SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Before I get into the NXT Takeover results and their possible impact on the game, and follow that with a Royal Rumble preview for later today, I want to discuss a bit about card value. Believe it or not, Topps WWE Slam cards have a real world cash value as since day one they’ve been bought and sold on eBay and through private channels. Since we can actually track sold eBay auctions, we can assign a general value to each card in the game, and as such we can quantify just how little or how much each card is worth.
Now this practice is somewhat controversial in the community, as there are plenty of players who continue to refuse to ever spend any real cash on “fake cards” that don’t physically exist. Regardless of whether or not you agree, you have realize that there are thousands of players who will spend real cash (I’m one of them) both on the coins in game and on specific singles on eBay.
Some will try to tell you that selling cards is against the Topps Terms of Service, but technically it’s not (it is only against TOS to advertise selling cards in the fan feed within the app), and selling digital cards has been around since the first Topps digital app Bunt way back in 2012. Topps is aware of the secondary market and, other than punishing people who set up businesses specifically to sell cards, they haven’t taken any action against individuals who buy and sell cards.
Most cards in the game sell for a dollar or less apiece. Within the game itself there are very few cards worth more than a few dollars, but while they are few in number they are incredibly popular. A basic primer for cards goes like this: Nobody really sells base cards for a profit, except for the Black base, which are usually about $1-2 each for a “common” while the name “elite” performers can go for $3-$10 each depending. For Inserts, open edition variants are usually $1, mid tier are $1-2 and high tier go for $2-5. Signature cards, depending on the subject and the card count can go for as cheap as $2.50 all the way up to $75 (for the Battleground Triple Signature 75cc variety and the Backlash six women signature at 50cc). Generally speaking the lower the CC the higher the price, but it also depends on the performer. Female current stars like Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and Paige will almost always sell for a premium, while your old-time vintage Legends you almost have to give away.
In any case, assigning a value based on real world sales will give you a leg up in trading, because you’ll know that it’s not worth trading away several sold out mid and high tier cards for the latest open edition insert, which is exactly what the denizens of the “fan feed” or the major area for card trading in the app want you to do. We don’t call it “the greed feed” for nothing. As the weeks go along, I’ll get more in depth with trading, buying, and selling, but right now I want to focus on current events, as there have been a lot of happenings in the game over the last couple of days and more is to come over the next week.
Now, I’ve just finished watching the live NXT Takeover San Antonio event, and as usual the NXT brand sets a high bar for the main WWE roster to try to overcome with one of the big four shows. The show as non-stop action with two great undercard bouts that saw Eric Young, the former TNA Heavyweight Champion and his new stable Sanity defeat “The Perfect 10” Tye Dillinger and Roderick Strong pinning Andrade “Cien” Almas. When the Topps Now NXT card hit the game during the first part of next week, these two performers will be getting their first cards in the game. While Strong doesn’t appear to have that strong of an upside, Eric Young being the leader of an up and coming faction, and as a former TNA Original may have big in game demand.
The Tag Team Championship changed hands for the second Takeover in a row, with Paul Ellering’s team of The Authors of Pain defeating #DIY. Akam and Rezar had one previous in-game card, the Topps Now from their victory in finals of the second Dusty Rhodes Classic at Takeover: Toronto, and of course had brand new San Antonio cards in three varieties, their first individual cards in the game. While their base Tan variant is well over 10,000cc right now, the silver high-tier version is sitting at just under 450cc right now. If history repeats, these cards will end up under 750cc by their sell out, and as their first cards in the game might command a premium later. Their predictors cards sold out at 1668 cc (over 1100cc less than the DIY) and those fans who bought them will be getting 20,000 coins on Monday. Many collectors will go for a complete set of the predictors and as these are the lowest cc of any predictor, they’ll be the most popular in trades.
As many predicted Bobby Roode knocked off Shinsuke Nakamura in the Heavyweight Championship match making him the second man to hold the TNA Heavyweight Championship and the NXT Championship (after Samoa Joe). Bobby Roode was one of the three base expansions that came out in October, and his best card is the Black Unchained which sells for at least $15. He’s got cards in the Unchained, Splatter Art and Galaxy set, and PPV cards in the Takeover Toronto and San Antonio sets. The Sepia Takeover Toronto card is on the card sheet but has not been released to the public. You can expect his cards to get a bump in popularity after this weekend, though he’s been pretty popular so far. I get offers for my base expansion cards at least once a week, but since I don’t have doubles, I always decline.
As I mentioned in my last article, Topps always puts out a special set of cards for each pay-per-view, and as one of the big four, the Royal Rumble gets a huge set of cards. It was released on Wednesday of this week and currently consists of a base set of 49 cards in two variants (red and blue), four programs in two variants (red and blue) and four signature cards in three variants (black, red and blue). The original articles from Topps mentioned a 50 cards base set, so there may actually be a 50th card coming at some point, as for Survivor Series they delayed releasing the 50th Shane McMahon card for at least a day, so be on the lookout for that 50th card.
Previously the NXT Takeover set was released separately from the WWE PPV set, but this time they were included, so there were also a set of 10 cards in two variants (silver and tan), a single dual signature of Asuka and Shinsuke Nakamura in three variants (gold, silver and tan) and two programs in two variants (black and yellow). Additional Predictor cards for the important matches are usually released the day of the event too.
For NXT Takeover you could buy a pack containing cards of either DIY or Authors of Pain, and a pack containing either Shinsuke Nakamura or Bobby Roode. If you bought the Authors pack you get 20,000 coins on Monday, and if you bought Bobby Roode’s pack you get 10,000 coins. For collecting all the tan base variants of the NXT cards you get an award card of Asuka. For collecting all the red base variants of the Royal Rumble set you will get award cards of Chris Jericho, Naomi, Zack Ryder, and Braun Strowman. For collecting each variant set of signatures you will get the corresponding color dual signature of A.J. Styles and John Cena. For collecting every signature you will get a special gold version. For collecting both the base tan NXT and the base red Rumble sets you will get a mystery award. Phew.
That’s just the base set. Sometime later on Sunday predictor cards for the undercard of the Rumble will be released. Then there’s the entrant number cards available 1 per pack in a 7,500 coin pack you’ll get a random entrant number from 1-30. If your card number’s entrant wins the rumble you get a special card and 200,000 coins. These cards are untradeable until after Monday. I suspect this will be and already has been quite popular with fans, though there’s no telling what the card count is on these as they are obscured on the back. Also with a 1 in 30 chance of winning, most people will try to get all 30 cards to better their odds.
Another component is the purple base “Legends” set of nine cards featuring past Rumble winners and participants. For collecting all nine you get both a Shawn Michaels and Stone Cold Steve Austin award. Topps created a two-tier Survivor Series legends set and that proved fairly popular, though those cards were available in standard Survivor Series packs, and these have their own separate packs.
Finally there’s the in-app Royal Rumble, which is, as they repeatedly have said, in no way related to the actual event. Beginning at 2:30 p.m. EST/11:30 a.m. PST, special Rumble packs will be released into the card store, with in-app rumble participants as special inserts. The first two will be A.J. Styles and Sasha Banks, then every two minutes an additional superstar will be released to packs. Every so often inserts will sell out representing that superstars’ elimination, until there is one superstar winner. If you can collect all 30 Superstar inserts you will get the special Royal Rumble Poster Insert. Poster inserts have proven to be quite popular in the past, though there’s absolutely no consistency with their release. The number of cards for this award will most likely be in the hundreds, and as such this card may end up being the sleeper card for the entire Royal Rumble. Many collectors are already espousing that they’re going to skip this in-app rumble due to Topps inability to pull off anything as intricate and confusing as this program in the past. Also fears about high insert ratios and quick sell outs will have many collectors running for the hills. A lot of people feel this is nothing more than a coin suck, ala the failed “coin flip challenge” program that they’ve been shoving down our throats for months.
Finally, don’t forget about the second PPV Season award, which ends with the Rumble as well. There will be two awards issued just like the first PPV Season. The first will assumedly be for collecting the 14 base yellow Roadblock cards, the 12 base steel TLC cards, and the 49 (or 50) base red Royal Rumble cards. The second will be for all of the above AND their associated Award cards (For Roadblock that’s the orange awards of Enzo & Big Cass and Rusev, for TLC that’s red awards of Heath Slater, Rhyno, Kalisto and Nikki Bella, for NXT Takeover that will be the black Asuka award and for the Rumble that will be the black Chris Jericho, Naomi, Zack Ryder and Braun Strowman).
One thing that Topps has done that’s infuriated a lot of collectors is to put the high-end content for the Royal Rumble (the signatures and the blue base set) behind “a paywall” in that the only way to get access to those packs is to make an in game purchase of special coin bundles. To get access to the best pack of cards, a 50 card pack that cost 750,000 coins you had to spend $25 on a specific coin bundle that gave a free pack of the next tier down pack of cards. This pack was the only way to get the 50cc Black Signature and the Gold Asuka/Shinsuke dual signature also at 50cc and one was guaranteed in each pack until they sold out, which they did in a matter of hours. As such they are in high demand in game.
They’re selling for between $15 and $40 per, or about $125 per the set of five. The “super” pack also had the most number of guaranteed high-tier blue base, programs and signature cards. I bought one pack and got 5 different signatures. The next pack is available for 450,000 coins and has 35 cards and also contains the various tiers of base, programs and signatures and was only available with the purchase of a $15 coin package. The final paywall pack was only 100,000 coins and only had 15 cards, only 2 of which were blue base. This pack was available with any coin purchase.
In the game the PPV signature cards have a dubious history. Many collectors feel they’re too easy to collect as you are guaranteed a certain number in the high-end packs. As such quite a few people think that their value drops off as soon as the event is over, but that has proven to be a tad untrue. Sure for some of the events the signature selection was pretty banal, and several events featured the same performers over and over, and such their signatures in game are saturated (AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns all have way too many signature cards), but lately the selection for each event has included at least one outlier in each set.
This time it’s Baron Corbin and Bayley. Both only had one other signature card in the game (Corbin’s was in Undisputed with 2 variants 500cc bronze and 50cc silver; Bayley’s was in Sigmas at 658cc). Besides Corbin and Bayley the four card signature set has Goldberg and Undertaker depicted on separate cards. Undertaker also only has one other signature in the game, his standard signature series card released as the 4th installment way way back in the early months of the game. The blue variants are going to be capped at 750cc and are selling for between $3 and $6 each. The John Cena/A.J. Styles Dual Signature award will likely be popular, though they both have appeared on many signature cards before, and in fact have already appeared on a multi-signature card together (the No Mercy triple signature along with Dean Ambrose).
Chris Jericho, Alexa Bliss, Brock Lesnar and Kalisto are featured on the two tier Program set. The red low-tier programs are all around 3,000cc currently, with the blue high-tier programs at about half that or 1500cc. Only the Alexa Bliss has any real premium value, and you can get the entire 4 card blue set for $5, much less for the reds.
Currently the red low-tier base are all over 10,000cc, while the blue high-tier base are still under 500cc each. Performer selection on the base set was pretty good, all the names are there, with Goldberg, AJ Styles, Brock Lesnar, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and John Cena all making appearances on the male side, plus a surprise card of Finn Balor is there (in his Demon King attire) and his cards are always popular. Not sure if Topps knows something we don’t know. For the women we get the biggies in Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Bayley and Alexa Bliss. Blue bases are currently selling for about $1-3 with cards of the above mentioned women going for slightly more.
Batista makes a rare appearance in the purple legends set, making only his third appearance in a set (he was the award for the Splatter Art set in 3 variants, and he appears in four variants in the Unchained set). The Legends cards fall one in seven packs for 7500 coins, and it isn’t too difficult to complete the set. Besides Batista the best cards are Bret Hart, Edge and British Bulldog. Full sets can be had as cheap as $2.50 and since you don’t need them for any of the ongoing awards, they should be relatively easy to acquire.
Thankfully Topps decided to go light on other insert sets during Rumble week, with only their new Topps Classic and a series two of Dynamic Duos issued during the week. Classic is a set of four themed waves each with four cards, with a two card sticker component award for each complete wave. They’re designed to look like older Topps sets to invoke nostalgia. Wave 1 was Smackdown Live, Wave 2 was Raw, Wave 3 was Legends, and Wave 4, which will be issued this week, is probably going to be NXT. They didn’t prove to be very popular, cards run between $1-2 each with the awards slightly more.
Revisiting older sets with a series 2 has been a popular paradigm in the last couple of months, with all of the earliest insert sets getting a series 2, including Aerialists, Charisma and Speed. Undoubtedly we’ll be getting second series of Flight and Power soon as well. Dynamic Duos was a tag-team themed set with no variants that was released in the first couple weeks of the game and proved rather popular due to low CCs and tough odds. Series 2 should have followed suit, but a seriously terrible choice of depicted tag teams kiboshed the enthusiasm for the set, even though the award is Degenration X. (The series 1 award was the Hart Foundation, and still sells for $4-6). Cards 1 and 2 in the second series started off well with The Outsiders and the Acolytes, but the quality dropped precipitously from there, with Prime Time PLayers, J&J Security, Vaudevillains, Bushwhackers, Foreign Legion and the Brain Busters rounding out the set. Thankfully today was the last day.
One other major event of the last couple weeks within the game was the 20th week of marathon inserts being released. Marathons are insert sets that are released one card at a time, once a week for 30 straight weeks, with each 10 weeks getting awards. Each day of the week has a different themed marathon, and many collectors will pick and choose which ones they collect. As marathons tend to have pretty decent odds, it can be difficult if not impossible to collect more than one marathon at a time.
Last week was the 20th week for six of the seven marathons (Mondays’ Masters on the Mic started two weeks later than the rest), and as the 20th cards were released collectors scrambled to complete their sets. Three of the seven sets have only one variation, so while it’s still difficult to complete NXT Generation (Wednesday), Foreign Imports (Saturday) and Masters (Monday), it’s much easier. Two of the sets have an open edition variant, and as we have seen time and again with open edition sets, the last card in any open edition set, marathon or not, is always the hardest to pull from packs or trade for. The reason is that due to the way Topps releases Open Editions and leaves the in packs for the entire set length, the last day card gets increasingly hard to pull.
Take Queens of the Ring, the Tuesday marathon, there’s two variants, a high tier Purple capped at 2000cc per card, and an open edition Red. Now the first few weeks the open editions are easy to pull at 1:5 for a card. But those inserts stack week after week, so the second week your 1:5 is for either of the 2 cards available. Week 3 it’s for 3 and so on. This makes the effective odds to pull a specific card harder and harder. By Week 4 your odds of pulling the week 4 red card are effectively 1:20 (1 in 5×4). By Week 10 you’re looking an astounding 1:50 to pull the Week 10 card. This makes the week 9 and 10 cards the hardest to pull and the most popular.
While the Week 1 cards number in the 10s of thousands, the week 10 cards typically number less than 1300 total. The first 10th week card ended up being Mandy Rose, an NXTer who’s no big deal, but her Red QotR card sold for up to $10 during the days prior to the first week’s awards being issued. The week 20 award was Rosa Mendes, who is also pretty unspectacular, but being that again there’s only about 1300 of those, her card sold for over $5 apiece by the time the award was issued earlier this week.
Additionally there are special awards for those who collect all the previous marathons and all the issued awards, so those folks who missed out on the first 10 weeks award are desperately trying to trade for it. The red award for week 1-10 was a silver Lita card, and has consistently sold for over $20. The gold version for the Purple variants is much much higher. All of the previous marathon awards realized an increased popularity this week, and will continue to do so, as the special 3rd award (for having all the week 1-20 and award 1 & 2 cards) hasn’t been announced for any marathon yet.
The other set with open editions is Hall of Fame (the Thursday marathon), and their red variant, and those cards are made more complicated by the card exchange component. See for every 3 red variants you collect you can turn them into a green version of the same card. Again during the early weeks this is pretty simple, as open edition variants are plentiful, but by the last week, the 10th week’s cards are few and far between. Nikolai Volkoff, the week 10 card numbers under 1000 and is incredibly hard to trade for or purchase. Same thing happened with the week 20 card, Rowdy Roddy Piper, which was exacerbated by his popularity.
Monday will see the release of the 20th Masters on the Mic card, so you can expect that card to be rather popular in trading in the upcoming days. Even if you’re not collecting the marathon it might be worth your while to try to pull it for trade bait.
Lastly, you may want to pay attention to Topps official Twitter stream, their Facebook page and the in game announcements column during the Rumble itself for the chance to win coins and packs for the duration of the PPV. They typically run prediction contests and all you have to do is predict the winner of each match or answer trivia questions. It’s yet another way to get involved.
Happy collecting, and if you have any comments or questions, post them below, or find me over at our ToppsWWE forum on Reddit.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S ARTICLE: DIGITAL DABBLING #1: Introduction to Topps WWE Slam Digital Card Trader, preview of the hotly anticipated Royal Rumble set