Storm Virtual Energy Blackout Bowling Ball Review

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First Impressions
Ooh, the Virtual Energy is back. And it’s real good.

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Tamer Elbaga (Lefty)
Style: Tweener
RPM: 330 rpm
PAP: 5 & 3/8 up
Average Speed: 18.5 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: low
Axis rotation: medium/high
Test Equipment: 14 Pounds
Layout: 50 x 5 x 45

Bryan Hoffman (Righty)
Style: Stroker
RPM: 280 rpm
PAP: 4 1/2 & 1 1/2 up
Average Speed: 18.5 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: high
Axis rotation: medium
Test Equipment: 14 Pounds
Layout: 50 x 5 x 45

Tyler Church (Righty)
Style: Power Player
RPM: 450 rpm
PAP: 5 1/2 & 1/2 up
Average Speed: 19 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: med
Axis rotation: medium
Test Equipment: 14 Pounds
Layout: 50 x 5 x 45

“Keep in mind that coverstock accounts for 70% of ball reaction, but the core creates the dynamic shape of the reaction. Your driller will alter the shape to suit your game.”

THS: 42ft, 23ml
Sport: TBD

The Storm Virtual Energy Blackout uses the Shape-Lock HD asymmetric core inside the ReX pearl Reactive coverstock.

15 pound = RG of 2.48, diff of .052, mb of .020
14 pound = RG of 2.53, diff of .050, mb of .017
Coverstock finish: Reactagloss refinished to 1000 grit, Step 2 compound, 3000 light hand scuff

I won’t beat around the bush, I matched up really well with the Virtual Energy Blackout. No shame in matching up quickly as it kind of simplifies my job in telling you what the ball is about. As usual, we don’t touch the Reactagloss finish and go right to our tried and true 1000 grit, Step 2 compound, then light 3000 scuff by hand. The balls turn out so good, sometimes I wonder if it’s the ball or the finish… but I digress. Formula is pretty straightforward for the Virtual Energy Blackout. It reintroduces the Shape-Lock core as the HD version and wraps it around a strongish ReX cover. ReX has kind of proven itself now but wrapped around the Shape-Lock HD, it really makes the Blackout a deceptively strong ball. I’m not specifically talking about angularity but lane management. With that said it’s certainly angular enough, no issues there. It clearly fits into the Mid Defined category, competing with the likes of the 900 Global Eternity. You would expect it to be pretty clean but it took me a good bit before I can get it downlane enough. It was reading and very strong towards the back part of the pattern, enough so that the average zone I would play this type of ball is a couple of boards deeper than normal. I really couldn’t do anything left of the 3rd arrow which is a surprise for a shiny anything from the left side for me. However, I really like that because it distinguishes itself from a mid late shape that should handle a bit less volume. It shaped extraordinarily well from 3rd to past the 4th arrow. The core just has defined move but doesn’t feel forward. It doesn’t get trapped but rather continues quite well. So you don’t have to have the trade off needing a symmetric to get drive and rounded shape. I do also love that it’s blacked out, my favorite color. Just to give you an idea of strength, I compared to the 900 Global Zen Gold Label and you can see the much rounder and weaker, longer shape of the Gold Label. I think they compliment each other quite well but then again, my favorite IQ Tour Ruby is still the ideal Mid Late ball and that is easily side by side with the Virtual Energy Blackout.

Power Player’s Perspective
Tyler tested the Storm Virtual Energy Blackout. Maybe not surprisingly, Tyler had the same situation as I did. It was stronger than we anticipated. It took a bunch of throws to finally move left enough to find the pocket and not go high. Once he did, he also very much connected to the motion shape the Blackout generated. The strength of the core is allowed to go just long enough down lane when you add the cleaner cover which just makes it synergistic. This is probably a difficult concept for me to get across but no matter, the Virtual Energy Blackout is a clear mid defined and never feels lazy. It just feels like it always has enough juice to allow you to get pretty deep if you chose to. Tyler really liked it but the more he tossed it, the more he started to think, do I really need something this strong. I look at it a bit more of where does it fit in the bag but depending on the bowler style, this maybe be perfect given its strength in the mid defined and for others it may feel on the stronger side. For Tyler, it’s definitely the latter. It didn’t make sense on this pattern until he got past the 4th arrow. It was just reacting too hard from further right. The Virtual Energy Blackout had continuation even past 5th arrow. Bottom line this is definitely a ball for opening up the lane but can still handle more oil than the weaker balls. That makes it perfect for the Mid Defined category.

Stroker’s Stance
Bryan is up testing the new Storm Virtual Energy Blackout. Firstly, for more details about the ball, check out the first video with my review. Quick recap, strong core in a moderately strong shiny cover puts this ball in the mid defined category. This is where shiny asyms typically fit. This category is also one of the trickiest for Bryan to fill as balls here tend to create match up nightmares on the house shot. Even while being relatively clean, they generate too much angle to play direct from the 2nd arrow but then tend to be a bit lazy once he opens up and runs into the heavier line of oil. This is a typical issue with walled up house shots and here it plays pretty long once you get inside the oil line. I would say the Virtual Energy Blackout was marginally better than other balls in this category for Bryan but didn’t make too strong of an impression for him. It has some punch downlane as said but it’s a kind of 50/50 proposition in terms of hit. Just to be clear, this doesn’t mean the ball is bad or anything like that. It just means that this ball isn’t ideal for Bryan on this pattern. It will really depend on how walled your house shot is and whether you will see something similar. If you have less tilt as a bowler, you will rely a little less on the oil line and have a more consistent transition like Tyler and I see. If you have high tilt, the Blackout will make more sense on challenge or sport conditions.

Thanks for watching.