Part 24: Palico Pals"Will it Cat?" Prowlers and Mew- Part 3
Hello, viewers! Today is Part 3 of our in-depth look at cats and what they can do for you. Our final topic is Palicoes! After all, what's a badass Prowler without a few
We've seen that not all Support Biases are created equal. So, which type of cat is the best kind to bring with you on quests? My recommendation is to pick two of Healing, Support, or Defense. These Palicoes will give you the most bang for your buck. That's not to say you can't bring other types of cats with you! Those three are just the best ones. Note that these Palico buddies are also the most helpful for humans, so I don't feel like you have to be a cat yourself to benefit from these helpful kitties! (And don't worry, I'll still give recommended builds for all the support biases because I am not a monster. We're just starting with those three.)
Healing Cats: Who needs Mega Potions anyway?
As we've seen, no matter how good you are, chances are you are going to get knocked around at least a little, and Monster Hunter is very punishing about healing. To boot, monsters can do a lot of damage to you even if you're properly armored. That's where a healing cat comes in handy! Their job is to keep your ass alive so you can keep on kicking ass! I HIGHLY recommend scouting for a good healing cat to bring with you on tough quests. They can be quite literal lifesavers! Here's what to look for:
Unlike most Support Biases, either of the Healing cat's default active skills is fine. Cheer Horn refills a bit of your Support Move or Hunter Arte Gauge, and Armor Horn boosts your defense. I would give a veeeery slight nod to Armor Horn, since there are better skills that help out with gauge, but it's not worth worrying about.
From there, you want active skills that help your Healing cat keep your ass alive! The three most important ones are Health Horn, Detox Horn, and Go, Fight, Win. Health Horn is self explanatory. It heals a bit less than True Health Horn (about as much as a Potion), but also costs less gauge. There's no reason not to have it. Detox Horn is a handy skill to have around as well. It cures poison and stench, and even refills a bit of HP! Lastly, there's the incredible Go, Fight, Win. I love this skill. Not only is the animation for it a sight to behold (I will show it off properly in the LP, don't worry), but it's immensely helpful to both cats and humans. As long as the skill is active, it reduces Prowler gauge consumption by one. This means Piercing Boomerangs costs just one bar to use, and Big Boomerangs and Emergency Retreat cost nothing! It's helpful to humans too: it gives them infinite stamina for the duration, as if they had quaffed a Dash Juice or Mega Dash Juice. Very handy!
The only optional skill I would recommend here is Ultrasonic Horn again. It's useful, but definitely focus on the other three. If you get a cat with only two of the three skill mentioned above, you can even use the extra slot to teach the third. All three are that important!
For skills, you want as much synergy as you can get. This cat is pure support and you want skills that help with that. Firstly, Support Boost(**) is absolutely vital. You'll be seeing this skill recommended A LOT, and that's because it rules. It makes your Palicoes use Support Moves more often. Simple, useful, you want it.
Then you should equip Health Harmonics(***), one of the Healing cat's default skills. It boosts maximum HP when any healing move is used.
That only gives you one slot to play with. I'd just toss on Defense Up S(*), the other default passive skill for Healing cats. More defense means your Healing cat will last longer in a fight, and be able to pump out more healing!
Sidenote- This is pretty much the only time when a Palico's targeting priority matters. When scouting for a healing cat, make sure to select "Small Only" for targeting. Healing cats build gauge faster when they're not in combat. You want them to ignore the large monster trying to bite your face off and focus on keeping you healed! You can change a Palico's targeting at the Dojo, so don't worry if you mess this up.
Support Palicoes: They call me the Trappurr
Ever wish you didn't have to trap monsters yourself? Ever curse the game and everyone involved with its development when you lay a trap, only to have the monster limp right past it? Then perhaps a Support cat is just the cat buddy you've been looking for! In addition, Support Palicoes can tell you when a monster is fatigued or susceptible to capture, neither of which is information Support Prowlers have access too, annoyingly. You can't go wrong with bringing one of these guys along! In the past I've specced these guys as a quasi-healing cat... but now that I think about it, it's probably best to just go all in on the traps. Here's how you do that:
For a Support cat you're not using as your main Prowler, the fixed Support Move isn't so crucial. Cheer Horn is probably slightly better, but Cheer Horn still isn't all that great so don't get too bent out of shape about it.
What you do want to look for is traps, traps, and MORE traps. Your Support buddy will automatically come with Poison Purr-ison, but why stop there? Also look for Pitfall Purr-ison and/or Shock Purr-ison, and why not throw in the ever-useful Go, Fight, Win, as well?
As with the Healing cat, you can feel free to spend your spare move slot to teach one of those moves your cat didn't come with, if you can't find one that has all of them.
Support Boost(**) is once again the most important one here. It'll help your Support buddy pump out even more traps and more Go, Fight, Wins.
Then you can just toss on Pro Trapper (***), which Support cats come with, and you can pretty much call it good! You'll have one extra slot for... whatever really. Pick your favorite single slot skill. Defense Up S(*) could be useful, to help keep your kitty in the game longer, or any one slot status immunity skill like Biology (*) or Non-Stick Fur (*).
Defense Felynes: Any objections?
You don't see Defense cats discussed very much, either as Prowlers or Palicoes and... I don't really see why not? Seems to me like they'd be fine. Given the Defense cat's stats and the fact they they build gauge by blocking, maybe you could use them as a pseudo-healing cat? I'd go with something like this, but feel free to discuss alternatives:
For a Palico Defense cat, as opposed to a Prowler, you'll want to look for ones with Armor Horn. We're building this cat as a buff bot.
Then look for the same stuff a Healing cat gets: Health Horn, Detox Horn, and Go, Fight, Win. Honorable mention goes to the Defense cat's default Support Move, Taunt. This underappreciated skill makes nearby monster focus on them and not you, for a time. That sounds super helpful to me and I don't know why people don't use Defense cats more often!
Consider teaching your Defense Palico Demon Horn at the Dojo.
Once again, Support Boost(**) is a must. From there, you want skills that help/make your cat block more, since Defense cats build gauge by blocking. Equip Guard S (*), which Defense cats have by default. In addition to reducing the knockback from blocking, Guard S makes Palicoes block more often.
Then, you can either equip the other default skill, Guard Boost (**), or scout for Counter Boost (**), which fills gauge when getting hit. Should have nice synergy with the other skills? Pick a one-slot status immunity skill or Defense Up S(*) for the last slot.
And of course you can always use the extra skill slot to teach your cat any of the recommended skills it didn't come with.
Those are the big three I recommend for your sub-Palicoes, but that doesn't mean you can't bring other cat friends along! Let's look at some recommended builds for the other Support Biases!
Charisma Cats: We got spirit, yes we do!
Charisma cats are born to buffbot. They can do a little bit of everything, but don't excel at any particular thing. Feeling lazy about what cat to bring with you on a hunt? Can't go wrong with one of these guys. As such, you'll want to look for skills that help out in any situation. Here's what I would do:
Health Horn and Go, Fight, Win remain useful. The latter is especially appropriate on Charisma cats, I find. It's one of my favorite support moves for a reason! You might also consider looking for a trap. Either Pitfall Purr-ison or Shock Purr-ison will do fine.
For the extra skill slot, I recommend teaching your cat either Armor Horn or Demon Horn at the Dojo, depending on your preference.
As usual, look for Support Boost(**). It's pretty much mandatory for any Palico buddy. From there, eh how about Defense Up S(*) and Counter Boost (**)? Boost defense a bit, and really make 'em pump out those Support Moves! That'll be a good, all purpose hunting buddy.
Bombing Buddies: I lost a bomb, do you have it?
Want to add a bit of zest to your hunts? A sense of danger? Maybe a few explosions? Consider bringing a bombing cat! If you do this, I highly recommend using a ranged weapon yourself, and staying out of the way. Bombing cats can catch you in the blast, and they're none too careful about it. Why not bring two, while you're at it? For maximum chaos, here's what to scout for:
Bombing cats are pure melee bruisers. They gain gauge faster whenever they're in the same zone as a large monster, so you want them right up in the monster's grill at all times! I'd preferentially pick ones with Demon Horn. Camouflage would make them drop aggro, and why would you want them to do that?
Then go all in on the explosions! They'll already come with Mega Barrel Bombay so why not toss in Big Barrel Bombay and Barrel Bombay as well? Alternatively, you can give them more melee attacks and look for Claw Dance and Felyne Comet.
Use the extra skill slot to give your cat any one of these moves they don't already have, or if you want to use a Bombing Prowler, go for Emergency Retreat.
Again, we're going all in on the explosions here! Make sure your cat has Support Boost(**). It remains critical. Then you can equip Bombay Boost (***), which boosts damage of all Bombay attacks as well as Blast damage! Nab a weapon that applies Blast status and go to town! Your last skill slot can go to Critical Up S (*), or a status immunity skill. Biology (*) seems like a standout here, as it grants immunity to Blastblight. Heat/Bomb Res (*), the Bombing cat's other default skill, is another solid option to boost resistance to bombs.
If you're going for more of a mixed melee Bombing cat, you could also consider Anger Prone(**), which will make your Palicoes enter Fury mode more often. Note that there are some Support Moves that your Palicoes will only use in Felyne Fury mode, so it's worth thinking about. Prowlers don't have this restriction, but more Fury mode is never a bad thing!
Note: If you're interested in running a Bombing cat as a Prowler, equip Anger Prone in place of Support Boost and you're golden! You might consider scouting for Camouflage instead of Demon Horn, or teaching Emergency Retreat to your explody cat at the Dojo.
Gathering Gatos: Objective One- Obtain Loot
Regardless of how you feel about Prowler mode in general, you have to agree that Prowlers are ideal for gathering quests! Why not recruit some Gathering cats to help you get those annoying quests done faster? To make the most of stuffing your pockets with goodies, here's what you should look for:
Gathering cats aren't meant for combat, but you might as well get Piercing Boomerangs anyway, because Camouflage is pretty garbo.
And why not go the rest of the way and get 'em Big Boomerangs too, just in case? For other skills, try for Pilfer. It's hard to aim, but your Palico buddies should have no trouble using it, and, like Plunderang, it'll net you more quest rewards when your cats use it.
Tutor your cat Emergency Retreat, because again, why not?
There's not a whole lot that Gathering cats need... If you think you'll run this particular cat as a Prowler ever, might as well make sure it has Boomerang Pro (*) just in case you get in a scrape. For your Palico buddies, you're better off giving them Support Boost(**) like usual. Gathering cats build gauge faster by... gathering, so equip Gathering Pro (*), in either case. It'll also make your Palicoes focus on gathering and net your Prowler more stuff from gathering spots.
NB: To make your Gathering quests go even faster, look for Felyne Gatherer on your pre-hunt meal!
Then just toss on the Gathering cat's other default skill Pilfer Boost (**), which will lower the gauge consumption of Pilfer and Plunderang and increase their item yield. Another option is Goldenfish Catcher (*), because who else are you sending on fishing quests? As the name implies, it's only good for Goldenfish so don't equip it on your Prowler if you need some other kind of fish. As an added bonus, if you throw this on your Palicoes, you'll get an extra fish each catch! Handy!
And that is all I have about scouting cats*! Armed with this information, you should be able to stuff your stable full of the most helpful and badass cats ever to cat! Hope you've enjoyed this segment, and thanks for reading!
*For now! Gen Ultimate/XX gives Palicoes and Prowlers a serious overhaul, so I'll have to revisit this topic when "Will it Cat?" upgrades to its Ultimate form!