Part 23: How to Scout the Purrfect Prowler"Will it Cat?" Prowlers and Mew- Part 2
Hello again, viewers! Today we're continuing our in-depth look at cats: how do they work? Today's topic is how to build the perfect cat.
First of all, I'm going to explain a few basics. Last time I introduced the seven Support Biases and what skills they get, but there's more to a cat than Support Bias and skills. I touched on this a bit last time, but let's talk about how cats level up.
Cat Levels, Rising
Cats start, by default, at level 1. There are Prowler quests, given by the Meowstress, which raise the starting level to 10, and later to 20. These are available in Rank 4* and Rank 6*. It's another reason why you want to stay on top of Prowler quests.
By default, the level cap for all cats is 20. This can be increased by doing quests in the Multiplayer Hub. So... you either have to git really gud at doing multiplayer quests by yourself, or find some friends. Fortunately, the unlock quests themselves are only Prowler quests, so they're easy to do by yourself. You can raise the cat level cap to 35 by doing a Prowler quest at Hunter Rank 4, or automatically when you reach HR 6. The level cap is raised a final time, to level 50, by completing a HR 7 Prowler quest or automatically when you "uncap" your HR.
Cats earn experience by killing monsters, and they gain extra attack and defense when they level up, as well as move/skill slots. They start with room for one Support Move, 3 bars of Support Move Gauge, and 3 passive skill slots. You gain an extra slot every 10 levels, up to level 40. This means you cap out at 5 extra move slots, 9 bars of gauge, and 6 passive skill slots. Keep this in mind when planning out builds for your cats!
Now, lastly, as we have mentioned, the skills that your Scouted Palicoes come with are random. You always get the fixed active skill, determined by Support Bias, and one of two variable active skills. Which one you get is a coin flip. The other skills your cat can start with are chosen from a random pool. The fun part? Different Support Biases have different weights for what moves/skills get chosen and the different Palico Scouts in each town also have different weights. It's a huge mess and basically just be ready to Scout a lot of cats before you find the one you're looking for. The Scouts re-roll their choices after you complete a quest. If you want to make this go faster... you can grab a big pile of Kelbi Horns do the Rank 1* quest "Horns o' Plenty" over and over. I... don't really recommend doing this because it's dead boring, but if you have nothing better to do and feel like farming for the perfect cat, knock yourself out!
OK now that we have the nitty-gritty details out of the way, let's get to the fun part!
DLC Skills: Will you Make your Last Stand, or are you the World's Strongest?
One last thing, there are a couple skills that pop up in a lot of tryhard cat builds. There's Last Stand, which I mentioned last time. There's also a DLC only skill (all DLC is free- just download and recruit the cat who has it and teach it to your cat of choice at the Dojo), called World's Strongest, which most builds treat as a strict upgrade to Last Stand. And... I mean it is. Objectively it is. It increases your attack and defense by up to double, lets you keep your Acorns, and only costs 2 skill slots instead of 3! Sounds great, right? Ehhh... there's a catch. To activate this skill, you must be naked. You get a 50% boost with one piece of armor equipped, and an amazing 100% with none. Last Stand, for comparison, is a flat boost: +40 to attack/defense in exchange for no Acorns. So why don't I like it? No Fashion Hunting! Fashion Hunting is what I do, son! So I, personally, do not like this skill. I will still recommend it because I realize it's a personal hangup of mine. But still. Laaaaaame.
If you're like me, may I recommend the DLC skill Ranged Attack Up? It also costs just 2 slots and gives an extra 10% damage bonus to your 'rangs.
Recommended Builds: Prowlers
OK, we all know why you're here. You're here because you want to make Mittens the most badass cat he/she can be, right? Well, first of all I have some bad news. More than likely, you're going to have to choose between getting a cat that looks perfect and one that has the right skills. You can't scout for both at the same time, which is massively annoying. If looks are more important to you, then I'd advise resigning yourself to a less-than-ideal cat. That's not to say you still couldn't find the perfect cat that way, but I guarantee it'll take way longer. At least if you end up with an optimal cat that looks stupid, you can salvage them by dressing them in fashionable armor?
Secondly, I recommend not being too picky about your cat's skills, for the sake of your sanity. I'm going to recommend a lot of moves and skills. Pick 2 or 3 and go with them. Due to the randomness of how cats are scouted, you can be at it for a longass time before that perfect cat pops up. Also keep in mind you can teach your cat one extra Support Move and one extra passive skill.
Still here? Good! So for scouting your Prowler, I recommend starting from either with a Fighting cat, or a Support cat. Fighting have more raw power; Support can huck boomerangs faster and set traps. There's no wrong choice. Defense cats are another option, but I have less experience with them, personally. On paper they should be fine though?
NB: When discussing passive skills, I will denote how many slots they take in the form of one * for each slot. To make math easier. (On me, mostly. I am rubbish at math.)
Scouting a Fighting Cat
You've decided to go with raw power. A fine choice! Here's what you want to look for:
Firstly, you want Piercing Boomerangs, non negotiable. If any of the cats don't have that, scroll right on past 'em.
Then you check for Big Boomerangs. If you're just going for the bare minimum, that's all you need in terms of Support Moves.
If you feel like testing the RNG a bit more, fighting cats do work best with a mix of melee and ranged skills. They're not necessary, but you can also look for Felyne Comet and/or Claw Dance.
Pitfall Purr-ison/ Shock Purrison, Dung Bombay, and Ultrasonic Horn are also very helpful skills, but not required.
Then you'll want to teach your cat Emergency Retreat at the Dojo. Support and Defense cats can have that.
Boomerang Pro (*) is absolutely essential. It shortens the charge time for your boomerangs and makes them more powerful, and it only costs one slot!
From here, you have some flexibility. Remember, you will have 6 slots to play with at maximum.
You can go with Critical Up S(*), Earplugs(**) and World's Strongest(**) (if you're into that), or toss on Attack Up S(**) or Ranged Attack Up(**).
You can also do Critical Up L(**) and Attack Up L(***) if you just want raw damage.
Or mix it up with Critical Up L(**) and Earplugs(**) or World's Strongest(**)/ Ranged Attack Up(**), and a 1-slot skill of your choice. You get the idea.
Helpful optional skills: any status immunity skill such as Biology(*), Non-Stick Fur(*), or Negate Wind(**)
Use your extra skill slot to teach your cat Last Stand, World's Strongest, Ranged Attack up... or any of other recommended moves that your cat didn't start with.
Scouting a Support Cat
Perhaps you prefer to huck boomerangs all day long, and like not having to rely on your sub Palicoes to set traps? Here's what you want:
Firstly, you want Emergency Retreat. Only check cats that have that.
Then, like with Fighting cats, you want to have Big Boomerangs at minimum. If you're feeling lucky, you can also try looking for Dung Bombay and/or Ultrasonic Horn.
Piercing Boomerangs goes in your extra move slot. Have a Fighting or Gathering cat teach it at the Dojo.
As with Fighting cats, you absolutely want Boomerang Pro(*). Another essential skill is Critical Up S(*), even moreso than Fighting cats, since Support cats have less raw attack power. You want them crits.
From here, you have options again. Pro Trapper(***) is a pretty helpful skill. It reduces trap Gauge cost by 1 and speeds up trap setting. If you know you're doing a trap quest, definitely equip this. The slot cost is pretty hefty so I wouldn't recommend keeping it on all the time. I'd rather have Earplugs(**) and Ranged Attack Up(**) or World's Strongest(**).
You can also go whole hog on the crits and scout for Critical Up L(**), then pick one of Earplugs(**) and Ranged Attack Up(**) or World's Strongest(**), and a status immunity. The best ones are Biology(*), Non-Stick Fur(*), and Negate Wind(**).
Your extra skill slot goes to a DLC skill, Last Stand, or any other recommended skill Mittens doesn't have already.
Scouting a Defense Cat
You don't see much discussion about Defense Prowlers. I haven't used one myself, but on paper it seems like they'd be fine? Why not try one out! Here's what you should probably look for:
Defense cats can come with Emergency Retreat. If you're scouting for a Defense cat to use as your Prowler, pick that one. (Sub Palicoes probably want Armor Horn instead. More on that later.)
Then, like usual, you check for Big Boomerangs at minimum.
Now, like Fighting cats, Defense cats work best with a mix of melee and ranged. Felyne Comet and Claw Dance are the best melee Support Moves. And, like usual, Pitfall Purr-ison/ Shock Purrison, Dung Bombay, and Ultrasonic Horn are nice bonuses.
Then have one of your Fighting or Gathering cats teach Mittens Piercing Boomerangs at the Dojo.
Defense cats still want Boomerang Pro(*), but from there they work a bit differently. Defense cats build gauge faster by blocking, so you'll want to get skills that help with that.
Guard Boost(**) allows you to block otherwise unblockable attacks, so you probably want that. Guard S(*) pairs nicely with that, as it reduces knockback from blocking. From there, pick one of the usual Critical Up L(**), Earplugs(**), World's Strongest(**), or a status protection skill like Biology(*), Non-Stick Fur(*), or Negate Wind(**).
Like usual, fill your extra skill slot with a DLC skill, Last Stand, or any other recommended skill.
That will probably do for Prowlers! Next time, we'll talk about what to look for in your Palico buddies. Until next time, get scouting!