I’ve been pondering this review for a long time, in fact it has been just under four months, the time from when I paid for the product until I had it in hand. It was a long wait. Steve, and the folks at 5FINITY realized it was a long wait and after a delay or two announced they were going to reward the patience of buyers with a free sketch card. Mine was a great Buddy Prince card from Josie and the Pussycats:
This was a very nice touch from the gang at 5FINITY, and it shows that they are always trying to do right by their customers, that and the fact that I like Steve makes it difficult to write a review. I don’t write a lot of reviews, although I’d like to. It’s difficult to say anything critical about a company or their product when you realize that most non-sport companies are a couple of people, especially when they are good people. It’s a small hobby, a small industry. So why write about Cherry. . . frankly it’s been a turning point for me with 5FINITY. Ever since Mandy I’ve bought a lot of what 5FINITY has produced. Mandy was one of my favorite sets of all time and I keep hoping the next 5FINITY set will recapture that magic.
After Mandy blew up 5FINITY pre-sales became an event. I waited by my computer for the solicitation and kicked off an email ordering product immediately after receiving the solicitation — without even reading it! You almost had to when sets like Lady Death were selling out in less than an hour. I’d order, and order and order: Shi, Lady Death, The Pro, Godzilla, Painkiller Jane, Manga Mandy, P’ups, Voltron, Grimm Fairy Tales, Galaxgals LLC, the list goes on. . . I didn’t buy everything, but I bought plenty — usually right up to the maximum I could order — around 25 packs. When you are buying almost everything you certainly intimately familiar with every license, and while I discovered some great cool new stuff like The Pro, I also wound up with stacks of sketches from other releases that I really had no interest in pursuing a collection for.
About a year ago 5FINITY kicked off the membership program. It allowed you to guarantee the ability to buy packs of 5FINITY releases for the following year without having to participate in the pre-sale madness. Memberships included an appropriate number of packs of Kitty Ditties and the Pretty Ladies, but they were pricey (the cheapest exceeded $500), and I didn’t partake. I’m not totally shut out of purchasing — I still have to participate in the pre-sale ‘derby’ for every release, which I don’t mind, but the number of packs I can buy for a given release has been limited considerably more than previous cap. I was allowed to buy 10 packs of Cherry.
The 10 pack limit on Cherry turned out to be a good thing, at least at first. As when the pre-sale derby started I jumped on my allotment immediately after receiving the solicitation — as usual without even reading the email. I immediately had buyers remorse when I saw the pack price of $22.50. Most 5FINITY releases I purchased hovered around the $15 price point the nearly 50% price increase compared to the sets I recently purchased didn’t sit well with me.
I paid, crossed my fingers and waited, and waited, the release date came and went and a delay was announced. Delays are never a good thing. I understand they happen in the industry, and for many companies release dates are as fickle as a leaf in a breeze, but for a long time 5FINITY release dates were gospel, because of their awesomeness, I hold them to a higher standard than most manufacturers, but I digress. . .
After the extended delay pack breaks and packs for sale started showing up online — I read that Larry Welz sketches were seeded 1 in 19 packs. . . which at a 10 pack cap meant you had better than a 50% chance of being very happy. Thankfully Welz autographs were also 1:19 packs so theoretically in 10 packs you should find one or the other and at least get some Welz goodness in your packs. Unless you opened my 10 packs and got neither, but now I’m getting ahead of myself. . .
I was actually a little nervous opening the Cherry packs, the cost per pack was a bit higher than my comfort zone (and many dealers were selling their packs rather than opening them — something that NEVER used to happen in 5FINITY products). I opened my first four packs, and found 1 chase pack with multiple sketches:
The first card I pulled was the Popplewell, and I like her work, although her interpretation of Cherry is not really my style at all. Perhaps I am wrong, but I think Cherry collectors are going to look for cards that are sassy and sexy, and I don’t think this card is going to be what they are looking for, it’s not what I am looking for. Next was Remy Mokhtar — a great card as Remy always does. My first chase pack contained sketches by Carr and Street. It’s hard to criticize a chase pack, but these are only 2 sketches I pulled out of 10 packs that didn’t have any sort of background, and this has been my experience with most multiple sketch packs — generally the single sketches are a bit nicer than the ones you pull out of multi-sketch packs. Finally a Ben Hansen sketch, and while the art is really nice the sketch isn’t of Cherry! Most of Hansen’s sketches appear to be takes on famous scenes, so perhaps this one is as well, this could be a very nice find for someone. . . unfortunately I’m looking for sketches of Cherry. At this point I’m doing math in my head, realizing I’ve spent about $90 and have only found 1 card I’d keep in my own collection. I felt a little sick to my stomach, and I actually stopped opening packs.
I’m not sure what order the rest of these were found in, but these also came out of my 10 packs:
These obviously are much much nicer on average than the packs I opened. The Patrick Finch card was my 2nd chase — a rare sketch, and a really fantastic sketch at that. I love Maus’s work, so I’m always happy to pull a card he’s done, unfortunately I’m not a Trekie, but that is still a great card, and the Trek reference will add a premium to it. The Boo, Belamy and Hesse are nice sketches, but aren’t my style, the Jeff Pina is also very nice, and one I will hang on to.
As I previously mentioned 10 packs and no Welz auto or sketch. It’s a double edged sword really as I feel on one hand if I would have been able to order the 25 packs I used to order I probably would have received both a Welz sketch and autograph and I’d be thrilled — or maybe I wouldn’t because that would have cost me so much. Frankly this is my luck with 5FINITY products. . . I never pull the redemptions, or the creator sketches, and when the price point was lower and I was able to order more packs I was ok with that because I’d find enough stuff for my collection that it worked out.
So over 1200 words later and where am I. . . At a crossroad. The solicitation for Lady Death 2 came and went a couple of weeks ago. I could have ordered 15 packs this time, which is a little better than the 10 from Cherry, but at $25 a pack. I didn’t order. I’m guessing it is sold out by now, although I never saw an announcement that it sold out. It certainly didn’t sell out in 56 minutes like Lady Death 1 did. I bought 25 packs of LD1 at $17.55 a pack.
I still love what 5FINITY does, and I’ll still buy their products, but with the lower caps and higher prices it’s becoming harder and harder to be a 5FINITY collector. . . I’m not going to just buy everything that comes out like I used to, I am being forced to be much more choosy, and that trickles down from sets to singles — since I didn’t buy packs of LD2 I didn’t start an LD2 collection, so I won’t be buying LD2 single sketches.
I guess I’ll figure it out by January when the next membership wave rolls through. At this point I don’t even know what 5FINITY is planning, their deviantart page and blog don’t look like they’ve been updated in weeks, and their website hasn’t been updated in months.
What is my final verdict on Cherry? . . . well if I would have pulled at Welz sketch instead of one of the first four I’d be happy. When the price of the product goes up significantly as it has with Cherry compared to other releases I feel the quality should go up as well. For 5FINITY that means raising a high bar even higher, and for me they didn’t quite hit that mark. I do realize I didn’t touch on the ‘base’ cards in this release. It looks like some of the rarer base cards do have some value, which is fantastic. I’m really collecting these for the sketches . . . Even after factor in the base cards for this set I’m still feeling the same about it. . . Although if they tweak the base card formula it could be a nice value add to the packs. . .
If you bought Cherry I’m curious to hear what your thoughts are. . . The chatter on the boards has been very minimal for the product, and for 5FINITY in general. . . My fingers are crossed that next year will be a better year for my 5FINITY collection. Time will tell. . . I’ll be waiting for the next 5FINITY set that I have to have. . .