Huddle Tip of the Day – Trading Ahead for National Games

If there is one thing I have learned over the last few weeks, its how important the Thursday, Sunday and Monday games are. The reason is that when they are the only games in progress, it becomes that much easier to score points. You wont have to monitor anything but what is in front of you, and your play counter is usually 100% free to burn all the way through. For other games, its not the case because there are conservation methods that need to be upheld to ensure plays for the games to come.

Because the top players all understand this concept, skill position cards in play for the nationally televised games automatically become that much more valuable the day before and the day of the game. As a result, its great to plan ahead and try to pick up the cards a week ahead of time. By taking this strategy to heart, you will avoid all the issues that can result from waiting too long.

Now, we all know its good to have a plethora of cards from every team, but that isnt always available. More importantly, its not always available without spending a lot of money. Therefore, playing week to week isnt a bad strategy at all, as long as you play your cards right:

  • Dont give up the house to get a good card for an upcoming game, you will regret it later
  • Every team plays at least one thursday night game, so you will need every card eventually
  • Monday and Thursday night games will have 100 play counters to use, so those games should be a top target before Sunday night
  • Sunday night games will only have the plays leftover from the 1pm and 3pm games, so aim for the higher rarities to avoid having to switch as much
  • Thursday games will likely have throwdown rules, which means you will need a lot of firepower to compete.
  • Thursday game boosts can replace trading for those cards if you are willing to spend the money

Overall, I want to say Huddle is more strategy than Bunt because of the play counter’s limitations and what it takes to score points. Trading ahead can help tremendously, especially if you can play 5 gold cards instead of 2 golds, 1 silver and 2┬áreds and a green to stay in the point standings. Saving plays is just as valuable as scoring in some cases, so keep that in mind as you prep for your trades.

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Gridiron Unwrapped – New Huddle Inserts 9/19

It has been a LOOOONG week in Huddle this week, and I am seriously starving for the way things started out. Now that we are getting a different picture of how the inserts are going to look, I am not sure how invested I can be after seeing the ideal state. Either way, here are some thoughts on how these cards will perform under the current state.

SR Rob Gronkowski Signature Series Card

IMG_2156

Collectability: Extreme
Playability: football-helmet-psd42322

I was seriously afraid of this. Using the existing headshot and slapping the sig template on top is not the way I would have done this. At least go back to the black background and add some glow like we saw on some of the other inserts. I think its obvious that Huddle is being overly cautious, but this is not making the most of your lemons. Not a fan, and really unhappy about this one. Regardless of how I feel, its pretty clear that people will want it because it is a sig and because its Gronk.

SR Colin Kaepernick Golden Moments

IMG_2157

Collectability: Strong
Playability: football-helmet-psd42322football-helmet-psd42322

This is the way I would have expected the sig to turn out, with a focus on making this look as close to the original intent as possible. I could live with this for the time being, knowing that there is nothing else that can be done.

SR Devin Hester Milestone Commemorative Card

IMG_2155

Collectability: Extreme
Playability: football-helmet-psd42322

At 100 copies, there are close to none of these cards around, and that should be pretty much the driver here. Hester had a great game last night, and this is his only card so far. It will likely be joined by a POTW card, and its likely that card will be nice too. The problem is Hester wont be all that involved in the Falcons offense, and his card will only score on those KO and PR that dont get fair caught or kicked out the back of the endzone. All that being said, this is another example of why the mug shot cards are so bad. Hester looks awfully upset, haha.

SR Jay Cutler 3x Black Boost

IMG_2154

Collectability: Strong+
Playability: football-helmet-psd42322football-helmet-psd42322football-helmet-psd42322football-helmet-psd42322

This is about as timely as it gets. Cutler will be playing on Monday night, and that means these boosts will be quite the card to have in your collection around that timeframe. I picked up two just in case he has a nice game, and with the mug shots, they are going pretty cheap. Also doesnt help that there are 500 of them. Nice ploy to get people to buy some packs, as the boost packs did have some nice cards. But man, its just not the same.

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Bunt Tip of the Day – Top Playoff Cards To Chase

With the playoffs just a few games away, we already know some of the best cards that should be stocked in your sheet to ensure you have the firepower to compete within the rapidly declining amount of baseball games played per day. It will be in your best interest to get the cards you will need, and they are going to increase in value as the playoff picture gets more clear every day. Here is a primer for chasing the best cards.

Clayton Kershaw

It should come as no surprise that Kershaw is at the top of the list, as he has been the best player in baseball all year. Although the Dodgers havent locked up a division win quite yet, its likely that they will soon. Even if they dont win the NL West, they will be the Wild Card. Lets just hope that they are assured a longer series by winning the division, because the one game playoffs can be unpredictable. Kershaw’s golds have been trading like inserts since release, and his Black Boost is basically unattainable. Start chasing silvers if you dont have enough of the golds by now.

Jeff Samardzija

I really think that the As are going to be able to come out of the Wild Card when all is said and done, and the combo of Shark and Lester is going to be a good one for the As. When Garret Richards went down, I was convinced that the Angels were done, but they pulled it out. This leaves the As with an uphill battle, despite having a great team. I think the Fire Boost Samardzija is a top card right now for this reason, and if they are able to win the playoff game, it will be very much worth your time to pick up.

Adam Wainwright

Even though Waino has had a bit of a struggle through last month, he has come around to finish strong. The thing is, he is a GREAT playoff pitcher and in the last three games he has pitched an average of 8.5 innings with 1 ER. Looks like he is back on the ball. I would pick up what you can.

Max Scherzer

Although Scherzer hasnt exactly been lights out as of late, he is going to be a valuable part of the Tigers’ pitching staff and has huge potential for big strikeout games. The great thing is that its easy to tell when he is off, and you can pull him before it gets ugly. That is a valuable thing to have. If the Royals are able to overtake the division lead, im not someone to bet on Detroit against Oakland or even Seattle in a 1 game playoff. I just dont have that confidence in them right now.

Chris Tillman

Here is the crazy stat of the day – Tillman hasnt given up more than 3 ER in a start since at least the end of July. he has had at least 6 Ks in 7 of his last 10 starts. That’s pretty good stuff for a guy on a team that has clinched the division. I would go hard for his golds and fill your sheet with a lot of his stuff. The Orioles could go deep.

Im excited for the Baseball post season, not only because it is going to be a lot less work watching one game at a time, but also because it is going to be a blast with the quality of the teams involved. Hell, the pennant chase is just as entertaining to watch, as there is still a lot of mystery to who will eventually end up playing.

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Re-examining the Huddle State of the Union

I think the big question on everyone’s mind is what happens now that Huddle’s aesthetics have changed completely, but the nice cards remain in game. I actually think this is a huge deal, especially because it will reward the people who supported the initial days of the 15 update. That being said, it will also create a huge value discrepancy between the two, as its clear that not many people like the head shot cards over the action shot cards.

In terms of value, the HS cards will likely be of less value not only from the get go, but for the remainder of the season. I equated it like driving a Mercedes and then being forced to exchange it for a Kia, sure they both drive you from point A to point B, but its just not the same.

As a result of the major shift in EVERYTHING, I think this will make every HS card that much less valuable than its AS counterpart. Although huddle was all HS last year, you cant unsee or unplay the cards that were released during the first few weeks. Even though some of them will still be readily available, none of the new inserts will ever be able to measure up.

The only true way to create value in the head shot cards is to make them boosted above the other cards, but even then, that is only one reason why we play the game. Huddle and Bunt have all been a marriage between collectability and playability, and without the collectible side of things in place the same way, the game is going to take a big hit.

I also think its a HORRIBLE idea to expect people to pay the same price, despite the drop in aesthetics. The argument can be made that the new HS cards are just as playable, but I would say there needs to be some major concessions to keep people around. Offering a 20k pack is not the answer. Your current customer base is made up of people from Bunt who get the best of the best due to full licensing, who may now leave because of how it all looks. Those people are combined with users from last year like me, who were enthralled with the shift to all AS. Lastly, its people who are new this year, and are on board as card collectors or NFL fantasy players. All three groups are going to dwindle without some major perks.

I would have even gone as far as saying Huddle should not have launched with the AS if there was ever a question that legally they could be forced to change back. I think its absolutely horrendous that it happened as early as it did, because for some of the AS cards, there are so few that are available. It was also obvious that there was already backlash over lack of logos on the cards, but at least they looked cool. Now its a big train wreck of visual appeal, and no one knows what to do.

Topps needs to address a few things:

1) Cost of packs under the new banner
2) Perks to retain pay to play users
3) Perks to increase new user base
4) The potential future of the app
5) What the plan looks like to ensure we can still have fun

Huddle will never be the same as long as the HS are back, and I am certain that the staff understands this. I am also certain that this was not their plan from the beginning and are scrambling as much as we are to determine what to do next. They said they are looking to improve the gameplay elements as a counter point to the loss of collectible elements, but as said above, I think you need both for this app to be successful. If I am Topps right now, and the full license is still on the table, its time to choose the cost of the full license vs the dwindling returns that will come from the HS state.

If the full license is off the table because someone else managed to get it (another football card company looking to build a Huddle clone), then its about time to think about other plans. This is not going to end well.

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Breaking News: Action Shot Cards Sold Out – Huddle Takes a Hit

I am still trying to process what is going on here, as its clear that something major went down yesterday or over the weekend. Seemingly overnight, the direction of Huddle has changed, moving away from the action shots that have brought a welcome evolution to the app, back to the head shots that plagued last year.

Examining the Announcement

To be clear, I definitely think there is one likely reason this happened, and I am not happy we are at this point in the process. I feel like I have been spoiled with awesome cards and now have to go back to the previous unpleasant mug shot experience.

Basically, here is my guess. Huddle is not NFL licensed, only licensed by the NFLPA. This means that no NFL logos or team uniforms can be used. Even though they painstakingly went through each card to edit out the licensed material, obviously something needed further editing or some grievance was filed. It may have been the NFL, or it may have been one of the photographers. I doubt we will ever find out, but Im guessing this is likely what happened. As a result, the cards are no longer being sold.

What does this mean?

Well things are going to change, and I am going to spend a lot less money on this game knowing that the cards are no longer going to feature the action shots. Gameplay is one thing, but collecting digital cards is about the look as well. Head shots dont look good. I doubt I am in the minority on this one, and I bet huddle feels like they just got blown up. Business plans are likely scrapped, and that is never a good thing. You can still do SOME of the things you want, but limitations are severe compared to what they used to be.

What do we know?

At this point Huddle is saying that the AS cards are not being removed from the game, which is really good. They mentioned we can still trade and do everything we need to do with them as needed. They are just all out of the packs, and from what I am reading in the announcement, will likely never return.

What dont we know?

Pretty much everything at this point. As soon as there is more information, ill post it.

Ladies and gents, without question, Huddle took a big hit this morning, and my week of torture just got worse. Stay tuned for more.

Here is a link to the announcement itself, which contains a Q&A.

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Huddle Tip of the Day – Making Sense of the Sunday Tailgate

I woke up on Sunday morning hoping that a day of Huddle could take my mind off the events of the past week. Boy, was I in for a surprise, as Sunday was easily one of the busiest days of releases and events that I have ever seen across all three apps. Insert releases, pack releases, and special chases were all on the plate and I was loving every minute of it.

After two weeks of Sunday Tailgating with Huddle, one thing is now clear. Sunday is an event that you should attend each and every week. It looks like there are now some big expectations for upcoming Sundays including the releases of more Black Boosts, new insert sets and all sorts of crazy packs and promotions.

Now, if you are a free to play type of player, these types of events will require you to avoid temptation for the entire week to save up for all releases on Sunday. With the inclusion of new awards for team sets, I hope you have saved a lot of those coins and are already on your way to saving up for next Sunday.

As of late, Huddle has taken a different approach to coins within the app, something that was absent for most of bunt. I wouldnt say its necessarily better or worse, just very different. In Bunt, the insert sets were build around generating more reward cards, rather than reward money. The singular releases were the ones that generated coins, and there was not usually a one time give out. Because the sets didnt generate huge money, in exchange, many of the coin cards could be passed around, as they generated rewards with each first time owner.

In huddle, the singular cards generate awards, but on a one time basis, limiting the coins that can be obtained from them later in the season. This puts a damper on things, and in exchange, more team set awards have been generated, and award payouts for set collections are enormous. Some come with reward cards, but none of them are known prior to the release. Sunday was an experience in this new method, and I kind of like it more than Bunt. Huddle is kind of an evolution, with more interactive opportunities, albeit paid ones. For me as a pay to play fan, Im okay with that. Its not as conducive to the free players. Team sets are good for coins now, but may not generate a sustainable fund to continue playing at a high level without careful planning.

For reference, if you got all the cards yesterday, you could have had over 100,000 coins in your account from awards. This will include 25k for each EC card, 25k for the gunslingers, and the big 100k reward for Inception. Ill break down the releases later on today with more info on how I see them fitting in.

With all the different releases and pack sales in place for Sunday this week, I am very interested to see how everything shakes out next week. People may not see the fun in it due to the cost of experiencing every card, but a little fun is just as nice. Remember, no one can really be a completist anymore, so just pick the ones you like.

In all honesty, the biggest release of the weekend may have been all the packs with a high SR Gold Insertion rate. With how rare those cards have turned out to be, some of the packs with a 20% clip for 7500 coins were a steal. Not only could you get a bunch of very playable cards, but also a chance at some very nice inserts.

Im interested to see what happens tonight.

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Bunt Tip of the Day – The Post Season Is Coming!

This is your warning. The post season is about 2 weeks away, and that pains me to no end. To think we are already at this point in the season means that 2014 Bunt is that much closer to being over. Its almost like we just started last week.

All that being said, its time to start gearing up for the post season, especially in cards for teams you know are going to be there. Teams like Oakland, LA and other teams have already basically punched their ticket, and it is in your best interest to stock up. Its still early enough that people wont think much of it, but you may find some wiser people that will hold back on the trading trigger.

A number of teams have already been eliminated, including some of the big cards that were once valuable. Obviously dont deplete your teams to the point where you cant compete in the normal week to week standings, but its definitely a good idea to prepare for competition programs that will run wild during the playoffs.

This past week in Huddle, we had our first one day league style competition, and I can completely see them bringing this back for the play in games. You dont want to be left trading for your life during those times. Trust me.

Strategically play out the scenarios and pick your targets. Remember that the new WC playoff structure will definitely have an effect on the game. If the team is likely to be the Wild Card, dont invest a ton, because its just one game and then the cards are done forever.

With new cards for 2015 likely rendering 2014 cards incompatible, you know that you will have lots of trade bait to offer.

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