Upper Deck Black Diamond is the first high-end hockey product to come out. Upper Deck packs Black Diamond full of 'innovative' inserts as well as a the full rookie class for 19/20. Each box comes with two packs - a single card Exquisite pack and a thick pack of Black Diamond cards. The boxes of Black Diamond run a shade under two-hundred US dollars... so... not cheap.
I honestly haven't been a fan of Black Diamond since it's changeover from a mid-tier product. The cards are definitely more premium, but the value really isn't there in terms of what you get in the pack. Though there is some nice memorabilia content, there are also cards that are nicely made 'insert' cards. They may look nice, but collectors don't seem very enthusiastic about them. My thought is that Upper Deck is trying to elevate insert cards so that they have more collectability. Sadly, I don't think they have caught on much. I find that collectors are disappointed when they see these cards - even though they can be quite good looking in design.
Speaking of insert cards, back again are these fake patch cards. These jumbo manufactured patch cards have been in Black Diamond for a couple years now, but I really wish they weren't. To the unsuspecting collector, this card could be considered a 'sick patch', but this patch was never part of a jersey. It was just sewed up by Upper Deck and inserted into the card for collectors to create a team logo puzzle. It's a big waste of space and something that I've found collectors to really dislike. At two-hundred dollars a box, who's going to put these puzzle cards together?
On a positive note, you can find all of the 19/20 rookie crop here in Black Diamond. In Upper Deck Series One, you only got a portion of the best rookies. Here in Black Diamond you get pretty much all the tops guys. The standard Rookie Gem card is well designed and has a unique look that is pretty impressive. The more rare rookie gem cards have actual diamonds embedded in them. Though I'm not a huge fan of this trend of putting diamonds into cards, it does work for Black Diamond since diamond is in its name. Plus, the cards really do look quite nice.
Being a very early season release, there is no way that Upper Deck could put game-used content of the rookies they have in the product. The relic cards here are all player-worn - but that's expected. I'd much rather get a card like this than that big jumbo fake patch.
Autographed content in Black Diamond is available, but I've seen some breaks that have no ink in them. To me that's sad. The autographs look great even thought they come on a sticker. The gold ink really pops and having each card serial numbered is a nice touch. I'm definitely liking the autographed content here.
Exquisite packs will yield lots of rookie content. Many of the Exquisite cards feature serial numbered rookie cards. These thick cards have a nice premium feel to them. Besides those rookie cards, you can also find memorabilia. I was lucky enough to find this Carey Price patch card. it is a gorgeous card with a great patch embedded in it. I definitely feel that I got lucky with this card!
- Great looking card designs.
- All the top rookies are available.
- Actual diamond rookie cards look good and have nice value to them.
- Insert cards are not a hit with collectors.
- Manufactured patch cards are not a hit with collectors.
- The price point is not a hit with collectors.