For over two decades, Upper Deck has been the home of one of the hobby’s most visually striking brands. The release of 2018-19 Black Diamond continues the tradition later this year. Each pack will contain five hits in addition to a bonus pack which has a 2018-19 Upper Deck Exquisite card.
This time around, there is a redesigned Black Diamond base set of 50 cards. Limited to 249 copies, it is a manageable project for those willing to chase them down, but the real challenge will be the Diamond Relic Rookies (/99) that will contain between one and four of those precious stones. Expect some of the bigger names to have four diamonds and there is also a Retro Quad Rookie for Patrick Roy that is numbered to 33.
Plenty of Parallels
On top of the base set action, there is a large assortment of parallels for each card. The scarcest of the bunch are the Pure Black Diamond Relics and Diamond Relic Rookie Gems that are all 1/1. The 50 base cards also have a Diamond Relics version which is limited to just 5 copies.
If that is a bit too much of a challenge, Upper Deck will have plenty of other parallels in 2018-19 Black Diamond that come with either memorabilia pieces or autographs. Other base set versions include Pure Black (/99 with autographed variants), Relics (/149 for veterans, /49 for legends), and Pure Black Premium Relics (varied numbering).
Big Swatches and Bigger Booklets
Rookie content keeps on coming in 2018-19 Black Diamond with the returning Rookie Gems (/399) that also has two levels of autographed parallels (/199 and /99). Silver on Black Rookie Signatures should be a popular collection (/249 or /99) and there is a veteran collection to consider, too.
Back for another year are Rookie Booklet Relics, and there is a standard version out of 199. The Autograph Patch edition (/99) would be a potential cornerstone piece in a collection focusing on one of the hot upcoming freshmen. Diamond Debut Relics (/249, premium version /99) offer even more hits of those talents.
Even More Memorabilia
One thing that collectors seem to either love or hate about this brand is back with 2018-19 Black Diamond, too. Team Logo Jumbos (1:5) feature manufactured patches and the Rookie Team Logo Jumbos are an even easier pull coming once in every other pack on average. Veteran players get a limited treatment with Full Team Logos (/15), Alternate Logos (/5), and one-of-one NHL Shields. However, the big demand is likely going to be for the Autograph Rookie Team Logo Patches that have an NHL Shield version (/5) in addition to two tiers of scarcity (/49 and /99).
On top of all that, look for Diamond Mine Relics (1:5) that have a Patch parallel that will be numbered to varying quantities depending on player.
Inserts and Ink
New in 2018-19 Black Diamond are Hall of Fame Rings (1:6), which are similar to the Stanley Cup Rings inserts that have been a staple in the brand for a while. There is a slightly tougher Gold parallel for these cards (1:13), but the Gold Autographed Parallel could be a hot commodity as they are produced in different numbers and will undoubtedly have some short prints. Championship Banners also get the Gold Autograph treatment in addition to the base version.
Autographs will be the main focus of Gemography (1:6) and there are some potentially popular limited inserts that could cause some waves like Diamond Might (/99), Run For The Cup Silver (/99), Diamond Cutters (1:25), and the returning Hardware Heroes (/99).
Exquisite Bonus Packs
The Exquisite bonus pack inside 2018-19 Black Diamond appears to have an insane amount of rookie content. Spread out across several brands over the course of the season, the Exquisite Rookies (/199 or /299) have multiple versions which could include Patches or Gold Spectrum parallels. Some veteran players will get memorabilia cards here as well, but the 2003-04 Retro Rookies (/225) and Veterans (/99) are one way to cap off what marks the new season’s first super-premium issue.
2018-19 Upper Deck Black Diamond hockey is set for release in late November.