Sunday, November 16, 2014

Retail Review #127 (11/12 Panini Pinnacle Blaster)


I've opened up quite a bit of Panini Pinnacle on Retail Review episodes, but they haven't gotten boring yet! These blasters are very affordable, contain hits, and are great fun to open. It's awesome to find them at such good prices now.


Price - 
$5.95

Packs - 10
11/12 Panini Pinnacle Packs

This blaster box was once $20 to buy at a retail store. I got this one for about six dollars at dacardworld.com. That is a great deal. These blasters come with a pretty decent amount of cards, and includes great looking base cards, several inserts and parallels, and a hit to top it all off! These might be the best deal you can find in terms of discounted retail boxes. This is a blaster that I already know I'll enjoy - I'm just looking forward to seeing what's in it.

Let's go ahead and open this box up:


Review -
What a fun box to open! This box came with a lot of variety in terms of card types and card images. Pinnacle's photo selection could even rival those from Upper Deck Series One and Two. They are that unique! There were several times I just had to stop and look at the photo on the card. For collectors who enjoy photographs, this is definitely a must see set.

Besides the inserts and hits, I was also able to get two NuFex foil parallel cards from this box. It was nice to get one rookie card and also a standard parallel. I've always enjoyed the look of these cards and am happy to pull them out whenever I open up Pinnacle.

Here were my favorite cards of this break:

Top 3 Cards


#3 - Paul Stastny/Matt Duchene Card No. 3
I like the look of these Foundation Tandems cards. Usually I'm not a fan of multi-player cards, but these have a clean and fresh look to them that is enjoyable. If I'm not mistaken, these cards were only available in retail.


#2 - Jordan Eberle Card No. 8
Canvas cards are very popular nowadays, and for good reason... they incorporate some nice art and textures into their design. Eberle was one of my favorite players out of the 10/11 rookie class and pulling him is never a bad thing in my opinion.


#1 - Steve Ott Card No. 25
I'm not a Steve Ott fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I am a fan of getting hits out of blasters, even if they are just jersey cards. The Threads jersey set may be a standard jersey card, but the design is colorful and full. These are nice looking cards.

Overall Value -
For six dollars this blaster of Pinnacle was a great deal. I thoroughly enjoyed the breaking experience and got some nice cards out of it. I'm sure these blasters won't be around forever, I'd take the chance to get them now while they are dirt cheap before they are all gone! These are top quality, well-made, cards that may not be rare, but they are solid hockey cards to add into any collection.

Let me know what you thought of my break in the comment section below. Have you ever pulled anything good out of one of these? I'd love to hear about it.

Overall Value Score:
8.5/10

Look for a new episode of Retail Review every Sunday!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Retail Review #126 (09/10 Upper Deck Champs Blaster)


I began collecting hockey cards again during the 2009/10 season, and I remember Upper Deck Champs really well. It was a product that was very similar to some Topps baseball and football products at the time. There really hasn't been a set much like Champs in hockey since it was discontinued. That's too bad, I liked it quite a bit!


Price - 
$9.95

Packs - 12
09/10 Upper Deck Champs Blaster Packs

Champs is an eclectic mix of many things. You'll not only find hockey players, but also historical figures, items, and even animals. The cards come on an O-Pee-Chee-like old school card stock, which adds to the nostalgic and classic feel of the cards.

Mini cards found one-per-pack was one of the main draws of Champs. Collectors could expect to find one mini card per pack. Both the mini cards and the standard cards had parallel variations, some of which were extremely difficult to find.

Champs was a very polarizing product as some collectors loved it and others really hated it. I was one of those who really enjoyed the set, and wished it never left the shelves. I'm very excited to see what comes out of this particular blaster box of cards!

Here goes:


Review -
What a fun break! This blaster had a wide range of interesting cards and even a hit! I was very pleased with the results of this break and enjoyed it thoroughly. There aren't too many cards per pack, but I was able to find quite a few different parallel variations of cards. The most common variation was the lighter blue/teal base card parallel. A few of those came out.

In the mini cards, I got two rookie cards. The rookie cards come with a golden border and ornate design that really stands out. It was great to get some big names out of the mini card pulls from this blaster. Kim Campbell, the chirostenotes pergracilis, and the Statue of Zeus were the three non-hockey related cards from the box.

There were lots of cards to choose from, but here were my top cards this week:

Top 3 Cards


#3 - Joe Thornton Card No. 280
It's always great getting nice Sharks cards to add to the PC. This particular card is a great addition in that it is unique and I think looks very cool. This break makes me want to get more of these mini Sharks cards into the collection.


#2 - Nik Antropov Card No. MT-NA
It's so surprising to find a hit in retail! This mini card is of Nik Antropov when he was with the Thrashers. It's funny that I've been pulling more Atlanta cards as of late. 


#1 - Patrick Roy Card No. 253
Usually the hit in the box is the top card, but I think this red back parallel of Patrick Roy tops that. Roy is a legend, and these red backed cards are not easy to pull! This is a very sweet pull.

Overall Value -
Champs is such a fun product. The original price was twenty bucks, and I probably would break down and buy it for that price even today... but luckily, they are heavily discounted online. For half the original price, these blasters are great fun to break and don't break the bank. If you're wanting to try a product that's a little off center, I would highly recommend opening up some Champs!

Let me know what you thought of my break in the comment section below. Have you ever pulled anything good out of one of these? I'd love to hear about it.

Overall Value Score:
9/10

Look for a new episode of Retail Review every Sunday!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

2014-2015 Upper Deck Series One Review

I love the time in the hockey season when Upper Deck Series One comes out. This is THE set that all hockey collectors no matter what will get at least a bit of during the season. Upper Deck's signature set is consistently beautiful and a great celebration of the game on ice.


Base Card Design -
Upper Deck does not go wrong with this iteration of Series One. The cards are clean and crisp and 'oh so beautiful'! The photographs pop off the cardboard with a glossy sheen. As Upper Deck has traditionally done with this set, the cards are all about the photographs that adorn them. The images are stunning to look at, and it's a thrill to just flip through the set and enjoy the pictures. The graphical elements on the front of the card are minimal and out of the way. They compliment and provide a nice frame for the card. The fonts and colors used are very modern... really a superior design.


The Series One backs do a great job of utilizing the front elements, but overall the card backs don't excite too much. It's a very traditional Upper Deck card back that looks good, but doesn't overwhelm in terms of eye appeal.


The Young Guns this year come with a fresh and exciting look. The look this year is a bit reserved, but I really did enjoy the actual 'Young Guns' marquee that was used this year. The silver foil and the light blue work well together on these cards. My only complain about the Young Guns cards is that if you go through the card quickly in the pack they can be missed as they have a similar feel and look to the standard base cards. Other than that I would say that these Young Gun cards are a great addition to the overall Young Gun card line-up.

Base Card Design Score:
9/10

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
If you're buying a hobby box of Upper Deck Series One you can expect to find two memorabilia cards and a smattering of inserts and parallel cards. Though Upper Deck can be considered a mid-lower-end brand, Upper Deck has inserted some very short-printed and extremely desirable cards for collectors to find.


One of the the sweetest looking insert cards that came out of my break of Series One was this blue parallel Wayne Gretzky Shining Stars card. The card looks like a jewel shining in the light. Standard versions come on a silver foil backing. These Stars Inserts remind me a little of the insert cards once found in Upper Deck SP products in the 90's. There was definitely an emphasis on making a card really good looking first and foremost back then, and these cards do just that.


The Hockey Heroes set is back... AGAIN. Ughh. As you can tell I'm not a fan of these cards. Though I like the fact that there is a set that runs through each set of Upper Deck every year, these cards just aren't that great looking. I'm definitely tired of them. Many of the past Hockey Heroes sets have been of retired players. It's a bit strange to see guys like Alex Ovechkin adorning these cards.


Canvas parallel cards have also been put into Upper Deck packs. These popular cards have a canvas feel to them and feature even more unique photographs than their base card counterparts. I see these cards as being very popular again, especially the Canvas Young Guns... collectors seem to go crazy for them each year.


My box of UD1 had the standard two jersey cards inside it. It's nice to be able to pull hits out of Upper Deck, but these jersey cards tend not to fetch much in terms of money value. In terms of design, these Game Jersey cards look good. They are colorful and actually remind me of a base card design with a jersey on it. Super short-printed patch variations of these cards are the ones to really look for in boxes.

Autographs and other short-printed cards are also available in Upper Deck Series One this year. I would have to say that the box I opened was a typical box. If you're able to pull an autograph out of this product, you're doing pretty well. Some of the most desirable pulls this year will be of hand numbered buy back cards from the 90's.

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:
7.75/10

Overall Rating -
As a set of hockey cards, you can't go wrong with Upper Deck Series One... it's just so solid! I would say, however, that many times this set lives and dies by the Young Gun class that it contains. If there isn't a stand-out Young Gun to be found, the set value usually suffers a bit. That being said, there are plenty of goodies that Upper Deck has put into this set of cards that should make collectors drool over.

Upper Deck Series One is a set that I would recommend purchasing 'just because'. And that's the way it is.

Overall Rating:
8.5/10

Check out my box of UD1 from D&P Sportscards in Sacramento, Ca:

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Retail Review #125 (12/13 Upper Deck Series 1 Blaster)


2012-13 was one of the worst years for hockey cards. That was the year of the lock-out, and the card sets released that year were cut short. No big name rookies have really emerged from this year's set of cards. I do remember buying these at my local Target for the full $20 asking price. Man... that was expensive!


Price - 
$6.95

Packs - 12
12/13 Upper Deck Series 1 Blaster Packs

Will anything good every come from this rookie class? Well, I guess I can't call it a rookie class in that the featured rookies were hold-overs from 11/12. But there's always a chance a sleeper will emerge! I guess the one good thing about this year was that most of the cards can be had a heavily discounted prices.

The main draw of a card product every year are the rookie cards, but with no desirable rookie cards, collectors only have the veteran and retired stars to look forward to getting. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. Pulling a big name like Crosby or Gretzky from these products would still make for an amazing hit.

Let's open up this blaster and see what it has inside:


Review -
I was a bit surprised at the amount of inserts found in this blaster. My recent Upper Deck Series 1 and 2 blaster have really skimped on the insert cards. But this one had an insert in just about every other pack. Though UD has amazing photography to carry the set, the inserts found can really break things up a little and make the pack busting a more fun experience.

Though I didn't pull anything very big, I found myself enjoying this break more than I thought I would.

Here were the top cards of the break:

Top 3 Cards


#3 - Warren Peters Card No. 230
I mentioned in the video that this year's Young Gun design was amongst my favorites of all Young Gun designs. I love the clean white and red color scheme. It definitely has a future/modern feel going for it.


#2 - Matt Watkins Card No. 242
I got my 2 Young Gun cards from the box that were expected. I've heard of Matt Watkins... that's more than I could have said for Warren Peters... so that's why Watkins gets the second spot in the top three.


#1 - Logan Couture Card No. 40
Well, all of you know that my PC player is Logan Couture,  so getting an insert card of his will most likely be in the top three. It's always nice to get the player you collect in a pack.

Overall Value -
It's pretty hard to recommend 12/13 Upper Deck Series 1. There just isn't much there to look forward to, however, I was able to pick this blaster up for under $7... which is pretty darned good. I guess at that low of a price point it's an ok buy.

Let me know what you thought of my break in the comment section below. Have you ever pulled anything good out of one of these? I'd love to hear about it.

Overall Value Score:
6/10

Look for a new episode of Retail Review every Sunday!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

2014-2015 Panini NBA Hoops Basketball Review

The basketball season is here! What better way to kick it off than to pick up some packs of Hoops? Hoops has been around for a very long time, and it's been popular since it was first released in 1989. Panini has given Hoops a bit of an upgrade this year. It definitely looks to be of higher quality! Let's see what this venerable brand has come out with this time around.


Base Card Design -
Oh no! It's the dreaded low-end white border! I am not a fan of white borders, but somehow these base cards overcome and actually look quite nice. Hoops has a nice glossy front with a minimal design that harkens back to the very first set. I am a big fan of having the team color represented on the front as well as just a little bit of foil to give the card a bit of pop. I was also pleasantly surprised by the quality of the photos they used in the set. Panini has really stepped up its game in that area with their lower-end products. I found myself really enjoying the images on these cards.


I wish I could say that the backs of these cards were as good as the front. But I can't! Panini used a design that they had from other low-end products in other sports. This design gets the job done in terms of stats, but that's really it. It is such a spartan and boring design! I really wish they had changed it up and done something better.


Rookie cards don't differ too much from the standard base cards, but are different enough that they stand out well from the other cards. Rookie cards are denoted by a small foil RC logo in the bottom left corner. The players are also set on a black backdrop. You can definitely tell the rookie cards apart from the others when you go through them in a pack. I like that.

Base Card Design:
8.5/10

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
Boxes of Hoops have a huge mix of inserts and hits. Pack busting is very fun as many packs have multiple insert cards to be found. I was surprised at just how many different insert sets were included this year. Along with the inserts there are also quite a few parallel versions of these cards.


The first kind of parallel card I noticed were these foil variants serial numbered to just 399. The cards look great with the all-foil embossing, and numbering is decently limited as well.


Another foil parallel comes in the form of a square shaped pattern. These cards look pretty good too, but they don't have serial numbering. Often you'll find both these parallels and the serial numbered ones in the same pack.


Yet another parallel card are these sparkly gold bordered parallels. These also look pretty good and are eye catching, but I'm not sure why we need so many different parallel versions of the set. I think it's a bit overkill. And if that weren't enough, there are red backed versions and parallels of the inserts too! So many parallels!


One of my favorite inserts from Hoops is the Lights...  Camera... Action! cards. These cards feature some really unique photographs of the players. The cards do not have borders, and that really gives it a photographic look.


Class Action inserts have a pleasing design as well. I love the huge words in the background. There have been similar designs like this in the past, and I'm a sucker for every one of them. These cards feature standout players from specific draft classes. It's a pretty novel idea!


The NBA Playoffs and Finals have a dedicated set in Hoops. These cards feature foil and serial numbering! I am loving how this lower-end set has plenty of cards with serial numbering and foil touches. The standard numbering on these cards is to 2014. Very appropriate!


The autographed cards in Hoops this year look very nice. Each card features a sticker autograph on foilboard. I am a huge fan of the way these cards look. There seems to be a huge variety of players in this autographed set and a ton of rookies as well. It's the perfect autograph card to be inserted into this product.


The memorabilia cards also come with foil! Panini has definitely led the way in terms of using foil on mem cards. Even though this is just a standard jersey card, the design of the card really pops and it is satisfying to pull it out of the pack. I can surely say that Panini did right with the hits you can find in Hoops this year.

Hoops has a huge amount of other inserts to find within its set. There is certainly no lack of variety with it. Collectors of all ages will find something that they will enjoy getting when busting packs of Hoops.

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:
9/10

Overall Rating -
I am very pleased with Hoops this year. It's an exciting product to open and enjoy. It seems like there is a bit of something for every collector out there. I think every basketball fan should get their hands on some packs of Hoops. The inserts, the parallels, and the hits are all great. Are they going to be worth a ton? Well, probably not... but there is always a chance of hitting a big low serial numbered rookie!

I would definitely recommend NBA Hoops this year. Snag a box and enjoy it!

Overall Rating:
9/10

Check out my box of this year's Hoops Basketball: