Monday, September 14, 2020

2020-21 Upper Deck Hockey MVP Blaster Box Break

It's my birthday, and I'm lucky enough that next season's first set of hockey cards are already out despite the fact that the current season is still underway, so Covid-19 may be ruining the economy, but there is no stopping Upper Deck from shoving their 2020-21 MVP collection down our throats - and suckers like me falling for it.

Right off the bat, there seems to be too many colours - and way too many cold colours, too much blue on the packaging, and I'm not only referring to Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs donning the box for some odd reason... didn't they technically miss the playoffs this year, and di he not fail to win hardware again

For the record, there were 105 cards in this box: 21 packs (20+1) of 5 cards each. The base cards look like this:

As usual for this set, the back shows the bare minimum: five years' worth of basic statistics (games played, goals, assists, points, +/-, penalty minutes and powerplay goals), plus career totals, birthday, birth place, height, weight and shot side. Oh, and how to pronounce their names, or a decent approximation to someone who isn't paying attention.

Some of the cards have the company information on the front of the card - that's because, as is customary with MVP, there are "pretend-inserts" of "puzzle back" cards, where a combination of 9 cards will make up a larger version of a regular-issue base cards, and these cards of Anze Kopitar, Max Pacioretty and Jacob Markstrom fall into that category:

As usual, there are the Silver Script inserts, represented here by Miro Heiskanen, Anthony Beauvillier and Mitch Marner:

I also pulled one Gold Script card, of Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno:

There were a couple of Gold Script "Anniversary" cards of Sidney Crosby and Brent Burns, though:

One insert set that seemed new to me was the "Teal" (or "Green") variant, like this one of Artemi Panarin:

Even better were the four "Teal"/"Green" rookies, though, Kiefer Bellows, Nikolai Knyzhov, Keegan Kolesar and Jonas Johansson:

There were also your typical sub-sets, like this Net Crashers foil card of Jonathan Toews:

And another Crosby card, Mirror Mirror:

As usual, I like that it's an early set, even though it's less and less affordable as the years pass - I don't know that a kid with pocket change or a paper route can afford the $45 for 105 cards ($35 plus taxes) it costs to get in on roughly a third of a set - but for a teen, for a curious adult or an autograph seeker like myself, they do the trick.

The collation was good this year, fewer doubles than I recall from years past although they're going to start running out of ways to insert Alex Ovechkin, Crosby, Toews and the rest of last decade's stars at some point.

I give this one a decent 7/10.

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