Welcome readers, to that inevitable last
week of CotDs before the new set.
You can also think of this as
“the other” week, as many (but not all)
of our reviews are of Pokémon that were
released alongside another, better known
We will begin with one such
Lucario (BW: Plasma Storm
Interestingly enough, we reviewed
Lucario (BW: Plasma Storm
78/135) exactly two months ago.
I also won’t lie to you; instead
of wasting time I can be using to write
another CotD (or having this one not
finished in time), where the two cards
are identical, this review is actually
based on that earlier review; don’t be
surprised if some sections are overly
familiar because of this.
Lucario was released in the
“National Beginning Pokédex Set” in
Japan, which consisted of three half
decks built around the Generation V
starters, designed with an eye toward
helping younger players enter the game.
means I will refrain from some of my
criticisms of the card that would
require advanced mechanics.
At the same time, I do think it
questionable to make cards that aren’t
just simple, but simply bad; a card
eschewing complexity can actually be
quite potent in this game when properly
In competitive play, such cards
become good when other cards add the
versatility a deck needs to survive.
As such, I won’t be gentle; I
just will try to avoid suggestions that
would risk making the card “complicated”
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, and yet it is still a
This is due to the commonality of
Fighting Weakness on heavily played
cards and disparity between the potency
of Weakness versus Resistance; playing
around Resistance is usually a simple
matter, while protecting Weakness is
As mentioned above, this card needed to
avoid being overly complex, but I would
not have minded it being a Metal-Type,
perhaps with all Colorless Energy costs
to help teach that Pokémon with two
Types in the video game are (in modern
releases) represented by being one Type
or the other in the TCG.
We also have only received one
Lucario outside of
Lucario (Platinum 53/127).
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.
Lucario doesn’t want to be complex
the best way to help it stand up against
the speedy Basic Pokémon would be great
Stats, great, straight-forward attacks,
and/or giving it some obvious combos
from cards outside of what composed the
“National Beginning Pokédex Set.”
90 HP is small enough to be a legal
Level Ball target, which is the only
advantage; it is small enough that most
decks can reliably OHKO it once set-up,
and while you won’t every be able to get
Lucario into play on your first turn
in Modified, it wouldn’t even be safe
from a OHKO either!
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
game and need to keep the whole card
“simple” for newer players.
Psychic-Type Weakness is not good to
Mewtwo EX isn’t a common play
anymore, but neither is it uncommon.
When BW: Plasma Freeze
becomes street legal, we’ll have at
least one more as well, though if we
want to be optimistic, the Weakness
isn’t usually going to matter due to the
likelihood an attacker would OHKO
Lucario even without it.
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 much
more balanced than the Weakness
It might be left off many Pokémon
to simplify things but if that is the
case, it seems a bit unwise.
After all, if it really is too
complex for new, young players it
probably makes more sense to create some
special, simplified “beginner” rules
that just ignore such things.
Actually, those might already
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
Darkness-Type 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.
Or they could have just upped its HP to
reflect the just over 50% of Types
Lucario are Resistant to.
A Retreat Cost of one is good; it isn’t
hard to pay, and this is a format where
retreating to shake Special Conditions
is often important.
Given the decisions to make
Lucario a 90 HP Pokémon, though, it
probably could have just been given a
free Retreat Cost and still been pretty
This also would have made it
easier to use for younger players as
Kick does a sub par 30 points of damage
for (FC); really should be hitting for
at least 50 to have a shot at being
competitive this format, and given the
card’s low HP, (CC) for 60 or even 70
might still be balanced.
Lucario will likely only get to
attack once, after all.
Mach Cross is a cool name, but it isn’t
a good attack; (FCC) buys only 70 points
This is at least 20 below where
it needs to be just based on what has
proven successful in general and the
fact the card was intended to be simple
and straightforward to use.
As it is likely to become a OHKO,
I could see upwards of 120 still not be
Minimal synergy; Kick is less expensive
than Mach Cross, but to use the latter
will require some form of Energy
acceleration which in turn is likely to
allow you to use Mach Cross immediately,
rendering Kick almost totally useless.
I think beefing up Kick would
have helped this card, as well as upping
the cost of and beefing up Mach Cross;
Lucario has 90 HP so it might as
well be a “glass cannon”.
A high Energy cost is likely to
keep it from being overpowering in the
limited card pool of beginner decks as
well, since they don’t tend to have much
in the way of Energy acceleration.
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, of
(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, a single Energy Retreat Cost, 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 78/135) has 100
HP, putting it just out of
Level Ball range without making it
that much harder to KO, an Ability, and
a single attack. The Ability, Dual
Armor, causes it to be treated as being
both Fighting- and Metal-Type while it
has a source of Metal Energy attached,
and a single attack.
Hurricane Kick, the attack,
requires (FCC) and hits for 60 points of
damage plus 30 more for each Prize card
your opponent has taken.
put, there was some hope for this with
Klinklang (BW: Plasma Storm
90/135), but that variant of the Plasma
Steel deck never caught on.
Neither of these two
Lucario are likely to see
competitive play; they won’t crowd this
Lucario out, but they won’t give it
the boost it needs, either.
I’ve got nothing beyond the fundamentals
I’ve glossed over;
Level Ball can snag
Lucario and a lot of Energy
acceleration can fill in those Colorless
Unfortunately, I can’t think of
anything that really justifies using
this in a competitive deck, which is a
Besides the normal annoyance of
being a “filler” card, as this was
originally designed for new players in
it is sad that it honestly tells
responsible kids and parents “Hey, don’t
waste more money on this game!”
At least, that is what I get from games
where the beginner product I just
shelled out money to buy turns out to be
almost totally useless to actually
playing the hobby beyond that most
beginner of levels.
Sorry to repeat myself, but skip it.
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 its
The set includes two
Riolu and two
Lucario, improving the odds of
pulling a more fleshed out Evolution
Combined with the usual lower
average HP/damage output of Limited, all
Lucario a promising pull… assuming
you did snag at least one of those
ends up being more disappointing
“filler”; the fact that it was designed
for entry level players is cold comfort
at best and at worst, troubling as not
only could it have been a better
“training” Pokémon, failing to make the
card competitive just makes the game
seem less attractive to those same
prospective players it was originally
designed to educate!