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Top Shot on the Rise!
If you’ve been a long-time reader of my NBA Top Shot columns, then you know that I haven’t always been a happy customer, and I’ve never been afraid to air my grievances about their product and some of the stranger decisions that they’ve made in their past. I remain perplexed as to why Ky Bowman has four Series 1 Moments – three of which are Rare – and I still wince a bit when thinking about the Throwdown pack debacle or some of the painful Cool Cat Challenges that I went through. However, Top Shot has fixed a lot of the issues that created those problems with lower Edition Sizes on the higher-tier Moments, more well thought out releases and much more creative and lucratively rewarding Challenges.
One thing that I admire about Top Shot is their responsiveness to their userbase: they take the concerns from their collectors seriously, and they are proactive problem solves. No longer are we seeing bottlenecks formed around players on two-way deals. Set completion challenges are a thing of the past, and we are now seeing a true distinction between what kind of player receives top-tiered Moments (Rare, Legendary, etc.). I also think the Moments themselves have improved, as I find the highlights used in Series 3 to be much better representations of the players, and I enjoy being able to visually see the difference between the various tiers as well.
When any novel product enters the market – in this case NBA-licensed NFTs – growing pains are to be expected. Mistakes will be made, but mistakes aren’t really the problem, it’s how you respond to them. So yes, NBA Top Shot has made their fair share of mistakes, but I think they’ve used those mistakes as growing opportunities, and I’ve seen a much more entertaining product with a lot more opportunity for big gains in Series 3.
So, if you tried Top Shot during Series 2 but felt you had a bad experience and left, or perhaps you haven’t signed up just yet, now would be as good a time as ever to get back in. Particularly with them currently offering a Kevin Durant starter pack to new users, which features a KD Moment along with three other Base Set Moments. Plus, the first Holo Icon drop and the second Metallic Gold Limited Edition (MGLE) release will land on Tuesday, Jan. 25, and both those packs present big money making opportunities.
The Genius Behind Flash Challenges
I admit I was concerned when Series 3 started, as the S3 Base Set packs were filled with 60K+ CC Moments that wouldn’t sell for much more than $3, and I wrote a column about it referring to those packs as “trash packs.” However, I now see the value in these Base packs, as they offer great utility for Flash Challenges. So, while most of the Series 3 Base Set Moments aren’t all that valuable from a monetary standpoint (unless you snag a rookie), they do create very cost-effective avenues towards completing Challenges.
In case you don’t know, a Flash Challenge is a Challenge that only lasts about 24 hours and involves completing a showcase (usually around 7-10 players) based around the statistics they put up that night. So, as an example, Top Shot will announce a Flash Challenge featuring the top-7 scorers on a given night, and then collectors will need to assemble those showcases using Moments from the top-7 scorers. It sounds easy enough, but there’s quite a bit of strategy involved in attempting to turn these Challenges into paydays by identifying the various bottlenecks throughout Top Shot, as these bottlenecks can explode when included in Challenges.
By contrast, the Series 2 Challenges were not fun, did not involve strategy, and were guaranteed money-losers. They would require completing an entire set filled with Moments that would brutally tank once the Challenge clock struck zero, and the Reward Moment would always sell for about a third of the cost that it took to acquire them. However, in Series 3, not only are the Moments involved in the Challenge recovering most of their value after a short, post-Challenge dip period, but the Rewards themselves are often profitable. The Flash Challenges have not only been constantly juicing the market in a fun way, but they’ve also been raising the floor of the bottlenecks of top-50 fantasy players.
I find a fun chemistry between Top Shot and fantasy hoops, as it can be a lot of fun speculating on under-the-radar players and then seeing them explode from $5 - $50+ when included in the right Challenge. I also enjoy watching the value of various players fluctuate in real-time, as they enter or are booted out of a Challenge, and it’s because of these Flash Challenges that I no longer despise the Series 3 Base Set Commons. I now see their utility, and eventually, it is my goal to have two of every relevant fantasy player (a cheap 60K for meeting Challenge requirements and a lower Edition Size Moment for selling).
Another thing Top Shot has seriously improved is how they release Moments. In previous Series, they would dump an incredible number of Moments into the market in a single drop, which would result in massive dumps in value, as newbies would constantly undercut a once valuable Moment and tank it to breakeven prices. However, they are now very cautious about how they release valuable Moments (AKA the rooks) in Base packs, slowly releasing the total amount of Moments to avoid tanks.
As an example, all rookies have an Edition Size of 4K, but instead of releasing all 4K of those Moments in a single drop, Top Shot will start with an initial release of 1,600, and that number will steadily tail off with each proceeding drop. So, while Evan Mobley had 1,600 Moments available in Top Shot’s first Base Pack of Series 3, that number was reduced to just 75 in the most recent Base Set drop (No. 7). This more measured release pattern has done wonders for Top Shot to avoid a volatile market with massive dumps.
Holo Icon (Legendary – 99 Edition Size)
$999 per pack / 1,400 total pack available
Drop Date: Tuesday, Jan. 25
Pack Contents: 1 Holo Icon Legendary Moment, 1 MGLE, 7 Series 3 Base Set (4K-60K+)
Priority Queue: Opens at 9 am PT
CS Requirement: 25,000
Packs in PQ: 700
General Queue: Opens at 10:30 am PT
CS Requirement: 10,000
Packs in GQ: 700
If you’re new to Top Shot, then this Legendary release will likely be out of reach, but if you’re close to making the 10K CS requirement, I think that’s something that’s worth building towards. Yes, the pack is expensive, but as a reference point, the cheapest Legendary Moment currently on the market with a 99 Edition Size is Andre Drummond for $938. You also have to consider that this pack will include an MGLE Moment, plus seven Base Set Moment with the chance of securing an LE or rookie, so there’s almost no way you can lose with this pack. The odds remain slim of securing one, but if you’d like some tips on how to boost your score in the most cost-effective way possible, check out my Score Boosting 101 column.
Metallic Gold Limited Edition (Rare – 749 Edition Size)
$89 per pack / 8,250 total packs available
Drop Date: Tuesday, Jan. 25
Pack Contents: 1 MGLE, 5 Base Set Series 3 (4K-60K+)
Priority Queue: Opens at 12 pm PT
CS Requirement: 7,500
Packs in PQ: 4,250
General Queue: Opens at 2 pm PT
CS Requirement: 2,500
Packs in GQ: 4,000
If the second MGLE drop goes anything like the first one did, this will be an excellent pack to buy. It will feature Moments from stars such as Steph Curry, LaMelo Ball, Nikola Vucevic, Kyle Lowry, and Kemba Walker’s 44-point game, plus some up-and-comers such as Malik Monk. Remember, if you are able to secure a pack, don’t sell immediately, either wait until later that night when the dip ends and the Moments start to rise based on speculation for upcoming Challenges, or simply wait for the Challenge to be announced and then unload. If you’re not able to secure a pack, there will be two opportunities to buy the dip. One will come about 10-20 minutes after the pack is released and the market opens, and the second buy-low opportunity will come roughly three hours after the Challenge concludes for the Moments that were a part of that Challenge. So, good luck everyone and happy pack ripping!