This is a new release for me, despite it being around for the past few years. I was aware it existed, but it never really interested me. I’m not sure how much was because I just wasn’t aware of what it was, and how much was because of the after season timing. Once I saw the cards this year, I knew I wanted to explore them a little more.
The base cards for the set feature the regular flagship design, but the borders include a clear holiday theme. It’s much more than just a snowflake variation now. It’s a fun diversion, and fills a cheaper price point, similar to Opening Day. These were released as a Walmart exclusive, which is including in much of the set numbering.
There’s not much new to say about the Topps Update release. It provides a nice end to the year of collecting during the playoffs. I know Topps releases products year round, but starting with series one of the flagship all the way through update provides a nice bookend for the season.
Maybe I just haven’t paid as close attention before, but the set does feel much more rookie heavy than I remember. That’s not a bad thing, but it seems a lot of them have barely been in the league. The base set contains 300 cards with the usual assortment of SPs, SSPs, and parallels. There are also a number of inserts sets, many of which are along the same line as those from previous releases. Unfortunately, the numbers start over again.
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.