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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 #3 Lucario EX 

- Furious Fists Top 10

Date Reviewed:
Sep. 9, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 4.33
Expanded: 4.25
Limited: 5.00

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being the worst. 
3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating.

Back to the main COTD Page

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

#3 Lucario EX 

We have reviewed our third-place card before, back when Pokémon previewed it in advance of the set. It’s worth another look at though, as things have changed since then, and this has affected the way the card is being viewed by players. 

On first look, many people thought this would be the dominant card for the start of the new season. A big HP EX with fantastic Type support and three attacks that ranged from the decent to the very good, it was sure to be the focus of some powerful decks. But then a strange thing happened, and Pokémon decided that that the rotation would be Boundaries Crossed-on (instead of Plasma Storm-on like most of us thought). This meant that, contrary to expectations, Landorus EX was sticking around for another year, and players decided that its ridiculous Hammerhead attack was a better recipient of all that juicy new Fighting support. Hence, Lucario EX was relegated from star of the show to guest appearances (if that) in Landorus/Big Basics centred decks (you know . . . the ones people have been using for the last two years).

Personally, I think the card is now under-rated, if anything. Corkscrew Smash, backed up by Strong Energy and Muscle Band, is one of the best attacks in the game: capable of two-hit KOs on almost anything, while delivering the holy grail of consistent draw through its Bianca-esque effect. Recent testing has shown me that the Mega is much better than I thought initially too: it can easily sweep its way through an opponent’s entire Field and doesn’t really fear anything that is not named Mewtwo EX. 

Lucario EX has a lot to offer the player who doesn’t just run off back to their Landorus-shaped comfort zone. It deserves more appreciation than it seems to be getting at the moment. 

Rating 

Modified: 4.25 (solid attacks and in-built draw engine. What more do people want?)

Expanded: 4.25 (all that, plus it mullers Tynamos for fun)

Limited: 5 (one of the best ‘+39 Energy’ EX cards that there is)


aroramage

Well well, are you at all surprised? You might be, but these top 3 cards are all well deserving of their spot, and considering what we reviewed a few weeks ago, it shouldn't surprise anyone that Lucario-EX is in the Top 3 of the Top 10! 

So the big question is why number 3? Given the previous review (which I mostly stand by save for bumping up Standard from a 4 to a 4.5 given that I didn't take into account ye mighty Landorus), there doesn't seem to be a reason for Lucario-EX to be put only at #3, but without spoiling the rest of the list, having Lucario-EX show up here isn't that surprising in comparison. You can read my thoughts on Lucario-EX here. 

Lucario-EX has introduced a powerful archetype that revolves around this Fighting support, and his plans involve pumping up and obliterating other Pokemon. He's a fantastic offensive force, and if other decks are to survive, they're going to have to figure a way around Lucario-EX's powerful strikes! 

Rating 

Standard: 4.5/5 (Fighting decks are super offensive now, and Lucario-EX tag-teams well with Landorus and Landorus-EX to bring absolutely devastation!) 

Expanded: 4.5/5 (not much changes aside from the number of Pokemon that could take Lucario-EX out *coughcoughRayquazacoughcough*) 

Limited: 5/5 (you know why) 

Arora Notealus: You know it's strangely appropriate that a Pokemon whose design is based off of Anubis, the Egyptian God of the Dead, would be reeking havoc soon enough. Granted, I don't imagine Anubis running around using a Corkscrew Punch against people, but who knows? The end of an era bringing about a new one with Lucario-EX and the recent rotation is also kinda oddly appropriate. 

Next Time: Could another candidate be #2?


Otaku

We break into the top three of XY: Furious Fists with Lucario-EX (XY: Furious Fists 54/111, 107/111).  We actually took a look at this already as a part of our “preview week”: it is interesting to see how our expectations then versus now.  I’ll run through the basics of the card first as a precaution (it wouldn’t be the first time I misread a card or the metagame), then we’ll tackle what we’ve seen so far and anticipate to see in the near future. 

As expected, Fighting-Types are incredibly popular right now thanks to the many potent support cards and new Fighting-Type Pokémon.  Fighting Weakness is still one of the most common, found on the majority of printed (though not necessarily played) Colorless-Type Pokémon, with most Darkness- and Lightning-Type Pokémon suffering it as well.  Fighting Resistance is one of the most common, but “No Resistance” is much more common and Resistance is both easier to bypass and less potent than Weakness, so in the end the Type is clearly a net Advantage.  Just as obvious, being a Basic Pokémon is still the best, especially if Pyroar (XY: Flashfire 20/106) isn’t big in your area: its pretty hard to make needing to Evolution time and no additional slots in the deck anything but the best. 

Being a Pokémon-EX usually justifies a card having a better HP score, Ability, and/or attack(s) than you would see on the “regular” version of the same Pokémon… and for Evolutions like Lucario in general, they get to be printed as a Basic and not an Evolution!  None of these are guaranteed as inherent to the cards: after all, during most of the BW-era I assumed that Pokémon-EX had to be “legendary” Pokémon but that changed, and all the other traits have also been missing for certain cards.  The only things guaranteed are giving up an extra Prize, being unable to use certain existing cards that explicitly state they are incompatible with Pokémon-EX, and the many cards specifically designed to counter Pokémon-EX.  This card does clearly get the HP benefit, as its got the maximum we’ve seen printed on a Basic Pokémon-EX: 180.  This is enough to be a hard OHKO for most decks (the exceptions exploiting Weakness or generally being good at OHKOs), but no HP is really safe in this format.  Without setting a new precedence, it is as good as it gets. 

Psychic Weakness isn’t the worst a card can have, but its gone back to being a serious risk thanks largely to cards like Lucario-EX.  Mewtwo-EX and its infamous X-Ball are a huge risk even for relatively Energy efficient cards once Weakness gets factored in; a Double Colorless Energy alone is good for a quick 80 points of damage.  If the Defending Pokémon has an Energy attached or Mewtwo-EX has a Muscle Band, it hits that 100 points of damage that leads to a 2HKO… for the bottom end of damage, that is quite nasty and it pretty easily gets into an outright OHKO territory with relatively minimal effort.  Since Mewtwo-EX is Psychic Weak and known for loading up on Energy, often counters for it are still a serious threat for whatever is vulnerable to Mewtwo-EX.  The lack of Resistance is a missed opportunity but not detrimental; the Resistance mechanic is far more balanced than Weakness in the TCG, but that sadly also makes it largely immaterial.  The Retreat Cost of two is not really good or bad; you rarely ever want to discard Energy to begin with, and it might get stuck from time to time, but it often can be paid and most decks should include workarounds. 

Lucario-EX brings is the first card in a few years to have a full three attacks.  Of course in the video games, Pokémon can have up to four attacks plus an Ability, but for the TCG this is kind of special.  The Energy costs are well done; [F], [FF] and [FFF] keeps the “big” attack from being super easy to access, but it is fairly reasonable and fits into a escalation pattern.  For [F], Missile Jab does decent damage, enough for all the damage boosting options to build upon, and it ignores any pesky Resistance you do encounter.  Corkscrew Smash just needs [FF] and scores a solid 60 points of damage with the bonus of a Bianca style “draw until you have six cards in hand” for its effect.  This can help feed some massive combos the next turn.  Somersault Kick does a slightly low (or perhaps just barely acceptable) 100 for [FFF] and is the least impressive attack, but it is still good to have when you do need raw damage. 

Factoring in the many methods of boosting damage, like Strong Energy and Muscle Band, plus the other Fighting-Type support like Korrina, the reason this card isn’t higher on the list is simple; competition!  The top two cards are just are already proving even more influential, and between recent additions like our number five pick of Landorus (XY: Furious Fists 58/111) and (significantly more important) the established powerhouse that is Landorus-EX becoming even better after already having an influential showing towards the end of the previous format (let me stress again, before it had access to the new Fighting-Type support!).  Lucario-EX is still being played, at least from my vantage point, but its being used alongside Landorus-EX.  That is by no means a small accomplishment, but its important to recognize. 

Lucario-EX has two things going for it with how it has been being played.  First, while its Psychic Weakness is dangerous, it isn’t the Water-Type Weakness on Landorus-EX.  Psychic Weakness is not rare on Fighting-Types (in fact it is the expected Weakness since video game Fighting-Types have it!), but Lucario-EX is “the” big Basic Pokémon with it, providing a definite niche.  This is further expanded not only by its raw capabilities (it would be the headliner without Landorus-EX in the format), but with the last feature of the card I haven’t mentioned: M Lucario-EX!  As far as Mega Evolutions go, M Lucario-EX isn’t a must run, but it is tempting, especially if you lack another method for bypassing Intimidating Mane.  M Lucario-EX sports an additional 40 HP, which is useful but like with most Mega Evolutions, doesn’t seem like “enough” given all that goes into them.  The attack is pretty good, however; 140 for [FFF] is great and on the unlikely chance you aren’t hitting for the OHKO, you get to discard an Energy from the Defending Pokémon as well.  Without losing a turn to Mega Evolving it would be an obvious finisher, but as is it still can be a handy trick to consider running. 

Expanded will likely (still working on theory here) see Lucario-EX playing a similar role to what it plays in Standard, but either against a wider variety of decks or against whatever few decks somehow rise above the best of the last two formats, the best of the current format and then any decks that exist in Expanded but never did before because the cards weren’t all together before!  For Limited, you should be running this, and unless you have zero tolerance for risk, you should be going for the “+39” build, running Lucario-EX with 39 non-Basic Pokémon cards.  XY: Furious Fists does contain a multiple Psychic-Type Pokémon as well as some Fighting Resistant Pokémon, but unless your opponent has the “best” of either ready right away (or can spam the lesser examples), you should quite rapidly take four Prizes, long before your HP runs out.  The only other risk is, of course, an opponent that also has a worthwhile +39 build. 

Ratings 

Standard: 4.25/5 - Yes, lower than when I initially saw it; its a matter of there only being so much room for it with all the new and older attackers (even big Basic attackers) showing up in decks.  While very potent, it still has become a niche card, the other Fighting-Type Pokémon-EX you run. 

Expanded: 4/5 - As above, though I expect its effectiveness to be further diluted with the larger card pool. 

Limited: 5/5 - If you pull this, it should be in your deck (and probably the only Basic Pokémon in your deck). 

Summary: The ‘mon who would be king!  Lucario-EX is still having a big impact, providing fast, reliable hits that do decent damage with a solid bonus (at least for two out of three), all on an impressive frame.  If Landorus-EX had rotated, this might have very well become the standard bearer of the Standard format.


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