As a hockey card collector, I like chrome sets. I missed out on the whole Topps Chrome Hockey era in the early 2000s, and am envious whenever I see baseball card collectors get shiny sets like Bowman Chrome and Topps Chrome each year. I liked some of Panini’s chrome cards, especially Prizm from 2013-14. I also like O-Pee-Chee Platinum cards by Upper Deck. So, I was intrigued by Upper Deck’s new Allure hockey set, which was all about the shiny, reflective cards.
I recently busted a box of 2019-20 Upper Deck Allure Hockey cards. It was only eight packs, so it didn’t take me too long. Here’s what I got:
Base Set & Inserts
The 2019-20 Allure Hockey base set has 100 cards — 60 veterans and 40 rookies. The base rookies seem to be pretty easy to get. But don’t worry; there are also short-printed rookie cards for those who love hard-to-get rookie cards.
18 Base Veteran Cards
Allure cards are printed on a shiny foil stock, much like O-Pee-Chee Platinum cards. The cards feel like a cross between Platinum and Upper Deck Ovation — a set that usually pictures a player emerging from some sort of round shape. Since the cards are reflective, they usually appear black when scanned, but are silver in color when seen in person.
11 Base Rookie Cards
The Allure base rookie cards feature 40 of the season’s best first-year players, including Quinn Hughes, Kaapo Kakko and Cale Makar. So, if you are looking to pick up some RCs of these players and not spend a lot like you would on that player’s Young Guns card, Allure is a good set to collect.
2 SP Rookie Cards
Since this is an Upper Deck set, of course there are going to be short-printed cards that are harder to find. Allure has 35 short-printed rookie cards; you might get one or two of them in a hobby box. However, these 35 players are also found as base RCs, so why bother? Seriously? Why do I need to have two of the same player in the same set? It doesn’t really make sense.
1 Iced Out Insert Card
Another card that looks better in person is this “Iced Out” insert of Auston Matthews, that features the Maple Leafs superstar against a deep blue background. The design remind me of the Topps “Coast-to-Coast” inserts from the 2002-03 Hockey set, in a good way. There are 25 “Iced Out” cards, which fall about one in every 16 packs, so I beat the odds here. Considering how hard it would be to put together, “Iced Out” isn’t a set that I would go out of my way to complete.
4 Allure Top 50 Insert Cards
And now we have an insert set of the top 50 rookies for the 2019-20 season. More cards of rookies, although these may not “count” as rookie cards to some collectors. Personally, I’d rather have a few more base rookies to finish the 100-card set than these cards.
The box boasts “New Product with Incredible Hits.” Let’s see how incredible these hits were.
Max Jones Top 50 Autographed Jersey Card
All right! An autographed jersey rookie card. Or maybe it’s not really a rookie card but an insert card. Semantics. This card has a three-color jersey swatch, though the back does not say if it is game-worn or event-worn. Max Jones did play 30 games during the 2018-19 season, so a 2019-20 card *could* possibly have a swatch of a game-worn jersey from the previous year. But that’s probably not the case. The autograph is on a clear sticker that was later stuck to the card. I used to hate that. Now, I’ve begrudgingly have started to accept that practice.
Mathew Barzal Red Rainbow Jersey Card
Barzal was the NHL rookie of the year for the 2017-18 season, and the swatch is from a game-used jersey, so that’s fine and good. I just wish the swatch wasn’t white, only because it is distracting on what is otherwise a great-looking card.
Alexandre Texier Red Rainbow Jersey Card
Like the Max Jones card, this Alexandre Texier card does not use a swatch from a game-used jersey. I guess that is OK, but again, I wish the swatch wasn’t white. A white swatch would actually look fine on a standard, silver-bordered card. But on these Red Rainbow parallels, they are more of a distraction than a feature. Since Upper Deck is using event-worn jerseys on cards of rookies, can’t they at least use event-worn jerseys that are colorful?
Allure has a lot of parallel cards. I think they were the biggest detractor for this set.
4 White Rainbow Parallels
I get it. White borders and a rainbow background behind the player. White Rainbow. The borders are die-cut, as if being white and there also being rainbow foil wasn’t already enough. These cards look pretty cool. I would have liked these as the base card design instead of a parallel.
1 Joe Pavelski Red Rainbow Parallel
But now here lies my problem. There are other parallels. Besides White Rainbow and Red Rainbow, there are Pewter, Orange Slice, Green Quartz, Steel, Blue Line, Purple Diamond and Golden Treasure — though those are much harder to find. There are also Yellow Taxi parallels found in blaster boxes sold in retail stores like Target and Walmart.
1 Filip Zadina Pink Diamond Parallel
What I like about 2019-20 Allure Hockey: Attractive base card design. Relatively easy to get cards of rookies from this season. Almost half (4o out of 100) of the base cards are of rookies, with the rest focused on NHL stars.
What I do not like about 2019-20 Allure Hockey: Too many parallels. White jersey swatches stand out like a sore thumb on Red Rainbow jersey cards. Too many cards of the same rookies; why make short-printed rookie cards of the same rookies found in the base set? As per Hockey-Reference.com, there are 130 players who made their NHL debut this season. Why not include one of them, instead of putting two Kaapo Kakko cards in the same set?
Is there such thing as “Insert Fatigue”…? Because after busting this box of 2019-20 Allure Hockey, I think I have it. Otherwise, Allure is a great set. The card design looks good, I got three “hits” in my box — one being an autograph — and a bunch of rookie cards. If you like chrome sets, Allure is a set worth building. ■