Thursday, December 12, 2013

2013-2014 Upper Deck Black Diamond Review

Upper Deck brings Black Diamond back with more rookie cards than ever. The top states that there are at least four Rookie Gems to find per box. Also to be found are real gem relic cards with real diamonds... exciting! And similarly to the past couple of years, collectors can look forward to an Upper Deck Ice bonus pack featuring the acetate Ice Premiers rookie cards. This year's Black Diamond seems to be chock full of exciting things to find. Let's hope it delivers!

Base Card Design -
If you are at all familiar with Black Diamond releases, these base cards will feel instantly familiar. The Black Diamond base cards come on thin foil-y card stock. There really aren't any foil cards like Black Diamond available - they have their own unique foil imprint that really does set it apart from all other hockey cards. This year's base card design is a bit border heavy as there is quite a bit of space taken up by the border at the bottom and left side of the card. I don't mind it though. The large bordering adds some weight to card's look. The diamonds, which indicate the rarity of the card, have been placed in the bottom right corner. You can clearly tell if the card you have is a single, double, triple, or quad. Quad diamond cards this year appear to feature players in their All-Star uniforms like they last year. Player images are glossy and pop out amidst the signature Black Diamond foil. If you're a fan of the Black Diamond look, you're going to probably enjoy these once gain. If not, these aren't going to change your mind about them.

The back of the Black Diamond cards have an interesting look that I can't decide if I really like or not. The backs feature some geometric shapes and angles coupled with a color scheme that includes black, white, and a third color that colorizes the player photo. I like the design in that it gives of an almost retro-vibe... but at the same time the back's just aren't that exciting. I guess I expect Black Diamond to be shooting towards the modern and sleek rather than what I see here. The medium/large fonts used and overall look just take me back more than I want to go with Black Diamond. So for me, the backs leave me feeling a bit mixed.

The Rookie Gem rookie cards feature a similar, but obviously different design than the base cards. Many of the same elements are included, but changed enough to create a very different looking card. I actually really like the Rookie Gems this year, particularly the Rookie Gems logo. The font is spot on, and it kind of reminds me of the Transformers logo. I'm a sucker for the Transformers (especially G1 Transformers), so this appeals to me. The back of the Rookie Gem is what I expect from Black Diamond. It's clean and modern through and through.

Base Card Design Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
Black Diamond offers collectors quite a bit to find in their boxes. Autographs, memorabilia cards, acetate inserts, parallels, and bonus Ice cards are all a part of this product. And of course you can't forget the different kinds of diamond cards from the regular set as well!

Unlike MVP (which you can find in Upper Deck Series 1), Upper Deck Ice was a product that featured one of the most popular types rookie cards you could get - The Ice Premiers card. So unlike MVP, I am happy to get a little Ice bonus pack in my box of Black Diamond. While the Ice Premier card is the main attraction, Upper Deck has always done a great job of giving collectors nice Ice base cards as well. The Ice base retain the look and feel of the old Ice cards. They are foiled nicely, and have a great 'cold' look that prominently features white and blue hues. My only complain is that these cards don't have the tactile texturing that the older Ice base cards had when Ice was a stand-alone product.

This year's Ice Premiers rookie cards are again acetate. As Upper Deck has always done, the cards have a very clean and modern design. This particular design features two large curves that meet where the player image is. It does a nice job of drawing your attention to the player. Below the player is the Ice Premiers logo in silver foil as well as the serial numbering. Ice has always had the serial numbering printed with ink rather than foil stamping. It's neat that they have kept it that way release after release.

Jersey puzzle cards are again back in Black Diamond for your puzzle-putting-together pleasure. As you can see with the Jordan Eberle dual jersey card above, there is part of the Oilers logo. If you collect all the Oilers in the set, you can create a large logo. It's a neat idea, but one that few collectors actually go for. That being said, the card does look good, and the partial logo makes for an interesting looking background.

Stanley Cup Champion cards return as well. Collectors can find the 12/13 Champion Blackhawks or All-Time Great Campions on these cards. These relatively difficult pulls look pretty nice. The card is on acetate with the 'ring' design done in rainbow foil. If I were a Blackhawk collector, I would definitely try to chase down all these cards for my collection. As a Sharks collector, I'm not sure if I'm all that happy having pulled a Jamal Mayers card. I mean... Mayers was a Shark at one point... but this is not a player that I am excited to pull out of this set.

The familiar Red Rubies have undergone a slight change. The cards look similar to the previous year's iterations, but the numbering has been altered. In the past, these cards were all numbered to 100 - regular base and rookies. This year, the base parallels have been halved to just 50, while the rookies have been increased to 150. That's definitely an interesting change. It makes me wonder why Upper Deck decided to do that. Besides the red parallels, there are harder-to-get ones as well. Some of these feature autographs, and some rarer ones even feature real embedded gem stones.

All-in-all, Black Diamond has all the same things you have known and loved over all these years back with some improvements. Black Diamond is definitely not groundbreaking in its hit content, but collectors should feel at home purchasing and enjoying boxes of it.

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:

Overall Rating -
Like many of Upper Deck's products, Black Diamond comes out each and every year and continues to be a solid product choice. Little tweaks have been made to the insert content, but in general, it's what we all know (and love). Black Diamond certainly falls into the mid-lower-end category of products. Boxes will run much less than $100 per. While it can be boring to just get a couple jerseys per box all the time, the rookie content and potential to pull a rare parallel are certainly there. Black Diamond also contains some pretty sweet looking inserts like the Championship Ring cards, Lustrous Rookies, and Hardware Heroes.

Though Black Diamond won't set the collecting world on fire, it is a product I would definitely recommend based on its price and potential content. I didn't pull anything spectacular from my box, but I was still pretty happy with the amount of hits and rookies that it contained.

Black Diamond is definitely worth a look, and a good choice for collectors looking for a product to buy on a budget. 

Overall Rating:

Check out my break of Black Diamond at D&P Cards in Sacramento, Ca:


  1. Its a nice product again. It is loaded and revamped for this year. Last years Black Diamond almost pushed me away for good. This year delivered well and I am back to buying lots. I love how they added one more Quad this year. Every box that is opened is just pouring out major hits. Great Stuff by Upper Deck this year.

    Youtube: Starnsfan00

  2. These are some of my favorite rookie cards and it seems like you get a lot. Cool to look for the good rookies. Looks really cool this year

  3. Not a big fan of black diamond, but this years looks awesome.
    Youtube: Graboguru

  4. Not a big fan of black diamond of past, but i'm liking the added rookies and the big names helps. Have yet to hit a funky acetate card from this product or any major hit. The ruby cards look sweet, and the jersey cards look a tad better.

    youtube: ryannturnaa

  5. Looks like a lot of the legend cards are either triple or quad diamond cards I noticed. Nice break but the puzzle design on the jersey cards I don't really and never have cared for but great break none the less.

    YouTube: Brennan Osinski

  6. I'm a sucker for shiny things, and every year I love Black Diamond. I tend to skip Series 1/2 and go for Black Diamond instead. Simply a safe bet.

    - Reebz0r

  7. Love the look of Black Diamond but I hate busting the stuff.....Secondary sales are well below what box prices dictate so I usually grabs rookies a year or two after the fact.

  8. Beautiful gems! This is wonderful. Great review, I'd like to grab some of these cards for my collection.
    YT - Skroeker24

  9. The product this years seems a lot better last. Black diamond is always a solid product but these past few years I've felt that it was lacking excitement. I'm not sure if it's just the double rookie class but i feel more excited about this years black diamond.

    YouTube: andicardsnstuff

  10. Ive never been a big fan of black dimond but it looks like you did pretty well!
    thanks for the contest!

  11. wow you got like 5 quads last year it was only like 2!! very happy with this re amped product lots more value and fun to open for rookie collectors.

  12. I definitely like they added more quad diamonds this this, black diamond always a nice design I think and agree with what u say about the foil I wait all year to get a box or actually a couple boxes because love trying to put the puzzle jersey pieces together and trying get them all and the rookie gems prob one of the nicest rookies to get besides young guns my own thought. also want to try get all the Stanley cup cards because hawks are one my pc which is great this year lol and my youtube is ironjeep58

  13. not a big fan of the black diamond but they have improved over the years for sure but the puzzle peice jerseys didnt change over the years but the added a great touch the quad diamond and added the stanley cup type card to the box and great seth jones rc pull and great pull of couture for your pc

  14. I love the Seth jones card you pulled I think black diamond is a lot better because of the dual rookie class and the Stanley cup cards are very nice
    Youtube Josh k

  15. + The base design is very good, even if the foily thing is the same each and every year it's still feel fresh.
    + To shorten the print run for the base ruby cards is actually pretty good in my opinion. In that way the cards of the more etablished player may be more sought after as well?
    - The jersey cards is in my opinion identical with last season's variant. And I doesn't like it that much at all.

    Youtube: Majlfp

  16. I love Black Diamond this year ! Great look , great rookies and great value ! Double rookie class year keeps on getting better and better ! I am so stoked for the rest of the products !
    YT- CJ Jansn

  17. Great product and great video! Outside of Series 1 this is the product I most relate with. I always have enjoyed the base card design and the inserts always catch my eye. I would like to see them switch up the them for the jersey cards though, getting a little bored with the puzzles! Double rookie class though cant go wrong!!

    Youtbe - Dan Ezard

  18. Great review! Very thorough and made me really think in a new perspective about the product! It is a bit odd to change the ruby parallel numbering but it will be cool to go for the gem cards. The diamonds on the RCs are a bit strange though considering Jones was the 4th pick. The puzzle jerseys are nice but don't go with the futuristic and sleek black diamond design. I definitely agree that black diamond is not the best product but a nice one that delivers a good amount of value.

    YouTube: Penguins6668

  19. Not bad! Black Diamond is a fun product to bust, but its not for everyone.

    YT: Justin Fairbanks

  20. i like how u get lots of stuff and the base cards look really nice not bad at all might try a box out my self great review luke

  21. i really enjoy this design and idea, if it wern't threw the roof expensive for a kid like me. I'd buy this non stop

    Name - Hahamansr

  22. cool box!

    Youtube: thejerseycards

  23. I really do like the base card designs, both front and back. The jersey cards remind me of last year, kind of repetitive. Maybe with the double rookie class UD decided to add 50 more to the ruby gems. Great review!
    YT- bmurphy1325

  24. I was never a big fan of the black diamond box I always liked the singles but buying a box seemed like a waist of money. This year might be different. You get a ton of rookies and the jerseys seem to have better players.