I have built quite a few sets in the last year, not just base sets, but 1 per pack and 1 per boxe sets of various sizes. I have completed 2007 Masterpiecs Baseball base, green linen and Windsor; 2008 Masterpieces Baseball Base with SP's, Black and Red; 2008 Masterpieces Football Base with Sp's, Black and Red and am 2 away on the Blue and 4 on Brown; 2008 Topps Mayo Football and am 1 away on the Mini set, Antwan Randle El SP, 2008 Topps Murad Base with Sp's and am a few away on the minis; 2007 Ultimate Football /400 1 per pack; 2008 Ginter with SP's(I cheated because a case yields a complete set with Sp's).
The one thing that all those sets have in common are a lot of Sp's and they were not widely broken. The Mayo was limited to 799 Hobby cases and a bunch or retail, murad was limited to 599 hobby cases and I know there was retail but no idea how many. Just like the old days basketball just isnt widely available except for Panini, base topps and base UD.
I like building these sets because they are quite difficult to put together and there aren't that many people that are going to stick to building them. The two ways to go about building them is to bust wax or buy singles or a third way both.
Busting wax can be inefficient and expensive and buying singles can be a long process depending on a lot of variables. For example, buying a 150 card set 2 cards at a time can be ridiulously expensive, shipping and such. With the exception of Comc and sportlots, singles are often difficult to find consistently as well. But spending 500-700 on a case is not possible for most and it can be a big waste of money.
My view is that if you are a set builder, buying a case that sports decent hits but yields a significant amount of the cards you like is a good way to go. If I were a Ginter collector, with the exception of this year, I would buy a case, pull out minis and base that I want and sell the rest. The advantage of doing this that you will often pull a few high priced cards. For example I pulled a few Favre parallels from Masterpieces that would have cost me $15-$20 at the time, no idea about now but I would assume not a lot less than that. Additionally, you can trade or sell any of the cards you dont want such as autos or jerseys. Plus busting wax is fun no matter what anyone says.
The above is only true if you are building anything but a set that is 2 per case and thats it. Obviously building the Masterpeices patch set by busting wax is silly, but building all the sets by busting wax can be extremely easier than singles. Essentially, you pay for the cases on the installment plan that you could have busted with the money you spent on hundreds of singles. This is only true until you get to the approximately 2/3 - 3/4 point of the set. At this point the chances of pulling an sp or a parallel that you need is well 1/3-1/4 of the stated odds. So if a Murad black mini parallel is 1:12 and you are 2/3 of the way through the set, you are going to pull one you need in 1:36 packs maybe.
This is why I reccommend the group case splits. Not splitting the boxes but busting the case and allocating based on set needs. I think people were pretty happy with the Masterpieces case splits I did. If you think about it, if you buy in for an equivilent of 3 boxes, you are going to end up with the same amount of hits, but you are going to do much better on filling set needs or building a set from scratch. Your odds of getting the case hit are the same.
So hopefully this makes sense as to why I offer case splits to all of you. Its a less expensive way to build sets, eliminates doubles and gives you access to the contents of an entire case.
Now its time for a little irony. The Mayo minis and base are tough to pull from a pack in decent shape. The irony is that the originals probably came in better shape than the new ones do. Lots of fuzzy corners, chipping and the like.