Back in 2012, I thought Valor had a pretty unique concept, using the painted style as a theme for a set build around battle on the gridiron. It featured on card autos and a lot of nice looking cards, but also a ridiculous box price that didnt deliver on the content. As a result the product tanked and was axed until its return this year. With the recent release of new Mega Boxes, we are getting an early peek at the cards.
Here are some of the early retail hits:
I think as a concept, Valor remains a very cool idea, and has some very nice looking cards. However, with these packs being included almost 3 weeks ahead of time, its a bit odd in practice. Retail is a different animal, and we all know that the redemption issue is going to factor in, so maybe this is a way to mitigate some of the problems.
Secondarily, with a product performing as poorly as it did in the past, one has to wonder if this is a way to drum up some hype around a set that didnt have very many pre-orders. Im guessing Valor is going to be pretty short of a print run, and even with this retail element, there wont be much of it floating around.
I will say that I am impressed with the improvements made to the cards, as many of them look a lot better than they did last year. The shield motif is fun, and though the autographs have gone from on card to stickers, they did make the most of the way it looks.
There is a very Braveheart style feel to the cards, and I expect that collectors will appreciate it much more than the similarly off the beaten path look to Topps Fire. A drop in box price on the hobby side, plus more content of relic autos will do this product well, but I am still not sure how successful it will be. Concept and motif laden sets like this have a propensity to tank, even though they usually look better than the simple cookie cutter sets that some of the companies churn out ad nauseum.
In terms of the relics, I absolutely love when the companies use the silhouette style approach, as I think it adds a very dynamic feel to the card that wouldnt normally be there. We first saw similar cards like this in 2012 and 2013 Topps Supreme, and I think it was a great idea to bring them back.
I guess we will have to wait to see how this year truly differs from 2012 once the cards start hitting shelves later this month.