Friday, January 4, 2019

Ranking Topps Sets by Decade; 2010s

The time has finally come. I have officially reached the final part of my ranking Topps sets by decade series that I started a couple of weeks ago. Today, I have finally arrived at the 2010s.

With 2019 Topps Flagship set to be released at the end of January, we're soon to have another decade of Topps Flagship sets completely in the books. Thus, it's become time to access the entire time period as to the quality of Topps Flagship products that it has released.

Truthfully, the 2010s have produced some of the worst Topps sets of all-time. However, we've also seen some brilliant Topps sets developed in this decade as well.

Unfortunately, the endless modernizing of their products, large sets, and poor designs tend to outweigh some of the better sets from this decade. Plus, we still haven't seen 2019 Topps in-hand yet so my opinion could alter slightly after this set is released.

Speaking of 2019 Topps, I've decided to leave the set off the list for the very reason I listed above; we haven't seen the cards in-person yet. We don't know what the card backs look like nor do we have a sense of what cards will look like for different players and teams. 

I can always add 2019 Topps onto this list a month or so from now, but for the time being, it's best that I leave it off and stick to the 9 sets released so far this decade.

#9 2012 Topps
An unfinished mess with too much foil is the best way I can describe 2012 Topps. It's truly one of the worst Topps sets I've ever seen. Yes, even worse than the disaster that was 2016. While 2016 at least had a complete design, 2012 Topps has a little oval in the bottom left corner and that's it. The foil circles around it don't make much sense and the bland photography takes up way too much space. Even a minor detail, the rookie cup trophies, are too small. There's really not a whole lot to like about this set.

#8 2016 Topps
When there's smoke, there's fire, and when you have some smoke and cut-off logos, the result is an infamously bad Topps Flagship design. Both the top right and bottom lefthand corners are filled with smoke not to mention the box that has the player's name as well. But if that wasn't enough, Topps felt the need to cut-off every team's logo, leading to one of the most frustrating and mindboggling sets in Baseball card history.

#7 2010 Topps
Unnecessarily big team names and not much else is the way I'd describe 2010 Topps which, up until today, I didn't even know included the players' position in tiny text in the bottom left corner. In addition to foil names (ugh), the set features gigantic logos that take up far too much space. I don't think Topps could do anything to this set to make it more interesting, so they just created the most mediocre and unmemorable set possible, and it worked.

#6 2014 Topps
2014 Topps is just so harmless that I felt obligated to place it towards the middle since it's neither a great set nor a terrible product. With the white borders, the team logo, and small bits of color throughout the card, 2014 Topps manages to blend in with all the other 2010s products. It's still not that great of a set, but there are far worse and far better products out there.

#5 2013 Topps
Although it came before 2014 Topps, the 2013 set is almost an upgraded version of the subsequent product. With simple and well-executed card backs and a clean front, 2013 Topps is a nice product by 2010s standards. There's just the right amount of color, though I could always go for more, and the logo takes up just the right amount of space. Take notes, 2010 Topps.

#4 2017 Topps
Call me a villain, but I don't think 2017 Topps was all that bad. The slanted silver design wasn't my favorite feature, and I still miss borders, but at least we had improvement from 2016 Topps. Overall, I really like the sleekness of the silver and wish it took up more space and wasn't slanted at such an angle. There are no cut-off logos, everything is the right size, and cards like the Mookie Betts one above feature some eye-catching photography across the entire set.

#3 2018 Topps
Despite my feelings about 2017 Topps, neither it nor 2016 were that well-received. It took one of the simplest sets in Topps history before a Topps Flagship set was declared to be a nice looking product. That set was 2018 Topps, and it finally proved that Topps could pull off a respectable, borderless Flagship product. 

The pictures are great, but the detail I like the most is the little slide that holds the logo at the bottom of the card. It does a nice job of complimenting the team colors as do the bars with the player name, position, and team name as well.

#2 2011 Topps
If you spotted an image like the one on the Joe Mauer card above in a Topps Stadium Club set, you'd be impressed, big time. For whatever reason, 2011 Topps was like its own Stadium Club product with fantastic images spread out throughout the entire set, including unique photos that you don't usually see in a Flagship set. The base set design is also pretty well-done, but the main thing to take from 2011 Topps remains the fabulous photo quality.

#1 2015 Topps
While I was forming the final list, I gave no second thought to which set would end up at #1. To me, it wasn't even a debate, 2015 is far and beyond the best set from not just the entire decade, but the 21st century as well. Finally, Topps listened to what we wanted, and after white-bordered average sets for quite some time, 2015 Topps came along and brought with it all the color you could ever ask for.

Moreover, the 2015 Topps Chrome set was one of the best in years with gorgeous chrome cards resulting from this Flagship design. I'm currently in the process of completing this set, and I can't wait to see how colorful the binder sheets will be when I finish it off.


  1. I was wondering if you'd include 2019 since we know what iot looks like even though it's not going to hit shelves for another few weeks. Overall I absolutely agree with your top three, in any order. I know everyone hates 2016 Topps but I don't mind it (the squished logos bother me more than the smoke effect) 2017 though..ugh. Maybe if the bottom bar was pulled all the way up and the top bar was straightened out to create a frame. Oh well. I'm not going to like 2019 much, either. "JUDGE aaron"? "BETTS mookie?" THANKS no

    1. OMG, that is the best six-word review ever. Well played!

  2. Nice rankings. I totally agree with your choice of #1. I just love that design.