Tuesday, March 24, 2015

2013-14 Panini Intrigue Basketball hobby box

Sport:  Basketball
Product:  2013-14 Panini Intrigue Basketball
Break Date:  March 23, 2015
Hit Breakdown:   Two autographs and two jersey cards
Summary:  I was looking around for a new set to chase since my NBA at 50 autograph set was just getting too cost-prohibitive (made it to 38 out of 50), and came across the 2013-14 Panini Intrigue Slam Ink set.

The set's pretty sharp - 50 cards in total, comprised of on-card autographs of young players, stars, and retired stars. The set is relatively low-numbered – there are the /1 Platinum parallel, the /10 Gold parallel, and then the base, which range from 15 (Blake Griffin) to /49. So, I decided to put the base set together knowing that while it's a tough set to put together because of scarcity, it's not impossible. Plus, the higher-end guys like Kobe and Durant will cost a pretty penny but won't break the bank.

With a new project in mind, I started to build the set, but had some cash sitting around, so I figured I'd take a shot at a box of the stuff. I from watching online breaks that it's a hard card to pull – I saw some case breaks where there weren't ANY pulled, base or the lower-numbered parallels. 

The box arrived yesterday, so after my son's soccer game I sat down and got to opening. My fingers were crossed that I'd pull a Slam Ink, but the set is really nice-looking on the whole, so I was mainly hoping not to get a dud. The box comes with two packs – one that contains the main Intrigue cards: two base cards, two autos, two jersey cards, and a redemption for a 2014 Draft Pick. 

The second pack is a five-card pack of Intriguing Players - three silver foil cards and two die-cut silver foil cards. There are gold numbered to 10 and platinum 1 of 1 parallels of those as well, and they seem to fall about three to four per box.

I didn't land any parallels in the foil pack: Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, and John Wall standard cards, and die-cuts of John Wall and Kevin Durant. But, they're sharp-cards on the whole, and the main event was still to come.

While I didn't land any Slam Ink or any huge hits, I was pretty happy with the break overall. I pulled Thaddeus Young and Shawn Marion for my two base cards, and while they're not huge cards or anything, I really think Panini did a good job with the base set. The cards are really attractive.

The Draft redemption may turn out to be the hit of the box. I pulled pick #2, Jabari Parker. He was playing really well before he got hurt (like seemingly every other pick in the 2014 draft), and the Milwaukee Bucks are a team on the rise. So, I promptly redeemed the code, and look forward to getting it in the mail. I've seen what the cards look like, and they're really nice.

The two jerseys were decent enough as well. Intrigue has two "Flight" sets in the release: Top Flight Unis, which are your standard jersey card, and First Flight Unis, cards with jersey swatches from players' first teams. First I pulled a Kevin Garnett First Flight, numbered to /149. The second jersey was a prime First Flight Danilo Gallinari – a nice three-color, four-break patch numbered to /25. While I would have loved to land a bigger name, it's a great patch.

The two autos were decent enough: an Alex Len rookie auto /75, and a Dunk Company Kenny Smith, numbered to just /15. I looked on the checklist figuring Smith's number was a parallel, but he actually only signed 15 of the base version (some are numbered as high as 99). So, Smith seems to be pretty short-printed, and it's a nice auto. 

Overall I'm pretty happy with the box. While I didn't land any whales, it was a fun break, and again, Intrigue is an attractive set. At its current price point I think it's a good buy. The few case breaks I watched were generally hit or miss, and all boxes are. But with Intrigue, there seem to be more vet autos rather than the standard rookies, and I'll always gamble on vets rather than a second round pick who's in the D-League.

Grade for the product:  A-
Grade for the break:  B

Impact Rookie Autographs:  Alex Len /75Dunk Co.:  Kenny Smith /15
First Flight Unis Prime:  Danilo Gallinari /25
First Flight Unis:  Kevin Garnett /149
'14 Draft X-change:  Jabari Parker
Intriguing Players: Kevin Durant, John Wall, Anthony Davis
Intriguing Players Die Cuts: Kevin Durant, John Wall

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