Saturday, January 11, 2020

2019-20 Upper Deck Series 1 "Mega" Canadian Blaster Box Break

I didn't receive any of Upper Deck's flagship 2019-20 Series 1 cards for Christmas this year and felt they were overpriced compared to other products (namely Parkhurst and O-Pee-Chee, and Topps's Stickers set), so I was ready to wait until a good deal presented itself, and I felt that it did in the form of this "Mega" Blaster Box because of the Canadian Exclusive extra, which we'll get to later:
Here is what the base cards look like:
The Justin Schultz card on the left shows the diversity of jerseys one can find in these, and the Brent Seabrook card on the right shows that the back displays the player's complete career statistics as well as a short blurb, regardless whether said player is a rookie or a veteran - none of that "past five years" crap. It's a very glossy set as well, so great for the eyes, a headache to get signed; collector advice: even erasing multiple layers of gloss may leave signatures a bit smudgy.

As usual, the set features amazing photography:
I was able to land a couple of insert cards, including a couple of Young Guns, Danil Yurtaykin and Josh Brown:
I also fell upon a Canvas card of Josh Bailey:
There was also a Shooting Stars card of Brendan Gallagher:
I was under the impresion that these concerned mostly young guys, but veteran Gallagher is a bona fide star and likes to shoot the puck, so that works.

One insert I can definitely do without is UD Portraits, which are at best creepy and/or tacky, and for goalies wearing their masks, utterly useless, as can be attested from this Henrik Lundqvist card:
Which brings me to the bonus two-card pack of Team Triples, which for some reason shows only player (the Vancouver Canucks' Quinn Hughes):
I pulled two historically tough teams, the "Broad Street Bullies" Philadelphia Flyers (featuring Claude Giroux, Carter Hart and Nolan Patrick) and the "Big Bad" Boston Bruins (with Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Tuukka Rask):
I'd have been more interested if they'd been signed or jersey cards, but as it stands, they're trade bait or Ebay-ready, hoping they find someone who'll show them more love than I can give them.

All told, I got 74 cards: 9 packs of 8 cards for the regular Series 1 set, and the two Team Triples, for $44 ($37 plus sales taxes) - two hours of work at a good-paying job and just under four hours of work at minimum wage (before income taxes, so roughly three hours at a good-paying job and five at minimum wage). Not as nuts as a concert or hockey game ticket, but a significant enough investment that it's likely not an impulse buy.

The cards look and feel great, and they're perfect if you're looking to build a set, and UD even made unannounced variants of two dozen cards where the players are depicted in another jersey and oftentimes in a differnet orientation (vertical vs horizontal), giving it more collectability.

However, between the retail packs, fat packs, retail boxes, hobby boxes, regular blaster boxes and special-edition blaster boxes, it really feels like the 2019-20 iteration is over-produced in the same way that Pro Set cards used to be; it sells at a higher price than it used to but isn't rarer. I don't feel that any of the cards I pulled are worth the 50 cents I paid for them, and wouldn't be surprised if once the mass-production numbers come out, this set's value falls off a cliff.

Despite all of this, I'm not exactly underwhelmed by it either; I'm just not super-excited.

It's slightly above "meh": I'm at 7/10.

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