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|“Their entire culture appears to be built around the hunting of Dragons and exploiting their Elemental Powers.”|
|— Zane describing the Dragon Hunters to Kai and Jay in "Iron & Stone"|
The Dragon Hunters are a society led by Heavy Metal that used to be led by Iron Baron. They inhabit the Realm of Oni and Dragons and used to hunt the dragons to exploit their Elemental Powers with the use of Vengestone weaponry. Though they're a malevolent group, the hunters also oppose and despise the ancient Oni and kill anyone suspected of being one. After the original Ninja are sent to the first realm, the Dragon Hunters find and capture them, eventually discovering that they're Elemental Masters. During this time, they continue their purpose of hunting dragons. They adapted to living on the harsh plains of the Realm of Oni and Dragons, having lost limbs replaced by machines. After learning Iron Baron lied to them and deceived them with stories about the Oni, they planned to revolt against him. After his defeat at the hands of Firstbourne, Faith became their leader and they no longer hunted the dragons. They are now allies of the Ninja.
As time passed in the Realm of Oni and Dragons, a tribe developed into civilization, Iron Baron becoming their leader. He was able to achieve this title by fabricating a story in which he and a few others ventured into Oni Land and only he made it out alive. The others of his kind began to fear these Oni and Iron Baron appeared as someone who would care for and protect them, unaware that Oni had long been gone from the realm and Baron presumably killing his team.
From this, the tribe's culture became centered around the hunting and exploitation of dragons, the other dominant race of the Realm, whether this be for food, work, or entertainment. The greatest use for the beasts became using their Elemental Powers to lure in other dragons. Having learned of the First Spinjitzu Master who was born of both Oni and Dragon and thus had a bond with Firstbourne, the mother of all dragons (a story all children born in the realm are told), Iron Baron viewed the hybrid as a coward for fleeing the realm after failing to unite its races, and seek to attract Firstbourne so he could wear the Dragon Armor in her nest and "control her to protect his fellow hunters from the Oni."
The best of the Hunters was a woman named Faith, a persistent believer in the First Spinjitzu Master (or someone of his lineage)'s return to wear the Dragon Armor and help the hunters escape. Despite her skill, Iron Baron forced her to wear a mask to hide her gender. She also had to go under the name of Heavy Metal. Under this alias, she managed to steal the Dragonbone Blade, a sword that could attract Elemental Powers. Iron Baron also ended up getting caught up in an encounter with Firstbourne, losing an arm, a leg, and his dignity.
They interrogate the three kidnapped Ninja, and assuming they're Oni, have them taken to the pit. When the Ninja defeat Slab and reveal themselves to be Elemental Masters, Baron orders the Dragon Hunters to slide down ropes to capture them.
They use the three to attract a Wind Dragon.
As they prepared to cook the dragon, the Ninja have plotted an escape, and thanks to Wu and the Firstbourne, they were able to free the dragons.
Faith betrays the Dragon Hunters and joins the Ninja after learning of Wu being the son of the First Spinjitzu Master.
The Dragon Hunters found Daddy No Legs and Muzzle chained in the middle of the desert. They chase the Ninja and Heavy Metal via Destiny's Wing and end up crashing.
The Dragon Hunters follow the Ninja to Oni land and start chasing them through the realm and catching Faith after the Ninja took half the Dieselnaut.
The Dragon Hunters buried Faith and themselves underground to capture the Ninja. Faith started telling them the truth about Iron Baron leading them to believe it.
After a while, Wu frees himself and starts fighting the Hunters. Wu went with Iron Baron, leaving the Hunters guarding the Ninja.
The Dragon Hunters come to a mutual decision that Iron Baron does not care about them, and only cares about himself. Jet Jack releases the Ninja and Faith, and they agree to take the Dragon Hunters to stop Iron Baron from getting the Dragon Armor. Hope seems lost when they get to the destroyed bridge, but they instantly rejoice when Wu and the Firstbourne emerge from the nest. Before Wu and the Ninja leave for Ninjago, Faith is elected as their new leader, with Jet Jack as second in command. They then watch as Wu and the Ninja travel through the portal on their dragons, and when questioned where they are going, Faith says they're going to Ninjago.
Faith and Firstbourne arrive in Ninjago where a wounded Faith tells Wu that everyone in the First Realm were petrified.
The Dragon Hunters were saved from petrification, and Faith stays in Ninjago till after the Ninja celebrate their victory.
Known Captured Dragons
- Ultra Dragon - Sometime after the events of "Green and Gold," it was captured and killed by the Dragon Hunters, who built a throne for Iron Baron out of its skeletal remains.
- Slab - An Earth-Dragon. It was used to fight other dragons or people in The Pit. It was Cole's ride in "Lessons for a Master."
- Fire Dragon - Its fire was used to make weapons for the Dragon Hunters.
- Wind Dragon - It was captured in "Radio Free Ninjago" in a Dragon Hunt.
- Ice Dragon - It was captured in "The Gilded Path" and hit a Hunter Speeder, and was not taken back to the Dead's End because it was destroyed in "How to Build a Dragon."
There are more unknown dragons they captured that escaped or were eaten.
- Iron Baron - He is the former leader of the Dragon Hunters, he is currently trapped in Molten Rock by Firstbourne and the Hunters turned their backs on him after learning that he lied in order to control them.
- Heavy Metal - She is currently the leader. She inspired the Hunters to turn good after journeying with the ninja. She is the former second-in-command.
- Jet Jack - She is currently the second-in-command. She has a mohawk and uses a jet pack.
- Daddy No Legs - He has a "Spider No-Legs Mech" because he lost his legs. He also usually hangs out with Muzzle and understands his "Hmph" words.
- Muzzle - He is a hunter that speaks in a muffled voice and is usually seen hanging around Daddy No Legs.
- Chew Toy - He is the warm-up act for the crowds attending The Pit and also has an incredible sense of smell.
- Arkade - A mechanic for the Hunters, he gives out parts and tools as determined by the slot machine on his chest.
- Scar the Skullbreaker
- Stalwart Dangerbuff
- Otto Pilot
- Talon (non-canon, a member from issue 41 of the Ninjago Magazine)
- Nitro (non-canon, a member from issue 44 of the Ninjago Magazine)
- "Rocky Dangerbuff" (undercover)
- "Dangerbuff Jr." (undercover)
- All known Dragon Hunters have a Russian accent.
- Dragon Hunters used to hunt dragons with the intent of exploiting their Elemental Powers and eating them for food.
- Creating an Elemental reaction lures in wild dragons.
- It is unknown if there are other hunter tribes in the realm, though there was said to be a Dangerbuff tribe.
- The Dragon Hunters used to fear Oni, and they used to seek the elusive Firstbourne, who kept the Dragon Armor in her nest, to protect them from the Oni.
- They also used to eat many of the captured dragons, explaining what they eat in the realm.
- They have a full society, with young children present as well.
- Faith was always on the good side but merely faked being evil until the First Spinjitzu Master or his son would arrive to complete the prophecy. She later convinced her fellow hunters to become good.
- The Dragon Hunters are the first villainous group to never capture Nya, due to her never meeting them.
- They may call themselves either the First People or the Dragon Keepers now.
- The Dragon Hunters and Blizzard Samurai are the only villainous factions to never attack Ninjago so far.
- According to Ninjago Magazine, there are still some hunters who are seeking to free Iron Baron.
- The Dragon Hunters are the second villainous faction who are now allies of the Ninja, except a member (Iron Baron).