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Upper Deck ePack Experience

April 30, 2016 Leave a comment

I’m pretty late putting my thoughts out there on this product, but with the tweet below being sent out yesterday I felt like now would be a good time.

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For those that aren’t aware, Upper Deck made 2015-16 Series 1 Hockey available through a new outlet this year, Upper Deck ePack (www.upperdeckepack.com). In a nutshell, you purchase your digital ePack’s and open them online. These are hobby packs and the odds are exactly the same as if you purchased hobby packs/boxes/cases from your local card shop or online shop. There are two unique insert sets only available in ePack, Code to Greatness and Instant Impressions. Everything else is the same.

Here’s the difference, the base cards (non-inserts) don’t really exist unless you get 10 of the same player. Once you get 10 of one player, you can convert those 10 base cards into 1 foil version of that same card. The same concept goes for the Young Guns, except it only takes 5 of one player in those to convert to 1 foil card. The Young Guns are also considered an insert, so those are available to you without converting into a foil card. As you can imagine, you have to open quite a bit of product in order to make a complete foil set.

Pricing through ePack is as follows: $3.99 for a single pack, $89.99 for a 24-pack box and $1,049.99 for a 12-box case. This price has stayed consistent throughout and has remained fair compared to prices on the secondary market. Series 1 has a very strong rookie class highlighted by Connor McDavid, so the demand has consistently been high for this product.

You have a couple options for getting your cards from the Upper Deck ePack site. You can have the cards shipped to you directly from the ePack site or you can transfer your cards to your COMC (comc.com) account and sell them or ship them to yourself later from there. In either scenario, COMC is doing the shipping. They have received all the cards from Upper Deck and do the fulfillment.

Recently Upper Deck released their second product on the ePack site, 2015-16 Upper Deck MVP Hockey. Once again, there is “convert” element and unique inserts to the ePack packs. But once again, odds and the set match the core hobby product otherwise.

Another key addition to the ePack site since its inception has been the addition of a trading platform. There is also a forum to communicate with other members in order to post want lists. This really helped collectors interested in completing the foil set to accomplish that goal.

My personal experience with ePack has been a good one. I opened a lot of the Series 1 product and took advantage of the trading platform to eventually complete my foil set. I love the convenience of opening packs whenever I want from my PC, phone or tablet. My experience having cards shipped directly from the ePack site or after transfer to COMC has been positive as well. If you’re shipping a large number of cards, the shipping does get very pricey as it’s .25 cents per card plus a small flat fee.

Once I got all of my foil cards in hand I sent some of the key Young Guns in for grading. Overall, the condition of the cards from coming ePack is similar to what you’d get if you’d bought cards and opened hobby boxes yourself. Some have small issues, but overall they’re mostly mint to gem mint. You’ll see some pictures of my foil set below with the graded Young Guns.

The issue I see with this moving forward is that there’s not another Connor McDavid to drive demand and keep people buying product at full retail prices. Series 2 with the Eichel rookie is down to around $50 per box on the secondary market at the moment and it hasn’t been released on ePack yet. It was supposed to have been released by now, but I suspect the softer secondary market has a lot to do with why it hasn’t. Even MVP is overpriced on ePack at $56.99 per box. The secondary market is around $35. I can’t imagine it’s selling very well for Upper Deck on the ePack site. This will be the question moving forward, will Upper Deck adjust the ePack pricing based on the secondary market, or leave it at full retail and risk it not selling. It will be interesting to see how that shakes out. They do have plans to continue releasing more products, including SPx, on ePack.

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2013-14 ITG Heroes & Prospect Hockey Box Break

December 4, 2014 Leave a comment

Man, it has been a long time since I’ve made an update on this blog. I figured today would be a good day to get back at it since the first of my Black Friday purchases rolled in from Dave & Adam.

I took a shot on some 2013-14 ITG Heroes & Prospects Hockey. I’ve never opened anything from ITG other than the Heroes & Prospects Baseball that had the Mike Trout autographs in it. However, I’ve always been intrigued by this particular hockey product because you’re getting cards of kids that are years away from the NHL, much like most baseball products today.

The odds on the outside of the box list 10th Anniversary Tribute non-memorabilia insert set at 1:6 packs, 2014 3-D inserts 1:8 packs,  autograph cards 1:7 packs and authentic game-used memorabilia cards at 1:7 packs. There are eighteen 9-card packs per box, so that guarantees 4 hits. Looking at some breaks online, I found that these boxes almost always over-deliver on hits, so that made it even more appealing.

Pretty much all I knew about this product is that Connor McDavid is in it. He’s the favorite to be drafted #1 overall in the 2015 NHL Draft. There are quite a few other highly touted prospects as well as some NHL rookies. It also wouldn’t be an ITG product without some “Heroes” content. There’s plenty of that to go around too.

In the picture below, you’ll see an example of the base card (Connor McDavid), the 10th Anniversary non-memorabilia insert (William Nylander) and the 2014 3-D insert (Chartier and Haydon). I like the design of the base cards. Nothing too busy with a nice picture and the team logo prominently displayed. You can’t really tell from the scan, but the 3-D inserts are really cool. Unfortunately, they only fall 2-3 per box, so it would be a tough set to complete.

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I really did well on my hits. When you hit two guys that are on the front of the box, you know you’re doing pretty well. I landed autographs of Jonathan Drouin, Dominic Turgeon and Brycen Martin. Again, I’m not really familiar with most of these guys, but I knew Drouin was on the front of the box. Turns out he’s already in the NHL with Tampa Bay. Hardcore hockey fans are rolling their eyes at me now. I did really well on the memorabilia cards too hitting jumbo jersey pieces of Dillon Fournier and Olivier LeBlanc as well as a dual patch card of Connor McDavid. The McDavid is a gold version, only 10 were made. Couldn’t believe my luck on that hit.

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As I saw with most box breaks from this product, I got extra hits. A total of 6 when only 4 were expected based on the odds. I find this product really interesting since I’m not very familiar with most of the players and teams. I definitely want to complete the set. For the price, I think it’s a great deal considering the hits per box and the content.