Sunday, March 1, 2015

Retail Review #141 (2012 UD Goodwin Champions)

It's been a little while since I've broken the 2012 version of Goodwin Champions. As many of you know, this is a product that intrigues me greatly. I enjoy the look of the cards and love the variety it offers. Hits are very hard to come by in this product... which is a bummer. Paying full price for one of these is out of the question, but the current price of under $7 is OK with me!

Price - 

Packs - 12
12 x 2012 Goodwin Champions Blaster Packs

This is the year that Goodwin had black borders. Back in the day black bordered cards meant that they would be difficult to keep in good condition. Often times black bordered cards in mint condition garnered quite a premium. Well, I'm pretty sure these base cards will never be worth too much, but I do like how they look.

Goodwin Champions cards are printed on old school cardboard with that old cardboard look on the back. That might be some of the appeal of this set to me. It really brings back the memories of collecting these types of cards when I was a kid.

Let's see what comes out of this blaster of Goodwin Champions:

Review -
Well... if anything, this blaster had some pretty spectacular superstar base cards. It's just too bad I already have those from previous Goodwin breaks. I guess if this was 20 years ago, this would have been a stellar box as base cards were actually worth something back then. Today though, the base cards are forgettable and nothing of note really came out of this blaster box.

I did get a mini of Adrian Peterson... which would have been good a year ago... but his legal troubles have really put a damper on his reputation. There just wasn't much to write home about with this one.

Here are the best cards from this box:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - M7 Priest Card No. MM12
Something looked a bit different with this Military Machines card that I couldn't figure out for a while. It's in color! It's sort of that old school technicolor look. Kind of neat, I guess.

#2 - Christian Laettner Card No. 76
This Lady Luck mini card depicts a pretty significant moment in college basketball history. I remember what a huge deal this was back in the day. Laettner never panned out, but his college legacy is undeniable.

#1 - Wendel Clark Card No. 82
I had to go with a hockey card for this top spot. I could have chosen Sid the Kid or The Great One, but I like how this card shows Clark with his battle scars. That was the kind of player he was and this card does him justice.

Overall Value -
There wasn't really anything in this blaster that I really liked too much. Finding my top three was even a stretch! I didn't pay as much for this box as I did for the last one I opened, but I still feel like I didn't get my money's worth. That's really too bad! Will I keep trying these blasters? Probably. I'm a sucker for this stuff!

Let me know what you thought of my break in the comment section below. Have you ever pulled anything good out of one of these? I'd love to hear about it.

Overall Value Score:

Look for a new episode of Retail Review every Sunday!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

2014-2015 Upper Deck Series 2 Review

Over half the hockey season is already over, so it is only natural that the second half of the main Upper Deck set comes out! UD2 contains all the rookies that weren't in the first series, and also includes updates to team rosters. Players that were excluded from the first set are also in here. The set is basically the same as the first series with a few different insert cards available to be pulled. The Young Gun rookie cards will be a big draw as collectors try to complete their sets.

Base Card Design -
Since the base cards haven't changed, they will keep the score they earned from Series One. I will say again that these base cards are absolutely gorgeous though! The design is simple and modern with outstanding photography. It's a set worth collecting. The 14/15 design is one of Upper Deck's best in years, and the images reflect the hockey season well.

Collectors will have to definitely get their hands on the remaining Young Guns in this series. Like the base set, the Young Guns have an outstanding design that should be well-loved in the years to come.

Base Card Design Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
It's always fun to open up a box of Upper Deck Series Two. This set always contains a large amount of updates and inserts within the packs. Almost every pack has something in it. I think there were only a couple all-base packs when I opened up my box for review.

Returning again in Series Two are the Game Jersey cards. Each box of Series Two will net you two jersey cards, but here there will be only one standard Game Jersey. Like Series One, these cards come in patch variations as well that are pretty scarce. The regular jersey cards aren't worth too much, but they make nice little hits in these boxes.

Rookie Materials are the other jersey cards found in Series Two. This insert set has been in UD2 or a long time, and the tradition continues here. The design this year is very simple...almost unadorned. I'm sure that the big rookies will be nice cards to find for collectors when they open their boxes up.

My favorite insert card in Series Two are the UD Portraits cards. These cards are black and white with silver foil on them. It's a simple yet elegant look that I really like. These cards are visually stunning. You'll find both current players and NHL legends in this set. This is an insert set that I would consider collecting as the design and player selection is top notch.

2010's Hockey Heroes are in Series Two. I wonder if this is the last of the Hockey Heroes cards... or will Upper Deck somehow come up with a way to do more 'Heroes'. Time will only tell! I'm totally fine with them retiring this concept though. I'm never really happen when I get these cards out of my packs. Well... unless it was autographed.

The popular Canvas cards also return in Series Two. This sweet set has been a collector favorite for a few years now, and I'm sure they will continue to flock to find the Young Guns. Unlike the Hockey Heroes, I'd be fine with UD continue this set for a long while - it's great!

For those of you who want to finish off the massive O-Pee-Chee set, you'll have to bust a lot of Series Two packs. Here you will find the OPC updates in both regular and retro form. Popular rookies like Jonathan Drouin are here for the pulling. My box had both of Drouin's OPC cards - regular and retro!

Upper Deck Series Two also features the return of acetate Young Guns and UD Signatures. Unfortunately, I didn't pull either of those rare inserts in this box. Lucky collectors can also find old Upper Deck buyback cards randomly inserted. There really is a lot of see here! Series Two gets a higher score than the first series because of this.

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:

Overall Rating -
Upper Deck Series Two is a very solid set of cards with a good amount of inserts and hits to find in boxes. The price point of the mainstay Upper Deck set has always been affordable, so purchasing boxes of it won't break the bank. I would definitely recommend getting a box or two of Upper Deck Series Two. There are plenty of great cards to find here, and finishing off the UD set would be a very nice accomplishment for any collector. This is definitely a set of cards to get your hands on.

Overall Rating:

Check out my box of Upper Deck Series Two:

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Retail Review #140 (10/11 Panini Donruss Blaster)

Going with good 'ol Donruss this week for my Retail Review. It's a beloved brand that Panini sort of dropped the ball on way back in 2010. A brand with so much strength and history behind it should have done much better. Alas, all we can do now is say 'what if'!

Price - 

Packs - 8
10/11 Donruss Packs

I've opened up a lot of Donruss on the Retail Review episodes, but I feel like it's been a while since my last one. There are a bunch of different inserts to look forward to in these blasters. One of the coolest ones are the goalie acetate cards. They feature a national flag with the word goalie in the native language. Good stuff!

Though I really enjoy the goalie cards, the Boys of Winter inset cards have to be one of the most generic ever created. Sure, Donruss is meant to be pretty low-end, but it would be nice to still have better card types than those. The Boys of Winter come in both standard and memorabilia versions. For some reason I prefer the non-mem ones. The jersey placement and size just don't do it for me.

Here goes... let's see what's in this Donruss blaster:

Review -
I didn't get a goalie acetate insert, but that's ok, I was still pretty satisfied with the box. It was funny how I ended up getting two Boys of Winter cards - one mem and one without. The non-mem card was of Zenon Konopka. I don't even think I'd ever heard of him before!

Aside from those cards I did get a ton of base. I actually found myself appreciating some of the base cards and what they brought to the table. Sadly, my Rated Rookies weren't of any note. Usually rookie cards make the top three - not this time.

Here is what made the top three this week:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Carey Price Card No. 72
Like I said, I appreciated the base cards in this blaster. I especially like this photo of Carey Price. Its' at a unique angle that makes him look absolutely huge!

#2 - Mike Fisher Card No. 14
I did get a mem card in this blaster, too bad it's just a jersey of Mike Fisher. I would normally put any hit as my first card in the top three, but not today.

#1 - Bobby Hull Card No. 9
My favorite card out of the box was this Ice Kings of Bobby Hull. There is so much awesome quality to this card. I love the fact that it is textured and elaborate. Being a Whalers card makes it even more cool. I forgot Ice Kings were in Donruss and am very happy for this pull.

Overall Value -
This was an inexpensive break that I was actually happy with. It's not everyday that a simple insert card makes me very happy, but the Ice Kings of Bobby Hull is a card that really pleased me. I can definitely see myself opening up more Donruss in the future. It's an inexpensive product that can yield a bit of fun!

Let me know what you thought of my break in the comment section below. Have you ever pulled anything good out of one of these? I'd love to hear about it.

Overall Value Score:

Look for a new episode of Retail Review every Sunday!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

2014-2015 Upper Deck Trilogy Review

Trilogy has been out for a few weeks now, but I am only now able to review it. Sorry guys! I am, however, very happy to finally have my hands on it. It's a mid/high end product that disappeared for a few years during the Panini era, but returned last year. Let's see how this year's version of it looks!

Base Card Design -
The Trilogy base cards come on medium-thick white stock. A picture of the player is in the center of the card with a simple design element rounding it all out. Though Upper Deck is usually known for very clean cards, these Trilogy base cards are almost too clean in a way. The upper right and left corner portions of the card feel a bit to bare. And while there are nice gold foil touches on the card, the cards seem very spartan and unadorned. It would have been nice if Upper Deck had put more here. As the cards stand, they are underwhelming.

The back of the base card uses elements from the front to tie the two together. The oval photo of the player's head gives the card an old fashioned look - as do the colors used. There isn't anything too exciting to see on the back of the trilogy cards. Overall the standard base cards in Trilogy this year haven't come across as very memorable. I'm not sure why anybody would want to but a set of these cards together.

Trilogy's Rookie Premiers rookie subset is back again this year with the three tiered system. Each rookie can be found in one of three levels with parallels at each level as well. Level 1 rookies are numbered to 799. The card has the radiant sun design of the base cards but with wider and lower rays. The cards are all foil and look much better than the standard base cards. The foil really helps these cards with a solid background pop. The base set could have benefited from this same type of foil.

Level 2 and 3 Rookie Premier cards contain autographs, with the level 3 cards including a special inscription. The inscription will say: Go _______. With the space filled in with their team's name. It's a nice concept to add a bit of flare to a standard autograph. These cards are much more limited as there are only 49 of each.

Base Card Design Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
Last year Trilogy came in a box with three mini-boxes inside - that's not the case this year. The box comes with 9 packs - all loose. Boxes will have jersey cards to autographs to thick glass looking acetate cards. Also look for parallel cards with unique numbering depending on player stats.

This year Trilogy gives collectors cards that are numbered to certain stats that a player has produced. This Pekka Rinne card shown above is numbered to 163 because that was his win total. You can imagine that some cards could be numbered rather scarcely. These cards parallel the base card set and share the same design. The major difference in look is the foil - and it enhances the card quite a bit.

It might be hard to tell at first, but this level 2 rookie card is actually a parallel. The standard level 2 rookies are numbered to 399. This radiant green one is limited to just 99 copies. Rather than having gold foil, this card has green. It's a bit difficult to tell at first, but the numbering is an easy give-away.

Upper Deck Crystal insert cards have been a mainstay in Trilogy for quite some time. These cards are thick acetate cards that make for a unique collectible. The cards are well-done and have quite a special look, but since the standard versions don't have an autograph or memorabilia piece attached to them, they aren't worth that much on the secondary market. I could imagine these being very valuable had they been in packs during the 90's though. They're just find themselves in the wrong era of collecting.

Tryptichs are a inserts cards that form a three-panel card when put together. The most basic Tryptich card is the standard jersey. And these are very common to find. This Brett Hull card is numbered to 600! But the other versions that contain autographs, stick, patch, or tag pieces are much lower numbered. I think this insert set is a nice idea so that the standard jersey cards are actually a part of something greater. Though this idea has been done before by other companies, it was a nice one for Upper Deck to include here.

The Signature Puck cards have made a return this year with an updated look. These cards come with a rubber puck imbedded in the card. Each puck has the autograph of the depicted player. Variations of the puck's logo can be found to add extra challenge for those who would collect a set of these.

Though the configuration of Trilogy is a bit different this year, the insert cards and hit potential of the product is very similar to the way it was last year in its return to the hobby. If you enjoyed Trilogy last year, this year's break will give you a similar opening experience.

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:

Overall Rating -
Trilogy is a product that is full of variation. Collectors who purchase a box of Trilogy will find many versions of the various cards in the set. Trilogy contains quite a mix of veterans and rookies. I'd say it's one of the more balanced products in terms of finding both. Rookie Premier cards have never been a huge hit in the hobby, but Upper Deck has made strides in making them more desirable to collectors. Level 3 rookies with low numbering and an inscribed autograph is pretty cool.

I would definitely try a box of Trilogy this year to get a sense of it and try my luck... but it isn't a product I'd want to by box after box of. It's a solid product with a nice amount of hits in it. It certainly won't be Upper Deck's biggest product of the season, but does keep things interesting for collectors as the hockey season rolls on.

Overall Rating:

Check out what I got in my box of Trilogy:

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Retail Review #139 (12/13 Score Blaster)

Here's a really budget break from a low-end favorite... Score! When Panini re-released Score in 2010, it came as a sweet blast from the past. By 2012, Score was still chugging along but the hype around it had slowed. It'll be fun to check out this blaster of Score and see what Panini did with that brand that year. It's not a product I bought heavily of when it came out.

Price - 

Packs - 11
12/13 Score Packs

The price of this blaster definitely fits the content of it. As a low end brand, five bucks is about what I would want to pay. I don't expect much out of Score, certainly no hits... but it will be fun to pull some inserts and season highlight cards. The season highlight cards in the set are nice because they specifically point out notable parts of the season. It's fun to remember those special moments on cardboard.

I definitely remember what the initial Panini Score product looked like, but I have actually forgotten what these cards look like. I'm pretty sure they will look like a typical 90's-ish Score product. Like I mentioned before, since Panini's first Score offering, the product hasn't really stood out for me. It would have been nice for Panini to keep innovating the product, but instead they kept it pretty status quo.

Let's go ahead and see what comes out of this blaster:

Review -
This blaster didn't really give out a lot of excitement. The rookies and inserts were alright, but nothing stood out to me. In fact, it was tough to find a top three this week because I felt like there just wasn't much of a selection to choose from. Even my base cards left me with very few stars!

I guess one highlight for me was remembering what these cards actually looked like. These cards definitely do have that 90's look to them, and would fit into that decade very well.

The gold cards that come one-per-pack could have been better designed I think. The fade-to-white look doesn't work for me - a solid gold border would have been much nicer.

Here are the cards I liked the most from this blaster:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Martin Brodeur Card No. 281
I've been pulling a lot of Brodeur out of packs recently. He recently retired as a St. Louis Blues player, but his best days were as a New Jersey Devil. It was cool to get this base card of him in what I'm used to seeing him as - a Devil!

#2 - Jason Spezza Card No. F20
This is probably my favorite design of all the cards I pulled. I'm always a big fan of clean white-themed cards. The Franchise inserts used to be very nice pulls out of packs. In this new era of Score, they are easy and not worth much at all - but I like them still.

#1 - Martin Brodeur Card No. NC13
It was cool to get both the Brodeur base card and this Net Cam insert of him. Like I said, he's following me! These net view cards are pretty sweet and offer a unique look to the game.

Overall Value -
I really didn't get too much in this blaster beside a couple of Brodeur cards, but that's ok, I didn't pay a whole lot for it either. For the price, I'd just grab a few to open and test my luck, but otherwise I'd probably stay clear of these blasters. They would be a fun product for very novice collectors though. You'll find a ton of different players and inserts that give out fun information about the game's players.

Let me know what you thought of my break in the comment section below. Have you ever pulled anything good out of one of these? I'd love to hear about it.

Overall Value Score:

Look for a new episode of Retail Review every Sunday!