Base Card Design -
Upper Deck base cards have always been clean and neat. This year's set is in that same vein. The focus of the card is on the photo. The team logo and player name nicely frame compliment the photo by not getting in the way. The foil accents and borders don't distract at all - they actually do a nice job of adding some nice flare to the elegant design. As always, the photos on the cards really stand out. They capture unique angles and great action shots - noticeably more so than last year. I feel the photos are a cut above and each card is really enjoyable to look at.
The card back is extremely clean, maybe too much? The font and stats are on there pretty small and there seems to be too much extra space that could have been utilized better. I still, however, appreciate that Upper Deck employs a full color back with the player photo. I also love the fact that there is a little write of for collectors to read. It's a great way to learn about the player featured on the front.
The star of the main Upper Deck set is the Young Gun set. Young Gun rookie cards are highly sought after by all collectors. One of the appeals of the set is the way they look. I'm always intrigued by what the next design of the Young Guns will be. This year's design is good, but I wouldn't say great. It follows the main set as the cards are clean, but there isn't anything about them that make them particularly special. I'd rank the look of these cards somewhere in the middle of the pack when it comes to Young Gun design.
Base Card Design Score:
Upper Deck boxes come with 24 packs. Collectors can expect to find plenty of insert cards, textured Canvas cards, as well as a memorabilia card. Upper Deck Series one does have autographs available, but they are pretty difficult pulls.
Like in previous years, the UD Portrait insert cards are back. These cards are all in monochrome and give collectors an up-close look at the player's face. This year's cards have a wider angle shot of the player whereas last year the headshot was much tighter. I like the wider perspective as it gives just a touch more context to the image.
Shining Stars add a colorful pop to the set. The standard Shining Stars are in a silvery reflective foil. Rarer versions like the red foil Ovechkin I pulled have a beautiful colored shiny background. The parallels are tougher pulls but I don't see these cards having a huge secondary market value as probably tons and tons of them were printed. In Series One you'll only find centers, left wingers, and goalies. Does Upper Deck have something against right wingers? Well, my guess is that they will appear in Series Two.
Centennial Standouts are inserts that commemorate the 100th anniversary of the NHL. The cards spans all eras of hockey and showcase some of the greatest players to ever play the game. This is a large set that has a design that could be used if it were its own base set is own release. Collectors who really love NHL history will love these and enjoy pulling all these cards together.
The Second Six insert set is an odd one to me. The cards look like base cards, but there is a foil logo at the top. The Second Six cards have a different back and are pretty tough pulls. Each card can be found one in a thousand packs! Yikes! There are other similar cards to these with some pretty hard pull rates. It really shocked me when I saw how difficult a pull it was!
The UD Canvas cards this year have a lighter look due to the yellow/orange motif in the border design. I like it quite a bit as it gives the Canvas cards a refreshingly different look than in years past. They sort of remind me of fall... which is great as that is the season we are currently in. These cards feature the signature texturing that they have always had. Base cards and Young Guns both get the Canvas treatment.
For collectors who just really want hits, Upper Deck throws in a jersey card at a rate about one per box. The official rate is 1:36, so there's no guarantee, but most boxes should have one. The UD Game Jerseys have been a staple in Upper Deck for a long time and they are nice hit to find when buying packs. These jersey cards don't usually hold too much value, but it's always fun to get a mem card.
As I mentioned before, autographed cards are in this product, but good luck pulling one. Clear Cut inserts are also here as well as other acetate cards. For being a mid/low level release, Upper Deck Series One really does have a ton of great things to find in it. The cards are tried and true and are great fun to collect.
Overall Value -
Upper Deck boxes come in at well under $100 each. It's a legacy product that doesn't rely on hits to have value. I love the fact that good Young Gun cards can be really worth quite a lot. Upper Deck Series One gives collectors the opportunity to really pull some great cards at a price that anyone can afford.
This years release continues the tradition of having a beautiful looking set with exciting cards to pull. Whether you buy by the pack, box, or case... there are good things to look forward to that aren't out of reach in terms of rarity.
Every hockey collector has to get their hands on some Upper Deck Series One. It really is a 'must buy' each and every year.
Check out my box of 17/18 Upper Deck Series One: