Pokémon Pro Snags a ‘Salty’ Victory With Underrated Pick to Take Home Regional Scarlet and Violet Championship

Jiseok Lee, a Pokémon VGC prodigy from South Korea, travelled to the San Diego Regional Championships over the weekend and won everything with an 8-2 victory to become the 2023 San Diego Regional Champion for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet.

Taking home 3,000 dollars in prize money and 200 CP for the 2023 Pokémon VGC circuit is an amazing feat in itself for Jiseok Lee, but even more so when you consider the fact that he pulled it off with some pretty unique picks and builds.

A couple of notable Pokémon were his three-attacks Loaded Dice Baxcalibur, Life Orb Mimikyu without Trick Room, and Garganacl whose offensive presence only comes from Salt Cure, a move we’ve seen Lee utilize brilliantly throughout his battles that were on stream.

That wasn’t the only unusual part of Lee’s Garganacl, however, since it also donned the Poison Tera typing, something not usually seen in the sparse usage Garganacl has gotten in the recent past.

And it wasn’t like Lee could pull any surprises onto his opponents since every official tournament going forward is going to be open team sheet, including this regional. Below is Jiseok Lee’s team sheet, which was also visible to his opponents.

  • Garganacl @ Leftovers
  • Ability: Purifying Salt
  • Tera Type: Poison
  • – Salt Cure
  • – Recover
  • – Wide Guard
  • – Protect
  • Baxcalibur @ Loaded Dice
  • Ability: Thermal Exchange
  • Tera Type: Water
  • – Glaive Rush
  • – Icicle Spear
  • – Ice Shard
  • – Protect
  • Mimikyu @ Life Orb
  • Ability: Disguise
  • Tera Type: Ghost
  • – Play Rough
  • – Shadow Claw
  • – Shadow Sneak
  • – Protect
  • Tauros-Paldea-Water @ Safety Goggles
  • Ability: Intimidate
  • Tera Type: Water
  • – Close Combat
  • – Wave Crash
  • – Aqua Jet
  • – Protect
  • Meowscarada @ Focus Sash
  • Ability: Overgrow
  • Tera Type: Grass
  • – Flower Trick
  • – Knock Off
  • – Sucker Punch
  • – Protect
  • Gholdengo @ Choice Specs
  • Ability: Good as Gold
  • Tera Type: Steel
  • – Make It Rain
  • – Shadow Ball
  • – Power Gem
  • – Focus Blast

One thing that immediately stands out after analyzing Lee’s team for a bit is the extreme lack of Speed control. No Tailwind, no Trick Room, not even something like Icy Wind or Thunder Wave, but Lee still managed to make this work incredibly well, and one of the major components on his team to thank for that is the abundance of priority moves he had on his Pokémon.

Four of the picks on his team were rocking some form of priority attack, being his Baxcalibur with Ice Shard, Mimikyu with Shadow Sneak, Paldean Tauros: Aqua breed with Aqua Jet, and Meowscarada with Sucker Punch. Who cares if your opponents are faster than you when you can move first anyway?

The way this choice of utilizing priority moves as an unorthodox form of speed control meshed incredibly well with the rest of his team is mainly due to his unique Garganacl set. 

Since Garganacl could only click Salt Cure when it went on the offensive, all it needed to do was use Recover and Protect to keep itself alive while the residual damage of Salt Cure whittled its opponents’ HP down to the point where its teammates could take advantage of their strong priority moves to finish off their opponents regardless of the fact that they had the Speed advantage.

Mimikyu is probably the next most surprisingly built Pokémon on this team. With a Life Orb and three attacks, it was just seen firing off strong STAB and priority attacks rather than being a support or hybrid ‘mon with the crucial option of Trick Room. It didn’t even use other common options like Will-O-Wisp or Curse, the latter of which saw quite some usage on Mimikyu throughout the teams in the tournament.

Speaking of unusual builds compared to the rest of the tournament, we see Lee’s Gholdengo sporting a Choice Specs set which, even though was the premier set earlier in the meta, saw quite a drop in usage, with plenty of the Gholdengos in the tournament rather opting to run a bulky Nasty Plot set.

This just shows that thinking out of the box and not being afraid to innovate can lead to amazing outcomes, with Jiseok Lee taking his first big win since his victory at the 2016 Korean National Championship. Lee has often gotten top-cut results in the tournaments he’s played in since then, making sure players acknowledged his presence, but this win at the San Diego regionals should cement his place as one of the big fish that other pros would be foolish not to respect.

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