How to get Riolu in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet is much more straightforward than in previous Pokemon games, and you can add the lil' punchy kid to your party quite early in the game. That means with the right love and care, you can add get a strong Fighting type on your team before even reaching the third Gym.
Riolu’s stomping grounds are in an area you might not normally visit for a while. Getting there takes a few minutes of walking or riding Koraidon or Miraidon, and possibly dodging some powerful ‘mon, but you can find the baby Pokemon as soon as you reach South Province Area Two.
After that, it only takes some time and love to turn your lovely little Riolu into a powerful Lucario.
How to get Riolu in Scarlet and Violet
Riolu’s Pokedex entry tells you the pre-evolved form of Lucario lives in South Province Area Four and is rarely seen, but only one of those statements is true. Riolu does, indeed, live in South Province Area Four. The lil’ critter is fairly common, though, and you can find one almost as soon as you start your Paldean adventure.
To get to South Province Area Four, leave Mesagoza by its western exit. From the gate, head south, hop down the ridges, cross over the land bridge, and boom, you’ve arrived. There’s a not-insignificant chance you’ll run into a Riolu right by the bridge, but if not, run about and see what else you can find.
If you’re just starting in Scarlet and Violet, you may want to avoid some of the nearby Pokemon. You may encounter a wild Tera Scyther and other strong Pokemon whose levels are in the 20s. Riolu, though, is closer to level 10.
Riolu is a pure Fighting type, so make sure to keep your Normal and Rock types on the bench. If you have False Swipe, which you can get by visiting the biology room after your first biology class at the academy, consider using that move. False Swipe always leaves its target with at least 1 HP.
If you can’t find Riolu, cross the bridge back into Area Two, and come back to reset the available Pokemon.
How to evolve Riolu and get Lucario
Like this guide’s Barney-the-dinosaur strapline suggests, Riolu evolves into Lucario only when your bond with it grows stronger. You need to make Riolu like you quite a bit and then level it up during the day. Head over to our Scarlet and Violet friendship checker guide for details on how to do that.
Is Lucario good?
Absolutely. In Gen IX, Lucario is still one of the best Pokemon you can invest time and TMs in. Its Fighting and Steel dual typing removes the Fighting type’s usual weakness to Psychic and leaves them vulnerable only to Fire, Ground, and Fighting. Lucario’s high speed and even higher attack are excellent matches for moves such as Force Palm, Meteor Mash, and even Bone Rush.
Lucario relies on that speed and attack to compensate for their low defense and special defense, so make sure to have another, tankier Pokemon on your team to help fill the defense gap.