Lucario ranks 15th out of 41 on the tier list, exactly in the middle of A tier. This is a very small drop from its placement in Brawl, where it was 11th out of 38.
In Brawl, Lucario's aura system increased the damage and knockback of its attacks as its own damage climbed. In Project M, however, this system has been discarded in favor of giving the Steel/Fighting-type Pokémon two mechanics similar to those found in traditional fighting games, while some of its moves were altered to be reminiscent of the shotoclone, a popular fighting game archetype.
Lucario's moves deal the damage and knockback of its Brawl counterpart when at only 88% damage, but thanks to their decreased, consistent knockback and Lucario's new magic series, they are much more suitable for extensive combos. The magic series gives Lucario limited control over order-based interruptibility, where each stage in the chain can be cancelled into anything further down. On the ground, this chain is neutral/dash attack → tilt → smash attack → special move, while in the air the chain is aerial → special move. While a stage cannot be cancelled into itself, Lucario's jab, tilts, and some of its aerials can reliably link into themselves. Additionally, some setups allow for the ground chain to be started again, such as up-smash into aerial side-special grab, which can set up a tech-chase and thus an opportunity to start the magic series over with a neutral or dash attack.
Similar to the "super meter" present in the vast majority of fighting games, Lucario can build up energy through successful hits and "spend" it on powerful attacks or combo setups. Every attack Lucario lands nets it a number of "aura points" equal to the amount of damage dealt on a successful hit or 70% of the damage a shielded hit would have dealt. After amassing fifty points, Lucario will gain an aura charge, signaled to the player through a blue flash of light. Players can also remind themselves of any aura charge by examining the energy glow and trails on Lucario's hands (compare the appearance of no charges, one charge, and two charges). Lucario can store up to one hundred aura points, or two charges, and retains whatever it has stored even if it loses a stock.
Aura charges are spent by pressing the standard attack button while executing the special move the player wishes to power up. Aura Sphere and Force Palm receive drastic power boosts; "Aura Bomb" is a massive, powerful, slow-moving Aura Sphere that can hit foes trying to recover through a ledge and lasts long enough for Lucario to easily throw enemies into it for a KO, while "Force Blast" becomes significantly more powerful and becomes a spike when foes are grabbed with it in the air. Meanwhile, spending an aura charge on ExtremeSpeed or Double Team will allow the player to cancel out of it using any attack other than itself, making powerful combo, chasing, recovery, or edgeguarding options possible.
Lucario has some reworked moves reminiscent of the shotoclone, a character archetype popularized by Ryu and Ken of Street Fighter. Its up-smash is now a multi-hitting shoryuken, a leaping uppercut that can be reversed, comes out quickly, and can be cancelled into aerial grab Force Palm to set up a tech-chase. Force Palm, when used as a grab in the air, now meteor-smashes opponents powerfully in a spinning throw. Meanwhile, Lucario's ineffectual neutral-aerial from Brawl has been replaced with a powerful hurricane kick that can KO at reasonably low percentages despite its quick startup. Double Team, while a counterattack in Brawl, now functions as a command-dash that deals no damage and instead serves as a versatile movement option that provides Lucario with invincibility. Extremespeed now deals multiple weak hits while keeping foes close enough for more combos, especially when used horizontally across a stage.
With these new techniques and mechanics, Lucario can deal massive amounts of damage over extended periods of time if it can get close enough to an opponent. However, Lucario has the same problems that would later befall its moveset inspiration Ryu; Lucario is held back by average movement speed outside of its combos and struggles when approaching foes, as Aura Sphere is short-ranged and easily intercepted. Compared to Brawl Lucario, the comparative lack of power in its attacks also holds it back from getting KOs at regular percentages, forcing Lucario to rack up more damage than other characters would need to in order to secure a KO. In turn, these flaws force Lucario to keep close to the opponent so that it never misses a chance to punish and tack on damage, which is a problem against faster close-range fighters or ones like Marth, who can use disjointed reach to keep Lucario from getting close enough.
Changes from Brawl to PM
Lucario has a revamped aura mechanic that allows it to strengthen its special moves rather than increasing its power the more it is hurt. In addition, Lucario's fighting style is more combo oriented.
Up to date as of version 3.6.
In competitive play
Lucario has more variety with its palettes, which stand out more in team battles.
3.5 included a costume with a Gi that has the Fighting and Steel type emblems from the TCG on the back, an Expert Belt, and a Focus Band. This costume also has a black variation with a Choice Band and the Cobble Badge replacing the type emblems on the back.