What is group breaking and case breaking? Is there a difference? Whether you’re new to collecting, returning to the Hobby or just curious about this buzz term, we’ll try to give you all the information you need to get started in the online world of card collecting.
First, let’s define the two most common terms used by those who host breaks, a.k.a. breakers.
Group Breaking: Multiple people purchase a spot, also referred to as a slot, to help split the cost of the case(s) purchased by the host. This is also commonly referred to as a Case Break because they are interchangeable and relate to each other.
Case Breaking: This generally refers to the actual “event” where the host breaks the sealed case(s) and opens the packs for those who purchased a spot in the Group Break.
How do I know if there is break for my favorite sport/team/player? I’m so glad you asked! If your sport has trading cards currently being produced, it is almost guaranteed to have a breaker busting those packs. There are various types of Case Breaks, but most sites use the same terms to help define the type of break spot you are purchasing.
Types of Group Breaking and Case Breaking
This is also referred to as "Pick Your Team" because you purchase the spot for a single team, receiving the cards for only that particular team. The PYT break is especially appealing for team collectors since you are paying a fraction of the cost for hobby cards and not dealing with the unwanted cards from your rival team or teams. Because some teams have more cards in a particular set, or simply better players, individual team prices can fluctuate a decent amount.
Random Team Break
If you like surprises, Random Team is your kind of break. Collectors still purchase a team spot, however, the actual selection is unknown until it's revealed during the break. Since there are 30 Major League Baseball teams (which equals 30 spots), most breakers will typically use random.org to determine who receives a specific team’s cards. The breaker will input the list of team names along with each person who purchased a spot. Then, the fun begins as the "dice" start to roll. After teams are randomized and given an assigned number, the collector’s names are then randomized. If, for example, you are assigned #28, you will have won the cards for the #28 team.
Team Draft Break
A team draft break can also be called a Snake Draft. Much like the Random Team Break, names are again randomized, however, it is to determine the order of who gets to pick or draft a team. In my experience, you purchase your slot, then everyone is gathered in a forum room, much like an old school chat room. Then, you can see the individual picking order and just like in a real sports draft, collectors have the ability to trade said draft pick. These tend to be fast-paced breaks. Although you may not get your favorite team, it should be noted that the Team Draft purchase price is the same across the board.
The Divisional Break can be set up like either the Pick Your Team or Random Team Break. If you are looking for more than just one team, this a great group break to obtain sets from different divisions. For instance, say you collect the Dallas Cowboys but you also like some of the other division teams. By selecting the NFC East Division, you will receive all of the cards for the teams in the NFC East.
While there are various ways to Case Break, those are the most common types. Here are a few things to keep in mind and look for on the host’s site in order to find the perfect style of a break for your own collecting needs.
- Will you receive all of the cards or just the hits?
- What does the Case Breaker consider a hit? (*This is very important as many people have different ideas of what an actual hit means.*)
- Will you receive any inserts?
- What happens to cards with multiple players from different teams?
- Who receives a card for a team that is no longer in operation (i.e. Seattle Pilots)?
- Do I have to pay for shipping?
- How will my cards be mailed? Top loaders, magnetic cases or sleeves?
- How long will it take to receive my cards?
- What happens if I don’t get a hit in the break?
- How is the price of each team slot determined?
This all sounds great, but how do I know I’m not being cheated? Another wonderful question! Most Case Breakers live-stream their breaks via their preferred service, and if you can’t make it to the live break, it is usually uploaded to YouTube or can be found on their site.
Hopefully, we have provided enough Group/Case Breaking information to help you feel confident in choosing your first, or next, Case Break.
If you're still having a few doubts about the fairness of break pricing or just want a look "behind-the-scenes," check out the Step-by-Step Guide to Case Breaks written by Brent, who is one-half of the highly regarded duo known as brentandbecca.