Question: Have you ever seen this talent used in one of your game?
We didn't find any situation in our games where access to it would have been helpful.
Using an Enhanced Matrix for "Thread: 1" spells cover the basic use case of Hold Thread, without the cost in strain or a circle 8 talent;
If you want to maximize the duration of a spell in a battle:
- Casting it early and adding a duration thread to a spell would compensate for the lost duration due to the early casting;
- Re-Casting the spell while you wait would also help;
- Or just not caring to cast the spell earlier, a duration of only "ranks round" is still 8 rounds at circle 8.
A second question:
Did any of you house ruled this to change Hold Thread for another talent? Maybe a talent from the Journeyman talent options list?
For Nethermancer and Elementalist banish would seem an appropriate choice. It blocks you from getting banish at circle 5,6 or 7 but this seems a small price to pay to avoid Hold Thread.
A replacement for Illusionist and Wizard is less obvious maybe : Tenacious Weave / True Sight ?
Third question: Did the developers for 4th edition ever commented why the left Hold Thread the way it is?