Product Review: 2010 Panini Epix

Next up in my barrage of better-late-than-never product reviews is 2010 Panini Epix. This one is also nearly four months late, but hey, that’s better than infinite months late, right?

2010 Panini Epix box
The Box – Click for Detail

Hobby boxes come with 18 8-card packs for a total of 144 cards. I purchased this box from Dave and Adam’s Card World for $52, which translates into a $0.36/card ratio. That boils down to another mid-to-low shelf Panini product that was released before the midway point of the NFL season. The only question that remains to be answered is will this product be an undervalued success or an epic fail? (See what I did there?)

2010 Panini Epix Pack
I’m picking up on an “X” theme here

The Breakdown:
Base Cards: 127 (42 duplicates)
   Rookie Cards: 7 (included in base card total above)
Parallels
   Silver Parallel (#/250): 2
   Gold Parallel (#/150): 2
   Platinum Parallel (#/50): 2
Inserts
   Epix Moment: 2
   Epix Game: 3
   Epix Season: 2
   Ball Hawks: 3
   Highlight Zone: 2
   Rush Hour: 1
Hits
   Epix Jerseys: 2
   Rookie Autos (#/499): 1
   Cowboys Auto Letterman (#/70): 2

2010 Panini Epix2010 Panini Epix
Click images for full-sized scans

FIRST AND GOAL’S FOUR DOWNS:
1st Down, Design: When I look at the scan of the base cards again, I feel like it would be so easy to rip this design apart. But to remain positive, and to point out something very good, I would like to start by commending Panini on their use of team colors as an integral part of of the base design. After so many ultra-neutral gray boxes and borders, it is very nice to see some colors pop from Panini packs (Ooo…alliteration…nice…). I will say however that I’m not a big fan of the execution. I struggle though, because I don’t have that standout suggestion on how to improve the design. I think I’m caught on the use of a player cut-out on top of a graphic background AND a photographic background. If it were one or the other, I think my eyes would be less confused. For instance, get rid of the tiny photo triangles or make the X design ghosted like they did on the card back. There are always issues with X designs. SPx of the late 90s was awesome, but recent renditions have suffered. Upper Deck’s 2009 X concept for baseball was the bomb to some collectors and completely bombed with others. I guess it’s all in your own unique perspective.

2nd Down, Inserts: The parallels are not bad, but they could be better. In the scan above, you really can’t distinguish them at all because the only notable difference is the foil used to stamp the Epix text logo and the serial numbering on the back. However, in person, you can see a textured, refractorized, shineyness to them that really pops. The Epix Moment/Game/Season sets are pretty nice. I like that they feel like inserts and that the design is simple, effective, and different from the base set. My problem here is the name. Can you really make the adjective plural? I’ve heard of an epic game or moment, but an epix (epics) season? I don’t think so. It’s like the time in high school when my friend tried to be cool and wrote “Steelers Sux”. Trying too hard to use an X at the end of the word is often just that: trying too hard. The other inserts were an improvement from past Panini inserts, but still show a tendancy towards loud graphics and backwards design flaws. The jersey cards were nice in that they almost had their own design, but the swatch isn’t the focus of the card and comes in an oddly shaped window for no apparent reason. The autograph rookie card was your usual Panini sticker album, but at least they used a ghosted label to help the actual autograph pop. That hasn’t always been the case for Panini. I do really like the autographed letterman cards. There’s never much room for design elements with these, but they did a respectable job. I do really like the choice in pens. The silver Sharpie makes the autograph a focus of the design and even the thickness was appropriate. Chuck Howley never could have signed with Ed Jones’ thick pen and Ed Jones’ autograph would have looked lost if he used Howley’s fine point pen. I don’t know if Panini dictates these details or if the athletes decide, but I like the result.

3rd Down, Collation: How do you spell horrid? E-P-I-X. In 144 cards, I pulled a staggering 42 duplicates. There are no ifs, ands, buts, or what-the-hells around it, that is a terrible ratio. What’s worse? I didn’t even pull the entire veteran base set! Ugh. So I can’t even put up a “complete set sans rookies” listing on eBay like I could for other products (I’ve never tried that…I wonder if it would sell?). Nope. These all go straight into the I-hope-I-can-effectively-create-and-sell-random-team-lots bin. The box’s one saving grace? I actually got an extra hit over the “guaranteed” four. I have to assume it was the second Cowboys auto Letterman I pulled. Those things are usually more of the few per case hit variety rather than a few per box hit, so I was excited about that. But really, 42 duplicates? EPIX FAIL! (I’m sorry, I had to).

4th Down, Overall Value: This is a typical low-to-mid shelf Panini product. In this particular box, I got lucky with two Cowboys autograph letterman cards. Those two alone should be enough to cover the cost of the box. However, if my box was an anomaly, as I suspect it was, the value just isn’t there. At this point in the game, no one really cares about plain swatches from veteran jerseys and who is paying top dollar for a Devin McCourty autograph? The inserts, parallels, and even base cards aren’t bad cards, but there’s just not a lot of value in them. This also is not a set that generally lends itself to set collectors, so there’s also little trade bait here, unless you pull a lot of cards of someone else’s favorite player or team. At $52 per box, it’s certainly not a large investment or a huge risk to buy a box, but if you’re strictly looking for “the flip,” you probably want to look elsewhere.

RED ZONE RESULTS: TURNOVER ON DOWNS 2010 Panini Epix wasn’t such a poor product that a Pick 6 or an unsportsman like penalty was warranted, but it certainly wasn’t good enough to find paydirt. The bright rays of light this product showed were completely overshadowed by the clouds of terrible collation. I was naturally happy to pull an extra autographed letterman card, but having nearly 1/3 of my base cards be duplicates was just too much. Don’t feel too bad, Epix. You’re a start up product playing your first season with the big boys. There’s always next year.

NEXT UP: 2010 Panini Absolute Memorabilia

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