"Warning: Difficult and kind of unfair!"
Hardcore is the most difficult challenge in Monster World, the ultimate challenge for a true Monster World fan. It is like the standard game, but you start with 5 max HP.
Early Game Edit
Since you only have 5 health you have to avoid taking damage. Restart your game until you get a good start. Slimes and neitros are easier to kill, but plaque warriors give you more experience. At the beginning you should always choose Grasslands instead of Forest or Elites, since you are not strong enough to beat harder enemies without taking damage. You could choose the Unknown Event but it is risky, since you have to skip most enemies, causing you to lose gold and experience. Level up dexterity and prefer unlocking skills that give you block (Parry, Flood Back, Moonshine Blessing, Frost Armor, Haste, Malfunction) for obvious reasons. Vanish and Distraction are very strong as well. If you don't have a better choice, choose a skill that applies weakness. Get Healing Water or Regeneration if you took damage. Also you get 4 block every round after getting 5 points on dexterity, which is one of the best thing you could have in hardcore. When you complete all the Grassland levels, visit the shop. If you played perfectly you have just enough gold to buy 2 items. Wallfish Doll is by far the best item because of the 4 block every round. Broken Rune Blade is an interesting item since it gives 3 strength when you have excactly 1 health, significantly increasing your block. Prefer items that give block or strength, obviously. If you don't get any good items don't worry, you can buy abilities instead.
Mid Game Edit
After your first shop, that's when the hard part begins. You need to be lucky to beat hardcore. If you get bad items or bad abilities it's basically game over. It is recommended to choose Caves over Swamp because it is easier. Unlike the beginning, Elites are actually a bit easier now that you are stronger. Always choose Caves Elite, but choose Swamp Elite only if you think you got very strong defence. After maxing dexterity put points on either attack or intellect, it's your choice. If you max attack try to get a KLUNK!-Hammer since it helps a lot against Stonies. If you actually manage to survive, good job! Choose the shop again. Then good luck with the boss fight.
When you defeated the first boss you technically defeated the game, but if you really want to feel like a hardcore god you should loop 2 more times until you get to the point where your HP resets to 5 in standard game. The hardcore gameplay after the first boss is not very different from the normal gameplay. The only differences are that you should make sure that you don't die every single round and you are a bit weaker because you chose the easier fights. You are actually strong enough to go for Elites or Unknown Events most times.
- As of version 1.1.3 of Monster World, as Lunara, starting a Hardcore run on seed 5999 will result in the player's opening hand being 3 Slashes and one Aqua Burst. Since this is not enough damage to defeat both Slimes, the run will never progress past the first turn.
- In previous versions, the player could use a glitch to equip a Wallfish Doll at the very start of a run and kill the first slime, blocking damage from the other using the 4 block gained at the end of their turn. From there, Hardcore could be beaten on this run seed.