I tend to begin with 1 point in Leap Smash and 2 points in Charge, or I siphon one off to Flame Breath for easy wildlife kills. I suggest making a false start or two and then opening up a huge distance between the fake and the real you with Jumps and Charges. I find Leap less useful for traversal due to its explosive effect. Very easy to notice, IMO. It can still be handy, but caution is warranted. Once there is a reasonable distance, Sneak and feed while regularly using Sniff to maintain vision of the area. Also, keep an eye out for Elite Wildlife. If there is a Canyon Strider or Obsidian Grub or Spotter, eat it immediately, as those perks are extremely helpful early-game. Remember if there is a Mammoth Bird, Sloth, or Tyrant on the field, as those perks are extremely useful mid-to-late-game. If the Hunters are closing in, keep obstacles between you and them and create some distance. Look back with Sniffs. If you don’t see them anymore, get a bit more distance. You may have lost them, or they could have cloaked with Support. Once you are comfortable, find a secluded location with some food nearby and Stage Up.
At this point, I tend to put a point or two in Rock Throw and/or Fire Breath. Usually end up looking like 2 Rock / 1 Leap / 2 Charge / 1 Fire. This gives me access to all my attacks, allowing me to cycle through them during fights and make quicker kills on fauna. I like to Stage Up near food so I can make a quick couple kills and get some armor ASAP after breaking the cocoon. From there, I continue moving in Sneak mode and feeding, at least to full armor. I might seek out one of the mid-game perks I mentioned above and go for an engage with the Hunters (or they catch me out as I’m eating). During the fights, I tend to focus Support then Medic, as Support is pretty much entirely Hank and his Shield Projector easily shuts down heavy assault, while Val’s medgun is a decent sustained healing tool but can be overwhelmed. Assault goes down after Support, then I’ll handle Trapper. Mind you, this is if I feel I have a good fight. If I don’t want this fight, I’ll separate and down Trapper first (if in the Arena) and make an escape. After a fight, armor up and reevaluate another fight. If another fight sounds good, rinse and repeat. If you have some pain, but also some distance and want to get stronger, go for Stage 3, using a similar form to before (secluded location, nearby food).
At Stage 3, I usually max out Fire Breath and Charge for their offensive and confusion capability. Armor up, get one of those late-game perks, if possible, then go for the Power Relay or wipe out the Hunters. I usually try to lead with a Rock Throw, then Leap Smash into the group. Spray Fire Breath all around, find my target, Charge, melee until cooldowns are done and repeat as needed. I tend to use Rock Throw against a distant target (most often Val with her medgun) to force them away, deal some damage, and possibly stop use of a beam. Leap Smash I try to reserve for a displacement tool, rather than damage. It’s very good when two hunters are nearby, as one Leap can send them flying apart and inflict some damage. Fire Breath is my sustained attack, while Charge I usually use to try to force someone into a wall or corner where I can pound them into red paste. When someone goes down, I switch targets. I’ll keep an eye on the body’s location, but I tend not to camp it as Goliath, simply because he is best when mobile. If I see someone headed to the body, I’ll chuck a Rock or Leap on them, usually.
So far, this has had very effective results for me. While people complain about Rock Throw, it can be a useful tool. It will clear Mines, Traps, and Birds. It can deal serious knockback and stun to Hunters. It can soften heavy wildlife before going in with another attack. And it can easily stop a revive from a distance. Plus, for the “have to use this piece of crap so I can unlock Kraken,” it actually has a much, much lower damage requirement than the other three ability, while it deals a considerable amount, especially at Rank 3. If you get the Elite Sloth’s 35% damage bonus perk, it can nearly 1-hit a Hunter with 2 Strikes. Easy to follow up with a Leap or Charge or plain melee attack.