Wooper is yet another popular Pokemon to receive a regional variant, this time in the Generation 9 games, Scarlet and Violet. Of course, it’s better known for its evolution in Quagsire, an excellent competitive Pokemon for many years. Naturally, we would expect Paldean Wooper to evolve into a Paldean Quagsire, but it actually has a variant Paldean evolution in Clodsire; we will talk about its evolution in due time. But, first, let’s explore how Wooper turning from a Water/Ground type into a Poison/Ground type shifts the entire dynamic of its design.
According to the Pokemon Company website, Paldean Wooper did once live underwater like its brethren in other regions. However, apparently a battle for territory led to the Wooper deciding to peace out and instead live in bogs on land. Because they were used to living constantly in water, the Paldean Wooper eventually evolved to form a poisonous film on their bodies to keep them from drying out. This is a really neat development, and one major reason why regional variants are good for the Pokemon franchise; in nature, species will adapt to their environments over time with the process of actual evolution, and it’s good for the Pokemon world to reflect this.
Also according to the lore from the Paldean Wooper entry on the Pokemon website, “these Wooper’s gills have hardened thanks to living on land for so long.” Whereas these gills used to allow the Wooper to breathe under water, these gills now contain a powerful poisonous liquid substance that they can shoot at will when they are under duress. Also, while their bodies are heavy and they move slowly, their poisonous defensive moves make up for their girth and slow speed.
As I always do when a new Pokemon or a regional variant appears with a new dual/typing, I immediately check for what other existing Pokemon share that type combination. This is because with each typing comes new offensive and defensive strengths as well as weaknesses. The first Pokemon that immediately come to mind with the Poison/Ground dual typing are the classic first-gen Nidoking and Nidoqueen. These dinosaur-like behemoths are not only nostalgic favorites, but even as recently as Sword and Shield continue to be mid-tier competitive stalwarts in Smogon singles; although in VGC double battles, they aren’t used nearly as much, and don’t even enjoy usage stats on the Pikalytics website.
However, knowing the pedigree that Nidoking and Nidoqueen enjoy as Poison/Ground types, this is great news for the competitive potential of Paldean Wooper and by extension Paldean Quagsire. This Poison Fish Pokemon and its evolution, however, are going to be monumentally slower than Nidoking and Nidoqueen. However, while normal Quagsire has a base HP stat and physical Defense stat on par with Nidoqueen, that’s where the statistical similarities end. It remains to be seen what base stat changes the Paldean form of Wooper and Quagsire will have, but we can assume that these Pokemon will be used more for their defensive utility and abilities than their attacking prowess.
But, from the lore alone, we can assume that Paldean Wooper and Clodsire will be more special attack-based in their offense than physical. Of course, still retaining the Ground-type will allow Paldean Wooper and its evolution to learn strong Ground-type moves such as Earthquake. But, it will lose access to many Water-type moves, instead relying on a new slew of Poison-type moves, and likely special attack ones. This is all speculation currently, but this seems the correct direction to take. Therefore, it would seem likely that Paldean Wooper and Clodsire see their base stats shifted away from physical Attack into Special Attack.
Speculation aside, we now take a look at the abilities for Paldean Wooper and, again by extension, Clodsire. Regular Quagsire enjoyed two abilities Damp and Water Absorb, plus a hidden ability, Unaware, which is no doubt its best. For now, we know that Paldean Wooper instead receives Poison Point and Water Absorb. The addition of the Poison Point ability makes perfect sense, giving Paldean Wooper a 30 percent chance to poison an opposing Pokemon who makes contact with it. This also fits in perfectly with the lore that in areas where Paldean Wooper lives, trainers may encounter poisoned Pokemon. Not only is this a neat open-world addition, but it could actually work in favor of the trainer looking to catch new team members, with the poisoned condition being to the advantage of one who wants to soften new potential catches.
Competitively speaking, however, while Poison Point is neat for your in-game adventures, Water Absorb is the more relevant competitive ability. Not only does Water Absorb literally allow the Pokemon to nullify the damage and effects of a Water-type attacking move, it also has one-quarter of its HP restored. (There is the notable exception of multi-hit Water-type moves like Water Shuriken, which will only have its first strike negated, but this is an extreme corner case.) Being able to blank Water-type moves can be a very useful team-building tool, both in competitive play and in your Paldea region adventures.
Now, what about on defense? The only existing Poison/Ground types to date were Nidoking and Nidoqueen, and these two were weak to Ground-type, Ice-type, Psychic-type, and Water-type moves. While they are both Ground-types themselves, having the Poison type means they are weak to Ground-type moves anyway. Meanwhile, Wooper and Quagsire being Water/Ground meant that they were only weak to Grass-type moves, although doubly so. So, from a pure typing perspective, Paldean Wooper and Clodsire are actually much worse. However, thanks to having the ability to gain Water Absorb, at least one of those new defensive weaknesses can be nullified.
However, Paldean Wooper and Clodsire gain some defensive utility, as well retaining their immunity to Electric-type moves. They gain an additional 25 percent resistance to Poison-type moves, a new 50 percent resistance to Bug-type, Fairy-type, Fighting-type, and Fire-type moves. Paldean Wooper and Quagsire also lose their Grass-type weakness entirely. On offense, Paldean Wooper and Clodsire will have their new arsenal of same-type Attack Bonus Poison-type moves to punish Grass-type and Fairy-type Pokemon.
It seems fair to say that while normal Quagsire is much better defensively, Paldean Wooper and Clod gain enough new resistances and offensive capabilities to offset what they’ve lost in defensive utility. We’ll examine Paldean Quagsire as a potential competitive Pokemon in the future, but for now, it’s safe to say that Paldean Wooper is going to be well worth catching for any trainers in Scarlet and Violet. When it evolves into Clodsire, it’s likely to be a very useful team member in the course of the main adventure. But, that’s for another article.
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