SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
I know it’s been a little while since my last article, my apologies for the delay. I figured I needed to revamp the column a bit. While I enjoyed doing the monthly reviews I fell behind drastically after taking a full time job last October and it made writing those monthly recaps much more difficult than I anticipated. Beside that I got little to no positive feedback on them, so I’ve decided to let those go by the wayside. If, and only if, I get a lot of requests to bring them back I will do so, otherwise, I’ll just continue to touch on the general state of the app each and every month.
Since our last article in January we’ve had some pretty dramatic changes in the app and there are more changes yet to come, mostly stemming from the changes in the WWE itself. After this year’s Wrestlemania all PPVs will be dual branded with superstars from Raw and Smackdown competing on the same show, if not in co-branded matches. I anticipate we’ll see some pretty stacked cards upcoming as each brand has four titles (including NXT) and then 205 Live has a title as well. While I don’t foresee every title being defended every PPV, it sure would be nice if they did.
The state of the app as it exists today is pretty much a story of two different types of collectors, the free-to-play and the paying players. As Topps releases an increasing number of paywalled cards, the FTPers tend to lose interest and thus the attrition rate seems to be quite high right now. One way to determine how many active players there are in the game is to check out the number of free cards that are given out. Back in March Topps celebrated their 1 BILLIONTH digital pack being opened (that’s across all 8 apps) with a free set in every app. They gave out just of 25,000 of each card, meaning at that time there were about 25,000 active users. Currently they are giving away a purple Galaxy card daily, and those are coming in at about 16,000 CC, meaning there are about 16,000 active users right now. That’s a drop of 9,000 active users in just a month! If you go back farther to the launch of the app, look at the Week 1 inserts in 2016, which came in around 35,000, cc each. Going from about 35K users in July of 2016 to 16K users in April of 2018 is not a good sign.
Topps realizes that in order to keep the games going they have to appeal to the paying users over the FTPers. While they still have content that is 100% free, most of the “good stuff” is now behind the paywall, and card counts are decreasing rapidly. Just a little more than 6 months ago I took at look at the top 25 most valuable cards in the game as defined by actual verifiable sales. Of those 25 cards only one had a CC under 20, and 8 of them were over 100! Looking at the top 25 today all but ONE of them are less than 5 CC, and the one that isn’t is sitting at 30 CC! The high-end cards are all super-low CC, and their sold prices are shooting through the roof. Also looking back only two of the cards on the original list sold for more than $100. Today’s listing almost every one of them is $100 or more. There are also zero repeats from six months ago. Cards that once were the most desirable in the entire game are now either not bought and sold, or stashed away in collector’s accounts never to be traded.
Back when Topps debuted their Star Wars app the most valuable card for the longest time was “Vintage Han” which topped out at about $400. Well Slam has its own version of Vintage Han now, but instead of the 1500 of that card (which BTW still sells for big bucks, topping out at $150) we have a triple signature award card with all of 2cc.
Top 25 WWE Slam Singles – As of April 20, 2018
|1||2018||Royal Rumble||Brock Lesnar, Braun StrowmanM Kane||Gold Award Signature||2||777|
|2||2018||Royal Rumble||Brock Lesnar, Braun StrowmanM Kane||Purple Award Signature||2||621|
|3||2018||Royal Rumble||Asuka||Purple Signature||5||545||100|
|4||2018||Topps Now Royal Rumble||Shinsuke Nakamura||Mat Relic||1||405|
|5||2018||Wrestlemania||Charlotte Flair/Asuka||Purple Signature||5||375|
|6||2018||Topps Now Wrestlemania||Brock Lesnar||Mat Relic||1||328|
|7||2018||Topps Now Wrestlemania||Daniel Bryan||Mat Relic||1||320|
|8||2018||Wrestlemania||Bayley vs. Sasha Banks||Purple Signature||5||319|
|9||2018||Royal Rumble||Becky Lynch||Purple Signature||5||225|
|10||2018||Wrestlemania||Finn Balor, Seth Rollins, The Miz||Purple Signature||5||180|
|11||2018||NXT Takeover New Orleans||Tomasso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano||Purple Signature||5||170|
|12||2018||NXT Takeover New Orleans||Aleister Black vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas||Purple Signature||5||160|
|13||2018||Wrestlemania||Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns||Purple Signature||5||150|
|14||2017||Pink Base||Roman Reigns||Pink Award||5||140|
|15||2018||NXT Takeover Philadelphia||Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Johnny Gargano||Purple Signature||5||140||55|
|16||2018||NXT Takeover Philadelphia||Adam Cole vs. Aleister Black||Purple Signature||5||140|
|17||2018||Royal Rumble||Roman Reigns||Purple Signature||5||130||100|
|18||2018||Wrestlemania||Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax||Purple Signature||5||130|
|19||2018||High Caliber||The Rock||Gold Signature||5||125|
|20||2018||Wrestlemania||Cesaro & Sheamus||Purple Signature||5||125|
|21||2016||TLC||Alexa Bliss vs. Becky Lynch||White Signature Award||30||120|
|22||2018||Royal Rumble||Brock Lesnar, Braun StrowmanM Kane||Green Signature Award||5||100|
|23||2018||Royal Rumble||Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, AJ Styles||Purple Signature||5||100|
|24||2018||High Caliber||Chris Jericho||Gold Signature||5||100|
|25||2018||Royal Rumble||Apollo Crews||Purple Signature||5||90|
Cards on the last Top 25 list from September 2017 that still have traction within the game include the Finn Balor Demon King Red Sig (100cc) which increased in value from $45-60 to selling for as much as $80. The 50cc Asuka Heritage Sigs from 2016 increased from $30-40 to $90. The Triple Signature Shield Gold (75cc) retained its $40-60 value. Seven more cards from that last listing had sales in the last 90 days, but all of them decreased in value. Balor’s 5 Star Gold Sig from 2017 dropped from a high of $70 to $40, while the 22cc Goldberg/Lesnar Wrestlemania sig dipped from $65 to $50. Alexa Bliss’ Orange Live Sig had the most sales at with 8 topping out at $40, it’s previous high was $50.
It seems that now every major PPV set will have a variant of signature that are 5 cc or less. The lowest paywall base variant is now 500cc, with two or more less limited versions that are typically non-paywalled. Multiple paywall only daily and weekly sets are now being released, and the sets that do have a non-paywall version of the cards have longer odds to discourage coin farming.
As the old adage goes, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Take for example the latest paywall weekly set, Vector which debuted earlier this week with Chris Jericho. The card is only available for purchase in a bundle with 1000 diamonds and costs $9.99. It sold out at 271 CC. Assuming that Topps doesn’t change the distribution structure, the 9-card set will cost $90 over the next 9 weeks. While many players won’t chase the cards, or may only chase their favorite players, there will be a decent number of full sets built because the award is Alexa Bliss, and despite her being knocked off the Raw Women’s Championship throne, she’s still one of the top females in the game.
Alexa Bliss isn’t the number one woman anymore though. Her crown has been stolen by none other than Ronda Rousey, who has a whopping four cards in the game as of this writing. Her very first card, the commemorative Topps Now was issued a day later than the rest of the Topps Nows, and has a CC of just over 800, however it’s selling for as much as $8 currently on the secondary market. There is at least one collector who has 90 copies of it! Given the rest of the WM/NXT Nows are hovering in the 300cc range, and given that they were available for coins, that means that about 500 players decided to go ahead and purchase the single Ronda for 1900 Diamonds or just about $10 cash. Her second release was an addition to the Wrestlemania base set, with three variants, a free black, a non-limited blue and a 500cc red. The blue was available in coin packs (1:25 for 5K), while the red was limited to 100 diamond packs that guaranteed a blue single and had a 1:5 chance at the red. The red sold out within an hour and now commands up to $10 on the secondary market. The Blue sold out at 3441cc and can be had for about $1.
Upcoming sets to look forward to include a special set next week for the Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia, then a week later we get the first of the co-branded PPVs with Backlash, which happens to be the first PPV theme to get three sets in the game. (It’s kind of an anomaly since the first Backlash was in September of 2016, while the last two years it’s been moved to May).
Recently released sets of note include a second version of Foreign Imports, this time with two variants, a regular and a paywalled “gold” version. Following on the heels of the initial marathons themed “Stars of the 80’s” and “Stars of the 90’s” we’ve been collecting Stars of the 2000’s for a little while. WWE Legends also focuses on older superstars and is available in the similar non-limited version which is in coin packs, and a higher tier version on in diamond packs. Then and Now is a new “tilt” set (tilting your device will show one of two images like a lenticular animated card) which is entirely behind the paywall, similar to the recently ended Grand Slam Champions set.
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.