+ A nice set for kids at the beginning of the year. Very clean design. Victory black and red parallel cards are a nice chase item for player collectors. Victory black cards are especially collectible because this product is not seriously broken by many.
- Nothing to really chase for adult collectors. Buying boxes to try and get a black parallel is a waste of money and will give you an endless amount of cards you’ll never move. Hopefully player collectors will find the reds and blacks they want on eBay.
Final Comments: Victory needs to take a page from Score and at least put some type of interesting chase card into these packs. Just because they are geared for young collectors doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be any kind of hit at all in the product. I bet kids would love to be able to pull an auto or memorabilia card from this type of product. It would make their day – especially if this is the only thing they can afford on an allowance. If you only have a little to spend on cards – go for Score. And too bad Victory already came out for 10/11… there is not much change unfortunately.
+ Donruss is a product that is easily attainable for most collectors. There are plenty of jersey and autographed cards to be had here. Some of the insert cards in this set have interesting textures that make for a unique collectible (Les Gardiens and Ice Kings).
- Getting anything spectacular (though possible) is pretty difficult from Donruss, even from a hobby box. There are a ton of players in the Boys of Winter set, most of which are not highly collected. The designs of the Donruss cards, particularly in the base set, are not appealing. Rated Rookies should have been able to compete with Young Guns, but they fall flat and are unremarkable. Price point is similar to UD Series 1 and 2, but cards do not have the same quality.
Final Comments: Donruss needs to go back to its retro roots. When I say retro I don’t mean the 90s or early 2000s. It should take a cue from their recent basketball release and have some really retro designs – like their old baseball sets in the 80s. Donruss is a great name and I really hope that in the future Panini can use this as a platform for one of their ‘retro’ themed sets. I would not spend any more money on this product since there are comparable products at the same price that are so much better.
+Awesome price point with a variety of inserts for every level of collector. Whenever you buy a pack, blaster, or box of Score, you can always hope that there is something amazing in the pack. Of course, more often than not there won’t be… but there is that hope! And that hope doesn’t set you back too much either. It’s great to have the opportunity to pull out short printed rookies, autographed cards, and extremely rare French backed parallel cards. Score also has a nice 90s retro design that gives recalls fond memories from collectors.
- The glossy parallel cards are extremely difficult to tell apart from a regular base card. I mixed up the cards once and gave up trying to sort the two types of cards out. If you do end up buying a lot of this product, it can get very repetitive looking at a sea of base cards.
Final Comments: I would still buy Score right now in stores. It’s a solid product that can yield some fun surprises. Panini does not have to make any sweeping changes to this product. A few tweaks and changes to keep things fresh for next year is all that it requires. Score is a winner!
+ OPC is a solid buy at its price point. There are a variety of parallel cards that are collectible but not insanely difficult to pull. Blank backs can be slightly hard to track down, but definitely easier to find than Score French backs. The base set is very large and comprehensive. Rookies are attainable and hits are limited but not impossible to get. The retro parallel cards are fun to collect.
- OPC does not have a huge WOW factor going for it. I blame that on it’s lackluster base design. The grey colored cards are not appealing. Though it’s a challenge to make the entire set, its just not nice enough to go for.
Final Comments: OPC is a product that I do not buy a lot of. If I saw it in a store I’d probably pick some up because I simply don’t have much of it and the possibility of getting something is there. Upper Deck should take advantage of the OPC legacy and really take the retro theme and kick it into high gear with this brand.
+ Pinnacle has some really cool and wacky photos on the cards. It’s fun just to look through the base set. Nufex cards were nice to see back on cards. The City Lights insert set was clean and meaningful – I always love it when card companies feature the team’s city on the card.
- The quality of the Pinnacle cards were too similar to Donruss. It was just a hair better in my opinion. Though nice, the City Lights checklist was enormous – just like the Boys of Winter in Donruss. It was difficult to pull players of significance or that you wanted. Pinnacle Pantheon cards were very difficult to get (one per case), but collectors have not embraced them as must have collectible cards – probably because of their design.
Final Comments: More was expected from Pinnacle than was delivered. It’s a fun product to bust and the price point is decent – but it’s too similar to Donruss in many aspects. In the future, I hope that Pinnacle embraces a more premium feel. The sell sheet for next year’s Pinnacle is already out and they have another non-memorabilia case hit card. I would love to see some success in the realm of collector’s interest with them. They look great on paper – but only time will tell if they are what we want.
#15 Black Diamond.
+ The base cards are always nice to look at – nothing else looks like a Black Diamond card. Very pretty. The Hardware Heroes and Team Canada die cut insert sets are very well done. Being able to pull a pack of Ice with an Ice Premier card is a nice draw. This is the only way you can get an Ice ‘rookie’ of PK Subban, Tyler Seguin, or Taylor Hall.
- The autograph and jersey cards in Black Diamond seem like an afterthought in the product. Both have mediocre designs that look like they came from 10 years ago. The diamond tiering system seems a little dated.
Final Comments: Black Diamond is a solid product that has worked for Upper Deck for many years. I’d appreciate a little more change in Black Diamond to get the interest level back up for it. This product definitely has the most desirability in terms of its Ice pack box topper. I would still buy it for that reason alone and have all the other cards in the box as a nice little extra.
Check back soon for the rest of the rankings!
Check back soon for the rest of the rankings!