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Retail Review: 2011-12 Upper Deck Victory Blaster Box Break

September 14, 2011

Last week I was skimming through the many other hobby related blogs that I try my best to keep up on (admittedly I do a terrible job at times) and came across a handful of reviews for the only 2011-12 hockey product that I know to have been released thus far: Upper Deck Victory.

Given that I have only done six box breaks on this blog this year and not a single one of them was of a product anyone would consider being close to a “new release”, I was inspired to pick up some packs and do a review of my own.

Being behind the times as I often seem to be in this hobby, I only got around to buying those packs on Monday, picking up a blaster box from the local Toys R’ Us.

My review is a few weeks (or over a month in one case) behind those of the writers of such blogs as Card Boarded, Cards On Ice, Wax Stain Rookie, The Real DFG, and of course Beckett, but it is a (fairly) new release review nonetheless.

I’m trying out a new format for my reviews as well today, loosely modeled on the reviews posted by the ladies at A Cardboard Problem, shown in the Beckett Hockey publication, and the one I used for my very first box break review on this blog that for some reason I strayed from in all other

Moving forward I am hoping that these box break articles will be a little more structured, a few more visuals, and hopefully slightly less rambling.



Ratings & Assessments

Base Set – 3 out of 5

For the most part I like the base set.  The cards look very clean, incorporate the team colours well, and the player of whom the card is showcasing is the focal point of the card as he ought to be.  Though not pictured, the card backs look good too, providing detailed statistics and one of my favourite things on any card: a breakdown of how to pronounce the player’s first and last names.

Despite those things that I enjoy about the base set, its rating takes a major hit because VICTORY is plastered absolutely everywhere on these cards!

Normally I like products that neglect busy background imagery inherent to hockey photography in favour of showcasing a single player, but that quality in this product is negated by replacing it with a giant brand logo.  VICTORY appears clearly no fewer than four times on each card: twice on the front and twice on the back.

Overkill is an understatement!

Autographs – N/A

None available in this product.

Inserts/Parallels – 3.5 out of 5

I love the inclusion of the MVP brand as an insert set in this product.  The cards look great with the black and gold theme and give an added sense of value to a product that generally would not invoke that thought.

I made out pretty well with who I pulled, nabbing some top flight talent in Getzlaf, Perry, Malkin, Stamkos, and Green.  I even pulled a Rookie (albeit of someone I’ve never heard of), which are seeded at 1 in 18 packs, meaning I beat the odds with this box.

When it comes to the Game Breakers and Stars of the Game inserts however, from my perspective each have taken a serious step in the wrong direction in this year’s edition of Victory.  With the foil budget for the product apparently being blown on the MVP inserts, the other two sets that have been staples of the product for years are left looking like nothing more than subset cards, with little about them setting them apart as something special when compared to the base set.

Again though, my pulls were pretty decent, with a Crosby Stars of the Game and Malkin Game Breakers being the highlight pulls for me.

On a side note, I cannot understand why Upper Deck chose to replace the numbers on these two sets of inserts with the players’ initials.  I have never been a big fan of that approach in any product.

Memorabilia – N/A

None available in this product.

Rookie Cards – 1 out of 5

As is usually the case with each season’s early releases, my rookie card pulls were entirely made up of “cup of coffee” type of players.  I had literally not even heard of a single one of these players prior to opening this box and something tells me that I may never hear of them again, at least not while watching a hockey game on TV or following my fantasy teams.

While the rating is low as a result, it is really no fault of Upper Deck’s.  Collectors seem to demand the inclusion of rookie cards in each and every product these days and this is simply a reflection of the calibre of players that get called up late in the year.  With the next crop of top prospects not being eligible to appear on cardboard until they have appeared in a regular season game, this smattering of late-season call-ups named “Who?” is pretty much all that these to work with.

Quality Control – 5 out of 5

I had no issues at all in terms of product quality.  Every card that should have been in the box was and all were in mint condition, which is a rarity for me to witness based on my past purchases of Upper Deck retail products.

Overall Box Value – 3.5 out of 5

At less than $12 for the box, I think I did pretty well. 5 rookies and 12 inserts out of 11 packs is pretty good in my books. I can see set builders taking issue with that statement since it leaves only 49 of the 200 base set cards accounted for, but if you’re a set builder you really shouldn’t be dealing with blasters in the first place from my perspective.

There likely wasn’t enough in the box to recoup my costs by selling anything off in my eBay Store, but perhaps there’s enough people out there willing to make some trades that I can turn these cards into $12 worth of cards that I need for my projects and/or from my want list.

All in all, this was a fun break to kick off another season of NHL hockey and I look forward to breaking more packs and posting more reviews throughout the year!

If you are interested in buying or trading for anything you see above, all are available.  Post a comment, email me at, or connect on Twitter and Facebook.

Until Sunday, all the best in your collecting pursuits!


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