Lucario (ルカリオ, Lucario) is an unlockable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, who originates from the Pokémon universe. Confirmation of Lucario's inclusion in Brawl was leaked before the game's release through a promotional video on the Japanese Wii website about sticker power ups. An evolution of Riolu, Lucario is a dual Fighting/Steel type Pokémon, and is the first Pokémon to possess either of these types in a Smash game. It is also the first Pokémon in a Smash game that is able to speak English, and it is the only Pokémon in Brawl that speaks in full sentences.
A common belief is that Lucario "replaced" Super Smash Bros. Melee's Mewtwo (particularly around the time of Brawl's release), primarily as they share a few superficial properties. Aesthetically, they have the ability to speak human language through the use of telepathy, and Lucario's Aura is similar in appearance to Mewtwo's shadow energy. Both characters also possess floaty air movement, fast and long distanced rolls, and similar neutral special moves - Lucario's Aura Sphere grows in size as it is charged and damages opponents who contact it during its charging phase, as does Mewtwo's Shadow Ball. However, there is no evidence that Lucario was intended to "replace" or exist as a clone of Mewtwo in Brawl; on the contrary, Mewtwo's unfinished character data on Brawl's disc suggests that the two were supposed to appear alongside each other as playable characters. Lucario's moveset and character design as a whole is also vastly different from Mewtwo's, lending even less credence to the claim that Lucario was included as a replacement for Mewtwo.
Lucario is currently ranked 11th on the tier list at the very top of mid-high tier. Lucario is most known for its Aura property that increases its power as its damage goes up and is bolstered even further when its placing falls in a match. At high percentages, Lucario possesses KO power that rivals Ike, Bowser, and Ganondorf, while its attacks are much faster. Outside aura, Lucario possesses what is considered one of the strongest aerial games, with its above average air speed and floaty falling speed giving it strong aerial movement, while its amazing and well balanced aerial attacks give it some of the best offensive and defensive aerial capabilities. Lucario additionally possesses a strong defensive game to bolster its aura property farther, possessing good movement, great reach, a strong and spammable projectile in Aura Sphere, and extremely fast and long distanced rolls. Lucario also has one of the strongest comboing abilities in Brawl, possessing several effective combo starters and attacks that flow into each other well, as well as a strong grab and throw game. Lucario's Aura property acts as a double-edged sword however, as its attacks are extremely weak at low damage percents. Since Lucario lacks an effective gimping move and has only a couple of moves that aren't affected by Aura (neither of which are reliable KO moves), Lucario has to be at high damage percentages to KO effectively, where it is then vulnerable to KOs itself. Lucario, despite possessing a good recovery, can be problematic; even though Lucario can cover good distance when recovering and its recovery move ExtremeSpeed is versatile with unique properties, ExtremeSpeed lacks invincibility frames and damaging hitboxes while also not being very fast. This makes ExtremeSpeed heavily vulnerable to edge hogging and makes Lucario one of the easier characters to edge guard. Overall, Lucario has strong matchups, with only two countered matchups against Meta Knight and King Dedede, and Lucario has achieved strong tournament results.
How to unlock
Complete one of the following:
With the exception of the third method, the player must then defeat Lucario on Spear Pillar in order to unlock it.
Lucario is a character with relatively fast attack speed and decent maneuverability. It has a very strong air game due to the speed and knockback of its aerials; its forward and up airs are great for juggling and stringing into each other at low percents, the forward air is also useful as a defensive move and general combo-filler, and its down air has very fast start-up and strong edge-guarding ability. Lucario's aerials in general give it a good set of approaching and defensive moves, due to having floaty physics, decent air speed, and the ability to wall jump and wall cling. Lucario's recovery move ExtremeSpeed is bendable, allowing a variety of unpredictable recovery angles, and the ability to wall cling and wall jump after use. Most of Lucario's attacks have unexpectedly large hitboxes, most notably its forward smash.
Of course, Lucario's biggest advantage is its aura. A Lucario at KO percent gains enough extra damage on its attacks to reduce the opponent's survivability by a few dozen percent, in addition to increasing the already-large hitbox size of most of its moves. Aura also increases Lucario's power when it is behind in the match; both these factors combined allow it more chance to stage a comeback than some other characters. Other tools include Aura Sphere, a multi-purpose projectile that can bother approaches or KO at high percents (for both players).
While Lucario's floatiness gives it control in the air, it does leave it susceptible to juggling despite its down air's momentum-halting properties. Most of its ground attacks are also on the slow side, and its ground speed is slightly below average (although it does have a fast fox-trot), so it must use its aerials to keep the opponent out of close range. But the biggest problem is that aura is a two-way street; when at low damage (such as at the start of every stock) Lucario's entire moveset is weakened, and when it has a lead in stocks its power decreases even further, which makes it difficult to make headway on the opponent at the start of a match and can make it harder to hold a lead than some other characters. The reduced damage also comes with reduced power, meaning Lucario has a hard time KO'ing opponents until its damage reaches a certain amount. It also lacks a meteor smash outside of Footstool Jumps, its recovery cannot deal damage and so is a bit easier to interrupt (plus it cannot fight off edgehoggers at all), and its counter move (Double Team) is too slow to be useful, and the counterattack can even be shielded.
Lucario is the epitome of risk versus reward. Its aura rewards it for falling behind and punishes it for pulling ahead, encouraging close matches and come-from-behind victories.
In team play, the strength of Lucario's aura is based on the amount of stocks it has compared to all of the other players, including its teammates. The aura grows stronger when Lucario has less stocks than everyone else, and weaker when it has more. A Lucario can be at very high power if it has only one stock remaining but its teammate has three. The stock count and high damage can combine to provide maximum power to Lucario's aura. This phenomenon is known as the Anubis combo. In doubles matches where the Anubis combo is exploited, the Lucario is usually the aggressor, dealing high amounts of damage and knockback as the aura grows stronger after losing stocks, while the other player camps and avoids combat, holding onto their stocks for as long as possible. Mew2King (Meta Knight) and Trela (Lucario) were a notorious team at SKTAR that utilized this strategy, winning the doubles tournament after being knocked into losers' bracket.
NTSC and PAL: Lu-ca-ri-o!
Lucario grunts, similar to its up smash.
In competitive play
Lucario has a good matchup spread. He is countered by 2 characters, soft countered by 8, has 7 even matchups, soft counters 7, counters 11, and hard counters 1, which is Ganondorf. Lucario's strong air game gives it an advantage characters like Pikachu. Lucario also counters more low tiers than even some top tiers. However, it has a hard time competing with the top tiers, particularly Meta Knight and King Dedede (the latter is below him on the tier list). For example, King Dedede's defensive prowess walls Lucario out, not to mention he can chaingrab Lucario. Lucario has very solid matchups overall.
Tier placement and history
Lucario has always been one of the prominent high tier characters in Brawl. It was ranked 9th on the first tier list (September 2008). Though it dropped to 14th place on the third tier list (July 2009), players such as Junebug, Trela, and Lee Martin gained great tournament results with Lucario, allowing it to be able to maintain a position around 11-12th since then. Lucario is currently ranked 11th place in the upper-mid tier, in the eighth and current tier list, as of April 2013.
Role in The Subspace Emissary
Lucario plays a supporting role in the Subspace Emissary near the climax. It mostly interacts with Meta Knight. Meta Knight is making his way up a snowy mountain with the Ice Climbers in pursuit. Meta Knight is trying to catch the Halberd which has flown overhead. At the top, it encounters Lucario in a meditative stance on the peak of the mountain. Lucario challenges Meta Knight and the two fight, as the Ice Climbers nervously watch on. After the battle, the victor revives the other from their trophy state. The pair deem each other worthy and shake hands, making an alliance. Suddenly the Halberd slams the Great Fox into the mountain, and Lucario and Meta Knight board it whilst the Ice Climbers are knocked off the mountain into the valley below. After managing to get onto the Halberd, the two pass by Snake, who is hidden in his box. Lucario, being the only one who notices something suspicious about the box, uses its aura to peer into it. Seeing Snake huddled inside, Lucario removes it, and Snake realizes that his cover is blown. Meta Knight draws his sword, but just as it and Snake prepare to fight, Lucario steps in, having sensed a mass of Primids approaching, and the three team up to fight through.
Not long after, the trio meets up with Zelda and Peach as their trophies are cloned by the Shadow Bugs. Once the clones are taken care of, Snake, Lucario and Meta Knight discover that the Halberd bridge is being piloted by a group of Mr. Game & Watches. The three of them knock all of the Mr. Game & Watches out of the window, where they land near Peach, Zelda, and Fox who have gathered on the deck of the ship. The Mr. Game & Watches then revert into Shadow Bugs, which fuse into Duon. Lucario and Snake leap from the bridge to the aid of the trio already there, and they are joined by Falco, who skydives from his Arwing. They battle and defeat the monster, who collapses into wrecked metal, Shadow Bugs, and Mr. Game & Watch's trophy. Peach revives it, and it subsequently joins the player's party. Meta Knight, with the Halberd once again in his control, steers his vessel into brighter skies.
Lucario is later selectable in the Entrance to Subspace level and is present when Tabuu turns all characters back into trophies. The player must find its trophy in one of the Subspace levels, then they may choose it as part of their team for the Great Maze and for the fight against Tabuu himself.
The following stickers can either only be used by Lucario, or can only be used by a select few, including Lucario:
In Event Matches