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Community POTW #053


And, as if by magic, the webmaster appeared...
Staff member
Time for the next Pokémon of the Week and this week we're returning to Sinnoh

It's Lucario!


Call of Fate
Modest nature
Ability: Inner Focus
EVs: 252 Speed/252 SpAtk/4 HP
@Choice Scarf
-Aura Sphere
-Flash Cannon
-Dark Pulse
-Psychic/Vacuum Wave
Adamant nature
Ability: Inner Focus
EVs: 252 Attack/252 Speed/4 HP
@Life Orb/Choice Band/Choice Scarf
-Close Combat
-Meteor Mash
-Crunch/Thunder Punch
-Ice Punch/Stone Edge/Bullet Punch/Extreme Speed/Blaze Kick
Shame Megas are no longer in the game, as regular Lucario isn't that fast and lacks Adaptability.
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Lucario holds a special position within the Pokemon community. It was basically the mascot of gen 4, was the star of one of the Pokemon movies before gen 4's reveal, was one of Cynthia's Pokemon, was on Ash's winning champion team, got an OP mega evolution while it lasted, and it remained so ubiquitous and popular that it even wound up in Pokken Tournament and even more impressively Smash Bros.

On the competitive side it also boasts an impressive offensive movepool, the ability to run physical and special sets augmented by boosting moves like Swords Dance and Nasty Plot, access to three priority moves, and partial Steel typing which gives it some defensive utility and making it one of the few Fighting types that does not fear Fairy types. However Lucario is far from perfect sitting at a weird speed tier that does not quite break 100, and its defenses are low and could not sponge a hit without its secondary typing. But this aura Anubis continues to be popular long after gen 4 and remained a staple choice for playthroughs in subsequent generations for both casual and competitive players, so let's give the dog his day.

Augmented Anubis
Ability: Justified/Steadfast
Item: Life Orb
Nature: Jolly/Timid
EVs: (HP 4) (Attack/Special Attack 252) (Speed 252)

Swords Dance//Nasty Plot
Close Combat//Aura Sphere
Meteor Mash//Flash Cannon
Extreme Speed/Bullet Punch//Vacuum Wave (Or a coverage move)

Set Details:
An offensive boosting set that can go physical or special given Lucario's balanced offenses and access to both Swords Dance and Nasty Plot. Boost your offenses, Close Combat or Aura Sphere becomes your Fighting STAB, Meteor Mash or Flash Cannon become your anti-Fairy Steel STAB, and Extreme Speed, Bullet Punch, or Vacuum Wave become your priority move to work around your not quite perfect speed. However you can also opt to sub in a variety of coverage moves too such as Thunder/Ice Punch, Dark Pulse, Crunch, Earthquake, or even Agility! All stats get poured into offense and speed while your ability goes to either Justified on physical sets or Steadfast on special ones provided you can anticipate an incoming Dark attack or flinch. I miss Adaptability on the mega form, and frankly Lucario should have gotten Mega Launcher to compliment all its pulse moves.

So regardless if you are playing a main line game, spinoff, or even Smash Bros, know that Lucario is always there to serve as your reliable partner both on and off the battlefield.
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Wandering Battler
Part of me wonders if the designer's were prophetic on how big Flinching would be in the competitive doubles scene when designing Lucario, given that it has two fantastic abilities that hate on Flinching on top of resisting both Fake Out and Rock Slide. Add in a vast movepool with the rare Follow Me, Heal Pulse, Extreme Speed, and Detect and Lucario is looking pretty good. However, general power creep has left Lucario by the wayside. Base 90 speed falls short in normal circumstances, let alone one of the fastest Doubles formats in history. Base 70 defenses across the board is frail, only being saved by the many resistances Steel provides. Lucario's offenses are its selling point, and even Base 115 Special Attack and Base 110 Attack fall short of every popular dedicated attacker save H-Arcanine and Kommo-o. Lucario's movepool is wide enough that your opponent can't reasonably expect to know what you are running, but when so many Pokémon can reliably KO Lucario before it can act, it is difficult to justify using.

Steel Fist

-Close Combat
-Meteor Mash
-Bullet Punch
Ability: Inner Focus
Item Attached: Focus Sash
EVs and Nature:
4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
Tera Type: Steel

Lucario makes the most of the fact that it is immune to both Flinching and Intimidate to become a persistent attacker. Close Combat is Lucario's strongest reliable STAB, dealing consistent damage to most targets. Meteor Mash is secondary STAB primarily for tearing the Close Combat immune Flutter Mane apart while Bullet Punch is priority that can pick off the many faster targets Lucario has to deal with. Detect is recommended for providing all the same benefits as Protect while being much harder to seal with Imprison.

Adamant nature is actually recommended. While Lucario does have speed issues, most of the Pokémon in Lucario's speed bracket (Rillaboom, H-Arcanine, Urshifu) don't run max speed or even a speed boosting nature, so Max investment is sufficient to outspeed them and the extra power Adamant provides is noticeable to counter their increased bulk investment.

Tera Steel is recommended for giving Lucario a true Fairy resistance as well as bolster Meteor Mash to near Close Combat's power and bolster Bullet Punch to OHKO any Flutter Mane that isn't running Defense investment and near OHKO any Flutter Mane that is:
252+ Atk Tera Steel Lucario Bullet Punch vs. 28 HP / 212 Def Flutter Mane: 108-128 (80.5 - 95.5%)

Other Options:

Tera Normal + Extreme Speed -Popular for good reason on both Arcanine and Dragonite, the strongest Priority move in the game with STAB is excellent at ripping chunks out of the opponent, and access to STAB Bullet Punch/Meteor Mash prevents Flutter Mane from being a safe switch in.
Special Sets -while Lucario's Special Attack is higher, its Special Attacks are consistently weaker, save for Steel Beam whose downside makes it more akin to Explosion and does far worse against Flutter Mane due to lack of Super Effective priority.