– Holon Phantoms
October 22, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Another Holon related card for this week’s Throwback, Holon Adventurer is a Supporter that makes you discard a card from your hand, and if you can’t, then you can’t use this card. If you do, then you draw 3 cards. However, if you discard a Pokémon with the Delta Species symbol printed on a card, then you draw 4 cards instead.
Those features are exclusive to the Pokémon TCG, where it had Pokémon whose type is different than their usual type. Even the Holon region is exclusive to the TCG and doesn’t have any other appearances in other media! According to Bulbapedia, this is the backstory of this region:
“According to press release statements prior to Delta Species-era expansions and information on booster packs, the Holon region was inhabited by humans who wished to search for the elusive Mirage Pokémon Mew. Establishing a city (also called Holon), scientists utilized the unique magnetic properties of the area to produce waves of electromagnetic energy via a large tower in the city center to track the location of Mew. The resulting electromagnetic waves caused the local Pokémon to mutate into abnormal types inconsistent with their genes elsewhere, with their highest evolved forms typically having Metal as a type. The affected Pokémon came to be known as Delta Species.”
This makes a lot of sense, as you see several Pokémon who are affected got their types altered, like how Charizard from EX Crystal Guardians is a dual typed Lightning/Metal type, or how Dragonite from EX Dragon Frontiers is a Grass type Pokémon. That could seriously affect certain type matchups in the TCG, though I believe even Delta Species Pokemon still retain their original weakness. Delta Charizard will still be weak to Water.
I realize this was more of a lore of the region as opposed to this COTD, so I’ll just stop right there. Holon Adventurer is another good draw based card for any deck of its time, but it’s better in decks using Delta Species Pokemon. This is a time where there’s no “Professor” based cards or disruptive cards like N or Marnie, so looks like I’m making Holon Adventurer better than it seems. Looking at World Championship decks. There are three of them that used Delta Species Pokemon, making Holon Adventurer a perfect fit in those decks, although there were others that still used him even without Delta Species Pokemon:
-Flyvees (2007): Has the entire Flygon line (that are either Grass, Metal, and/or Psychic), Eevee (Metal), and Fearow (Lightning) that are Delta Species.
-Legendary Ascent (2007): Has Rayquaza (Lightning), Eevee (Metal), and Lickitung (Psychic) as Delta Species.
-Empotech (2008): Has Shiny Mew (Water) as Delta Species.
So yeah, the Delta Species weren’t forgotten (I mean how could it be when it make three World Championships decks into replicas) and there could be more than those three decks that made a showing. They were used as the main attacker or a supporter. And it’s nice to see players aiming for the top using unique game mechanics. Maybe someday the Pokémon TCG will revisit making Pokémon with unusual type combinations as it could affect certain matchups. Those decks ran 2 Adventurer at most.
Standard: N/A (Might be a 4/5 in its own time in “Modified” format)
Limited: 5/5 (Limited values draw power)
If Holon Adventurer would be legal today, it wouldn’t see much play due to Professor’s Research outclassing most draw based Supporters, even if Delta Pokemon are involved. Maybe this card would have to be tweaked in modern times to make it worth using, maybe draw six if you discard a Delta Pokémon.
Almost a month ago, our Throwback pick was Holon Transceiver, a Trainer-Item that could fetch a Supporter card with “Holon” in its name from either your deck or discard pile. We took a break because of a countdown and a milestone, but at last we return to our scheduled review of the cards that made up the “Holon Trainer Engine”. The exact composition of Engine varied, and not all of the Holon Supporters were obvious winners. In fact, most were less impressive versions of cards we already had but the added utility from Holon Transceiver made them shine. Up first is Holon Adventurer (EX – Holon Phantoms 85/110), which we originally reviewed on April 3, 2006.
Holon Adventurer is a Trainer-Supporter. It released at a time when your Supporter was left in play, besides your Active, to serve as a physical reminder you had already used your Supporter for the turn. This was eventually changed to how it works now, just remembering. It does affect the card, but mostly only when it comes to certain card effects that either referenced the Supporter in play (not sure how those work now), or that could (or still do) reference a Supporter in your discard pile (the Supporter you just played used to not be an option). Holon Adventurer requires you discard a card from your hand in order to play it; this was a cost common to Holon Supporters. It was rarely an issue, but sometimes it did mean Holon Adventurer (and the other Holon Supporters) were dead cards if alone in your hand.
Holon Adventurer’s specific effect has you draw three cards. If the card you discarded for this Supporter’s cost was a Pokémon with δ on it, you would draw four cards instead. The Pokémon it describes are commonly referred to as “Pokémon Delta” or Pokémon δ; this was a mechanic introduced late in the EX-series. Simply put, Pokémon from the Holon Region – a region unique to the TCG – sometimes had the “wrong” typing. These cards had “δ Delta Species” printed near the top of the card, between the card’s name and HP. The card’s name remained the same, however, so you could evolve them into and from anything that worked with the baseline versions of the card, and it counted towards the same four card limit. It wasn’t as easy to recycle Pokémon at this time, but it was possible and in a Pokémon Delta using deck, this was a decent to very good deal.
Most of the Holon Supporters could be thought of as having generic counterparts: cards with similar effects that preceded them. In this case, the card in question only just rotated from Standard, but it was hardly used: TV Reporter. TV Reporter dates all the way back to the EX – Dragon expansion, officially released on November 24, 2003. In other words, eight years before the first “Draw 3 cards.” Supporter, Cheren. TV Reporter is a Supporter that draws three cards, but after you do, you must then discard a card from your (newly enlarged) hand. Drawing then discarding is clearly superior to having to discard then draw, and TV Reporter was a commonly run card at this time in the game.
Potentially drawing four cards instead of three and working with Holon Transceiver were enough to offset having to discard-then-draw. This wasn’t actually the first time such an effect was modeled: Team Aqua Schemer, Team Magma Schemer, and Rocket’s Scheme all work the same as Holon Adventurer, but with Team Aqua, Team Magma, and Dark (or Rocket’s) Pokémon, respectively. Which is why we received cards like Team Plasma Grunt, Team Aqua’s Grunt and Team Magma’s Grunt in the Black & White and XY series; it was an homage to these older Supporters. It is also how we know that Holon Adventurer would be nothing but nostalgic filler if re-released unless Pokémon δ were not only re-released but had the right kind of competitive deck in which to use it. If you can afford to run a Limited Format event featuring EX – Holon Phantoms packs, then this is a great pull; draw power is at a premium and you have a good chance your deck includes some Pokémon δ filler.
While Standard-legal, Holon Adventurer showed up in the following World Championship decks: Suns & Moons (2006), Flyvees (2007), Legendary Ascent (2007), Rambolt (2007), and Swift Empoleon (2007). Yes, from a single inclusion in 2006 to showing up in all four decks for 2007. It was still legal in 2008, but showed up in no decks largely because Holon Transceiver was no longer Standard-legal. It was a good card for its era, but would be very underpowered now.
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