Controlling the shape or morphology of metal nanocrystals is central to the realization of their many applications in catalysis, plasmonics, and electronics. In one of the approaches, the metal nanocrystals are grown from seeds of certain crystallinity through the addition of atomic species. In this case, manipulating the rates at which the atomic species are added onto different crystallographic planes of a seed has been actively explored to control the growth pattern of a seed and thereby the shape or morphology taken by the final product. Upon deposition, however, the adsorbed atoms (adatoms) may not stay at the same sites where the depositions occur. Instead, they can migrate to other sites on the seed owing to the involvement of surface diffusion, and this could lead to unexpected deviations from a desired growth pathway. Herein, we demonstrated that the growth pathway of a seed is indeed determined by the ratio between the rates for atom deposition and surface diffusion. Our result suggests that surface diffusion needs to be taken into account when controlling the shape or morphology of metal nanocrystals.