Welcome to Pokemon of the Week, the second installment in a recurring series that looks at some of our favorite Pokemon on the anime, TCG and VGC.
Taking a trip down memory lane to see the impact these Pokemon have had on the series and our lives is what makes Pokemon the magical thing it is.
After starting with the Pokemon voted most popular in the Pokemon of the Year voting earlier this year last week, second place deserves some shine as well. While Greninja has been more popular of late, this Pokemon has a long-standing tradition as a fan favorite.
Lucario is a rare Pokemon that has many aspects of a Legendary Pokemon without actually being one. Lucario is a Steel- and Fighting-type Pokemon, the only non-Legendary to share that type combination. Lucario was also introduced as the lead character in one of the franchise’s movies, Lucario and the Mystery of Mew, usually again reserved for Legendary Pokemon.
Featured alongside multiple strong characters in the anime, Lucario is another Pokemon who has made appearances in other media as well. It has appeared in three Super Smash Bros. video games, including Brawl, WiiU, and Ultimate. Lucario was also a playable character in the Pokken games. This rivals the likes of the legendary Mewtwo.
Considered the first Mega based on the lore of the Pokemon world, Lucario brings a special style of fighting to the game. Mega-Lucario boasts the highest special attack of any non-Legendary Fighting-Type Pokemon.
Lucario in the Pokemon anime
As stated above, Lucario made its debut in the animated world in the movie Lucario and the Mystery of Mew. Lucario was the partner of Sir Aaron and used its mystical abilities to be sealed away for more than a millennium before being accidentally released by our heroes. Lucario had the ability to talk with humans telepathically and was on a mission to save the Tree of Beginning. After e lengthy battle involving Mew and sacrificing one’s aura (and life) protect the balance of the world, Lucario sacrificed himself to save Ash and the world.
Luckily this would not be the only Lucario to make an appearance in the anime. Maylene, the Veilstone City Gym Leader in Sinnoh, uses Lucario as her main partner Pokemon. She would use Lucario in gym battles against Ash and Dawn (knocking out five of their Pokemon in total) and the duo would later return to help in the battle against Team Galactic.
Riley helped Ash and friends during a hectic visit to Iron Island and his Lucario was able to withstand the issues the island caused other Steel-types because of his trademark strong aura. Later, one of Ash’s rivals in Unova, Cameron, would use Lucario to defeat Ash and his Snivy in the Ventress Conference.
The final major character to use Lucario was Korrina. Korinna was the Shalour City Gym Leader in Kalos. The roller-skating enthusiast was the only character to use a Mega-Lucario and was a little unpredictable due to losing control during Mega evolution.
Lucario in Pokemon The Trading Card Game
Given the iconic status Lucario holds in Pokemon lore it may surprise some that it is only moderately successful in the TCG. The first real success for the Aura Pokemon came with Lucario EX, which was featured as a secondary attacking option behind other Fighting-type options. It would be featured in Landous EX decks in 2015, Zygarde EX decks in 2016, and Buzzwole Gx/Lycanroc GX decks in 2018. The highest finish for this card was seventh place at the 2015 German National Championship.
Lucario GX saw more success than it’s EX counterpart. Seeing its first success at a special event in Buenos Aires in 2018, it would win that even alongside Lycanroc GX while also making top 8 paired with Zoroark GX. It would continue to do well, winning a Regional Championship in Jakarta in 2018, Russian Nationals in 2018, and a Special Event in Jakarta in 2019. The biggest event with the best placement came at the International Championship in Melbourne in 2019 where noted Zoroark expert Stephen Ivanoff piloted Zoroark GX/Lycanroc GX/Lucario EX to the Finals of the tournament. Recently it has seen a slight uptick in play as a tech in the Ultimate Mewtwo strategy popularized by the reigning World Champion Henry Brand.
Finally, Lucario & Melmetal GX has yet to win a major tournament outside of Japan but has seen innovative use since its release. It is often used as a wall for opponents to attempt to beat through given its high HP. The other benefit of LucMetal, as it is commonly known, is its GX Attack, Full Metal Wall-GX. For a single colorless energy this attack makes all of your Metal Pokemon take 30 less damage for the rest of the game.
Furthermore, if you have additional energy attacked to it you discard all energy cards attached to your opponent’s active Pokemon. Tankabiliy and disruption have created a niche for LucMetal in control decks and the earliest iterations of the Zacian V strategy. It has yet to be the main type of Zacian strategy but as the deck continues to evolve to adjust to the decks around it there is a chance the Aura Pokemon will make a return to success.
Lucario in Pokemon Video Games
Lucario only has two documented top finishes at VGC tournaments but the strength of those finishes cannot be understated. First, in 2012 Lucario made the top 8 at the Italian National Championships as part of a Rain team anchored by my personal favorite Pokemon, Politeod.
Lucario had Follow Me to pull bothersome moves away from its partner and used Psychic and Aura Sphere to dole out some damage. Fighting was an important weakness to hit for during this format as both finalists used Tyranitar as a weather setter and could run through plenty of teams. Using Politoed and Lucario as a counter to this strategy gave Maris Akcos, the trainer in question, a chance to succeed.
More recently, Lucario was part of the team that would finish second overall at the 2014 World Championships. On the receiving end of the one the most legendary VGC beatings of all time, Jeudy Azzarelli would lose to Sejun Park in the finals where Park used his favorite Pokemon, Pachirisu.
That being said, Lucario was one of the two Mega-Pokemon that Azzarelli had to choose between each game. While Charizard Y was often the more common choice, having access to a strong Bullet Punch for a priority move or Close Combat to take care of threats undoubtedly helped lead the way through this tournament.