SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
I’m going to put my what’s new and review series on hold for a little bit so that I can actually talk about a few super-important topics, Elite Cards and their value, Live Signature Tickets and SummerSlam.
As the app ages there are a specific selection of cards that rise to the top of the value and demand list, let’s call them “elites” for lack of a better term. The criteria I’d use to qualify these cards would be that they’re usually, though not always, 100cc or less and sometimes MUCH less as in under 10cc. They need to be worth at least $25 on the secondary market, with verifiable cash sales that are $25 or more. Some cards I’d definitely consider as elites are:
Finn Balor Demon King Red Signature 100cc
Any of the 2016 NXT Black Base that Sold Out (i.e. Alexa Bliss, Finn Balor and more)
BattleGround 2016 Shield Triple Sig Gold 75cc
Peyton Royce 2017 5 Star Gold Signature 150cc
Limited Ty Dillinger 10cc and Ric Flair 16cc
Brock Special Signature 25cc
Any 50cc signature
Two points I want to touch upon and they’re kind of related to each other, first is how do you get a fair value when you want to trade for one of these elite cards, and secondly the older these cards are the more elite they get because of player attrition.
“What’s it worth?” The question that gets asked and answered daily in every social media venue where discussions of any Topps App take place. Ultimately it’s worth whatever you get get someone else to pay for it, that’s the case in any collectible. There are people who will always pay more for their favorite performers or specific card sets, there just are. Just as there are people who will never overpay for their least favorite performers or sets. OK then, how much is it worth?
Well, one thing we can do is look at actual sales of cards to get a medium value, i.e. one that is based on a standard of exchange, i.e. cash. You can’t say that two cards from different sets with the same CC absolutely have the same exact value, you just can’t. One might have a woman on it or a signature, or has a great design, while the other is an announcer, or a retired legend (or jobber for that matter) and you can’t give them away because no one wants them. And since you can’t buy individual cards with in game currency from each other or Topps, you have to choose something as a universal exchange medium, so I choose cash.
I generally go by eBay completed sales, taking note of the high and low sale prices, what’s currently for sale, and lately I’ve been taking into consideration private sales from FB groups. From there it’s pretty easy to come up with an aggregate price range for cards. But what if you’re not selling the cards, you’re trying to trade for them. Well that’s a dicier prospect. As a card gains in value it becomes more in demand usually. Once you get to the elite level though (as I said earlier about $25) it becomes increasingly hard to get a good 1 for 1 trade for these cards. The main reason is, there aren’t that many $25+ cards in the game so far (both in terms of individual cards and card population), and because the high dollar cards are usually inaccessible to Free-to-play players, they don’t have them. Thus you get a situation where you’re more likely to get a 2 for 1 or 3 for 1, up to 9 for 1 card trade.
This is where it gets dicey. On one side say you have a 50cc hot diva Heritage Silver Signature. Let’s say it’s worth about $30 cash in the secondary market. The other side is making up their offer of let’s say nine $5 cards. If you have the Heritage should you take that offer? Value wise it’s 50% higher right? No brainer? Heck no it’s not. It’s a conundrum that I see happening every day in this game.
My mantra is Quality over Quantity. I’d rather have a $9-10 card than 9x $1 cards. Likewise I’d rather have the 50cc diva sig worth $30 over 9 cards worth $5 apiece. Why? Because of those 9 cards over half of them will just sit in my collection doing nothing. Now if I needed them that’s one thing, but I’m the kind of player who will aggressively go after what I need, and I’m also pretty transparent with my needs. Chances are I don’t need any $5 cards because I’ve already acquired them. Unless it’s a brand new set that I’m actively working to collect.
Besides which it’s far easier to trade an elite card away than it is to acquire one. Posting on the fan feed that you have an elite card for trade will elicit plenty of offers than one can kick and back pick and choose.
The other subject I wanted to tackle is card attrition, which happens when a given copy of an elite card is place out of circulation. This can occur when an older player simply quits playing (or has already quit) or a player gets banned by Topps. For example in one Facebook group it was discussed that one particular player had obtained over half of the Becky Lynch 50CC heritage sigs (I forget which color), and that player had subsequently gotten banned. So now there are only half of the 50cc cards still in circulation.
As the game ages it will lose players, that’s a given. There are plenty of “dead” accounts out there already with great cards just sitting there that cannot be retrieved. I have a similar situation in Star Wars, I traded much of my great cards from the first months of the game to a vault account so I wouldn’t get bombarded with trade offers. Unfortunately that account was on on my WIFE’s iPad, and since we’re getting divorced, I can’t access it anymore, and I didn’t get a chance to transfer them back to my account. I just made myself cry by looking at them just now.
The bottom line here is that one card worth $25 or more should not have to be traded for a bunch of $5 cards. Unless you really want those $5 cards. When you have a high value elite card to trade hold out for another one in return. You’ll be happier and better off in the long run.
Live Signature Tickets
On Friday Live Signature tickets hit the app, at a whopping 55,000 diamonds per ticket. That’s approximately $250 in cash. For a personalized digital trading card. You read that right. Now in reality $250 in cash will get you a VIP backstage tour meet and greet with an actual wrestler, and you’ll come away with a great experience and autographed memorabilia. Here you’ll get a digital trading card with your user name written by the performer. The signature will be exactly the same as the other 9 cards.
Sure the performers here are AJ Styles, Kevin Owens and Shinsuke Nakamura, but that doesn’t mean they should go for twice the amount as the last batch of live-signature tickets does it? Also in previous offerings there were other elite tier ancillary cards that were available at the same time as the tickets and that has been eliminated as well.
Tickets are still on sale more than 24 hours later. Proving that Topps royally misunderstood the amount that players will pay for these cards. It’s especially troubling to see because in one of the FB groups a member is attempting to trade away a Bayley personalized live signature and is getting told stupid stuff like “it’s personalized, no one else will want it” and “it’s worth way less than you think.” It’s essentially a 1/1 card. There’s only one like it in the game. Sure there are 9 other cards that are very similar. In any case, those feelings from other players make anyone hesitant to even want to spend a car payment on a digital card. Even some of the whales agree and are eschewing the entire thing. One went so far as to say that he has the diamonds saved for a ticket but won’t be buying one because of the price.
I suppose that the only good thing to come out of this mess is that no one has thought to put a live signature ticket on ebay yet.
One other nitpick, AJ Styles and Kevin Owens? Again? Really? These two have the most signature cards in the game already. We used to keep track, but it got really difficult after AJ hit 40 different sig cards.
SummerSlam/NXT Takeover Brooklyn III
Last year SummerSlam was the first major Pay-Per-View set that was released by Topps (Battleground 2016 had one card). It was the largest set released to date, with 67 base cards over two variations, 8 matchups over 3 variations and 5 dual signatures over 3 variations. This year Topps has upped the ante so-to-speak, with 88 base cards from both shows over FOUR variations, 8 matchups from both shows, a 7 card classic set that was issued a day before the rest of the set, and 5 card signature set over the same four variations.
Topps actually started the SummerSlam collecting season with a two variant Rock/Brock Lesnar signature card that sold out quite quickly. The Gold variant with only 50cc immediately shot up to prices near $80, I’d definitely call that elite.
The best content in the set is of course still behind the paywall, though it’s a diamond oriented one instead of cash. The highest level of variants, purple, had just 500 cc in base form and sold out in hours. Signatures sold out fairly quickly as well for all but the lowest tier, which were the blue variant. The 250cc Purple variants are already nearing “elite” level value, though I don’t think they’ll actually get there. Red sigs were capped at 750cc and orange at 1250cc. The only base available to free players were the blue and red.
A distribution issue led orange base NXT cards to be under-circulated and thus by the day before the show base cards were commanding signatures in trade by players who were priced out of the purple base set but still wanted to complete a high value base set.
Now 48 hours after release I still like the SS set, but I still feel that they could have left it at three variants, and given the player base a bit of a break. There’s no reason four 4 base variants other than Topps greed. The blue base which doesn’t list CC on the back, will be virtually worthless if it isn’t already. Even the final “four” blue cards (Big Cass, Big E, Enzo and Big Show) which weren’t initially available in packs for some reason.
There are a few cards in the set yet to be released, predictor base will be issued on the day of the event for both PPVs, and picking the winners of the matches will earn the player coins on Monday. (Note, for those who want to ensure the win I highly suggest hitting up a WWE odds website to see what’s being bet on. The odds are almost never wrong). I’ve also see a beautiful Sasha Banks/Alexa Bliss dual signature card, but I can’t confirm the provenance of said card, so not sure if it’s even real. During the Topps Live Facebook video on Friday they showed off yet another poster insert of the Fatal-Four-Way match.
Speaking of the live Facebook video, I’ll leave you this week with my impressions on that event. Terrible. 1-star. A waste of time video from the cheerleaders at Topps who really don’t have much of a clue when it comes to the WWE itself, and clearly won’t answer the difficult questions from the audience. They barely acknowledged the people watch the video, and refused to engage in any actual discussion other than them crowing about being at Yankee Stadium, giving away 3 live sig tickets and 2 championship belts. They said this was their thank you to the fans. The give 5 people out of almost 15,000 players a nice prize. Oh and we got a free Focus video card featuring the end of last year’s NXT Takeover when the four horsewomen hugged in the ring. Whoopee.
Somehow, someway, I’m going to get an interview with someone at Topps, and I’m going to ask some hard questions.
They better watch out.
Next time: I’ll return to my insert set review series – featuring Taglines, Charisma Series 2, Election Day & Entrances, and I’ll go over all the new content since #14.
Don’t forget you can find me in game at GRENDELSEN, and I’m always happy to trade or answer any questions you might have. Leave questions or concerns here and I’ll see you next time. I still need 9 more NXT Orange base.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S ARTICLE: DIGITAL DABBLINGS #14 – What’s New from Topps WWE and Insert Set Focus Part 7