Note: I am catching up on ball reviews that ideally would have been a couple of months ago if not for the overwhelming amount of news I have focused on in 2022: ball hardness and the turmoil at the IBF, most notably.
If I used a 5-star system on my reviews, I would give the Storm NOVA six stars.
There literally is no way for me to exaggerate how much I love the NOVA. Unless it is some sort of super-low oil pattern, the NOVA always is the first ball out of my bag. I gave away my PHAZE II because the NOVA replaced it as my benchmark. And the NOVA is so good, I ordered a second to stash in the basement in an Immortalizer bag.
My only complaint is that Storm didn’t bring the Ignition core to the U.S. sooner — it has been used in some overseas balls, but never in a release for the U.S. market until the NOVA.
I can’t wait to see what Storm wraps around the Ignition next!
The Ignition has an RG of 2.5 for 16s, 2.49 for 15s, and 2.53 for 14s, which is what I use. The differential is 0.51, 0.52, and 0.49. And the MB differential is .018, .019, and .018. (The closeness in these numbers should mean my review is applicable for 16s and 15s.)
The cover is the R2X hybrid and it’s a great match with the Ignition for me. The box finish is 3,000-grit Abralon, but I like it best down to 1,000 with a CTD pad by hand and a bit of lane shine.
I wrote then that “The NOVA performed way beyond expectations on Sport Bowl’s wet-dry house shot. I basically just tried to roll it between 10- and 15-board at the arrows, not getting it too far outside too early.
The NOVA rolled in the oil and didn’t jump too sharply unless I got it way right early. But the biggest thing to me was how it went through the pins, carrying almost every mixer and digging out way more 10-pins than I have perhaps since switching to 14-pounders a few years ago.”
The NOVA has performed for me in tournament after tournament since January, on house shots and Sport/Challenge shots, most recently as the first ball out of my bag in the 2022 USBC Open Championships where I went 88 clean and shot 2,061.
For my slow speed and moderate revs, the NOVA gives me everything I want in a strong ball (pick up in the midlane even with a lot of oil volume and downlane motion) without what I don’t want but often get (early hook and weak downlane motion).
The NOVA is asymmetrical but the motion is much more symmetrical to me, with little problems getting through the front on oil and some of the strongest downlane motion I’ve ever seen out of a strong, rough surface asymmetrical. This is not to say it flips in the back — just that it makes a stronger move than most big asymmetricals.
The flat 10 issues I often see out of balls like the PROTON PHYSIX and UFO don’t happen when the NOVA is working for me, and when they do appear that is a clear signal that it’s time to put the NOVA away and ball down.
The other great thing about the NOVA is how predictable and controlled the motion is, which is so valuable on tougher patterns, especially when they are fresh. It’s a big reason why I was able to go 88 clean at this year’s Open Championships.
For my NOVA, I went with my standard pin-under drilling with a strong drilling angle. With my PAP of 4 7/8 over and 5/8 up, the ball numbers are 4 3/4 pin-PAP, 4 1/2 mb-PAP and 4 5/8 pin buffer.
I have seen plenty of people have success with a shined up NOVA — perhaps most notably Arturo Quintero in the PBA Players Championship earlier this year — but I have plenty of shiny balls I like and love the NOVA roughed up too much to shine it. Perhaps if I had a second one drilled.
There is no style of player I wouldn’t recommend the NOVA for, and the only conditions it doesn’t play well on are lighter oil volumes, though shining the cover could make it play on those as well.