Card image above taken from the Cardboard Connection
Base Card Design -
Sadly, I did not get a base card in my pack... and no, it wasn't because Upper Deck goofed. The base cards in SPGU are actually pretty tough pulls. Each base card is limited to the player's jersey number, and that's all there are. In fact, there is a base card numbered to just 1, so it is only possible for one base set to be completed in the entire world. To me, that's really weird, but SPGU is not about set building. It's really about collecting the players that you want, and now base cards are actually tough cards to get a hold of. I know I'll be trying to track down Logan Couture who only has 39 base cards. Though some may not like it, I applaud Upper Deck for going this route. They are thinking outside the box and turning something like the lowly base card into something that could possibly be chased. It's a bold move, but this is the direction I can see the hobby going as it becomes more of a niche market catered to people with deep pockets.
To add to the chase, the card with the player's jersey number (so in my case 39/39 for Logan Couture) will be autographed. These autographs are really one-of-ones as they are the only base cards that exist with an autograph on it.
The score I'm giving the base cards considers the difficulty to get of the card and the look of the cards I've seen online. In terms of the way they look, the base cards look very much the standard for SPGU. Even the italicized serial numbering is a shout out to previous installments of the brand. It's not a great or memorable design by any means, but that's not what matters here.
Base Card Design Score:
The front of the box says that collectors can find 5 autograph, memorabilia, or other premium hits per pack. In all likelihood, most of the hits will be jersey cards with maybe a patch and an autograph accompanying them. Base cards would be considered premium hits as they are now in rarer territory.
Though this is just a triple jersey card, I like it as it displayed three different jersey colors on it. SPGU contains quite a bit of all-star memorabilia from last season's game, and this is an example of that. Having SPGU come out right as all-star fever is at its highest was probably a good move for Upper Deck as fans may still be hyped about it. Actually, if it had come out last week it may have been even better. Oh well!
This medium sized jersey card is also from last year's all-star festivities. The jersey piece is presented on a pretty standard looking card for SPGU. The entire card is clean, but not very memorable. The muted grey colors don't help much... especially with plain jersey pieces. Thankfully, these cards also come in rarer patch variations. Having a killer looking patch on this card would work well as the dull background would help set the patch off more.
I got two of these Authentic Rookie jersey cards in my pack, the Eichel shown above and also Nikolaj Ehlers. Each cards comes with a pretty small piece of rookie photoshoot jersey as well as numbering to 399. Unlike the other SPGU cards, these ones stand out a bit more with its bronze look and foil highlights. It's just too bad they are regular jersey cards that probably won't be sought after too much.
The best looking card from my pack was an Inked Rookie Sweater card numbered to just 49. The patch on my pull was pretty nice and helps the card look a bit better. Though the card has a sticker on it, Upper Deck has done a nice job of making it hard to see. Overall, the look of this card is top notch with the patch. I just wish I had gotten a more notable player.
The pack I opened had some very standard hits in it. And that's too bad for me as I know there are some pretty spectacular looking things to find in the product. One of my favorites - Supreme Relics - features a very large piece of patch. There are also pieces of nets used in NHL events as well as puck cards.
My box of SPGU wasn't particularly great. For well over $100, I basically got 4 jersey cards and a patch autograph of a lesser known rookie. That certainly doesn't make me very happy. But I do understand that SPGU is one of those very hit or miss products... and it always has been. Even when it was a different configuration, SPGU was a huge gamble for collectors.
I actually still feel in a way that I am buying the old SPGU as I am still getting a bunch of jersey cards. I never bought SPGU by the pack anyways, so getting all the hits at once is pretty much the same opening experience. The only good thing is that the box price is a lot easier to swallow. Remember when SPGU was upwards of around $200? Yeah, crazy!
There is certainly the potential to pull some great things out of SPGU, and I like that the base cards have added value by being pretty rare, but I just can't recommend SPGU as a very good product. The box value just isn't there. You'll just feel ripped off way too often than you'd like with this brand. Moving on!
Check out my box of SPGU: