It’s hockey card time! With a little free time on my hands I decided to pick up some new cards. Right before things went a little wonky around the world, Upper Deck announced that they would have a couple of new products in the market. The first was Upper Deck Allure - a mid-tier product released at the beginning of February with a simple (yet shiny) base design and several tiers of parallels and inserts. The second product released at the end of April was Upper Deck Credentials. Not quite as shiny, but a little better design on the inserts.
Faced with a Sophie’s choice between the two sets I let two factors make my decision; the price, and the quantity of Lightning cards in the base set. Allure won on both points as the base set had three non-short printed Lightning cards versus the two for Credentials. Allure was also about $20 cheaper for the same amount of cards (both boxes contain 8 packs with 6 cards in each pack on average). Hey, I’m no Rockefeller.
Base Card Design
Allure is shiny in a way that may remind some collectors of old Score Select or OPC Platinum. For me, shiny is always good. The cards scan a lot darker than they appear in hand. The borders are more of a silver than black color. The photos of the players are isolated with no other players or exciting action shots which is typical with a set like this. Rookie cards are marked with a badge opposite the Upper Deck logo. Player and team name are on the bottom of the card and easy to see.
The basic layout works out nicely and doesn’t make the card too busy. Sometimes designers go overboard with graphics and highlights that overwhelm the visual aesthetic. Also, with chrome cards sometimes the text can get washed out, but the use of simple black and white text make these cards easy to read.
There isn’t much data on the back other than the usual bio information and stat lines. The colored parallels are easy to spot (and named on the back). There are times when card companies get a little too cute with their parallels and it can be easy to miss them (see this year’s Topps baseball set for an example).
Both Allure and Credentials have pretty small base checklists. As seems to be the case with these mid-to-high range products they are light on base cards and heavy on parallels and inserts. Allure has a 100 card base set broken down by 60 veterans and 40 rookies.
The usual veterans like Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, Alex Ovechkin, and Patrick Kane make an appearance. Should you pull a low-count parallel of one of those players you can pull some value from the box.
Rookies drive the value out of a lot of sets and unfortunately the rookie class for 2019-20 isn’t as strong as it’s been in the last couple of years with Jack Hughes as the marquee name followed by a relatively OK selection of players such as Cale Makar and Kirby Darch. That being said it could be a bit of a sleeper set if players like Kaapo Kakko or Filip Zardina take off in the next couple of years. That kind of happened with the 2013-14 rookie class where it took a little while before players like Nathan MacKinnon, Nikita Kucherov, and Alex Barkov saw their cards skyrocket in value.
Three Lightning players make the cut for the veterans (Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, and Andrei Vasilevskiy). All three have parallels, in this case Allure has nine different parallels ranging from “Taxi Yellow” to “Golden Treasure”. Not only are they easily noticeable by their associated colors, they are also die-cut. To make 100% sure you know it’s a parallel, the name is written on the back of the card.
The three Lightning players that make the cut are Brayden Point, Andrei Vasilevskiy and Steven Stamkos. With Stamkos being one of the main hockey players that Upper Deck markets around chances are he will show up in just about every one of their releases. On sets like this with limited base cards a rotation of Point, Vasilevskiy, Nikita Kucherov, or Victor Hedman tend to make appearances.
One of the drawbacks with this set is the lack of Lightning rookies included. With a February release date it was unlikely that Alex Volkov or Mitchell Stephens would make it, but sadly, Carter Verhaeghe didn’t show up in the regular rookie cards either. Nor did he show up in the short printed rookie cards that comprise the next 35 cards in the set.
There are a lot of inserts. All three Lightning players have pieces of their jersey included in the Red Rainbow parallel set. Autographs aren’t going to be easy or cheap to come by. They all have Golden Treasure Autograph parallels but only one of each card exist. Their are a few other parallel sets where they pop up, but all have pretty low card counts. The best odds would be for a Vasilevskiy Red Rainbow Autograph parallel with an insert rate of one per every 195 packs.
Nikita Kucherov makes an appearance in the Iced Out and For the Record insert sets. Stamkos and Vasilevskiy join him in Iced Out (which has its own set of parallels) while Stamkos is the lone representative of the Lightning featured in the Open Ice set.
The Lightning have a pretty good representation in a set that really does have a limited checklist.
How did I do in my box? Honestly, pretty good. No make that really good. The first pack I opened had a Jack Hughes Top 50 jersey relic in it which is a great way to start. The Mackenzie MacEachern autograph is okay and I’m sure some St. Louis Blues fan would like it in their collection.
Overall, of the 30 base cards I received I ended up with 15 veterans and 15 rookies. Hughes and Kaako are in there as well as Zadina. Unfortunately there wasn’t a Cale Makar. Hughes and Taro Hirose showed up as short printed rookies which is nice.
There was one Lightning card - the base card of Steven Stamkos that was pictured above.
I counted 12 inserts or parallels including a serial numbered Orange Slice PK Subban card.
Among the parallels was one that I kind of glossed over at first because I wasn’t paying attention to the back of the card. It wasn’t until I started scanning the cards that I realized that this Teuvo Teravainen card was the best one of the bunch. As you can see it has a bit of a golden sheen to it.
That makes it a Golden Treasures parallel.
A One-of-One! The rarest of parallels. That’s right, there is only one of these cards in existence. It’s not the first time I’ve pulled a 1-of-1, but it’s been almost a decade since I’ve done it.
A quick video of all of the cards that were in the box:
As of right now you can pick up a box of Allure for about $80 online. For that you’re going to get basically two hits (autograph or jersey relic card), another hit in the form of another jersey card or rare parallel, five parallels and eight inserts. For a sub-$100 box it’s not a bad investment.
For Lightning fans, it’s an okay set to chase on the secondary market. The autographs aren’t going to be cheap, but there are still plenty of other parallels or inserts that shouldn’t be too big of a blow to the bank account.