If you are reading this, I forgot to
write an introduction.
Lucario is a Fighting-Type; like
almost all Types in the TCG right now,
there is no overt, direct support.
There isn’t as much incidental
support either, though due to the
abundance of Fighting Weakness on
heavily played cards and disparity
between the potency of Weakness versus
Resistance, it is a strong offensive
Type despite Resistance on some high
It is still bittersweet for me,
because this is a Fighting/Steel-Type
Pokémon in the video games.
As we will see this has been
factored into the card, but in a way you
are paying for something that should
have been “free”.
As a Stage 1,
Lucario is easier to get into play
than Stage 2 Pokémon, but even Stage 1
Pokémon are slow compared to the Basic
Pokémon that dominate the format.
Many traits about this card that
would be adequate for a Basic Pokémon
just won’t cut it for a Stage 1.
100 HP is not a guaranteed OHKO early
game, but most decks can hit it pretty
easily once set-up; if not directly,
Hypnotoxic Laser (optionally with
Virbank City Gym) is factored in.
As a Stage 1 Pokémon
Lucario hits the field no sooner
than the overall third turn of the game;
even if the player using it goes first,
the most aggressive decks could OHKO it
At this point, it might be better
Lucario had 10 less HP so that it
was a legal
Level Ball target.
Lucario in the video games have
noticeably below average Base Stats for
HP, Defense, and Special Defense stats
for fully Evolved Pokémon; the low HP is
somewhat justified, but made much worse
than it should be by the state of the
Psychic-Type Weakness is not good to
Mewtwo EX (BW: Next Destinies
54/99, 98/99; BW Promo BW45)
usage seems to finally have dropped to
the point where not every deck is
running it, but it is still a definite
presence in the format.
With the HP, the Weakness matters
less to begin with as most Pokémon are
going to score that OHKO regardless.
What makes it extra annoying is
that this card actually shouldn’t be
Psychic Weak at all, given how Lucario
in the video game function.
In the video games, Lucario are only
Weak to Fighting, Ground, and Fire.
Fighting and Ground might justify
Fighting-Type Weakness, which is about
as bad as Psychic-Type Weakness, but the
third video game Type that goes into the
TCG Fighting-Type is Rock, which Lucario
in the video games resist.
Fire-Type Weakness is the only
one that seems consistent with the video
games; there Lucario takes normal damage
from Psychic Type attacks and takes half
damage from Ghost-Type and no damage
from Poison-Type moves (the remaining
two components of the TCG Psychic-Type).
Fire is also one of the lesser
used Types right now as well.
Lucario has no Resistance.
The Resistance mechanic is
horribly ineffective compared to the
Weakness mechanic, and for reasons
unknown (I would guess in the name of
“simplicity”) Resistance is missing from
most Pokémon, so in a sense
Lucario is just missing out on a
small, potential advantage.
At this point in the review,
seems like it could use it, but there is
a much better reason for be annoyed at
As a Fighting/Steel-Type hybrid, this
card takes less than the normal amount
of damage from 10 of the 17 video game
It is Immune (damage is multiple
by zero) from Poison-Type attacks there.
and Dark-Type moves all hit for only a
quarter of their normal damage.
Ghost-, Steel-, Grass-, Ice-, and
Dragon-Type moves will only strike for
That is a lot to ignore,
especially as one of the big points of
Steel-Types (and their hybrids) is how
many forms of Resistance they sport.
Converting all those into their TCG
counterparts and ignoring any where all
components of a TCG Type aren’t
Lucario should still be Resistant to
Darkness-, Dragon-, Grass-, or
Resistance would have been almost
perfect; its video-game counterpart
converts directly and is the highest
form of Resistance to do so, and both
Fighting-Types and Steel-Type Pokémon in
the video games are known for their
Resistance to Dark-Types.
A Retreat score of two is normally the
functional average; low enough that in a
Lucario would often have the Energy
attached to pay for it, could spare the
Energy without crippling its offense,
but high enough you only would want to
in an emergency.
However the card pool and nature
of the format makes this actually the
worst score to have.
Right now, it is imperative that Pokémon
have an easy, efficient method of
getting out of the Active slot;
Hypnotoxic Laser (especially with
Virbank City Gym) will require you
Bench a Pokémon to avoid more damage (it
is rarely worth running a card to just
“cure” the Special Condition).
The proven options for doing this
Lucario can tap are going to either
zero out its Retreat cost or bypass
manually retreating entirely.
What is more is that if it required an
additional Energy to Retreat, it might
have justified the designers offsetting
that with a benefit to the card
elsewhere, and would have made it a
Heavy Ball target.
This may seem like nitpicking,
but it will come back to bite this card
when we get to Usage.
Lucario in the video games do
have a Speed Base Stat that is above
average, so realistically a free or
single Energy Retreat would have been
Dual Armor allows
Lucario to count as both a
Metal-Type and a Fighting-Type Pokémon
at the same time, provided it has a
source of (M) Energy attached to it.
At first glance I was thrilled
with this because it means the Pokémon’s
dual-Type heritage is being respected,
but then I realized the opposite was
true; an inherent trait of the video
games was only being represented at the
cost of the Ability “slot” on the card
and it wasn’t even always one but
something that had to be triggered!
Metal Resistance doesn’t naturally exist
in Modified anymore, so being able to
avoid counting as a Metal-Type will
seldom if ever benefit
If the alternative was going to
be this card without any Ability or
without a second attack, yes this is an
improvement, but that would be terrible
design work like we often tolerate in
Hurricane Kick has a great name… well, I
am a fan of the Street Fighter series
though I wouldn’t be surprised if the
attack name has some other, older origin
or has been re-used elsewhere.
For (FCC) you do only 60 points
of damage, but you score an extra 30
points of damage for each Prize your
opponent has taken.
A single Prize gives you an
acceptable 90 points of damage, enough
to OHKO unprotected Fighting Weak
Pokémon and 2HKO anything unprotected
and lacking an HP boost that commonly
At two Prizes taken, the 120 points of
damage done means very, very few Pokémon
can survive two hits without flat out
preventing damage taken or healing up in
At three Prizes taken, almost any
Stage 2 that is currently Modified legal
is OHKOed by the 150 points of damage
four Prizes taken, Hurricane Kick hits
for 180 points of damage: few Pokémon
can survive that even once.
Lastly, once your opponent has
taken five Prizes, while you have almost
Lucario serves up a massive 210
points of damage; the only competitive
cards that can survive that are relying
on “protective” effects that shut damage
The Energy cost is mostly good;
obviously being less expensive would
make it “better” but the Colorless
Energy requirements are easy to meet
with most acceleration (including
Double Colorless Energy) and a
single (F) requirement is also easy to
Blend Energy WLFM can power the
single (F) Energy requirement of the
attack and trigger Dual Armor, there is
definite synergy between the attacks.
Metal Weakness isn’t huge, but it
is out there and hitting for double
damage even a little more often is
If you need to avoid Special
Energy cards or just want fall back
Metal Energy can easily fill the
Colorless Energy requirements of the
There are four versions of
Riolu and two other versions of
Lucario available in Modified.
All currently legal versions of
Lucario are Fighting-Type Pokémon
with Psychic Weakness and no Resistance.
Riolu are also Basic Pokémon with
single Energy Retreat scores and two
attacks; the latter is a rare amount
effort on the designers’ parts, and much
The Retreat cost is common but
handy as well.
Lucario are Stage 1 Pokémon with
solid single Energy Retreat scores.
(BW: Next Destinies 63/99) sports
70 HP and can do 10 for (C) or for (FC)
hit for 10 plus another 20 points if you
Riolu (BW Promo BW33) has
just 60 HP, and for (C) can Bench itself
while for (FC) it does a flat 30.
Riolu (BW: Plasma Storm
75/135) has 60 HP and requires (C) to
hit for 10 and (FC) to hit for 20; no
Riolu (BW: Plasma Storm
76/135) enjoys 70 HP and for (CC) hits
for 20 while (FCC) allows it to hit for
40 and ignore Resistance.
BW33 and its self-Benching attack
improves its odds of survival, but only
if you have something else you want to
promote in its stead.
Neither 60 nor 70 HP is going to
survive a lot of attacks, but even a
little bit bigger is better, so I favor
BW: Plasma Storm 76/135 for
having 70 HP and its slightly better
attacks (Fighting Weakness is common
enough you might actually benefit from
attacking for damage first/second turn).
(BW: Next Destinies 64/99) has
100 HP, an Ability, and an attack.
The Ability causes an attacking
Pokémon to have two damage counters
placed on it, even if
Lucario is KOed.
This is handy but not enough to
get the card played.
Its attack requires (FF) and hits
for 50 to the Defending Pokémon and 20
to one of the opponent’s Benched
Pokémon; a total of 70 for two Energy
isn’t bad, but (FF) isn’t easy to pay
for with Energy acceleration so overall,
this version falls flat.
(BW: Plasma Storm 77/135) has
only 90 HP, making it a legal
Level Ball target but a slightly
It has vanilla attacks that just
aren’t strong enough: (FC) for 30 or
(FCC) for 70.
This means that neither version
makes a good partner for today’s card.
The biggest combo I can see for this
card is with
Klinklang (BW: Plasma Storm
90/135); the paltry HP of
Lucario can last when Dual Armor
makes it a Metal-Type so that Plasma
Steel blocks the damage from all
This would allow Plasma Steel
decks to exploit abundant Fighting
Weakness and possess a potential
Lucario the format is heavy with
Hypnotoxic Laser, it is small enough
that non-Pokémon-EX attackers can still
OHKO it, space is tight in Plasma Steel
Riolu is a pure Fighting-Type so it
never gets the same protection.
As stated, it can make good use of
Double Colorless Energy, so I
suppose if a Plasma Steel deck was using
it, this could make
Lucario more tempting.
As you want to give up some
Prizes and distract the opponent from
Pokémon that are more important long
term, some might even consider running
Victini EX (BW: Plasma Storm
18/135, 131/135) to try an accelerate
some basic Energy to
while taking a dive and ensuring
Hurricane Kick opens at 120 points of
Unfortunately that is easier said
N does make a nice, near effortless
combo as you can shrink your opponent’s
hand before laying into them with a
powerful Hurricane Kick.
Notice how none of the combos I listed
were for Unlimited.
This card just doesn’t fit here;
it doesn’t enhance first-turn-win
strategies, and even if you decide to
play a different strategy, hitting
Metal-Type Weakness isn’t usually that
important, other Fighting-Types are
better at exploiting Fighting-Weakness
and all the crazy combos you might use
to back up
Lucario are exceeded by the combos
that tear it down.
There is a slim chance that an otherwise
solid Plasma Steel deck that can somehow
squeeze in a 1-1 line of
(meaning everything else the two want
needs to already be in the deck, like
Blend Energy WLFM) to exploit
Fighting Weakness and play comeback
Thanks to other counters for
Plasma Steel already OHKOing it and the
City Gym combo, even if
Riolu survives the turn you’ll get
one shot, maybe two.
I built some test builds based on some
ideas I had heard, and except as a 1-1
line in an already compatible Plasma
Steel deck, there just wasn’t the room
Klinklang [Plasma], and something to
deal with Poison.
Riolu makes for a solid “filler”
Pokémon in Limited, which means
Lucario itself is a bonus provided
you can afford to run a few
Fighting Energy to pay for Hurricane
Triggering Dual Armor is
optional; it requires the deck also run
Metal Energy and that is a much
greater strain, but if you do this set
actually has multiple lines with Metal
Hurricane Kick won’t hit be able
to hit for as much damage (only four
Prizes to begin with in Limited), but
average HP scores are lower so it will
likely be as effective or more so
looks promising at a glance, but a
closer look reveals that it not only is
ill-suited for the current format but it
really seems to ignore what the Pokémon
is about in the video games.
“Re-inventing” a Pokémon is fine
when it makes it better, but not when it
makes it worse.
I didn’t intend to use this to rant
about the need for a standard dual-Type
mechanic, but according to Bulbapedia
the TCG first came out in Japan in 1996,
meaning it either has hit or later this
year will hit its 17th
anniversary, and if that release date is
wrong the full fledged debut of the game
in North America was in 1999, so 13
years going on 14.
Dual-Types are iconic in the video games
and integrated into the game mechanics,
so unless they do away with them there
it is pretty much a “fail” that either
Creatures, Inc. hasn’t figured out how
to regularly incorporate this into the
TCG or that the TCG’s design makes it
impossible to do so and maintain game