Lucario in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, despite his aura mechanic, is often considered average at best in the current metagame.
Since his introduction in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Lucario has stood out among the cast. Lucario has a unique mechanic called aura.
“Damage and knockback multipliers are applied to all of its attacks depending on how much damage Lucario has taken,” according to the character’s ssbwiki.com page. Lucario’s power increases as more percentage is taken, with aura hitting its peak at 190%. His playstyle rewards Lucario players for taking damage, but more importantly it rewards those who can survive long enough to see the high levels of aura control the pace and flow of a match. Lucario is also provided with a comeback factor through aura, as well as arguably filling that one niche better than any other character in the game. A few mistakes in neutral against a good Lucario player with a certain level of aura can mean the end of your stock.
Although Lucario can be deadly at higher percentages, getting to that point can be a hassle. Lucario begins a stock with a knockback multiplier of x0.66. This means he needs to work hard to achieve a level of strength which scales with the rest of the cast, which is otherwise known as base power. Lucario will especially struggle to kill opponents during this time. Once Lucario reaches 65%, Lucario reaches a knockback multiplier of x1.0 and his base power. From here on, killing will become less of an issue as long as he can hold onto his stock.
This is important knowledge for learning the matchup. Killing Lucario early will not only prevent a game from spiraling out of control, but Lucario will struggle once again, and now during a time where it is crucial to take a stock and make the game even.
Is it worth noting that this is an issue in both Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. Lucario is regarded more highly in those games, however.
Rage, a mechanic which gives all characters slightly increased knockback at higher percentages, was first introduced in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. Rage is designed to be like aura, but less relied upon. This is most potent in the hands of heavy characters such as Bowser and Donkey Kong, but to an extent gives a boost to middleweights like Lucario.
In both iterations, rage stacks with aura. However, the knockback of rage was toned down in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Lucario was sometimes regarded as a top-tier in Smash 4.
Lucario Frame Data
Overall, Lucario has average frame data on his attacks.
According to ultimateframedata.com, some of his fastest options include a frame five jab, a frame six up tilt, a frame seven dash attack, a frame nine down tilt, a frame four down tilt, a frame seven grab, a frame 10 neutral air, a frame 10 up air and a frame seven forward air. These moves can function as an out of shield option and/or serve as a combo tool.
Lucario’s slower moves can kill. These moves are typically given more use with high aura. Lucario has a frame 13 back air, his side b, Force Palm, has a grab hitbox closer to Lucario which comes out frame nine, his fully charged aura sphere comes out frame 17, a frame 15 up smash which is good for anti-airing and a frame 19 forward smash.
Lucario’s up b, Extreme Speed, has a 46 frame startup. Despite the susceptibility, it covers a long distance, which goes even further with high aura. Unless he gets edgeguarded, Lucario can usually make it back to ledge.
Although Lucario has perhaps one of the best comeback factors in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, his average frame data, nerfs from his previous appearance and starting out each stock with a low knockback multiplier makes the character widely regarded as a mid-tier. However, those with matchup inexperience or those who don’t play safe enough are likely going to have a rough time.
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