Lucario & Melmetal-GX
Lucario & Melmetal-GX

#8 Lucario & Melmetal-GX
– Unbroken Bonds

Date Reviewed:
May 8, 2019

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 3.80
Expanded: 3.53
Limited: 4.50

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.

Reviews Below:


Steel-Types are widely known for having some of the hardiest defenses in the game…well, at least the video game. Usually they’ll have high defenses to accompany their impressive number of Resistances, and that can make for an upward battle if you’re playing into their Weaknesses. In the TCG, Metal tends to hold onto these defensive tactics at times, but what happens when that type of effect ends up lasting the whole game?

Lucario & Melmetal-GX is a Basic Metal Tag Team Pokemon-GX, 260 HP, with a Fire Weakness, a Psychic Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 3. Steel Fist is a 2-for-50 that lets you attach a Metal Energy in your deck directly to the powerful duo. This helps lead into Heavy Impact, a 4-for-150 vanilla strike that’s hard to ignore, given that it’s been known to leave dents in walls, cracks in the floor, and broken many a table in its wake. Helps when you’re the one trying to emulate the “heavy impact”. But while your opponents may think they can get the upper hand, you’ll likely have used Full Metal Wall GX, a 1-Energy GX Attack that reduces the damage your Metal Pokemon take by 30 for the rest of the game. On top of that, if there’s another Energy of any kind attached in addition to its cost, you discard all the Energy on your opponent’s Active Pokemon.

There’s a lot to unpack there, but basically, Lucario & Melmetal-GX want to use Full Metal Wall GX as early as possible to make it more difficult for the opponent to take down the Metal Pokemon the deck is going to be inevitably full of. If they get that extra Energy, it can put opponents further behind, simply by getting rid of the Energy they’ve already put on their Active Pokemon. From there, it’s just a brutal smackdown with Heavy Impact, dishing 150 damage each turn and guaranteeing 2HKOs while being bulky enough to tank out against most other attacks. It’s hard to compete against a deck that’s not gonna move for anyone.

Regigigas decks would know.

Even aggressive decks like Zapdos that tend to push out at least 90 damage each turn will have a hard time beating over the Full Metal Wall GX, and that lasts for the duration of the game! And if you think that’s bad, just try getting over it when they attach the new Metal Core Barrier to their Pokemon and reduce the damage by another 70! That’s 100 less damage being taken in one turn! Thank goodness Metal Core Barrier discards itself at the end of the next turn, cause otherwise I think there’d be riots in the street as Metal decks reign supreme while Fire decks work to counteract it, and we end up in a horrid Rock-Paper-Scissors meta.

Of course it’s not as though Lucario & Melmetal-GX will dominate the game anymore than Gardevoir & Sylveon-GX will. The good news here is, Lucario & Melmetal-GX are a bit slow themselves, and while they do end up taking less damage after Full Metal Wall GX is used, they still have to dedicate their attack to it for at least one turn. And if they don’t use it to discard Energy from your Active Pokemon, all the better! It’ll take 2-3 turns for them to start ramping up with Steel Fist into Heavy Impact, and even then it’s another 1-2 turns before they get that far. So it’s a pretty good line-up to try and get in as much damage on them as you can, and then you get to draw 3 Prizes when you do KO them, which can help you catch up!

I do think that of the three Tag Team GX in the Top 11 list that Lucario & Melmetal-GX will see the most amount of play and possibly be the most successful, but the deck doesn’t need to center around the Tag Team to work out; the great thing about it is that you can use other smaller Metal Pokemon to accompany the Tag Team, and they’ll benefit from the Full Metal Wall GX just as much as Lucario & Melmetal-GX do! There’s even a handy Melmetal in the set that can heal itself for 100 damage each turn, making it hardier than even these guys in the right hands! Or there’s the Skarmory from Tag Team that can do 90 damage after you’ve used your GX Attack for the game – very useful! And if Fire Pokemon are a concern, don’t worry about it, cause Bronzong has Fireproof to make it harder for them to get past.

And that’s not even touching on Cobalion-GX who can remove any Status Conditions from your Metal Pokemon while in play. Or really any of the other Metal Pokemon with various damage reduction effects.


Standard: 4.5/5 (I think Metal decks are looking to be pretty hard to overcome in the near future)

Expanded: 4/5 (combined with the right support, it’s likely to be the toughest deck out there)

Limited: 5/5 (…no pun intended, I swear)

Arora Notealus: Lucario & Melmetal-GX give Metal decks a hearty boost, with an all-encompassing damage reduction effect that lasts for the rest of the game. It can be a challenge for decks that can’t hit for that Fire Weakness to contend with that, but I think the better question is, how will people keep up with that reduction? Just like put an emblem down or a little marker that says something like “Metal -30 damage” maybe. Just to help out with keeping track of Full Metal Wall GX – I can imagine a long game losing track of that.

Next Time: Rounding out the Tag Teams comes a duo from the darkest shadows!


Note: This review wasn’t posted until May 13th.  Prior to that, a much shorter review that had no scores was included as a placeholder.  Owing to it being simpler, it skewed much more positive than the finished product.

Eighth-place as we count down our top picks of SM – Unbroken Bonds is another Tag Team card, Lucario & Melmetal-GX (SM – Unbroken Bonds 120/214, 203/214, 224/214). Tag Team Pokémon are a subcategory of Pokémon-GX; the main things to remember is that they’ll enjoy better HP and effects but give up three Prizes when KO’d, instead of one or two, and that with the way this TCG handles names, any copies you run of Lucario & Melmetal-GX do not count against how many Lucario, Lucario-GX, Melmetal, or Melmetal-GX you wish to run (nor any other naming permutations). Lucario & Melmetal-GX is also a Basic Pokémon, even though those others are Stage 1 Pokémon; this just seems to be another characteristic of Tag Team Pokémon. This is definitely favorable, as even in the face of anti-Basic effects, this is the best Stage to be; least deck-space per copy, fastest to the field, a natural synergy with many effects (like bounce), some Basic Stage support, and even being able to serve as your opening Active (though that can sometimes backfire).

Lucario & Melmetal-GX are also [M] Type, which makes sense given that is the Typing the two share. It also should serve them well; you’ll enjoy access to a decent amount of support in Standard and a little extra on top of that in Expanded. Some [W] and all [Y] Types are [M] Weak, which also helps out; just be aware that most [L] Types are [M] Resistant. This duo sports 260 HP, enough to be a difficult (but not impossible) OHKO. It isn’t record-setting, but it would have been if this card had released before October 19, 2018. [R] Weakness is pretty awful to have right now, as this set introduces Welder and a few potent new [R] Type attackers, chief among them Reshiram & Charizard-GX (SM – Unbroken Bonds 20/214, 194/214, 219/214). All is not lost, though; some [R] Types might not manage the 130 damage needed before Weakness, one of those pieces of [M] support I mentioned was Metal Frying Pan, a tool that reduces the damage the equipped [M] Type Pokémon takes by 30 AND negates that Pokémon’s Weakness. Any Resistance is welcome, and while [P] does come in handy for a few matchups. The Retreat Cost of [CCC] much more than you’ll usually be able to afford; in Expanded, it makes Lucario & Melmetal-GX a candidate for cards like Heavy Ball.

Lucario & Melmetal-GX know three attacks. [CC] pays for “Steel Fist”, which does 50 damage while searching out a [M] Energy card from your deck, then attaching it to Lucario & Melmetal-GX. The damage is good for the Energy required, though also in line with what we should expect of our Tag Team Pokémon. The Energy acceleration is handy as well, though attaching to one’s self – and only one’s self – via attack means your opponent has a turn to make it so that it didn’t matter, or maybe even to benefit from boosting the damage from something like the “Energy Drive” attack found on Tapu Lele-GX. The help is needed, though, because this card’s second attack is “Heavy Impact”, priced at [MMCC]. Heavy Impact hits for 150 damage, which is merely “acceptable” for a Tag Team Pokémon; I prefer scoring a probable OHKO for four Energy on one of these behemoths, but especially considering the rest of the card, a reliable 2HKO should suffice. The two attacks make for a solid combo, especially with the HP and access to stuff like Metal Frying Pan.

“Full Metal Wall-GX”, like the GX-attacks on all the Tag Team Pokémon we’ve seen, gains an additional effect if you have enough extra Energy attached to Lucario & Melmetal-GX, beyond what the attack’s printed Energy requirements say. In this case, Full Metal Wall-GX only costs [C] in the first place, and using it places an effect on the field which reduces the damage your [M] Pokémon take from attacks made by your opponent’s Pokémon. It specifies AFTER Weakness and Resistance, so [R] Types will do double damage less 30 while [P] Types will have their damage reduced by 50. The way this is worded, I believe the only way to remove this effect is through the Expanded-only card Pokémon Ranger, and I’m not even sure about that. I think attacks that ignore effects on the Pokémon being attacked – like the “Shred” attack found on White Kyurem-GX – can avoid having their damage reduced by Full Metal Wall-GX as well. If you’ve got at least one extra unit of Energy attached when you use Full Metal Wall-GX, then you also get to remove all Energy attached to your opponent’s Active Pokémon. Depending on what you’re facing, both effects could technically whiff; there may be no damage to reduce or Energy to discard.

Fortunately, just as with the first two attacks, Full Metal Wall-GX works quite nicely with the rest of Lucario & Melmetal-GX. If you go second, you have the option of using it on your first turn (or Turn 2 of the overall game). After all, the same Double Colorless Energy you’ll likely include in order to use Steel Fist covers both the printed and additional effect Energy requirements for your GX-attack; you probably won’t discard much Energy from your opponent’s Active (maybe even none at all), but unless you have a lot of non-[M] Types in play or your opponent has some of the few ways around it, your [M] Types will all soak 30 damage time they’re attacked… including against Bench hits. Anytime after you’ve used Full Metal Wall-GX, if all you’ve got is [M] Pokémon in play, spread attacks are only a real threat if they place damage counters (as opposed to doing damage which is then converted to placing damage counters). For example, Tapu Koko (SM – Black Star Promos SM30, 30a, SM31) will have to utilize a damage buff like Electropower just to punch through Full Metal Wall-GX’s protection on the Active Pokémon, though that trick won’t mean anything to your Bench.

Which brings us to how this card has been used with some success in Japan. Once again, I’ve only got a smattering of results to consult, but Lucario & Melmetal-GX did manage some great finishes… even after Reshiram & Charizard-GX joined the Japanese metagame. The examples I’m seeing, just three decks from two different events, run on just one or two Energy cards (one of which is a single Double Colorless Energy). As the second Energy (when present) is something like a Beast Energy {*} or Rainbow Energy; the other Pokémon involved seem to be about stalling and cannot make good use of a single Double Colorless Energy, leading me to believe Lucario & Melmetal-GX do indeed have solid future in such decks, even over here. These decks do take advantage of a few cards we don’t yet have, namely Player’s Ceremony (Stadium; the turn player draws two cards, and then that player’s turn ends) and Reset Stamp (Item; your opponent shuffles their hand into their deck and draws a new hand equal to their remaining Prize cards).

As such, it may be just a bit early for Lucario & Melmtal-GX to do their thing, but I believe there is enough here to award them a pretty good score for the Standard Format. One of the events for which we have results used the Japanese equivalent of the Expanded Format, but Lucario & Melmetal-GX were no shows (even though they were indeed legal). It can be dangerous to assume much based on so little data, nor is the information as fresh as one would like as the tournament in question took place nearly three months ago. So much of what makes Lucario & Melmetal-GX a good wall in Standard still applies here, though this is the cardpool which contains Pokémon Ranger and even more [R] support. Considering it all briefly, I think Lucario & Melmetal-GX likely has a place in at least some stall deck in Expanded. In both formats, I’m also not ready to completely write off the idea of running Lucario & Melmetal-GX in a “tank” deck (a deck that can win through stall or taking KOs), even with such a devastating Weakness. Even with [R] having such a major presence in SM – Unbroken Bonds, you should almost certainly run Lucario & Melmetal-GX if you pull them, either solo or alongside other Pokémon. All three attacks (and everything but the Weakness) just become even better in Limited.


Standard: 3.4/5

Expanded: 3/5

Limited: 4/5

Lucario & Melmetal-GX is another strong “wall” for stall decks, quite appropriate given its Full Metal Wall-GX attack. This is marred by its dangerous [R] Weakness, but with shrewd play (and likely Metal Frying Pan), this issue can be managed. They won’t radically change the metagame, but there is a place for Lucario & Melmetal-GX. Lucario & Melmetal-GX didn’t make my personal Top 11 but did sneak onto my personal Top 20, in 19th place.


If Greninja & Zoroark-GX represents Night Unison, then Lucario & Melmetal-GX represents another Japanese set called Full Metal Wall! Those Tag Team Pokemon comes with three attacks, and they may not be exciting, except for one GX attack. I might as well get the first two out of the way. Steel Fist cost CC for 50 damage, and grabs a Metal energy from the deck to itself, so that it leads to their second attack. Heavy Impact does 150 damage for MMCC without other effects. That damage alone is barely enough to 2HKO anything in the game, with Choice Band securing further KOs. While these attacks are decent, at best, the third attack seems to be pretty unique.

Full Metal Wall costs C and states that for the rest of the game, your Metal Pokemon takes 30 less damage from your opponent’s attacks after applying Weakness & Resistance. While most cards provide damage reduction for one turn or from an Pokemon Tool, this is one of the very few effects that can maintain its effect for the entire game after you use it. Metal Pokemon will be ridiculously hard to be OHKOed due to damage calculations. For Lucario & Melmetal-GX, it’s 260 HP backed with permanent damage reduction from this GX attack means your opponent has to deal 290 damage for a OHKO from neutral Pokémon, 310 damage from Psychic Pokemon, and 150 damage from Fire Pokemon. For 2HKOs, that will be 160 from neutral types, 180 from Psychic Pokemon, and 80 damage from Fire types. Choice Band may help break even against this effect. We haven’t even factored some Pokémon Tools that reduce damage even further. Metal Frying Pan reduces damage taken by 30, and Metal Core Barrier reduces damage taken from 70, even if it lasts just a turn!

That’s pretty much the only redeeming factor of this Pokémon. Lucario & Melmetal-GX takes the number 8 spot because it has an attack whose effect works for the entire game! I realized I dived too much on Full Metal Wall, but the short version is that damage reduction might or might not matter depending on what you’re up against.


Standard: 3.5/5

Expanded: 3.6/5 (Shield Energy and Reverse Valley can facilitate damage reduction even further)

Limited: 4.5/5 (Use GX attack first, then use Metal Fist second, then spam Heavy Impact until you win.)

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