This weekend just gone, April 14th – 16th, saw the Pokémon European International Championships 2023 (EUIC) being held at the ExCeL building in London. Competitors from all over Europe have come to take part in the Championships for a chance to participate in the Pokémon World Championships later in the year. As part of the event, multiple tournaments were held for Pokémon Trading Card Game, Pokémon Video Game Championship, Pokémon GO, and Pokémon UNITE.
Spectators were also allowed to join in on the fun and watch the EUIC participants compete with one another as well as play some of the games featured in the Championships and other Pokémon Games at the Nintendo Stand. There were also a number of photo call points for attendees to take plenty of photographs and a number of merchant stands, as well as the pop-up Pokémon Center that had an assortment of Pokémon themed wares on sale. There was also other merchandise on display that will be available to purchase later on in the year.
As there was so much to see at the Pokémon European International Championships 2023, We will be sharing our experience over a series of feature articles because to put it all in one single article would take the page an eternity to load, especially when we have so many photos of the event that we wish to share with you. For this feature, I will be highlighting what there was to see at the event as a spectator.
The Pokémon Center
The Pokémon Center was definitely a highlight for some folks and us at the EUIC because, while it was part of the main event, people who weren’t attending the EUIC could also enter, just as long as they had booked an allotted time slot. The space dedicated to the Pokémon Center could be accessed via the main floor of the ExCeL build from the Mezzanine area.
The Pokémon Center was pretty cool to see in person because there isn’t actually an official Pokémon Center store in the UK, even though the Pokémon Centers have been around in Japan and some other parts of the world for 25 years. Yeah, there is the Pokémon Center Online store but it is not the same as being able to look around at all the incredible merchandise in a physical space.
Speaking of space, there was plenty enough to move around inside the Pop-up Pokémon Center because it took up about two halls inside the ExCel Building. One hall was where the Pokémon Center itself was situated and the other hall was dedicated to queuing. There was a lot of merchandise on display with plushies abound, T-shirts, figurines, TCG Expansions, pin badges, decorative Pokéballs, books, and more. If you were a hardcore Pokémon fan with money to burn, you could easily spend hundreds if not thousands of pounds/dollars/euros on what was available.
Cards, Cards & Even More Cards!
Aside from the official Pokémon Center being situated at EUIC 2023, there were also a number of Merchandise stands at the venue as well. They had an assortment of Pokémon merchandise like plushies and figurines, although a lot of the merch was geared up towards TCG collectors and players. There was quite literally every possible card imaginable like rare holo cards, reverse holos, Japanese exclusive cards, battle decks and full sets to pick and choose from as well with each card being individually appraised and priced.
On one such merchandise stand, they had giant-sized decorative cards for sale. While you couldn’t use them in official tournaments (might stick out like a sore thumb when shuffled into your deck), they would certainly look cool hung up on the wall of your bedroom or gamer den. I was tempted to get a couple myself but then had to think of how I would get them back with me on the train ride home, or into my suitcase for that matter to take them back home with me to Spain.
The Nintendo Booth
Nintendo UK also had a presence at the Pokémon European International Championships. They had set up in one section of the event with their trademark red matting and red Nintendo Switch demo booths. On the demo booths, Nintendo had Pokémon Legends: Arceus, Pokémon Scarlet / Pokémon Violet, and Pokken Tournament DX available for people to play.
It was cool to see these games at the event and I would like to have seen New Pokémon Snap or Pokémon Mystery Dungeon get some love too. Sure, they aren’t exactly competitive Pokémon games but they are Pokémon games nonetheless. Saying that, I also know that Pokémon Let’s Go: Pikachu / Eevee, and Pokémon Brilliant Diamond / Shining Pearl may also be old hat now but they would have been nice to have seen be playable at the event as well.
The Pokémon European Championships
It’s probably time I actually spoke about the main event at the Pokémon EUIC 2023. Over the period of three days (Friday-Sunday), hundreds, of competitors went head-to-head to compete in several different categories and age groups. There were championships for the Trading Card Game, for Pokémon UNITE, Pokémon Scarlet / Violet, and even Pokémon GO. Most of the venue was dedicated to the tournaments and there were rows upon rows of tables and chairs set up for the competitors.
A big portion of the venue space was for the Trading Card Game tournament and another was for the video game tournaments. As for Pokémon GO, and Pokémon Unite, they each had their designated area either side of the Stream & Viewing area. This area was also where the very cool-looking trophies were on display and would be given to the winners when they were announced after the finals.
Pokémon! Gotta Snap ‘Em All!
Pokémon motifs and scenery were everywhere at Pokémon EUIC 2023 and made for some very nice photo-ops. There was a Pokéball flower arrangement, A giant floating Pikachu suspended from the ceiling, a Pokémon Plush centerpiece with a giant Arcanine plush that looked simply adorable and that wasn’t all. There were even a number of Pokémon Mascots wandering around in the form of Pikachu and the Paldea starters Sprigatito, Fuecoco, and Quaxly.
What was probably the rarest sight for me though, was that a wild Joe Merrick appeared! You know, from Serebii.net. Okay, so the chances of meeting Joe at a Pokémon event would have been exceptionally high but the ExCel building itself is quite large that there have been times where I have attended events here with the intention of meeting someone and never seeing them, only to then have a totally random encounter with someone else I knew on another occasion! Still, meeting Joe in person was certainly another highlight for us at EUIC 2023 and we wish him continued success with Serebii.
Just before we round out our feature article, the last thing we should talk about are the Side Events. For people who were not competing themselves, there were a number of activities for them to get involved in at ExCeL. At the Side Event Stand, event goers could take part in a series of activities involving the Pokémon video games, TCG, and Pokémon GO. You had to pay to participate in these activities but there were prizes to be one as well and it provides a good opportunity to try battling competitively and see if it is something you would want to pursue further.
Another activity that Pokémon GO users could take part in was the Community Day event. Participants could find Togekiss spawning at Pokémon EUIC 2023 and we found a good number of them around the Pokémon GO stand and with EUIC 2023 taking up such a large area of ExCeL, it was easy enough to get in my 10,000 steps as well.
Time To Say Goodbye
As with everything, all good things come to an end eventually and my time at the Pokémon European International Championships 2023 short but extremely fun. We missed out on the World Championship last year and didn’t want to make the same mistake this year and we are really glad we didn’t. Should the EUIC return to London next year, we would definitely be making the effort to go again and hopefully for more days as well. EUIC 2023 was such an excellent day out and well recommended for Poké Fans and Serious Trainers alike!
Before we say goodbye though, we have put together a gallery of some of our photos that we have taken at the event. This is just a select few that we had narrowed down from the 300+ photographs that we had taken that day. If you would like to see more of our photos from the Pokémon EUIC 2023, be sure to click on the links we have provided throughout this feature!
Until Next Time, Keep On Gaming!
Pokémon EUIC 2023 | An ExCeL-lent Day Out: (Landscape)
Pokémon EUIC 2023 | An ExCeL-lent Day Out: (Portrait)