representative, but I wouldn't be surprised if Monster Hunter was chosen.
Long-time Monster Hunter fan here!

I am happy this thread is being made. Its kinda wild that they got a random Boss Battle but no other content.. which ALWAYS had me thinking that MH was getting a fighter at some point or another. I think although having the Monster Hunter as a fighter is cool and has so much potential, I think even just having a Palico as the stand-alone fighter would be a unique type of fighter, as I think outsiders could easily dismiss a Monster Hunter as a loose fit to the "Main Hero with a Sword" trope going around... and tbh it would bore me. No matter WHAT kind of weapon type they have. (Plus I know they would be rather clunky in movement and I like lightweight/airy fighters....lol).

I think just a Palico is an awesome idea for a fighter....without the hunter [altho it DEF wont happen lol], as the Palicoes have their own Blunt/Severing Weapons, armor sets etc.... They also had a cannon, fireworks, healing spray, electric shocks, buff status spells, stunning traps, dizzying traps, molotov bombs, shield creation, etc.... Let alone the INFINITE possibilities for costumes with Grimalkynes and Gajalaka subspecies..... who have their own weapons, attacks (which are primarily poisoning/stun attacks).... and their personalities! ... and thats just on the last game, Monster Hunter World. Not even taking into account the MANY games before hand! The possibilities are endless!!!

Ignore my excitement, Im happy this thread is made, and I think the possiblitiy of Monster Hunter getting a fighter is something people should start really thinking of as a real possibility.
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While I would still argue that Monster Hunter has an excellent history with Nintendo and is perfectly viable for Smash on his own merits, I admit that the main reason I want a playable Monster Hunter is the OCD factor.
Why is there a Monster Hunter stage in the game that's exclusive to single player? It may be a basic flat walk-off, but it is still a stage.
Why is Rathalos the only boss character (besides Smash originals) to not have a playable character from the same series?
If it weren't for this, then Dante would be my Capcom pic. Alas, Monster Hunter feels like a missing puzzle piece at the moment.

But fair warning, I have had the OCD factor shattered before when:

Min Min was picked over Spring Man, breaking the tradition of mascots first.

Piranha Plant is playable before Toad, who is way more important to the series.

Donkey Kong is a juggernaut series with only 3 characters whereas Fire Emblem is relatively niche and has 8 characters.

Simon and Ryu got perfect Echo Fighters in Richter and Ken respectively, but characters that are literally clones in their original games like Shadow the Hedgehog, Ms. Pac-Man, and Proto Man didn't become playable characters.

Waluigi and Isaac are STILL Assist Trophies, despite Sakurai acknowledging their popularity multiple times.

So don't ever bet on choices that aught to be made.
I'll admit I'm not all too familiar with Monster Hunter myself outside of Rathalos and the character in MVCI, but considering what little I have seen, they certainly would fit right in. I even said that if Byleth were instead a Monster Hunter with the near exact same moveset, I'd have bet money the reception would have been infinitely different than the lukewarm stares I envision people giving...

the only thing I still wonder about is how to account for those ridiculously oversized weapons of theirs, I mean, jesus...
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While I would still argue that Monster Hunter has an excellent history with Nintendo and is perfectly viable for Smash on his own merits, I admit that the main reason I want a playable Monster Hunter is the OCD factor.
Why is there a Monster Hunter stage in the game that's exclusive to single player? It may be a basic flat walk-off, but it is still a stage.
Why is Rathalos the only boss character (besides Smash originals) to not have a playable character from the same series?
If it weren't for this, then Dante would be my Capcom pic. Alas, Monster Hunter feels like a missing puzzle piece at the moment.

But fair warning, I have had the OCD factor shattered before when:

Min Min was picked over Spring Man, breaking the tradition of mascots first.

Piranha Plant is playable before Toad, who is way more important to the series.

Donkey Kong is a juggernaut series with only 3 characters whereas Fire Emblem is relatively niche and has 8 characters.

Simon and Ryu got perfect Echo Fighters in Richter and Ken respectively, but characters that are literally clones in their original games like Shadow the Hedgehog, Ms. Pac-Man, and Proto Man didn't become playable characters.

Waluigi and Isaac are STILL Assist Trophies, despite Sakurai acknowledging their popularity multiple times.

So don't ever bet on choices that aught to be made.
It is hardly unusual for Monster Hunter to crossover only through it's creatures and leave hunters out. They are the more recognizable trait of the series after all.

Still, the timing seems good for the announced TGA rewards reveal tonight, though that could be said for a number of things.

Phoenix502 Phoenix502 Looks like Sephiroth just proved Longswords work just fine at their current size at least.
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