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.
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.