With Spring Training right around the corner, we get the first new signs of spring. After a very cold few days, any sign is welcome. It’s a fairly standard release, but it seems to have a few unwanted surprises this year. It seems the production has greatly increased once again. As a result, the chances at many of the number parallels are much more difficult than recent years.
Another unfortunate surprise is the apparent reconfiguration of the Jumbo box release. Aside from the more difficult odds for parallels, it seems many possible cards are either completely unavailable in Jumbo boxes or are on much steeper odds than the regular hobby release. In particular, the alternative image SPs and legends SSPs seem to be much more available in regular hobby box.
I’ve long avoided this release. It’s just never seemed to appeal to me. I decided to give it a shot this year, and it does end up being roughly what I expected. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it just may not be for me. The set contains 100 base cards featuring various events related to Raw, SmackDown Live, or 205 Live. Each of those comes in an assortment of parallels.
Alongside the events is a 50 card set with the WrestleMania roster. I noticed a distinct lack of women in the events portion, but they’re fully represented in the roster set. The only other inserts that seem to be in the hobby release are the Ronda Rousey spotlight set. The rest on the checklist appear to be from the different retail releases.
The box advertises 24 packs with 7 cards per pack. There are two hits per box, which includes one autograph.
As a follow up to the A New Hope release from 2018, Topps releases a new set featuring The Empire Strikes Back. When it first showed up last year, I wasn’t sure what to really think of it, but over time the release grew on me. The black & white photos bring a less familiar feel to the thirty-six year old images.
It follows the same format as last year, with a 150 card base set, parallels, and a few insert sets. There is nothing really surprising, but this is more about the images than anything else. This is going to be a tough set to put together from packs, however. A box contains 7 packs with 8 cards in each. Each box also advertises one autograph or sketch card.
There’s a bit of a lull right now for baseball releases, so it’s a good time to step back in time and open an older release. The lucky winner is 1994 Topps Series 2.
This is just as cards were getting a little more modern. Gone were the plain cardboard backs, and in were the glossies finish cards, with full pictures on the back as well. This wasn’t the first year of a glossier finish, but it was still relatively new, and a big step up from the 80s releases. While it was impressive at the time, it causes problems almost 25 years later.
While it is certainly not a unique problem to this release, many of the cards were stuck together inside the packs. There are numerous tutorials online suggesting ways to solve this problem, and we tried a couple of different methods. None of them were 100% effective. That’s something to keep in mind if you’re planning to open these releases. There’s no real high dollar card in this release, but I can’t imagine it would be very fun to pull a great card, only to find it damaged inside a mint pack.
This release has been sitting on a shelf for quite a while just waiting. I think it may be partially the hang over from the movie, and partially just being overloaded with releases this year. But now, some time has dulled my view of the movie a little bit, and that shouldn’t hurt the cards, right?
The second series restarts the card numbering back at 1, and this time features photos from action in the movie. It’s a small base set of 100 cards, but there are a number of insert sets, as well, sometimes falling as little as once per box. The base set has a set of parallels available. Many of the insert sets also feature parallels.
The box has a fairly standard configuration, advertising 24 packs with 8 cards per pack. Each box also includes two hits, one of which is an autograph.