Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak – Buddy Build Guide

Whether you’re a cat or a dog person there’s a few interesting builds you can make for your buddies in Sunbreak. They are also easier than ever to acquire and modify because you don’t need to rely on any RNG.

Definitive Guide to Builds

Getting a Good Buddy

First things first, AESTHETICS! I’m kidding, sort of. You should use Buddy Scout to acquire a buddy that you like the look of. You can set it to hire random looking ones or one you’re particularly fond of. Maybe something that matches your favorite layered armor? Setting a preference for a specific type of Palico isn’t required anymore unless you’re looking to add multiple of a type to your roster. When hiring you won’t be looking at ANYTHING besides: do you like the look of the buddy, and is it the correct type of cat. (Gathering/Healer/Fighter/Assist/Bombardier). Equipped moves and skills of hires do not matter at all except for when obtaining the new ones.

The first new tool is Buddy Skill Lesson which you acquire from an Elgado request shortly after beating Astalos. In order to unlock it you need to increase the skill memory of 3 different buddies to 8. This means spending 9 Eurekacorn (blue acorns) which you can get from three different sources: Randomly from the new Cohoot nest above the Command Post in Elgado, as a reward from rarer optional subquests at the Quest Damsel, and by sending your Meowcenaries out to shiny boxes, although I’m not sure exactly which ones give Eurekacorn. 

With Skill Lesson you can teach a buddy any move that another has available to them. This means that if you want access to the new buddy moves you should hire buddies that have those skills on them. Then, either use those buddies to level them up, or place them in the Buddy Dojo so that they gain levels. Once you have a buddy that has a skill you want unlocked you can use it to teach any of your other buddies that same skill as much as you want at no cost. 

There are 11 new skills available and I’d recommend acquiring the following from those: Ranged Attack Up, Piercing Attack Up, Melee-Centric, Ranged-Centric, Buddy Friendship, and Support-Centric.

The other RNG-killer is Swap Support Move. With this you can change any of the slot 2/3/4 support moves of any Palico. The 1 and 5 slots are locked to the type of cat you chose when you hired it. I’m not entirely sure when I unlocked the ability to swap the 2 slot skill but it was quite early in MR as a Elgado request that requires 1 Hermitaur and one Ceanataur Hardclaw (the new baby crabs). The others I *am* sure of. 3 slot swap comes after Espinas in MR4, the request is to slay 8 Rachnoid in Lava Caverns. And 4 slot swap comes after Malzeno, the request asks for 2 MR Rajang pelts.

The last new feature is Secret Support Move. [With these you can pick between 5 different high-cooldown and high-impact Palico moves.

You unlock these by doing 3 MR hunts with different types of Palicos. Each one sounds interesting or useful on paper, except I’ll only be recommending three of them. Healing Clover Bat, Lottery Box, and Felyne Powered-Up, all of which I’ll explain in more detail for the cats I recommend them on. Ameowzing Mist and Felyne Fireworks are damage oriented and therefore I don’t think they are useful. Ameowzing Mist does proc a random elemental blight however it’s RNG and a couple of them suck. Plus you’ll most likely be getting thunder blight guaranteed anyway from shock tripper so I don’t think it’s worth it.

Now that you know how to make your perfect buddy, let’s get into some recommended loadouts. I’m going to start with cats because I prefer them. (Although now dogs really make me consider switching.)

Palicos

Cats are still extremely utility-oriented as their damage sucks. Utility-augmenting abilities

Make sure to set your cat’s behavior to Large First. That way they won’t go after small shitter monsters unless there is no large monster around.

Weapons are easy for cats. Pick the one with the highest status that you want to inflict. Paralysis is the generally best CC status but if you’re playing solo or a coordinated group and you have a weapon with a big wakeup then sleep might be more worth it. For damage status, Blast is generally better than Poison. IMO: Para > Sleep > Blast > Poison.

Remember to “Use the Felvine!” in your action bar when you have a cat. It makes your cats use their support moves more frequently and gives them access to a special multihit attack. It also heals the cat to full HP. It takes no resources to use so try to pop it right as you roll up to a monster and maybe once more during the hunt. It lasts 90 seconds with a downtime of 5 min after it expires.

Gathering Palico

Behavior: Large First

Support Moves

  • Endemic life Barrage
  • Go, Fight, Win / Whirlwind Assault
  • Summeown Endemic Life / Power Drum
  • Shock Tripper / Shock Purr-ison
  • Pilfer

Secret Move

  • Lottery Box

Skills

  • Knockout King
  • Buddy Partbreaker
  • Support-Centric
  • Status Attack Up
  • Melee-Centric

Weapons

  • Paralysis: F Jelly Shade X
  • Sleep: Felyne Cat-aclysm X
  • Blast: F Bazelgeuse Mace X
  • Poison: F Red Basket

First, my personal classic favorite: Gathering Palico. These dudes give you more monster materials and free status triggers out the wazoo. 

Their 1 slot support move is Endemic Life Barrage.

Your cat periodically hurls random toads that inflict quite a large chunk of status, almost guaranteeing a single proc of each per hunt. 

Recommended slot 2 support moves: Go, Fight, Win if you’re a Bow or Dual Blades player. Otherwise pick Whirlwind Assault as it hits quite a few times which is useful for inflicting statuses. 

3 slot: Summeown Endemic Life or Power Drum. Third wirebug is good for lots of weapons that rely on high damage silkbind moves heavily. Power Drum is great because it’s hard to argue with 5% free base raw and a bunch of defense. 

4 slot: Shock Tripper or Shock Purr-ison. A free KO is great for most weapons. It also works on everything unlike Shock Purr-ison which won’t work on Elders or certain thunder monsters. I recommend Shock Purr-ison for SnS/HH/Hammer/Stickies though. With the changes to successive KO’s making them a lot worse an extra one from Tripper won’t matter much if you’re using a KO inflicting weapon. 

Their 5 slot is Pilfer. This move sees them throw out a little boomerang during the hunt. Each Gathering cat can “steal” up to 4 extra items per monster (including small ones) for the end-of-quest screen. This can mean you gain random materials from monsters that show up during your hunt to turf war what you’re actively fighting. Gaining more monster materials is extremely powerful in a game where your main objective is to farm monsters. More monster mats = less farming and more materials to meld away for talismans. They even have a (generally 1%) chance at giving you Mantles which can leave you jumping with glee at their extreme luck.

Their best Secret Move is Lottery Box as it can provide any random Palico skill which doesn’t sound all that interesting except for when it does The Kittenator. It’s a stationary penetrating device (gigity) that they will fire if the monster gets close. It does 300 damage and is a guaranteed knockdown unless the monster is already in a knockdown animation. This means a gorgeous window of opportunity for you to wail on the monster with your best moves. It usually happens once per hunt.

For skills I recommend: Knockout King, Buddy Partbreaker, Support-Centric, Status Attack Up, and Melee-Centric. All of these aid in your cat’s ability to provide utility. As Knockout King and Buddy Partbreaker are extremely low value you can also swap them out for Artful Dodger to give your cats a large chance to completely avoid damage.

KO King is 20% stun/exhaust boost. 

Buddy Partbreaker is a 3.12% part damage modifier… I’m uncertain if it’s tallied by # of red skills equipped, or # of red slots. 

Support Centric decreases the weighted RNG/cooldown timer of activating Palico Support Moves and Palamute Gear by 10%. 

Status Attack Up is a 12.5% (Floored) status value boost. 

Melee-Centric is useful because if they are set to nothing or ranged centric then cats will more likely place their stuff down wherever they want. Melee generally makes them stay near the monster so they can place stuff down next to what they are fighting, and by extension you. This is particularly useful for The Kittenator. Unless you’re a gunner sitting way the hell back I guess, then it’s less useful and I’d probably go with Ranged-Centric.

Fighter Palico

Behavior: Large First

Support Moves

  • Rousing Roar
  • Go, Fight, Win / Whirlwind Assault
  • Summeown Endemic Life / Power Drum
  • Shock Tripper / Shock Purr-ison
  • Furr-ious

Secret Move

  • Felyne Powered-Up

Skills

  • Knockout King
  • Buddy Partbreaker
  • Support-Centric
  • Status Attack Up
  • Melee-Centric

Weapons

  • Paralysis: F Jelly Shade X
  • Sleep: Felyne Cat-aclysm X
  • Blast: F Bazelgeuse Mace X
  • Poison: F Red Basket

Next is Fighter Palico. I initially slept on this cat type as most guide writers for weapons don’t optimize around Rousing Roar. However I realized I needed to shed that mindset and explain how good it is. 

First I’ll explain their 5 slot skill, Furr-ious. It’s a raw buff for the cat. That’s it. Palico damage is not good, this move makes it less terrible, bad+bad=less bad so still whatever. We don’t really care as they still have access to probably the best 1 slot move in the game.

Rousing Roar is a 30% affinity buff that lasts for 2.5 min. This is amazing for hunter damage as you can optimize your sets around it being active and gain plenty of damage skills in the tradeoff. It did have pretty high cooldown so it wasn’t active all the time. I use past tense because it just got a whole lot more consistent with a new secret move.

Their best secret move is Felyne Powered-Up. Contrary to what the description says this does *not* upgrade buddy moves. It does however completely reset their internal cooldown. With testing this lets you significantly lower the downtime of Rousing Roar. Just like real cats your Palicos will kinda do what they want but here’s a general single fighter cat behavior outline with Powered Up and Support-Centric:

  • 0:00 (fight start) is Felvine
  • 0:40 is RR (would run out at 3:10)
  • 2:15 is Powered Up
  • 2:40 is RR2
  • 5:10 is RR2 end
  • 5:40 is RR3 (ends at 8:10)

This leaves a 40 second start up and 30 seconds of downtime. It also buffs gundog so I heavily recommend doing that instead of a second fighter cat if you don’t want more utility from a gathering or healer.

All of my recommended support moves are exactly the same as Gathering cat. 2 = Go, Fight, Win or Whirlwind. 3 = Summeown Endemic Life or Power Drum. 4 = Shock Tripper or Shock Purr-ison.

Same with Skills. General utility stuff is still king here. Knockout King, Buddy Partbreaker, Support-Centric, Status Attack Up, and Melee-Centric.

Healer Palico

Behavior: Large First

Support Moves

  • Herbaceous Healing
  • Healing Bubble / Go, Fight, Win
  • Summeown Endemic Life / Power Drum
  • Shock Tripper / Shock Purr-ison
  • Health Horn

Secret Move

  • Healing Clover Bat

Skills

  • Buddy Friendship
  • Support-Centric
  • Status Attack Up
  • Melee-Centric

Weapons

  • Paralysis: F Jelly Shade X
  • Sleep: Felyne Cat-aclysm X
  • Blast: F Bazelgeuse Mace X
  • Poison: F Red Basket

Last is Healer Palico. With Sunbreak these guys got a couple more useful tools and a big reason to use them: They are amazing for offsetting the life drain of Dereliction and Bloodlust. Or just keeping you alive if you’re struggling to be so.

Their 1 slot is Herbaceous Healing. They will plonk down a little plant and water it. After a few seconds it will grow fruit and then you can interact/attack it to activate it. This will spawn a small heal over time AOE similar to what the Escuregot endemic life does.

Their 5 slot is Health Horn. Your healer will take out a little dooter and do their best Hunting Horn impersonation. It does two slightly staggered but large healing chunks back to back. They usually use it when somebody is below 25% health in my experience.

Their best secret move is Healing Clover Bat. They will place down an interactable, similar to their innate Herbaceous Healing plant. If you smack it you’ll get a buff that lasts for 2 min and 20 seconds. This adds a three part bar to your UI where the more damage you deal to a monster the larger the bat will auto-heal you over time. This healing amount is quite large too. Be sure to pay attention to your minimap or your cat’s chat messages to make sure you don’t miss it when they place it down.

2 slot: I recommend with Healing Bubble for those extra little helpings of healing as you need them. Same as Gather cat though, use Go, Fight, Win if you’ve got a weapon which cares about stamina management.

3 slot: Same as gathering. Summeown for third bug or Power Drum for free raw and defense. 

4 slot: Also same as gathering. Shock Tripper or Shock Purr-ison.

For skills I recommend: Buddy Friendship, Support-Centric, Status Attack Up, and Melee-Centric.

Buddy Friendship is optional as it will just share the healing cats sometimes do with their own flask. It’s something healing oriented though.

As for Medic’s touch it’s not taken because it’s effectively Recovery Up for the buddy. They just heal themselves more which is useless. 

Palamutes

For the longest time, gundog reigned supreme in the Sunbreak buddy meta; but everything changed when the Capcom nerf nation attacked. With the massive damage and status nerf to Palamute Silkbinder and the buffs given to other palamute weapons in the TU3 patch, the doggo meta did indeed change quite dramatically.

Since we can’t have max damage and max utility at the same time anymore, we’re gonna have to make choices. Here we’re gonna present two types of palamute setups, a max damage elemental setup and a comfort status setup. Both have their upsides, so choose according to your playstyle and preferences.

Elemental Palamute

Behavior: Basic

Gear

  • Dual-Bladed Chain
  • Blitz Scroll

Skills

  • Melee-Centric
  • Element Attack Up
  • Counter
  • Artful Dodger
  • Attack Up (S)

Weapons

  • Fire: C Rathalos Sword X (Rathalos)
  • Water: C Almudron Wings X (Almudron)
  • Thunder: C Thunderblade (Zinogre)
  • Ice: C Daora Scythe X (Kushala)
  • Dragon: C Crimson Eclipse Sword (Valstrax)

The new max damage doggo build isn’t a ranged build anymore, but a melee build using none other than the base weapon your palamutes start with. As it turns out, using elemental weapons on dogs with Dual-Bladed Chain can now deal really absurd amounts of damage.

There’s a few caveats however. First of all, its effectiveness depends on how much the dog is using the close range spinning attack (similar to SnS Windmill), which depends both on how close the dog is to the monster and to the kind of attacks your hunter uses. You should be able to proc this attacks rather often in most cases, but you might wanna go in training mode to see which ones of the attacks in your dps rotations will effectively trigger it.

The second one is that this obviously requires you to swap out palamute weapons to match the monster’s elemental weakness. You can make this process slightly easier by creating loadouts for every element with the same armor and a different weapon (if you’re using two palamutes, this requires you to have two copies of every single armor piece as well), but it’s still somewhat of a chore, even if the damage output difference balances it out.

If you were using Silkbinder before, make sure you set the palamute behavior back to Basic; this is indeed the behavior that makes the dog use melee attacks.

Status Palamute

Behavior: Follow

Gear

  • Large Shuriken
  • Blitz Scroll / Throwarm Scroll

Skills

  • Ranged-Centric
  • Status Attack Up
  • Ranged Attack Up
  • Attack Up (L)

Weapons

  • Para: C Jelly Travel Bag X
  • Sleep: Disastaroo Bell
  • Blast: C Pride Mace
  • Poison: C Red Basket
    • PLEASE don’t use this in multiplayer, as you might mess up poison procs from players using Chameleos Blessing 3

The damage of this one is far inferior to elemental palamutes, but it has the advantage of being able to proc status as well as not requiring you to swap weapons every hunt. You will get at least one status proc per hunt on high level anomaly investigations even if you’re using a palico as your 2nd buddy.

Para will still be your best choice, both because of the synergy with Foray and because it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the fight. Sleep is gonna be the best choice for weapons with great wake-up attacks like GS, but you gotta be aware that in multiplayer there are high chances that your teammates will either wake the monster up immediately or will cover their face with bombs, making it harder for you to connect with it. The other two statuses only deal some extra damage without any additional CC (and Poison is borderline griefing in multiplayer), so they’re not recommended except if you’re solo and if the other two statuses interfere with your build.

The only downside of Shuriken compared to Silkbinder is that it doesn’t really build up mounts, so if your weapon is really poor at that and you have no other way to get your mount you could still consider running Silkbinder instead.

Skill Data

  • Ranged Attack Up is a whopping 25% raw boost to ranged attacks.
  • Element Attack Up is a 25% element boost.
  • Status Attack Up is a 25% status boost.
  • Attack Up S and L are 10 and 20 flat raw respectively.
  • Critical Up S and L are 10% and 20% affinity respectively. 
  • Piercing Attack Up is 5% raw and guns pierce.

Throwarm scroll is, broadly speaking, a 20% increase to raw with 15% for the full auto bursts. (It increases all the MVs by 2.)

Blitz scroll, however, gives 20% more animation speed *as well as* additional affinity. (I’m not sure exactly how much, I believe 10 to 20%, but any amount would make it better.)

On paper, Blitz scroll is directly superior… But there’s a caveat to that. You need to be able to keep up with the dog’s faster attack rate. The way the AI works is that they will attack at full speed as long as you’re in attack animations, but if you’re not attacking they will default to a slower attack rate.

Because of this the optimal scroll depends on what weapon you’re using. Something like GS or Hammer might want to go Throwarm because the attacks your dog does throw out will be doing 20% more raw. Weapons like SnS, DB, IG, and Gunner weapons that have a lot of uptime on doing their attacks would be better suited to Blitz scroll.

If you’re using a weapon that has a Lv1 rampage slot and you’re running gundogs then I recommend slotting in Buddy Rally. It raises your buddy’s raw and ele by 10%. This is absolutely not worth using over a Species Exploit deco but if you’ve got no other option this is definitely better than the spiribird lv1 deco.

An odd little fact I discovered about gundog that I’m not exactly sure where else to put: Silkbinder inherits the damage type of the dog’s equipped weapon. If it’s got a slicing weapon, it uses slicing hitzones with the ability to sever the tail. If it’s got a blunt weapon, it uses blunt hitzones without stun damage. This is probably because the attack has no stun value associated with it.

Egor Opleuha
About Egor Opleuha 6908 Articles
Egor Opleuha, also known as Juzzzie, is the Editor-in-Chief of Gameplay Tips. He is a writer with more than 12 years of experience in writing and editing online content. His favorite game was and still is the third part of the legendary Heroes of Might and Magic saga. He prefers to spend all his free time playing retro games and new indie games.

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