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Devolution

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Devolution Spray, one of the few methods of inducing devolution in the TCG

Devolution (Japanese: 退化 degeneration) is the process of an evolved Pokémon reverting to its previous form. This is not nearly as well-known among the fandom as evolution is, due to devolution being impossible within the games and anime. In most media in which it exists, devolution is not nearly as commonplace as evolution, and is generally brought about mainly through artificial means, such as sprays or genetic engineering.

In the games

Slowking losing Shellder
Slowbro losing Shellder

While devolution is not possible within the games, the notion is referred to by Slowbro's numerous Pokédex entries. Said entries claim that if the Shellder falls off, the Slowbro turns back into a Slowpoke. It is said that if Slowking loses its Shellder, it forgets everything it has learned.[1]

A similar situation applies to Exeggutor, as it is stated in its Pokédex entries that if one of its heads fall off it becomes an Exeggcute.

However, no Pokémon can devolve in any Pokémon game, with the exception of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, which introduced the Devolve Orb, a Wonder Orb that devolves all enemies in the room. Pokémon cards can devolve in Pokémon Trading Card Game video games which contain cards that can cause devolution.

In the anime

In the Pokémon anime, there has never been an instance of devolution at all. Moreover, Brock explicitly states in Electric Shock Showdown that evolution cannot be reversed, effectively confirming the nonexistence of devolution within the anime.

In the manga

In Pokémon Adventures

Before Vee, Red's Eevee, evolved into Espeon, it had been the subject of an experiment by Team Rocket, which allowed it to evolve into any of its three evolutions that were known at the time. It was also able to devolve back into an Eevee and evolve into a different Eeveelution. Although this does mean that devolution is possible in this series, the artificial means through which this was achieved and the lack of any other instances of devolution suggest that it may not be possible through natural means.

In Pokémon Pocket Monsters

Unlike any other media, Pokémon are capable of devolving just as easily as they evolve in this manga. This became especially evident when Red's Clefairy and Pikachu evolve into Clefable and Raichu respectively, then revert to their original forms, as well as when Green's Charmander evolved into Charizard and then back into Charmander.

In the TCG

In the TCG, devolution is perfectly possible, albeit not at a player's whim. Devolution must be induced by the effects of an attack, a Poké-Power, or a Trainer card. Examples include Mew's Devolution Beam attack, Flareon's Undevelop Poké-Power, and the Devolution Spray. Such instances are extremely uncommon. The following is a list of cards that can achieve devolution.

Related cards
Cards listed with a blue background are only legal to use in the current Expanded format.
Cards listed with a silver background are legal to use in both the current Standard and Expanded formats.
Card Type English
Expansion
Rarity # Japanese
Expansion
Rarity #
Devolution Spray I Base Set Rare 72/102 Expansion Pack Rare  
Dragons Exalted Uncommon 113/124 Dragon Blast Uncommon 048/050
Mew Psychic Wizards Black Star Promos   8      
Wizards Black Star Promos   9 Mystery of the Fossils Rare Holo  
Hyper Devolution Spray T Neo Discovery Uncommon 73/75 Crossing the Ruins... Uncommon  
      Pokémon Web Uncommon 031/048
Mew ex Psychic       PLAY Promotional cards   007/PLAY
Mew ex Psychic EX Holon Phantoms Rare Holo ex 100/110 Mew Quarter Deck   003/015
Flareon Fire Rising Rivals Rare 19/111 Bonds to the End of Time Rare 011/090
Jolteon Lightning Rising Rivals Rare 26/111 Bonds to the End of Time Rare 028/090
Vaporeon Water Rising Rivals Rare 34/111 Bonds to the End of Time Rare 014/090
Jirachi Psychic Unleashed Rare Holo 1/95 Metagross Deck   006/014
Call of Legends Rare Holo 11/95      
Golurk Psychic Dragons Exalted Rare Holo 58/124 Dragon Blade Rare Holo 023/050
Boundaries Crossed Ultra-Rare Rare 150/149 Freeze Bolt Ultra-Rare Rare 064/059
 

References

  1. 絵で見るヤドンずかん| ヤドンパラダイス|ポケモンだいすきクラブ