Perhaps the greatest and simultaneously worst thing Capcom could ever have done was add an army of cute little kitties to their game. I’ve been playing Monster Hunter long enough to be well-acquainted with Palicoes, but 4U and World really did me in with the way they turned a single Palico into your in-game pet-slash-friend. Now that we’re back to a hiring system with a variety of different Palico in Monster Hunter Rise, I’m having a hard time trying to guide any cat that isn’t my #1 best little buddy.

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With Palamutes added to the Buddy roster, even solo hunts have turned into a fun exercise in teamwork and complementary skills. We’ve already put together a Palamute Guide to get you started with the new companions, so it’s time to take a closer look at the Monster Hunter Rise Palico Guide!

MH Rise Palico Overview

Scout a Buddy Palico
Image: Capcom

It’s important to note that Palicoes are a bit more complicated than Palamutes. They’ve been in the franchise for a while now, so Capcom’s had plenty of time to establish and develop their mechanics (compared to the newly introduced Palamutes). They’re still pretty easy to manage — there’s just a little more to keep track of.

Palico stats rely more heavily on RNG, so you’ll have a harder time scouting your ideal Buddy. You can specify appearance and Support Type during the scouting process, but any other Moves and Skills your Palico brings to the table are left up to chance.

Palico Support Types

Let’s start with the Support Types — arguably the most important aspect of your Palico build. Palicoes come in one of five different Support Types, which dictate their behavior during a hunt through the Moves they have available (more on that later).

Palico TypeDescription
AssistPalico focuses on assisting the hunter They place traps to weaken monsters and create helpful openings.
BombardierPalico focuses on blowing things up. They have high explosive power and can handle large bombs.
FightPalico focuses on combat. Their support moves boost their own attacks to deal higher damage.
GatheringPalico focuses on gathering. They use nearby items to their advantage and can nab extra crafting materials.
HealerPalico focuses on recovery. their support moves heal the hunter and provide relief from status ailments.

There’s no single “best” option when it comes to Support Types in this Monster Hunter Rise guide, as the Palico you favor depends largely on your play style and the type of support you need. The best Moves typically belong to the Assist, Gathering, and Healer Types, but a Fight Palico with some solid mid-level Moves can provide a helpful damage boost during a hunt.

The nice thing about Monster Hunter Rise’s Buddy System is that you can hire multiple Palicoes and level them up outside of combat. If you favor Assist Palicoes but need a bit of extra healing in the face of a particularly rough monster, you can briefly swap in a Healer Palico without taking a massive stat hit.

Palico Moves

The Palico Support Types really only matter as far as Moves are concerned. Though all Palicoes will help you out during a hunt (knocking you out of a sleep or stun, for example), their Moves help expand and refine the support they offer.

Each Palico has up to five Moves (one at each unlock level), each classified by Type. Their Support Type dictates what their Level 1 and Level 20 slot will be, and the remaining three moves can come from any of the available Type lists. For example, a Healer Palico could have the following Moves:

  • Herbaceous Healing (Level 1 Healer)
  • Mega Boomerang (Level 5 Gathering)
  • Power Drum (Level 10 Fight)
  • Fleet-foot Feat (Level 15 Fight)
  • Health Horn (Level 20 Healer)

We won’t be listing all of the Palico Moves here, but you can check out this Buddy guide by u/Serious__Me on Reddit. It breaks down all of the available Moves by level and Support Type, and includes a ton of other helpful Buddy advice and info.

In this Monster Hunter Rise Palico guide, we’ll simply focus on the best moves at each unlock level:

MoveDescriptionLevelType
Endemic Life BarrageFire endemic life at monsters — results vary depending on the endemic life used.1Gathering
Herbaceous HealingPlaces a plant that triggers a healing aura for all nearby allies when activated.1Healer
Healing BubbleCreates bubbles that restore health when popped. Larger bubbles heal more.5Healer
Go, Fight, WinReduces stamina loss for the hunter for a brief time (effectively a Dash Juice).5Assist
Vase of VitalityPlaces a vase that heals status ailments on all allies in its aura.10Healer
Power DrumBriefly raises attack and defense for hunters and Buddies.10Fight
Shock Purr-isonPlaces a shock trap that stops large monsters from moving. 15Assist
Shock TripperDrops an electric field that inflicts thunderblight on monsters.15Gathering
Health HornGreatly recovers health for all hunters and buddies.20Healer
PilferThrows a boomerang that steals materials from monsters (may be shared with other hunters in multiplayer).20Gathering

As you can see, some of the best Moves belong to the Gathering and Healer lists, though there are a few solid moves in every category. You can hire a lot of cats, so there’s no harm in trying out a few different Move combinations to see what works best for you!

Palico Skills

Skills are a bit less important for Palicoes than for Palamutes, since the cats’ support is handled chiefly through their Moves. It’s still helpful to have good passives on hand, however, so you’ll want to keep an eye out for generous RNG results.

Once again, you can look at the Buddy guide mentioned above for a complete list of Skills. We’re going to focus just on our top picks so you have room to deal with randomization and customization.

SkillDescriptionLevelMemory
Defense UpIncreases defense and negates the effects of Defense Down.51
Health Up (S)Increases maximum health (will stack).51
Knockout KingIncreases chance of stunning and tiring monsters.101
OmniresistanceBoosts all resistances and negates the effects of Resistance Down.101
Artful DodgerIncreases the likelihood of blocking and deflecting attacks.102
EarplugsPrevents flinching from most monster roars.102
Health Up (L)Greatly increases maximum health (will stack).102
Status Attack UpIncreases the potency of abnormal status attacks.203

This admittedly looks a lot like our Palamute list — good Skills are good no matter which Buddy has them! The differences mainly revolve around Palico support being built more around buffing hunters and debuffing monsters than dealing additional damage.

Palico Targets

Finally, we’ll take a look at Targets. These are Buddy Behaviors that guide how your Palico will approach the monster(s) you’re hunting in Monster Hunter Rise. Palicoes can prioritize one of six potential Targets:

TacticDescription
Large OnlyPalicoes exclusively target large monsters.
Large FirstPalicoes prioritize attacking large monsters.
BalancedPalicoes attack all monsters indiscriminately.
Small FirstPalicoes prioritize attacking small monsters.
Small OnlyPalicoes exclusively target small monsters.

The Target you choose depends on your preferred hunting experience. If you find yourself constantly annoyed by Jaggi or Izuchi while you’re trying to fight your actual quarry, having your Palico prioritize small monsters can be a handy way of keeping them off your back. If they’re not too much trouble for you and you’d prefer your Palico’s damage go to your main hunt, having them prioritize large monsters can keep them from getting distracted and venturing too far from your prey.

All Palicoes are set to “Balanced” by default, which puts them somewhere in the middle. All of my kitties are set up this way, and I’ve had no complaints — hunts are typically a breeze aside from the occasional Rhenoplos who decides to get smart. I recommend sticking with the default, but feel free to play around and assess what works best for you.

You can change your Palico’s Tactics at any time from the Buddy Board by selecting “Behavior > Palicoes > [Name].”

MH Rise Best Palico Builds

Palico Armor Builds
Image: Capcom

With the basics sorted, let’s get into a few example builds! We’ll include a build for each of the five Palico Support Types, recommending the best weapons and armor alongside Skills that complement each Type’s built-in Moves.

As a quick disclaimer, all of the following builds assume your Palico is at least Level 20. At this point, they’ll have all of their Skills unlocked and five memory slots with which to equip them.

Let’s get to it!

Best Assist Palico Build

First up is our Assist build. This Palico set will emphasize the Assist role, focusing on dealing status damage and keeping your Buddy in action.

WeaponArmorMovesSkills
F Jelly Shade SF Narwa LockFelyne Silkbind (Level 1)Artful Dodger
F Narwa CloudPoison Purr-ison (Level 20)Status Attack Up

For our weapon, we’re going with the F Jelly Shade S. It’s one of the best Palico weapons in Monster Hunter Rise, making up for its slightly lower raw damage with some decent Paralysis, perfect for inflicting extra status damage to monsters for this guide. We’re pairing it with the Narwa Armor, which is the best Palico armor as of the April 28th update. If you don’t quite have Narwa materials yet, you can feel free to swap it out with your highest defense option.

Assist Palicoes come with Felyne Silkbind and Poison Purr-ison built in. The latter barely missed out on our list of the best Palico moves (it’s hard to say no to extra healing and quest rewards), so you’re already off to a good start. Pairing these moves with the Artful Dodger Skill for survivability and Status Attack Up to make the most of the weapon’s Paralysis damage will be your best bet.

Best Bombardier Palico Build

Next is Bombardier, which is a great support type if you’re looking for extra monster materials. This build will focus on helping you break parts, which is what these explosive little cats do best.

WeaponArmorMovesSkills
F Golden GadgetF Narwa LockFelyne Wyvernblast (Level 1)Attack Up (L)
F Narwa CloudGiga Barrel Bombay (Level 20)Element Attack Up
Knockout King

This time, our weapon choice is the F Golden Gadget, which is the best Palico weapon in Rise if you’re going for raw damage. We’re recommending the Narwa Armor again, but you’re welcome to trade it out as needed.

Bombardier Palicoes have the Support Type skills Felyne Wyvernblast and Giga Barrel Bombay. Neither of these rank among our top picks, but they’re still pretty good for dealing additional damage. We recommend taking the Attack Up (L) skill to increase your overall damage, Element Attack Up to take advantage of the Thunder on the Rajang weapon, and Knockout King to fill out the last slot and make use of the weapon’s Blunt tag.

Best Fight Palico Build

Fight Type is next, which means we’re going to be focusing on DPS. This build will look a lot like the Bombardier Palico, as both of them are designed to go feral and do additional damage to large monsters.

WeaponArmorMovesSkills
F Golden GadgetF Narwa LockRousing Roar (Level 1)Attack Up (L)
F Narwa CloudFurr-ious (Level 20)Element Attack Up
Knockout King

We’re once again recommending the F Golden Gadget for its raw damage, and the Narwa Armor for its superior defense. They’re both best-in-class in their respective categories, but they’re especially helpful for a build designed around keeping your Palico active and dealing as much damage as possible.

The Fight Type Moves include Rousing Roar and Furr-ious. Many players aren’t fond of Furr-ious since it only boosts the Palico’s attack power, but pairing it with Attack Up (L) ensures you get a slightly bigger boost for your trouble. Add in Element Attack Up and Knockout King again to benefit the Thunder and Blunt damage.

Best Gathering Palico Build

Our Gathering Type build is next, bringing us back to the more support-oriented support builds. Rather than focusing on dealing heightened damage, the focus will be on survivability to ensure your cat can make the most of their Moves.

WeaponArmorMovesSkills
F Golden GadgetF Narwa LockEndemic Life Barrage (Level 1)Artful Dodger
F Narwa CloudPilfer (Level 20)Element Attack Up
Omniresistance

We’re going with the F Golden Gadget and Narwa Armor again, simply because they’re the best options. Neither of them is particularly crucial to this build, so feel free to substitute your best available weapon and armor if you don’t have this equipment yet.

Gathering Palicoes have some of the best built-in Moves, namely Endemic Life Barrage and Pilfer. Both of them offer some pretty great boosts to your hunt, but they can’t be bolstered by any of the Buddy Skills. With this in mind, it’s good to invest in generally useful Skills like Omniresistance and Artful Dodger, plus Element Attack Up for the slight damage boost.

Best Palico Build In Action
Image: Monster Hunter Rise

Best Healer Palico Build

Finally, we’ve got our Healer Type build. This is my preferred Palico build — it’s nice to have ways to keep my health up without needing to use up my items or endemic life. Having more than one Healer Palico on a hunt is even more convenient!

WeaponArmorMovesSkills
F Jelly Shade SF Narwa LockHerbaceous Healing (Level 1)Artful Dodger
F Narwa CloudHealth Horn (Level 20)Status Attack Up

We’re going back to the F Jelly Shade S for this one, as we’re leaning into the support role a bit more and will benefit from the Paralysis status. We’re using the Narwa Armor again, but you know the drill by this point — swap it out if needed.

Healer Palicoes get Herbaceous Healing and Health Horn built in, both of which are extremely helpful for healing all nearby allies. Since the health-boosting Buddy skills only affect the Buddies themselves, we’re instead aiming for general survivability and support with Artful Dodger and Status Attack Up, respectively.

The Hunt Begins

That’s it for our Monster Hunter Rise Palico Guide — thanks for reading! If you have any tips and tricks to share, or if you want to show off your favorite cat, feel free to hit us up in the comments! Don’t forget to follow us on social media and subscribe to our newsletter for more guides like this.

Happy hunting!

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