How Does 2012 Topps Strata Measure Up to the Hype?

As I mentioned previously in a few posts, I am definitely loving the box and case hits out of 2012 Topps Strata. This product is very much like Inception on acid, as the rookie only checklist of hits is almost identical, but the creativity of the cards is much more prominent. Its not all perfection as I had hoped, but hot damn, the cards look awesome.

Here are some big hits so far:

2012 Topps Strata Robert Griffin III Clear Cut Auto Platinum 1/1 – Wow, just wow. All I can say.

2012 Topps Strata Andrew Luck Clear Cut Auto Glove Platinum 1/1

2012 Topps Strata Russell Wilson Clear Cut Auto Red Patch /30

2012 Topps Strata Andrew Luck StrataBox Jumbo Relic /40

2012 Topps Strata Doug Martin Clear Cut Auto Patch /55

This product is built very similarly to Topps Platinum and Topps Finest, in that the bigger players in the product are ridiculously hard to pull. With so many receivers at the premiere, it can feel like a never ending sea of lower tier guys, but that is more than made up for by the fact that each card is so cool looking. The Clear Cut autos have proven to be one of the best conceived box hits in a mid end product for as long as I can remember. HUGE jumbo swatches and crazy patches on every single card, and each of them featuring signed acetate that expertly covers the card to make it look as cool as ever. These might actually be the biggest swatch ever offered on a card made in this fashion.

As I also discussed in a previous post, the case hits, affectionately dubbed the StrataBox by Topps’ Mark Sapir, are a front runner for rookie card of the year. Each card has jumbo swatches and striking presentation through the different layers of the cards, coupled with hard signed acetate. Its a winning combination that cannot be denied. At one per case, with each rookie being equal to pull, you cant beat the way these cards look. There are also parallels in which the card fans open like a swiss army knife, and I only wish I could see one in person.

The issue with Strata as a whole, is that without the refractors of Finest and Platinum, or the veteran content, opening many boxes of this product can get REALLY boring. Although the base cards continue to bring me back to a car engine or Voltron cartoons from the 1980s, its a lot of the same stuff in every box. This product has huge legs in the box hits, but outside of that, it does not match up to the on card awesomeness from Inception and previous sets.

Many collectors have already started to complain that the SP list from early Topps products is in place again, and again I go back to the formula that has worked so well for Topps all year long. You can either have a ton of autos from Luck and Griffin, and they are worth 25% of what they could be, or you make them tougher pulls and get bigger value out of them. Pull a big one and you could pay for your case, not just a single box like some of the higher print run Panini products. Its a great situation for singles buyers, but I can see where it is not a good situation for collectors who buy box after box.

The good thing is that this class should end up being pretty deep in terms of rookies that turn into impact players down the road. Russell Wilson, Trent Richardson, Doug Martin and the like have already proven to be great picks, and guys like TY Hilton and some of the other receivers could end up being top guys when all is said and done.

Regardless of eventual success of background rookies, its all about Luck and Griffin, and boy do their cards pop in this set. One should only be so lucky to pull their hits, as it is obvious that these cards will remain desirable long into the future.

4 thoughts on “How Does 2012 Topps Strata Measure Up to the Hype?

  1. After participating in a case break and watching several other box breaks, I’d have to say there’s a lot to like with this set.

    The clear cut rookie autos are such a unique idea and executed so well, it begs the questions: why make them non-numbered (ridiculously high print run?) and why not save it for a flagship product like Five Star? My only hope is that we can see a similar card in Five Star with low numbering and prime swatches.

    For around $85 a box, this looks like a fun break, even if the chances for big hits are limited. The base are pretty crappy. The die cut shield cards look really cool and I wish the autos had a /50 or at least /25 print run. In today’s world, the acetate autos are unique enough to generate box value and enjoyment even if there is no “extra hit” element of refractors.

  2. The cards look nice and most of them seem to have nice manu patches in them not sure what the point is with the rivet cards, seems like an opportunity of fraud up the jersey portion of the card due to the easy access

    I wonder about the quality and life of the auto on the acetate and when are companies going to realize that a blue auto on a blue background is tough to look at

  3. Just busted a hobby box of Strata after it was delivered to my house yesterday. Hits: Dwayne Allen clear-cut auto, Greg Childs gold 3-color relic (why Childs?!?! this guy follows me everywhere when I bust a box), Egnew die cut card, and base auto variation blue redemption for Chris Givens. No numbered parallels.

    Pros: I absolutely LOVE the idea of clear-cut auto and it is gorgeous. The die-cut card is unique looking and easy to build a set for. Hobby box can be bought for an affordable price- $72-85.

    Cons: Why include Greg Childs in the checklist whose career is probably over after busting two knees??? Needs a better rookie clear-cut auto checklist by adding quality defense rookies. Not enough additional inserts- there was a time when I opened 9 straight packs with base cards only and it started to get boring for me. Do clear-cut autos of veterans too, not only rookies. It shouldn’t be a problem to get vet autos on acetate ahead of time because acetate is a separate piece from the card. I am willing to pay an additional $20 a box if a vet auto is added in the box.

    Grade: C+

  4. I am curious to find out what blog system you have been working with? I’m having some small security issues with my latest blog and I’d like to find something more secure. Do you have any solutions?

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