Prepare yourselves, this is going to be a war.
First up in this battle, (most) everyone's least favorite retailer ... Walmart.
2016 Topps Walmart Holiday Box
I'd heard of these showing up in Walmart stores across the land but seeing as our Walmart stores where I live are usually about a month or more behind the times (looking at you, Ecto Cooler), I was skeptical that these would be in any store near me. If they were, great. If not, I sure wasn't going to go tracking them down either. A quick check of my local Walmart while the family and I were grabbing some groceries and I found these in a giant pile on the bottom shelf so grabbed the first one I saw.
I'm sure everyone has seen these by now. It's just the standard 2016 design except the smoke effect has been replaced by snowflakes. I'd say this is a pretty healthy batch of young stars right here.
Here are a few nice horizontal cards. I really like the Ichiro card and it probably could be a picture on a Stadium Club card if you take away the snowflakes.
You can't really tell from the scans but these are what I call the "sparkle" cards but in reality they're called "metallic snowflakes" and are parallels. I kind of like them as the snowflakes actually stand out from the card and have a bit of texture and sparkle to them.
Each box promises one hit and here's what I got ... Jorge Soler, late of the Cubs and now with the Royals. It'll be interesting to see how he fares in Kansas City. What's not so interesting is that this is a plain white patch. Oh well, at least it's a semi-decent player.
Overall grade: C+ ... I'm still not the biggest fan of the 2016 design. Adding snowflakes to the card seems to take up a bit more of the actual picture than compared to a standard card (see below). Still, even with the promised hit, this amounts to nothing more than a blaster box with no inserts except for the metallic parallels.
Next up ... the holiday mega box from Target.
2016 Topps Holiday Mega Box
I've seen next to no mention of these on any of the blogs I follow but I got this (along with a WWE blaster and some repacks) for Christmas from my wife. This box doesn't promise any hits but it does promise two packs of Chrome Update cards, which are exclusive to these boxes.
Here's the layout, five packs of Update and two packs of Chrome Update as promised.
Nothing exciting here, just you're standard base cards. These were the best of the batch that came out of the Update packs, I think my favorite here has to be the Adam Duvall card, despite the All-Star uniform.
This is interesting, two Jay Bruce cards and each one has him with a different team. His production dropped off severely after his trade to the Mets at the deadline last year.
These are the insert cards, two of the 3000 hit club cards which I really like, one Aubrey Plaza first pitch card, and one Kirk Neuwenheis gold parallel.
Here's the first of the Chrome Update packs. Only four cards per pack, which is typical for Chrome. For all its faults, I will say that the 2016 design chromes up pretty well. Nothing extraordinary in this pack though.
The last pack of Chrome yielded an Eddie Murray 3000 Club insert and a Miguel Sano rookie card. I liked this pack better than the first, primarily due to the Eddie Murray card.
Overall grade: B ... The inclusion of the Chrome cards, the fact there were insert cards, and a lower price point than its Walmart brethren gives this one a better grade but not by much.
Despite the fact that the Walmart box includes a hit, I can't really give it a win. Mainly due to the fact that there are no insert cards aside from the parallels ... none, zero. At least with the Target box there was a decent variety of All-Star cards, base cards, and inserts. Also, the Walmart box was $5 more than the Target box. Aside from that, most everything else is a push.