What is going on, Some1spc readers? It’s Israel, back with another article. It’s been a while since my last article, but today I will be catching you up on my recent performance and how it can be still impactful for Dallas. So before I talk about the homie, Lucario, let’s go over what I have planned for the article.
I.Anaheim and Cup performance
II.Decklist and card choices
Anaheim and Cup Performance
So the big question is, how did Lucario become my choice for this tournament? A couple of weeks before the event, I was practically set on Lost March as my choice, but I decided to mess around with some fun ideas and eventually got around to testing Lucario. Instead of what I thought would be a mediocre idea became my play for this tournament. The biggest thing that attracted me to this deck was the ZoroGarb matchup; in testing leading up to the big day I didnt drop a single game to it. I felt that the matchup was favorable, and things would have to go wrong for me to lose. Before the tournament, I took it to a League Challenge to get used to playing with the deck with time involved, since the last time I ran Lucario at a Regionals I got into three ties, which prevented me from making it to Day 2. Most of my games in that Challenge I was averaging fifteen-minute games, which is very ideal in best of three rounds (of course it also depends on opponents’ speed, but everyone in this tournament played at a good pace). The night before the tournament, I was trying to decide whether or not to keep either Muscle Band, or add something different. One of the additional options was an Oranguru, but I scratched that out due to speculation that there would be no Zoro Control (I was wrong), and nothing else sounded any better so I ended up keeping the Muscle Band. Now let’s go over my Days 1 and 2!
R1 ZoroGarb WW
R2 Sceptile Plume WLW
R3 Zoro Exodia WLT
R4 ZoroGarb LWW
R5 Primal Groudon WW
R6 ZoroGarb LWW
R7 Zoro Trev WW
R8 ZoroGarb WW
R9 Zoro Control LL
7-1-1 5th Seed
After one year and four months, I finally made Day 2 of a Regionals, after so many disappointing performances. I finally got through and again have the ability to win a Regionals, though I ended Day 1 on a sour note due to the horrible beating I received in the last round. In theory, I felt the matchup would be easier but it didn’t go as planned. After that round, however, I somewhat developed a better game plan, though I wasn’t going to be excited to face it again.
R10 Zoro Control WW
R11 Zoro Exodia WW
R12 ZoroGarb LWL
R13 Buzzwole LWL
R14 Zoro Control WW
10-3-1 7th Seed
10-4-1 8th Place
I was very pleased with how I finished, finally getting Top 8 after such a rough year. Even though I drew terribly against Rayquaza in both games, I felt as though the deck achieved what it was designed for at this Regionals. I felt that the deck had the edge in most of the matchups due to the surprise factor, with opponent’s not knowing how to approach the matchup. I feel the deck could make an appearance in Dallas as well, but it has to be revised a little more. The following week, I attended a League Cup since I had time and wanted to see if Lucario would still be strong with the meta adjusting to the results. This is what happened:
R1 ZoroGarb W
R2 Trev W
R3 Vespiquen L
R4 Vespiquen W
R5 GoliGarb T
3-1-1 7th Seed
Top 8 Buzzwole WLW
Top 4 Vespiquen WW
Finals Mark Garcia W (He scooped since he had to leave)
It was a good thing that I attended this Cup because I wanted to see how the Vespiquen matchup was, and to see if I could find a strategy to beat it fully. I’ll explain the matchup in a bit, but I ended up winning the entire Cup putting me at 227 CP, which was nice to end the year on.
Decklist and Card Choices
- 4 strong
- 6 fighting
Originally, it was a 4-3 but I decided to drop down the line to add a Super Rod into the deck. Lucario is the main attacker and you usually aim to attack with Aura Strike every turn. Cantankerous Beatdown GX is only used if you know Lucario can possibly get knocked out during the next turn and you want to get the full value before giving it up. It does 30 damage times the amount of Damage Counters on Lucario, so ideally six Damage Counters plus Diancie and Strong Energy can knockout most of the meta Pokemon. Cyclone kick is a very rare attack you’ll use, but in some scenarios you will need to get there in order to finish the game. One such scenario might be proactively attaching a second Energy to Lucario and just chipping away with Aura Strike with base damage because you have no other Riolu on board and you need to hit hard so Cyclone Kick can finish off the game. Riolu with Detect is also very needed in early games to prevent it from getting knocked out, and to set yourself with a Lucario for the next turn. In some cases, I used Jab to take knockouts on Zorua, Ditto, Eevee, and other things while attaching a Focus Sash to get full value on the KO and building up future Cantankerous plays later in the game.
2 Landorus EX/ 0 Buzzwole GX
The reasoning behind this is because I was assuming a heavier Trevenant and Garb presence due to Blastoise being hyped for the tournament, so I wanted to add different types of Weaknesses to the deck. Landorus is essentially the same thing as Buzzwole at the end of day, but if I could’ve gone back and faced the same matchups I would’ve probably considered a 1-1 split to give me more options to deal with Zoro Control instead of having two dead attackers for that matchup. Ideally, you use Landorus to chip away at different attackers so that opposing Pokemon can be in range of an Aura Strike. The second attack is very rarely used, but if they are not attacking the Landorus I usually just build it up with a Focus Sash and attachments to where it will take two prizes before it gets knocked out. For upcoming Dallas Regionals I would definitely consider a 1-1 split, but two Landorus is still fine in the long run.
The draw engine of the deck that works extremely well with Korrina, since you’ll find what you need and usually you’re able to draw with “Abyssal Hand” right after it. It was honestly very underwhelming in Anaheim due to the amount of Garb I faced, but it’s extremely needed against Zoro Exodia and Zoro Control (late game). If you set up Octillery against Zoro Exodia they struggle to lock you out of the game, while against Zoro Control, you don’t want to set it up until later in the game otherwise they’ll pick on it. By dropping it later it can get you out of late-game N, and can potentially find you what you need to finish the game out.
The tech of the deck for just one matchup: Trevenant. The second attack is what you would use against Trevenant to mess up their math and heal while damaging them. Cell Storm heals the Pokemon by 30, which makes Silent Fear useless. Outside of that it can be useful against Zoroark matchups and Toad matchups (if they don’t have cards to remove energy) due to Weakness and the ability to heal off an opposing Quaking Punch. The matchup you don’t want to use this for is Bees, for obvious reasons.
The benchwarmer of the deck, just there to “Roadblock” Zoroark variants and prevent other decks from expanding their bench. It’s really good against Zoroark because it forces them to find either Alolan Muk, or Garbodor to hit the 210 damage, otherwise you’ll get to Acerola the Focus Sash back and keep knocking out their Pokemon. It’s also nice if they set up Garb and lock themselves out of “Trade” so you can take advantage of that and possibly N them to low hand amounts and use another Lucario or other Fighting attackers with Focus Sash to make it harder for them to knockout. You never want to attack with Sudowoodo, never!
Another benchwarmer of the deck but it provides the extra damage needed to knockout opposing Pokemon. With that benched, Jab can deal 30 and that’s enough to knockout Zorua, Ditto, and Eevee on the first turn. It also adds math into Aura Strike and other attackers to provide that extra reach for high-HP Pokemon. You’ll never want to attack with this Pokemon.
Support Pokemon on the team and nice to have to find the Supporter needed for that turn. It’s a nice attacker in the Trevenant matchup, but other than that you don’t want to attack with this Pokemon in this variant.
The non-GX Buzzwole is probably one of the strongest techs in the deck. Once your opponent gets to four prizes you get an extra damage boost with Sledgehammer and that’s enough to one-shot Zoroarks or anything that’s been chipped down by Landorus. An ideal setup would be starting Landorus to chip away at things while keeping one-prizers on the bench. If they knockout Landorus then you promote Buzzwole, still keeping the bench filled with one-prizers, then hit them with an N. If they can’t knockout the Buzzwole or anything else, Buzzwole can take another prize. Usually, I like attaching a Focus Sash to this attacker with the damage boost to give it more probability to live and deny them taking a prize. If they attack around it don’t be afraid to add another energy to it if you don’t have other better options. The second attack can do a lot of damage as well, if it’s not dealt with. Do not put Buzzwole into play against Zoro Control unless it’s a game-winning option. Otherwise just discard it.
The ideal Supporter on turn one to find a way to attack that turn or to get a Focus Sash to protect Riolu in the early turns. It’s also nice to have because you can chain it to set up the following turn(s): using Korrina to find Fighting Pokemon and VS Seeker, then using VS Seeker to find what Supporter would be suited for the following turn. Also, this finds your ACE SPEC, which is very important in some scenarios and to reset Focus Sash if they try to chip at your Pokemon and Acerola is not found.
Here to remove Double Colorless Energy and Tools that are annoying me that turn. This card is really good to have against Zoro Control and Bees because if they whiff a turn to attack you then you can just aim to chain Faba and annoy them more. This also removes Stadiums if needed, but for the most part you’re aiming to remove Special Energy. The only time you remove a Stadium is to take out Tropical Beach from Groudon.
I feel this is the right amount, especially for the meta I was trying to predict and play around. Item Lock would shut this card down and this gives another Item count for Garb, so it can potentially hurt you in that department. Also, you’re usually not burning through your deck, so options are very small at times and you want to use your VS Seekers for things like Acerola, Guzma, or Faba if that’s the strategy you’re aiming for.
This is the Stadium count I chose to work with and, honestly I really liked it. Brooklet helps you set up your board and it pairs nicely with Korrina since it lets you look through the deck and get you stuff that you might need. Silent Lab was specifically for Blastoise, forcing them to have everything they need to complete the Archie’s already in hand if I got it down turn one. It’s also very strong against people using Ditto, if they don’t find a counter Stadium then it stays as a Ditto and it becomes a liability. Additionally, it can be useful if they use their own Sudowoodo since you can Lab them to add another card on the Bench and remove a liability on your bench when they replace the Stadium.
It originally had four Focus Sash in the deck and it was honestly a last minute inclusion. I wanted a heavy Focus Sash count to where I’m not worried about Blower plays and never have to worry about prizing one. Muscle band is there for the extra damage to all Pokemon and it can be useful to reach specific numbers. Muscle Band was really good in Anaheim, but I started to realize that it doesn’t hit a certain mark and might consider adding a Choice Band instead. With Choice Band and Diancie I can one-shot a Tapu Lele clean with Buzzwole with the four prize boost or with Lucario. With Strong Energy included it gets to 190 to one-shot Buzzwole GX or other Pokemon at 180. It can provide that one-shot ability if a Pokemon comes in clean.
Scoop Up Cyclone
This is the best ACE SPEC for the deck because it resets Focus Sash and Lucario without the need for damage on it like Acerola. It’s also very good to discipline your Bench to force odd prizes and make them work harder for the win. For example, picking up Tapu Lele off the Bench to force odd prizes instead of back to back GX knockouts. It’s also very good to pick up Pokemon that are trapped, or a Pokemon that’s horrible in that matchup that you were forced to Bench or lead. The only other ACE SPEC I would consider for this deck is Dowsing Machine to get back resources, but other than that I wouldn’t switch it.
A one-of copy of each of these techs is very good to have, especially with Korrina making them searchable. Blower is nice to have to take off “Garbotoxin” and to reset Sudowoodo and Stadiums. It could also be nice if you somehow encounter a mirror match to take off opposing Focus Sashes. Super Rod is nice to bring back Pokemon and energies, which is something that’s very needed and something you don’t want to whiff at any time. Professor’s Letter is to provide turn one attacks and setting up for future turns. Do not grab both energy against Zoro Control because they play Team Skull Grunt.
6-4 Energy Count
I feel this is the perfect amount and would not consider dropping any lower than this count due to Zoro Control, and you just straight up lose if you whiff against any other matchup. I might consider adding one more Basic Fighting Energy but it’s not needed. It just depends on how you feel and if you feel you need to add one more I feel that’s fine. Do not drop one.
Recommended Card Choices
Faba is very strong in this format and having something that can slow down Zoro Control is always good. It’s also strong against Bees if you expect it to pop up in high numbers.
With Tag Team Wailord and Magikarp being legal for Dallas there’s a possibility that Wailord could make a showing, so that’s part of the reason why Bunnelby could be a good option. Why this is better than oranguru in this matchup is because it can prevent tying from happening since you’re not only getting stuff back but also milling your opponent as well. It can be an extremely cute tech against Zoro Control, where if they are not careful you can mill their last card and win that way. Of course. it’s a little more difficult because you have to have an energy and Bunnelby with a way to retreat into it do this play. It’s also not a bad starter against Toad because you can potentially mill their Double Colorless or recycle Faba back into your deck, which is also scary for the Zoro Control player.
A cute tech that can be useful to stall by removing energy and provide you with a buffer turn to stay alive. This can be really good to break out of Toad locks or if you trying to force the four prize play against ZoroGarb because they are forced to Guzma around it. Maybe too cute of an idea but it’s potentially an option.
Not super needed, but it can be an option if you expect a lot of Bees. If they are not careful you can take multiple prizes with one attack since, ideally you’re chipping away with Landorus so setting up multiple prizes wouldn’t be too bad. Not needed but it would make the matchup extremely favorable.
This could be a nice one-of since you already have six possibilities to reset Lucario, this being the seventh. Also, this could be good against Zoro Control to bail out Pokemon that are stuck. It’s good and bad because it can reset Lucario without the need of damage, but it would discard everything attached to the Pokemon, which would not reset Focus Sash.
This card can be useful to hurt Zoroark variants even more. This could also help you remove Pokemon that could be liabilities later in the game, so having that option outside of Acerola and Scoop Up Cyclone is always nice.
Carbink Energy Keeper
This was in the list originally but scratched out before the League Challenge due to not expecting Zoro Control. Of course, that was a mistake, as I ran into three in the Regionals. This card would make Zygarde even better in that matchup because it won’t be able to get one-shotted by anything besides Zoroark and it breaks you out of the lock. If you’re going to add this, I would consider even the BREAK to give your attackers more energy so you won’t rely on Super Rod and a way to return energy even under Item Lock.
Marowak popped up in a list from someone’s Cup finish and I thought it was a cute tech for the deck. Marowak prevents effects of attacks that involve your hand, and that means Quaking Punch doesn’t affect you. That means you can use all the Items you want to bail yourself from being locked. You will never have to attack with Marowak, but the Cubone that you must use is the one with Leer. For a coin flip, it has the chance to leave your opponent’s Pokémon paralyzed, which doesn’t seem like much because of Guzma but it could be relevant somewhere. Maybe it shuts down Quaking Punch for a turn, or prevents a prize card being taken. This line will require two spots but it is something worth looking at since everything is searchable.
Zoro Control: Unfavorable to Even
This matchup is not an auto-loss by any means, but things needs to go right in order for you to win. The Zoro Control that beat me Day 1 literally got me stuck after I went down to two prizes through late game N and removing all my energy. But when I faced the similar list Day 2 I blew up and just controlled the pace of the matchup. So it comes down to a couple things: if Lucario can get to two energy without anything being removed then you’re hitting so hard and they can’t easily deal with it. Secondly, if you can get an early Faba and they miss an attack it becomes a nightmare for them and they can’t slow you down. On the other side, you can get Counter Catcher-ed and get stuck watching all your energy disappear, or you could get N-ed to a low hand and don’t have a response to follow up. Prizing a Guzma or being unable to find it when you need it also hurts in this matchup, so you can Scoop Up Cyclone if you get trapped. You want to attach Float Stone to Lucario because ideally you don’t want to bench anything besides Lucario pieces and you want to keep movement to get kills. Only bench Diancie if you just need the extra damage for a knockout, otherwise do not bench it. Do not attach any Focus Sashes to anyone, discard them if you have a chance, since nothing in this matchup will one-shot you.
The reason why I put this matchup as “even” is that they need to be heavy in their usage of Toad, otherwise you’ll have access to your Item resources. The Toad Quaking Punch is what makes it unfavorable. Just remember to keep only Lucario pieces and get energy on board. Refresh your hand with N and Colress if you have a lot of energy in hand to prevent Team Skull Grunt plays. Do not bench Buzzwole non-GX unless they take two prizes, THEN it is extremely worth to put on the bench.
Out of the six ZoroGarbs I faced across two tournaments I lost only once. The reasoning for this is because Sudowoodo forces them to Garb lock themselves in order to knockout a Lucario. This requires them to find a Field Blower while doing so, and if they whiff, you can take another prize and extend the lead. Usually, they will go down one Zorua early and can only work with two Zoroarks on board while trying to one-shot my current threat. Also, if they’re Garb locking to get the knockout, they have to deal with a new threat while I N them to a low hand, and now they are facing more pressure while trying to get resources without “Trade.” ZoroGarb needs a lot in order to take control of the matchup. Trashalanche can make it close, forcing me to go to odd prizes and it has potential to one-shot Lucario easily, but if you can keep Items low and keep attacking with Lucario and Buzzwole then the matchup is pretty straightforward. Don’t be afraid to build up attackers instead of attaching one energy to each thing. Make them stress about multiple options. Also, always assume a Riolu will go down early in this matchup. The deck slows down with no Riolus in play, so don’t be afraid to build Lucario up to Cyclone Kick. Additionally, even if you hit for small damage with Aura Strike, it can set something up later in the game through Landorus or baby Buzz. Keep options open instead of staying linear and the matchup should be in your favor.
Zoro Exodia: Even
The Zoro/Delinquent/Red Card nonsense could pick up in popularity due to the amazing Top 4 run it had in Anaheim and how much fun it is to play. There are only a couple of things to talk about with this matchup. If you start Sudowoodo there’s an extremely good chance that you won’t get Delinquent-ed turn one, so if you’re going first prioritize finding it. Secondly, if you can get Octillery out then it becomes virtually impossible for your opponent to make you dead draw. Lastly, don’t attack with Landorus EX unless you start with it. They like to buy time with Seismitoad EX and try to break Focus Sashes that way. Lucario is an extremely good attacker in this matchup and, ideally, you want to get Cyclone Kick up and running. Keep Super Rod available so you can recycle Sudowoodo if they target it down. The matchup is all on you getting Sudowoodo and Octillery out, and if you can do that then the matchup is pretty easy. Also, this deck is pretty consistent and doesn’t really need much to attack so it can work out if a piece is missing.
Not auto-win by any means but the matchup is favorable for the Lucario player. They don’t have an option to take off Tools besides hitting it small and breaking the Sash that way. This opens up Acerola plays and you continue the onslaught that way. If you know they don’t play any Tool removal then attach the Focus Sashes to Lucarios and just swing away. Ideally, you want to use Landorus in the early game to chip damage and use Acerola to pick it up and keep hammering away for cheap prizes. Something to note is to always Hammerhead a Lele if it’s on the bench, don’t leave it clean. This can provide two prize options later in the game which can be huge in this matchup. If they set up Machoke then Landorus is not your friend and you just go heavy on baby Buzzwole and Lucarios. Another option would be playing the Faba game, removing Double Colorless that way. I won against one of the Vespiquen players because I Faba-d away three Double Colorless, kept everything one prize attackers and played around Teammates. The deck is reliant on using VS Seekers because it’s a Battle Compressor engine, so always keep track of VS Seekers and use it as an advantage. You can lose this matchup if they target your Octillery and N you into a dead hand (happened at the Cup). You could falter if you don’t find Acerola when you need it. Lastly, giving them more GXs to knockout, so try to prevent yourself from benching Tapu Lele if you can avoid it. If they do decide to play Field Blower then the matchup could become more difficult, but if you know they do keep attaching one Focus Sash at a time.
I feel this matchup can go both ways depending on whether Focus Sashes can stay on and if they hit turn one Archie (which they should). What I found to be helpful is taking out the Blastoise with Sashed Lucario to prevent a one-shot, which forces them to get another Archie off to get the Blastoise back in play. If they don’t respond to Lucario or get Blastoise back, then you can either swing with Lucario and set up damage, or Cantankerous Beatdown GX them for two more prizes. Just try to find ways to knockout the Blastoise, make them work for it and get the prizes the hard way. Silent Lab can be extremely good in this matchup because it takes away Exeggcute options, which forces them to burn resources. They do play one Blower, so try to play around that and force them into four prize plays. Keep track of VS Seekers because they are heavily relying on the Battle Compressor engine like Bees. Sudowoodo is decent in this matchup to make it harder for Blastoise to set up, but is weak to Water and Articuno would eat that up so avoid it if possible. It is Blastoise, and if they blow up there’s no stopping it, so just try to avoid Articuno plays and take out the Stoise and you should be fine.
Anything could happen with Trees, and you always have to respect it. Ideally, you want to start Zygarde EX and only attack with it by using Cell Storm. Keep bumping Stadiums and only bench Diancie down if you’re going for an important knockout. Force them to attack with Lele, this will get you out of Item lock and you can work from there. Tapu Lele GX can be helpful in this matchup as an attacker, where you can Acerola a heavily damaged Zygarde and start swinging with Tapu Lele. Keep your bench really small to prevent multiple prizes and cute Tapu Lele non-GX plays. The matchup isn’t fun and you could easily lose because you dead draw off their Item lock. Keep in mind that baby Buzz could be a desperate option in this matchup if they get to four prizes; it can still hit like a truck, and they would need to two-shot it with Tree Slam otherwise you knock it out before they knock you out. Avoid using Lucario in this matchup.
This matchup is pretty close, but I would say we’re more favorable, though not by much. Our slight edge is because of heavy Focus Sash. Yes, they can hit around the Riolus but if you can spread them out and have a couple coming in clean then they get full potential and force the opponent into Sash plays. Going down to four prizes would lead to baby Buzz or Beast Ring plays, so you would have to assume something is dying. However, if they go for it then you can return knockout with Cantankerous GX and bail yourself out of Beat Ring plays. If you decide to play Choice Bands then you have the potential to one-shot a Buzzwole GX with Strong Energy + Diancie and Choice Band, which could be huge. Of course, it’s Buzzwole, and if they pop off then a lot of things can go wrong. Spreading damage with Landorus can be a good play, making it where Aura Strikes can one-shot a Buzzwole, but get it out of there before giving up the prizes. Just avoid turn one knockouts on Riolu and you’ll be fine. Detect is extremely good if it’s stuck. Just spread out Riolus and chip away attacks and you’ll be fine.
I think Lucario is still strong for Dallas, but I feel the deck loses the surprise factor so Field Blower might come up more. It has a fair chance against anything in the format, and with a couple of adjustments, I think it can beat Zoro Control.
I will be attending Dallas, so if you haven’t met me yet please stop by and say hello. If you need coaching for this event please hit me up: I have time open before this event. If you haven’t added me on Twitter, please do so @Drdy_Sosapc. I want to say thank you to everyone that read this and all of my articles this past year, and I hope to have many more next year! Happy holidays and safe travels to Dallas.