Topps Kick Guest Post: Introductions and Reasons to Join Up Today!

Let me start by introducing a special guest post for today – as I feel this is a great opportunity to expand this site’s horizons. I love what Topps has done with their digital portfolio over the last few years, a testament to the commitment to this medium in sports cards. One of the apps that I really havent found my place in is Topps Kick, as I just dont know anything about Soccer. That being said, it is the app with the largest active user base, and its time to get some content for the game. My buddy ONEGAUCHO is an active Kick player, and utilizes Twitch.tv to bring more life to the game. He asked if he could provide some content, to which I enthusiastically obliged! Check out his feed here if you are interested in learning more.

==================

ToppsKICK: What You Need to Know!

For those of you who are unaware, ToppsKick is an app dedicated to Soccer worldwide, or “football” as everyone else knows it. The app has hundreds of thousands of users from all over the world and at the moment, is in full swing on the US side where the MLS season is heading into their All Star game this coming Wednesday. The game is structured just like both of the other sports app, with a dual fantasy/collecting type layout.

App Play

This particular app’s following really digs into the fantasy side of the gameplay, or more commonly referred to as “the chase”. This is a bit different from what we have seen before with BUNT and HUDDLE, as collecting can be just as important as fantasy in many cases.

Though there is a decent group of collectors, a large majority is focused on chasing points during the matches for MLS (US Major League Soccer), Barclay’s Premier League and Bundesliga.

Whereas in past seasons, the base cards had a similar structure as BUNT and HUDDLE where there were 5 tiers of base, this MLS season, they decided to do away with those tiers and there’s only one level that scores at 1x. It makes for a very interesting play style, especially from people who are both collectors and chasers.

As a result of this flattening approach, a premium has been placed on inserts and awards that score in the traditional green/red/silver/gold levels. Award cards for chasing sets come with a 1.7-2.0x boost, so there’s value to both collectors and chasers. This has seemed to created a tight community within the top article chats, especially among the people who participate frequently.

Hot Items and the MLS All Star Game

Due to the MLS All Star game on Wednesday, they have released some exciting new sets with great artwork. More importantly, these inserts are coming out at a 1.5x so that’s key for chasers. Most sets come out at 1.2x so this is a significant bump in value. The current All-Star set boasts a hefty 100k coin award (vs the usual 60k) and comes with a gold variant of one of the game’s elite scorer, Kaka from Orlando City.

unnamed (6) unnamed (5)

In general, as with the other apps, sigs are near the top of the food chain when it comes to lasting value. Like HUDDLE and BUNT have done, they also have a variant chase and those are what everything seems to be valued against. The first few came out at a lower count relative to current ones (150 vs 175) so those are the keys to the marathon chase. And since many play for points, these are gobbled up in bunches by chasers but are also coveted by collectors. This perfect storm makes the value skyrocket both within the app as trade bait and outside on the open market.

Staying Up To Date

TOPPSCHARI is the app’s producer and runs a tight ship churning out these goodies for the community. You can also follow @toppskick on Twitter, where they post all the new releases. If you have any questions about the app or values, drop me a follow on Twitter (@onegaucho) or reach out to Chari on the app and shoot him a 1:1. Most importantly join us on Kick, crack some packs and enjoy the All Star festivities! You will not be disappointed.

Also – check out my content on Twitch, as I do a lot of fun stuff that has to do with the everyday goings on of the app. I try to make it very participatory and give people in the chat an opportunity to find out what it takes to be successful in the game. My name is the same in all 4 apps, so dont hesitate to reach out.

Here is a video I added to Youtube if you cant make it onto the live feed, it talks about card value and trading on the app. Great starting point for everyone.

==============

A big thank you to OneGaucho for the post – hopefully we can get more just like it.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SWCT Force Tip of the Day: Insert Values and Collecting Long Set Checklists

I have noticed a trend in the app recently, and I talked a little bit about when I did my insert breakdown a few days ago. Insert sets in card trader are the lifeblood of the app, running neck and neck with the marathon cards as a reason why most people return multiple times per day, day after day. With sets like TK and others eclipsing the 10 card mark, with multiple parallels for each card, there is a lot of volume. So, the question remains, what is the best way to approach collecting the set, and what is the value of each card?

Collecting Strategy

There is no easy way to explain the best way to collect a set with 20 cards in it. You definitely dont want to spend a million coins every day trying to get what you need, and you also dont want the gargantuan task of putting an entire set together the day before the award. Believe it or not, the best way to do it is a bit of a waiting game in my opinion, using daily bonuses and small purchases to get as many cards as you can along the way.

The reason I say this is the best approach is because of the extreme drop off in value as cards age. New stuff is SO hot that it is almost worth twice to three times as much as the older stuff. So, if you can get lucky along the way, pull a new card, it can be easy in most cases to trade it for more than one of the cards you are missing for the set.

I think its worth discussing that that first and last card of the set are almost MUST PULLS from packs. The first card in a long set will retain its value more often than not, and this is similarly true in principle for the last card in the set. Make it a point to try to get these, and you wont be scrambling to find them as the sets conclude.

Lastly, I cant even say how important it is to be patient. Be patient with your trade offers and be patient with soliciting offers. You WILL get what you want eventually, as long as you can navigate the fan feed with extreme cautious patience. If that time and work isnt available to be had, well, may god have mercy on your soul. Trust me, sometimes its impossible to practice what I preach.

Value

This is the one thing I am going to run through pretty quickly, as some of it was already addressed above. Basically, the middle pieces of the set are interchangeable save two circumstances – card counts are different, or its a popular character.

If the character is someone like Boba Fett or Darth Vader, its best to chase it down as quickly as possible. If its some random droid or another example of checklist filler, it can wait until the end. It will be one of those easy pick ups one for one. In the same vein – dont trade away popular characters one for one at first, wait for the market to be set and then pounce immediately. You dont want to be the person who gives your prized set piece away for nothing. It can work against you too though, as you might get more up front before people realize the market has been set much lower.

Also – this is the one time I would encourage you to stay on top of eBay. If the cards are selling high – you should be able to get more in the app. If the cards are selling low, they become transitional parts of the set that can be part of your wheeling and dealing later on.

Focus

Unless you have the funds to do so, focus your energy on a specific parallel or part of the set. Dont try to get every card, unless you are fully aware of how much it will cost you to do so, either in cash or in cards.

Award

Here is the worst part of all this – the award will likely NOT be worth the entire set in trade. That means the effort you spent to complete the set will not return what you get out of it. Of course, that isnt what this is all about, as it is likely that one card will never take the place of the 20 it took to achieve the reward. That being said, this game is about completion and collecting, so the award is just gravy on top. Be happy with the satisfaction you get from a completed set. It feels good, doesnt it?

Set collecting isnt easy, that I know. On the other hand, it doesnt have to be impossible, as long as you understand the confines of the marketplace. If you know your enemy – its easier to defeat them.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bunt Tip of the Day: Trade Deadline Impacts Already Impacting Series 2

It happens every year. Baseball’s trade deadline is easily one of the more active times in any sport for trades, even if you are a superstar face of team. No one is safe, and neither is your Bunt card sheet.

If you havent experienced this already so far this season, anytime someone switches teams, their original card is marked sold out, and a new card will be created for them on their new team. This has led to a number of cards already being very limited in their card counts – especially guys like Melvin Upton, Carlos Quentin, and company.

With Series 2 released yesterday, we have already had some casualties – including Aramis Ramirez, who’s white common sold out at a measly 88 copies. The green is even less at 77, and so on and so forth. His Gold didnt even make it into packs. With more trades undoubtedly on the way, its time to start preparing for life after the deadline.

Capture

Pitchers like Johnny Cueto and David Price could be on the move, which in turn will sell out their cards. There will be other players on the move as well, although they may not be easy to pick up on until the trades are announced. Because big names are endlessly speculated on, you can easily see the gears moving before the deals go down.

Its going to be interesting to see if series 2 awards will be available considering the situations that exist with the different cards that are already sold out. Curious if they will be part of the set, or if the checklist wont include the players who had less than a day in packs.

Bottom line, if coin rewards are going to be given for sets, everyone will be looking to track down the sold out cards. If you are lucky enough to end up with one of the low numbered cards that will eventually result, do not give them up unless you are getting something nice in return. I have seen low numbered base go for inserts that are below 500 if someone really needs the card. Obviously, let the market speak before you make a decision. Demand will not go down, and value will only climb as more people join on as we get closer to the playoffs.

To get an inside line, sites like MLBTraderumors.com is a great place to stay glued to over the next few weeks as the initial deadline passes. There is another waiver deadline later on, but that is still a while from now.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SWCT Force Tip of the Day: Week 20 Starts TODAY!

Wow. Just wow. Time has flown by hasnt it?

I still remember the first days of the app, where we were all still curious how a game with no play element would be able to survive in a digital marketplace built around that experience. Now, its almost like more of the other apps are striving to achieve the same level of collecting that SWCT has brought to the portfolio. Its crazy how that happens, and it all has to do with how many people love the Star Wars universe. It is just a great vehicle to build around, and for the most part, things have gone very well in the app since week 1.

Today marks the start of week 20, the close of the second leg of the Marathon that will run for another 10 weeks after this one. Although there is no true information about what might happen over the next 3 months, its safe to say that there is still a lot to come.

With Vintage being the first of the Marathons to start, today’s release will be one that a lot of people are looking to close out their sets. If Week 10 was any indication, the card shouldnt be extra rare or extra hard to get, just a card that everyone is looking for at the cheapest possible value. Because so many people have invested so much of their resources over the last 10 weeks, there just isnt as much left to go around.

With week 21, all of that will change, as it will be another opportunity for people to jump back on board with the Marathon chase of their choice. We saw Boba Fett Vintage, Funeral Pyre Widevision, and Han/Leia connections have higher value than any other card in the chase for this reason, and it sure doesnt hurt that they end up being some of the rarer cards of their leg.

If you dont have a complete set by now, time to complete is waning. The good thing is, many people will be looking to dump their dupes before the reset, and that means a buyers market is likely to be in play for cards that arent the ones mentioned above. If you have dupes to unload, I mentioned before that weeks 18 and 19 were probably the highest point for the cards, but you should still be able to find some takers who dont have their sets done. Week 20 is definitely going to be a lower point of value though, unless someone is desperate. The dupe market should be strong.

It should go without saying that after seeing the Vintage and Widevision rewards for the first leg, I am beyond intrigued to see what the cards will be this time around. Im predicting counts more than double what they were for the first leg, but that isnt the point. We are fast approaching the reward we all collect to receive, and I could not be more excited.

Good luck this week everyone! If you need a checklist, a reader graciously put this together for us:

Star Wars Card Trader Marathon Checklist

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SWCT Force Tip of the Day: Does A Bad Award Impact Set Value?

UPDATE: Award card has been confirmed for Badges of War set. Looks like it had to do with Approvals as guessed below. Great to hear that this is figured out.

Right now, there are a lot of upset individuals who have put together the Badges of War set, only to find out there will likely be no award card, only a 10k coin bonus for completing the base set. It has led to a relative losing of everyone’s collective mind, which includes a lot of people trying to dump the set in anger. If this is the way things are going to turn out, they have a legitimate gripe.

Being that this situation has turned one of the more valuable non-insert set into a flaming wreck, is it safe to say that a crappy award can, in fact, damage set value? In this case, it obviously has, but what if we knew ahead of time that this would be the way the set is paid out? Would it have impacted the value as severely?

I think that for a set like this, if we had been notified up front, the situation would not have played out the way it is playing out at the moment. Although the reward of 10k coins is less than 1% of the cost that many spent just to complete it, the cards are freaking awesome looking. It was one of the main reasons why the set was so popular! That being said, everyone and their mother expected this set to have a card attached to it – and if it ends up being that no award card is given out, you can see why people are freaking out. On the other hand, I dont think Badgeghazi Scandal would be Badgeghazi Scandal if things were clear from the beginning. At that point, we only have ourselves to blame.

For a set that doesnt have the cool factor and widespread appeal that Badges of War, a low level award can kill the collectability of a set. Dont get me wrong, cool factor is subjective, and there will always be a handful of people who collect everything. At the same time, this game isnt about marketing for a small group, so the reward becomes a huge factor in value.

Bottom line, the most important thing is clarity. I commented about how much appreciation would be given if things were clear from the get go, and how many revolts could be avoided if things had just been communicated. Im all for sets that are all about the cards on the checklist themselves, and not an award. However, you cant spring that on people without warning – especially if every set previously has had a card. If an expectation is set, and is about to change, you gotta let people know.

Considering that an award card can still be built and delivered, I hope this is just a matter of making that decision. This isnt a time to take a stand and say, “well you shouldnt have expected every set to have an award card!” It will literally do nothing but make people more upset. Instead I would say, “Although not every set moving forward will have a card attached, we will be providing an award for this set after the situation that has come to light. We will be more clear in the future.”

EDIT: After considering some reasons why the set award for Badges is the way it is, Im curious if there was other submissions for the set that were declined by Lucasfilms for some reason. They may have submitted Maul and/or Captain Rex, only to have them rejected. If this was the case, I think a coin reward can be done, but it has to be more than 10k. There still hasnt been a formal response quite yet, so things could change quickly. Im not giving up yet.

This also speaks to the value attached to the reward, and how it CAN in fact be a helper or hurt factor to any set. Rewards are the reason many collect, even though there are still people who just like the cards. Badges to me would have been a set worth collecting regardless, but I am naive to say that the reward delivery method has hurt things this time around.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bunt Tip of the Day: Series 2 Has Finally Arrived!

The day is here! There was much rejoicing! If we wore jerseys, we would untuck them and trot around the diamond with a walk off home run trot. Finally, series 2 is here, and with it, many more players for people to chase for their collections and use in contests. Even if you havent gotten very involved in the play portion of bunt this year, having some new faces in packs is never a bad thing.

2 1 Capture

Because many people have not experienced what Series 2 means for Bunt, I put together a few pieces of advice so that we wont get too caught up in the hype to make sound trading decisions.

Background

Im sure you are wondering why Bunt doesnt release everyone at once. Well, it has to do with the physical cards that is the source material for the digital, and Topps only releases a portion of the players at the beginning of the season. Therefore, Bunt has to wait for the next series (hence the series 2 title) to add more guys to the game. Believe it or not, there is actually a third series (Topps Update) that brings even more cards with it, but it is released too late for Bunt to spend the time to digitize it.

Additionally, Series 2 hasnt been released QUITE yet to everyone in the game. VIPs got early access last night, but had to pay quite a few coins just to have a go at the Red, Green and White cards. You might have seen people advertising series 2 on the fan feed, and this is the reason.

Where to Start?

With every new year, the tendency is to want to get every single card as fast as possible. I would highly advise against this. Instead, I would create a target list of guys that are essential to your collection or your gameplay and find someone who is looking for stuff you have. They will likely add the cards to packs sometime today, but its rare that ONLY Series 2 will be available. So, going and buying a ton of packs is probably not the best strategy, unless you have the coins to burn.

Its also a very bad idea to trade away valuable cards for base. Try to keep your trades 1:1 for same color, but you will have to get some Series 2 before that can happen. Since the majority of the big spenders have so much Series 1, making offers that include 5 to 1 base is like throwing a bucket of water at a tidal wave. You dont need 5 more cards that you already have 500 of.

Here is the exact process I will be following:

  • Buy packs until you have gotten 5-10 series 2 cards
  • Find team collectors who will give you 2:1 payouts on same color for the team they collect
  • Take your other cards and do this same thing until you have 40-50 to trade
  • Chase your targets along the way, but quantity is just as important as quality
  • Pitchers will be more expensive than hitters, so you will have to overpay
  • Wait until you have enough Series 2 to overpay before chasing down the big cards

Things to Consider

When series 2 was released last year, it had Felix Hernandez, Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner, as well as a user base that was much more involved with playing along than they are this year. You can imagine the frenzy.

This year, its different. Base are more important for getting the awards than for play, so its not as much of a chase – much to my dismay.

You will be opening packs from now until October, so you WILL get a lot of these cards EVENTUALLY. Its not like you wont amass a similar collection of what you have now the way you will with series 2. Dont drive yourself crazy.

Do not trade away singles from Series 1 to get Series 2. There is no guarantee they will not be needed for some sort of award. Be advised.

That being said, I loved when Series 2 hit last year because it was more cards to chase down. I love trading, and by the time Series 1 was stale, Series 2 was a breath of fresh air. I dont think it will be that way this year, but its still fun to get more guys from my favorite team, and more availability to play in the 10k challenge.

Its also worth mentioning that TOPPSMIKE has repeatedly said that Contests will come back in a big way, so there is a carrot out there to get some nice cards in your collection. It always has the chance of being a bust, as the feelings of “I am bored with contests” might be toothpaste you cant put back in the tube.

Either way, this should be something fun – just approach it with the correct mindset and you will be fine. If you are looking for a list of the top players, here is a post I did a few weeks ago:

Target List of Players Likely Available in Series 2

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SWCT Force Tip of the Day: Cultivating Demand From New Insert Sets

One of the reasons I love SWCT so much, is because of the thousands of ways that they can present the source material in a fashion that is attractive to collectors. Whether its actual photos from one of the movies, renderings from the cartoons, or artwork itself, there are literally tons of directions to go. Lately, in my opinion, we have gotten some of the best looking inserts of the year, and there are no signs of stopping now.

The most recent set of inserts is making waves in the trade economy in ways I havent seen since back when the app first started. Although its not quite the level of Nightbrothers, Reflections is crazy popular at the moment. The going rate for a Reflections is 2 Vintage, and that’s only if you find the right person to trade with. Because there are no parallels, and the access to the packs are limited, supply is minimal to meet the high demand.

If you arent familiar with the source material, they are a series of pieces done by artist Christian Waggoner. If you want to take a look, you will see how awesome the other cards will be. You can even buy prints if you want!

7

The question is, how much does the cool factor of these cards mean for its value and how much is just the extremely limited access and release?

I think its actually a bit of both.

Bottom line, the cooler the card looks, the more people are going to want it. Obviously what is cool is subjective, but some things are just universal. Reflections and other sets like Badges are definitely up that avenue.

The pack format is probably a larger part of it than you would guess. With how many inserts existing that are paralleled to 3-5 variations, having just one set is VERY different. I like it a lot. Obviously Badges of War had a number of parallels, but were so cool, that they attracted more people. Other sets like Sketchbook is more of a niche set that appeals to very specific types of users. Others are more widespread, and appeal to the masses.

There is also a big factor in who has access to BUYING packs as well, as you have to actually pull a very specific card to have access to the Reflections pack. Until you pull that card, you will have no ability to even try, which limits the amount of these cards in the hands of people who dont buy a lot of packs. That means that for many of the people that will own Reflections, their collections will be more Robust, and they will be looking for less of the available inserts. It will be harder to obtain the cards they want, and therefore, harder to trade for one of these cards. With sets like Intergalactic, which I thought was actually pretty cool, a random casual user could open packs and pull the best card in the 25k daily bonus. Not saying that doesnt happen with Reflections, but definitely fewer times.

1

I have already referred to sets like this as a velvet rope release, as even spending real money wont get you access to the packs. You literally need luck or the means to acquire the card by trading. That has NEVER happened to this point, and I really like that they are trying it. If you are going to go bold to test an idea, you need cards that everyone will want.

Elegant Weapons was another set with a virtual velvet rope, but it was more derived from cost of the packs and odds of the pulls instead of access to the packs. Anyone could drop the 25k for a master pack to get the gold, but it would be ill advised unless you have the money to spare, right? Outside of the gold, you had to buy A LOT of the other packs to get the cards, and the odds were NOT good.

That being said, the cool factor seemingly didnt apply to EW as much as the team had hoped, and many of the cards took a long time to sell out. Although I thought the set was a cool idea, and the design was nice, I knew from the start the set was a lost cause unless I wanted to spend the cash. I gave up pretty early on as a result, but I know a lot of the more well off users chased the hell out of the rarer parallels.

Lastly, the standalone ability of an insert is a factor I have just recently started to observe. Im referring to the feeling that a card can stand alone in your collection without the rest of the set and still be a piece with value. Cards like Reflections are DEFINITELY going to be those types of cards, as will some of the other inserts that have been released recently. Some of the TK cards are pretty impressive. People are much more likely to want an insert if it is worth having on their sheet, even without the rest of the set.

Regardless of how you feel about these types of “experiments,” at least we are getting some really awesome looking stuff in the process. Im not going to scoff at that, and will definitely be chasing down as much as I can.

Posted in Star Wars Tips | Tagged , | Leave a comment