BBM released information this week on this years 1st Version set and it's going to be...different.
First, the good news. The base cards look very nice although similar to last year's base cards (in the same way Topps' flagship cards this year look like last year's). They didn't drop the number of player (and manager) cards lower than the 27 it's been at since 2011 (although they are apparently continuing the stunt of having two cards for Shohei Otani - one as a pitcher and one as a batter - which is great unless it means there's only 26 Fighters represented in the set instead of 27). And after four years (which was at least two too many) they've retired the "Cross-blank" cross set subset after running out of elements (water in 2010, earth in 2011, fire in 2012 and air in 2013).
Now the bad news. All the subsets that have been a staple of BBM's flagship set for years are gone. No team cards. No Best 9 cards. No Golden Glove cards. And most unbelievably, no Leader cards. Instead, there will be six(!) 12 card subsets (and you already know what 12 cards in a subset means) - Genuine Ace, Big Slugger, Limitless Hope, Spirit Of The Team, God Of Defense and Last Guardian.
There will also be three 12 card insert sets - Great Hit Makers, Wonder Rookie and Lightning. There will be parallels of 108 of the player cards, as well as all the rookie cards, all the subset cards and the Great Hit Makers and Wonder Rookie inserts. The Lightning inserts are limited to 50 cards each - I assume they are serially numbered but I don't know that for sure. There will also be memorabilia cards available - jersey and autograph cards.
I'm very disappointed that BBM isn't doing the Leader cards. Masahiro Tanaka should have had several cards in the subset - MVP, Sawamura and various statistical categories. And I was looking forward to a Wladimir Balentien 60 home run card. And BBM is really saying "f*ck you" to Eagles fans - not only do the Eagles not get a Nippon Series set last fall, they don't even get a "Nippon Series Champion" card in the 1st Version set.
The set will be out in mid-April.