Friday, August 31, 2012

2011-2012 Panini Prime Hockey Review

Panini comes out swinging with a brand new brand of hockey cards - Prime. Not for the faint of heart, Prime delivers amazing amounts of player-worn gear and autographed content. The sell sheets and previews of the product were amazing... so much in fact, that when I found out the product was delayed a couple more days than I was expecting, I could hardly stand it! Well, it's out now... and boy, this is the stuff that card collectors dream of.


Base Card Design -
It can be a bit difficult to tell from scans, but the Prime base cards are of the highest quality. When I initially saw them, they reminded me a bit of Topp's Inception cards. But these cards have a generous amount of foil added to them that make them feel that much more premium than those from Inception. Each base card comes on a very thick cardstock (about jersey card thickness, not The Cup thickness) and is numbered to just 249. The design of these cards are pretty unique to hockey. Many hockey cards use a predominantly white background and scheme. It makes sense since the game is played on ice, but these cards don't figure white into the color scheme at all. Rather, Panini goes with golden hues with team colors as highlights. Very classy move... and very unexpected. I have to really give it to Panini this time. The base cards stand out from other hockey cards in a big way.


The card backs pair very nicely with the fronts. Mirrored from the front is the golden background but in a lighter shade. It provides the backing for the players bio and season stat-line. I get the sense that just as much effort was put into making the back as the front. Check out the the how well laid out the entire card is from top to bottom. Starting at the top is a beautiful (different from the front) photo of the featured player. And it's not that Panini just pasted in an extra photograph - see how the player is in full color while the background is set in a sepia-type color palette. That's some extra photo editing work there. And as you move down the back, you can just see how neat and elegantly everything flows - from the written bio all the way to the player's NHL totals. The whole thing just looks great.


The rookie cards found within Prime all feature four pieces of player-worn gear along with an autograph. The Raphael Diaz shown above is not the standard rookie card - it's the parallel version numbered to 50 featuring prime swatches of jersey - but you can get a sense of the general design of the rookie cards by looking at it since it shares the exact same design as it's all-jersey brother. And these cards look amazing. Though in concept they are reminiscent of Upper Deck's O-Pee-Chee Premier rookie cards of the past, these cards have a more higher-end feel to them than those. The thickness of the cards and the generous amount of foil make these cards feel closer to The Cup than anything else. And if these cards are comparable to The Cup... that's really saying something!

Base Card Design Score:
10/10

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
With all super-premium card products, opening a box is all about the hits found inside. And you will find pretty much all hits besides the base cards within each one. Though the packs state only five cards are found within, there really are seven from what I've seen of boxes being opened - two base and FIVE game-used or autographs cards. Getting more than stated on the packaging is always a sweet deal!


The 'standard' and most common types of cards found in packs of Prime are the Prime Combos and Trios cards. These cards feature two to three players per card and carry with it swatches worn by those players. I have never been a huge fan of the multi-player swatch cards, but these cards are done pretty well. The designers at Panini have come up with some pretty clever letter combos for specific players. One of my breaks featured Zack Kassian and Cody Hodgson on the same card with the word "SWAP" - pretty cool. Though the card above doesn't have a very zany name, the patches on it are really out of this world. Those two middle patches are NAS-&-TEE!


Prime Namesakes are letterman cards that feature player autographs. Though these aren't 'real' letters found on the backs of player sweaters, they are fun to put together. And actually, these types of cards command pretty high prices on the secondary market. It would seem that collectors actively try to complete the nameplates as best they can. Putting them all together is really impressive - especially if the player you complete has a long name. Prime does also have genuine game-worn letters packed in as well. Check out my break from Chri5784 in the video below. He pulls me an autographed Phil Kessel game-worn letter patch. That might have been the best card out of the entire case.


Prime Time Rookie cards showcase very large pieces of material from this year's rookie class. The enormity of the patch is only rivaled by the even larger Prime Colors Patch cards that literally can be put together to create the entire logo from a player's jersey. If you want to see a couple of those, again, I'd refer you to the video break below. Look for Prime Colors of Cody Hodgson and Bobby Ryan.


Perhaps less exciting, but equally difficult to get, are the base card parallels found in Prime. The parallels come in silver, gold, and black variations. The Andrew Ladd I pulled is the silver version numbered to 25. Though probably difficult to see in the scan, the foil is a silver holo-foil. It really makes the card pop - even more so than the already foil-y standard base cards. These will be a great challenge to track down for player collectors. Gold cards are limited to only five, and the Black versions are the elusive one of ones.

As you can see there is quite a bit of variation to be found in Prime. Collectors can find the entire spectrum of hits - from base parallels all the way to patch pieces that take up the entire card. Incredible.

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:
10/10

Overall Rating -
I love Panini Prime. I was a little hesitant to like it too much for fear of disappointment before it came out, but it has lived up to my expectations - which is a rare thing to do nowadays. The cards are absolutely gorgeous in design and the variety of things to collect is just mind blowing. I really don't know how Panini can follow up a product like this!

And it's not only me... I've seen a hugely positive response from other collectors about Prime already. It's definitely a quality product. Even though the price per pack is pretty darn high - it'll set you back $200 - I feel it's worth the bust. If you can do it... DO IT!

I have to admit I was only going to get one case and one box of the stuff... I couldn't help myself and ended up getting one more box than I had planned to. It's just too much fun to open! Now I have to go on eBay and find all the singles I need... and sell all the singles I don't.

Prime. Go get it. Perfect score!

Overall Rating:
10/10

Here are my breaks of 11/12 Panini Prime:



85 comments:

  1. I also likes Prime a lot. The best release so far this season! The Prime Colors and Genuine Lettermarks are really cool, as well as the Prime Ties, and the logo shields, and so on... There's so much nice things in this!

    Youtube: Majlfp

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    1. Wow carzy product it really reminds me of the cup but by panini and alot cheaper nice cards Luke

      YouTube: hockeycardcollecters

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  2. Just love the look of the new product Prime, that's all I have to say.
    Youtube:Graboguru

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  3. I love the look of Prime! It seems to me all the designs look outstanding!

    Youtube Name: mjhockeycards101

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  4. Well Panini made a really cool product and I totally agree with you on evrything. My favorite cards of this product are the lettermen patches.

    Youtube:LIGHTman7x

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  5. Woo - Panini Prime is getting me all excited. I love that it has the first mover advantage of being released before The Cup - giving collectors the chance to spend their money with Panini before UD.
    YT-Skroeker24

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  6. Wow Panini Prime is great now I think if you get the right box it can be Dominion or even the Cup value. It is pretty cheap for the cards you get so I think Prime will be a big hit this year.

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  7. I guess it truly is PrimeTime.
    This product is just gorgeous. Between the cleverness behind some of the match-ups (Kane for Evander and Patrick; YVR for the Canucks trio; Bros for Luke and Brayden Schenn), to the absolute mind-blowingness that is practically every card in this product, this will be -THE- set of the year.

    klowd1661 // TF3W

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  8. This is the best overall product I have ever seen! I completely agree with you Luke that it is a 10 out of 10 product! I wish I could get some but 200 bucks is to steep of a price for me even though it is definitely worth it! Get it while it lasts!!!

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    1. MrMat18033 sorry I always forget

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  9. Prime is just simply gorgeous! the only drawback for me.. is the price point. but you get what you pay for, tenfold! prime is seriously crazy!

    YT - canucks112785

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  10. I wish I could afford Prime. It looks like an incredible product, it would probably be there only product of it's price range that I would actually save up for. It doesn't seem that have a hit or miss factor, it's seems like you're guaranteed to get full value out of it. There's some interesting sets to chase with them, too.

    YouTube- CapsCrowsOs

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  11. out of all the high dollar lottery sets this one is by far my favorite. I really like the distribution of both jerseys autos and patches and you seem to get a lot for your money. While they may not have the huge hits that things like the cup and dominion have you can still strike big and get a great cards.
    thans Luke
    Youtube=CanesOnTheBrains

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  12. I definitely think Prime is an amazing product. Everything in the product stands out to me especially the showcase swatches cards. That is a great idea to use a bunch of one color jerseys on cards that look amazing. From what I've seen so far most of the boxes have been worth the $200 price tag and I might have to buy a box of it. I usually don't spend this much on a single box but I think Prime might be the exception. Overall its the best product of the year so far. Well done Panini

    YouTube=Kaplan397

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  13. This is a wonderful product. I haven't been able to bust some so far, but I surely will. I love the design of the showcase swatches (already bought the Pavelski and the Marleau). I always love to see that Panini writes 5 cards, but you come out with 7.

    The prime colors patches are awesome, prime ties, authentic certificates, name it. It's just a great great product. I love it even better than last year's Dominion, which was my favorite product ever.

    My rating : 100/10

    lfcmontreal

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  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  15. This product looks unreal for the price of it, I have to say product of the year also, hands down!

    YT - OnlyTheMagnificent

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  16. OMG I can tell that you love this product as i do to it's amazing panini really stepped it up with prime even the base I would die for.Can't wait for dominion and the cup now of course the best of the year love it :]

    youtube name:TheHabs121

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  17. Unreal prouct. The patches in their are sick. Although I think there are too many of those dual or triple die cut jerseys. It's also nice to have a very high end product that's not way out of price range.

    -jpbboyle

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  18. Love this product best of the year by far love the patchs/autos/etc,they did great on base and every thing 10/10 great job -LeafFanDom12

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  19. I L.O.V.E this product its so nice hope to be getting a box next week this totally beats ultimate, Best patches there is out in the card hobby, you got some really nice cards from prime im jealous lol - Mstaylor8787 :)

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  20. love this product i think that it is a very high end product and also i think panini is giving UD a run for its money

    -nuddymud

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  21. i would have to rate it 10/10 to luke . i love those primecolours there sick . nice breaks luke .

    vancanuckman1234

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  22. I love this product. You are pretty much guaranteed something unreal, its pretty much just what player you get. I also love the letter cards, they are clean and really sick!

    youtube: noah7719

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  23. Panini PRIME! Where do i begin? Best product ever!!! Saw all your breaks and oh jeezzzz was I amazed. This remidns me of a lower end cup and dominion. It is fun to open and the hits are spot on AMAZING. I wish i could open a box cause I definitely would rate this product 10/10 why? well because noone will leave disappointed after the break. You will always end up with something good!

    MrSport4life

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  24. i love the look of all the cards. i like how they have game used ties and stickers but for me it is way to expensive. i would buy some but way out of my price range.
    phxfan19

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  25. Best set made by any company in a long time

    YouTube micerule934

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  26. Panini Prime looks like an amazing product, out every box I saw has amazing cards, and looks not so hard to pull a NUGE! Not in my price range though.

    Youtube Channel - Trey Haglund

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  27. Wow, well it looks AMAZING! To me its a lower-end version of Dominion at an amazing price point. For the price, I'd have to say its one of the best hockey products I've ever seen in my life! Thanks for the contest Luke!

    Youtube: mtn8ice

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  28. I really like prime it has a beautiful design. The base is nice but for the price it should be a little nicer then out of 249. I love products like when you are guarnteeded crazy hits. Overall extremely solid product. 9.5/10

    Youtube: Capitals103

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  29. always love your reviews
    youtube:multihabsfan31

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  30. best product of the year!

    - seguinsupporter12

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  31. Prime is an awesome product, Panini did a superb job. It's just a litle pricey. It defintley reminds me of Upper Deck's O-PEE-CHEE Premier.

    Youtube Username: MrHockeynut77

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  32. I think prime a lot, I think the value is great! Many people would disagree with me when I say I do not like the design. Overall, I do think it's a great product.
    -NothinButHockeyCards

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  33. I think PRIME Is very nice but Very expensive you can get great cards or nothing like luke said hes not going to make his money back . Who ever wins this contest i will trade for the De Haan

    Youtube: Stanleycup44

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  34. I fine prime is pretty awesome, other then the very hight price for the box. But it is well wroth it, with its awesome design and awesome cards.

    Youtube: Sports149

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  35. Hey Luke I liked your review . Prime is awesome ! So cool. I like the idea of having the tie cards . I also low that there are so many more sick patches and 1/1 cards .

    YouTube name ; elijahking13

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  36. I think the best newcomer product we have had for a while, loving the look of the cards!!!!

    Youtube: BruinsMA888

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  37. i love prime. it reminds me of upper deck opc preimer. i love it the cards are so clean looking and the shadow box with the jersey behind it is fanominal love it.

    youtube name- Priceforthewin

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  38. Prime is honestly one of the nicest products I've ever seen.

    YouTube- TheEdgeHead41

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  39. this is paninis best hockey product by far everything looks amazing espercially the patches. Hopefully they bring this product back for 2012-13

    Youtube- MattsSportsCards

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  40. Prime is honestly one of the best products I have seen in a long time! Can't wait to open my box!

    - jtgoleafs

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  41. nice review and i think this product is loaded


    Youtube-NyTeQui

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  42. probably the best looking product of this year! really love the design of all the cards

    xMooner

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  43. I think of prime like last years dominion but better. The swatches I have seen are beautiful. Prime is a really good product.


    YouTube username: flamescollector

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  44. ok here it is prime is my favourite product of all time by far for me a younger collector prime>the cup, its affordable but still has the huge wow factore and great cards in every box!

    youtube name:hockeykid968

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  45. Prime is one of the nicest products I've seen. IMO it is nicer than last year's dominion (10-11). This is some quality stuff right here and at 200 dollars a box, it's not too bad. It looks much better than OPC Premier IMO. The rookie quad jersey autos are comparable to the stuff that is coming out for 11-12 The Cup. Very Nice product overall and maybe I'll try a box.

    ~BrassardFan

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  46. I thought Prime is really Awesome and has amazing 1/1's and jersey swatches

    lolskateboarder

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  47. Prime is probably the best looking product this year. The base cards, the rookie quad jersey autos, showcase swatches, look amazing! I really want to break it soon, sadly it was sold out at my LCS so I'm probably going to buy it at a card show. I've watched many breaks of Prime and haven't seen a bad break yet. I have to agree with the people who are saying that Prime seems to be better than the Cup. I've seen some bad tins of the Cup from the past years. Overall, I'd rate this product 10/10 :)

    -iginlasfan12

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  48. Panini prime is awesome and has so many different hits. Love the base design and you get pretty good value. Luke lmk about the Habsburg and jets cards and the price you want to sell them at!

    YouTube- cn2117HabsFan

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  49. One of the best, if not the best, card designs and set to come out this year. Only one problem, $200 per box!!!!

    YT- jdlax99

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  50. I've never bought such an expensive hockey card prooduct, but it was worth it. I got probably the nicest, aesthetically pleasing quad mem auto rookie card #/10 of Ryan Johansen. Panini made beautiful patch cards too. Mammoth in size, they're like original pieces of art. AAAAA+++++++ well done.

    Thanks for the contest,

    -ryannturnaa

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  51. GREAT product, 10/10 for sure.

    YT-adlsam19dew

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  52. i think prime is a great box. I like the base design although they should replace the gold with a team color.
    Youtube username:
    Mpb7771

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  53. I agree with Mpb7771, the gold foil should be a team color or even a team colored foil, but overall it's a great product and this was definately a great review.

    YT- blackhawks61895

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  54. Another great review Luke! Prime is hands down the best 11-12 product in my opinion. Love everything about it, including how fat the packs are!

    YT - GelzySports

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  55. Prime looks stunning everything from the base cards to the huge patches it's awesome, there are also some great sets to collect. Thanks for the review!

    YT: SuckYourHeadphones

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  56. I think that prime is amazing! Best product of the year for sure! Great job panini! I especially like the cards with skate lace on them because I think that that is very unique and cool.
    - danboyle13

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  57. This product kinda reminds me of O Pee Chee Premier. I love this set you can get some really nice cards, but it really is a hit or a miss. There are many unique cards. There are some really nice patches as well.

    -HCC1817

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  58. This product looks really nice, especially the rookie quad jersey autos and it reminds me of opc-premiere. overall good product, would have got it if i stayed in the hobby. 9/10

    brendar7

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  59. PRIME IS AMAZING

    YouTube Username- TheYoungARTISTFTW

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  60. This product is looking great! It is just like ultimate collection or limited basketball. The base cards look nice too. I love the design on them, it makes the cards look sharp. I would it a 8/10
    Youtube- Celtics349520336

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  61. I knew this would be a great product...it was worth the wait. Best designed cards this year...maybe from all products of Hockey. THe sickest patches ive seen in a product, i never thought a product would beat dominions patches but it did....i cant wait to get my boxes soon!
    Overall really sick product and best from panini in awile....or of all time, you never know.

    Rate:10/10

    YT: Armadacards

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  62. I LOVE PRIME.... i really like this product its one of the many amazing products has put out this year and it probably beats out dominion so far... i am trying to get as much of it as i can it awesome! i definately agree with your review 10/10

    Thanks for the huge contest!
    -CalebClardy

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  63. Nice product this year.

    Elyk Namhsuc

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  64. Really nice, I think better then 10-11 dominion. Youtube Connor Andrews

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  65. This prime product looks really nice. This is definatly the hockey product of the year.

    youtube-jds2376

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  66. i honestly had no expectations for prime, didnt even look into but once it came out i was shocked. it has every thing. great unique designs, all kinds of interesting and creative subsets. amazing value. ive seen case after case opened and not one has been a bust. i honestly think it have more love than ud the cup this year.
    -3jackjohnson3

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  67. This product is most definitely a 10/10 for me. I have not seen a bad box yet. The patches are insane in this product and i don't see dominion or cup being better then this product just because Prime is a lot cheaper and your getting some nasty stuff! Panini definitely did an awesome job this year on their products!

    Thanks for the contest!

    Habsfan771

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  68. I think Prime is the best product of the year i like a ton of the cards and most people get there money back from the cards. The patches are great and i love the autos.

    Thank you for having these awesome contests.

    TheCanuck91

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  69. I absolutely love Prime. The triple and quad patch cards are sick, and some have really nice patches on them. I also really like the design of the base card. The autos on the manufactured letters are pretty awesome too. Nice review Luke and thanks for the contests!

    youtube username: reimer134

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  70. Prime is awesome ¡!!!!!!!!¡

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  71. Sorry forgot muellerfan88

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  72. Prime look really good I might have to buy a box. You got some nice cards out of your box!

    YT: TheBlueSlasher

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  73. Prime killed it this year! I love it. The triple and quad cards are pretty cool looking. Also I love the manufactured letters and the premium ties cards. Really great review, and cant wait to get a box!

    youtube username: MrMinecraft230

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  74. prime is by far my favorite cards this year. everything is perfect, the base cards, the jersey cards and I think that the nicer cardsw are the prime colors. they just look amazing. this is the best product so far in this year. 10/10.
    thank you
    12iginlacalgary12

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  75. great review like always
    youtube:brandynzawadiuk

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  76. Oh man. I REALLY want a box (or more!!!) of this stuff, but i keep blowing my money on stupid stuff. Great review and thanks for the contest, as always.

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  77. All I can say is WOW. Gotta love prime. your pulls were good! This product seems to be a hit at almost every hobby store i go to! Unfortunately, i will not be able to get any prime soon because its a little more than i would like to spend in a very rough time for me. Overall, love this blog/review, keep it up! good job !

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  78. prime looks amazing!!!! every box ive seen has been hugeee!!!! thanks for the contest luke!!!

    -sportsreviewcan

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  79. I really like Prime, I have seen some really huge stuff come from it, it is looking really nice so far! I would not be surprised if the price went up... Panini really did a great job with this product. Thanks for another great review and contest Luke!
    -SJSharkzz3

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  80. Prime looks solid. Best product of the year by far. It seams like you either get a solid/decent box or an unreal/amazing box. Thank god their's no Cowen in it. :P

    -SenzFanForever.

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  81. I love the look of this but baulked at the $200 price tag, as I've been burnt on the high end stuff lately. Now I see its up to $230!

    Oh well, snooze you lose.

    - reebz0r

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