- ↓ 1.19
- ꩜ 3.36
- ↑ 3.91
Choose 1 of your own Pokémon in play and a Stage of Evolution. Discard all Evolution cards of that Stage or higher attached to that Pokémon. That Pokémon is no longer Asleep, Confused, Paralyzed, Poisoned, or anything else that might be the result of an attack (just as if you had evolved it).
illus. Keiji Kinebuchi
Formats: Other: 1999–2001
External: Bulba ↗ · Shop: TCGplayer ↗, cardmarket ↗, eBay ↗
The ultimate jank rare in base set draft,and the worst card you could have possibly pulled from the pack at the time. While it CAN combo with other cards for some potentially lethal effects (mainly using multiple evolution effects over a battle) ,there was virtually no use for it at the time. Hyper Devolution spray, printed in the neo block, was a near strictly better variant of this,and printed appropriately at uncommon.
I used one in a base set draft in an Alakazam deck. The idea was that since I didn’t pull a breeder, I’d have to evolve manually. That meant that I could play a Devo spray on my Alakazam into a Kadabra to finish off a weakened Pokemon with a more powerful attack.
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This card uses “Devolution” as a noun but doesn’t use “Devolve” as a verb. The verb first appears on Brock’s Ninetales and then on Hyper Devolution Spray.
Gen 3 never used the verb in English translations; it preferred the phrase “remove the highest stage evolution card.”
That longer phrase persisted throughout gen 4, with the exception of the three “Rising Rivals” Eeveelutions who use the verb “devolve” (again).
Since gen 5, “Devolve” has become the standard word used for this “Devolution” phenomenon.
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ALSO: you can just search for the phrase “the highest stage evolution card” (remove the word “remove,” haha) and that yields a search result for MOST (not all) devolution mechanics, through the years.
It’s interesting how one of the only instances of devolution in the franchise was established as early as Base Set. I almost wonder if it would’ve never become a mechanic had it not appeared early on like this, when franchise rules were less set-in-stone.
The Pocket Monsters manga is the other major instance of it, which basically operates on Digimon rules where pokemon evolve forward and backward naturally and can sometimes skip evolutions (one of many ways that it ignores franchise conventions). I like the TCG’s approach most — evolution is broadly permanent, *but* certain unnatural things like these sprays and time travel nonsense can reverse the process.
I feel like it almost certainly wouldn’t have allowed to become a mechanic – early episodes of the anime made such a point of the idea of evolution being a permanent, irreversible, and hugely consequential thing that affects a Pokémon’s personality – that I remember being quite shocked to pull Hyper Deevolution Spray from a Discovery pack.
A lot of this is me reading into things that aren’t necessarily there, but I think in the early days that GAME FREAK still saw itself as a doujin/novice company, and was very keen on OLM’s advice on how to turn Pokémon into a long-term franchise and took it to heart. Creatures¹, on the other hand, presumably saw itself as an established company and while OLM’s advice was appreciated, they were just taken as suggestions and they kept their primary focus on being a game developer that makes games that are fun (long-term be damned). I think evolution is consequential in all pillars of the series, but while the anime, merchandise, and even the video games could survive by deprioritizing (if not entirely) eliminating evolution as a central component, the TCG would – and has! – sucked if/when it does the same. I’d be surprised if Creatures hasn’t been asked and/or even more bluntly “advised” to remove deevolution, but when evolution’s so important to the game, deevolution necessarily need to exist as a counterbalance².
¹ I’m still not 100% who was designing cards prior to Generation 3 and its numerous PCL namedrops and credibility establishment. I mean, it was Creatures, right? I find so many older articles and posts talking about MEDIA FACTORY as if they had a huge involvement in the development and direction of the game. This would be in spite of the fact they aren’t even credited on the legal copy at the bottom? Everything else points towards Creatures, especially once you realize Tomoaki Imakuni isn’t just a random musician, but a Creatures employee who happened to be a musician in his free time.
² If it’s not obvious by now, I’m deliberately a huge Creatures cheerleader. Less intentional is any perceived slight of OLM – the advice they gave is fine and I’m a fan of a fair portion of the OS, even after some of the mundane “sustainable long-term franchise rules” were baked into the series.
GAME FREAK is iffier – I think they’ve been taking things in a horrific direction the last 10+ years, but having recently given Pokémon Legends Arceus a chance, I’m really enjoying it on a conceptual level. It feels like a reactionary countermeasure to some of the things *I personally* do not like about modern games ..the trivialization of natures, the removal of abilities, the pseudo-return of the Gen 1+2 stat system, de-bloated movepools, the presumed(?) de-canonization of Pikachu’s anime voice, the return of more early series trivia (i.e. hard confirmation that Pokémon shrink to fit in balls, vs other games’ non-committal visual flirtations with OLM’s quantum light thing). This is all trivial pablum to most but everything I just listed off forms a majority of my “I know it’d never happen, but it’d be nice to see..” wishlist. And it turns out it all happened? Rad.
Seeing deevolution in a game is another one of those “I know it’d never happen, but it’d be nice to see..” but less so because of the TCG and more because of how interesting it was to see in the manga. PLA makes me feel like there are GF employees who’ve enjoyed, and not enjoyed, this series in the same way I have. Even if that was their only shot at leaving a mark on the franchise, I’m quite satisfied by it, and cautiously hopeful they might get to do it again and we’ll see more interesting things happen. Deevolution in a mainline game, even if just for the sake of deevolution in a mainline game, would be a very interesting thing to see as it’d be another shot across the bow of attempts to make all components of the franchise congeal together into a boring, sanitized mess.
Agreed with all that, and I think there’s also just a whole lot of good old-fashioned fun to be had with devolving in the games — particularly with Eeveelutions, like Pokemon Adventures did with Vee. Being able to change the evolutionary trajectory of a branching evo would add such a neat degree of utility to Eevee in the main series akin to the utility that it already has in the TCG. Or even more minor switches, like Gallade into Gardevoir or Bellossom into Vileplume. Apparently another manga, Pokemon Horizons, also did it with a Rockruff that can devolve and also switch between both its Midday and Midnight forms.
As for Creatures, them being responsible for the early TCG would make sense, since it explains a lot of what they were actually doing during those first few years. As far as I can tell they didn’t have any major Pokemon-related game credits til Pokemon Stadium, so being in charge of the TCG side of things would account for why they were so important as to warrant a 1/3 share of the IP. Can’t say I regard OLM with any fondness though, but that’s moreso based in how a friend of mine worked for them for awhile before the mass layoffs hit and the conditions and pay were absolutely abysmal :v
(I would also add that while I overall consider Legends Arceus a lovely direction for the series, that’s excluding its omission of abilities, which are a mechanic I generally adore due to how much they help some species stand out mechanically)
(also im so mad that frostbite wasn’t a permanent series addition)