tba: packets Premium, Gold Premium, Tin Box, Bomber Magazine
If you follow our reviews, you will have understood that we are very retro in style, in love with the stickers to be attached and less enthusiastic about the most modern cards to be collected in almost always anonymous binders. Have we become a minority? Maybe not yet, but it is undeniable that this is the way. For this reason, compared to the classic sticker album, with cards we really have to be surprised to be carried away by enthusiasm, as happened with the latest Mario Bros.
The Adrenalyn collection on the World Cup has an advantage on its side, that the older brother, the stickers, is not an album that cries out for a miracle, on the contrary. What makes an impression, as old collectors, is the difference in price to the advantage of the cards. In the classic Panini packets we find 5 poor quality stickers at the price of 1 euro, in the Adrenalyn packets we find 8 good quality cards, also from the graphic point of view where Panini, for some years, in international tournaments, shows some interesting news.
One therefore thinks, with some fear, that on some collections there is a strong intention to move the public from traditional stickers to new cards. In short, to push in a direction putting, in some way, in difficulty those who would like to remain faithful to tradition. Maybe it’s just our suggestion, but the doubt remains.
The Adrenalyn collection has clearly improved if we think of the previous World Cup collections, giant steps compared to Brazil 2014, better than Russia 2018. We notice it in the graphic work that was certainly laborious. The problem, for example, of the Adrenalyn Calciatori is the repetition year after year often of the same cards, even if the names of the above players are different. Here we see something new, not entirely, let’s say that it seems to us a path born with Euro 2016 and that is continuing, improving.
The basic set, where nine players per national team are presented, manages to be original while following the already seen idea of having the colors of the national teams as a background. The big difference between the traditional sticker album and the Adrenalyn, to the advantage of the former, is the completeness. In the cards we find far fewer protagonists of the world championships, as well as of the Europeans. Imagine the blues of Espana82 or Berlin2006 and if there hadn’t been the traditional albums with all their stickers. Then of course, there were no updates and some protagonists are missing, but it’s always nice to see. Perhaps because we see sticker albums as educational encyclopedias of a particular competition and not just the set of many players, champions or not.
The basic cards start from number 28, from the favorite Argentina and go up to number 288, in alphabetical order, not considering the groups. Correct choice, for the cards, it is madness to do it with the stickers. The first 27 are a great starter with Top Masters, Rookies and Legends cards. Attention, in the basic set of 9 cards per team we do not find Australia, Costa Rica and Wales which are at the bottom of the collection in the 52 Contenders cards where we find them together with the others from the play-offs. The list does not include the cards from 442 to 450 which seem to have not really been printed due to rights problems.
Returning to the collection, after the basic set to follow the always classic and questionable Fan’s Favorite with cards from 289 to 342. The next 54 cards present the players divided by position, one for each team even if not all national teams are present. Titans the 18 defenders, Magicians the 18 midfielders, Goal Machines the 18 forwards. Beautiful shield-shaped graphics on the back, always in the colors of the national teams. The Top Keepers cards feature the 9 main goalkeepers. From these cards and subsequent ones, the graphics maintain the idea of the scudetto but in a different format. It is important to underline the visual effects that we find in the various cards, from crystal to metallized to the holographic of the rookie and legend cards.
We do not know if completely reliable, but it is interesting to give a rarity index to all the cards. It could also be a way to manage exchanges, based on the type, fair exchanges can be organized. Then the rules of the market as well as those of exchanges often take unexpected paths, but, even as the graphics of the cards, we find this index clearly visible in the center is guessed. Compared to the past, even that little bit of customization is welcome even on the back, we are light years away from the legendary Score of the 90s but you can glimpse something.
A few more considerations should be made on the guide insert to the collection, on which Panini often does an excellent job. The second part of the insert is in fact an album, only the stickers to attach are missing and it takes up different aspects that we also find in the classic adhesive version. Statistical data, vintage stickers of great champions, stadiums, moments of glory and more. A little to the detriment of the presentation of the collection, the information on the material that can be found on newsstands (and on the site) is sparse, but it is an interesting novelty, a little even disturbing, if we think about our fears told before ..
In general, a collection that is appreciated, even in its variety, nothing sensational but also for this reason more suitable for a wider audience, not willing to go crazy to complete it. Of course, if you are satisfied with the Italian edition, without looking for the cards subsequent to 495 distributed in northern Europe and all the myriad of limited editions scattered throughout the various countries.
Note of merit for having put in the starter pack three limited editions of real top players such as Dusan Vlahovic, Neymar and Lautaro Martinez. For the other limited, good research in the Premium packets, the Tin Box and the Bomber magazine (who knows if someone reads it or just takes the inserts).
Having put together teams that in the end do not take part in the world championship, we would have dared a little more, adding the cards of the great champions excluded. We don’t think so much about our Azzurri, but surely and for example Haaland’s card, the next big thing, would certainly have been sought after by everyone.
MATCH ATTAX 101 UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE (Topps)
EDICOLA NEWS: THE REVIEWS nr. 257
album: Match Attax 101 Uefa Nations League (Topps)
cards: 224 (CD1-101, IS 1-99, YP 1-13, DC 1-10, MA1) + 15 limited edition (LE1-LE10, MW-MW 1-3, WW1-WW2)
mini tin box: 30 cards + 2 card limited 7,99€, variant red, green, blue
The world is often divided in two, even that of stickers is similar. Except for sporadic cases, there is an unwritten rule that for now continues to be such, for stickers contact Panini, for cards better Topps. Perhaps this collection is not fundamental, but it is Topps’ first since it acquired the Uefa rights and if a good day starts in the morning, Euro 2024 could have a collection of cards of a much higher quality than the recent Panini, even if, at unlike the repetitive Adrenalyn Calciatori, with European and World Cup more than something good Panini showed it.
Here, however, we are on another planet. An opportune choice not to make it very broad, for this reason it is part of the shorter series 101; probably obligatory choice but unfortunate to get it out in the middle of summer. However, if we take into account that from September to December we will have players, Champions League and above all the World Cup in Qatar, it could not be done otherwise.
The collection suffers, like that of the stickers, of not being able to use the official jerseys of practically the most important national teams in Europe, with the result that the players of Italy, England, France and Germany are very few and with unattractive unicolor jerseys. We really hope this problem can be solved, if only out of respect for the fans. Clearly they are questions of rights and consequently questions of money (a lot). We hope that Topps and Panini can find an agreement before 2024, perhaps also for Qatar 2022 because we would not like Topps not to give image rights to some of the national teams involved. However, taking into account that Topps has not given the go-ahead to Panini for 20 years for the English national team, it is understandable if Panini will do the same now.
The collection is above all a testing ground for what it will be, which is why it is interesting. We have the distinct feeling that the American publisher wants to tell us “guys, this is Topps!”. However, the basic cards have valid details, as did Panini, when it comes to national teams it is always exciting to see the flag in the background. The back is also appreciable, not the same for all, but where the national team and also the role of the player are specified. These are perhaps small attentions, which however make the collection more interesting and cared for.
Different speech for the specials, where we really find extremely intriguing news, in particular the relic coin cards that include a souvenir coin, we are very curious to find one to be able to touch with hand. Other very interesting cards are the chrome shields, 10 shaped cards that we had already seen in the Topps collections and we personally like them. The problem often (see Adrenalyn) is repetitiveness, here at least we try to present something different. Looking at the US market, there is still a long way to go, but it is a great start!
Those who decide to buy this collection, rather than try to complete it, will try to find the top players. With all the good we can wish for the European champion Chiellini, that he is seen as the most representative Italian player is a bit disarming. We miss the times of the Totti, Baggio, Zola and Del Piero, just to name a few.
Out of time? The doubt is there. Five days from the end of the championship, a new card album seems like a risky move, also taking into account that at the same time Panini has sent the Score series on newsstands. Collection that is enjoying great success, from our point of view because of superior quality, probably also for the search for “easy money” that has prompted many to buy the packets in search of the many, many limited cards to sell at high prices on the internet .
Not only that, if it is true that the Adrenalyn collection comes out in September to be available for the reopening of schools, it is difficult to think that it can have the same impact when schools close to just over a month.
It is also true that the Titans Series cannot be defined only as an expansion of the classic Adrenalyn, although it was created to be an added part of it, it is denoted in particular by the back of the cards. So the goal may be on the one hand to acquire new collectors, being much shorter than the previous one, on the other hand to entice classic collectors who want to have both series.
The fact remains that on newsstands there are the most captivating Score and that, as mentioned, we are at the end of April.
The Titans collection can be defined as a version of Italian football on what is seen with the europeans and world cup cards. In fact, we find the badges and jerseys, which are not found in the classic Adrenalyn series, as well as the cards with the Top 11 club by club, as happened with Euro 2020 for example, with the addition of being also 3D. In our opinion these 60 cards are the most interesting of the collection, they are also those not connected to the game, you can also see from the different and much improved back. For example, all three official uniforms can be found on the back of the shirt.
The following are variants of what has already been seen in the various years Adrenalyn, nothing particularly captivating. The Time Machines with the great champions of the past would have been much more interesting if they had extended to the history of Italian football, here are re-proposed players who appeared in recent years in the Adrenalyn collection. However, the idea of putting small images of different player cards next to the large photo is nice. In general, however, in our opinion, a superior graphic quality of the classic Adreanalyns should be noted.
If you are new to a good starting point, 9 players per club plus various specials for a total of 212 cards, limited not included. For us who are not even big fans of cards, which is also our limitation when we analyze these collections, a valid album, but still released too late and above all much less interesting than the Score collection. The cost of the sachets is appreciable, lower than the Panini standard of recent years.
A possible advice? Collecting only the first 60 (T1-T60: badges, eleven, second skin) as an extra to the classic series, but that’s just our idea, of course.
SCORE SERIE A 2021-22 (Panini)
EDICOLA NEWS: THE REVIEWS nr. 246
album: Score Serie A 2021-22 (Panini)
cards: 400 (1-200, plus various numbers)
starter pack: binder + 2 packets Fat Pack 19,90€
box retail: 20 packets (10 cards per packet) 3,00€ each
box fat pack: 12 packets (30 cards per packet) 6,00€ each
Out of time?! Perhaps for a different collection, see Adrenalyn, not for the legendary Score. If you were young in the 90s, you will remember the cards of that time, which showed a product in advance for the Italian times, in the last 30 years, almost never Panini or Topps has been able to do the same, at least in football.
As big supporters of the world of newsstands, it’s a pity that the material on the web was in pre-order for much longer. However, although there are only a few days to go until the end of the championship, which is still very open, the Panini / Score idea is perhaps to use the passion of children for football and the “fuck” of collectors for all the news until the very last moment.
The collection consists of 200 basic cards, a set that is easy to complete thanks to packs of 30 cards. In this first part of the collection you can already see the basic quality of the cards, in our opinion much higher than the Adrenalyn series, both in form and in substance, thicker, with info and photos on the back. If such a collection had come out with the classic Panini series, it would have simply annihilated it.
Too bad for the solution of the initial 200 cards, it means that each team has 10 cards and this goes badly with the binder, which as always contains 9 cards per sheet. So the 180-card set would have been perfect. Sometimes we are a pain in the ass, forgive us. Of course, a set that is easy to complete unless you want to get involved with the project, to the limit of the impossible, of collecting all the Parallel Cards, a range of 15 variations of different colors!
The next 200 are a different, more complex discourse, it could not be otherwise. From this point, number restart from 1 with each type of card.
Breaktrough / Breaktrough Cd, 25 cards, with emerging Serie A players ready to break down walls to reach the top of football. All Hands Team, 15 cards, the best goalkeepers in Serie A, we would have seen good cards in horizontals engaged in great saves. Hot Rookies, 15 cards, need no introduction, to be kept aside, who knows that maybe one day they will not become coveted cards and are sought after by thematic enthusiasts. Score Team, 25 cards, that is the champions team by team, with all respect for the selected players, a part where the current Italian football pays the difference with the Premier League and the lack, except for some, of big names in football international. Next Level Stats, 20 cards, the best in their roles.
All the special cards above include Parallel Cards with Gold Lava, Black Lava, Gold Lasers, Black Lasers variants.
Game Face, 20 cards, in terms of graphics perhaps the best card of the collection, double photo of the face and player in action. Serie A logo and club crest in the foreground, really interesting. Intergalactic, 20 cards, football and science fiction meet. Like “Space Jam” could the chosen players represent us in a hypothetical match in the most remote space? 3D, 20 cards, present the defense trio of 20 teams, full-body action photos, side by side, interesting but can also be improved. For these three types of cards there are special super limited editions, just to make it even more unlikely to find them all, or maybe not?
The collection is completed by the Score Signatures, as many as 40 players and their autographs. Probably among all the most coveted cards for those interested in finding certain players or themes. The first 20 feature players from the current championship but the most sought-after are certainly the next ones where we find the great champions of the past. A few names? Roberto Baggio (Fiorentina), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), Gabriel Batistuta (Fiorentina), Diego Milito (Inter), Diego Armando Maradona (Napoli), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), Jurgen Klinsmann (Inter), Kakà (Milan), Gianfranco Zola (Napoli), Marco Van Basten (Milan), Juan Sebastian Veron (Lazio), Daniele De Rossi (Rome), etc. Here too Parallel Card gold and black.
Interesting proposal also from a commercial point of view, with two different boxes and sachets. Above all, the Fat Pack for the little ones is valid, with 6 euros you have 30 cards, difficult to find the specials but still a good basis. It is a collection of clear American origin, where the goal is rarely to find them all (practically impossible and probably not even convenient in terms of a possible future resale), but to look for certain sports or types of cards.
The Score cards are born with a completely different idea from the Adrenalyn ones, connected to a hypothetical game, although in reality few consider them as such. If you take a trip to the USA or even just to England, you can find incredible material compared to what arrives on the Italian market (no comment on the forgettable Instant ..) but with Score even New York or Los Angeles seem closer.