Monday, August 11, 2014

Product Review: 2013-14 UD SPX Hockey Hobby Box

One of the Hobby's most recognized products is back with the 2013-14 edition of SPX. Going back to the 1996-97 product, SPX has always brought the best Upper Deck technology through it's sets.

This years product is again a mid-high range for those collectors at around $100 per hobby box. Each hobby box comes with 12 packs with 4 cards per pack. In addition, each hobby box will receive 1 Bonus pack of UD ICE. These packs have 5 cards with 1 being a UD ICE Rookie numbered from /999 to as low as /99.

Newly added to this years edition are the 1996-97 Retro SPX Inserts. This 50 card set has 40 Veterans and Stars from the NHL along with 10 SP Rookies. The Rookies are hard to find coming in at 1:30 packs. UD brings back the Retro feel to the product which has had a decent secondary market thus far.

Expect to pull 4 hits from each box ranging from Autographs, Relics and Autographed Relics. Rookies are the theme of course this year and you will 1 Rookie Numbered Autograph Relic and 1 Rookie Relic card per box. The other 2 hits will come in a variety of ways as either a Rookie Foil Autograph, Trilogy Rookie Update Autographs, Retro Rookie Autograph, Dual or Triple Relics, or UD Buyback Autographs. Another hit to watch for are the very collectible Shadow Box inserts. These run at 1:144 packs and are considered to be a hit if pulled.

Lots of UD fun to be had, here's how we did with our box;

Base cards: 39 (0 doubles)
Foil Rookies: 5 - Brodin, Pickard, Reinhart, Bellemore, Zadorov
Foil Rookies SP: 1 - Boone Jenner
Rookie Autograph Relic: 1 -Mikael Granlund /499
SPX Retro: 1 - Theoren Fleury
SPX Retro Rookie SP: 1 - Seth Jones
Rookie Materials: 1 - Beau Bennett
Winning Materials Triple Trios: 1 - Fleury, Malkin, Letang
UD ICE: 4 - Giroux, Benn, Staal, Ladd
UD ICE Rookie Level 3: 1 - Mark Pysyk /499
UD ICE Buyback Autograph Update: 1 - Mike Richards

The base cards this year are again nice and have the great techno feel and look of past SPX releases. The foil rookies are ok but seem very basic and have the white line running through the middle with a white on white ROOKIES lettering through it. Not a great look on these cards. Even though you can pull a SP in each box they might deter the average collector on the secondary market. 
The best part of SPX this year is the Retro insert set. You'll find two per box and they are a little thinner than the original series but are just as nice. very happy with our Seth Jones rookie Retro pull, they are one in every 30 packs so this was a bonus so far in this box.
Next up is the Rookie Relic and Autograph Relic. First to the Rookie Relic, not sure if UD was savings pieces of the jersey for a future release but these have to be the smallest pieces of a hockey relic I've seen. You have a card front with a lot of empty space when you do this. Would have been better to either have a dual jersey or a bigger piece of a jersey instead of this. The Dual relic autograph of Grunlund is a great use of space on a card. Not one of the top players to pull but a nice overall card. 
Next up are the 2 additional hits in the product. These could have been anything either Relic or Autographed from UD so we were really happy to pull both of these cards. Our Winning Materials card was a Triple Relic of Fleury, Malkin and Letang. This is one of the hardest cards to pull in the set with the ratio of 1:1442 packs. Too bad they aren't numbered but not complaining about a tough pull like this. Are our card was a Buyback 2009-10 ICE of Mike Richards. This is an On-card auto and was a little tough to understand if it was a buyback or retro card at first. There isn't a checklist to look for of what the full list of Buybacks are nr does it say Buyback on the card. In fact if I didn't know it came from this box I would have though it was from the original release. A suggestion would be to have a stamp like most companies about buybacks on the card. 
Lastly our Bonus ICE pack provided us 4 Base cards and one numbered Rookie of Mark Pysyk /499. I really like the ICE rookies and they always have solid secondary market value. If UD keeps the Bonus ICE packs in the SPX products they will continue to see them fly off the shelves at the hobby stores.

Overall I was a little disappointed in this years SPX. I've been a fan for years and love the base cards each year. The Rookie Foil through me this year though. If it wasn't for the Retro SPX or the four hits per box I might not have picked up the 2013-14 edition. The Winning Materials Triple and the Richards Buyback were the two best in the box by far which didn't make up for the box entirely but made it much better than it was. Hockey collectors will continue to buy this product due to the Bonus ICE packs or the rookie content. There is still a lot of potential in these boxes either from a set collector or ICE collector, but don't look to make those tough pulls on each box. We were lucky on this one.

Most cards/hits pulled in our breaks end up on our site storefront, or our COMC account ThePackGambler. If you are interested in any of the cards we have mentioned please send us an e-mail at

Gambler Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
Cost: 4/5
Design: 4/5
Autographs: 4/5
Relics: 4/5
Inserts: 4/5
Fun Aspect: 4/5

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