2014 Topps UFC Champions Blaster Break

I haven’t open many UFC packs lately so I thought I will take a chance with a blaster of 2014 Topps UFC Champions. It has 10 packs plus a bonus “relic” card.

2014 Topps UFC Champions

2014 Topps UFC Champions Inserts

I don’t say this too often but I like the design of the base cards. I love how the fighters pop out from the background. The inserts are another story though. They are bit of an afterthought. Anyone can come up with the idea of a insert with a fight poster on front and the fight card on the back. The parallels are the real problem though. I can’t tell them apart. The most common parallel is silver (1 in 2 packs) so I know I have some silver parallels but I can’t tell them apart from the base cards. I think the John Howard card is a silver parallel and the Sarah Kaufman card is a Black parallel (100/188). If you look at the top row, they are just three slightly different shades of black and grey. Under them is the Hector Lombard dark purple parallel (88/88). I also couldn’t it tell them apart from the other cards and I would have missed it if I didn’t noticed the serial number on the back.

Anyways, I did pull a hit.

Jessamyn Duke Mat Card

It is a mat relic card of Jessamyn Duke, one of the self proclaimed Four Horsewomen of MMA. Unfortunately being part of the Four Horsewomen (unless you are Ronda Rousey) has been a bit of curse lately. I am normally not a fan of mat cards but The TUF 18 Finale has some history. It is the finale of the first Ultimate Fighter featuring female fighters.

Here is the pack the bonus “relic” card came in

Bonus Relic Pack

and here is the “relic” card.

Vitor Belfort Commemorative Belt Plate

Is it just me or it kind of misleading to call this a relic card? Topps have been using the phase relic cards to be synonyms with game used cards for year now. This card looks cool and all but it definitely not a game used card. Also I am not a huge fan of Vitor Belfort. How many times has he been caught with steroids as of now?

All in all, it is a strong collectible MMA product but it isn’t like there are any other alternatives…

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2014 Leaf Pop Century Box Break

I picked up this box of 2014 Leaf Pop Century in New York Comic Con last weekend. It has four autographs per box and I figured it would be a fun box break.

My first autograph is Melissa Rycroft numbered 22/25.

Melissa Rycroft Autograph

I have no idea who she is. Second down is Dave Hester.

Dave Hester Autograph

Dave Hester is from the reality show Storage Wars. I watched the show once or twice but this autograph honestly is kind of meh. Not a good start but the third autograph is a lot more interesting though.

Kid N Play Autograph

Kid ‘n Play is a fine example one why I love opening these type of products. It is just so random and I was pretty excited about pulling this one. But the fourth autograph is by far the most exciting…

Norman Reedus Autograph

It is a Norman Reedus autograph numbered 5/5!! I am a huge Walking Dead fan and I wanted a Reedus autograph for some time now. I was even considered going to the Wizard World New York last year mainly for his autograph (but in the end it would just cost too much). Norman Reedus was signing in New York Comic Con this year too but only on Saturday but it all worked out in the end.

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Cards, Comics and Collectibles from New York Comic Con 2014

Since New York Comic Con tickets were sold out so fast this year, I was only able to get Thursday and Friday tickets. I was still able walk the whole show floor and artist alley, found time to see some panels and pick up some sweet collectibles!

First off, I bought a few new board games for board game night. The Walking Dead Board Game: The Best Defense (40% off!) , Ogre (which I couldn’t resist for only $2.95), Munchkin Panic (which just came out) and Heroes of Graxia (a deck building game which I got for free with my purchase of Munchkin Panic). I also got some good deals on a few Magic cards like Jeskai Ascendancy, Nykthos Shrine to Nyx, Sinkhole and Hornet Queen to give you an idea on a few decks I’m brewing. Also picked up a ton of new Heroclix figures from blind repacks. Here are some other notables.

I couldn’t resist and had to picked up this signed Arnold Palmer baseball last minute.

Arnold Palmer Signed Baseball

I love sketches from Artist Alley and this year I picked up these mini paintings from Katie Cook. I love them especially The Black Knight one.

Katie Cook Mini Paintings

Finally I got this box of 2014 Leaf Pop Century which is something I don’t see for sale in my local hobby shop.

2014 Leaf Pop Century

I want to save this box break for another post but I have to say I pull two sick autographs…

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2014 Topps Stadium Club Mini Box Break

First off, my brother is a huge Kansas City Royals fan (it is a long story) and this is the year to be a fan. I love underdogs so I admit I am jumping on the bandwagon and rooting for them to win it all this year too. I have a 20 – 30 year bias so when I think of the Royals and the Orioles I think of them as the worst teams in the American League yet these are the last two remaining AL teams this postseason. Wow.

Anyways I haven’t open many baseball packs lately so I picked up a 2014 Topps Stadium Club mini box today.

2014 Topps Stadium Club

It is 6 packs per mini box, 5 cards per pack and 1 guaranteed on card autograph.

2014 Stadium Club Cards

2014 Stadium Club Back

The Travis d’Arnaud rookie card is pretty sweet and the George Brett base card pull is pretty timely. The parallels are barely noticeably with a quick glance. I pulled a gold foil parallel of Roberto Clemente and some sort of parallel of Matt Carpenter. I also got a Field Access insert of Derek Jeter and Jeter cards are in demand right now especially in New York City so I should be able to trade it for something. My autograph is

James Jones Auto Stadium Club

of James Jones. They name isn’t familiar so I have to look it up and he had an OK rookie season.

All in all, not a bad release by Topps. It is in fact one of the few new releases that caught my attention. Stadium Club is known for great photography and that continued. I am not sure of this set has a throwback design of a Stadium Club from the 90’s but the front design definitely invokes the Stadium Club brand/ feel and the back is very 90’s-ish since it has a lot of color.

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I Lied… Just One More 2010 Tristar TNA The New Era Blaster Break

First off wow, what a roller coaster ride for TNA and their fans. After riding a wave of momentum coming from the New York City tapings, comes the news that TNA won’t be back with SpikeTV at the end of the year. TNA has had a history of what ifs. They could have been a competitor, an alternative to WWE but they never quite got their footing…

Anyways, Tristar TNA blasters can be found for sale for pretty cheap. I found this blaster of 2010 TNA The New Era at K-Mart for only $5.99. With a guaranteed autographed, you just can’t beat that. I pretty sure I have a set (although the cards are all over that place) so I am really only looking at the hit hit of the blaster and that is

TNA Doug Williams Auto

a Douglas Williams autograph. I like Douglas Williams and I love his finisher but I think I may be picking up too many of these Tristar TNA blaster since I believe this is the third Douglas Williams autograph I have pulled…

Anyways, next week is New York Comic Con!! It is my favorite time of year. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get tickets for all four days (for the first time in years) but I will make the most of it.

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Post RTR Standard Brewing: Rabble Red

Mono red aggro decks are sure to be strong right out of the gate in Standard, post rotation. Here is my Sligh/ Rabble Red build.

4 Foundry Street Denizen
4 Firedrinker Satyr
4 Satyr Hoplite
4 Akroan Crusader
3 Mogis Warhound
3 Arena Athlete
4 Goblin Rabblemaster

4 Titan’s Strength
4 Dragon’s Mantle
1 Coordinated Assault
1 Hall of Triumph
4 Stoke the Flames

20 Mountains

Mono Red Heroic

The core of this deck is mono red heroic. There are 16 one drops, 6 sort of two drops (Mogis Warhound is not really a two drop) and 4 Goblin Rabblemasters. In testing, you really want to go one drop then next turn go combat, heroic enabler followed by another one drop. Lightning Strike won’t cut it anymore with cards like Courser of Kruphix, Butcher of the Horde, etc. Finally there is a minor token theme and I think Hall of Triumph would be insane. In fact, I have 1 more in the sideboard for mirror matches.

As you may have notice there are actually no actual Khans of Tarkir cards in the deck and that is not by design. The two strongest cards from the set for this deck is Monastery Swiftspear and War-name Aspirant. I am not sure if Montasty Swiftspear is in fact better than Satyr Hoplite. I am leaning towards the Satyr Hoplite for now because it can survive a Drown in Sorrows and maybe even an Anger of the Gods better. As I said, this deck doesn’t really want two drops. Arena Athlete is probably the weakest card of the deck though but the “can not block” ability is so powerful that if you cut Arena Athlete for War-name Aspirant you also need to cut some one drops for Frenzied Goblin or heroic enablers for Hammerhand. War-name Aspirant is also a nombo with Foundry Street Denizen.

It is hard to build a sideboard right now but I am going with something like this for the first week.

3 Magma Spray
2 Circle of Flame
1 Hall of Triumph
4 Eidolon of the Great Revel
2 Purphoros, God of the Forge
1 Mountain
1 Blinding Flare
1 Harness by Force

Magma Spray, Circle of Flame and Hall of Triumph is for mono red and mono black aggro decks. The eidolon is for mid range decks that have to lower their curve to keep up with this deck. Blinding Flare and Harness by Force is help against those big green decks. Finally I wanted a robust threat against control decks. Stormbreath Dragon and the new Sarkan is bit high of the curve so I want to try Purphoros, God of the Forge.

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Lost CCGs: WWE Raw Deal

There was an explosion of collectible card games (CCGs) in the late 90’s and in the shuffle, a lot of great games got lost in time. If you can find them for cheap, they can actually be a lot of fun. I want to highlight some of these forgotten CCGs in my new blog segment simply called Lost CCGs!

I have to start with Comic Images’ WWE Raw Deal which is probably my favorite “lost” CCG. It was quite popular in its heyday but they couldn’t quite capitalize on the momentum. It is such a shame but not surprising. I found these Paul Heyman and Evolution decks for only $2 each. If my memory serves me right, these are two cornerstones for powerhouse decks.

Raw Deal Evolution and Paul Heyman

I imagine professional wrestling to be incredibly difficult to convert as a card game. There are just so many elements to stimulated a match in a fun way but the mechanics of this game do reflect them flavorfully without being too complicated. Without going to much in detail, you have to build up fortitude to land bigger moves and you do that by successfully executing smaller moves. So to land say a shooting star press, you need to land a couple of punches and kicks first. When you take damage, you actually mill that many cards from the library aka the arsenal. Moves can be reversed if your opponent has a reversal in his or her hand or if it is among the cards milled. It is actually one of the few games I like that has the deck as your life mechanic. Also I love how you keep the moves you land in front of you so you can’t help but to use your imagination and just visualize the match from start to finish as you play the game.

So why did Raw Deal failed? I think the game got a bit complicated with the added rules each set brought. For example, I read the rule book a couple of times and I am still unsure about some of the prematch mechanics. Also cards can be a bit wordy and confusing itself. You have to read some superstar cards a number of times to get what is going on.

Anyways, living card games (LCGs) where there is no rarity or random booster packs are seeing more popularity lately and WWE Raw Deal would actually be perfect rebooted as a LCG. *Fingers crossed*

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