$0.00 0
Cart

No products in the cart.

Continue Shopping
$0.00 0
Cart

No products in the cart.

Continue Shopping

Why Upper Deck e-Packs May Signal The Future Of Trading Cards

upper deck epacks

There are many advantages to being a hockey collector.

However, a word of warning here. Not all cards are available as a hard copy. You can only get the hits delivered physically. Therefore, if you are a base set completist (which many of those who buy Upper Deck flagship are), this product is not for you.

The format has renewed interest because Connor Bedard cards have entered the chat. The 2023-24 Upper Deck Series 2 release will drop on February 28, 2024. Eventually, you will be able to buy them on e-Pack from the convenience of your portable device.

When exactly? Good question. Upper Deck doesn’t usually announce the launch of new products on e-Pack until right before they are launched. There is often a lag between the physical release of the product and its availability on e-Packs. It can frequently take a month or two. So don’t expect it to arrive until late March at the earliest.

So, as that enticing possibility gets closer to our lives, we offer you a full overview of what Upper Deck e-Packs are and how to use them to your best advantage.

What Are Upper Deck e-Packs?

Here is how the Upper Deck website describes the concept behind these cards:

“Upper Deck e-Pack® bridges the gap from digital to physical and lets you decide when, where, and how you want to experience collecting.

Instantly purchase and open packs of trading cards and authentic collectibles anytime, from anywhere with Upper Deck e-Pack®. Keep your entire collection at your fingertips by viewing, sorting, and storing with the simple click of a button, all without missing the exciting pack-opening experience. Earn exclusive digital and physical achievements by building and collecting specific sets. Connect with e-Pack® collectors around the globe and make secure trades, play Pack Wars, or start a new discussion on the e-Pack® forum. Want to have your items sent to you? Just select any eligible item(s) from your collection and have them shipped directly to you at any time.”

How do Upper Deck e-Packs work?

It is straightforward to get an e-Packs account up and running. You give the usual details on the signup page, like email names and all that complicated stuff. Then, you will find several options to expand your (currently non-existent) e-Pack collection.

Here is what you can do:

Shop

Upper Deck offers a good portion of its catalog for purchase through e-Packs. You can click on any of the releases and pick if you want a pack, box, or case. It’s incredibly convenient.

However, I will warn you that it is very easy to spend more money because of that. You can buy a pack after you try to score the Young Guns you want, a bit like a slot machine. One of the best elements of this platform is the ease with which you find cards.

Perhaps that is partially because the selection of e-Packs is not voluminous. However, I have never had issues finding things, unlike eBay and COMC, where things can occasionally be more challenging.

Collect

Once you amass a nice collection, you can enter the collect panel and manage your cards. You can sort them by ownership, insert type, team, and attributes (like physical items, rookies, memorabilia, virtual only, etc).

However, the attributes are not well allocated. Many important categories of cards do not show up here and can make looking for what you want frustrating. For example, you can’t just look for sketch cards, which are among the most popular Upper Deck cards.

Trade

Every person with an e-Pack account is eligible to list their cards for trade. This is an excellent feature because you can look up the card you need and start offering people cards you don’t have for them.

Since the cards are virtual, you can complete trades without travel, mailing, or direct contact with other human beings. I don’t know about you, but that is a plus to me.

You can make friends on the platform. That sounds lame, and of course, it is. But when you have made a “friend,” you can see their entire collection. That can help you come up with trades that benefit both of you far more easily.

Furthermore, when you build a long-term productive trading relationship with someone on the platform, they are more likely to agree to beneficial trades. It also saves time because someone you have already traded with is more likely to want to sell again.

And who knows? Maybe you will meet your next BFF on Upper Deck e-Packs?

Connect

Where Upper Deck keeps you updated on the latest developments in the e-Pack world. This is just a glorified news feed.

The cool freebies

Upper Deck makes it very worthwhile to invest in your e-Pack collection. Upper Deck will provide you with a free e-Pack to get started if you join.

But it gets cooler. Every time you enter the platform (or once every 24 hours, you earn free cards. Not just cards but an entire pack. Therefore, you can build a massive collection of cards by entering the website daily.

Your options for a free e-Pack, at least now, are the following:

  • 2022-23 Upper Deck Extended Series Hockey
  • 2023-24 Upper Deck Series 1
  • 2023-24 MVP Hockey
  • 2020 Overwatch League Series 1
  • 2020 Overwatch League Series 2
  • 2022 Goodwin Champions 
  • 2022-23 Upper Deck Series 2

Yes, that means that very soon, you will be able to sign in and get a free pack of 2023-24 Upper Deck Series 2. That will give you a shot to score a Connor Bedard Young Guns card for free.

Therefore, signing up and going in every day is a great idea. Also, please take advantage of these free cards as much as possible while they are available. They usually remove the release from their free card rotation after a year has elapsed.

Exclusive cards

One of the coolest things about e-Packs is the opportunity to get exclusive cards. We have already discussed how you can’t get the base cards as tangible items.

However, that doesn’t mean they are useless. Often, you will be able to trade in a certain amount of them for an e-Pack exclusive card.

What Upper Deck brands are available in e-Packs?

We are talking about a service offered by Upper Deck. Therefore, the basics are obviously hockey. There are 28 offerings in the hockey category.

Here are the most notable among them:

  • AHL
  • Allure Hockey
  • CHL
  • Credentials
  • Extended Series Hockey
  • Fleer Ultra Hockey
  • Inaugural Season Moments
  • O-Pee-Chee
  • O-Pee-Chee Platinum
  • MVP Hockey
  • MVP Hockey Pack Wars
  • Ovation
  • Parkhurst
  • SPx
  • Synergy
  • Ultra Hockey
  • Team Canada Juniors
  • Upper Deck Series 1 and 2

But there are also plenty of non-hockey products available on e-Packs as well. You may come to Upper Deck e-Packs looking for Series 1 and Series 2 Hockey. But you will stay for the Canine Collection. Here is the full selection:

  • AEW
  • Alien 3 Movie
  • Blizzard Legacy
  • Blizzard Legacy Collection
  • Call of Duty League Game Dated Moments
  • Call of Duty League
  • Canine Collection
  • CFL Football
  • CFL SPGU Football
  • Cosmic
  • Disney’s Mickey Mouse
  • Game Dated Moments
  • Goodwin Champions
  • Marvel Allure
  • Marvel Annual
  • Marvel Annual Pack Wars
  • Marvel Beginnings
  • Marvel Cyber
  • Marvel’s Defenders
  • Marvel Studios’ Eternals
  • Marvel Studios’ The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
  • Marvel Studios’ Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings
  • Marvel Studios’ WandaVision
  • Marvel Studios’ What If…?
  • Overwatch League: Inaugural Set
  • Overwatch League Series 1 and Series 2, as well as High Series
  • PFL Box Set
  • Skybox Metal Universe Champions
  • Snapshots Multisport
  • SP Authentic Golf
  • SPGU Golf
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  • Upper Deck CFL
  • Upper Deck Space Jam: A New Legacy
  • USFL Season Preview
  • Wrath of the Lich King

Prices on e-Packs

You may assume that the prices on e-Packs would be identical to those you get elsewhere. However, there are some serious differences.

One Blowout Forums member wrote, “In some cases, you can get physical boxes so much cheaper than Epack. Aliens 3 cases are now $150 + cheaper than on Epack. Marvel Ages is $300 cheaper physical. Seldom have I found Epack the same or cheaper. Even the brand-new James Bond is $150 cheaper than the physical case.

The same individual also wrote that the exclusives do not change the equation here: “The Epack exclusives? To spend so much money to acquire certain levels…… I don’t have $1,000’s to throw at something to get the parallels or exclusive inserts.”

We decided to check for ourselves. How do the prices on e-Packs compare with the open market?

 PackHobby BoxCase
2023-24 UD Series 1 Hockey$11.99 on e-Pack / $7.99 elsewhere$139.99 on e-Pack / $165 elsewhere$1649.99 on e-Pack / $1,774  elsewhere
2021-22 Upper Deck Credentials$17.99 on e-Pack / $12.95 elsewhere$139.99 on e-Pack / $128 elsewhere$2749.99 on e-Pack / $939 elsewhere
2021-22 O-Pee-Chee Platinum$17.99 on e-Pack / $12.00 elsewhere$209.99 on e-Pack / $160.99 elsewhere$1659.99 on e-Pack / $1,150  elsewhere
2023-24 MVP Hockey$3.99 on e-Pack / $7.00 elsewhere$76.99 on e-Pack / $49.45 elsewhere$1499.99 on e-Pack / $699.99  elsewhere

The price differences can be very striking, especially on the case level. In those cases (get it?!), the e-Pack version can be three times as expensive. Occasionally, the e-Pack version of a product is cheaper, but not by much. So be VERY careful when buying on e-Pack. You might get gouged.

So is using Upper Deck e-Packs worth it?

There is no question that e-Packs offer you some great advantages over any other way to get cards. The ease and convenience of the purchase is unparalleled.

But perhaps the most significant benefit is how easily you can trade cards. If you are big on that aspect, this is a massive time saver and makes it more likely to get a good deal due to your range of options.

But trading can be a hassle on the platform. I often get trade offers, but they are usually non-starters. Meanwhile, the people I contact ignore most of my trade recommendations. It doesn’t matter if I stack it in their favor, either! It can be frustrating.

For some collectors, it has been a game changer. One Reddit user explained how it made collecting much easier for them: “It’s fun for the trading aspect. For example, I only collect Tampa Bay Lightning players. If I buy a physical box at a store, the chances I get Tampa hits are pretty low. With epack I can trade all the hits I don’t want and turn them into cards I do. Thus, the value of a $200 box gives me more bang for my buck.”

The existence of exclusive e-Pack cards, which you can exchange for base cards, also helps those collecting a specific team or player. You can use many bases to get otherwise unavailable cards of your favorites.

Another Reddit user explained: “I think e-pack is great in some respects. If you are interested in the series one and two hits but don’t care about the base, you don’t have to worry about physically dealing with those. Plus, you can combine the base to get cards you want, say trying to get the silver or rainbow foil of the players from your favorite team.”

The slot machine problem

However, despite all the advantages of e-Packs, it is a glorified format for ripping packs. We all know that indiscriminately ripping is a great way to flush money down the toilet.

We have also seen that in some cases, boxes and cases of products can be far more expensive when we buy them on e-pack. Therefore, it can really be a case of flushing a bunch of money away. It’s far more than you would spend on eBay.

There are many drawbacks to Upper Deck e-Packs, and we have listed some. However, it is hard to escape the feeling that this format is the future of trading cards.

Many of the virtual configurations for card sales have failed so far. One primary reason is that collectors are not attracted to purely online assets. Sure, Top Shot did ok for a while and is still around. But most of the attempts to launch sports NFTs haven’t taken off and don’t look likely to.

Most of us prefer traditional boxes

Many collectors are pretty traditional. A member of Blowout Forums explained, “I can see the benefits of Epack as it cuts down on sorting time, having to store the cards physically, and even the empty packs and box disposal.

What I don’t care for is that you do not “actually” have ALL of the cards that you open due to some being digital only. These are, of course, mostly base cards, but it feels like it takes some of the value away.

The benefit of opening the box in hand is that you get everything right then, and it feels as if the “value” is more because you have the physical product. Not to mention, it feels more exciting to have it right there.”

I think we can all agree that holding the box and ripping it is infinitely more satisfying than clicking on a pack icon. Some things shouldn’t be virtual.

Final word on Upper Deck e-Packs

The advantage that e-Packs has over these other platforms is simple. It is tied into existing card lines, often beloved and popular ones (although the list of products they have includes far too many that no one cares about). But more importantly, it offers us an opportunity to get physical cards.

Indeed, the main weakness of this platform is that it does not go far enough in tying the virtual cards to real ones. There is no excuse for not getting real-world versions of the base cards. You paid for them. You own them! Many of us (myself included) love completing sets, and this is a needless own goal for Upper Deck.

I can’t help but feel that Fanatics or Panini (far more likely Fanatics) is going to take this concept and run with it.

Of course, with their deep pockets, promotional staff, and the popular sports league rights they own, they will succeed more than e-Packs. But it will do even better if they make base cards available.

Otherwise, ripping packs of Topps Series 1 would be an unpleasant experience on the Fanatics equivalent platform. There are doubtless several problems with the platform that copycats can try and fix. But a better version of this could end up being the main forum for new card purchases and trade.

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim is the emeritus editor of Cardlines. He continues to write for several hobby outlets, including this one and Cardbase. He collects primarily vintage baseball and soccer and has a weird obsession with 1971 Topps.

In his spare time, Shaiel is sobbing into his bourbon when the Mets lose and playing Dungeons and Dragons. In a past life, Dr. Ben-Ephraim was a political science professor, journalist, and diplomat. But cards are more fun.
When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network.

CARDLINES NEWSLETTER

Keep up on CardLines articles, and receive exclusive content with expert analysis of hobby trends.

Related »

More in Buy and Sell »

© Copyright 2024 - All rights reserved Cardlines.com / Media Techs LLC - Sports Card News, Reviews, Releases and BREAKS - #thehobby.

Important: When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network.