I received a promotional email from hockey card manufacturer In the Game a week or two ago hyping their upcoming Superlative "set". Actually they'd been sending the hype in separate emails for a week before that, each with a reason to buy the set (Beckett posted each of these as they were sent). However it wasn't until reason seven that Superlative caught my attention:
"Reason #7: Seven Cards per Pack-- All Inserts, No Base Cards"
It has finally happened. There's a set without a set. This frightens me to no end. Call me a dated purist, but it's the base cards that make this hobby great. Sure, I like sparkly inserts and there's base cards that are nicer than a lot of low-end inserts, but there's still a component of building the set. Even super-duper high-end brands like Exquisite give you a token base set alongside all of the sweet inserts. But this is simply taking it too far. In In the Game's own words, they offered seven reasons to collect Superlative hockey. How can you collect when there's nothing to collect. There's things to chase, but in my books without the set you can't collect it.
Taking a page out of In the Game's book, I present to you seven reasons not to collect Superlative hockey.
1. There's no set.
2. It's not licensed by the NHL so you get players in uniforms but no logos.
3. Over $400 per pack.
4. Although nice, there's no new concepts (I don't consider "all inserts" to be an innovation).
5. It sets a horrible precedent for the hobby.
6. Lack of an advance checklist. Sure the website offers up some choice names, but who else is going to be lurking in packs.
7. There's no set!
Looking at the pictures on Superlative's product page, there's some nice cards. And with the success of Exquisite, Sterling and the like, there's an audience out there for such a set. But are they collectors?