Hello everyone and welcome to my next article for Flipside Gaming. Today I want to take a look at the latest Box Promo to be released in English over the past few weeks. Lucario-GX is a huge deal as it may finally be the card that will stop Zoroark’s reign over the format since its release. I want to take a look at the card in detail and then outline what I think will be one of the best decks to utilize the card’s full potential.

Lucario-GX is a Stage 1 GX Pokemon with three pretty fantastic attacks. However, before I take a look at the card itself, it is worth investigating which Riolu is best to play in the format as this is pretty important based on one of Lucario’s attacks, more so than it would be with other Stage 1 Pokemon. We currently have four Riolu in format right now, two from Fates Collide, one from Burning Shadows and one from Ultra Prism. The Ultra Prism Riolu is by far the best one to play as it can not only Jab for 10 damage but also can Detect which will prevent damage next turn on a coin flip, both for a single attachment. This is far better than the other three, the Burning Shadows print can also deal 10 for one Energy but can also deal 30 for two and one of the Fates Collide Riolu has a standard flip two coins, 10 damage for each heads based attack (meaning they cannot Detect to protect themselves). Finally, the second Fates Collide Riolu only has 60HP as opposed to the 70 that the other three have, which is a significant difference as it makes it much harder for Pokemon like Buzzwole-GX, Tapu Lele-GX and Espeon-GX to knock it out in the early turns of the game.

Now we have looked at the prevolution, let’s take a look at Lucario-GX itself. 210 HP is pretty standard for Stage 1 GXs at this point and is in general one of the key numbers to be hitting right now meaning it is not anything too special. A weakness to Psychic is pretty awkward as the card does get engulfed within all of the efforts decks are making to try and improve their Buzzwole matchup by teching in cards such as Mewtwo EVO, Mew FCO and Mew-EX XYPR. However given that Lucario can attack efficiently for only one energy, this isn’t too much of a problem as streaming attackers is not overall a difficult task. Finally, two retreat is a little high and may be a surprise to see for a card that has often had between one and two retreat but again due to the nature of the cards and its attacks, this is no real issue. It is worth noting (for reasons that will be made more clear in the decklist later on) that Lucario being a Fighting-type means that it can benefit from Strong Energy which can really increase the power of its attacks, a hugely important bonus.

Lucario boasts two pretty strong attacks, along with a third mediocre attack that can still be useful in niche situations. Aura Strike costs a single Fighting Energy and deals an underwhelming 30 damage. However, if Lucario evolved from Riolu during your turn the attack deals an added 90 damage on top, bringing the total to 120 damage for a single attachment. This is very reminiscent of the efficiency of Golisopod-GX’s First Impression which is one of the most successful cards in our current format. The attack, in general, is also very comparable effect wise as the damage is identical and requires a ‘bounce’ style effect that Golisopod can also benefit from. You have slightly more freedom with Lucario as you do not need to move to the Active position to increase the attack’s damage, meaning you can better prepare your turn after you have had a Pokemon Knocked Out. This effect is however slightly more awkward than Golisopod’s as there overall fewer ways we can activate this extra damage. Currently, we have Acerola, Super Scoop Up and Devolution Spray as the three main ways to try and increase Aura Strike’s damage, and each have their merits and pitfalls.

Acerola is, in my opinion, the best of the three as it is a guaranteed effect that also heals your Pokemon, making it harder for your opponent to win the game overall. We are definitely in a two-shot format right now that is very grindy and resource intensive and being able to deny prizes, as well as carry on applying pressure to your opponent, is fantastic. However, of course, this is your supporter for the turn, meaning there is no access to other cards such as N or Guzma that are often needed in order to help progress your own board/game state or deny your opponent’s strategies.

Super Scoop Up is, of course, an Item card instead of a Supporter card which is a huge benefit and has very similar properties to Acerola as it also denies damage. However, it can also be played on an undamaged Lucario-GX making this a more universal ‘bounce’ card. However, the effect is, of course, reliant on a coin flip and therefore isn’t the most reliable of cards to use. Finally, Devolution Spray is also an Item card, giving you the freedom of using other Supporters during your turn but again has its own downsides, keeping the damage on the Pokemon (meaning it is useless if Lucario has any more than 50 damage on it already) as well as not being able to be used on Basic Pokemon such as Tapu Lele-GX in order to reuse the strong Abilities these cards possess. It is worth noting that all three of these effects don’t let you immediately get back into a Lucario-GX in the same turn without already having a Riolu in play (even Devolution Spray) and therefore it is always important to have a backup Riolu ready to Evolve on the same turn.

Lucario’s second attack, Cyclone Kick, deals a base of 130 damage for two Fighting Energy and a Colourless. This is a pretty standard attack, comparable to many other Stage 1 GXs, and you can reach 180 damage with a single Strong Energy and a Choice Band. This is a pretty good number to be hitting with Tapu Lele-GX in the format. However, this is probably the worst of the three attacks Lucario can use. Finally, Cantankerous Beatdown is Lucario’s GX attack, dealing 30 times the number of damage counters on Lucario to the opponent’s Active Pokemon. This attack is identical to Mad Bull GX from Tauros-GX which saw a decent amount of play on its initial release. However, this attack can hit for weakness of course which makes it much better. Lucario’s typing in general means that it can quite easily 1-shot a Zoroark-GX two turns in a row using Aura Strike and then Cantankerous Beatdown. This is huge for swinging board states which makes Lucario one of the best checks we have seen to Zoroark on the whole. In general, due to the type of format we are in, Cantankerous Beatdown will always get at least some value during the game in most games you play as most decks are currently focussing on dealing two-shot Knock Outs, a huge advantage for Lucario. However, being able to hit for weakness on what I believe to be the best card in the format is a huge bonus. A Zoroark player needs to merely poke your Lucario for you to be able to get a one-shot – since the cards release I have already witnessed an attack for over 1000 damage which is crazy.

I think Lucario is undoubtedly one of, if not the best answer we have to Zoroark-GX right now which definitely bodes very well for the future of this card. I want to take a quick look at a deck involving Lucario that I think will be a very strong way of playing the card in general. Ironically it is a Zoroark deck. I have already outlined the similarities between Lucario and Golisopod, and I think ZoroPod is a very good deck to replicate with Lucario instead.

The list I have been testing is as follows:

Zoroark GX/Lucario GX

Pokemon (18)

  • 4 Zorua
  • 4 Zorark GX
  • 1 Tapu Koko
  • 3 Riolu
  • 2 Lucario gX
  • 1 Mew EX
  • 3 Tapu Lele GX

Trainers (35)

  • 4 N
  • 4 Brigette
  • 3 Guzma
  • 3 Acerola
  • 2 Cynthia
  • 4 Puzzle Of Time
  • 4 Ultra Ball
  • 3 Field Blower
  • 3 Choice Band
  • 2 Evosoda
  • 1 Enhanced hammer
  • 1 Rescue Stretcher
  • 1 Parallel City

Energy (7)

  • 4 Double Colorless Energy
  • 3 Strong Energy

 

But why pick Lucario over Golisopod? Well the first and I think main reason is the fact that Lucario hits Zoroark for Weakness. This is incredibly important as being able to Knock Out not only a decks main attacker but also its draw engine will give you a huge boost in game state as you force many more cards from your opponent to keep up with you. This can be done for a single energy which is a great bonus as it means you can do the similar strategy that all Zoroark decks try to achieve in using Acerola to try and deny prizes from the opponent. The fact that this is the condition to increase Lucario’s damage is the icing on the cake as you become a Zoroark deck that can win the mirror very well. Secondly, the way ZoroPod often looks to close out games is by using Crossing Cut GX with a Choice Band to Knock Out a Tapu Lele-GX for game. This requires two attachments which means it can be relatively obvious that this is the line of play you are going for, and whilst there is often not much you can do about it, you are still exposed for a turn for your opponent to try and disrupt your plans. This is amended with the use of Lucario as Aura Strike with a Choice Band and a Strong Energy hits for 170 damage, Knocking Out a Lele too. This is only one attachment and therefore can surprise the opponent with a much higher likelihood overall. Finally, Cantankerous Beatdown is one of the best GX attacks we have seen printed so far I believe since it can easily get to outrageous amounts of damage for a single attachment. This is a huge deal in the kind of format we are in and I really think this is what sets Lucario apart from Golisopod.

Thanks for reading my thoughts about Lucario, I think it’s a fantastic inclusion into the format and could really be the check we needed to try and reign in Zoroark GX. Keep an eye on Omnipoke’s YouTube channel for the latest lists using Lucario GX and the Teamomnipoke twitch page for some live action using the card.

 

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