Friday, August 12, 2016

Adventures in WWE SLAM Digital Trading Cards

Topps seems to have cornered the market on Digital Trading Card Apps.  First with Baseball and Bunt, then Football with Huddle, onto Major League Soccer with Kick, moving into the entertainment world with Star Wars and The Walking Dead, moving to the octagon with UFC Kick, and finally most recently the WWE and SLAM!

All the apps function basically the same, you get free coins each day you log in, you can spend those coins on digital card packs containing at least 5 cards usually.  There are inserts and hits including highly sought after digital Signatures and Relic pieces.  These cards can sell for big bucks on eBay.  Yes, digital cards.

In Bunt, the baseball game, Signature cards have sold for hundreds of dollars.  In Star Wars the first "insert" card ever released, so called "Vintage Han Solo in the Cockpit" went for a couple hundred at it's peak.  Yes, digital cards.

Now I have gone on and off with virtually all of the apps, and at this time I'm in all of them except Soccer.  I really only care about Star Wars and WWE Slam.  I was into Star Wars on Day 1, but took off a several months, only recently coming back.  I've got a decent collection, but I missed a ton of releases.

In Bunt I'm only collecting Angels, and Mike Trout specifically.  I'm not collecting anything specific in other apps.  This allows me to cross trade, which can be a bit tricky some times, you always run into the possibility of being scammed or burned.  But if you're smart you can mitigate that risk.

So there's an app for The Walking Dead.  I started playing it a couple months ago, before I had even watched a single episode of the show.  I have read all the comics, but only started binge watching the show in mid June.  I got up to the beginning of Season 5 before I had to take a break.  I'm not collecting a lot, besides the Fan Choice set and the free daily teal singles.  I have completed a base White, Blue and Red set (your standard Common, Uncommon and Rare base).  Since I don't really care about collecting, I can and usually do stash my coins for when the Fan Choice hits once a week.  the last couple of weeks I've managed to get more than one of the Fan Choice weekly card within a few packs, so by yesterday I had over 200K coins stashed.  I decided to blow a few on some packs and went for the 10K Base expansions.  I pulled an Aqua Variant of Daryl Dixon, with a card count of 31.  Yup thats a big hit.  Ebay has it going for $15.

Over on WWE SLAM I've been watching the insert releases and noticed something awfully interesting.  Most of the insert sets have had a similar pattern, they're releasing 6 or 7 card sets with three different variants.  The "easy" variant is a 1:10 pack pull, but once a card is released it's available for the run of the set.  The mid-range variant is usually a 1:15 or 1:20 and available for only 24 hours, then sold out.  The "hard" variant is either 1:25 or 1:50, and capped at 750 or more commonly 1500 cards.

As the releases went on, a pattern began to emerge: the "easy" variant of the last couple days' releases were actually the lowest number card count.  The final trading day before the award is released there's a frenzy in the fan feed looking for the final card for the "easy" set, and there just aren't enough to go around.

Here's an example:

The first Insert card set was "Charisma" - a 7 card set with 3 variants, Blue (1:10), Purple (1:15), Pink (1:25/1500 CC).  Day 1's Sasha Banks has over 6400 cards, the purple has 2391 and the Pink has 1500.  By Day 6, Booker T there's between 1012 and 1124 of the Blue, 2083 of the Purple and 1500 of the Pink.  Wait a sec, why don't I know the true card count?  AHA, the "easy" tier has the card count hidden from view.  You can still estimate by sorting the ALL CARDS listing by Card Count and guestimating from the cards with a count on either side.  The final days' release, Enzo Amore has only between 525 and 542 Blues, 2368 Purples and 1500 pinks.  So while there are several thousand of Day 1s there's only a few hundred of Day 7.  Anyone trying to complete a set that doesn't pull the day 7 1:10 has to trade, and there aren't very many to trade.  In fact, once the award was released, there were 290 Blue awards, 374 Purples and 484 Pinks.

Same thing happened with the Speed Set and it's final card Finn Balor, same thing happened with the Power set and it's final card Braun Strowman.  Same thing happened with the earlier Aerialist set (which only had 2 colors) and the Warrior Tribute (which had FOUR colors).

See by the final day, there are multiple releases available for that 1:10 pull.  So your 1:10 is a 10% chance to pull ANY of that set's releases.  Obvious math indicates that it's a 1:60 or 1:70 pull (depending on how many cards are in the set) for the final day's cards.

THIS week we had two insert sets ending on the same day, FLIGHT and "Family Ties".  Both with 3 variants, and both with 6 cards.  They both ended on Thursday August 11, and coincidentally (or not maybe) Topps chose that day to release a brand new huge set, HERITAGE WAVE 1, which funneled off a ton of pack purchases.  By the end of the day, there were a total of 769 White Charlotte Flights and 533 Black Uso Family Ties.

Now I did buy a couple of Heritage packs early in the day for 10K coins (the Insert sets are only 5K) but as soon as I realized I needed to finish my Family Ties set, I stopped and started going for Family ties packs, and actually managed to pull the rare Black Usos.  At that time I still needed the day 5 card, the Rhodes Family, but I was able to make a trade for that.

Remember what I said about The Walking Dead cards earlier and cross trading?  Well watching the fan feed I found someone who wanted Walking Dead for their Slam, and had a White Charlotte Flight for trade.  I made him an offer he couldn't refuse.

I gave up the Aqua I got the previous day, plus a couple of other rare base expansions and he traded me the Charlotte Flight.

So once I got it, I immediately advertised it on the WWE Fan Feed and on reddit in R/TOPPSWWE.  My minimum trade was for a signature card, which at that time were selling for at least $5.00 and more like $8 to $15.   After a couple of hours of truly awful offers, I decided to put it on eBay with a fixed price at $14.99 or best offer.  The first offers came in and they were pathetic, less than 1/3rd of asking price.  BY that time I already had trade offers of at least 3 mat relics from Heritage (which are selling for between $1.50 and $4.00 depending on who they are, the ones I was offered totaled about $10).

I finally accepted a great offer, $8.00 cash via Paypal and a Dean Ambrose Signature (worth about $8.00 right now) through eBay.

So here's a spreadsheet with all the current insert cards and their population.

My Topps user name is Grendelsen unless noted

Remember I'm cross trading:
Walking Dead (mattiasgrendels)
Bunt (wildwill) 
Huddle (wildwill)

Star Wars 

WWE Slam

Friday, May 27, 2016

NeonMob - A New Way to Collect Art Based Digital Trading Cards

"Honeymoon Phase" Very Rare from the Fractal Emotions Set

I love trading cards, have since I was introduced to Baseball Cards by my dad in the 70’s.  I remember for a time he worked as a LA Times deliverer in the early morning, and he would often stop for coffee and a donut at this place that used to be on Barrington and Santa Monica (it’s a Starbucks now don’t you know), and I guess they sold baseball cards, because he started to bring them home to me.  We started a collection, and I was hooked. 

"Chewbacca" - a Rare from the Star Warhols set
Of course when Star Wars cards hit a year or so later I was hooked again, I even remember I bought my first packs at the market that would become the Trader Joe’s on Westwood and National Boulevard. 

Nowadays I don’t have room to keep a lot of trading cards and I’m trying to liquidate a bunch of my collection.  This is where the digital apps come into play, I can have a huge collection online and it takes up zero room.  Plus I can trade to my heart’s content.  I’ve been a member of the Topps digital apps for quite some time, though I’m not always active.  I recently got into the Upper Deck E-Hockey cards because I love Hockey and I want my Kings, plus it’s kind of hard to get packs of Hockey cards in So-Cal.

Yesterday I found another digital trading card app, this one is all based on art, which also interests me to no end.  It’s actually quite cool because if you’re so inclined you can create your own trading card set and put it up.  It’s call NEONMOB, here’s my unique link to sign up, if you do we both get free cards:

Minion Galaxy - a "Chase" from the Galaxies Set
Some of the sets are quite striking, there’s plenty of space art and surrealism to go around.  Dark characters and themes are abundant as well.   There’s quite a few different sets available, at least two dozen at last count, some are already retired too.  Each set has at least 5 cards available and most count 20 and above.  There’s also the common, uncommon, rare, ultra rate, etc. paradigm going.  Sets are limited also, when they’re sold out they’re retired. 
It’s all free, unless you want to pay for more.  You can even get posters of some of the cards.  I highly recommend it.  So sign up and make me a friend, let’s trade!

"Monk's Mirror" - a common from the Alien Creatures Set

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Upper Deck E-Pack Application

Yeah yeah I know, I said I wouldn't be posting anymore, well I lied.

Here's a new program that I'm definitely participating in, it's called Upper Deck E-Pack, and it's basically an online version of their flagship Hockey set.

Some of my better Kings inserts

Online?  Yep.  Digital?  Yep.  Trading?  Yep.  On phones?  Soon.  Can you get physical cards?  KIND OF.  Free to play?  Yeah, sort of.

Wait, what?


Every day you log in you can get a 3 card pack for free, they're all base cards, no inserts.  So you CAN play for free.  If you collect 10 copies of a base card you can trade them in for a foil version of that card.  Base cards are only digital though.

Foils, Canvas and an Insert
Packs of 8 cards cost $3.99 plus tax.  Just like in normal stores I guess.  I haven't bought any packs lately.  Each pack I've bought (and I've bought a few) has an insert, anything from the lame-o Shining Stars to Young Guns, and Jerseys.  Odds seem to be the same as a physical pack.

Jerseys?  Digital Jerseys?

Yeah, all the inserts are physical cards that UD scanned supposedly.  AND you can have them shipped to you directly or transferred to your COMC account (for a fee unfortunately)

And you can now trade.  Young Guns are by and far the most popular trade bait, everyone want's em, because you can foil them too.  Foils are digital exclusive.  There's also two digital exclusive sets that aren't available in any physical packs.  One is called Code to Greatness, and if you can collect the entire set you get 2 bonus cards.  The other is Instant Impression.

One nice thing is that they tell you exactly how many of any given card there are in the app at any time.  For example, I know that when I traded my Young Guns Panarin for a Clear Cut Doughty, there were something like 300 of the Young Guns and only 8 of the Doughtys available.  Pretty simple math to me.

Base plus Young Guns
My user name is GRENDELSON over there, if you want to trade I'm game.  I have more than a few inserts, and I'm ONLY collecting LA Kings Cards.  I'm not looking for any more base LA Kings, but if you have inserts I'm ready to trade.


Drew Doughty Clear Cut Superstars.  So far there are only 8 of these in the app

Part of my "Wish List" - Helps in Trading

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Ebay Listings

Forgot to include this in my last message

I will be posting a lot more in the near future.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The End of the Budget Collector

The Budget Collector is no more.

I have no more Budget.

My wife and I just lost an eviction trial on Friday, we were late with rent in January, and even though I had a well prepared case we were unable to settle and lost at trial.  The judge stayed the order of execution for the judgement and eviction until March 1, giving us a few more weeks, but we will have to vacate our apartment and find new places to live.

My wife and I are also separating at this time due to the incredibly toxic and unhealthy situation between us.  So we are now looking for separate apartments.

She is moving to North Hollywood to be closer to her work, I need to find a studio or roommate situation on the West-Side as close to Brentwood as possible.

We both have full-time jobs, and we have a 9 year old daughter.

We've set up a Go-Fund Me and to date have raised $2,500 towards our relocation expenses.  This is actually the amount of the judgement against us, so we still have a long way to go.

Having to reach out and ask for help is the hardest thing a man can do.  But it something you HAVE to do as an adult some times.

I am in the process of selling off most if not all of the accumulated things I've collected over the last 30 years.  Some is on eBay already.  Others are at  Big Lous  and still more will be sold over the course of the next few weeks.  I hate to do this, but a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.

Any further posts here will probably just be updates.

Thank you and I love you all.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Superbowl 50 - Denver 13 Carolina 7 6:28 2nd

I dont have a lot to say.  Pretty decent game thus far

Superbowl 50 - Denver 10 Carolina 7 11:25 2nd

There;s the Cam Newton that we hadn't seen just yet.

And the games starting to get chippy.

Superbowl 50 - Denver 10 Carolina 0 6:34 1st

The Marmot ad was very very cute.

The babymonkeypuppy ad was very disturbing

Carolina was ROBBBED on that catch, it was a catch.  No way

Oh boy, this might not be Cams day...

That did not look good.

10-0 Broncos.

Superbowl 50 - Denver 3 Carolina 0 7:23 1st

Wow the Panthers kill the Broncos in 3 plays, but on the punt they pin them way way back in their own end.

Oooh the ad for the Jungle Book looks pretty good.

I;m really not sure how I feel about the Audi ad.

Superbowl 50 - Denver 3 Carolina 0 9:19 1st

3 plays and kick for the Panthers, Newton is 1-2 for 7 yards.  Not the start they wanted I;m sure.

Commercials are better this year than last so far.  Hyundai's two ads have been really good.

Superbowl 50 - Denver 3 Carolina 0 10:43 1st

4 straight throws by Denver to start, but its working, then two nice runs and the Broncos are in the Red Zone.

Suddenly the Panthers defense wakes up and stops the drive and Denver settles for a FG.  10:43 1st

Superbowl 50 - National Anthem

Wow, Gaga can sing can't she?  Love the beating on the chest at the end.

Superbowl 50 - Pre-Game

I don't watch the full  37 hour coverage anymore.  Its too long to talk about one stinking game.  That said, the NFL is really good about boiling it down to the essentials at moments.

Oooh Marvel Captain America Civil War ad

Live Blogging the Super-Bowl is now in effect

From Levis Stadium in Santa Clara California, Superbowl L or 50.

This is nice introducing all the Superbowl MVPS

Wow a lot of them are limping.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Lego Ideas Doctor Who Tardis Control Room #21304 Review

Today is my birthday and the only thing I wanted this year was the Lego Ideas Doctor Who set, and fortunately I have a wonderful Mom who got it for me!  This is my second foray into Lego Ideas, I previously purchased the Ghostbusters Ecto-1 Set last year.  After that build I knew this one would be fairly complicated and nuanced, using techniques that standard Lego sets don't usually use.  Mostly though I was interested in the comparison between what Lego can do with the license versus what Character Building did with it.

My Character Building Doctor Who Collection.  Over 100 figures.
See I was a huge collector of the Character Building Doctor Who Mini-Figure line.  Sure it wasn't expansive, but there were more than a few good sets.  I amassed a fairly large collection of the figures.  Yes, I was trying to get them all.  No I didn't succeed.  

For some reason I really enjoyed the look of these figures, at least the faces anyway.  Not only did I go for their Doctor Who line, but I tried to get anything they did, figuring that if I ever did want to do dio stories, and that included their Tardis set.  That set was just the box itself with no interior.  Now CB MADE at least one set of the interior, and it was huge and hugely expensive.  I enjoyed what CB did with the line, would I enjoy what Lego is going to do?  Let's find out.

LEGO IDEAS #21304 - Doctor Who

Yes, I suppose that's the official title.  It's not called "Tardis Control Room" on the box.  

Packaging: 5 of 5
It's a beautiful study box.  Unlike most other Lego sets, the Idea boxes are meant to last.  The front shows the entire contents of the set in action, the back has a couple of good close ups and the Mini-Figure lineup.  

I suppose I'd rather they actually photograph the physical item rather than using a computer generated image, but what can you do?

Unboxed Contents
Surprisingly this box isn't all that big.  For 623 pieces you'd think it would be bigger.  The other IDEAS boxes are rather small also.

Instructions 5 of 5
I'm not sure what more you could want.  You get a nice perfect bound book with easy to follow instructions, and background information on not only the show, but the designers of the set as well.  Plus it's in three languages.


Construction 4.5 of 5
Sort the pieces, you'll thank me.
No I'm not giving it a perfect score, it's a pretty darn fun build that took two hours to put together, and that was with only minimal help from my munchkin.  There's just something a bit off about this set, not much off, just a bit.  Maybe the lack of walls?  Or the lack of "play features".  On a set this size and this many pieces, for example the Lego Elves Treetop Hideaway (that my daughter also got from my Mom) has over 100 fewer pieces and no less than 3 action gimmicks.  

Decorations 5 of 5 
There's a nice mix of existing printed tiles and brand ew unique tiles to make any AFOL happy.  Did I mention there's no stickers?  That's quite nice.  My only quibble is that the "Police Box" tiles are separated, has to be that way for at least two of the sides due to it's construction.  There's even a couple of tiles with Galifreyan writing.    No stickers is such a key though.

Figures 4 of 5
I know right?  How can you go wrong with Lego Doctor Who figures?  Well, quite simply I'm not overly fond of the brick built Daleks.  Also I think the characters are just a bit too generic.  As in they're not easily identifiable as Doctor Who.  Heck the Clara figure looks just like any other female figure from any of their licensed lines.  I do like the Weeping Angel though.  The two sonic-screwdrivers you get are really nice as well.  Better than the CB versions.

Speaking of which, I thought I'd take comparison pis of each of the figures included in the Lego set and their CB counterparts.  Lego are consistently smaller, except for their Daleks.  Best of both worlds I suppose, since I'll be using my CB Daleks on display instead of the Brick Built ones.


Price 3 of 5
Yup, I'm dinging this set for the price.  At an MSRP of $60 this set comes in at 9.6 cents a piece, which is usually a pretty good price, until you realize that a ton of the pieces in this set are single studs.  Lego is expensive, we get it.  I'm just fortunate that I have a loving mother who will still buy her middle-aged son toys.  A couple of years ago she got me a Superman Lego set that I adore as well.  

Overall 5 of 5
And still it's a great set and I'm happy to have it.  I'm overjoyed to have it, and now all I need to complete my Lego Doctor Who collection are the two Dimensions sets.  Of course I don't have a crack machine to play the game on, so oh well. I just want the models.

If you're wondering, the Tardis box itself is much much larger than the old CB version.  
The CB version measured 6x6x9, while the Lego is 7x7x14.  It also feels much heftier.  Unfortunately though the door doesn't open, instead the box splits in the rear in order to connect to the larger model.  

Clara, it's coming, and it's a whopper!