– Delta Species
September 3, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
If you already read our Holon’s Magmemite (EX – Delta Species 70/113) review, I’ll be repeating myself because the two cards have a lot in common. Holon’s Voltorb (EX – Delta Species 71/113) starts out being unusual even in its name. There are only four other “Holon’s” cards, all Pokémon. Who or what is “Holon”? It is a region in the Pokémon world that – to my knowledge – only exists in the TCG and its lore. The short version is that freaky things happen in Holon. It is where Pokémon δ, a TCG mechanic where Pokémon are not their native Type(s), originate. The real-world reasoning for this was to balance the amount of Pokémon each type had, as the underrepresented types got a nice boost.
Don’t mistake “Holon” for “Holon’s” in the TCG. There is a series of Trainer cards that all begin with “Holon”, collectively referred to as the “Holon Trainer Engine” of just “Holon Engine”. There is also a series of Special Energy cards that all begin with “Holon” and are known collectively as “Holon Energy”. Yes, it seems obvious that a Pokémon wouldn’t belong to these series, but it may be less clear by the end of this review. There are other “Holon’s” cards:
Holon’s Pokémon are distinct from their non-Holon counterparts, including Pokémon δ. This matters for evolving, the 4 copy rule, and various effects which refer to cards by name… but nothing specifically refers to “Holon’s Pokémon” collectively, and they only refer to their own name because this was before “this Pokémon” was used in the wording of card effects on a regular basis.
Holon’s Voltorb is a Basic, [L] Pokémon with 40 HP, [F] Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [C], an attack, and an… effect? For [L], Holon’s Voltorb can use “Thundershock” to do 10 damage and flip a coin to try an Paralyze your opponent’s Active. Why am I rushing through all of this? Historically, almost none of it mattered. Sometimes you’d Bench Holon’s Voltorb if you were desperate for a Basic Pokémon. We’re not detailing Holon’s Electrode today because I’m hoping we’ll review it in a few weeks, but just know that you’re also probably not running Holon’s Voltorb to evolve into it. Which is good, because even when this was new, Holon’s Voltorb was a small, weak Basic with an attack that was rarely worth it. Thundershock might help you out if you got “heads” and your opponent couldn’t shake Paralysis.
Wait, there’s more. This is a Pokémon which can also be played as if it were a Special Energy card from your hand, but not through the use of an Ability, Ancient Trait, or Held Item (all of which this card predates). Nor is it able to do this through a Pokémon Power, Poké-Bodies, Poké-Powers, the latter two of which were the typical non-attack game mechanic. Lastly, it also obviously isn’t an attack effect, which is the only thing left I can recall that it can be… other than “unclassified rules text” on the card. Which is important because that means the only thing I think can prevent you from playing this card are effects that stop you playing Energy.
Q. If I have Dusclops with “Cursed Glare” active, can my opponent attach a Holon’s Castform from their hand as an energy card?
All of this is important to understand because that is where the card’s strength lies. While many cards give you a choice between searching out or recycling Pokémon, especially in the present, Holon’s Voltorb released at a time when it could be handy to have a Pokémon that could be played from hand as if it were a Special Energy, even though it only provided [C] while attached. Not in every deck – it didn’t see much play – but it was run as TecH in not one but two World Championship decks. Both decks are from the 2007 World Championships, “Flyvees” (won the Juniors Division) and “Legendary Ascent” (won the Masters Division). Though it never won a World Championship, I seem to remember a pseudo-Energyless deck that also included Holon’s Voltorb. Correction: There are no previous Holon’s Voltorb reviews, but there are two past reviews of Holon’s Magnemite: July 27, 2006 and April 5, 2007. The latter mentions Holon’s Magnemite comboing nicely with Holon Mentor (EX – Delta Species 93/113; EX – Dragon Frontiers 75/101), and being heavily used. Holon’s Voltorb can also be used in the same manner.
What if it were reprinted? I believe it could find some niche use, for the same reason it did back in the day: its a Pokémon that can act as an Energy, providing some nifty combos thanks to the various effects that only work on Pokémon. One or two copies of it would let your Quick Ball or Ultra Ball or Rescue Stretcher act as an out to Energy. That doesn’t sound brilliant, at least when it only provides [C] and there’s a chance I’ll have an awful open due to it, but it sounds decent. Purely guessing, but unless you’re running a Mulligan build, it should probably be handy for the Limited Format.
Holon’s Voltorb is a neat little trick easily forgotten over the years, and one I wouldn’t mind seeing return… except I don’t know if I want anymore card effects that are purely rules text.
Edit (20200909): Updated for an old ruling I’d missed, and the information from the older Holon’s Magnemite reviews.
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