Sunday, October 4, 2015

Retail Review #172 (11/12 UD Black Diamond)

I've been opening up a lot of Certified lately on Retail Review, so I thought I'd switch it up a bit today and go with some Black Diamond from Upper Deck. Black Diamond is a brand that makes it very difficult to pull anything out of. I'm pretty sure that'll hold true today as well, but that's why we play the game! Anything can happen on any given Sunday, right?

Price - 

Packs - 6
11/12 Upper Deck Black Diamond Blaster Packs

I remember 2011 as the year I bought a lot of Black Diamond trying to get a Ryan-Nugent Hopkins quad diamond rookie card. Did I get one that year? Nope!

So I guess there's still a chance if I keep buying Black Diamond now at its new discounted price. These blasters are now around ten dollars, but I think they could probably take a little more of a price drop. Something in the seven or eight dollar price range is appropriate for this I think.

Will I finally get that RNH quad I've been looking for? Let's check out this blaster:

Review -
Nope! There was no RNH... and surprisingly, no rookie card either here. I typically expect a rookie card to come out of these things. That's ok though, there was only one rookie I would be interested in finding here anyways, and the chance of that coming out was very slim.

I think I'm relatively happy with this blaster though. I got an array of multi-diamond cards... including a quad! There was a Crosby base card in the mix as well. That's always a nice thing.

Here were the top three cards this week:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Patrice Bergeron Card No. 119
I was debating whether to put Crosby here or have Bergeron take this slot. I went with Bergeron because of the double diamond status of the card.

#2 - Henrik Lundqvist Card No. 157
I really thought this would be the best card of the break... I'm glad there was something I liked better, but this card is a solid pull from Black Diamond.

#1 - Teemu Selanne Card No. 212
Teemu has been following me around this week I guess! This is a sweet card as it features Selanne in his All-Star uniform. That year all the quad diamond vets were shown in All-Star gear. This makes for a fresh look.

Overall Value -
I think for ten bucks this blaster was alright. The Selanne card definitely helped me like this blaster much more than if the triple diamond Lundqvist was the best card found. I definitely could have done much worse than this blaster, so all-in-all it was a good break.

Let me know what you thought of my 11/12 Black Diamond blaster box down in the comments below. Have you ever gotten anything good from a Black Diamond blaster? I'd love to know!

Overall Value Score:

Every Sunday look out for another exciting installment of Retail Review!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

2014-2015 Upper Deck The Cup Review

It's that time of year... it's time for THE CUP. Upper Deck's mammoth release of the year is upon us, and collectors are already abuzz about what they can find in it. Opening up a tin of The Cup is really unlike any other card buying experience. You really have to experience it if you are at all into hockey cards. I am so excited for my yearly tin! Let's take a look at what came out of it.

Base card Design -
The Cup base cards come in their usual super-thick stock. These base cards are pretty much like every other year of The Cup. I would definitely have a hard time distinguishing base card designs from year to year as they all look so similar. I think it'd be nice for Upper Deck to really change up the base design for The Cup to give each year a super-distinct look - just my opinion. The base cards are fine cards, but definitely don't have near the appeal of the real reason you buy The Cup... the hits!

Nothing is too special about the back of the base card either. It's your standard back... not even a write up here! The design goes well with it's front-facing counterpart and everything is easily seen and read.

There seem to be plenty of rookie patch auto cards from what I've seen of breaks. My particular tin had two. The standard rookie patch auto card is numbered to 249 and has a light blue design that, again, is very typical of The Cup. Unfortunately, these RPAs leaving me wanting. The color scheme and layout of the card is serviceable, but flat. There just isn't anything in terms of how they look that would really wow you. Like the base cards, I think Upper Deck needs to kick these into a higher gear next year.

Base Card Design Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
Each tin of The Cup will give collectors about 5 hits. Collectors will find on-card autographs, patches, and unique collectibles when they purchase The Cup. Every collector crosses their fingers when it comes to opening up a tin. We're all hoping for that massive monster to come out!

Perhaps the most 'boring' of the hits has to be the jersey cards found in The Cup. These are just jersey cards like those you would find in the lower-end brands just with a much more limited numbering. This quad jersey of four Senators is numbered to just 10. It's a very low number, but the card itself doesn't do too much for me. The patch version of this card might be interesting if the pieces of patch embedded were nice.

Brilliance cards combine some clear acetate on top of a foil team logo. The effect comes off pretty nicely, especially with the ice-blue pen used to autograph the card. My only gripe about these cards is that they are not serial numbered so it is difficult to determine how rare they are.

My absolute favorite card from my tin was this amazing patch/auto of Teemu Selanne. The patch on this card is absolutely incredible! It's the center-piece of the Mighty Duck logo from an old Ducks jersey. That combined with the autograph make it a real winner of a card. I was very happy to find this unique piece. This is the kind of card you are hoping to get when you purchase something like The Cup.

Of course there are many more different sorts of hits to find when buying into The Cup... way too many to write about in this blog post, that's for sure! I just suggest you take a look at some of the Cup breaks on Youtube. You may need a bib though... there will be a lot of droolage!

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:

Overall Value -
At over $400 per tin of The Cup, there's a very steep hill to climb if you want to buy into it. It's definitely not a product that many can afford to purchase. For those who can, though, it's worth it to dip into it as much as you can. Like I said earlier, it's THE product you wait the entire season for.

The good news is, for those who can't afford a tin, there will be plenty of nice Cup singles to purchase in the secondary market that won't cost you near the price of a tin. That would be a great way to enjoy cards from this set.

Each year I am reminded about just how fun it is to pop open a tin of The Cup. It's hands down the best hockey product you can get!

Overall Value:

Check out my personal tin of The Cup:

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Retail Review #171 (11/12 Certified Blaster)

Last week's Retail Review was completely disappointing as I believe I received a tampered blaster. There were many signs pointing to the fact that it was messed with by some unscrupulous person. This week I'm going with the same product, but with the official Panini wrap and logos on it. I'm really hoping for a better result than the last time.

Price - 

Packs - 3
11/12 Panini Certified

I think even getting just a plain old jersey card would be nice considering last week's debacle. These Certified blasters are guaranteed to have a hit in them, so this one better have a hit! Especially since it has the correct wrap around it!

Last week's break has definitely made me temper my expectations a bit in terms of what to expect. It sucked, but was a good life lesson, I guess. It makes me really check carefully what I am buying before getting into it.

With that being said, let's see what comes from this particular blaster box:

Review -
Alright... much better! This is definitely one of the better blasters I have opened. When I first opened the blaster I was a bit nervous as all three packs didn't look like it had a hit in it. Usually one of the packs is a little fatter because of the jersey card within it. I was pleasantly surprised that my hit turned out to be a pretty sweet low numbered autograph of a respected player. I didn't get any inserts this time, but there was a mirror blue parallel card that showed up.

Here's the top three:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Evgeni Malkin Card No. 101
This blaster didn't particularly come with a good selection of base cards. Malkin was probably the best of the bunch.

#2 - Eric Staal Card No. 11
This mirror blue parallel card of Eric Staal is numbered to just 99 copies. Staal has moderate hobby interest, but that's better than your run of the mill card, so I'm decently happy here with this card.

#1 - Daniel Alfredsson Card No. 47
Wow, this mirror gold autographed card of Daniel Alfredsson is pretty awesome. It's definitely not a card that I would be searching for per se, but I really do like this hit quite a bit. Alfredsson was one of the most respected players in the game, and I'm very happy to have his mirror gold auto!

Overall Value -
This was a great blaster. It's the kind of blaster I'm hoping to get when I purchase one. The hit maybe wasn't worth a huge dollar amount, but it is a very solid card to find in retail. I'm really glad this blaster turned out to be winner after what happened a week ago. Faith is restored in Certified!

Let me know what you thought of my 11/12 Panini Certified blaster box down in the comments below. Have you ever gotten anything good from a Certified blaster? I'd love to know!

Overall Value Score:

Every Sunday look out for another exciting installment of Retail Review!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Retail Review #170 (11/12 Certified Blaster)

Today I'm excited to bust open a blaster of Panini Certified. Certified is always a fun break because you get some really nice looking cards along with a guaranteed hit. These blaster boxes were extremely difficult for me to find when they were first released, but thanks to online ordering, they can be found with relative ease and at a great price.

Price - 

Packs - 3
11/12 Panini Certified

11/12 Certified isn't as good as the previous year's version, but it still can provide some good value. The original price of this blaster was $30, which works out to $10 per pack. That's reasonable for Certified as it corresponded well to the hobby form of it.

Currently, Certified blasters can be found for around $10. I got this particular one at So it's like purchasing an entire blaster for the price of just one hobby pack. Of course, since 2012 hobby packs and boxes have come down quite a bit, but I think a blaster of this stuff for about ten bucks is a great deal. It's like buying guaranteed hit for that amount of money. Good stuff!

Let's see what hit comes of this blaster... jersey or auto?

Review -
So sad! As you can see from the video, there was no hit in this blaster. I'm almost 100% sure that this blaster was tampered with as it didn't have the Panini wrap around it and the packs looked a bit suspect after some closer inspection. Booooooo! What a terrible feeling to have when opening up a blaster like this. Welp, better me than somebody else. I really hope this was the only blaster like this from the retailer. Man, that really sucks.

Here were my top cards from the break:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Steven Stamkos Card No. 126
I guess this card comes in third. Stamkos is a great player and a tough competitor. Always good to get his cardboard.

#2 - Mark Messier Card No. 19
I thought I was off to a very nice start with this insert. Who knew that it would only go downhill from here.

So the pack that I was supposed to have a hit in only had 4 cards in it. Now I'll never know what could have been. Sure, this card could have been a common jersey card, but it also could have been an amazing autograph or patch. It will forever be a mystery.

Overall Value -
My first really terrible experience with a blaster. It's one thing to get not get a hit, another thing to get shorted, but it's entirely another thing to feel like you've been robbed. This was definitely my worst Retail Review break by far!

Let me know what you thought of my 11/12 Panini Certified blaster box down in the comments below. Have you ever gotten anything good from a Certified blaster? I'd love to know!

Overall Value Score:

Every Sunday look out for another exciting installment of Retail Review!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Retail Review #169 (13/14 Select Blaster)

This little two pack blaster contains a little bit of hobby magic. From what I know, the packs inside are exactly the same as the kind found at the hobby level. Of coruse, this makes the original price of these blasters quite high. I'm glad that I was able to buy them for just a smidge under twelve dollars. Not a bad deal!

Price - 

Packs - 2
13/14 Panini Select Packs

You only get two packs in this blaster, and while they are just like hobby packs, two packs at the hobby level don't equate to a hit. And the blaster does not say anything about guaranteeing hits either. For it's price, you get the opportunity to risk a bit of money on hobby packs. I've had mixed results with these blasters. It's been nice to pull out autographs and jersey cards, but it was also painful to get a bunch of base cards too.

I'm not sure what awaits me as I open this blaster up, but I always hope for the best. 13/14 was a difficult year for the hobby, so the rookie cards aren't the best. A nice veteran card would probably be the best case scenario for this break.

Let's see what comes out of this blaster:

Review -
Dang it! This blaster wasn't one of the ones with a hit in it. In this quick break I got pretty much all base cards except for one insert card. I also pulled a rookie card that probably isn't of much consequence. You win some, you lose some - that's for sure!

On the bright side, these packs didn't cost too much, and I know I paid for the opportunity to buy higher quality cards. I just wished I had gotten something worthwhile.

Here are the top cards out of this Select blaster box:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - PK Subban Card No. 18
I remember a time when I tried to put a collection of Subban cards together... it was hard! I still like his feisty attitude when he plays though, and when I get his cards it's still cool.

#2 - Joe Thornton Card No. 53
I actually really like the look of this card of Jumbo Joe. He looks pretty 'jumbo' on this card as he fills it all up. There was lots of drama with Thornton last year in SJ, but he is still a great player for the Sharks.

#1 -Joffrey Lupul Card No. FS-36
This was my only insert card from this blaster. I didn't even get any prizm parallel cards! Fire on Ice insert cards are pretty stunning to look at, getting Joffrey Lupul wasn't the best, but I appreciate Panini for including him in the set.

Overall Value -
This blaster of Select wasn't so hot. This won't deter me from getting these though as I have found success before with them. For just over ten bucks, these little blasters are a fun buy now, and it's a great way to sneak some hobby into your retail buying habits!

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!