Along with my box of 2012-13 Upper Deck Series 1, I also picked up a couple boxes of 2012-13 Black Diamond. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, as each box only promises two dual jersey cards and two quad diamond cards, but I figured I'd take a shot and see what I came up with.
My first box was definitely a whinner, as not only did I get the guaranteed inserts, but I also found a couple other rarities that apparently aren't found just in every other box.
My first extra hit was a Championship Rings insert card, featuring left winger Simon Gagne. There are 24 cards from this insert set, each featuring a player from the L.A. Kings. The printed area of the card is die-cut on the sides and placed on a rectangular clear card. The surface of the ring is also a shiny material that changes colors, depending on which angle the light hits it. These cards are inserted at a rate of one in every 5 boxes, and to pull a good player like Gagne was pretty awesome. He isn't quite as valuable as Jonathan Quick, and it isn't as cool as the suited-up Luc Robitaille, but it's still better than Andrei Lokitonov or Alec Martinez, for example.
Another major rarity that I got was a Hardware Heroes card of Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, numbered 8/100, which recognizes his King Clancy Trophy award in 2012 for exemplifying leadership qualities on and off the ice and making a significant humanitarian contribution to his community. Like the Crosby that I have from 2010-11 Black Diamond, the card is die-cut around the trophy and features a translucent inset of the player's picture, with an opening on the back to let light through. There is no official insertion rate on these, but there are only 100 of each of the 18 cards, making them quite the rare find.
The last of my major rarities was an emerald parallel of Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson. One of the rarest parallels in Black Diamond, Each of these cards are numbered to just ten copies (this one is 2/10). Quite a few of these emerald cards are autographed as well, but of course, I got one of the ones that isn't.
My two dual jersey cards were of Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators and Nikolai Kulemin of the Toronto Maple Leafs. They are both decent enough players, but the problem I have with these two (as well as the two I ended up pulling from my second box) is that there are two swatches, but both swatches are of the same color. Yes, they are both white, but they could have easily been yellow or blue and my reaction would be the same. If there are two swatches, there are two for a reason. Make them different. Otherwise, just give me the one white one. I'm ok with that. Using the same color on both panels just seems like a lost opportunity.
Apart from the actual hits themselves, the other draw with Black Diamond is their quad Diamond cards. These fall at a rate of two per box (one star, one rookie) and are some of the most sought after cards of the issue.
Just like with my extra hits, I got lucky on this box when it came to the quad diamonds, too, getting a card of top rookie Chris Kreider. With no 2012 draft picks in the set, rookies end up falling to players who made their debut in 2011-12 at a point where it was too late to get their rookie cards produced in that year's set. Kreider didn't play a game for the Rangers in the regular season, but he did get called up for the playoffs, getting 5 goals and 2 assists in 18 games.
My other quad diamond card was of Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk. This card, like all of the quad diamond cards of current players, shows him in his All Star Game uniform.
Triple Diamond cards fall at a rate of six per box, with three being current or former stars and three being rookies. My former stars were all Minnesota North Stars players, which was pretty cool: Mike Modano, Dino Ciccarelli, and Neal Broten. My rookies were Torey Krug, Colby Robak, and Philippe Cornet.
I also got six dual diamond cards, of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Patrick Kane, Marcel Dionne, Bill Ranford, and Pekka Rinne.
When I went to pull out my Penguins cards, I noticed that I had the full team set from the single diamond base. What I did not know until I collated the rest of the cards from this box, as well as the second box, is that EACH box contains the base 100-card single diamond set. Very cool.
Lastly, each box also contains a bonus pack of 2012-13 Upper Deck Ice cards. Each pack contains four base cards and one Ice Premiers rookie card. My cards were of Evgeni Malkin, Ryan Getzlaf, Jonathan Quick, and Jamie Benn with a Jordan Nolan Ice Premiers card numbered 822/999.
That's all for that box. Since this was really the first box of Black Diamond that I had ever opened from any year, I wasn't sure if I hit it big, or if this was a typical break. As I would find out from box #2 (which I will post tomorrow), I hit it pretty big with this one. Since I now have two complete base sets, I probably won't be buying any more this year, but I'll definitely be in line when next year's release comes out.