2013 ITG Enforcers II Hockey CardsBrand: In the Game
2013 ITG Enforcers II Hockey sees the return of one of the hobby's most controversial lines. Focusing on hockey's tough guys, every box comes with four autographs and three game-used memorabilia cards.
The 2013 ITG Enforcers II base set has 90 cards. The Tale of the Tape and Bloody Battles subsets from the first Enforcers set return along with some new ones: 3000 PIM Club, Goalie Battles, Tag Teams and League Leaders. Base cards land five per box.
At the time of its release, 2011-12 ITG Enforcers generated a lot of mainstream press. The main sticking point for many was the incorporation of blood spatters into design elements. It looks as though the card maker isn't backing down, offering a similar design for the main autograph cards. In addition to keeping the bloody look, signatures are incorporated with band aids. These carefully blend the use of stickers. Besides single autographs, 2013 ITG Enforcers II also has Duel (Get it?) and Triple Autographs.
As for game-used memorabilia cards, several return from the first set. These include Fight Strap, Tough Franchises quad cards, Combatants dual-swatch cards and Instigators, which come with both basic jersey and patch versions. Goalies make the Enforcers memorabilia debut with a pair of memorabilia sets: Pugilistic Puck Stoppers and Between the Pipes Battles. Also new are Duel Tough Patch cards. These cards have a massive patch piece on both sides of the card, pairing up some classic rivals.
Product Configuration: 1 pack per box, 12 cards per pack
Price Point: Mid-End Hockey Card
Target Audience: Autograph Collectors, Fans of Hockey Tough Guys
2013 ITG Enforcers II Hockey Box Break
- 4 Autographs
- 3 Game-Used Memorabilia Cards
- 5 Base Cards
- 12 Total Cards
2013 ITG Enforcers II Hockey Product Review
Reviewed by Ryan Cracknell
Good: Good continuity with previous set, excellent focus, lots of autographs and memorabilia cards from players who don't have a lot of hobby exposure.
Bad: Blurry images, checklist is thin on big-name players (although the addition of goalies helps).
The Bottom Line: 2013 ITG Enforcers II is a love song to hockey's tough guys. It's a niche product that delivers where it promises. If you're looking strictly for big-money cards, you may want to look elsewhere. They're in the product, but just not as frequently as the role players that are the focal point to begin with. Given the price, it's doubtful you're going to find more autographs and game-used memorabilia cards elsewhere.
Card Design: 3.0/5.0
2013 ITG Enforcers II has some nice continuity in it. Some of the designs carry over and some are new. But even the fresh designs do a good job of fitting in with the overall feel. The result is a rewarding one for those who delved deep into the original set. At the same time, for those just jumping in now, the earlier set is required to enjoy it.
By far, the most attractive cards are the autographs. Like the first Enforcers set, they cleverly use a band aid motif to work the clear sticker into the design. Yes, the once controversial blood spatters are still there, but who really cares? It doesn't take much to see that Enforcers to is a tribute to tough players and not pandering to senseless violence.
The base cards feel very busy. I can't say I connected with them a lot. Blurry images, a problem that has plagued several ITG products, continues to be a major issue. When a product is intended to be a premium collectible, sharp pictures should be a given. Granted, ITG is somewhat confined by the fact they can't use logos. This limits some of the photos they can use. Even still, there is no reason for foggy photos of players who skated in the NHL just 20 years ago.
I could go on and on about how much I like about ITG's memorabilia cards. In general, game-used cards don't interest me much anymore, especially when you're dealing with regular swatches. But ITG still finds a way to make them meaningful with a larger swatch piece that lends balance to the card. It doesn't feel like they're added simply for the sake of having a swatch.
Hobby legends like Gordie Howe, Patrick Roy and Eric Lindros are all part of the set. But for each of them there are five guys like Jody Shelley, Lyndon Byers and Glen Cochrane. If you’re a fan of hockey’s tough guys, then there’s some built in appreciation. However, for the casual hockey fan, there’s not a lot of punch beyond the set’s theme. I also got the sense that while the set builds upon the debut Enforcers release, the first one was stronger.
For those looking to go deep into the checklist, boxes pack plenty. With four autographs and three memorabilia cards, you’re unlikely to find many products on the market with so much for the reasonable price. If you’re looking strictly for a dollar return, it’s unlikely that you’re going to get there. But this isn’t a set for flipping. It’s for collectors who are intended to enjoy the theme. In being so focused it offers a lot for its narrow audience.
The Fun Factor: 3.0/5.0
While I liked the first Enforcers set a lot, Enforcers II comes off a little flat. It has a been there, done that feel. It does a good job of offering more tough guy content, but the first go around was even better. At this point, it’s probably best the Enforcers name takes a break outside of the occasional insert. In a few years, when there are more tough players to draw from, it could be worth revisiting. For now, the ground is covered.