As a follow up to the A New Hope release from 2018, Topps releases a new set featuring The Empire Strikes Back. When it first showed up last year, I wasn’t sure what to really think of it, but over time the release grew on me. The black & white photos bring a less familiar feel to the thirty-six year old images.
It follows the same format as last year, with a 150 card base set, parallels, and a few insert sets. There is nothing really surprising, but this is more about the images than anything else. This is going to be a tough set to put together from packs, however. A box contains 7 packs with 8 cards in each. Each box also advertises one autograph or sketch card.
This release has been sitting on a shelf for quite a while just waiting. I think it may be partially the hang over from the movie, and partially just being overloaded with releases this year. But now, some time has dulled my view of the movie a little bit, and that shouldn’t hurt the cards, right?
The second series restarts the card numbering back at 1, and this time features photos from action in the movie. It’s a small base set of 100 cards, but there are a number of insert sets, as well, sometimes falling as little as once per box. The base set has a set of parallels available. Many of the insert sets also feature parallels.
The box has a fairly standard configuration, advertising 24 packs with 8 cards per pack. Each box also includes two hits, one of which is an autograph.
This is a new type of release for me. I have dabbled in some other Star Wars releases, but never Star Wars Galaxy. I wasn’t very familiar with the previous releases, but decided to take the plunge. Galaxy features contains cards of various artwork, rather than images directly from the source. While it gives you some fun re-imaginings, not every piece is a win. Overall, it’s a very fun release, though.
The first thing to really jump out at me is just the size of the box. It seems with modern releases, a sealed box is a fairly compact unit. This is not. Instead of a small footprint, this is a similar size to an 80s wax box. There’s a lot of air inside the box, but the packs are presented more than just packed in.
The release contains a number of parallels, plus a handful of insert sets, all featuring artwork. Each box contains 24 packs of 8 cards. It advertises 2 hits per box, including 1 autograph. The autograph checklist is rather large, so you may dig pretty deep with your hit.
This is a little bit of a different release for me. I generally like the NXT brand and previous card releases, but this year it seems to be focusing on a much higher price point. It features two 50 card subsets, one concentrating on the roster, with the other looking at Matches and Moments from the year.
In previous years, you could find this release in blaster boxes at retail. This year, however, it is a hobby only release. At $200 per box, it seems like it may be difficult to find true value in this release, but it advertises an incredible 10 autographs per box. While NXT definitely has its following, this seems more like a prospects release where you really won’t know the full potential of some of these characters for a few years. Even the big names will probably get much bigger once they hit the grand stage of the main roster.
This box contains 10 packs, with 7 cards per pack, including a total of 10 autographs. This box contained:
The Then Now Forever release, essentially series two for the flagship release of Topps WWE cards, rounds out the year’s big four releases. It’s not just the base set that continues the same numbering as previous releases. There are also many tribute sets adding additional cards to earlier sets. These are usually exclusive to some store or type of pack.
The base set contains a mix of Smackdown, Raw, 205 Live, NXT, and Legends to round out the wrestlers featured. It features many debuting athletes, along with the flagship rookie card for Ronda Rousey. You also get the regular complement of parallels, to go along with insert subsets paying tribute to the 25th anniversary of Raw and Hall of Famer Rowdy Roddy Piper. Each box advertises two hits, including one autograph.