Upper Deck MVP is usually the first new hockey card set to hit the shelves, and this year was no exception. The 2022-23 MVP Hockey set was released in early September, roughly one month before the season started. MVP is relatively-affordable and easy enough to put together, usually weighing in at 200 base cards and 50 short prints.
A hobby box of 2022-23 MVP costs around $60. Each box has 20 eight-card packs for a total of 160 cards. Although I reviewed this set in an episode of the Puck Junk Podcast last month, I thought you might like to see what is inside a hobby box of MVP.
So, as Mr. Owl once said, “Let’s find out!”
110 Base Cards
I got 110 base cards in my box — 55% of the 200-card base set. None of the base cards were duplicates of each other, which is how it should be. Cards use the typical “from the knees-up” photos that we usually see on sets like MVP.
Most hockey cards are usually a bit light on stats these days — maybe listing the last five seasons and career totals, or just the most-recent season and career totals. But the 2022-23 MVP Hockey set is a bit strange because it does not have ANY stats on the back. This is because the cards were in production while the 2021-22 regular season was still being played. Instead of stats, we get an extended blurb of text, as well as vitals like height and weight.
10 Short Prints
Every other pack had a short-printed card, which was either a rookie card or a card of a superstar player. There are 50 total short-printed cards in the 2022-23 MVP Hockey set.
20 Ice Battles Parallels
The Ice Battles parallel cards in this year’s MVP set stand out in a good way, replacing the bright blue border trim colors with “safety orange.” Last year, the Ice Battles and regular cards looked too similar, so it was easy to mistake an Ice Battles card for a regular card. I appreciate that Upper Deck made these Ice Battles cards quite obvious that they are parallels. Plus, the orange coloring makes it feel more like a gaming or CCG card. Ice Battles cards were one per pack for a total 0f 20.
Look at that — Ice Battles cards have stats! Well, kind of. Ice Battles cards rate a player on attributes like Speed, Strength, Skill, and Awareness, much like they are rated in the “NHL” video games by EA Sports.
5 Silver Scripts Parallels
Silver Scripts were found once in every four packs in my box of MVP. In case you don’t know and can’t tell from the above picture, Silver Scripts cards feature a facsimilia autograph, embossed on the card in silver foil ink. They also swap out the blue border details for silver foil details.
The back of Silver Scripts cards also use silver ink instead of blue ink on the borders. I like when parallel cards have differences on the back, too, because it makes them stand out more and is especially helpful when sorting them.
4 Retro Inserts
Upper Deck reached back 20 years and borrowed the design from the 2002-03 MVP set for this year’s “Retro Parallel” insert set. And no, there are not any stats on the backs of these, either.
4 Domains Inserts
Hands down, Domains is my new favorite insert set! Domains show a player, sans head gear, in front of their country’s flag. AND THEY’RE SHINY! I’m a sucker for cards that feature country flags (think 1963-64 Parkhurst). Bonus points because these are photos taking during the anthem and not the usual “deer-in-headlights” portrait photos. The shiny foil board just adds to the coolness of these Domains inserts. I wish I got 20 of these in my box
instead of Ice battles instead of just four. 😀
2 Encounters on Ice Inserts
On the other hand, I am not a big fan of these new Encounters on Ice inserts. They’re kind of boring. It pictures two players from opposing teams, but not necessarily heated rivals such as, say, Drew Doughty and Matthew Tkachuk, or Zack Kassian and Matthew Tkachuk — or pretty much anybody and Matthew Tkachuk. Personally, I would have liked to have seen the Mascot cards return this year as MVP inserts instead of introducing these Encounters on Ice inserts.
3 Pinpoints Silver Inserts
Pinpoints inserts are designed to look like a hockey net in a skills competition, with a target in each corner. Thankfully, the red of the net’s posts and crossbar is instead a muted whiteish color, which helps to draw your eye to the player.
1 Pinpoints Gold Inserts
There are also Gold parallel versions of Pinpoints because Deck gonna Deck.
1 Retro Parallel Die-Cut #/250
Usually, the “hit” in the box of MVP is a parallel card that is numbered out of 25, or sometimes even 5. But apparently, this was my “hit” — a Colors and Contours Retro Parallel of Troy Terry, numbered out of 250. Specifically, this card is numbered 1/250, so this one’s a keeper for me! I have a little side project called “One in a…” where I try to get a card numbered 1 out of whatever, i.e. 1/1, 1/2, 1/3, 1/50, 1/999, etc. And it just so happens that I didn’t have a 1/250 in my collection.
Other than not getting a low-numbered card like a Super Scripts (#/25) in my box, and the obvious lack of mascot cards, I have no complaints about this year’s MVP set. I enjoyed opening my box, a base set would be easy to put together (maybe two or three boxes), and the 50 short prints won’t be too hard to track down, especially since MVP is also sold on the Upper Deck e-Pack platform. I can do without Ice Battles, though I understand that some collectors like them and kids actually play a game with them. The Domains and Pinpoints insert sets are eye-catching new additions to MVP. Overall, MVP is a good set for collectors to whet their appetite until the bigger sets like Series One and O-Pee-Chee come out later in the season.
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk. ■