When the monster starts the game one of two things happen, either he gets caught by Val at stage one, or he wins.
Playing both hunter and monster I have learnt that nothing can stop the monster if they are at full health (with armour) and stage two, 4/5 times it’s just a guaranteed win, the only time I took one down was when the whole team was in TS and the monster player was horrid.
I think how the devs envisioned a stage two fight happening was either the team did a lot of damage at stage one and are able to take him down now or do so much more damage they basically set the win up for themselves at the next fight, be it stage 2 or 3. Or if the monster was barely seen at stage one/was caught once and they just turtled with full armour (this happens most of the time) the monster loses some health, some strikes are taken and then one team runs away.
Unfortunately scenario 2 hardly ever happens. What happens most of the time under that premise the monster will down a player or two then focus the medic with boulders, lightning or supernovas until the die. Once the medic is dead the rest of the team pretty much is too. Usually at this point as a monster player I have probably lost my armour, especially if I’m dealing with Hank as well so I’ll run away a little bit, the team is hesitant to follow and I get up my armour before charging right back the remaining three and just slaughtering them. Perhaps if I feel crazy I’ll go stage 3.
Most of the monster I play against have also adopted this strategy.
I totally understand that really hammering the monster at stage one or catching the newly evolverd monster before they get armour can be a game changer and that not doing it yields consequences like not having a fight at stage 2 that’s as advantageous as you’d like it to be. Plus there’s no chance of the hunters escaping the monster save a lucky support due to his massive speed advantage and wallhack. But as it stand now it seems like unless you really hurt the monster at stage one or find the bugger without armour you just have no chance of killing him when you’d think that, in theory, it should be an equal fight where both sides suffer losses, 2 teams both at full health with an equal damage output.
In reality that just, doesn’t happen.
tl;dr capturing the monster at stage one is completely essential to victory instead of giving a nice small advantage.