SmackDown is a new release for 2019. It’s not clear if it’s directly because SmackDown is moving to Fox after years on USA. Tonight is the beginning of the draft to fully separate Raw from SmackDown for the new future. The new roster may not reflect this release very well, though. This release matches the Raw release from earlier in the year,
In years past, Topps had two major releases, using the standard baseball design from that year. This changed this year. There seem to be two main releases again, representing Raw and SmackDown, but they are using unique designs for each. The Raw design was rather lackluster, but the SmackDown one stands out a lot more. I still wish they were the same, but unfortunately, that’s not the case.
This has turned in to a pretty standard release before a new movie, but it’s starting to feel like it’s going back to the same well too many times. The throwback blue starfield design recalls the first series of the 1977 A New Hope release, which was nice once. Now that it seems to show up for every new movie, it’s losing some of its shine. The 110 card base sets features all the main movies, as well as some teaser pics from the upcoming release.
The base set features a number of parallel starfield colors, but they really don’t seem to parallel the original release very much. There are a few insert sets, including schematics and stickers. The box contains 24 packs of 8 cards, and includes two hits, one of which is an autograph.
I don’t really have much to say about Archives. It doesn’t really feel to me like it’s needed, when there is a Heritage release. In recent years with all the tributes to sets from the 80s showing up in the flagship release, it feels like reusing old designs is getting overdone.
Archives usually focuses on three designs. This year, the main designs are 1958, 1975, and 1993. We also see 1978 Record Breakers, as well as 1994 Future Stars. The base set features 300 cards, with an additional 30 Short Prints. Unlike some of the other releases, the SPs seem to be pretty achievable.
Heritage High Number is essentially a traded set for the original Heritage release from early in the year. We once again see a lot of rookies from this season, along side traded veterans.
There aren’t really many surprises in this release, but that’s not what the set has ever really been about. Most of the insert sets are continuations of sets from the first release. While the hits aren’t really the focus, there is one hit advertised per box. The hits are mostly relics, but there are also a limited number of on card autographs also included.
A box contains 24 packs each with 9 cards. Each box includes either an autograph or relic card.
This is one of my favorite every year. I like the baseball focus, but with the inclusion of a lot of randomness. It feels like there is a little bit less of that this time around. Dreams of Blue Ribbons is a step in that direction, but the rest seem fairly normal.
This year, there were apparently some distribution problems. While many people still received the product on release day, it took until the following Monday for me to be able to get it. While waiting for it to arrive, another product was brought to my attention that I may have to look at. It seems it has a lot of what I like about Allen & Ginter, but I’ll have to see for myself.