Base Card Design -
Artifacts really knows its own image. The base cards this year fit in perfectly with the long line of Artifacts base that have come before it. The base cards are elegant looking with the perfect amount of foil to make the card pop. Everything about the base card is clean and cool. Artifacts has always been able to provide collectors with a premium looking base set, and I'm glad the tradition continues with this release.
Like the fronts, the back of the Artifacts base has had attention paid to it. The back design matches perfectly with the front of the card. It's always great to see some art in the background as it makes the card have a textured look. All the needed information is presented in an easy to read way and a nice paragraph of information is also included.
I thought this card was a parallel at first, but as it turns out NHL stars have their own subset within the main Artifacts line. The stars have a dark green background and are numbered to 599 each.
Legends, like current stars, also have their own unique subset within the Artifacts set. These cards are also serial numbered to 599 but have a grey (rather than green) background. Rookie cards serial to 999 are included after these Legends cards. All this serial numbering and short printing of the set makes it quite a challenge to put together!
Base Card Design Score:
Each box of Artifacts comes with 8 packs. The box states that buyers can expect 3 autograph, memorabilia, or Aurum cards. There was a time when Artifacts boxes guaranteed and autograph. These past few years, however, aren't like that. Nothing is guaranteed at all. In fact, according to the box pulling 3 Aurum cards out with no other hits could be something that happens! Now, I'm sure that doesn't happen, but it stinks that there are no for-sure autographs to be obtained with a purchase of Artifacts box.
Parallels, parallels, parallels. Artifacts has a lot of these! It is a huge challenge to find all the parallels of a single player in this product. Trust me, I actually did it one year! You'll have to study the checklist really hard to know all the parallel cards in the set. Not only is the base set full of multiple parallels, the memorabilia/autographed cards are as well.
Speaking of parallel memorabilia cards, here's a rookie base set parallel card featuring two jersey swatches. It's a nice looking card - especially since the jerseys are two different colors - but it probably won't have too high of a value. Better values come with nice memorabilia pieces such as tags and patches.
The Tundra series of memorabilia inserts has always put multiple players on the same card. Usually it's by team, but in some cases Upper Deck decides to put together players that have unique connections to each other. I like these cards and I think they are great for team collectors. I would happily trade this Flyers one for one from the Sharks!
Since Artifacts releases before any skaters have hit the ice, redemption cards have been inserted to redeem for rookies. These have been in Artifacts for years now. Collectors can expect to find a team's rookie (in my case someone from the Preds) or a wild card rookie which will remain a mystery until Upper Deck releases the list of names that corresponds to the cards.
My best hit from the box was a purple redemption card for the number II rookie. I have no idea who it will be, but it'll be a nice card as it will have both a patch and tag embedded in it. I'm pretty excited to see who this player I got will be. The only annoying thing is waiting until Upper Deck releases the names of the rookies!
Overall Rating -
Artifacts was once the best bang for your buck product. It had a ton of great things to find and pull. Nowadays it's still 'ok', but I think the brand has lost some of the magic it once held. There was a time when I wanted to just buy box after box of it because I knew I was going to get autographs and patches. Those days are probably sadly long gone.
Artifacts is now a decent break. It's pricing is not as high as some other products, which still makes it a decent buy. I still enjoy purchasing it and I know many collectors will as well.
Upper Deck has given us a quality product in terms of look and design. There will certainly be cards that are drool worthy pulls. I would recommend Artifacts to any collector that is in its price range. It's the first 'serious' product for hits that Upper Deck has released for the 17/18 season. It's finally time to pull some sweet autos and mem!
Check out my box of 17/18 Upper Deck Artifacts: