Monday, May 11, 2015

OPINION - Is It Really A Masterpiece?

For a few weeks now, I've been anxiously anticipating the upcoming Upper Deck release - Masterpieces.

I remember this product being a blast back in the 2008/09 season when it debuted.  The artist painting feel of the card, putting it on a matte, textured card stock and the great action many of the cards all made the robust checklist very popular.  Not to mention the jersey variations and hard-signed autograph finds.  A great product.

Word of Masterpieces being resurrected this season got me excited.  And  I really got my ears perked when I learned that Trevor Linden would be on the checklist.

Recently, Upper Deck showed off some of the cards in a Facebook post.  Here's what I saw.

First off, some of these artist paintings are spectacular.  The photos do these cards no justice I'm guessing.  I fixed them up as best I could, but I can just bet that seeing them up close will be a real treat.

The design may be simple, but that's part of what hooked me last time around.  The textured card stock is back too it seems.

And I really like how they've built the signature and memorabilia components.

And I have no doubt that the checklist will be a who's who.

Hopefully, like last time, there will be some all-time greats included along with today's current stars.

Oh yeah......did I mention Linden is in the release?

Marty, shown in his Devils garb.

You can kind of tell in the collar of his jersey.

That exciting......right?


Really?  That's the best photo you could draw from?

Hmmmmmmm.  Going back I'm seeing a bit of a trend with these cards.


This Ovechkin offering lacks any sort of dynamics that the original Masterpieces had.

I'm getting a little bit concerned.

Ah, there he is.  Trev.

Doing his best "glide, turn left".  A real action shot if I've ever seen one.

OK, opinion time.

With a product like this (that has a very distinct and definitive history behind it) why would Upper Deck fill the pot with portrait shots and lackluster action?

Seriously?  Take a look at all the above cards.  It would be very fair to say that the Linden offering has the most action in it.  And if that's the case.....not good.

In this day and age, shouldn't the best of the best in terms of reference photos be available for a project like this?  Why didn't Upper Deck use the  08/09 offering as a guide?

Now, I'll admit, this Cam Neely card is not the most dynamic card itself, but it blows away anything I've seen from the upcoming release.

Great detail, great framing, good looking card.

And the white border base version really looks bland when compared to the brown border gems.

There it is.  That's what I think of when I hear Upper Deck Masterpieces.

What more would a person want in a card?  Tons of great color, creativity and artistry.  Both in the player depicted and the artist capturing.

Here's another.  This just destroys anything shown above from the current crop of cards.

So what happened?  Why the change?

I'm not certain, but what went from a high-level of excitement on the set has turned to a lukewarm simmer for some Linden chasing.

Not the end of the world, but I do believe that more could have been done with this set.

What are your thoughts on Upper Deck Masterpieces?  Both the original offering and the upcoming release?  What are your thoughts on the portraits painted?


  1. Couldn't agree more. Looking at some of the cards from the older set makes the new one much less appealing. Also, what's the deal with the foil border not being symmetric from left to right? Kind of makes them look a little funny in my opinion. Why couldn't they have put the "Masterpieces" text somewhere on the bottom or something?

  2. first time seeing it... what in the heck is that unbalanced gold border for????

    and again, for some reason, apparently card manufacturers have a hard time finding quality artists. Even though there are tens of thousands of them out there all looking for work.

  3. 2008/09 Masterpieces has to be one of the best modern set releases ever. 2014/15 Masterpieces...Meh.

  4. The current batch of Masterpieces photos are just that - photos. They weren't squared up so I took some photoshop liberties and straightened them....or tried to.

    Curious to see the real deal examples when the product comes out.

  5. The Gretzky and Crosby are good. The others range from ugh to brutal.

  6. It's nice to see UD bring Masterpieces back... but this year's design is pretty bad. On the flipside... when your older sister is one of the hottest card designs of all-time... you're always going to look like ground turkey.

    1. Good analogy.

      But you would think a hot older sister would at least give you a fighting chance.

      It runs in the genes right?

    2. I don't know... different dads?