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Wo-Chien TCG art
Image via The Pokémon Company

EUIC 2023 champ Paul Chua keeps getting cooked by weird Pokémon at NAIC but is optimistic about the meta

It all started with Dewgong...

The Pokémon North America International Championship (NAIC) has been full of surprises so far, with off-meta picks thriving. Dot Esports spoke to 2023 EUIC champ Paul Chua to discuss the weirdest Pokémon he’s encountered at the event and why this is a good sign moving forward in the competitive scene.

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Dot Esports is at NAIC with travel provided by The Pokémon Company to speak with top VGC players like Paul Chua about all the oddball ‘mons in the current Regulation G format. We saw the EUIC champ make a stream appearance during his Swiss round 12 match against Shiliang Tang. Chua might’ve lost the match, but he pointed out one bizarre Pokémon on his opponent’s team—Wo-Chien.

Wo-Chien being used alongside Kyogre at Pokémon NAIC.
Wo-Chien is thriving at NAIC. Screenshot via The Official Pokémon YouTube channel

In previous regulations, Wo-Chien was seen as the weakest of the four Treasures of Ruin, lagging far behind Chien-Pao, Chi-Yu, and Ting-Lu. However, this single restricted format has actually been a blessing for the Dark/Grass snail. Chua explained how Wo-Chien got the best of him: “The punishment of Wo-Chien and Kyogre is meant to do well into teams like mine with Calyrex Ice [Rider].” Indeed, with Calyrex Ice Rider being the most-used restricted Legendary Pokémon on day one and two of the event, it makes sense why Wo-Chien has been crushing the competition this weekend. “I hadn’t really practiced much against that, and it didn’t go too well for me.”

This wasn’t the first time Chua took an L against such an off-meta pick in Regulation G. In fact, he was one of the first players to encounter the viral Dewgong and Gloom team that brought utter chaos to the VGC community while prepping for the format change. Chua admitted he “got cooked” by that mysterious team but sees why these gimmicks work. “Even in open teamsheet, you’re not gonna know too much about it. You’ll see the moves and Tera, but you don’t really know its stats,” he told us. Without any prior practice against these kinds of ‘mons, it’s just hard to know what to expect.

Chua pointed out other unexpected Pokémon that have done surprisingly well at NAIC, including Electabuzz and Overqwil. I also freaked out earlier about seeing Galarian Moltres and Tyranitar together on Michael Zhang’s team. If anything, all these weird Pokémon are a sign of how diverse this meta is. “There’s definitely room for improvement,” Chua stated. “And there’s a lot of time between now and Worlds for people to try and innovate.” This just makes Worlds this year even more exciting, and we’re here for it.

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Image of Karli Iwamasa
Karli Iwamasa
Karli is a freelance writer and editor for Dot Esports based in the Bay Area. She mostly writes about Pokémon with a focus on competitive VGC but also enjoys VALORANT.