Monday, January 14, 2019

2018-19 Parkhurst Hockey Blaster Box Break

Well, they've finally made the Big Time!

I usually buy this series as a means to acquire many cards that I can get signed, but the 2018-19 Parkhurst set by Upper Deck finally feels like a quality set: the cards are thicker than in the past, the design drifted from the usual green-based contour, the player selection remains decent and the sub-sets are original!

What an improvement!

First off, here is what the regular-issue cards look like:
They're reminiscent of old Victory or Topps Total sets, just a tad glossier.

Among the usual sub-sets, I pulled twelve Rookie cards: Maxime Comtois, Brady Tkachuk, Isac Lundestrom, Tomas Hyka, Dylan Sikura, Anthony Cirelli, Casey Mittelstadt, Robert Thomas, Oskar Lindblom, Henrik Borgstrom, Maxim Mamin and Brett Howden:
I also landed six All-Star Game cards, of Anze Kopitar, Pekka Rinne, Jack Eichel, Braden Holtby, Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid:
I found it a bit weird that the All-Star cards showed the same five years' worth of basic statistics as the regular-issue cards when they could have shown All-Star Game stats instead, but I guess UD had other things in mind.

More, uh, original inserts included Original 6: Past, Present & Future, of which I pulled Jonathan Toews:
Don't get fooled by the scan, this one is actually a silver foil, not predominantly blue, as is the Parkhurst Permits series (again, Toews):
There was another sub-set of rookies dubbed Prominent Prospects, of which I lucked into Eeli Tolvanen, Brady Tkachuk and Dillon Dube:
For these as for the rest of the set, whenever a card also has a picture on the back, it's the same picture as the front, but with a different crop.

One set that looks cool but is just a pretext to feature the same stars in different angles is View From The Ice, although the signed versions (which I didn't pull) look even better:
These would feel at home in Upper Deck's Tim Hortons sets... That's an extra card of Alex Ovechkin, Jonathan Toews and Auston Matthews.

The most original insert is Tis The Season, as can be seen on this Auston Matthews card:
There are also two Checklist cards (and I got both); they feature Ovechkin and Matthews.
You probably see where I'm going with this...

Pro: great hand feel.
Con: too glossy.
Pro: great player selection.
Con: awful collation, as can be attested by all the Toews and Ovie cards (and way too many Matthews cards).
Pro: finally worth $30 for 120 cards (12 packs of 10 cards).
Con: 220 total cards in the regular set, so why bother with TWO checklists?

It's a terrific buy. If I had $30 to spend on more cards this year (and just $30, not a multiple of $30), this is the box I'd spend it on. It exceeded my expectations and, in doing so, surpassed Artifacts and O-Pee-Chee as the affordable set to buy. This is a solid 8.5/10.

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