Tuesday, November 13, 2012

2012-2013 Upper Deck Series 1 Review

Another year, another Upper Deck Series One! This signature line of hockey cards has arrived yet again. Hockey card collectors of all ages and spending levels can appreciate this release - it's always a rock solid product that is fun to open and packed with value. I'm looking forward to the stunning photography, sweet insert cards, and the ever popular Young Gun rookie cards that await me in my box - and I'm sure other hockey collectors all around the world feel exactly the same way. Time to get busting guys!

Base Card Design -
Upper Deck has again wowed me with their simple, yet functional and elegant base card design. I appreciate the fact that most of the card front is a full color photograph. The only addition to the card is a bar featuring the the player's name, team, and postion. And what a bar it is! The bar is is mainly a brownish hue separated by silver foil lines with white being the secondary highlighting color. I just love it. It gives a modern wood/natural-feel to the card that I would have never thought of doing in a million years. There's an earthy element here along with streamlined modern design touches - it's beautiful. Whoever designed this card needs to come over to my house and help me create the same feel. It's so slick. Add these elements to the best photography on available on cards... and you've got a winner. These base cards are amazing. If you're going to collect one set a year to commemorate or remember the hockey seasons, there is no other choice than Upper Deck Series One (and then, of course, Two).

The back of the card is typical Series One fare. A small picture of the player is placed in the upper left corner of the card. Most of the back is dominated by stats, but there is a little write up for collectors to read and learn a bit more about the NHLers. These card backs are purely functional and don't have the amazing flair in design as their fronts, but it's the way it has always been. Maybe one day Upper Deck will surprise us all with a completely revamped back... but I wouldn't hold my breath.

One of the most anticipated cards to come out each year are the Young Gun rookie cards. I always am itching to see what the design will be like. When I saw previews of the cards I was a bit disappointed as they looked rather plain... but seeing them live out of the packs is a different story all together. The Young Gun cards this year are bright and vibrant. The card is very modern and reminds me just a bit of the 2009/10 Young Gun design. While that year had a retro-futuristic feel... these ones just have a futuristic feel sans the retro. The Young Gun logo makes me think of the Battlestar Galactica logo just a little. And the red harkens to the main Cylon color (sorry for those of you who can't relate to the sci-fi references!)... but anyways... these cards are sharp! It's simple, it's different, and they're great. I just hope that we will have equally great rookies on these cards... we might have to wait for Series Two though.

Base Card Design Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
Upper Deck always loads up it's Series One boxes with a large amount of insert cards. Each box will have memorabilia hits and a chance at an autograph... though those are much tougher to get. Inserts come in a variety of forms - from foil cards to textured to acetate. This year many collector favorites return. Let's take a look.

Coming back after a long absence are the Silver Skates inserts. Back in the early 90s, I remember wanting the die-cut Silver Skate cards SOOOO badly. In fact, I was extremely jealous of my cousin when he pulled an Eric Lindros Silver Skate out of a pack. Well, in my box I got two Silver Skates - Adam Henrique and Daniel Sedin. The cards are on all-foil board and are very shiny - sort of like the Certified cards I reviewed yesterday. While these cards are pleasant, they don't stand out like the originals did. I would have thought that Upper Deck would have given these the die-cut treatment as they had originally. That would have made the retro collectors like me salivate over them a bit more. Opportunity dropped here.

Unlike the Silver Skate inserts, the Canvas cards have an improved look to them. These cards feature even more unique photographs than their base card counterparts (who knew that could happen!). From what I have seen, the Canvas cards are horizontal and have a classy deep red border. Each card is textured and feels as a painting would. These cards are nice enough on their own to drive collectors into wanting a set of them. This would make a spectacular set to collect - it's great to look at and a challenge to put together - especially the rarer and higher valued Canvas Young Guns.

Chugging on year after year is the Hockey Heroes line. I've never been a huge fan of these cards, but apparently there are those that put this set together diligently each year. To me the cards could use a break, but I would never be opposed to pulling an autographed version of one of these cards. I believe the autographs are on-card and hand numbered. But other than those super rare gems, I usually just toss these cards in as extras when I do trades.

Game jerseys add a bit of value to the box. I'm glad that Upper Deck decided to change up the design just a little this year. Rather than the player amidst a graphic background, they are now featured in an action shot. I like it. It gives a bit more life and liveliness to the card that was missing in past iterations. These cards do not go for much... but sometimes Upper Deck is sneaky and super-short prints a player or two. Keep an eye out for that as well as their difficult to pull patch variations. The patches are serial numbered to just 25 each.

Upper Deck Exclusives numbered to 100 and Spectrum cards numbered to only 10 are popular parallel cards to find within packs of Upper Deck. Both versions are always a popular card to chase for player collectors. The Young Gun cards are especially hot. I always see prices of those ones rise.

Rounding out a box of Upper Deck Series One are the MVP insert cards. Upper Deck has chosen to include this now 'dead' set into Series One once again. Though MVP cards are fine looking, I personally didn't think they needed to be here. Are there really collectors out there clamoring for these cards? Maybe there was a petition out there demanding their return. I really don't know... but in my opinion these cards were completely unnecessary. I would have been happy enough without them.

As usual there are many more inserts to find in Upper Deck Series One. Though I didn't pull an autograph, I know they are out there for collectors to find. There are also serial numbered acetate cards randomly inserted. I guess you'll just have to buy some and see if you have better luck than me in pulling them!

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:

Overall Rating -
For the price of a box, I'd say there is some good value here. As I've stated in other reviews, the NHL lockout has hampered this product in terms of the rookie pulls... but I think there are other cards in Series One that are worth collecting. And this being a more value-priced product, it's easier to drop coin here than on other, more pricier rookie dependent products.

I had a lot of fun breaking the box and looking at all the cards. You really can't go too wrong with Upper Deck Series One... but if the NHL comes back... it'll be all about Series Two this year. I suggest having fun busting a box or two. If you like it, get some more. If you find the rookie selection too tepid, wait and hope for a better second series.

All-in-all though, I think Upper Deck has done a nice job with their flagship product once again. It looks great and boxes can hold a few pleasant surprises.

Solid as always!

Overall Rating:

Check out my box of 12/13 UD1 From D&P Sportscards:


  1. I love the design this year of the young guns and the ud game jerseys. Sweet pull with the kreider, probably the best rookie right now!

    1. Love the cards this year hope to open some soon love the silver skates


  2. Very nice design. The worst stuff is the silver skates and there still not to bad

    Youtube micerule934

  3. As always I love the look of the base this year, the UD Game Jerseys are much better than in previous years, I am not a big fan of the young guns design. I know they would never do this but I would've loved to see some young guns redemptions just to make it a little more exciting of a break. Congrats on the Kreider pull!

    Youtube: SuckYourHeadphones

  4. I really like Series 1 this year. The YG design looks awesome, too bad there aren't any big name rookies to pull.

    YouTube- TheEdgeHead41

  5. Bad young gun crop but you got kreider the best maybe? Nice clean design worst design is probably Silver skates. But nice box! !

  6. Im vancanuckman1234

  7. Upper deck is always a good product but because of the rookies this year I think they should turn down the price

    - 81leaffan -

  8. Cant wait for series two!!!!


  9. Nice, nice, nice cards. great photography. Nice Insert sets, and nice review!
    -YT - Skroeker24

  10. I like the set this year but it sis disappointing that there is not better young guns even though they cant have them in the product.


    Thanks for the Contest!

  11. I love this years base design,Young Guns are just okay, Silver Skates are a great new insert, the UD Canvas's have gotten worse though. I always love Upper Deck and I'm trying to collect all base and young guns from every year made.
    Youtube Username: MrHockeynut77

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. Great stuff this year, wasn't disappointed with any of the designs. I really liked the jersey cards this year, I agree with you in the fact they look much better with action in the background than a generic back. I also have always loved the backs of series 1 & 2 it makes the cards what they are.

    Great review and great Kreider, always love watching your stuff!

    We need some more Couture P/C btw!

    YouTube Username - Dan Ezard

  14. Very good product for having a weaker rookie crop. I like all of the inserts and am glad they did a good job with what they had to work with.

    YouTube - InkredibuI

  15. Always love the look of UDS1!your box was pretty lucky, I saw some breaks with no good young guns at all! anyways great blog and great videos!


  16. Nice card photography, love the young guns and MVP card set?

  17. Nice card photography, love the young guns and MVP card set!

  18. I, as always, love the base design of UD series 1 and 2! But, since there's no NHL season and not any hot rookies the value of the product have fallen a lot. Sure, it's not UD's fault, but still it's pretty the same content to a similar price. I would have like to see something like one guaranteed auto per box to compensate that!

    Youtube: Majlfp

  19. I think if they added 1 or 2 more autos per case this would be an outstanding product.

    aronowm2 on youtube

  20. I like all the designs that UD chose to do with this product this year!

    Youtube Username: mjhockeycards101

  21. Great review! I aslo agree, the silver skate cards could have a little more creativity to them.

    YouTube: Penguins6668

  22. Solid product. Huge variety on hits! Very neet looking cards and great photography! Always nice to see this product.
    Thanks for the contest
    youtube- NothinButHockeyCards

  23. Nice review love the photos on these cards and glad they have one of my favorite players' Young Guns in the product! (Sven Baertschi)


  24. Design is awesome, but young gun rookies this year suck-YouTube: Graboguru

  25. great review btw! i thing the 12-13 upper deck cards are more sharper and they have better pictures on them and the young guns are fantastic !

    youtube name: brandynzawadiuk

  26. As always look great review. I agree with you about the hockey heros part. It's getting a bit repetitive. I guess I would try a box of series 1 this year for the silver skates insert and I always love the UD Canvas cards.


    Youtube name: arrivingfern57

  27. I think the base cards look like the ones from 06-07, and I like the look of the Young Guns even though you cant get Yakupov and the Silver Skate inserts look very unique.


  28. I've liked the base of upper deck series 1 and 2 the most out of any hockey card set and even keep a checklist, because the photography is so great. Ever since the canvas cards premier last year, I'm even more drawn to the photos. It's affordable and fun to open. Prob the best.
    Thanks Luke,

    YT: ryannturnaa

  29. nice review love the base this year


  30. i love series 1 this year. i like the look of the silver skates and the diecuts.

  31. always love series one , good young guns in your box yt=davidcrockweLL123

  32. great review. i always love series 1, especially the base cards

  33. Very nice looking set this year, I love the Young Guns design, very modern and sleek. Thanks for another outstanding review and contest!

  34. Nice photography


  35. ive always liked S1. IMO its super clean looking, and worth it value-wise!

    YT - canucks112785

  36. i love the base more color though Mpb7771

  37. series 1 is mind blowing.username.Erik Karlsson

  38. series one is excellent.username is steven stamkos

  39. Nice cards going to buy a couple blaster a and hobby pack of this


  40. Nice review I just hate it that the nhl season is not here


  41. nice product probally going to buy a blaster of it thow

    1. Fergot my username

      Youtube Username Sports149

      thanks again

  42. Super interested in these. Got 3 boxes for an early family christmas. Too bad yakupov and them wont be in here. Well except if theyre in the trade redemption cards. All in all though im excited to break mine!

    Youtube: CHlacrosse97

  43. Nice Review and Krieder YG. Rookies arent that good this year...

    Youtube: LIGHTman7x

  44. I'm really liking series one for this year. I always pick up this product (it comes in tins in my area), both series one and two when in comes out, and now I can't wait to get a few tins. I really like the design of the young guns cards especially. Nice review Luke!
    Youtube: reimer134

  45. I really like the series products. They are always the coolest base ever!!!! I wish hits where easier to come by. The only thing i do not like is the hockey heroes. It looks the same as last years design and i dont realy like the heroes set. 7/10. I wish there was more hits.

    Youtube: Capitals103

  46. I walays really like upper deck this year i really like the ud game jersey design cause i feel like for the past while they have looked the same happy to see the change!


  47. really like how they tweated the design this year for not only the base but the inserts and memorabilia cards. only bad thing is that because of the lockout, the young crop is poor which really hurt the series 1 release this year. hopefully the lockout ends soon so that series 2 has a chance to shine