During the Las Vegas Industry Summit Brian Gray had alluded to a coming change to the Metal technology that Leaf is known for using in many of their releases. He did not go any further in to what to expect, leaving collectors waiting until things were ready for a proper release announcement.
The time has come and Leaf has finally introduced Matrix, an etching in the card coating that works with a refractor like color creating an interesting appearance. To a point it can be described as similar to Topps Finest or similar to Panini’s Prizm technology.
The first product to include Matrix inserts will be 2012-13 Leaf Metal Basketball which is scheduled for release sometime in May. The basketball inserts, Hoop Matrix, appears to have a basketball type texture on the face of the card, which is appealing to me. I like when there is a connection like this, Fleer started using textures in the 1990s and some companies still carry on the tradition.
There will also be football and baseball Matrix inserts in upcoming Rookie Retro products. These inserts, Genetic Matrix, use the familiar metal and refractor technology but add in a chemical bond like etched design (hence the “genetic”) on the face of the card. I am not big on the Genetic Matrix design; I would prefer a texture similar to the basketball related Hoop Matrix inserts.
Overall, besides the chemical bond designs, I like the Matrix technology. I think that Brian Gray and Leaf are on to something here, especially with Panini adding Prizm to their repertoire and Topps Finest still hanging strong in the market.