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Many view Monster Hunter World as the best game in the series. Whether you’re drawn in by the gorgeous graphics, tremendous Monster lineup, or ludicrous attention to detail, there’s a lot to love, and it makes sense that it’s Capcom’s best-selling game of all time.
The only downside is that Monster Hunter World came out in 2018 and is no longer supported with new content. In World’s final update, Capcom gave the title a phenomenal send-off with the Fatalis fight, but if you’re still clamoring for more, what do you do?
If you ask me, Speedrunning is the best way to squeeze longevity out of games, and Monster Hunter World has a unique rulebook for the hobby that you won’t find anywhere else.
In this Monster Hunter World Speedrun guide, I’ll explain everything you need to get started, from loadouts to competitive rulesets. If you’re a grizzled Monster Hunter veteran, I know you can handle the toughest monsters in the game, but can you do it at speed? Let’s find out!
Bottom Line Up Front
Monster Hunter World offers a unique speedrunning experience as most runners attempt to beat single quests as fast as possible instead of the whole game.
There are a colossal amount of different leaderboards for Monster Hunter World, with each quest having 28 separate boards. As ridiculous as that sounds, it makes sense and means that competition is fair no matter what weapon you enjoy or how you like to play.
Before You Begin
You can casually speedrun Monster Hunter World no matter where you are in the game. However, if you want to compete, there are a few things you’ll need to take care of first.
Pick Your Platform
Many Speedrun communities merge both PC and Console times onto the same leaderboard, which often leads to one particular platform dominating overall.
For fairness, each platform has its own leaderboard for Monster Hunter World, so pick whatever you’re comfortable with. If you have access to both, PC has access to a few helpful mods for practice that you won’t find anywhere else.
Wait, I have to Finish the Game First?
I’ll get into the specifics in the following section, but before you start throwing down times, you ideally want to have finished the game already and have access to endgame equipment. Unless you plan to speedrun the campaign, basic equipment will put you at a massive disadvantage for quickly finishing quests.
Unfortunately, this gives Monster Hunter World a nasty time prerequisite. If you want to speedrun quests from the base game, it takes roughly 50 hours to reach the end. If you want to speedrun Iceborne (which is more popular), it’s a further 30 hours for 80 in total.
Speedrunning is a hobby anyone can enjoy. You can practice specific quests anytime during your Monster Hunter journey and watch your times improve. Endgame gear is nice, but you can still enjoy speedrunning without it.
Pick a Category
There are three main Speedrun categories to pick from in Monster Hunter World. A few unique subcategories exist, but most runners are familiar with these.
Full Game Speedruns
A select few dedicated speedrunners choose to complete the entire game as part of a Full Game Speedrun. The timer starts when the runner leaves the Character Selection screen and ends when Xeno’jiiva is slain in the mission ‘Land of Convergence.’
At the time of writing, 4890 Monter Hunter World speedruns are recorded on Speedrun.com for console. Of those, only 21 are for the Full Game Category, and times vary wildly from just over 5 hours to over 15!
Even with the low runner count, don’t disregard this category if it sounds fun. It takes a special kind of runner to attempt a Full Game Speedrun of this length, and it’s certainly not for everyone.
I can’t offer guides or advice because strategies aren’t optimized with so few recorded runs. Still, there’s something special about running a game or category with little competition, and there’s a real chance of earning a World Record if you stick with it.
There’s a lot of RNG in the Full Game category and a ton of snap decision-making. You can’t beat the campaign with your starting gear, as you won’t be able to kill monsters quickly.
You’ll have to choose where to stop and farm certain targets, and it’ll be up to chance how long this will take. Monster Hunter World is ripe for exploring, and if you want to walk the path less traveled, this nontraditional category could be for you.
If you’re a real masochist, you could attempt a Full Game Speedrun of Monster Hunter World and the Iceborne DLC. At the time of writing, only one brave soul (XxAbyssxX) has done it on console with a time of 11h 27m 05s.
Freestyle Speedruns are where the runner picks a weapon and armor set of their choice, any items they desire, and takes on any quest in the game. Whether you want to defeat the mighty Nergigante or beat a Dodogama into a pulp (you monster), there’s a leaderboard to accommodate you.
As the name implies, anything goes in a Freestyle Speedrun. You can use Traps, Flash Pods, Environmental Hazards like the hanging boulder in the Arena… If you can do it, it’s allowed in this category. In Iceborne, you have free reign to spam the Clutch Claw and repeatedly slam your target into walls.
Through clever item use, some monsters are easy to exploit, and fights become so one-sided it’s basically bullying. There’s a lot of skill involved in taking down targets fast, and the Hunter has plenty of opportunity to express their own fighting style.
The Freestyle Category is fantastic for players that want their speedruns to emulate standard gameplay. Although the next category is more competitive, I’d argue Freestyle is more fun.
Time Attack (TA) Speedruns
TA rules are similar to Freestyle, but with a few key differences to make the category more competitive. This is the most popular category for Monster Hunter World Speedruns. There’s a massive list of rules covering specific scenarios, but the real game-changers are as follows:
- Multiple powerful items are prohibited, including Pitfall and Shock Traps.
- Bombs of any kind are banned.
- Except for Dung Pods and Stones, all Slinger Ammo types are banned.
- Flinch Shot is banned.
- Clutch Claw Wall Slams are banned.
- The Heroics Skill, and Felyne Heroics, are banned even if they don’t trigger during the quest. * At Max Rank, Heroics increases your attack power by a whopping 40% when your health is below 35%. It’s broken for Speedrunning.
- Locale-specific weapons (such as cannons) are banned.
- No Toads are to be used, but if they are accidentally triggered on the way to the target, that’s fine.
- You can Fast Travel, but restocking/changing equipment at base camp is prohibited.
Finally, in Monster Hunter World, there is a chance that when you start a quest, your Wingdrake that drops you off will do so away from the Base Camp.
If that happens and you’re doing a TA run, it immediately invalidates your attempt. This rule is a big reason why many runners stick to Arena quests, as the Wingdrake will only ever drop you at camp.
These rules may seem restrictive, but they promote fairness and emphasize combat skills over exploitable gimmicks. You can read the entire rule list here.
Pick a Quest/Monster
Your first port of call is to choose a quest unless you’re going for a campaign run. It can be anything, although the stiffest competition is usually found on Arena quests. If you don’t want to fight there, you’ll have to deal with an additional layer of RNG as the monster moves around the map.
Pick a Weapon
Weapons are a personal choice in Monster Hunter, and even though some may be better than others for certain quests, I strongly advise going with your favorite. If you’re already at the end game, you probably already have something you enjoy.
Don’t change because you see other Weapons completing your quest of choice faster. Remember, if you’re competing, you should only look to compare with other players using the same weapons as you.
Learn the Maps
Many maps are far more intricate than they appear at first glance, with clever shortcuts and environmental hazards you can use to your advantage. Your usage of these is restricted in TA rules, but it’s worth knowing them regardless, even if just to avoid them.
Some monsters are fond of specific locations on each map, and learning how to quickly get there from Base Camp means less time following Scoutflies and more time fighting.
Master the Clutch Claw
Iceborne introduced the Clutch Claw into Monster Hunter World, and it’s absolutely broken, as it allows you to slam monsters into walls or drop flying monsters. Wall Slamming is banned in TA runs, but you can still use the Clutch Claw as a weapon.
Regardless of what category you run, the Clutch Claw is essential, and if you can quickly grab onto specific parts of the monster with it, you’ll shave seconds off your overall hunting times.
Bring the Best Items
Items play a huge part in any hunt, whether you’re speedrunning or not. Your item loadout is severely restricted in the TA category, but if you’re playing Freestyle, make sure to bring the following:
- Flashpods and Flash Bugs to craft more (these are essential!)
- Shock Trap
- Pitfall Trap
- Tranq Bombs
- Mega Demondrug
- Attack Powder
- Max Potions (even the best players make mistakes sometimes)
- Powertalon & Powercharm
- Armortalon & Armorcharm
The Talon and Charm items grant offensive and defensive stat boosts, and their buffs stack. Even if you take everything mentioned here, you have plenty of space to add a few comfort items. Remember, you cannot restock during a hunt if you’re playing with TA rules.
Conquering the hardest boss in the game may be an odd thing to add as a core mechanic, but hear me out. The final update for Monster Hunter World: Iceborne added the incredible battle against Fatalis into the game. Fatalis Armor is the best in the game and offers the maximum amount of level 4 gem slots per piece.
With a complete set of Fatalis Armor, you can set up your skills and fine-tune your build to your liking. You can do very well with smart Armor choices, but Fatalis equipment is usually ‘best in slot.’
Tricks of the Trade
Study Your Target
Monster behavior isn’t nearly as random and organic as it looks at first glance. I’ll show an example later, but a great way to learn about your opponent is to smack them once and then play defensively.
Study how each attack looks. Is there a safe spot to stand in? Does the monster usually follow up one move with another? Watching other Speedruns is a superb learning tool, but until you have the knowledge yourself, it’s hard to put what you see into practice.
One thing you’ll learn while doing this is how your target’s behavior changes when they are enraged. When the border of your radar glows red, the monster is in an aggressive state and will sometimes have a completely different pool of attacks.
Your goal during a speedrun is to be hit as little as possible while playing aggressively and outputting constant damage. It’s a tricky balance to get right and will only come with practice, but since your goal is to avoid injury, you shouldn’t need to invest in defensive skills.
While you’re learning, feel free to spend a few decoration slots on staying alive, but here is a general list of skills that should benefit most weapons in the game:
- Attack Boost
- Critical Eye
- Critical Boost
- Weakness Exploit
- Peak Performance
It’s important to remember that many skills become significantly better when maxed out, and just a single point less can make a huge difference. Skills like Attack Boost grant additional bonuses the more points you invest into them as well.
Many Food Skills are personal preference, but the daily skill Felyne Weakener is a game changer in hunts and absolutely worth trying to get.
Without boring you with maths, monsters can spawn with a ‘regular’ amount of health or a value slightly higher or lower than that. Weakener ensures that your target will never have that higher value.
Arena Quests are King
Arena quests are very popular for a few reasons. There’s much less RNG to worry about, as your target always waits in the same place. Wingdrakes will always drop you at Base Camp when you start the quest, and the monster can’t run away.
If you’re playing with Freestyle rules, the environmental traps are easy to access, and the enclosed space favors a very aggressive playstyle. If you prefer the more organic feel of the other quests, don’t feel like you have to play in the Arena.
Size Up Your Opponent
You probably know monsters come in different sizes, but how does that affect your hunts? Larger monsters don’t hit harder, but they do have bigger hitboxes.
This works both ways as they are easier to hit, but it’s easier for them to hit you too. Fortunately, monster size is not correlated with their total health pool, but some monsters (Anjanath, for example) feel a little janky when oversized.
Healing Wastes Time
Once you’ve got a decent grasp on defeating your chosen monster, a great way to shave seconds off your time is to heal less. Every time you heal, it takes a few seconds for your Hunter to guzzle down a potion on top of repositioning to do so.
This is the hardest bit about speedrunning Monster Hunter World. Striking a balance between relentless offensive play and masterful positioning separates a good Hunter from a pro.
In regular play, a good hunter carries 20+ healing items, and taking less is irresponsible. For speedrunning, you have to approach battles differently, and I’ll explain in more detail in the following section.
The Art of Avoiding Damage
Monster Hunter games have always rewarded solid positioning. If you know what your target will do next, you can reposition and carry on dealing damage from safety. No matter what monster you pick, this takes a very long time to learn and is at the core of speedrunning the title.
We all want great positioning, but you have a few extra tools you might not be aware of, including Armor Skills:
- Dodge Roll – You can roll to quickly get out of the way of attacks. Your roll also has a few frames in the animation where you’re completely invincible. This means it’s possible to roll through some attacks and even roars with proper timing.
- Evade Window – This Armor Skill increases the number of I-Frames you have during rolls. It feels incredible to perfectly evade an attack with this, and it’s a worthwhile addition to any build.
- Evade Extender – This Armor Skill increases the distance you’ll cover when rolling. You don’t gain any I-Frames, but sometimes space is more important.
- Constitution – This Armor Skill doesn’t alter your dodge roll but enables you to do it more. Every time you dodge, you consume Stamina. Constitution reduces Stamina consumption, which is especially handy for weapons that use a lot of it, like the Bow.
- Stamina Surge – Similarly to Constitution, this Armor Skill improves Stamina recovery speed, so you can always dodge when needed.
Study the Pros
As Monster Hunter World has been out for a while, you can watch speedruns by professional players and try to incorporate their strategies into your gameplay.
As each weapon is so different, this is the fastest way to learn tricks and techniques. The Speedrun.com leaderboards are an excellent place to start for this, but another good site to browse is mhwleaderboards.com
Show Your Loadout and End Screen
Although not a ‘trick’ per se, this is good practice if you ever submit a Speedrun. The submission rules state that you must show your equipment after a hunt.
You need to show what you were wearing and what decorations you used for every piece of your equipment. This may sound tedious, but it promotes fair play and ensures modded gear cannot be used.
Usually, I’d show you a complete speedrun from start to finish in this section, but as that’s not really possible for Monster Hunter World, let me show you how to tackle a complete quest step by step. For this example, I’m using Freestyle rules.
Pick your quest and drop the player count to one so you’ll fight solo.
You don’t have control over it, but try for Felyne Weakener at the Canteen (pictured above). As Weakener is a ‘Daily Skill,’ it’s not guaranteed to show up every time you hunt. Daily Skills are randomly picked from a shortlist which changes after every hunt. When you’re practicing, don’t worry about this too much.
Don’t Forget Your Loadout
Remember to restock at the item box before you head out. Ensure you grab any items that will help against the monster you’re fighting. For example, I’m bringing Herbal Powder to deal with my target’s poison attacks. Herbal Powder is faster to use than an Antidote and restores health too.
I’ve picked a fight with a Rathian in the Ancient Forest. She’s a famous wyvern in Monster Hunter Lore with well-telegraphed attacks. I choose the default camp, but with a stroke of luck, the Wingdrake drops me off right by the monster. Remember, this is a problem if you’re using TA rules, but it is okay in Freestyle.
Rathian gets ready to run at me, and as I’m using a bow, I can’t actively counter this action. Rathian usually charges multiple times, so I’m always ready to avoid any follow-ups.
When she’s enraged, Rathian is a nasty monster, and many of her attacks are much more dangerous. Rathian typically shoots three fireballs in a volley instead of just one in this state, and these waste a ton of time if they hit. Traps are a great counter if the monster is doing something you don’t like.
It’s essential that you memorize your target’s moves, as you’ll be able to maximize your damage if you know what’s coming. Rathian loves to swipe with her tail, and as I know she usually spins twice, I don’t rush back in after the first attack.
Use Flashpods if you want to prevent a monster from leaving the area. I missed my shot in this case, but fortunately, Rathian ran into an angry Banbaro in the following zone. This is a unique scenario that won’t happen in arena quests.
After Banbaro has dealt some damage and left, Rathalos shows up, which is a problem. Typically another monster in the area means free damage, but in this unique case, Rathalos won’t hurt Rathian (they are king & queen, after all). Sadly, I had to waste time repelling the Rathalos with Dung Pods.
Rathian doesn’t take to the skies as often as Rathalos, but I know to watch out for her backflip attack when she’s airborne. The backflip inflicts poison, but fortunately, a well-placed Flash Pod drops most flying monsters to the ground. The fight goes smoothly from here, and I capture Rathian to finish the hunt, as it’s faster than killing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Why does the Monster Hunter World Console Version have such a Massive Leaderboard Presence Compared to PC?
Answer: Monster Hunter World was console exclusive for a while before it was released on PC. The game runs perfectly fine on PS4 and Xbox, so there’s little incentive to migrate to PC.
Question: Do I Need Iceborne to Speedrun Monster Hunter World?
Answer: It depends. If you’re running casually, the base game is absolutely fine. If you want Fatalis armor, the Clutch Claw, and more quests, then you’ll need Iceborne. If you want to try your hand at competing, Iceborne is required for most categories.
Question: Is Monster Hunter World Better on PC or Console?
Answer: Some decent mods for speedrunning on PC exist, including one that allows for more than three separate save files. That being said, Console and PC platforms have separate leaderboards anyway, so in this case, both are decent.
Expect the unexpected in Monster Hunter World Speedruns, especially if you’re not fighting in the Arena. You’ll need to practice your chosen quest many times before you start getting decent times, and even then, you’re always at the mercy of RNG.
Monster Hunter rewards a skilled hand and lots of patience.
Leaderboards are platform and version specific for Monster Hunter World. Here are the links to each page on Speedrun.com
- Monster Hunter World (Console)
- Monster Hunter World (PC)
- Monster Hunter World: Iceborne (Console)
- Monster Hunter World: Iceborne (PC)
It’s important to remember that if you’re wearing ANY gear from Iceborne, you must submit your runs to an Iceborne leaderboard. This rule applies even if you’re running a quest in the base game.
I’ve included an abridged version of the official TA Rules, but you can check out the full rulebook on this official page.
Outside of Speedrun.com, Monster Hunter World speedrunners also use Mhwleaderboards.com to compete. Thanks to the simple layout, this website is much easier to navigate, and you can easily view runs for every specific monster and quest in the game.