Box Break: 2017-18 Upper Deck Trilogy

S’up, y’all? Let’s look at another box of cards I wasn’t willing to pay full price for. This is another “four cards per pack, eight packs per box” hobby box which seems to be the going rate for products sitting around the just-above-C-note suggested retail price. 

Upper Deck Trilogy Hockey has been around for a quite a while now,  at least since 2003-04, and has typically put out some quality cards, with exciting hits above the Upper Deck Series One and Series Two bench mark. Have they kept the ball rolling this year, or have these cards taken a step back?

All Your Base (Cards) Are Belong To Us

There are a whopping 50 base cards in the whole set. That’s it. And one of them is Wayne Gretzky, so that shouldn’t even count since everyone else is a modern player. Why Wayne-o is included in this grouping in his Oilers uniform, I have no idea; it’s not like anyone is buying a pack of these to get his common card. It probably has more value as a bookmark than on eBay. If my cat was giving me the *HUCK. HUCK. HUUUUCK* warning that a hairball and breakfast are eminently destined for the carpet and I only had seconds to spare in order to toss something under the feline to catch the spit up, I wouldn’t think twice about using this card other than it possible being a little too small.

But you didn’t come here to read about my cat’s digestive issues; we want to talk about cards. At first glance, the base cards look OK. There’s this gold cloud-like mess interrupted by a plain white swoosh, and then an embossed gold foil wave of lines (and dots) between the mess and the cropped action shot of the player.

Good Lord, I hope I never have to describe this card to a blind person — that was an awful description, but it’s really not a flattering card. If you look at one card, it might look alright, but they don’t change anything for the rest of the 50 cards at all. Same pattern for all 22 cards I pulled from this box, over and over again. You could dump them on your grandmother’s linoleum kitchen floor and they’d probably disappear through the magic of camouflage.

The backs are equally uninspiring featuring a further crop of the same front picture, a maximum of five years stats, the career totals and little interest of anything else. Except…it tells you which hand they shoot with, right or left (or catch with, in the case of goalies). In short, if you bought a pack of these and only got base cards, I feel for you, son. Some of the pictures they used were really unflattering too. But not bad enough for me to make fun of. NEXT!

All Your Base (Cards) Are Parallel to Us

Oh, 50 base cards just too basic for you? How about some parallels to collect? Much like the rainbow effect that O-Pee-Chee likes to put on some of their cards, these drop the Trump Tower level of gold for blue overtones and they slap a sticker of indicating xxx/999 numbering.

Otherwise, nothing has changed. If there’s any less inspiring than a sticker autograph on a card, it’s a sticker number. The one thing I’ll give them is that put the stickers on straight; I’ve had some that were applied notable crooked.

Any-who, got three of these cards in this box: MAF, Jonathan Drouin and Jeff Carter. Woot.

STOP! Rookie Time!

Now there are 33 cards in the Tier 1 Rookie series (there are 3 tiers, BTW), and I pulled Boston’s Anders Bjork and the ‘yotes Christian Fischer. These cards feature the rainbow effect again, but with a different gold pattern behind the player.

Also the number sticker again. The backs feature their 2016-17 stats as well as a little blurb about some about their play, so that’s OK. Frankly, compared to the base cards, these look fresh.

Those Jersey Devils…

Two jerseys popped up, P.K. Subban and Colin White who is a rookie. P.K.’s card has that saaaaame swirly mess as the commons as well as the saaaaaame picture, a sticker number out of a round 500, and a ding in the card just below the T & R in “Trilogy.” Nice.

Colin’s is similar the other rookies, and both feature a statement on the back saying, “Congratulations! At least it’s not just another common card! But only just.”

“Oh Hi, Mark!”

Finally, we come to the standout card of the box, the new Signature Puck series featuring Mark Scheifele of the Winter-peg Jets. This extra thick card, that I can almost guarantee with not fit in a standard card sleeve, features a round cut out with a mini puck that’s hand signed in gold. It’s also hand-numbered in blue; evidence that it was numbered by some faceless lackey at Upper Deck. Still it’s a nice card and it’s different.

I’ve seen cards that had pieces of game-used pucks embedded in it (sometimes, not the puck that was used in the game the card was highlighting) but Upper Deck went out of their way to make a little mini puck with the team logo for the player to sign, so I think that’s pretty unique. The fact that it’s got the Jets logo makes this a parallel card; the common puck signatures are just on black piece of rubber, which looks boring.

Does it mean you should run out and buy a box of 2017-18 UD Trilogy? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Signature pucks are 1:18 packs and can typically be had for $10 to $15 on eBay. Some that feature Hall of Fame players can go for $99, about the cost of the box it came in. Is it worth the gamble when you can buy it on eBay?

Conclusion?

Lazy. Lazy as my cats. Beyond the puck, this is an awkward box of cards that really brings down the heritage of the Trilogy cards of the past. Repetition is also a theme that dives deep once these cards are inspected closely.

The hopes that the gold coloring might drive up the buyer’s prospective that these are fancy leaves me drawing a parallel (since this set loves parallels so much) of the McDonalds McMega-failure Arch Deluxe. “It’s got ‘Deluxe’ in the name, everyone will buy the Quarter Pounder with Big Mac sauce thinkin’ its high class!”

Well unless these hobby boxes come with a Happy Meal toy, I think you’ll be seeing them on the discount tables at card shows in the years to come. For a rating, I’d have to get them a …

*Huck…HUCK..HUUUUCK* NO NO NO NO!!!!

Gretzky….SAAAAAAVES!!!!

Jim Howard is a Carolina Hurricanes fan and reformed baseball card collector who is trying to keep the hockey collection from becoming overwhelming. And while he wishes he could give Crosby the business with his mitt, he is in fact NOT the goalie for the Red Wings. 

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Author: Jim Howard

Hockey enthusiast who pays the bills as a traveling geologist. More of a lover than a fighter, he's a fairly cheap date; just ask his wife. He'd prefer to be outside in the rain that stuck in the office on a beautiful day.

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