DIGITAL DABBLINGS #23 – January Review


Wow, what a month in the Topps Slam app it was.  Not only did we get a “Big 4” release in Royal Rumble, but a brand new base set, the third of the game, showed up months before anyone suspected it would.  That plus the new Prize Wheel mechanic threw collectors into a tizzy of trading.

January 2018 New Sets:
  • Prize Wheel Power Purple Variant
  • Prize Wheel Victory Gold Variant
  • Prize Wheel WWE Universe Blue Variant
  • Prize Wheel Blueprints
  • Infinite Wave 4 (2 variants)
  • Boom Comics Wave 8 WWE #12
  • Strength in Numbers
  • Prize Wheel Charisma Red Variant
  • Prize Wheel Color Surge Orange Variant
  • Prize Wheel Primal Green Variant
  • Boom Comics Wave 9 WWE #6
  • Vintage Wave 1 (21 base [3 variations], 5 signatures [2 variations]
  • Mixed Match Challenge
  • 2018 Base Set (7 Variations)
  • 2018 Week 1 Base Variation
  • Rob Schamberger Artwork Wave 3
  • Raw 25 (2 variants)
  • Rivalries Marathon
  • Royal Rumble/NXT Takeover Philadelphia (6 variants)
  • Royal Rumble Winners
  • IN-App Royal Rumble
  • Stars of the 2000’s Marathon
Live Signatures
  • Sami Zayn (5 variations)
  • Bobby Roode (5 variations)
VIP Signatures
  • Randy Orton
  • Asuka Kiss/Signature
Base Variants
  • Gold Rush 2017 Braun Strowman
  • Gold Rush 2017 Cesaro
  • Gold Rush 2017 Daniel Bryan
  • Gold Rush 2017 Diamond Dallas Page
  • Gold Rush 2017 Brie Bella
  • Gold Rush 2017 Lita
  • Gold Rush 2017 Scott Hall
  • Gold Rush 2017 Roderick Strong
  • Gold Rush 2017 Goldberg
  • Gold Rush 2017 Finn Balor
  • Gold Rush 2017 Nia Jax
  • Gold Rush 2017 Paige
  • Gold Rush 2017 Seth Rollins
  • Gold Rush 2017 Sasha Banks
  • Gold Rush 2017 AJ Styles
  • Gold Rush 2017 Becky Lynch
  • Gold Rush 2017 Zack Ryder
  • Gold Rush 2017 Shane McMahon
  • Smackdown Blue 2018 Shinsuke Nakamura
  • Boom Comics Wave 10 – Royal Rumble Special
  • Fuel #11 – 14 Natalya, Hideo Itami, Iron Sheik, Edge
  • NXT Series 2 #10 – 12, Award 3, Overall Award –  Mandy Rose, Oney Lorcan, Riddick Moss, Pete Dunne, Drew McIntyre (Set Complete)
  • Rivalries #1 &2 Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns, Alexa Bliss vs Mickie James
  • Stars of the 2000’s – #1 Dolph Ziggler
New Insert Set Checklists
Prize Wheel Blueprints (1 variant)
  1. Finn Balor
  2. Kane
  3. Becky Lynch
  4. Shawn Michaels
  5. Shinsuke Nakamura
  6. The Miz
  7. AJ Styles
      Award 1 – Charlotte Flair Blue 1095 cc

      Award 2 – Charlotte Flair Gold 493 cc

Infinite Wave 4 (two variants, red & blue), plus Orange VIP variant
  1. Sami Zayn
  2. Rusev
  3. Rhyno
  4. Cathy Kelley
  5. Tyler Bate
  6. Noam Dar
  7. TJP
  8. Luke Harper

      Award Mick Foley (red 2886 cc, blue 432 cc)

Boom Comics Wave 8 WWE #12 (no award)
  1. The Shield
  2. Lita
  3. Rikishi
  4. Jeff Hardy Action Figure
  5. Royal Rumble (Booker T)
Strength in Numbers
  1. The Usos
  2. The Iconic Duo
  3. The New Day
  4. The Revival
  5. The Bar
  6. Breezango

      Award – The Shield 392cc

Boom Comics Wave 9 WWE #6 (no award)
  1. Dean Ambrose
  2. Finn Balor
  3. Jake the Snake Roberts
  4. Royal Rumble
Mixed Match Challenge (no award)
  1. Big E & Carmella
  2. Finn Balor & Sasha Banks
  3. Jimmy Uso & Naomi
  4. Sami Zayn & Becky Lynch
  5. Apollo Crews & Nia Jax
  6. The Miz & Asuka
  7. Shinsuke Nakamura & Natalya
  8. Bobby Roode & Charlotte Flair
  9. Goldust & Alicia Fox
  10. Elias & Bayley
  11. Braun Strowman & Alexa Bliss
  12. Rusev & Lana
Rob Schamberger Artwork Wave 3 (1 variant)
Level 1.
  1. Asuka
  2. Kevin Owens
  3. Jeff Hardy
  4. Brock Lesnar
  5. Ric Flair
Level 2 (paywall)
  1. Becky Lynch
  2. Woken Matt Hardy
  3. Braun Strowman
  4. Finn Balor
  5. Undertaker

      Award – The Shield (has yet to be released)

Raw 25 (2 variants, packs and prize wheel)
  1. Triple H
  2. Yokozuna
  3. Seth Rollins
  4. Roman Reigns
  5. Shawn Michaels
  6. Batista
  7. Trish Stratus
  8. Braun Strowman
  9. Goldberg
  10. Brock Lesnar
  11. Finn Balor
  12. Razor Ramon
  13. Kane
  14. Sasha Banks
  15. Edge
  16. Undertaker

      Award – Stone Cold Steve Austin (Black 196cc, Gold 862 cc, Red 1724 cc)

Royal Rumble Winners
  1. John Cena
  2. Yokozuna
  3. Triple H
  4. Undertaker
  5. Shawn Michaels
  6. Ric Flair
  7. Randy Orton
  8. Roman Reigns
  9. Batista
  10. Hacksaw Jim Duggan

      Award – Stone Cold Steve Austin (1485 cc)

Boom Comics Wave 10 Royal Rumble Special (no award)
  1. John Cena
  2. Brock Lesnar

I know it doesn’t look like there was a ton of content released, but trust me, there was a TON of content released in January 2018, most of which came towards the latter half of the month with the third base set being released on Wednesday, January 17.  To compare, the last base set was released just before Wrestlemania in 2017 (so late March) and the initial base set was available July, 2016.

The third iteration of the base set is a welcome change from the boring 2017 cards we’ve been collecting for almost 10 months, however it’s pretty clear there will be many updates or a series 2, since there are notable cards missing from the base set, including Ms. Money in the Bank Carmella, Lana and Titus O’Neill amongst others.  Also very very few of the latest roster additions were added (No Liv Morgan or Sarah Logan).  The set is also significantly smaller than past base sets.  Since I initially wrote this paragraph Topps has indeed announced there will be updates to the 2018 base set.

Topps also decided to add another variant to the already crowded rainbow of base variants, this time it’s Platinum, and they’re a paywall or prize wheel feature.  Black base, which used to be the highest “standard” variant are now available readily in non-paywall packs, so basically Platinum is the new Black.  Except there’s more 2018 platinum than there are 2017 black base.

Speaking of the Prize Wheel, that’s a new feature that has added some excitement to the app.  Of course it’s rollout was not without problems as the wheel was pretty glitchy in the beginning.  They’ve since added the Prize Wheel to a few of their other apps.  About half of the standard prize wheel cards are exclusive to the wheel, with sets like Power, Charisma, Victory, Color Surge and Primal all getting new variants.  The only brand new set that is exclusive to the wheel is Blueprints which was well received, though the CC ran up pretty high on singles.  Prize Wheel exclusive base are being rolled out over the next few weeks with a batch of several at a time being placed on the wheel.  Supposedly just before Wrestlemania Topps will issue a bunch of awards for completed base sets.

Lest we forget the Week 1 “Bronze” base variant returned, this time with a whopping 93 cards in packs, and 7 freebies.  Awards were issued for both sets.  Gold Rush base and a new lightning Smackdown Blue base variants also were issued for a couple of cards, though the new Gold Rush didn’t make it until February.  There’s also new Purple “challenge” base variants that hit in February as well.

Asuka’s Kiss/Signature card was released and sold out in record time.  It’s trading pretty much even up for the Alexa Bliss version, or about $30 in cash.  Yikes.

The second annual Royal Rumble set appeared the week before the event, with it’s clean design and multiple variants, it was all the rage until the awards were released.  The first ever 5cc set of signatures happened and upset a lot of player collectors who don’t have the funds or cards to shoot for them.  I understand that one player owns 3 of the the Asuka Purple 5cc cards, and that the other 2 are accounted for as well and aren’t moving, which makes the online auctions for those cards very suspect (and in fact have been proven to be a scam).  The overall award for owning all variants of all the signature cards ended up at 2cc.

One of the variants of the Rumble/NXT set was exclusive to the Prize Wheel as well, and putting together THAT set proved to be royal pain.  The Blue 500cc variant didn’t sell out as quickly as one would think, but that’s due to the 80 card checklist. Topps kept the ancillary sets to a minimum for the Rumble, this year only offering a 10 card past winners set.

One again Topps ran an “in-app” Rumble where they issued rumble variant cards over the course of an hour in and then sold them out as they were “eliminated”.  Entry #2 Finn Balor won the “Rumble” and players who collected all 30 entrants got a special gold variant of him.  Having participated in both year’s in-app Rumble, I can say this year’s was much easier to play and collect, while last-year’s was harder and the lower CC cards carried much higher secondary value and the award was better.  They will likely do this again for Wrestlemania so long as the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal continues.

Allen & Ginter, err…I mean…Vintage made its first appearance in Slam.  Wait a second, that’s not right, there was a Vintage set released in 2016.  But this isn’t that.  This really is basically their Tobacco-esque product, not sure why they didn’t call it A&G.  Anyway, it confused the heck out of most players since the variants were all different colors, certain performers had the wrong name on cards, and the set was mostly lackluster.  Wave 2 just came out as I’m writing this.

Infinite hit Wave 4 and everyone yawned.  Topps issued three waves of Boom Comics covers which remain popular but have no awards, so cards retain their value of about a buck apiece.  The week before the Rumble WWE’s flagship TV show celebrated its 25th Anniversary with a special show that emanated from both the Barclays Center and the Manhattan Center in New York.  The set, like the show, was a disappointment.  Red variants were available in packs, while the “black” version were on the Prize Wheel.  Trading was vigorous to a point just prior to the Stone Cold award.  But then Topps accidentally issued two red award cards to everyone who completed the red set on time, so to rectify that they gave those same folks a gold version of the card.

Another set commemorating current events is the Mixed-Match Challenge set which had no award.  These did turn out nicely and seem to be fairly popular in singles.  No award makes it a little easier to collect these after their sell-out.

Strength in Numbers was a daily set that was released with much ballyhoo around the middle of the month, and was yet another set that was entirely behind the paywall, costing 50 diamonds for a 1:20 chance or 200 diamonds for a 1:3 chance.  Full sets have sold for between $10 and $15, including the award, while the singles run $3-5 apiece with the Iconic Duo being both the highest CC card and the most valuable of the run.

The extremely popular Rob Schamberger artwork set returned for a third go-around, with the same paywall paradigm as last time, a few cards available for coins and the more popular performers behind the paywall.  While the coin packed cards go for a buck or two, the paywalls of AJ Styles, Finn Balor and Asuka all command up to $5 per.  The award is The Shield and it still hasn’t been released more than two weeks after the set finished.

A new Marathon, or “Weekly” set was released in January that once again pushed the boundaries of the technology available to Topps in these digital card apps.  Rivalries features iconic match-ups between performers, with a twist: if you tilt your device to one side the card changes into a full portrait of one of the two wrestlers, and you’ll find these listed under “Tilt” cards.  Once again this set is entirely behind the paywall with 25 diamonds for a 1:20 chance or 100 diamonds for a 1:3 chance.  Personally I’m all in on this set because the overall award is Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels.  There will also be wave awards after each 3 cards.  Current singles are going for $2.50 to $4.

Stars of the 2000’s is a second new weekly set and is actually not behind the paywall for a change.  5K coin packs give you a 1:20 chance, while 20K coin packs are 1:3.   Undertaker will be the overall reward for all 15, with additional awards after each wave of 5 are complete.  Dolph Ziggler was the first card.

So that’s January 2018 in the books.  A lot of premium paywall content and not that much for free players besides the prize wheel stuff.

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.

My Collecting Blog – The Budget Collector

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