I Did an NBA Top Shot Challenge So You Don’t Have To

Completing Challenges in NBA Top Shot

How To Complete Challenges on NBA Top Shot

Pain. Frustration. Satisfaction. Joy. Disappointment. Excitement.

If you are going to do a challenge on NBA Top Shot, be ready for a lot of emotions. There will be ups, there will be downs, but at the end of it, you will receive a challenge reward. Is it worth it? From this, you will be able to decide for yourself (jump to the Conclusion for the TLDR).

First, let’s get into what a challenge is and how they work on NBA Top Shot.

What is a Top Shot Challenge?

For a certain number of days, NBA Top Shot will create a “challenge”.

Are you up for it? If so, you will need certain unique moments designated by Top Shot in order to get a single challenge reward. It’s required that you have ALL of the moments at the time the challenge expires. That number will again vary by the particular challenge.

Important note: You can not have simply owned the moment at one point. You need to have it in your collection.

Challenges typically vary in length. Rare challenges like the Gold Metallic LE (GMLE) can go for weeks. Others can last a few days. To see how long your particular challenge is going on, go to Collection>Active Challenges in Top Shot and look at the blue box in the upper lefthand corner. This represents the time remaining on the challenge (see below).

Completing the Challenge

I did the Cool Cats Challenge #4 for Russell Westbrook’s clutch 3 against the Brooklyn Nets as the example for y’all. As you may or may not know, he is my favorite player so it seemed like a great time to jump in on.

Plus, it’s good content for this blog.

The challenge consists of 10 moments in total: 5 of the Cool Cats and 5 base set moments.

Most challenges will be a specific set of NBA Top Shot moments. There are Cool Cats, the aforementioned MGLE, Run It Back, and others sure to be announced in the future. The reward is included in the same set and has a little red star next to it in order to indicate that it’s special.

The Jokic reward for Cool Cats #3 is /6.7K while the rest of the set was /15K.

Jokic was the last challenge reward for Cool Cats. You will notice that it has an odd mint count. That’s because (again) only those who complete the challenge get this moment; it is minted exclusively for the completion of it.

Therefore, it’s always a number that is less than the mint count of the moments required to complete the challenge. That may seem obvious, but it is something to keep in mind. The challenge completion will result in a moment that is always rarer than anything else in the set! (unless of course, it’s an ongoing challenge like Cool Cats).

Completing the Challenge

Now that we understand the basics of a challenge, it’s time to start completing one. Do note, I have been observing how challenges typically break for a few months now (you will see I still make big mistakes here). I haven’t gathered data until now, so I’m going strictly off vibez and what I’d seen up until this point.

Pack Drop

All challenges start with a pack drop of the set.

Typically, this means NBA Top Shot closes the marketplace, reveals the challenge and what moments it will contain, and starts the queue for packs.

This pack had no requirements to get in, so it was rather full. Over 300K users joined the queue with only 95K packs available for purchase.

I wasn’t lucky enough to be in the top 95K (I was about 270,000th in line), but I had been blessed with some pack luck on my previous attempts. I couldn’t complain here.

My friend snagged a pack rather quickly and let me know he got a Hayward. I speculated that it would be around $50 for him if he didn’t plan on completing the challenge.

Getting the pack gives you a great advantage if you do decide to complete a challenge, however.

For $12 (the price of a Cool Cats pack), you get 1 Cool Cat, which can save you that money in the marketplace. You start with an advantage on others as you are already 1 up in the game. If you get lucky enough where the commons chosen are something you already have too, you can really have a leg up.

For me, not getting a pack or getting lucky with the commons meant I would be starting at 0/10 moments needed to complete the challenge. That’s fine as again, this would be good content for my blog. I was starting behind the eight ball.

Day 1

Welcome to the world of NBA Top Shot. Your inbox is going to look a lot like this if you are looking to complete a challenge.

Why? Because after the pack drop, there will be a short time where users can delist their moments, and then the marketplace slowly opens back up. It’s pure chaos.

There is a cooldown period of 60 minutes for buying and listing both while it’s rolled out. This means you can only buy 1 moment per hour, and you can sell only 1 moment per hour! This is temporary and the cooldown time will go down throughout the day until it’s back to 1 minute.

Now, get ready.

Because the market hasn’t been fleshed out yet, people will be indiscriminately throwing prices out there in the marketplace. If you find something that is a deal, great. But odds are you won’t come away with it. Remember that the ecosystem is big. If you see a deal, odds are hundreds of others also see it (not to mention the bots that are still lingering on the platform). This means swooping on it can tough.

If your purchase attempt is not processed (see my email inbox above), your cooldown will be reset so you can try again. Unfortunately, sometimes there is still a glitch where your cooldown will not be reset so proceed with extreme caution during this phase of the challenge. You can really get burned if you’re locked from buying while the marketplace goes crazy and you’re left with nothing.

While packs were being distributed, I had done some light research and determined I was going to target Serge Ibaka /15K common and Dwight Howard /15K common. My logic was their distribution count was less than even the Cool Cats, so that is where the bottleneck was going to be in order to complete this one.

It took me several attempts, but I was able to come away with an Ibaka for $14 with a 4-digital serial number. After you snag a challenge moment, it will be checked off in your Challenge tab. One down, 9 to go!

I now had an hour to mess around and study the market, so I watched the Dwight Howard I was eyeing skyrocket from $20 to almost $50 very quickly.

The Cool Cats prices were all over the place. You had some selling for $20, others for $50, and everything else in between. Since these were new moments, that chaos made sense as the market price was stabilizing. The commons already were in the marketplace which made swooping them up and selling them easier for some.

With the volatility, I decided my next strike would be on a Cool Cat. I opened up all 3 tabs and when my cooldown time was done, I was able to grab a Christian Wood for $24. It also had a 4-digit serial number. I was on a tear! 1 Cool Cat down, 4 to go, and 8 moments in total needed before I completed the challenge. This was turning out to be a piece of cake. Would I be able to complete the challenge for $150 at this point?

Not so fast bozo.

This is where the hangups, the snags, and the problems started happening for me.

First, I got caught trying to snag some of the super cheap deals and got erroneously locked out by Top Shot. This set me back only 30 minutes luckily as the cooldown time was lowered.

Even still, the prices had jumped and mostly stabilized. Also, my wife was having me go get dinner and feed the dog, so I missed some opportunities.

I had a suspicion that Chris Paul would be the most expensive Cool Cat. I decided to jump in on him at $60 in fear that he would continue to go up throughout the night (a mistake, but more on that later).

Day 2

With only 2 Cool Cats remaining, I woke up on Day 2 of the challenge and noticed that prices were dipping slightly. The Chris Paul I had acquired on Day 1 had dropped from $60 on average to $50 and Jrue Holiday from $50 to $40.

I clearly didn’t take into account that there were only about 1000 of the 20K minted for sale the previous day. I had bought in too early on the Cool Cats.

Conversely, I hadn’t even looked the commons /35K’s way for much of the challenge until this point, and their price points showed no signs of wavering. In fact, Harrell had gone up, so I had saved myself about $5 there.

My strategy hadn’t paid off exactly. That’s because I forgot to check the actual circulation numbers of the /35K commons. When I used evaluate.market, I discovered that only about 20K of the Adams, Grant, and Harrell moments were out there currently. That is because though they are of “35K”, not all of them had been placed in packs and sold to users yet. Remember, they are CC, not LE (more on how minting works here). I had messed up!

At least buying gets easier on the second day and from here on out. Noticing no real changes in price, I bit the bullet and purchase the Jerami Grant at $24. Another relative overpay, but hey, I do like Jerami Grant as a former-member of the Thunder.

(Later, the main Top Shot Discord would pump Grant a bit. On top of his value to the challenge, he went up to $50 at one point, so it wasn’t an overpay at all, really.)

I was also able to snag a pretty good 4-digit serial number Bogdan Bogdanovic for $37 in a moment against my beloved Thunder. I was closing in on that Russ moment and I could taste it.

At this point, I was essentially out of Dapper (another name for funds in Top Shot), but 8/10 moments there. I didn’t want to reload as my Top Shot budget was all but tapped.

Unfortunately, I had to dig into my collection to see what I could unload quickly. Dollar-wise I was not far off, so I didn’t need to dump anything too crazy in order to get there.

It took a few hours at a price I was comfortable with so after that I just needed to decide if I was going to wait until the end of the challenge to complete it or just finish on Day 2.

Financially, it probably made more sense to wait as on Day 6 and 7 of the challenge, those who weren’t going to complete it would be dumping their stock trying to get some quick cash before the bottom falls out.

I decided to split the difference. Knowing what I knew about now the Steven Adams moment and its circulation, I decided $20 was a fine price to pay. I even found another 4-digit serial for it.

This one hurt quite a bit, because I had once owned 2 of this exact moment when it was first minted. I sold them both for god knows why, probably to buy something I lost money on. Well, here’s to losing more money.

This left me with only Gordon Hayward’s Cool Cat moment, which I planned to hold out on. The number of moments for sale was closing in on 2000, I imagine that more would enter the marketplace over the weekend. I just had to remain strong, easier said than done when you are this close to completing the challenge! How much money was I going to save ultimately by waiting like this?

Day 3

I woke up and checked the prices of the Gordon Hayward moment first thing in the moment. It dropped from $50 down to $40 overnight as more supply into the market.

I hadn’t anticipated this across the board, but it made total sense, so I just ended up feeling dumb about it.

Chris Paul had fallen to $50 (a $10 loss for me) and Jrue Holiday had also fallen to $40 (another $10 loss).

Given the trend, I decided to wait until the end of the day to see what happened. All the Cool Cats had fallen roughly $5, so I was able to get the final Cool Cat Gordon Hayward for $32 (and another 4-digit serial!). And with that I was done with my first challenge on Top Shot! Let’s goooooo.

End of the Challenge

When the challenge timer expires and you have all have the necessary moments. Top Shot then works on minting your winnings.

Typically, this begins the great sell-off. All the required challenge moments go on extreme discount as everyone tries to unload them and recoup some of their investment.

As a first-time challenge-goer, I was hesitant to do that as I wanted to ensure that my completion had been logged and I would receive my Russ moment with no hiccups. Plus, I actually liked most of the moments in this challenge, so it was worth it for me to keep them instead of dumping them for what they were going for after the challenge.

I waited and after about 2 hours, my Russ moment was minted and dropped into the collection. I got serial #2648. That’s the gamble with the challenges too. You can get a really good serial number from them if you are so lucky! Mine was whatever.

Is It Worth It?

According to evaluate.market’s challenge tracking tool, over 5000 people completed the challenge with the price to complete at the end being $354.

via evaluate.market

What did I pay?

On the whole, I did have a good time completing the challenge, but I could have saved a lot of time by just buying them all on the last day of the challenge. See my prices, serials, and day of purchase here:

PlayerSetSerialPricePurchase Day
Serge IbakaBase#9621$14.00Day 1
Dwight HowardBase#8636$55.00Day 1
Jerami GrantBase#20029$24.00Day 2
Montrezl HarrellBase#9381$20.00Day 1
Steven AdamsBase#9908$20.00Day 2
Gordon HaywardCool Cats#5365$32.00Day 3
Bogdan BogdanovicCool Cats#2633$37.00Day 2
Jrue HolidayCool Cats#12298$50.00Day 1
Chris PaulCool Cats#17590$60.00Day 1
Christian WoodCool Cats#5902$24.00Day 1

In total, it cost me $336 to complete the Cool Cats Challenge #4.

As you can see, I scored some awesome deals on Day 1 of the challenge, which allowed me to come in under the average.

By the end of the challenge, Ibaka and Howard were both going for well over $60. Ibaka in particular I got within minutes for $14!

The other commons (Grant, Adams, and Harrell) were a wash. They ended up being right around $25 each, so no crazy deals there.

Where I messed up (clearly) was the Cool Cats. I overpaid like crazy on CP3 and Jrue. While at the time, I thought I was getting a deal on Wood, that ended up being where all the Cool Cats settled price-wise. They were $15-$25 by the end of it.

In my defense, these Cool Cats were way less valuable than they had been in the past despite them minting only 5000 more of them. When you’re a noobie like me though, you’re bound to stumble like this.

Overall, I worked really hard to save a few bucks in hindsight. Had I the patience for this sort of thing, I could have waited and saved even more.

But I really wanted that Westbrook reward and wanted to complete my challenge as quickly as possible.

Was it worth it?

I gotta be honest with you: NO. People immediately started selling the Westbrook reward for around $150. In theory, I could have been patient and just bought it along with all the other challenge requirements for less than I paid to complete the challenge.

The way I did it, I immediately lost money across the board.

If I had been gifted a good serial for Russ, it might have changed things, but even still I would have to have been extremely lucky to make it worth my while.

That being said, I now have the achievement points in my Baller Status (whatever that means) for completing a challenge and I have the feeling of accomplishment in my heart (awh).

Even better, the reward was of my favorite player, so in that regard, I couldn’t go wrong by completing the challenge, if it did lose me money in the short term!

Additional Benefits of Completing a Challenge

As of May 2021, NBA Top Shot has added Collector Score to the platform. This is a way to reward active users, and yes, even challenge completers too.

The breakdown is as follows:

Series 1 – Challenge Completion + Reward Owned

  • Common (Non-Base Set) = 20 points
  • Rare = 50 points
  • Legendary = 1000 points

Series 2  – Challenge Completion + Reward Owned

  • Common (Non-Base Set) = 70 points
  • Common (Promo) = 35 points
  • Rare = 280 points
  • Legendary = 3,500 points

In short, you will get more collector points by completing challenge. It won’t just boost your Baller Status. Does this make completing a challenge anymore worth it? Perhaps. Collector Score is a way to get access to drops other Top Shot users cannot and improve your account in the eyes of Top Shot.

For example, the Steph Curry Cool Cat was automatically gifted to users who completed at least 1 challenge and owned 2 Cool Cats at the time of their “snapshot”.

As we go along, completing challenges may give you some sweet moments or at the very least boost your collector score enough where you have access to exclusive pack drops.

For that reason, it’s probably best to a challenge every once and a while. It will show Top Shot that you’re active and committed to being a genuine collector and not just a “rent seeker”.

I recently did the Ja Morant Hustle & Show challenge because I like Ja. That one was pretty EV+ for me and it boosted me past the 1500 collector score mark.

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