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It has a body structure similar to Lagiacrus, with gray scales, jade colored crystal-like organs on its body, two small wing-like crests, and blue fur running down its spine, along the arms and from the tail. It has the ability to levitate by collecting, charging and releasing air particles from the jade crystals along its body.
Greatly feared and admired, Shantien has become quite popular and is one of the strongest monsters in the series, close to a point of overkill at its strongest.
Shantien appears fragile and slow initially, but as hunters anger the monster it begins to improve its own abilities. By the third rage mode it is impressively fast, and it will continue endlessly moving at this speed, taking quick sweeps at the ship in a attempt to hit hunters until forcibly stopped with a loud sound (like the ship's gong) or hooked with the Ballista Binder.
Upon angering it even further it will almost completely destroy the exploration ship with lightning and fire, causing it to crash into a unknown, unmapped volcanic zone. In this state hunters will face the true horror and power that is Shantien to the death. This is where its most famed move begins; it will smash the ground below and roar, which causes lava to burst forth at both random spots around the area and directly under all hunters, which in turn causes them to be launched in the air. Shantien follows this by assaulting the now-airborne hunters with lightning, commonly resulting in instant death and instant quest failure to the unwary. The attack is omnidirectional and extremely hard to evade if not close to Shantien.
It is one of the current four monsters with the leveling system (known as Conquest Wars), with a maximum level of 9999. Shantien is already capable of using its deadly lava thunder combo at level 1, and it will only become more deadly as the Elder Dragon rises in level. In addition, it gains more health and also begins using new attacks (such as homing water beams), often catching hunters off guard with these and more unexpected powers. Shantien can eventually hit a point in levels so strong even 2000 defense can become near worthless.
- Despite being an Elder Dragon, Shantien has a body structure highly similar to Leviathans, such as Lagiacrus or Agnaktor, and even uses some of the same physical attacks as them when battling on the airship's floor.
- Like Amatsu, it is often followed by stormy weather.
- Shantien can use thunder element, in a manner similar to a Lagiacrus.
- Shantien's roar requires HG Earplugs to block.
- In Chinese, lightning (闪电) is pronounced Shǎndiàn.
- Its "wings" become much larger when in flight.
- When angered, Shantien starts a violent storm and begins flying in midair around the airship.
- When first released, Shantien could only be fought and repelled on the Large Exploration Ship, as an introduction to G-Rank. In Monster Hunter Frontier G2, if enough damage is dealt, Shantien will crash the airship into a fiery volcano area, where it can be fought to the death.
- Shantien's power will increase in this volcanic area, and the blue hairs on its body begin to glow yellow.
- Sonic Bombs are effective against Shantien: They can be used to make it fall to the ground. If it's fought in the volcano, they will also remove its flame aura.
- One of the points of bothering to level up in Conquest War quests is the rewards for reaching higher and higher levels are needed to upgrade G rank equipment.
- Much like Amatsu has a jade like organ that grants its powers, Shantien has one as well and is a 1% carve only item.