Sunday, January 29, 2017

Retail Review #241 (15/16 Upper Deck Series One)


It's not a product from the current hockey season... but it's close! This morning I'm going to open up a blaster of 15/16 Upper Deck Series One. These blasters are a bit more expensive than the usual budget ones that I get for Retail Review, but still were on a little bit of a discount than the standard twenty dollar price tag. I'm so excited to open up something that is relatively newer!


Price - 
$17.95

Packs - 12
12 x 15/16 Upper Deck Series One Blaster Packs

As with all Upper Deck Series One products, I'm expecting to get some very nice looking hockey cards out of this blaster. I should find cards that feature really nice photographs as well as a couple Young Gun rookie cards. There probably won't be a hit in this blaster, there at last there's a chance at one.

A hit is not exactly the biggest draw out of this particular year's blaster. It's actually Connor McDavid's Young Gun, which fetches quite the pretty penny on sites like eBay. Probably a very slim chance to get one, but still, there are two Young Guns per blaster so the opportunity is definitely there.

Let's see what actually comes out of this blaster box:


Review -
Sadly, no McDavid out of this blaster, but I wasn't really expecting him to pop out. I did get some solid cards from this blaster though. There were a slew of inserts to check out amongst the base cards. I thought it was pretty funny to pull a regular and variation of the same Shining Stars insert set out of this box. There wasn't anything that was extremely nice from these packs. I'd say a pretty average break for a blaster like this.

Here's the top three of the box:

Top 3 Cards


#3 - Logan Couture Card No. 153
Yay! It's my man Couture in my blaster. Being my main PC, I just had to include him in my top three. He's having a decent season thus far, but I'm looking for even more from him as this year goes on.


#2 - Brad Marchand Card No. C7
Marchand is an interesting player. He's a guy that I think people would want on their team, but dread playing against. I like this card in particular because it captures some serious emotions coming out of Marchand in this shot.


#1 - Oliver Ekman-Larsson Card No. SS-8
I got both the standard and blue parallel version of Oliver Ekman-Larsson's Shining-Stars insert card. The blue version look much better than the regular card.

Overall Value -
I think it was great to be able to get this blaster for under its original selling price. This year's set has Connon McDavid, and if he continues tearing it up in the NHL I can only see these blasters going up. I'd definitely purchase these to try to get my hands on a McDavid Young Gun. Besides that card, there are plenty of nice cards to get and look at when buying Upper Deck Series One. Like I say... it's always a solid choice to buy!

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:
6/10

Look for a new episode of Retail Review every Sunday!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

2016-2017 Upper Deck Game Used Review

The 16/17 Upper Deck Game Used product has come out, and like last year, it has come in a smaller package than in years prior. Upper Deck has gone with the one-pack approach here and price point that is well under the century mark. I like the direction this product is going, and I hope Upper Deck continues to refine it to be the best that it can be.


Base Card Design -
The base cards in SP Game-Used are interesting... very interesting (as they were last year). Upper Deck has gone with the 'hard-to-get' base card concept. The actual base card of the player is numbered to their jersey number, and not every pack/box will have one. It's actually much easier to get a parallel version of the base card rather than the base card itself. In my box, I pulled a Mark Scheifele orange parallel numbered to 111. Had it been his standard base, it would have been numbered to 55. In terms of design, the cards are on a nice, thick cardstock with a foil surface. The serial numbering has a 'retro-ness' to it that I think looks 'ok', but others may not like it. Overall the look of the card is good for a premium product like SP Game-Used.


The back of the base cards are glossy and colorful. The design of the back has similar elements to that of the front, but without the foil. Content-wise, the backs only have stats - unfortunately there isn't a paragraph of information to read and enjoy.


The rookies have the same serial numbering treatment as the veterans. Like the base cards, the rookies have their cards numbered to their jersey. The Blake Speers card I got was a rainbow parallel numbered to 219. The rookie cards have a different design than the regular base cards, but the look and feel match up well and are cohesive.

Base Card Design Score:
8/10

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
Every tiny box of SP Game Used will pack in 4 hits. The other two cards will be serial numbered base cards. SP Game Used has an abundance of memorabilia cards to find - from jerseys, to patches, and more. With a name like Game Used, you'd think everything in it would be from a game. I wish that was the case!


Like with pretty much all modern sets nowadays, collectors will find a wide variety of parallel cards. These parallel cards often become rarer as they get better memorabilia on the card. This Authentic Rookies jersey card is probably the lowest tier you'll probably find in the set. It is the standard rookie card design with a different color foil and a small jersey patch embedded. It's not a very exciting card, but a piece of the rainbow for collectors going for it. Interestingly, Upper Deck stamped these cards with the modern looking serial numbering rather than the older looking one on the base and regular parallel cards. Sadly, the jersey piece doesn't come from a game... it's from the rookie photo shoot.


This card of Mathew Barzal is a step up from the Anthony DeAngelo I pulled. This card gets the red foil treatment along with a sticker auto. Strangely, there is no serial numbering on these cards. Higher tiered versions do have a low serial number, however.


This is a nice card for a Capitals fan. It features three swatches of jersey used in the All-Star game from Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Braden Holtby. This card is better than the previous two cards in that the swatches on it have some historical significance. That being said, it's still just jerseys (and they're all white). A patch version of this card would be pretty sweet though.


Banner Year cards have a cool look to them as they are very thick and feature a cut of a banner used at an NHL event. This particular one was from the 2016 Winter Classic. This type of card reminds me of some old stadium relic cards like seat cards or part of a base or something like that. The player probably didn't interact with this piece of cloth, but because it was at the game, the memorabilia piece does have some historical context to it. It's an interesting idea for a card... I'm not sure how invested in it I am though.

My box of SP Game Used didn't really show what SP Game Used can put out for collectors. There are some great patch cards as well as other memorabilia that can be found.

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:
7/10

Overall Rating -
There are definitely things I like about SP Game Used and things I don't, but I'll start with the positive. I'm glad Upper Deck has SPGU at a better price point. A few years ago, people were buying boxes for around $200 and getting 4 or 5 jersey cards. That was absolutely atrocious! This little pack gives out better content than those older versions of the product. I also like that Upper Deck is putting in some unique items that you can get from the All-Star game here. It's sort of a niche thing to collect, but some of the memorabilia can be fun and enjoyable. On the downside, getting a box like I got can be pretty disappointing. Most of what I got were jersey cards and then the banner card. Perhaps it was just bad luck, but I would have really liked to get a patch card out of the box. The value here in my particular box was pretty low.

All-in-all, I think Upper Deck needs to continue to work on SP Game Used. I'd be pretty happy if the whole product could live up to its name. The take on the All-Star game can be a good one. It's a very special part of the NHL season, so having SPGU be the brand that highlights it could be a great idea.

In terms of value, I didn't get much, but finding 4 hits and 2 serial numbered cards for under a hundred dollars isn't too bad in today's climate of collecting. It's just up to you if you think the price is worth it.

Overall Score:
7.5/10

Check out my box of SP Game Used:

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Retail Review #240 (14/15 Upper Deck MVP)


MVP is a low-end brand that fits nicely into the collecting line-up. I'm sure many seasoned collectors will overlook this product, but for those who just want the chance to get some cards without breaking the bank, MVP is certainly a quality product that let's them do that. 



Price - 
$7.95

Packs - 12
12 x 14/15 Upper Deck MVP Blaster Packs

I'm pretty sure I wouldn't pay the suggested $19.99 price for a blaster of MVP, but for under ten dollars I'd give it a shot. A blaster of MVP will give whoever buys it a nice opening experience as it contains 12 packs of cards. When all is said and done, you'll have a nice stack of hockey cards to enjoy after breaking the blaster.

For the most part, collectors will just find some parallel cards and maybe an insert within the blaster box, however, there is a chance at pulling an autograph card from one of these. Memorabilia hits are also available, but also with a very slim chance. I'd say that it is nice to just have the opportunity to find a hit though its extremely hard.

I'll break the blaster box open and see what comes out:


Review -
Some nice names came out of this blaster, particularly with the Silver Script parallel cards. I almost felt like I had better players from those compared to the large stack of base cards I got. It was cool getting players like Sidney Crosby, Jaromir Jagr, and Zach Parise as parallels. And those weren't even in my top three.

I noticed that every other pack contained an insert or parallel card. With 12 packs, the pattern was pretty noticeable. These packs also tended to shred up a bit, making it difficult to get the cards out quickly. Not a huge deal - just a minor gripe.

Check out my three best from this blaster:

Top 3 Cards


#3 - Vladislav Namestnikov Card No. 51
You don't usually find too many rookies in MVP, so that by itself stood out to me... but this Namestnikov rookie card is also a Silver Script. It was my only rookie in the blaster and happened to be parallel card, so it makes the top three.


#2 - Khudobin/Kessel/Pavelski Card No. 3SM-01.14
I have said that I appreciate the Three Stars cards as a nice historical type card in the past - and I still think they are. The only issue with them is that they are not super popular cards with collectors. I wonder if cards like these can ever be done in a way that will spark a big collector interest.


#1 - Jacob Markstrom Card No. 74
Gold Script cards are really cool in that each one is numbered to just 100. The cards look very nice too with the gold foil on them. I've found one Gold Script in every blaster I have gotten of MVP. It's a nice type of card to make as a box 'hit' at the retail level.

Overall Value -
For under ten dollars, MVP is a decent buy. Like I said earlier, this is not for seasoned collectors. For younger collectors, this might be a great set to try and put together. There are plenty of interesting cards to look at and enjoy. Getting a bunch of Silver Script parallels would also be cool as they look pretty nice.

Though MVP is often forgotten by many collectors after the NHL season gets under way, I like the part of the hobby that this brand occupies and I think it does a nice job for what it is.

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:
6/10

Look for a new episode of Retail Review every Sunday!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Retail Review #239 (14/15 O-Pee-Chee)


This morning I'm going to break a blaster of 14/15 O-Pee-Chee. This longtime brand has been enjoyed by collectors for decades now. It has really held true to its roots and delivers a break that definitely has an old school/retro feel to it.


Price - 
$9.95

Packs - 14
O-Pee-Chee Blaster Packs

I sometimes hesitate to purchase OPC because I feel that the potential for a nice hit is almost zero... but reflecting on that... I shouldn't have those hesitations. OPC delivers a box breaking experience that can be a lot of fun. Though the prospects of getting a huge card are slim, The sum of all the cards opened in a break of OPC can be just as good as other products at retail.

I'd purchase OPC with a mindset of set collecting. There are plenty of cards in the set, which make it a fun challenge. Stickers and inserts within the set add additional interesting things for collectors to find. 

Let's open up this blaster and check it out:


Review -
When I began to open the blaster, I found that the wrapping did not have the official Upper Deck wrapping plastic. Usually that's a bad sign as the box could have been tampered with. I could have stopped the break right then and there, but decided to just go for it because I just couldn't see why anyone would tamper with a blaster of OPC.

As it turned out, the blaster delivered some nice cards that I really liked. OPC blasters give you plenty of cards to look at and enjoy. I was able to get some big names as well as a couple of nice rookie cards in my box.

Here are my three favorite cards out of the blaster:

Top 3 Cards


#3 - Wayne Gretzky Card No. ST-99
I always enjoy getting cards of The Great One. The retro look of this sticker card adds to its charm and looks like it could have been released when Gretzky was actually still playing. 


#2 - Carey Price Card No. 353
It's sweet getting rainbow parallel cards of big NHL stars in OPC as they can be tough pulls due to the largeness of the set. Carey Price is definitely one of the best goalies in the league and I was happy to pull this card!


#1 - Johnny Gaudreau Card No. 544
Usually OPC is pretty sparse when it comes to getting rookie cards. This blaster got me two good rookie cards from 14/15. Gaudreau has been a very popular player and I don't have many of his cards so this was a nice one for me in particular.

Overall Value -
The value was definitely there with this blaster of OPC. Just in the top three cards alone I was able exceed the value of what I paid for the blaster (using eBay pricing). Sure, you'll never get value in the stratosphere with OPC, but I would say that OPC is a rock solid product for what it is. The formula continues to work for this brand and hopefully will long into the future.

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:
7/10

Look for a new episode of Retail Review every Sunday!

Monday, January 9, 2017

2016-2017 Upper Deck Trilogy Review

Upper Deck's Trilogy has always been an interesting brand for me as it has always sat in a unique part of the hockey card spectrum. When it came out, it was one of the higher-end brands... but not quite at the level of Upper Deck's big guns in Ultimate Collection, Premier, and The Cup. It was a notch below, but still above brands like Artifacts. Now it looks as if Upper Deck has brought it closer to the mid-range territory with a price to match.


Base Card Design -
The Trilogy base cards are on a nice glossy stock. Gold foil is used as accents nicely around the card to help it stand out. Each base card has a predominantly white and gold color scheme with a large photo of the player in front. Looking closely at the card, you'll notice many lines and patterns in the background. It's a dynamic look for a card, and collectors for collector that enjoy a busier look, these might just be up your alley. Though the cards don't really have a flaw to them, I do not find the design to be particularly memorable. They're nice for what they are, but I'm not sure I'll remember them specifically in a few years. Trilogy isn't a set that collectors clamor over the base, they're just there to fill the packs around the hits mostly so for that job they're doing a great job.


The back of the Trilogy base cards share similar design elements as that of the front, but it comes off looking rather generic. Upper Deck's other releases this year have generally been better crafted than these. These cards just have the relevant stat information on a cookie-cutter like design. There is not paragraph to read about the player so there isn't much interest generated here.


The rookie cards in Trilogy are called Rookie Premieres. The set comes in three tiers, but I'd consider the most basic card the main rookie with the other tiers are more inline with an insert or parallel card. Rookie Premieres are completely foiled cards numbered to 999. The design has a few elements in it that are a call back to the standard base, but it'd be hard to tell with a quick glance. Overall these rookie cards are well done. I think collectors will enjoy the shimmer and shine of these cards, especially compared to the other cards in the main set.

Base Card Design Score:
6.5/10

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
Each box of Trilogy comes with 8 packs and run a little over $100. To me, it's very similar to what you would get in Artifacts, but with hits configured in different designs. Collectors should expect to find around three hits in the box. The rest of the packs should have at least an insert/serial numbered card beside the base cards.


I got quite a few of these blue rainbow foil parallel cards in my box. These cards parallel the base set and are numbered to 849. The foil is a good look for these cards, and it improves upon the standard base card by a good amount. Black and green parallel variations are also available as are printing plates of the base set.


Numbered to 399 was a jersey parallel of a Rookie Premieres rookie card of Thomas Chabot. It's a simple card with an embedded event-used piece of jersey. These aren't too exciting to get, even if you pull a top rookie.


The higher level patch variation of the Rookie Premieres are much nicer than the jersey variation that I showed above. It helps that the patch I pulled was very nice with many colors and breaks. This patch card comes on very thick stock and is numbered to just 35.


My favorite looking card of the break was a Tryptichs autograph of Al MacInnis. These cards come on very thick stock. The autograph is done on black and embedded in the card. It almost looks like a little chalkboard in there. It's serial numbered to 60, but different cards from the set will have different numbering.

Though I didn't get one, Signature Puck cards are back. Trilogy also features much more autograph content and memorabilia content. Like they've done in past years, collectors can also find rookie cards that have inscriptions written on them.

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:
7/10

Overall Rating -
I'm glad Trilogy is a bit less expensive than it used to be. There was a time when Trilogy packs were over $20 each. They are more reasonable now with the box price being just over $100. Trilogy can be a fun product, but I'm not sure how bit a hit this set with be with collectors out there. Trilogy has never been one of the more popular brands, and it rarely makes a big splash. If yo're looking for something to tide you over during the season, this might be ok. But honestly, if you miss out on this product, you probably won't be missing too much.

Overall Score:
7/10

Check out my break of 16/17 Trilogy here:

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Retail Review #238 (12/13 Panini Certified)


It's been a very busy week and weekend for me so I decided to go with a very fast and simple break. Panini Certified is awesome because it packs a nice punch in a very small package. There are only three packs per blaster, but one of the packs should contain a hit.



Price - 
$12.95

Packs - 3
12/13 Certified Hockey

The 2012/13 hockey season is not about finding rookies, in fact, it's probably the worst year if you're looking for first year cards. This was the lockout shortened season, and card companies did not release cards for the rookies that skated then. They NHL and the companies agreed to hold off on all rookie cards until the next year - making a double rookie class.

When buying cards from this season, the best to hope for is to get some great veteran content. Though rookie content is non-existent, veteran cards can be found easily, and for a pretty good price!

I hope I get something nice from this box:


Review -
As I expected, this blaster gave me a quick and easy break that netted me a hit. The cards from this year's Certified are very shiny and easily attract finger prints - even the jersey cards have this full foiled look. This wasn't my favorite Certified design, but I think they would look pretty impressive coming out of the box to a new collector. They have that bling!

Here were my favorite cards out of this blaster:

Top 3 Cards


#3 - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Card No. 93
The Nuge was all the rage when he was a rookie and set the collecting world on fire. I remember those times well, especially when I pull on of his cards. I also like that Panini gave him 93 for his card number to match his jersey.


#2 - Ondrej Pavelec Card No. 111
I didn't realize that the Masked Marvels were subset cards numbered after the regular base set and not a stand alone goalie themed insert set. I guess that makes sense though as Certified has always had limited subsets that came after the regular cards.


#1 - Daniel Sedin Card No. FOG-SED
My hit was just a Fabric of the Game plain jersey swatch, but Daniel Sedin isn't a bad one to get. He's a solid star in the NHL, even though he plays for a franchise that is a rival of the Sharks. This was not a bad pull at all.

Overall Value -
For the price, I'd definitely recommend Certified right now. It's a fun product to open and it's always fun and exciting to pull hits out. Hopefully, the products from the 12/13 season stay at a nice discounted rate. I think they make a tremendous value for collectors.

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:
6.5/10

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Retail Review #237 (14/15 O-Pee-Chee Platinum)


Last week was Christmas Day and today is the first day of the new year! Wow! Retail Review has fallen on two pretty significant holidays... but that doesn't stop the Retail Review train, it just keeps on coming! This morning I've chosen to open up a blaster of 14/15 OPC Platinum. Hopefully I'll get some cool stuff to start off the new year!



Price - 
$9.95

Packs - 6
14/15 OPC Platinum Packs

There really aren't too many packs in these blasters, just six. I'd call OPC Platinum an upper mid-range product as the cards are quite high quality. Each card is fully foiled and has a thickness to them that stands out. They are by no means on heavy stock like Ultimate Collection, but they do have a heft. Sadly, the thickness of the card doesn't stop them from bowing quite a bit. I'm sure many of the cards out of the packs will have a bow to them.

In terms of my chances of getting a hit, they are pretty low. I should, however, be able to snag a couple of parallel cards from the box. OPC Platinum did offer up a nice suite of parallel sets for collectors to find. Hockey collectors don't seem to be as keen on parallel cards as collectors of other sports, but I still find them interesting and I'll be looking forward to seeing who I get today.

Let's get this blaster box open:


Review -
This blaster was a nice break. It was a nice surprise to find a few more parallel inserts than I had originally expected. On top of that I was able to get a nice retro card of former Shark Antti Niemi and a nice handful of rookie cards. I enjoyed the cards out of the blaster even though there was no hit to be found. The design of the cards are nice and the player selection was right up my ally!

There were my favorite cards of the break:

Top 3 Cards


#3 - Martin Brodeur Card No. 1
I like how Brodeur is a Blues player on this card. It's totally different and unique. I also like that Upper Deck made this the first card in the set. They definitely wanted this card to be a stand out from this set.


#2 - Matt Duchene Card No. 78
I feel like I've pulled this card a few times before, but it's still a good one! Duchene is a great player and this was the most unique parallel card I was able to get out of this blaster. 


#1 - Tomas Hertl Card No. 10
This parallel of Hertl was in the last pack I got, and I'm glad I was able to pull it. Hertl is a good Shark to get. He's a funny personality and has shown to have skill on the ice as well.

Overall Value -
OPC is a brand that's build is more suited for other sports, but it's nice that hockey has a brand of this nature as well. Maybe one day it will catch on, but for now it just widens the types of products available for hockey collectors to purchase - which is a good thing. The price is right for these blasters and it doesn't hurt the wallet to much to give one a try!

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:
6/10

Look for a new episode of Retail Review every Sunday!