Pokken Profile: Lucario, a Competitive Character Guide
You've stumbled across Pokken Profile, a series of character guides that aim to teach the fundamentals of playing every fighter on the roster at a competitive level. To share these tips with you, I've studied tirelessly under the humble gurus of Pokken Tournament's warm and growing community. These profiles will detail every characters' strengths and weaknesses and offer advice on how to draw out their potential to cover their shortcomings.
Pokken Profile uses numpad notation to refer to moves that are performed in Duel Phase.
- Numpad notation refers to the d-pad as if it were a calculator or keyboard numpad, indicating which direction to press.
- For example, 6A is 'Forward + A' (P1 position is assumed), while 5A is just tapping A without a directional input.
- Buttons surrounded by brackets must be charged or held.
- For example, 6[X] is 'Forward + charged X'. Only X needs to be held.
- The tilde indicates a delay, requiring the next button press to be precisely timed for the desired move or combo to execute successfully.
- For example, 6Y~Y is "Forward + Y + Delayed Y".
- Moves available exclusively in Field Phase are refereed to with directional annotations, such as bY for 'Back + Y'.
- If a move can be used in both Duel and Field Phase, then it is written in numpad notation from Duel Phase Player 1 (left-side) perspective.
Lucario covers a lot of ground for a Pokken Tournament fighter, but he doesn't excel at much of anything. He has all the tools he needs to deal with any situation, requiring an adaptive and patient playstyle to truly master. Those who take the time to learn Lucario's quirks are rewarded with a well-rounded companion that can realistically take on any match-up without being placed at a disadvantage.
Lucario is a force to be reckoned with. He's balanced to a fault, but has an insane synergy burst mode to make up for it. At a glance, he has the typical Ryu moveset, with Aura Sphere (Hadoken) on 5A and Extreme Speed (Dragon Punch aka Shoryuken) on 8A.
Wake Up Options
Lucario unfortunately doesn't have many wake up options when he gets knocked down in Field Phase. You can toss out a neutral Y projectile or a Bone Rush (fA) if you predict a grab, but otherwise you are far safer just shielding.
In Duel Phase, your shield is still a valuable option, but you have more room to work with. If you predict a grab, hit 'em with an 8X. High stance attacks always armor through and crit against grabs, making 8X the best universal grab breaker for every Pokemon on the roster.
Extreme Speed can be a great anti-air move.
Lucario's last good wake up option is Extreme Speed on 8A. It's a counter that takes a measly 9 frames to startup, and it comes with full counter armor up until the hitbox activates. Even if your opponent predicts Extreme Speed, it's so fast that their grab game would have to be on point to even touch you. Be wary about using this move too much; it's easily punished when blocked.
When the tables are turned, however, Lucario has an incredible move to dish out against knocked down opponents: charged Force Palm on 4[A]. If they block -- the safest thing to do in this situation -- they take a significant amount of chip damage. If you time Lucario's Force Palm just right, you'll hit them out of a counter during the startup of their attack animation. He may not be able to pierce counters, but Lucario's 4[A] is truly a force to be feared.
Approaching and Poking
Lucario doesn't have any great approaches, but it's certainly possible. Lucario benefits a lot from the homing attack (X in Field Phase) canceling with R.
Homing attack canceling gets even better when paired with a tier two Aura Sphere on 5[A]. Following the sphere to the target is like having a moving shield and is fantastic for covering your approaches.
Lucario's 2Y is safe on shield and has good range.
Lucario doesn't really have many poking options, and the two he does have both hit low. 2Y is an amazing poke. It's incredibly fast, throwing out a hitbox in only 9 frames, has a great range, and is totally safe on block. Best of all, it's followed up naturally by Bone Rush, sending you right into a free combo (2YYA or 2Y6AA) if you hit.
If your opponent is in synergy burst mode however, Lucario's 2Y isn't going to cut it. Instead, use 2X to knock down your opponent and gain the frame advantage. 2X takes 13 frames to start up, and doesn't have as much range as 2Y, but it's still safe if they block it.
As always, you are encouraged to create your own unique mixups of attacks, counters, blocks, and grabs to throw off your opponent's game. Lucario has a few moves that have great potential when used in mixups.
Lucario's 6Y is quick to start up, making it a good sequence starter. 6YY is unsafe on shield and should be avoided if you can help it, however 6Y~Y is not only totally safe on shield, but it does a nice chunk of extra damage. Alternatively, you can follow up 6Y with a grab to shake things up.
Lucario's 6[X] has a 3-hit frame lock.
6X and variations on 6[X] is one of Lucario's better mixup tools. While there still isn't any pierce, both variations of this move are totally safe on block. If you land a 6[X], it's only too easy to launch into a demoralizing combo. It's X Pokecombo followup is laughably bad, however, and shouldn't be used under any circumstances.
Finally, 8Y is good to toss out every now and again. 8Y is a quick move with only 13 frames of startup that hits airborne enemies or close-proximity foes. It's safe on block, so you don't need to worry about your opponent punishing you for it unless they are far and planted firmly on the ground.
Bone Rush is Lucario's number one combo tool. When it comes to combos, Lucario is going to be doing a lot of juggling. Upon launching an opponent, you can juggle them effortlessly with 6AA and slam them back into the dirt with 6AY.
- 8X6Y~Y - The timed Y followup isn't necessary, but it adds a bit of extra damage.
- 8X(crit)5X6AY - An 8X crit launches your opponent into the air, opening you up to different combo options. This is a Bone Rush Slam alternative to the Force Palm finisher in the Combo Dojo. This combo does a little bit more damage than the one provided in the Dojo.
- [Counter]6AA - Charged counter attacks (and regular counters on crit) will stun the opponent long enough to do a Bone Rush Uppercut.
- 6[X]6AA8Y6AY - This combo is more complicated, but if you land a fully charged 6[X], then Lucario can catch the opponent with a Bone Rush and juggle him up with the Uppercut. Follow it up with a quick 8Y for style points and beat them into the dirt with Bone Rush Slam. If you land the 6X but it wasn't fully charged, you're better off following up with a 4A Force Palm.
- 6Y~Y(wall)4A - This is a combo suited for when you've got your opponent backed against a wall. Using Force Palm against an opponent on the wall will splat them off for extra damage. If you're too far when they hit the wall, use Bone Rush Uppercut instead.
Lucario has an insane synergy burst mode. A lot of Mega Lucario's moves are enhanced or even gain new followups.
- 8AA - Extreme Speed gets a huge followup blast that's guaranteed to shift the phase if it hits.
- 4AA - Uncharged Force Palm gets a new, powerful follow-up move (which even appears in Lucario's YYYYYY Pokecombo).
- 6X - 6X and 6[X] don't get any new follow-ups, but it does change into a sword slash that now doubles as an anti-air. His basic Y combo string also sees an upgrade in burst.
- AB - In burst, Mega Lucario can jump cancel after tossing out an Aura Sphere, allowing him to fly into another move far quicker than if he waited out the animation.
As always, opt to poke your opponent before throwing out your burst attack, that way your opponent doesn't have time to recover and block before you hit them.
With Lucario's insane synergy burst mode, Jirachi and Whimsicott are a no-brainer. Jirachi will increase your potential in burst for 12 seconds, so it's best to use it around the time you burst. Whimsicott, on the other hand, will dissolve projectiles for 5 seconds and heal a bit of health.
Croagunk and Sylveon are also a great choice. On one hand, you can toss out Croagunk on people who get close to you. Even if they shield his attack, they get hit with an 11 second Defense debuff, great for turning a match around in your favor. Sylveon has a great 12 second defense buff and heals some HP as well.
Jirachi boosts your Synergy Burst Potential.
Other Support Sets like Rotom and Togekiss or Espeon and Umbreon work well with Lucario, too. It all boils down to how you like to play this fighter.
Lucario does well on the Standard Cheer Skill, especially when running a support set like Croagunk and Sylveon. It raises his synergy gauge a tad each round and charges supports based on a win or loss.
If you're running a support set to take advantage of a certain buff like Jirachi or Togekiss, then Lucario also plays well with the Support Cheer Skill. Even without the boost, he can still charge his synergy gauge 2-3 times a match.
Lucario is a jack of all trades but master of none. He's great at adapting, but cannot beat any character in Pokken Tournament at their own game. Lucario trainers must practice patience and fine tune their fundamentals if they hope to master him.
Lucario is an incredibly solid character. He doesn't have any tricks or gimmicks, but ultimately, he doesn't need them. If you can learn Lucario, you'll have the fundamentals needed to swiftly learn any character on the roster.
Be sure to check out the Pokken Tournament community over at PokkenArena and /r/PokkenGame. Detailed resources -- like this frame data -- and helpful, active members littered all about. Do you have any tips and tricks for Lucario? Leave them in the comments below!