Topps Fire football made a nice splash with its debut set in 2014, and the 2015 version appears to have made an improvement with vibrant colors and interesting artwork.
At times, Topps appears to have been inspired by LeRoy Neiman with some of the blotchy, watercolor-like images (particularly in some of the inserts), but they do not detract from the overall appearance. Some of the base card designs appear too busy in some cases, but mostly Topps uses a colorful motif that works well despite the occasional clutter.
There are 20 packs in a hobby box, with six cards to a pack. Price range will hover between $65 and $75 depending on the retailer, although I did see one hobby box advertised as low as $59.95. The base set contains 100 veteran and 50 rookie cards. Topps is promising two autographs or autographed relics per hobby box.
Interestingly, I pulled 75 base cards and only one was a duplicate — Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston. Parallels fall one to a pack on average, and there were 20 silvers in the box. Flame parallels come every four packs, and true to the average there were five in the box that I sampled. I didn’t find any, but Topps does have parallels in orange, green, blue (numbered to 99), purple (50), magenta (25) and a 1/1 Inferno, which is limited to hobby boxes. Another hobby exclusive, onyx parallels, will fall one to a case.
There were two big hits in the box I opened. The first was a Fire rookie autograph patch card of Washington Redskins wide receiver Jamison Crowder. This was printed on thick card stock and had three different color swatches. The autograph was on a sticker, which is always a disappointment. But overall, the card showed nicely.
The second big card was another sticker auto, of Raiders tight end Clive Walford.
The inserts in Topps Fire are the real stars of the set. Transcendent Touchdowns is a 25-card subset that has wonderful color and highlights notable touchdowns. They fall every five packs, and true to the average, I pulled four of these cards. The 30-card Into the Wild subset showcases a player with a team’s mascot drawn in the background. There were five of these inserts in the hobby box I opened. Fire Forces of Nature emphasize the natural world; there is an average of two per hobby box. A hobby exclusive Fired Up, which has 13 cards in the set, plays off a player’s emotion and passion. That insert falls once in every hobby box.
Topps Fire is a nice middle-of-road product. Autograph and relic collectors will be happy with the big pulls, while those who enjoy offbeat designs will find Fire an attractive set to collect.