Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2012-2013 Upper Deck SP Game Used Review

Oh no! It's SP Game Used! $180 for six packs of cards with dollar valued jerseys in them! Wait... that's not what SPGU is like this year! Upper Deck has heard the cry of hockey collectors around the world, and have revamped SPGU for the 12/13 season. The price of the product is cheaper, and with a lower print run... things are looking quite promising for this long running Upper Deck brand.

Base Card Design -
As part of the 'SP' family of products, the SPGU base cards have a SP Authentic-ish look to them. Generally speaking, they are clean, predominantly white, bright cards. For whatever reason though, the SPGU base cards tend to look a bit busier and less elegant than their SP Authentic brethren - and that's the case this year as well. These base cards feature a modern bright white background with geometric shapes. The team's colors create a 'winged' look towards the bottom of the card. I am a fan of matching card colors to team colors - it looks cool - except when a player that has been recently traded is shown in their former team's uniform. Case in point: Jaromir Jagr. If you get a chance, check that card out (card no. 72)... the Flyer's orange and white scheme clashes completely with the green highlights on the card. That aside, one part of the base card I really like is the bottom portion. Upper Deck uses a textured silver foil to enclose the area showing the player's name, position, and team. It really sticks out as a premium touch on these cards.

The back of the SPGU base cards are nothing to write home about. It has room enough for 5 years of stats and all the pertinent basic information that appears on just about every other trading card. Again, like the front, the back is clean... but there's nothing that really stands out about it. The same image on the front has been cropped and used for the back and there is no extra write-up of the player. It's just the back of a card... but Upper Deck could have put a bit more effort in here.

I did not pull a rookie card in my box of SPGU, but that might not be uncommon this year. Taking a cue from Panini's Titanium, rookies in SPGU this year are serial numbered to the player's jersey number. This interesting twist in rookie card numbering may cause quite a stir for SPGU this year. It'll be interesting to see how collectors react to this. Will they go nuts like they did for the Titanium rookies last year? We'll just have to see... but keep in mind that the rookies included in SPGU are the hold-over rookies from last year rather than the bigger names yet to skate.

Base Card Design Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
Each box of SP Game Used will come with five packs... and in each pack there should be either an autograph or memorabilia card. The box states that there should be at least one autograph per box. Like last year, there are many different types of memorabilia available to find.

The standard jersey card in SPGU stands out quite a bit more than they did last year. These cards feature a fairly large image of the player above their game-used jersey swatch. I much prefer the larger image of the player to a smaller full body shot. The coordination of team colors to the background and borders is also a sweet touch. Though these cards are rarely valued at more than a few dollars, I enjoy the look of these cards enough to be happy with them in my collection. Upper Deck did a great job this year in making the look of these cards more bold and pleasing to the eye.

Multi-swatch memorabilia cards are nothing new in SPGU. Like the standard jersey card, these multi-swatch cards feature a sweet modern design. You can tell that the multi-swatch and single swatch cards are related intentionally. Collectors who go for sets of SPGU would really appreciate that. Interestingly, the card I pulled of Rick Nash and Mike Richards is not numbered. There is definitely a space at the top of the card for serial numbering, but this card doesn't have it. It makes me wonder if the original intent was to have numbering or not. According to the sell sheet these cards are unnumbered... but that big black spot at the top makes it seem like the card is missing something. That 'something' being numbering, of course!

My autographed card was of Penguins star goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. I was happy to be able to pull a player I personally collect, but this design left me a bit wanting. I think the very small area for the player's image is what makes me enjoy the card less than I would have usually... it just feels cut off a bit. But other than that, I am happy with this card. Personally, I enjoy pulling established veteran stars over unproven scrub rookies, so this was very nice. The Inked Sweaters autographed jersey set features different numbering for different players. Some are numbered as high as 99 and some as low as to only 10.

This Letter Marks card of Jonathon Blum I found in my box had to be a bonus auto hit. Occasionally Upper Deck will insert cards from the previous year that they were late in receiving back from players into new products as bonus hits. This Letter Mark was supposed to be in 11/12 SPGU, but I got it in my box. It was nice to pull out more than just the one guaranteed autograph from my box.

As usual, SPGU has a ton to offer in terms of memorabilia. Two of the new card types to be found this year are authentic Stanley Cup Finals net piece cards as well as NHL logo shields. Both of these should be exciting for collectors to find in their boxes. Fight straps, skates, gloves, sticks, and of course patches are other fun things to look for this year.

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:

Overall Rating -
I have to say that Upper Deck has made some excellent choices in changing SP Game Used this year. Though there is one pack less per box than last year, there is also a very significant price change for the better. Rather than closer to $200 per box, this year's product is now near the $100 mark. Upper Deck has also publicly stated that this year's print run has been dramatically decreased due to the (now over) NHL lockout. So due to these factors, 12/13 Upper Deck Game Used looks to be a real winner.

Last year collectors complained at how watered down in jerseys the product was. I agreed. It was downright scary to buy a single pack of SPGU. Now, there is still a chance of pulling a single jersey card, but at least this year it won't cost as much... and I believe there are better chances at pulling nicer cards out.

Some might say that Upper Deck has copied Panini's Titanium's recipe for success. Well, that might be true... but hey! A good idea's a good idea. I'm glad Upper Deck decided to tweak SPGU in significant ways. It went from a product I would hesitate to recommend to one that I definitely would tell collectors to get a box of.

Overall Rating:

Check out a few box breaks of SPGU down below!


  1. I definitely like SPGU thus year. Last year I was not too impressed... This year has changed my thoughts. First off, I have heard around that SPGU is supposed to be competing with Titanium with the jersey numbered rookies and what not. I would have to say SPGU killed them and I think many people would back me up on that. Overall, I like SPGU.
    As always, thanks to Luke for keeping us entertained and for being so generous in his giveaways!
    Youtube- NothinButHockeyCards

    1. LOOKS better then last year only the ferseys i dont like


  2. I like the change up this year to SPGU.
    I like the basic Fabrics the slightly different look.
    I somewhat like how their are team Canada cards in each box. I wonder if any of them are numbered?
    All around a nice product but too expensive for some collectors other then that I love it.


    1. yes there are numbered team canada jersey cards. cloutsnchara pulled a simon despres out of 3

  3. the base cards look way better than last years. you always have such good boxes!

    Youtube: jtayl132

  4. Hey there,

    not a huge fan of this product. I didnt love the base cards, nor did I think the inserts were much to write about. I did like the messier and the Fleury but the other jersey cards looked plain to me. Maybe if they were numbered they would have a bit more cache to them. Always love the breaks though so keep them coming.

    Congrats on 500!!

    Youtbe: Dan Ezard

  5. That Bollig auto is an awesome pull! The Messier and Fleury are really cool too. Looks like a fun set to collect. I like the inclusion of retired players.

  6. Love this break

    Thanks again XplodingmonkE11

  7. My first impression with the whole design was it looked cheap and plain, especially the jesey and base cards. Not liking the non-numbered auto's either. I like the case hit stanley cup final net cards, those are beautiful. Are they 1 per 8-box case? The price point makes so much more sense than last year. In that way, I'd say it's an improvement.

    yt- ryannturna

  8. love SP game used


  9. i like the disign last year i had a lot of luck hopefuly the same this year


  10. Great design. Gotta get a box or two. Its has great value for the price. I also love the team Canada jerseys.

    Youtube name: vancanuckman1234

  11. Looks relay great! Think i'm gonna buy a box! And i agree with your review!
    Youtube-Orbehockey cardcolect

  12. Its Irbehckey cardcolect!

  13. Big improvement over last year's SPGU! I'mm be picking up a box later today. Thanks for the review!

    - jpbboyle

  14. Best spgu ever. Better price and better cards

    YouTube micerule934

  15. I agree - a cheaper price point, more limited numbering, and all GAME USED jerseys make this a much better break than in the past. Base cards are decent, but the backs look a little mailed-in. Thanks for the review!
    YT- CjMac270

  16. I think SP game used is a great product. It is very balanced with the hits and you get some pretty unique cards like you always seem to get one crazy card or one that just pops out at you.


  17. I think the product looks really cool, and it was nice to see you get an awesome Fleury PC hit! Awesome review also!


  18. This product looks pretty nice, and the Draft Day marks auto cards look pretty cool.


  19. Great looking product, well worth your money!

  20. Great looking product, well worth your money! Youtube: Graboguru

  21. UD make good choices to change this product, hard to resist for a box... I buy a pack today at my LHS but saturday when pucks gonna drop everywhere... I think I'm gonna open my wallet a bit more! I don't have any choice!

    Thanks for sharing!

    youtube: Jean-Claude Des Champs

  22. Great looking product, love reading all your reviews.
    Youtube: bmurphy1325

  23. I think this years SPGU is alot better then last years. Loving the multi jersey cards, and the net cards.

    Youtube: edge88000

  24. The base and jerseys are very boring. But I love the dual jersey and the other crazy hits you can get.
    Youtube- MrHockeynut77

  25. I love the revamped SPGU based on what i've seen so far. ALthough unfortunately even with the lowered price, it's still hard for a kid like myself to be able to afford a box.

    As always thank you very much for the review. I love the details and care you put into them, it makes it easy for me to make up my mind on whether I like the specific set of cards or not.

    My Youtube username is : NashPredators35

    P.S. Pekka Rinne is my favourite player :)

  26. I always love SPGU its one of the higher end products every year rkesler101

  27. Can't believe UD added shields into the product! I think there's been a huge improvement in SPGU compared to last year's. There's higher chances of pulling some mojo, but buying a box could be a hit or miss. I've seen several other breaks, some were very outstanding and some were horrible. The designs are too plain and simple, but on another note, I'm glad they lowered the price to a more affordable one for the average collector. SPGU seems like an average product to me, so but I believe it's better than from past years. Nice review, Luke!


  28. 12 13 spgu is about 10 times better than 11 12 bigger jerseys and more exciting pulls, nice reveiw,


  29. Great Product.Username is Erik Karlsson

  30. Excellent product.good hits.short printed cards.Youtube username is Steven stamkos

  31. so nothing with a jersey on it is numbered? just patches and auto/mem cards? i think this is pretty weak. they might as well have just put UD game jerseys in the packs as fillers and save money on printing new designs.

  32. Looks like a good product! I'll definitely be buying a couple packs of this. The one problem I have is that some packs are so thick it won't even take 10 seconds to figure out where the patches are. YouTube = capecodunicycles

  33. Good review! The product however looks like the card backs are straight from O-Pee-Chee, which cheapens the image in my opinion.

  34. great looking product!!!


  35. The jersey card design is not great (if you compare to Titanium those doesn't look that good. But one of the worst things are the base design. A very light, pretty ugly design, and a picture where you can see their skates (that just looks weird to me). Come on UD you can better! But that's not the main reason to buy SPGU. Some of the bigger hits looks great, and it's very good that the price and amount of produced boxes is lower this season. Many of the boxes have at least one nice hit in it this year!

    Youtube: Majlfp

  36. spgu this year is okay. As always it's a great product to break, but for the price and the results one can get, it's meeeeh. Solid box btw Luke :) Great break!


  37. Great product and good looking cards. For me im happy the price is good enough,About 100 dollars for a box is good!

    And thanks again for making videos, always entertaining :)

    Youtube: MrThendro

  38. Spgu is nice product. Great cards like youre Shanahan.

    Youtube 64AllSports

  39. SPGU really looks awesome this year! I agree that the base cards are a little bit lackluster but I think the modern look of the GU and AU cards make up for it. This is definitely a good product to buy by the pack if you can't afford a whole box. Thanks for another great review!

    YT - blackhawks61895

  40. SPGU looks Awesome, I really like that Game used jersey. Too bad the boxes are so expensive. Probally will buy few packs.

    Youtube: Sports149

    thanks for the contest

  41. I am a big fan of spgu this year. HUGE improvement over last year. I will probably pick up a box of it this year!

  42. I love this product this year but it is still to expensive for me!

  43. Better than previous years.
    Many will disagree with me, but SPGU is still a terrible product unless you are breaking a case. The only positive of it is the Jersey #ed rookies.

  44. i really like this product, ive seen really nice patch cards and TONS of letter cards come out of it. if it was released in a year like 11 12 with an amazing rookie class i would buy lots of this product.

  45. Sp Game Used is so much better this year! I remember watching box breaks of it last year and just cringing when somebody opened it. (Except the one you opened with the Luongo genuine letter,) but this years is much better, still don't like the amount of jersey cards in it but hey I like it.

    YT: SuckYourHeadphones