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How to unlock and defeat Alatreon, Monster Hunter World: Iceborne’s new big boss

This week, Monster Hunter World: Iceborne welcomes the return of a series great — Alatreon, the Blazing Black Dragon. It’s the first major monster both console and PC players gain access to at the same time — and what better time to team up.

It an incredibly difficult fight, but you don’t need to put hundreds of hours into the post-game Guiding Lands content or even prove yourself against something like an Arch Tempered Namielle to take it on. Here’s how to unlock Alatreon and what equipment you’ll want to bring to the fight.

How to unlock Alatreon

When it releases, all you’ll need to have done to fight Alatreon is reach the game’s first ending. If you saw Iceborne through to the credits, you’re close to where you need to be to fight it.

If you’re the type of gamer to put the controller down as it fades to black, however, you’ll need to pick it back up prior to Alatreon’s release — or right after, if you want to fight it.

You need to finish Iceborne’s first piece of post-game content to trigger the story that ushers the Blazing Black Dragon into Astera. That means unlocking the Guiding Lands and defeating the Stygian Zinogre through the “Across the Lost Path” quest. That unlocks the Safi’jiiva recon mission you need to quickly run through to unlock the Alatreon quest “Blazing Black Twilight.”

With those goals checked off, head back to Seliana and you should see the Third Fleet Master by the entrance with a quest marker above her head. That’s your ticket into the slaughterhouse.

Preparing to fight Alatreon

Alatreon’s niche is its ability to change its elemental resistances through what are known as Active states. Farcasters are disabled, too, so returning to base to rework your equipment as it cycles through these isn’t an option. It’s bad news for Gunners needing to restock ammo, too.

On paper, what we were told about Alatreon prior to release made it seem as if spreading elemental roles to party members would be the only way to deal with the beast, but in reality, this isn’t wholly necessary.

Though its elemental properties change throughout the fight, exploiting the weakness of its first phase can delay its switch into another, giving you more time to deal optimum damage.

It always starts in the same elemental state, though this could change each day. Once you’ve identified which, one tactic is to go heavy with a weapon of the opposite element to its starting Active state. Aim to do enough damage during that time to break its horns and you’ll dampen the supernova-style attack that leads to most party wipes.

As a bonus, with the horns broken, Alatreon should be frequently locked out of its other Active form, lowering the threat of having your weapons or armor suddenly feel like butter to a knife.

Weapons that scale well with elemental damage (like Sword & Shield or Dual Blade etc.) are good picks, but there’s evidence of players managing the fight with heavily augmented Dragon-element weapons like the Safi Drakcrusher Hammer.

On the armor side of things, you’ll want a set that covers the Active element you have to go up against first–assuming you’re then able to lock it out of the other.

How you decorate them is up to you, but going for the defensive option with things like elemental resistance gems, Defense and/or Vitality can help save on potions.

Astera Jerky should be all you will need to heal through a properly mitigated supernova. Nulberries are a must given how often Dragonblight can cut off your elemental damage output. Gemming for blight resistance can save time.

If Alatreon is proving too difficult, one sure-fire way to craft the new weapons and armor is to spam the quest with a Plunder Blade-equipped Palico. Save your potions and just focus on picking up whatever your feline companion can pluck from the dangerous dragon.

Alatreon element and weak points

As outlined above, Alatreon’s elemental weaknesses and physical weak points change and it switches between Active states. The below numbers are based on its appearance in past Monster Hunter games and should only be used a guideline until concrete data is pulled from its official release:

Elemental weaknesses

  • Grounded (Fire active)

    • Fire: 0
    • Water: 5-15
    • Ice: 10-20
    • Thunder: 5
    • Dragon: 5
  • Flying (Ice/Dragon Active)

    • Fire: 15-20
    • Water: 5-15
    • Ice: 0
    • Thunder: 0
    • Dragon: 10-30

As is with most monsters, the head, neck, and tail of Alatreon tend to be the most susceptible to damage regardless of weapon type — but they’re not always the easiest to hit. This remains mostly true as it switches between elements.

Exceptions lie in how Fire element damage against its body in Ice Active mode isn’t equal to the damage an Ice weapon can do to the same part while in Fire Active mode.

A Dragon weapon with 800+ elemental damage, can be enough to get you by if you’re aggressive enough with your attacks in the first phase.

Abnormal status and ailments

The only thing Alatreon is immune to on this front is Exhaust, so Hammer users still clinging onto Stamina Thief gems should use this opportunity to switch to increased element damage. Poison, Sleep, KO, and Paralysis are all fair game.

Blast has the lowest initial trigger rare and lowest overall increase, but with element damage being a major part of the fight, it isn’t going to be a stand-out strategy.

Alatreon mechanics and strategy

Since its inception in Monster Hunter Tri, Alatreon has been something of an amalgamation of the series’ toughest “True Elder Dragons.” It uses many of these monsters’ skills, so prepare to take your knowledge of other elder dragons’ attacks in this fight.

The blazing black dragon’s mastery of the elements is flakey at best. Even though it switches between only three distinct elemental phases (Fire Active, Ice Active, and Dragon Active), it will regularly use Thunder and Water-attuned attacks as well. Escaton Judgement is what you’ll be working to mitigate.

How to survive Escaton Judgement — the Alatreon supernova

After switching from its starting Active state to Dragon, the change to its third is usually signaled by its supernova-style move Escaton Judgement.

Escaton Judgement isn’t something you can dive or evade through. Things go quiet, and the world around you combusts, dealing incredible damage over time in a short window. If you haven’t dealt enough elemental damage before then and broken the monster’s horns, the damage will be too fast and heavy to survive.

The secret to surviving Escaton Judgement lies in its name. You’re being judged on the damage you managed to deal up until that point. Do too little and you’ll be deemed unworthy by Alatreon, likely wiping the entire squad and ending the quest. Many have tried using Wide-Range to use multiple potions at once, but it rarely works.

To solo Alatreon, it really does boil down to maximizing your elemental damage. It’s a classic MMO DPS race in this regard. Study its attack patterns and find exactly when and where you can get larger attacks out.

Focus on the head and front claws during its first phase to knock the horns off and stop Escaton Judgement from burning you into a fine slice of bacon. One good example of this is during its area-wide lightning strikes. Anywhere underneath is perfectly safe throughout this long move.

If you’ve knocked the creature down during the fight and broken the horns, a well-timed Astera Jerky should be enough to heal you through Escaton Judgement. If not, you didn’t hit it hard and fast enough. Rework your equipment, rethink your strategy, and get back in there.

Alatreon armor and weapons

The design of the Alatreon armor is clearly inspired by the creature’s jagged black scales. A full set awards +23 to each element, presumably to aid in its unique set bonus called Alatreon Divinity.

Alatreon Divinity is a new armor bonus that increases your weapon’s elemental power as the elemental resistance stats of your armor increases. The preview screen shows 770 Dragon element increasing to 810 as 69 resistance goes up to a whopping 161.

It doesn’t look like much of an increase, but with 115 of that coming the full armor set, getting a boost from a Hunting Horn, decorations, and a sweet pre-hunt meal can result in a fairly major damage output increase that should aid in subsequent Alatreon runs.

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