2010 Topps Magic Review and Case Breakdown

As we alluded to in our sweet video break of 2010 Topps Magic Football, we’ve got a full breakdown of our case comin’ at ya. So watch this magic unfurlin’ like Merlin! But first, prepare yourself… 


Okay, now that your mind is sufficiently blown, preparedto have it… GUMMED! Full photo action can be found at our Bucket and some auctions/BINs are up on eBay. Readerz get dealz (or at least bonus Cubs and Royals cards) so let us know you’re a fan before you click buy!

Base Set 

Is this guy still good? My football radar is still set to 2007.

Unlike last year’s base set, 2010 Topps Magic uses legit NFL logos and uniforms which adds a great deal of cred to this base set. As you can see from the example there, the design is clean and classic- nothing to write home about, but I’ll take it any day over Panini’s 1993 neon splatter love. The photos, generally, are excellent. Great actions photos for the most part and (possible Photoshop-enforced) selective focus will win me over every time. The photos themselves have definitely undergone some treatment that is distinctly un-retro. I mention this in the video, but they look vaguely like HDR photos. It’s impossible that it’s true HDR on account of the inherent movement in the subject matter, but it does look like a PS-simalcrum of that effect. You can’t see it, but I just pushed up my photo nerd glasses a bit. I also think it’s the same treatment that Gypsy Queen is getting. Why these supposed retro-themed sets are getting super modern photo treatments is truly beyond me, but since the set doesn’t appear to be based on any particular actual set (unlike last year’s which was 2 legit 2 quit), I guess the sky’s the limit. And, to be honest, I think these cards look great so it’s hard to complain. The backs sport no stats whatsoever, just some info and a trivia question (complete with backwards answer!). The skyline photo of the team’s city reminds me of some Score or Fleer issue from the 90s and, in all, the backs do nothing for me. No soup for them. 

The base set comes complete with 48 short prints, just like the original… oh wait. I guess it comes with short prints just to make you buy half a case to get the master set. Oh well. There’s no rhyme or reason to the SP players or their numbers. I guess that’s supposed to make it a fun surprise when you sort your case and realize you’re two cards short of a second master set. This just in: it’s neither fun nor a surprise. But, all in all, I’m a big fan of this base set. Next year they should do fun variations for SPs. Not like “Abe Lincoln throwing a pie at Mickey Mouse” fun, more like Obak weather variation fun. Especially since the one card (an insert, see below) with actual weather on it looks awesome. 

I should also mention that quality assurance on our case was decent. We got a stack of severely miscut top-bottom cards (maybe 20 or 30) and a few miscut minis that are probably passable. But, overall, no missing hits and no seriously dinged corners. Kudos to Topps on that front! And collation was decent too. We walked away with 5 complete base sets and are just a few cards away from 2 complete master sets (we got one no problem). That’s so rare in today’s card world that it makes me sad to think I need to mention it. 


The red jerseys really threw me off for a minute...

 The basic and simple tag belongs here as well. Just 3 insert sets, seeded at about one every other pack or so: Magical Moments, Rookie Sensations and History’s Best. Self-explanatory, each with a minor variation on the design of the base set. I’m perfectly content with these inserts. They get the job done without any stupid parallels and the images are, again, great.

Let's play "find the pigskin!" Oh God... let's not.

Did someone say stupid parallels?! Oh, right. Minis. I keep forgetting we got these. They’re mini versions of the regular cards. I’m over them. I’m also over the black border versions of them. And the quote unquote pigskin variations too. The latter are numbered to 50 and, if you ask me, are no different than the base minis. Jon thinks they’ve got some pigskin texture but he’s delusional. They’re lame. If they were on real football pigskin I’d be impressed. As is, I’m nonplussed. In our case, we were short of the mini master set by nearly 40, including 26 short printed minis. This annoys me. But not as annoying as that stack of useless black parallels that only the most devoted Jake Long fan cares about adding to their collection.


I've had to type this guy's name like 5 times and it's yet to get easier.

Okay, here’s the pumpkin pie to the meat and potatoes of the nice base and insert sets. Everyone knows that Magic has 3 autos per box. Everyone also knows that those are all sticker autos. It could also be argued that everyone knows that (based solely on last year’s premiere edition) this product is a notorious sticker dump where last year’s deflated rookies’ extra stickers go to die. But what you may not know is that, in the realm of sticker autos, these cards have no match. They look truly awesome. Okay, they’re stickers and that sucks. And Gellman will probably hate that they made a little home for said sticker on the card (though I’ll never know since I stopped reading his blog when it became a weird megasite). I think these autos look fantastic. 10X better than Platinum Topps Triple Tribute Sterling or whatever. I wouldn’t want one of those autos. I want all of these. Seriously, if I was a big football collector, I’d look into putting the set together. I like them almost as much as A&G mini autos… and we all love those. I’m very serious about these autos. They’re really pretty. Together in a binder, this set would look magnificent. I can’t say enough good things about the auto set… really a surprise when you factor in my bias against sticker autos. 

I made fun of this guy for being a scrub. Then we pulled his auto. Lesson learned.

This guy had a reprint in Topps flagship this year. He HAS to be good, right?

In our case, we got 36 autos as promised. Only 1 dupe in that whole stack and we were pleased as punch. The player selection was a predictable mix of “Oh, sweet!” and “WhoTF?” But, as a casual football fan, I recognized far more names than I didn’t and that was, truly, a surprise. It’s true that many of the autos we’ve posted on eBay don’t even have a single view despite a super low starting bid and being one of the first few to get our cases live on the site. Of the autos we got, the Tony Romo and Ray Lewis were far and away the winners. Based on eBay data and common sense, those look to be pretty damn well short printed. If they weren’t, Beardy would be getting a surprise Ray Lewis auto in the mail. As it stands, with 2 days left on our auction of this copy, he’ll sell for at least $63. Not too shabby. I’d consider ending it early for Beardy if he did something awesome like, oh, I don’t know, rapped about Ray Lewis for us… fair is fair, after all.

Just like I like my women: Shiny and low-numbered.

How about a little shiny with your pretty? We could have gotten a better player for sure, but the chrome autos look extra nice. They’re the only parallel of the autos (though many autos are SP’d) and they’re numbered to 10 (and on the front of the card, no less- see folks, they listen!). Seems like these are falling 1 per case and we didn’t beat those odds, unfortunately. We also met the odds on the two remaining hits: 

#/25 means it's awesome!

The relics look nice but somehow don’t fit in with the look and feel of the rest of the set. No matter, really, as they’re all #/25 and no one seems to care about them. I will say that not getting my hopes up every 6th or 8th pack for a sweet relic was a nice change of pace. When we got this one, we looked at it, said, “Oh, neat.” and movied on. That, my friends, is how you do a relic set in this day and age. DeMarcus Ware fans everywhere will be getting this card for a dollar and be happy for it.

I blew my Hale quote in the body of the review. Besides, he supposedly didn't even really say that. At least we were nice to the Native Americans- it's the only true thing in our history books!

I don’t really get the stamps. I have no idea why they’re in this set and, to paraphrase a great American, I only regret that I have but one indifference to give for this product. That stamp there is from 1920s though. Unless it’s a manu-stamp. Which it may well be since those puppies sell for a cool Lincoln on the secondary market. Literally a cool Lincoln. As in, not a five dollar bill, but a one cent piece (a coin collector friend of mine told me never to call them pennies).


In a desert of a hobby world full of complaints about value, sticker autos, quality assurance and basically anything else one can complain about, 2010 Topps Magic is an oasis. Its flaws are few but its qualities are many. I can’t tell you how much fun we had opening this case. Every box was an adventure. I never got bored of waiting for another auto. The base set pleases on almost every level and the sticker autos surpassed my meager expectation of sticker autos in general and the chrome auto and relic seemed like nice bonuses instead of something I felt I deserved and was disappointed by. If there was a Magic for baseball, I’d be buying the hell out of it. 

And value? I’ll go on record to say that 2010 Topps Magic is the best sportscard value next to Topps flagship. Hands down. We paid around $850 for our case at Dave and Adam’s Card World and I expect we’ll make almost all of that back before eBay fees. In some cases, I’d say, “Damn! We lost money on that case!” But I don’t feel cheated at all. I feel lucky to have gotten to see all the cards in the set almost twice over (nearly 2 master sets in a case… we didn’t even come close to one in Topps flagship!) and gotten to see a bunch of these autos in person. I’m really jealous of football card collectors right now. I’d be jumping with joy to pull a Topps Magic Tyler Colvin auto right about now. I might even make my girlfriend let me display it somewhere other than the closet! 

Point is, I’ve got virtually no complaints about this set. Sure you could ditch the stamps and the black minis. Sure there will be complaints about the autos being on stickers and the player selection. But, in this day and age where there’s rarely a set I deem worthy of my time and money, producing something of this quality is nothing short of wizardry. Bravo, Topps. Bravo.

Design – **** 1/2
Set Collecting – **** 1/2
Inserts – ***
Hits – ****
Overall – **** 1/2 out of 5

(a solid Wizzo the Wizzard on the magic scale!)

9 comments to 2010 Topps Magic Review and Case Breakdown

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>