Friday, November 02, 2007

2007-2008 Upper Deck Artifacts Baketball

Ok Halloween frivolity is over. Time for serious business. Let's open up some packs!

I've never been real interested in the Artifacts sets before this year, but a few months ago I tried the baseball set and liked it. I then tried a pack of the football set and hated it so much I didn't bother with a review. For the record, here's my 2007 Upper Deck Artifacts Football review: Recycling card designs for a particular brand throughout a year is lazy but acceptable. Recycling classic card designs for a new product can be quite nice if done properly. Recycling a card design from two years ago is neither nice nor acceptable. A 2007 football set with a 2005 baseball design is so mind-numbingly stupid that it doesn't deserve the bandwidth to gripe about it. Even typing 502 characters about it is way too much.

So, when I found a pack of the basketball edition I was interested but apprehensive. Would this be like the good baseball set or the bad football set? The wrapper looked good at least showing MJ dribbling out of a gilded frame. Since I'm more geeked up about the NBA season then I have been in years and because there is really nothing else good out there right now I decided to go for it and try a pack. The store only had the blister pack version so I unfortunately had to buy 4 cards worth of trash to buy the one 5 card pack. it would be nice if whoever repacks these things would at least put a card to cut out on the back of these things so it's not a complete waste.

13 Luol Deng
29 Monta Ellis code card
15 Andres Nocioni
31 Yao Ming
163 Dave Cowens Legendary Legacies 251/999

My fears were unfounded. They not only used the attractive baseball design, but they took the time to tweak it to reflect a basketball motif. Good job, Upper Deck art designers! They did bling it up with some foil stamping, which the wrapper foreshadowed with the gilded frame. I've resigned myself to the fact that using foil stamping on cards for the player's name is just an ugly trend right now and will pass eventually. At least it's somewhat readable (and scannable) in this design unlike the eye-straining Topps and Upper Deck base cards. There are only three changes from the baseball design. The foil stamping, a parquet floor border that gets very dirty at the bottom of the card, and a neat old fashioned map design in the background behind the player. The map shows the fictional kingdoms of Gulicher and Nider and it looks like it was really fun to draw. More kudos to the art department. The back is identical to the baseball 'spy dossier' design.

This pack netted a couple of Bulls, Yao Ming and a player from Golden State I've never heard of before. There is also a numbered insert of Celtics legend Dave Cowens. Uh oh, wait a minute... that's no insert that's part of the base set. The checklist on Upper Deck's website is damn near incomprehensable, but this is how the set breaks down: 100 base cards of veterans, 50 short printed 'Legacies' rookie cards, 50 short printed 'Legacies' legends cards and 30 'Artifacts Exclusives' cards that include a handful of rookies and stars and about 4 cards each of Michael Jordon, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant. The legends cards are all numbered to 999, the rookies are infuriatingly numbered to 699 for most of the lottery picks and 1299 for everyone else and the Exclusives appear to be box toppers. Box toppers as part of the set? Yipe. I must admit I covet the Al Horford box topper though. Apparently the numbered cards are inserted 1 per pack in the $9.99 a pack hobby edition, but only God knows the retail ratios. This is a nice looking set, but there's no value in retail packs unless you get really lucky like this pack. Too bad.

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