Upper Deck Evolution Video Trading Cards in 11-12 The Cup Hockey

As a surprise from Upper Deck, 2011-12 Upper Deck The Cup hockey features their newest versions of their Evolution video trading cards, featuring some of the hottest rookies in the game today.

Each card takes the form of a redemption, with a player randomly being assigned to the holder of the redemption. These redemptions are then sent to the collectors with the player unknown until the collector opens their package. It’s interesting as it makes you feel like you are opening a pack all over again, really hoping to pull a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Gabriel Landeskog.

Now one of the big questions from collectors, with Upper Deck’s rival providing limited signatures on their video cards, is whether these cards will contain some ink from the player on them. Well, sadly, the answer is no. But I recently emailed super UD guru in Marketing Chris Carlin to ask why they decided against autographs. I’ll let his response speak for itself.

In our quest to innovate, we are trying to develop different types of trading cards that do not rely on the same old drivers that make them collectible like memorabilia and signatures. By creating innovative new content we are hopeful to inspire collectors to hunt different types of cards where original content is the main driver. That is the goal with Evolution at this time.

I, personally, applaud Upper Deck’s stance on this issue. It really is about time to change the dynamics of card collecting a bit. With game used memorabilia pieces and autographs driving the current market, the industry could use a kick in its ass to find some new content that will inspire and create hype for a product.

At the same time, as a collector, I really wish these cards had autographs on them. I mean, at this point, where else can you find a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins video card…let alone one with an actual autograph on it? I will never stop loving autographs, so I really wish they would have included them on these inserts.

What are your thoughts on the omission of autographs? Do you agree with Upper Deck or would you rather have some signatures on those video cards?

Read more about the cards on Upper Deck’s official blog.


Preview: 2011-12 Upper Deck The Cup Hockey

The Cup is coming.

We are less than one week away from one of the hottest releases of the season in hockey. The ultra high-end The Cup hockey is back for the craziest of hockey collectors. The one pack per tin product is always a hit and features some of the most valuable cards of the collecting season.

As is common with the product, you will find 5 card per pack/tin of The Cup. Some of the more valuable pulls are the rookie patch autographs which you find one per box. Upper Deck has stepped it up this year with an additional patch autograph in the product from either another rookie or a veteran. The final hit is another autograph, memorabilia, or rare paralleled card. To round out the box, you’ll have 2 base cards as well.

But it’s not just about the rookies. It’s also about the sweet veteran cards as well. With the Limited Logos insert set, you can find some of the greatest patches anywhere or patch autographs from some of the top talent in the game. Also popular is the Draft Board autographs which are back again, possibly for the final season due to who gets use of the memorabilia. You’ll also continue to find Scripted Swatches, autographed on-patch cards, and a fan favorite as it brings a ton of cash on the secondary market, NHL Shield cards.

The product is just loaded with everything that hockey collectors love, rookies, sweet patches autographs, legends, superstars, and book cards. The high price may scare some collectors away, but the die hard collectors know how great the product is time after time and love the rush.

The Cup is released on September 11, 2012, and should run you around $400 for a box if prices haven’t moved since last season.

For more information and a checklist when it’s available, check out the product details on Cardboard Connection.

Review: 2010-11 Upper Deck The Cup Hockey

After having a dual review of both 2010-11 Upper Deck The Cup hockey and Panini Dominion and writing my full review of Panini Dominion, it’s time to fully review this year’s The Cup hockey from Upper Deck. Upper Deck The Cup is a single pack product with a current price at $420. Every box should have 6 cards, although I have seen several with only 5.

2010-11 Upper Deck The Cup has always been a hit amongst collectors as one of the must get products of the season. People often break this product by the case, however I could not afford a case of The Cup and found a box on sale at DA Card World with my Premier Account. So I saved a bit of money and made sure I got the really thick toploaders you’ll need for the cards in this product. Here’s what I pulled.





The design on this product is always top notch and always one of Upper Deck’s best designed products year after year. The design is extremely clean with some great accents in the back but it features the player fully and completely. While I think some designs could use some work, like the Quad jersey above, most everything else is absolutely beautiful to look at and really it should appeal to everyone. Really, there isn’t much left to say about that.


Sure, Upper Deck has the reigns when it comes to the greatest hockey players of all time. They have an exclusive contract with Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr, and Gordie Howe. This product features a ton (I think too much) of the hottest rookies of the last year. I did a count of Taylor Hall autographs and counted around 600. I was in shock and surprise at this number. Sure, it’s good for some people, but what this product lacks is variety. It could use a lot more in terms of other players. I understand that the players they choose help keep the value of the product high, and I respect that. However, I know some people would like a great looking high end card of their favorite player of the past or present that just may not make the cut for this product. Compared to the other product, The Cup has less of a player selection.


If I gave Dominion a 5 star rating here, certainly The Cup deserves it as well. I am going to mention this here as well, I have seen a lot of The Cup boxes be absolutely terrible when it comes to value. Moreso than the other offering. However, this is a great product to open by the case with awesome case hits that make great money. Even some of the standard hits are selling very well on the secondary market. I’ve already checked prices on my pulls and I can see I didn’t do too bad myself. I like the value that this product brings, but if I got one of those terrible boxes, I would have been pissed. Maybe some better hand collating could be done.


Overall, Upper Deck The Cup is a great product that should be high on your list of products to purchase if you can afford it. The designs are always sleek and clean, featuring your favorite hockey players completely and fully. While the checklist could use some more variety, you can’t complain with some of the possible names in this product from the hottest rookies to some of the greatest hockey players of all time. The value is definitely there, but be careful on single boxes as you do have a chance for a really terrible box. But if you open this by the case, you will find some awesome hits.

Make sure you check my dual box break review for the video of the break.

Review: 2010-11 Upper Deck The Cup vs. Panini Dominion Hockey

I decided that I will do an informal “vs.” review and a formal review of each product. With Upper Deck The Cup finally having some competition, I was able to secure a box of each product for a head to head review. As you will see below (when I upload the video) in the first ever Upper Deck The Cup – Panini Dominion box break dual video, the cards from both sets are absolutely beautiful.

But which product is superior? Some people have to make a choice between buying one product or the other and this will serve as the best review guide in terms of picking the product which is right for you.

As always, let’s start with design.

On the left we have The Cup and on the right we have Dominion. The Cup base design is extremely clean with the vertical layout showcasing the player and the information on the bottom. The Dominion base design is also pretty clean, using a horizontal layout which has all the information going vertically on the left (except the player number on the top right). This allows Panini to build from the base card some subsets to put memorabilia and autographs. Upper Deck does not have this luxury and must create new designs for their subsets as you can see below.

The only thing I’m not a huge fan of with this is the foil Panini uses to denote the parallel for the patch. Sometimes, it just makes the card look a little bit off. Upper Deck also has parallels of their base cards, however they are just paralleled to 25 and 1 with basic colors that work with the design. I did not pull either of those in The Cup, but I did pull one in my box of Dominion below.

This is the black 1/1 base parallel from Dominion. The Cup is similar, as I’ve seen, but the black foil just looks a little off as a main component of the card. I don’t hate it, I just don’t like it as much as the way Upper Deck does parallels. Based on the design factor, I would give the design nod to Upper Deck.

Next, I will go to the checklist.

Everyone will immediately think the answer for this one is easy and go with Upper Deck because of their exclusive deals with Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, and Bobby Orr. However, Panini has rounded out their checklist with quite a few Hall of Famers and stars of today and yesterday with a greater number of possibilities than Upper Deck. For instance, I pulled these two legendary player autographs from Dominion.

Not too shabby. But the real issue I have with the checklist is with Upper Deck’s usage of rookie players. There seems like there are a billion different subsets that include autographs from the best rookies of the past year. Lots of Taylor Hall, lots of PK Subban, etc. With all the different versions of these hot players, they are diluting the market with first year autographs that aren’t really rookies. A lot of them look very nice, but the relative ease to pull these players in their rookie year is just well…easier. Easier is not better. Panini did a great job limiting the amount of rookie autographs from those top rookies, and top rookies in general. You may not be guaranteed one of these autograph rookie patches, like I got in The Cup, in Dominion, however this keeps the value high for those rookie patches. They are even numbered lower in Dominion.

But at least they are pretty rookie patch autographs. Some people are going to be pissed about this, but I’m giving the checklist nod to Panini. The variety, the rarity, and the selection is just better. I’m sure everyone who hasn’t pulled a Gretzky, Orr, or Howe would love to pull one, but they seem to be in every Upper Deck product now and are getting diluted by the year. Sometimes you don’t need the best names to sell a product. I’m not saying I hate The Cup checklist, I just think variety is better.

Finally, I will hit the value button. This area is tough. Going by current prices, The Cup is $420 at DACW and Dominion is $390 at the same shop. A $30 difference. You get 6 cards (sometimes 5) per pack/box of The Cup and 10 cards per pack/box of Dominion. Based on sheer numbers which we can turn into possibilities for a big hit, Dominion gives you more bang for your buck. You get almost double the amount of premium cards for $30 less then The Cup.

However, based on eBay sales, The Cup seems to hold a little bit of a higher value then Dominion, and also doesn’t have as many plain jerseys. Although I did pull some plain jerseys from each product as seen below.

And I know some of you are going to mention the players on the card, however as a collector, I am happier to pull the Cogliano jersey because he plays for the Oilers and I collect the Oilers. I’m probably just going to sell the Crosby/Ovechkin/Malkin/Stamkos quad to the left. So I’m happy the product with the better aftermarket prices I hit the higher end sale card, but it’s just not a card I’d want for my collection. Again, I like the variety in Dominion. It may dilute the value a bit, but you get players you may not find in Dominion.

I’m adding this just so collectors have the information, it seems you have more of a chance to get less value from a box of The Cup versus a box of Dominion based off of a number of case breaks I have seen. However, it appears the case hits may be worth a little more if you hit one in The Cup.

Based on all of this information, I am going to give the value selection to both products. You really can’t go wrong purchasing either product. Personally, if you are opening the product by the case, I would go with Upper Deck The Cup. If you just wanted to get a single box of either one, I would go with Dominion.

So basically it is a toss up to which product I would deem the most superior. It also really depends on what type of collector you are as well. If you are more casual you will probably be better off with Dominion because of the additional cards and less price. But if you are hardcore and just care about hits and resale, The Cup would be a better gamble, especially if opening by the case.

I, of course, have other goodies from both products that I didn’t show, but I’ll save those for the official reviews. So stay tuned for official reviews from both products.

2 Weeks Until the Showdown!

That’s right, it’s two weeks until the showdown between Upper Deck The Cup and Panini Dominion hockey.

I know that 2010-11 Upper Deck The Cup is already out and I, for one, have already ordered my box. Now hopefully, I can somehow get my slimy paws on a box of 2010-11 Panini Dominion hockey too so I can give you the showdown of the century. This is a battle of two heavyweights, call it Ali v. Frazier if you will. I’ve been waiting for this showdown since I first heard about Dominion coming out, especially with my beloved Hartford Whalers having their own subset.

I’m not sure I’ll be able to not open The Cup when it gets here in a few days. Luckily, since Dave and Adam’s Card World is one of the few certified dealers,  I was able to get 8 free packs of 2008-09 ITG Heroes & Prospects packs to hold me. I was also able to grab a bunch of team bags that I’ll be needing before I ran out of cash as well.

That’s right, because of you Upper Deck my box breaking fund is now down to $2.54. I’ll now need to come up with a plan to get some 2010-11 Panini Dominion in two weeks with very little resources. Think I can do it?