Eight packs per box, five cards per pack
Base Set: 36 of 120 (30.00%)
short set: 35 of 90 (38.89%)
1 Short-Print: Y. Berra
2 Yankee Tedium Lunacy: #3395 (R. Maris) & 3420 (B. Richardson)
Last year's retail version of UD Masterpieces was one of the best value breaks 2007. While the Hobby edition yielded an on-card autograph, three gamers, and a multi-colored galaxy of parallels in each 18-count waxbox, the $7/pack MSRP priced out most collector's who only wanted the base set. But no fear, as UD released a stripped-down version of Masterpieces for retail at only $2.99/pack. And there was much rejoicing. (Yay!)
This year's UD Masterpieces appears to follow the same formula, with a $7/pack Hobby version for
Upper Deck expanded the base set from 90 to 120 cards, which is good because last year's set was a bit on the small-side. But those extra thirty cards in this year's set are short-printed. While this may appear to be a bad thing, it appeared that '08UDM would still be somewhat collectible. The sell-sheets for this product stated that each 12-pack Hobby box would yield six of the 30 SPs, for an insertion ratio of 1:2/packs -- a ratio that is easily manageable a collector to build his/her base set. But in this eight-pack Blaster box I just ripped (which actually had nine packs in it), I got only one SP.
So Upper Deck changed the insertion ratios from Hobby to retail from 1:2 to 1:8. Big deal, right? The problem is, there is nothing on the Blaster box mentioning this change; which would lead a collector to assume that the SPs are inserted into retail packs at the same 1:2 ratio as Hobby. That ain't good.
The Bottom Line
I pulled just under 40% of the short-set, and got two more of those annoying Yankee Tedium Lunacies. The Yankee Tedium Lunacy cards are about as out of place in this product (and in Goudey, for that matter) as those A-Rod 500 Homerun Bullshit Waste-of-Space cards were in last year's Allen & Ginter and Heritage. On the bright side, each pack that contained a YTL had five cards in it, so I guess works out in the end. Also, as I mentioned above, this Blaster had nine packs. So if you bought the one that has only seven, my apologies.
Don't get me wrong, UD Masterpieces is still a great set to try and build -- and this collector will. But getting only one SP in a Blaster when you were led to believe that you were getting four is really, really, bothersome.
Product Rating: 2 Gumsticks (out of five)
This would easily be a 3 Gumstick product if the SPs were seeded 1:2. It would be a 4 Gumstick product if it didn't have SPs at all.
... and another thing.
In addition to the SPs, there are no mention of insertion ratios for any of the other inserts, parallels, autogamers, or Yankee Tedium Lunacies anywhere. At last year's Hawaii Trade Conference, Richard McWilliam himself said that such insertion ratios would be returning to pack wrappers. We're still waiting on that Dick.