Inside the Pack: 2021 Topps Chrome Update Review

The annual release of the retail-only Topps Chrome Update came a little late this year, and it also came with another surprise: a heftier price tag. At $49.99, it’s nearly three times the previous price of $19.99. On the plus side, the higher cost means you’re more likely to find it in stock at Target or on their website. That’s exactly what I did, picking up 3 boxes of one of my favorite rips each year.

Each mega box of Topps Chrome Update comes with 10 packs, with each pack containing 4 cards. For those of you doing the math at home, that’s more than a buck a card at the new box price.

A new wrinkle this year — and some value added — is the inclusion of an unnumbered purple refractor in each pack. Purple is one of my favorite refractor colors, though I have no idea why, as I’m not that fond of the color in everyday life. Nevertheless, these purple refractors didn’t disappoint, with their Barney-colored borders demanding attention the second the foil pack is opened. Among my purple refractor highlights, I got future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols, an RC of top prospect Dylan Carlson, and an RC of Rookie of the Year winner Jonathan India.

Inserts are abundant for a product like this. The Platinum Players inserts feature some of the game’s greats from the past seven decades on a die-cut 70 with a refractor finish. All-Star Game inserts are plentiful (1:6 packs) and feature the base design with a refractor finish. But the real star of the insert show is the Topps Black Gold insert. Borrowing a design from my childhood, this set incorporates the 1993 Topps Black Gold design onto a Chrome card with a refractor finish. Perfection.

Despite the prevalence of refractor finishes among the inserts, actual refractors are brutally tough to pull. I didn’t get any in my 3 boxes, though I did get a blue refractor of Evan White.

Topps Chrome Update is always a fun rip, full of rookies and players for new teams. But it’s much more fun at 20 bucks than it is at 50 bucks, and the bang for the buck just isn’t there at the new inflated price. Combine the price increase with tougher odds to pull anything and I’d recommend buying singles, unless you really love the thrill of opening this product. I do every year, and I don’t have any regrets about my boxes.