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Thursday, April 26, 2018

New Release: 2018 BBM Yakult Swallows

The first annual team set from BBM this year was the Swallows. BBM is going with a standard set layout that you'll probably see 12 times in the next few months.

Six cards per 400-yen pack, 20 packs per box, 12 boxes per case. This set came out in early April.

81 cards in the base set:
 Regular cards fill the first 68 spots in the checklist. This year, I grabbed a rookie for my type collection, but statistics usually fill that space. Speaking of checklists, card #S69 is a checklist. And I should probably mention that #S68 features the three team mascots.
 The three new foreign players are in the first subset, New Force (#S70-S72).
 Norichika Aoki came back to Japan this season, and #S73-S75 feature various photos of Aoki in a subset called Welcome Back.
 Two Combo Cards pair up a couple players with similar attributes.
 The last four cards in the set are Return to the Field. I wish I knew exactly what that means. Perhaps it's players who had bad/underproductive seasons in 2017.

The standard 18 insert cards are split into four different sets.
 Hopeful Teen, three cards, HT prefix. Teenagers.
 Bear Fruit in the 3rd Year, three cards, BF prefix. Third-year players.
 Injected Power, three cards, IP prefix. The team's strongest players.
Swallows Rising, nine cards, SR prefix. Basically, the team's starting lineup.

All four insert sets can be found in three flavors of parallel: gold #/90, holofoil #/75, and gold holofoil #/50.
Last year, BBM created an insert set that was found in every team set called Phantom. This insert is back for 2018, and serial numbered to only 25 copies. There are nine cards in the Swallows Phantom set, with PS prefix.

Moving on to autographs, there are several varieties, similar to BBM's offerings in the past.
 Regular Autographs can be found for everybody, with print runs up to 60 copies each.
 Combo Autographs can be pulled for two pairs of players (five copies each) and two mascots (60 copies).
 The cross-brand autograph series is Picturesque, and it definitely lives up to its name. I do see similarities to Diamond Kings in the background style, as it is a painting canvas concept. Three players are in this set for the Swallows, with copies limited to 15 cards each.

I don't have a sample image, but BBM again included Rookie Autographs for eight players, each numbered to 10 copies.
Finally, Silver Autographs(#/5 or #/10) and Gold Autographs (1/1) are lucky pulls.

No new ground broken here, but I definitely love the look of Picturesque.

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