The main purpose for a Tribulations of Great Pokémon article is to highlight the difficulties of raising a great Pokémon, because you will not be able to experience raising difficulties on simulators, although it helps in planning a team.
Lucario was one of the first Pokémon in Generation 4 to be revealed in the movie called “Lucario and the Mystery of Mew”. This movie was released in Generation 3’s run, so he’s been promoted early as one of the representatives of that Generation, which is evident in its appearance as a fighter in Super Smash Bros. Brawl for example. Fortunately for Lucario, it is a very good competitive Pokémon, so Lucario is well-loved by both casual and competitive fans (that’s not to say it doesn’t have haters; no Pokémon is perfect). Today, we shall take a look at what makes Lucario such a great Pokémon, and the tribulations a trainer need to face to train it well.

Lucario is a star from the beginning of its career in competitive battling. First, we shall look at its characteristics building up to its greatness. Lucario has great Attack and Special Attack, which is important for a wallbreaker, because most walls are only dedicated in either the Physical and Special spectrum. Those attack stats are great for a sweeper because it allows Lucario to be flexible with what attacks to use depending on the opponents. Such an attacker will love to have powerful attacks, which Lucario happens to have! On the Physical side, the main ones are Close Combat (essential for any Fighting-type), Crunch, ExtremeSpeed (powerful priority’s practically preferred), Ice Punch (Gliscor and Dragons beware) and Stone Edge. On the Special side, Lucario has the rarely-distributed Aura Sphere, Shadow Ball, Dark Pulse, Vacuum Wave (only Special priority attack) and Dragon Pulse.
That’s not all; another reason Lucario is such a powerful Pokémon is that he has boosting moves to make himself more powerful. Swords Dance is a given, allowing him to use a powerful ExtremeSpeed on a frailer but faster opponent, which is even better now because Mach Punch is bypassed by it, unlike in Generation 4. There’s also Agility, which provides an essential Speed boost to Lucario to make him harder to out-speed. In Generation 5, Lucario learns Nasty Plot as a Riolu, providing another option to be even dangerous. As a mixed attacker, Lucario’s preferred item of choice is Life Orb or Expert Belt.
Lucario’s type combination mean the only entry hazard of concern to him is Spikes, because as a Steel-type, Poison will not affect Lucario, which will otherwise limit his lifespan even more, and Stealth Rock strips very little health away. The resistances Steel provide is even more helpful, especially the Dragon resistance. His abilities are not much of a concern, but immunity to flinches (Inner Focus) is never a bad thing, as with nabbing an Attack boost from a Dark-type attack.
Lucario is definitely not a perfect Pokémon, and that’s a fact. One of his main problems is the defences. His defences are on the low side, and being weak to Fighting means he will not like to face any Mach Punch user (Conkeldurr) or a plainly faster threat (Terrakion and Landorus). Lucario also has what is called a “four moveslot syndrome”. This term is used for a Pokémon who would prefer more than four options, but in the end it can’t do everything, and so have to choose four suitable moves for the job, potentially leaving itself open to something else because it doesn’t have the move for the job. Additionally, if one knows how Lucario operates, you can place a wall to hinder Lucario’s sweep, so Gliscor is able to deal with Lucario provided he lacks an Ice attack and is Physical. Still, due to Lucario’s offensive potential, countering Lucario isn’t always going to be as planned. He is threatening indeed.
Moving on, we get to Lucario’s tribulations. The first of his tribulations is getting a Riolu. You receive an egg from Riley at Iron Island (Sinnoh), which contains a Riolu. At the point of game, grinding is the only option if you want to use Lucario to beat the Elite Four because at that point it’s middle-late game. The egg also hatches in a moderately long time at 6630 steps. Since you are getting it from an NPC you will meet on the way, it’s not hard. In Unova, you can catch a Riolu in the wild at Challenger’s Cave, although it’s very rare. Oh, and to evolve a Riolu, you need to raise his happiness to high levels, and then evolve him during the day. If you are nocturnal, you better stay up in the morning to evolve Riolu when you reach a high happiness level.
Lucario possesses some nice Egg Moves, particularly Agility, Crunch, Bullet Punch and Blaze Kick. However, the problem with Lucario is that his gender ratio is hugely biased toward the male side, so you have a very huge chance of getting a male Riolu. If you, by chance, manage to meet a female Riolu in Challenger’s Cave, definitely, definitely catch one! I cannot emphasise it enough, because Riolu is exceedingly rare and it makes life easier because you don’t have to breed Lucario to get a female Riolu. You may be wondering why I mention Lucario as a breeding target and not Riolu. In case you don’t know, Riolu is a baby Pokémon, so he can’t breed. You have to evolve to Lucario first, which is troublesome because the evolution is happiness-based. If you have a female Riolu, you are home-free with the breeding duties. After that, just remember to check who can obtain a certain move combination, and if you don’t want to do that, just produce a male Smeargle and teach it moves to pass on.
One of Lucario’s better moves is Nasty Plot. Unfortunately, Riolu can only learn it, so you want Riolu to stay that way until level 47, which is the level he learns that move. Lucario’s best moves are also obtained at a very high level, namely Aura Sphere (51) Close Combat (55), Dragon Pulse (60) and ExtremeSpeed (65). Those moves are learnt at a lower level in Generation 4. Oh, and by the way, since Dark Pulse is no longer a TM, you need a Heart Scale to access this move, because Lucario learns it while Riolu doesn’t.
Let’s clarify on whether Lucario is a balanced Pokémon. He is a powerful attacker, but you need to work hard for the moves you want to learn since Riolu doesn’t learn them, and if he does, they are breeding moves. And breeding session will only end when you managed to get a female Lucario (because Riolu can’t breed). Yep, it’s troublesome, but definitely worth the effort. Lucario’s a balanced Pokémon.

Verdict: Balanced (±0)

That’s it for (a long article of) “Tribulations of Great Pokémon” this month! I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I have writing it.

Thanks for reading.

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