Purchased from/price: Meijer, $19.99
Packs/cards: 20 packs of 5 cards plus 2 autographs
Set size: 50 base cards
Key features/cards: The two guaranteed autographs are the big draw, but getting around 100 base cards from a 50 card set that includes some sure-to-be high draft picks is pretty nice
|Base "Art" subset front|
- Set completion: 48/50 (96%)
- Extras: 48
- Doubles: 34
- Triples: 11
- Quads: 2
- Quints: 1 (Ryan Mallett)
Well that's definitely a lot more of Ryan Mallett than I wanted. I was really, really hoping to pull a full set, but I don't think I ever have from a SAGE blaster. At least they didn't really super short-print the subset like they did a year or two ago with the "program" cards. As usual I'm cool with the simplicity of the base set, even though it can't feature team logos.
Pre-Rookies: 4, Blaine Gabbert, Kyle Rudolph, Julio Jones, Shane Vereen (odds unknown)
Kind of boring, but at least they're not the glossy parallels SAGE used to do. Then again, they did used to put in some interesting hits at times, but I consider these a bonus the way the blaster is configured.
Autographs: 2, Casey Matthews (Oregon), Ricky Stanzi (Iowa) (2:box)
A quick note: some people have asked about getting one low series and one high series autograph in their blasters, and that's indeed the case, at least at times (and maybe always). They've done this in years past too. In my case, Stanzi is a high-series autograph.
Best card: Casey Matthews autograph
Quality control and collation: 15/20 You all know I'm usually really harsh when it comes to collation like this, but I'm still actually reasonably happy with 48/50 and a decent start on a second set (no extras are available yet probably until I grab one more blaster or two and figure out where I'm at). Still, this is a perfect 20 if I grab a full base set and subtract two of those Malletts.
Base set: 15/20 As I said, it's simple but elegant, even without team logos. I especially like the "Art" cards, which are a nice touch that compares somewhat well to Masterpieces or something like that; The backs are pretty good too. This is a good mix of sure-fire stars, future busts (paging Jake Locker) and who-dats.
Inserts: 10/15 I'm not enamored with the look of the Pre-Rookies, but like I said, I consider them a bonus because I definitely wasn't expecting them. I got four different players, and they were pretty good ones overall, hence the more-positive-than-normal grade.
Hits and extras: 15/15 Well that's the reason I got the blaster, no? Not only did I get my two guaranteed autographs (the design of which I like as usual), I got two players I'd heard of, and I think Clay's brother Casey Matthews at least has a chance to make some noise in the NFL (Stanzi, not so much, since around these parts his last name has become synonymous with can-of-corn interceptions; but at least I've heard of him--woohoo Big 10 player!).
Value: 30/30 To recap, for $20 I got to open 20 packs, got almost a full base set, a good chunk of another, four different inserts and two pretty good autographs. I'm very happy with this configuration and I'll probably go back for more. Even better--after a while these often get hacked down to half price, making them a steal at that point.
Recommendation: Buy. You may not do as well as I did with the autographs or you may do better. You may top me and end up with six Malletts or you might get a full set and another 40 or so towards a second. Either way, I think for the $20 you'll enjoy this blaster, so if you're into college football, grab one if you see it.
Nothing's for trade just yet but I'll keep everyone posted on that once I see about maybe one more blaster.