Rathalos is an encounter in Monster Hunter World, and the toughest monster you'll face in the starter Ancient Forest area in Low Rank.
Whether you're tackling it in the wild or as part of the key quests, there are a number of Rathalos strategies and weaknesses to learn about, and when you're ready, the many ways to get Rathalos Shell, Scale, Tail, Marrow and Rathalos Webbing.
Elsewhere, our Monster Hunter World tips can help you decide when to farm, what to forage and what to do between hunts, and our Monster Hunter World walkthrough and guide can help with main quest and story progress.
How to prepare for Rathalos the first time
If you've taken on Odogaron as part of the Assigned quests (Rathalos and Diablos are the encounters after that) then you should be ready in terms of armour and offence. That said, upgrading your armour - whether through using Armour Spheres for what you have, or farming a new set from one of the recent monsters - won't hurt.
Rathalos can give you poison, so be sure to have a full compliment of Antidotes. Mega Potions are also essential. We'd also recommend unlocking the Area 17 campsite, which you'll encounter on the way to completing the area's Grimalkynes quest, since Rathalos spawns and returns to Area 16 regularly.
There are also a Tailrider camp very close by (again, you'll find this part of the Grimalkynes quest) so you could start your hunt to recruit one of those, giving Rathalos another target to be distracted by.
You have to hunt a Rathalos as part of the Assigned (main story) quests, after you seek the help of a First Wyverian. If you remember back to that quest, the Rathalos will spawn in exactly the same spot - in area 16 - just south of the Area 17 camp.
If you haven't already, unlock that camp (you'll do so as part of the Grimalkynes quest), allowing you to start fighting Rathalos within 30 seconds of starting the hunt.
Rathalos weakness and strategy
- Fire - Null
- Water - Low
- Thunder - Medium
- Ice - Low
- Dragon - High
- Poison - Low
- Sleep - Medium
- Paralysis - Medium
- Blast - Low
- Stun - Medium
You should approach Rathalos like every flying beast you've encountered so far. When it's in flight, keep moving at a distance and circling round. Unlike Anjanath where its fire attacks were deadly, when Rathalos breathes fire its well telegraphed and either directly ahead or around it, making it easy to avoid.
The problem is its swoops. It'll very suddenly dive towards you, and if you are caught by its talons, you'll be poisoned. You'll want to use an Antidote as soon as you can, so hopefully your Palico and a Tailrider will distract it long enough.
Before the arrival of the new expansion is a list of Monster Hunter World Iceborne beta dates and details on Monster Hunter World Iceborne weapon changes and types. Until then, it's worth scrubbing up on the base game. As well as our Monster Hunter World tips, our Monster Hunter World walkthrough and guide explains how Assigned missions, Expeditions and Investigations work, which will see you hunt Anjanath, Zorah Magdaros, Diablos, Odogaron, as well as Elder Dragons Kushala Daora, Teostra, Vaal Hazah, Xeno'Jiiva and Kirin, as well as the recently added Behemoth. If you are starting out, we recommend learning how to join friends and Squads in multiplayer, plus how to capture monsters and mount monsters. There's plenty of optional stuff, too - such as Grimalkynes and Doodles, helping unlock Plunderblade and Gajalaka quests.
After certain swoops it'll hover momentarily, with its tail just above the ground, giving you enough to get a melee strike in if you are close enough. Otherwise, we'd play a war of attrition here. Forget all notion of attacks when its in flight, and wait until it settles on the ground.
If you're struggling here, watch its head. If it looks at you, prepare for it to swoop in, and keep your stamina up so you can keep moving at pace.
(The added benefit of this is if your Palico has the Vigorwasp ability equipped, it'll lay one down while you evade its attacks, ready for you to use just in case.)
When Rathalos lands, here's when we recommend you attack. Again, watch its head; if looks at you, it's about to turn around with a tail swipe, so roll away. The most frustrating attack is a little hover; if it strikes you with its talons, you'll get poisoned.
As with any monster, the key here is patience, and attacking at the end of its own attack, then ducking out of the way and repeating.
Rathalos has the annoying habit of flying far away from your location after a short battle. Use your various camps to your advantage (again, unlocking the area 17 camp will help here) to fast travel to its nearest location, and recruit Tailriders along the way if its easy to do so.
How to get Rathalos Shell, Scale, Tail, Marrow and Rathalos Webbing
The following materials are available from Rathalos depending on what you break off, carve or receive as a reward:
Rathalos Low Rank materials list:
- Rathalos Shell (Dropped material; also carved, reward)
- Rathalos Scale (Head broken; also carved, reward)
- Rathalos Tail (Tail carved; also reward)
- Rathalos Marrow (Back broken; also carved)
- Rathalos Webbing (Wings broken; also carved, reward)
- Other quest rewards: Rath Wingtalon, Monster Bone Plus, Flame Sac
If you want to increase your materials gains, then consider learning how to capture monsters to get even more for your efforts.