Base Card Design -
Opening up my first pack of Ice was quite the surprise. I totally forgot about my experience with Ice last year when they made all the base cards acetate. For whatever reason I still feel that the Ice base cards should be on standard cardboard. But that's just my bad memory coming into play. These base cards look absolutely fantastic. The blue tones used on these cards are perfect for the brand name, and I love the modern graphics used to enhance the photo. Like with many Upper Deck products, there are both current and retired players in the set. It's kind of cool seeing Terry Sawchuk in a black and white photo on this modern acetate card.
The only bad thing about acetate is the what it does to the back side of the card. There is a lot of dead space that is created because of the acetate and the way the card is designed. Backs are limited to just one small stat line with all the vital information shoved onto one side of the card. I suppose it was the best the designers could do with it though.
To me the Ice Premier rookie cards have always looked great. This year isn't any different, but because the standard base cards look so good, I think it takes away a little bit from the uniqueness of the Ice Premier rookie card. They feel a little underwhelming to me in comparison to years past. Perhaps Upper Deck will have to find a way to make these even better in the next Ice iteration. Maybe they could be on thicker acetate? Here's an idea... have the better tiered rookie cards be on progressively thicker stock. Put that idea in the bank!
Base Card Design Score:
Boxes of Ice promise one hard-signed autographed card and a memorabilia card. Other packs may contain Ice-Premier rookie cards, Exquisite Collection cards, or other inserts. With only eight packs per box, each pack should have something in it besides base.
I love the fact that Ice has some insert cards in it. Insert cards seem to be diminishing in products, so every time I see them I get a little happy that they are still around. Global Impact cards feature the player in front of their country's flag. If you've been reading my reviews for long, you know that I love cards with flags on them. And it's no different here. I am a big fan of this card and this set. I'd love to get some more of these.
World Junior Championship cards are a way to add more cards of young talent into the set. These cards also have a country themed look to them as well as serial numbering. The design of the insert here is a bit busier than I prefer, but the card still looks great and holds up well to the other cards featured in this set.
My jersey pull from the box was a Rookie Relic Jumbos card numbered to 299. Though this card doesn't have any 'see through' parts, it is still made with glossy acetate. Though the swatch on the card is relatively large, I'd hesitate to call it a jumbo swatch as many manufactures use jersey pieces bigger on a regular basis.
I was fortunate enough to pull a nice player autograph of Dylan Larkin... but unfortunately it was on a redemption. The Glacial Graphs are typically all acetate cards with an on-card autograph. This was definitely my best card from the box and it was a very good card to get. I'm quite happy with this card.
The Exquisite card in the box was this base card of Bobby Orr. Exquisite cards are the cream of the Upper Deck crop. Upper Deck has sprinkled Exquisite into products before, and it's nice to see them here in Ice. These cards should be very popular as Exquisite is on-par with cards from The Cup.
This hobby box yielded a nice rookie autograph, a standard jersey card, and a nice Exquisite base. I think I did pretty well, but those who are able to find patch cards or Ice Premier rookies numbered to 99 would be doing even better!
Overall Rating -
Ice really packs a punch this year. It is a bit pricier than most mid-range products, but Upper Deck has put some very good quality into this product. Ice has definitely been my favorite product of the year so far. The cards look great and it truly is an exciting product to open... and that says a lot, actually.
Many of the products I have opened this year have left me feeling 'meh' afterwards. And no, it's not just a lack of getting anything really great. The products overall have just been middling, and it feels as if Upper Deck is just sitting back and not trying very hard to improve its products. But Ice has given me some hope. I really do like it this year and would love to be able to get my hands on some more of it. I definitely recommend this product even with its steeper-than-other-products price.
Check out my box of Ice here: