2022-23 Topps UEFA Champions League Club Competition Review
Topps has been releasing sports cards for the UEFA Champions League (UCL) for years now. But as any hardcore soccer fan knows, that is just one of the two big club competitions the European soccer federation runs annually.
There are also the UEFA Europa League and Europa Conference League competitions. Neither is as prestigious as the UCL, but they both feature some of the best players on the continent. But does adding these other leagues truly add value to the product?
Will we miss the old flagship product, which only included players from UCL-qualified teams? Find out in our 2022-23 Topps UEFA Champions League Club Competition review.
2022-23 Topps UEFA Champions League Club Competition release date
The set was released on April 26, 2022-23. That is, of course, very late in the game for the 2022-23 season. The UCL final is scheduled for June 10, 2022-23, just a month and a half from now, and the UEFA Europa League and Europa Conference League finals are a few days earlier.
So we would definitely like to see these sets released early in the season before most of the teams these players come from are eliminated. The 1st Edition boxes were released a little earlier, on March 29, 2023.
History Of Topps UEFA Champions League Club Competition 2022-23
The 2022-23 Topps UEFA Champions League Club Competition is the first release of its kind. Topps has been releasing UCL products since 2015-16. Then, in 2017-18, the company debuted the 2017-18 Topps Chrome UEFA Champions League.
Predictably, that became the most popular UCL product in the Topps stable and has stood at the forefront of those releases since.
During the pandemic card bubble era, the UCL cards became particularly popular and have generally overtaken annual Panini releases like English Premier League Prizm, in popularity.
Therefore, the Topps UEFA releases have become an indispensable part of the hobby in a few short years. But now Topps has made the decision to change their emphasis to a more holistic overview of the best players from all of the competition.
Now the Topps partnership with UEFA is slated to expand even further. In April 2022, the European soccer federation announced that Topps had replaced Panini as the official manufacturer for its European Championship competition for national teams.
Therefore, we can expect a wide range of UEFA card products from the Fanatics home over the next few years. The next frontier for Topps is FIFA cards. They will unquestionably be gunning for World Cup rights next.
2022-23 Topps UEFA Champions League Club Competition release formats
As of now, the 2022-23 Topps UEFA Champions League Club Competition is a hobby and retail release. So far, there are only blasters out for this product, but we will keep you updated if any retail is planned for this release.
I guess that we will see retail for this product. If not this year, then certainly in the future. Topps has also put out a 1st Edition box alongside the regular hobby box, which is the Topps version of a First Off The Line (FOTL) Box. Here are the full details of both formats.
1st Edition Box
- 8 cards per pack
- 24 packs per box
- 2 or more sequentially numbered parallels per box, on average
- Sells on the Topps website for $175.
- 24 Packs per Box
- 8 Cards per Pack
- 12 boxes per case
- Starball Parallel: 5 Per Box, on average
- Pink Sparkle Parallel: 3 Per Box, on average
- Resells for $79.95.
- A case resells for $939.95.
- 6 cards per pack
- 7 packs per box
- Look for 4 Inferno Foil Parallel Cards per box on average.
- Sells for $24.95
2022-23 Topps UEFA Champions League Club Competition pros
The great thing about the new format of UEFA cards is that you have a far greater pool of players to pull from. While some purists will be upset at this development, it at least holds the potential to be a significant improvement over the UCL cards.
The main difference is that it allows Topps to include some of the most promising rookies in the continent, whether their teams qualified for the Champions League or not. After all, just because a team finished seventh in the Premier League rather than sixth doesn’t mean they have better prospects.
But, of course, that means we must trust Fanatics and Co. to pick the best rookies. That may not be the case, but hopefully, we get some top-notch rookies we could miss out on otherwise.
There has also been some good news from early breaks. While in some releases, the card companies underdeliver, it appears we finally have a pleasant surprise from a top soccer release. While the hobby box description promises 2 parallels per box, they more often deliver 3 parallels in each unit.
That may be an intentional attempt to get collectors into the new format. But hopefully, it’s a sign that the Fanatics era Topps will be more generous than in the past.
Then there is the price. Could you get a brand new UCL hobby box for $80? I certainly didn’t. It’s not just a low price point; it’s as cheap as it gets in the current hobby. And this is not a throwaway set.
Therefore, most likely, this is to get collectors to overcome reservations about the new format. But even if this is temporary (and probably is), we are glad to have a chance to rip a reasonably priced box for a change.
Kudos on the design
Finally, a big win. The design of the 2022-23 Topps UEFA Champions League Club Competition base cards is exceptionally solid. It seems that every year the design looks about the same. And this year is not a significant departure.
However, the white borders to the edge are classy, putting a nice modernistic twist on a familiar concept. It may be time for Topps to completely reimagine their base card concepts because I am unsure how long they can keep making variations on the same (generally unpopular) style. But there is no question the base design of this product works. And because the template is robust, the parallels also look very good.
But the best thing about the design is that it is pretty different from the baseball flagship. One of the most tedious and frustrating elements about Topps releases in recent years is that they often had the same design. If you are a baseball and soccer collector, that really makes the releases less exciting.
Now that Topps is also launching basketball and football cards, it would be even more jarring if the company kept doing that. Therefore, it is excellent news that the 2022-23 Topps UEFA Champions League Club Competition has a new, beautiful design concept.
2022-23 Topps UEFA Champions League Club Competition cons
The flip side of the broader selection of players that Topps now can include is that the set could become watered down. But, again, that depends on the player selections that Topps makes. Either way, there is no doubt that your favorite team will be shortchanged, and you will have fewer cards to enjoy.
However, the super teams still have a good deal of representation. For example, last year’s champions Real Madrid have 13 cards in a 200-card set. Meanwhile, many teams have no cards at all. So, the more comprehensive range to choose from makes the selection even more top-heavy than usual. That is saying something.
Collectors will not be happy about the change made to the Future Stars series. In previous years, they were a coveted SSP, including some of the best rookies. But this year, they have become good old-fashioned (i.e., boring and over-produced) base cards.
So they have been replaced with the Now Starring SSP. And honestly, that set sucks. It features five big stars: Erling Haaland, Robert Lewandowski, Antony, Paulo Dybala, and Sadio Mané. Needless to say, having a rookie SSP in the set is far cooler, and we hope Topps changes things back.
Topps UEFA Champions League Club Competition 2022-23 checklist
The base checklist consists of 200 players from all three competitions, the UEFA Europa League and Europa Conference League, and UCL.
Meanwhile, the 2022-23 Topps UEFA Champions League Club Competition includes a smaller and separate 100-card Starballs checklist. These players all seem to be UCL stars, thus keeping some of the flavor of the old sets.
The base cards come with a nice variety of parallels. Here is the complete list:
- Icy Aqua Foil – /399
- Yellow Foil – /299
- Neon Green Foil – /199
- Black and White Icy Foil – /150
- Blue Inferno Foil – /125
- Icy Blue Foil – /99
- Purple Foil – /75
- Gold Foil – /50
- Orange Foil – /25
- Icy Black Foil – /10
- Red Foil – /5
- Foilfractors – 1/1
- Printing Plates – 1/1
Review Of Inserts
The product comes with a limited list of inserts. There are only six available for the product. Here is an overview of the notable ones.
Topps loves to do throwbacks to its classic designs. Hey, beats coming up with new ones, right? I think these work better in baseball cards because collectors from that sport are more tradition based.
In addition, the original cards were baseball ones, after all. But these inserts based on the 1959 card design are lovely. They also come on vintage-style card stock, which is always fun. However, I doubt they will be worth much.
This kind of homage card is a bit of a throwaway. That is doubly true because these are the most common inserts of the lot. Furthermore, they come in 1:4 packs, so the market will be depressingly saturated.
Best Of The Best
The Best Of The Best insert has appeared in the Topps UCL releases for a while. It showcases the leaders in the competition, usually from last season. However, it also sometimes showcases all-time greats, which the more historically-minded fans will undoubtedly enjoy.
These inserts can be worth a little bit of money. The low-numbered parallels of big stars like Messi or Haaland can fetch a few hundred dollars. These cards come in 1:8 packs, so they are not too common.
The Now Starring inserts are supposed to replace the Future Stars. That is unfortunate since some of the Future Stars cards have a good value on eBay. They feature last year’s most significant name transfers, such as Erling Halland to Manchester City.
However, the series does not seem well thought out. There are only nine cards in the series, which are also very common at 1:4 packs. Big-name transfers are the theme as far as player selection goes on these.
The PERFEC10N die-cut insert is coming back to Topps soccer after a brief hiatus. These cards are pretty rare, coming in at 1:144 packs. The series celebrates the best players in the competition wearing that classic playmaker number 10.
In the past, the PERFEC10N cards have not been particularly valuable. However, the increased scarcity this time may help alleviate that problem.
These inserts show players with the cities in which they won the competition. So, for example, there was one for Trent John Alexander-Arnold, who was part of the 2018-19 winning Liverpool team in the Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid.
So yes, there is a reason I chose that one. I am a Liverpool FC fan. They are very cool cards, but their value is relatively minimal.
2022-23 Topps UEFA Champions League autographs
The 2022-23 Topps UEFA Champions League Club Competition has lovely autographs. Unfortunately, they all seem to be sticker autos, which are generally less desirable. Base and Ultimate Stage Autographs are the most commonly found in boxes. But there are rarer and more awesome autos you may run into as well.
For example, the Premium Partnerships Autographs edition includes dual autos from legendary past and present partnerships. Meanwhile, the 2022-23 Topps UEFA Champions League Club Competition doesn’t have much of a selection of memorabilia cards.
But the Official Draw Card Autograph Relic set includes a relic and an auto of some of the biggest soccer stars.
2022-23 Topps UEFA Champions League Club Competition value
The UEFA Champions League Club Competition product is technically a new one. However, we can easily compare it to its predecessor, the 2021-22 Topps Champions League UEFA Soccer, which is basically the same product. So, how do boxes and singles of this product fare on the open market?
Let’s start with hobby boxes. First, we made an overview of the prices for which these boxes have been selling recently. Here is what we found:
|2020-21 Topps UEFA Champions League Collection Soccer Hobby Box||$70|
|2021-22 Topps UEFA Champions League Collection Soccer Hobby Box||$54.95|
The 2020-21 Topps UEFA Champions League Collection Soccer Hobby Box boxes do not go for much. The high prices go for Chrome, sometimes exceeding the $1,000 per box mark. We are happy to see that Topps is giving these boxes a realistic price based on their resale value.
But even though there is not much money to be made through these cards, buying one is also no risk. So, this is a guiltless and fun rip, which could potentially land you a big card. Not a bad prospect in today’s hobby climate.
A 2022-23 Topps UEFA Champions League Club Competition box is not very expensive. So, our expectations are not all that high. But what are the chances of hitting a big card in one of these boxes anyway? Let’s take a look:
|2021-22 Topps UEFA Champions League Gavi Ice Black Rookie Card /10||$1,500|
|2021-22 Topps UEFA Champions League Takuhiro Pipi Nakai Foilfractor Rookie Card 1/1||$2,300|
|2021-22 Topps UEFA Champions League Gavri Jade Edition Rookie||$1.55|
|2021-22 Topps UEFA Champions League Cristiano Ronaldo Orange # /25 PSA 10||$650|
That cheap Gavri Jade card is probably more representative of the hits you will get in this release. But as you can see, these boxes have some great hits for a low and reasonable outlay. Considering how little you risk opening one of these babies, that is very good news.
Final Word Of The 2022-23 Topps UEFA Champions League Club Competition Review
The 2022-23 Topps UEFA Champions League Club Competition is a bit of a departure from the traditional Champions League release. It has a broader selection of players from three different UEFA competitions. That could have watered down the release, but that isn’t how Topps tackled the matter.
The base list consists of only 200 cards, which is very heavy on the big clubs. So it adds the most well-known teams that didn’t make the Champions League, most notably Manchester United for the 2022-23 season. Therefore, the checklist has a better selection of rookies. Overall, that is a good thing. I just hope they don’t miss any promising youngsters by chasing too many teams over three competitions.
But at the end of the day, Topps UEFA Champions League Club Competition is more or less the same product as before. That is a good thing. The price for these boxes is as reasonable as they get nowadays. That is partially because the box has a very low resale value compared to its chrome counterpart. But as we can see from the singles prices, some big cards are in these boxes.
Nothing is life-changing, obviously, but cards that are worth several times more than a box. In addition, the cards this year are beautiful, and the checklist is solid. All of this leads us to the same conclusion: the 2022-23 Topps UEFA Champions League Club Competition is the ultimate guilt-free rip.
UEFA Champions League Club Competition 2022-23 Topps checklist
- Inferno Foil, Pink Sparkle, Icy Aqua Foil #/399
- Yellow Foil #/299
- Neon Green Foil #/199
- Black & White Icy Foil #/150
- Blue Inferno Foil #/125
- Icy Blue Foil #/99
- Purple Foil #/75
- Gold Foil #/50
- Orange Foil #/25
- Icy Black Foil #/10
- Red Foil #/5
- FoilFractor 1/1
- Printing Plates 1/1