1. Card Design:
Panini Prizm is back, after a 1-year hiatus. For all of you Bowman/Topps Chrome’inites out there, Prizm offers a similar chrome-based product without the licensing (or prospecting). There are two truths to Chrome cards, especially made by Panini. First, there is a segment of collectors that don’t like Panini due to the lack of license (and over-abundance of sticker autos). Second, there is a segment of collectors that don’t like Chrome cards in general. For those that can look past these two points, Prizm can be a very fun product. Its base design doesn’t stand out, compared to year’s past, but with Prizm, you aren’t buying it for the card design, per se, but the (colored) parallels that are featured on the expansive checklist. Where the base design falls short of par, the parallels more than make up for it. I think the collecting community has come to accept Prizm as a “blah”, or generic, design.
2. Checklist Review:
Prizm has a 300-card base set, broken down into 3 separate tiers (1-100, 101-200, 201-300), with each tier a bit harder to pull based on pack odds. The set features 35 retired players and stars, all found in tier 3, from the likes of HOF’ers Nolan Ryan, Chipper Jones and Tom Seaver, to fan favorites such as Kevin Mitchell, Dontrelle Willis and Tim Lincecum. It’s a nice blend of current stars and rookies, with a few retried players sprinkled in to give the CL some depth and diversity. There are 5 autograph sets and 11 insert sets to choose your favorite players from as well. Most of the auto and insert sets come with their fair share of parallels to keep the collector searching for more pieces to add to the PC puzzle!
If you want to challenge yourself with an exciting set, Prizm should be that answer! The base set, in and of itself, can be quite challenging, since you will get only 12 packs in a box, each with 12 cards, for a total of 144 cards (before parallels and hits). So, the easy math suggests that you will need at least 3 boxes in order to have enough cards to build a set. We all know, you will still need the secondary market to fill-out the remainder of the missing cards. The suggested MSRP is around $108.99, so you might be better off buying up lots, or a completed set already built, and focus your attention on parallels of select players/teams. And remember, tier 2 and tier 3, will be harder to pull, even further challenging the set builder. This base set could get pricey to piece together. For this reason, the collectability factor takes a hit. However, the parallels offset some of this, if that is what you are after.
4. Favorite Parallel/Insert Set:
This is the section we have all been waiting for. This is the reason that Prizm exists. Select your favorite player from the CL and attempt to build a rainbow of parallels. Including the base card, you will need to collect 25 total cards! Maybe that’s too many for some, but Panini did a great job creating parallels that we haven’t seen (in baseball). From Donut Circles, to Kaleidoscope, to Snake Skin to Plaid, Prizm offers enjoyable and unique designs, that are sure to elate (and frustrate) collectors! I love the Snake Skin and Zebra Stripes, although the Blue and Red (base) parallels are a must-have as they pop, once you have them in hand.
The autos aren’t anything too special. For most, they will just be another Chrome auto (stickers), to collect, or scroll past when searching your favorite player(s) on eBay. The base Prizm auto CL features 100 subjects, including Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Eloy Jimenez. There is a Carolina Blue auto parallel set, all serial numbered, most of out of /100, with a few subjects as low as /5. Prizm has no relics in the product.
There are things to like, and plenty to dislike in Prizm. Again, if you are not a fan of sticker autos and/or unlicensed products, this release will not be for you. If you love the art of the chase, or if you’d like to attempt to build a seemingly impossible rainbow, well buckle up! If you’re an auto (hit) collector, this set is a hard pass. For set collectors, there is plenty to challenge yourself with. This product should be a hit with team collectors, but more so for player collectors. This product is a middle-of-the-road release that will have some die-hard fans, while the rest of the industry will walk on by.
Overall Score 3.2/5.0