Top Shot Terminology: A Beginner’s Guide to the Language of NBA Top Shot
by Bowen Chen
So you’re new to Top Shot or thinking of starting a collection. You want to learn more about the product, and try to figure out an optimal strategy for collecting Moments. After going through a few MomentRanks blog posts and Top Shot-related Twitter feeds, you might be asking yourself, what are ‘meagles’? What are Moments? Or even, how do I start my collection?
Don’t worry, we’ve been there and we’ve got you covered. Here’s a comprehensive list of all the exclusive Top Shot lingo you need to know to get started.
First, the base unit of Top Shot: The Moment. If you’re coming from physical card collectibles, Moments are the equivalent to trading cards. However, instead of depicting a portrait of a player looking at the camera or in action, Moments feature the clip of an entire play and several camera angles of its aftermath.
Instead of an NBA rookie card of Anthony Edwards, you can own the Rare Moment of his legendary dunk-of-the-year over the Toronto Raptors forward Yuta Watanabe — of which only 1,040 will ever be created.
You can add Moments to your collection by either opening packs or purchasing them from the Top Shot marketplace. Each Moment has properties that make it unique: serial number, mint count, series, rarity tier, set, play type, player, and game date — we’ll cover most of these in this article.
Top Shot Packs
Packs are the best way for new (and old) collectors to grow their collection. Like Moments, packs are also separated into tiers: Common, Rare, and Legendary.
Currently, Top Shot is distributing exclusive packs using a randomized queue. Prior to the time of the drop, collectors are able to enter a waiting room. Once the drop begins, they’ll be assigned a randomized number in line. If your number falls within the range of the number of packs being released, you’ll get the chance to purchase a pack.
Additionally, all Top Shot collectors are currently able to purchase one Base Set pack per week through a Reservation system. Collectors can one-click reserve a pack, then return any time during the weekend (Friday to Monday) to purchase that pack for $9. The listings page for each of these Reservation Packs will detail the windows to reserve and purchase packs.
If you’re just beginning, Reservation Packs are a great way to add three Moments to your collection every week so you can build your collection, and eventually get access to more exclusive pack drops.
Pack Drop Requirements
Exclusive, higher-tier pack drops will have specific requirements that need to be met in order for a collector to join. Top Shot is experimenting with a Collector Score system that evaluates collections with a more encompassing view (rather than strictly the number of Moments) to reward avid collectors with a chance to enter the queue.
You can check your Collector Score on your MomentRanks account page. For the last Rare pack drop, the required Collector Score to enter the queue was 220.
If you qualify for a Rare or Legendary pack and get unlucky with your assigned queue number, don’t worry. You’ll be able to receive a rebound pack in the form of a base set common pack if you continue to wait in line. This is one way Top Shot is rewarding long-term collectors.
Aside from pack drops, the marketplace is the other primary avenue for collectors to gather their favorite moments. Collectors are able to list their Moments for sale and are paid in Dapper Balance (equal to USD) after a five percent transaction fee. That same Dapper Balance can be used to pick up other Moments in the marketplace, for future pack drops, or withdrawn for fiat currency if your account is approved for withdrawals.
Buying from the marketplace is a great way to pick up those challenge requirements you’re missing, or simply to expand your collection. There are sometimes restrictions on how frequently a collector can buy or list a Moment for sale to limit server loads, though this is likely only during Top Shot’s beta stage.
You can view every recent listing and filter through to find the exact Moment you want and its MomentRanks expected value in our Marketplace Explorer tool, the best way to buy the Moments you want.
Each Series in Top Shot features Moments from its current NBA season (with the exception of the RIB set). For example, the current Series 2 moments are all highlights from the 2020-2021 NBA season. Series 3 is set to begin when new Moments are minted from the 2021-2022 season.
The price evaluation between Series 1 and Series 2 moments are reflected in their edition sizes, with Series 1 being more scarce (and also the first Series ever released on Top Shot). Moving forward, it’s possible to see future Series expanding as the product’s audience grows.
Lastly, if you see S1 or S2, this is referring to the Moment’s Series.
What’s a Serial Number?
Every Moment is minted with a unique serial number within the range of its edition size. The edition size is the second number you see on a Moment. For example, out of all the 10,000 mints of the Chris Paul Seeing Stars Moment, there is only one of each serial number from #1-10,000.
A Moment’s price evaluation can differ depending on its serial number. Certain numbers, such as #1, other lower serials, the player’s jersey number, and the “last mint” (or the final number in the edition, ex. #3,999/3,999) are traded at higher prices. Generally, lower serial numbers will be more sought-after in comparison to higher ones.
If you need help pricing a Moment based on a premium serial number, check out the MomentRanks serial estimator tool found on MomentHQ.
CC and LE Moments on Top Shot
Each Moment is classified as either CC (Circulating Count) or LE (Limited Edition). The edition is listed underneath each Moment next to its rarity and serial number.
CC+ means that the current number of minted copies for that Moment may increase in the future. At the moment, the only CC Moments are base set Series 2 /35,000+ commons; this means 35,000 are guaranteed to be minted, but that number could rise. We can expect future Series 3 Base Set commons to be released as CC, and the current CCs will transition to LE.
In comparison, LE means that no copies of that Moment will be minted in the future. The total number of copies displayed under each LE Moment is guaranteed to stay the same. This means that collectors can comfortably purchase an LE Moment knowing there won’t be a future pack where Top Shot expands the edition size resulting in a market influx of your purchased Moment.
To be clear, just because a Moment is LE doesn’t mean that the total supply of that Moment is either circulating the marketplace or sitting in a user’s collection. There are plenty of LE Moments (both S1 and S2) that have been minted but have not been released in packs. Top Shot has already stated that the distribution of leftover S1 Moments are going to be handled through the newly-implemented Trade Tickets system.
Top Shot Tiers
Moments are currently classified as one of three tiers: Common, Rare, and Legendary. In addition to serial numbers, tier puts Moments into category of rarities, with Legendary Moments currently being the most rare.
Top Shot has announced that the current ranges for edition sizes by rarity are as follows:
Rare: 500 – 4,999
Legendary: 50 – 499
The tier classification for Series 1 was different, but the new tiers were not retroactively applied to Series 1, only Moments going forward. The rarity of a Moment is reflected in the of the Moment art; you’ll see glowing borders around Rare and Legendary Moments) and the total number of minted copies.
Aside from these three tiers, Top Shot has also announced plans to release Ultimate Moments, which encompass the Genesis set and Platinum Ice Moments. This will be the rarest tier. The Genesis set will be a 1/1 set of the first 150 plays launched on Top Shot, while the Platinum Ice moments will be 3 Moments of each play on Top Shot.
Additionally, another tier is said to be coming between Common and Rare.
Other than purchasing from the marketplace, Moments of a given rarity can only be found in packs of equal rarity or below. For example, you can’t receive a Legendary Moment in a Rare pack, but you can still receive Rares in a Legendary pack. A pack of a given rarity will include at least one Moment of that rarity or more. For further information about each pack’s Moment distribution, check its description on the pack listing.
Most special pack drops and sets are referred to by their abbreviated names. Here’s a list of all the set abbreviations you need to know:
SS – the Common Seeing Stars set that features a cast of All-Star players from the 2020-2021 season.
ASG – the Rare All-Star Game set that features Moments from the 2021 All-Star Game.
RS – the Rare Rising Stars set that features the league’s rising generation of young players, including rookies from the 2020-2021 season. This set represents the first major collaboration between the NBA and Top Shot, as the Rising Stars game rosters were announced via Top Shot before this set was created.
RIB – the Rare Run-It-Back set features highlights from a past NBA season and can include Moments from current and retired players. The first RIB Packs in Series 1 featured Moments from the 2013-2014 season. This is a recurring set; a Series 2 Run It Back drop is expected in Fall 2021, with players like Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson.
Aside from these abbreviated packs you might also hear the names of past Legendary sets: Cosmic, an OG Top Shot set, and Holo, the core Legendary set. Holo MMXX was the Series 1 version of the Holo set, the first Legendary set ever minted. Each Moment is minted to only 50 and rewards to 25, which makes it one of the most exclusive sets in all of Top Shot. Holo Icon was the Series 2 version of the Holo core set, with each Moment minted to 99.
Lastly, a “closed set” means no more Moments will ever be minted in that set. An “open set” means that more Moments can be minted, but not necessarily that they will.
MGLE or “Meagle?”
Have you ever been on Twitter or a Twitch stream and wondered, what in the world is a “Meagle?” Well, it’s just another way to pronounce Metallic Gold LEs or MGLE, the core Rare Moments in Top Shot.
Similar to how Base Set Commons are distributed in recurring Base Set pack drops, MGLEs are distributed in recurring Premium Pack drops, as well as through Legendary packs.
There is typically always at least one MGLE challenge going on at any given time, so if you’re an avid MGLE collector, keep an eye to see if your Moments are featured in the ongoing challenge!
The Cosmic set is an early-day Top Shot Legendary set that has become notorious for some of the largest sales on Top Shot. With each Moment minted only to 49, the Cosmic set goes toe-to-toe with Holo MMXX as the most valuable Top Shot set.
Cosmic is a Series 1 set that was available only to the Top Shot “fan panel and early adopters.” The set contained one Moment from each of the 30 NBA teams, including LeBron James and rookies Zion Williamson and Ja Morant, with each only minted to 49. There are no plans for another Cosmic set to ever be created — making every Moment from this set a highly valuable collector’s item.
Badges are one of the most recent additions in Top Shot history. There are currently five separate badges — four distinguishing rookie Moments and one recognizing a player’s first Moment.
Each badge has a different design and can be found under a Moment’s tier and serial number on Top Shot.
Rookie Year: signified by a star, this badge awarded to a Moment if the featured play was from the player’s rookie season.
Rookie Premiere: signified by a basketball, this badge is awarded to a Moment if the featured play was from the subject player’s first regular season game.
Rookie Mint: signified by a cube, this badge is awarded to a Moment if it was minted during the subject player’s rookie season. This mean’s rookie Moments like Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Run It Back
Three-Star Rookie: rewarded to a Moment if it meets the requirements for all three rookie badges. These Moments currently are also all Top Shot Debut Moments. In Series 2, Three-Star Rookies were all minted to 4,000.
Top Shot Debut: rewarded to a moment that features a player’s first-ever play minted. Their very first Top Shot moment.
Collector Score is the current system Top Shot is using to evaluate the strength of a collection. Collectors are rewarded a certain number of points based on the series and tiers of their moments, and whether or not they are Base Set and if they’re a challenge reward.
In the future, collectors will need a certain collector score in order to qualify for pack drop eligibility and other potential rewards. Collector Score is subject to change, as Top Shot has said this is only the first iteration of the score. The current Collector Score is calculated as follows:
Series 1 Moments:
- Common (Base Set): 25 points
- Common (Non-Base Set): 40 points
- Rare: 100 points
- Legendary: 2000 points
Series 1 Challenge Rewards:
- Common (Base Set only): 37 points
- Common (Non-Base Set): 60 points
- Rare: 150 points
- Legendary: 3,000 points
Series 2 Moments:
- Common (Base Set only): 12 points
- Common (Promo*): 10 points
- Common (Non-Base Set): 20 points
- Rare: 80 points
- Legendary: 1,000 points
Series 2 Challenge Rewards:
- Common (Base Set only): 18 points
- Common (Promo) Challenge Reward: 15 points
- Common (Non-Base Set) Challenge Reward: 30 points
- Rare: 120 points
- Legendary: 1,500 points
Note: The only promo sets at the moment are The Gift.
A Moment’s lowest ask reflects the price floor for that Moment. On the Top Shot marketplace, any collector can list any Moment for any price up to $250,000.
Due to serial pricing and other utility premiums (such as challenges and other news) it may not accurately reflect the value of your Moment. Make sure you check the ongoing challenges before purchasing a Moment you plan on holding or in case you’re holding any challenge requirements, as challenges can make a Moment’s price fluctuate.
Dapper is the currency that Moments and Packs are bought and sold for. You can read more about Dapper and the Flow blockchain in our “Exploring the Flow Blockchain” article.
There is a five percent transaction fee to load Dapper Balance into your wallet. However, you can opt to pay with credit or with crypto (through Coinbase at checkout). Regardless, you’ll still be charged a five percent fee using these methods, unless you pay for a Moment or Pack directly with Dapper Balance already held in your wallet.
If you want to withdraw your Dapper Balance into fiat currency, make sure your account is KYC verified and approved for withdrawal (a process that typically takes several weeks).
Minting refers to the creation of moments by Top Shot in order to be released to the public. Once a Moment has been minted, it officially exists on the Flow blockchain. In fact, all NFTs are minted on a blockchain. By using publicly-available tools like Top Shot Explorer, you can see what new Moments are being minted by Top Shot before they are ever released.
Burning or Recycling?
Burning refers to the act of destroying an NFT, often for a reward. There is currently no burning on Top Shot, and there are no plans to bring it to the platform. However, Top Shot has recently announced a recycling function similar to burning. Instead of destroying a Moment, users can trade in any Moment to Top Shot in return for a Trade Ticket. There are plans for recycled moments to then be repackaged and released in Recycle Packs.
You might ask, what incentives are there for collectors to burn or recycle their Moments, if it becomes possible? Typically in other NFT projects, burning an NFT will provide some form of prize compensation, whether it’s a chance to receive an exclusive collectible or a requisite to join a new release. You can learn more about burning and speculative future Moment utility on our blog.
Undercutting refers to when collectors list a Moment on the marketplace for lower than the current lowest ask, which is visible on every Moment in the marketplace.
You’ll see more egregious instances of this happening following pack drops, when many collectors rip their pack open and rush to the marketplace to flip their new Moments. It’s also common after the completion of a challenge, when collectors can suddenly sell the Moments needed for challenge as they have already met requirements for the reward Moment.
This can result in a downward cascade of prices and panic selling until the market corrects itself and a new price range is established.
The decision of whether or not to undercut unfolds into a prisoner’s dilemma. There is altruistic incentive for users to list at or above the current lowest ask, as this will retain higher collective value for all owners of a particular moment. Incentives to undercut, on the other hand, stem from a distrust of other collectors, who may undercut first and drive price down, leaving you with unrealized losses.
Lastly, if you urgently need Dapper Balance for an upcoming pack drop or to purchase a more expensive moment, undercutting is the quickest way to unload your Moment and get liquid.
Any more questions about NBA Top Shot?
We hope this guide makes navigating through the terminology of Top Shot a bit easier. If you happen to be confused about more basic Top Shot features and principles or have more specific questions regarding Top Shot or MomentRanks, feel free to shoot us a message on Twitter and we’ll get back with you.