For FUT’s Sake – First impressions of 22

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For FUT’s Sake is a blog from yours truly regarding all things FIFA Ultimate Team, one of the most popular online game modes in the world. If you are new to this concept, please read my previous post which hopefully can be used as a starting point for anyone who has an interest in taking up the hobby.

We’ve all had FIFA for over a week now, some have had the use of it for over two weeks, and so we are all at different levels of getting used to the many differences between this year and last year, and there are some big differences. The biggest that I’ve heard many people talk about and have witnessed first hand myself, is that pace is no longer the driving force behind every single position on the field. With the way the game has been designed, you can no longer get away with just playing the fastest players for every position, and I think that is a really good thing.

Adama Traore no longer feels like the be all and end all. He is quick, but he feels a lot more like a 78 rated card, and his weaker aspects do come across more. So players need to have a lot more about them to play better, pace along with other attributes, and what is interesting is that it feels like different positions now rely on more realistic stats to succeed. Attackers, for instance, really seem to benefit from having better dribbling. If you get someone in the box, the ability to shift from one side to the other really quickly does wrong foot a defender enough to open up a space to shoot. Long shots have also been a common way for people to find the net, and naturally the shooting stats do help with this, but if rumours of this being “nerfed” are to be believed, it may well cause a rethink. Defending also feels…fairer. By that, I mean that good defenders feel easier to use, and you aren’t solely relying on Joe Gomez to be the online version of Paolo Maldini. Strength is a massive for centre backs. If the onrushing striker is way faster than your last line of defence, they are able to outmuscle the forward almost every time, meaning the attacking player needs to think about when to turn on the burners and dink the ball past and run onto it. This frustrates a lot of players, but as someone who wants to see the game become more and more realistic, this is a massive step in the right direction I think.

The game does feel a bit slower, not just because of pace being less effective, but the new go to tactic for some seems to be long balls up field. They seem to cause a lot of success, but another rather big change this year is just how good goalkeepers seem to be. I mean, my god they are utterly insane! The number of clear cut opportunities a player misses because of a miraculous save seems unreal, and it makes scoring an absolute tonne of goals per game all that much harder. I…don’t hate that either though. I think it forces you to think a lot more about your attacks. Scoring from corners is so much harder, you have to get it absolutely right because if your keeper is not reaching the cross, they are likely to have the reflexes of a cat to tip the resulting header over the bar. Only the very best players will find consistent success, and some of those cards will be more than your simple gold cards. Let’s have a chat about ‘Special Cards’.

Special Cards

When you make your first squad, there will be a mix of bronze, silver and gold cards in your opening team. This is really straight forward, the ranking determines what type of card you will get. However, sometimes a card that is the same ranking might look a bit shinier than another. These are rare cards. But what is the difference between a rare and a non rare?

Edin Dzeko

Here is Edin Dzeko’s card. 83, a good rating for a striker, who may be slow but his shooting is strong, as you would expect for a forward of his ability. But there is nothing about this card that is a really high stat, everything is ordinary for a striker of that ranking, which is why this is a non rare card.

Inaki Williams

And here is Inaki Williams’ card. See how his rating is two lower than Dzeko’s? You would immediately assume that you would want to pick the Serie A striker over the one from Bilbao, but why does the Spaniards card look nicer? His pace, he is one of the fastest forwards in the game, and because this is a rare trait among players, he gets a rare card, meaning it is harder to pack him in a normal gold pack.

The same concept applies to bronze and silver as well, any stat that is higher normal for a card rating of that type, then they will be a rare player. But really, it doesn’t mean that Williams is better than Dzeko, it purely depends on how you want to use the player. So that answers my question about what the difference is. But there are other cards you can get as well, called Special Cards, and these come up for many different reasons.

The most common form of special card are ‘In Forms’. These are cards released weekly which give 23 players who have performed well in their most recent game an upgraded version of their card, which people can potentially pack during that week. These have a different design and have increased stats on them, for example.

Team of the Week

Jude Bellingham of Dortmund. He starts as a 79 rated card, but let’s say he has a brilliant game at the weekend, and EA decides he has earned an In Form for this, that’s where you get that middle card, and all of his stats increase. After a week, the next Team of the Week is released, and you are then no longer able to pack that in form. I love this aspect, because it is a reflection on real life football achievement.

The third card in that picture represents a new idea that EA have brought in for these cards this year. One of the 23 players picked will be chosen as the “featured player” so they have had the best game out of all the others, the king of the hill basically. Should they be picked for that, EA intend to increase the stats on these players even more, so if Bellingham has scored two and assisted two in a game, he would likely get that boost provided no one else performed even better than he did.

At the moment, the card types that are being made available in packs and by other means are “Ones to Watch.” These are cards that represent players who have moved clubs in the summer who stand out as the biggest signings of the summer just gone.

Ones To Watch Team 1

These are some of the players who have been chosen for this, but if you have already memorised the stats of players for this season (some people genuinely can do that!) then you would notice that the stats all look the same as their base cards. Well, what’s unique about these cards is that they will automatically upgrade for every in form they receive. So Locatelli, for instance, has already had an in form since his OTW card was released, meaning that is now an 84 rated card. If he got another in form, then the rating would go up again, as each in form for a player is going to be higher than the last. So if you got a Ones To Watch card, you are hoping that the player will have a really good first season for their new club, as that will benefit you as well.

It’s not just through packs that you get special players though. You can also unlock cards by doing Squad Building Challenges. These allow you to submit a squad of players, with specific requirements, which helps you unlock the card. For instance, I did the Andre Silva SBC, which required me to submit an 83 rated squad which had to include at least one Bundesliga player. This meant that the 11 players I submitted were lost to me, but in exchange I got this better card which, hopefully, will improve even more in the future.

I wanted to mention SBC’s as it also brings up the topic of Player of the Month cards. For certain leagues, when a player wins their own leagues Player of the Month award, EA will release a special card for this. So the Serie A’s best player in September was Kalidou Koulibaly, La Liga’s was Karim Benzema and the Premier League’s was one Cristiano Ronaldo.

Player of the Month Ronaldo

So an upgraded card (which incidentally will not have an affect on his Ones To Watch card, that is purely for In Form’s) which looks very decent, especially with some of the stats we talk about as being important. I mention this because the requirements to get this particular card are actually laughable. Benzema, a 91 rated attacker, has 2 squads to submit, which at this stage of the game is very reasonable and you can do it if you have been lucky to pack a really expensive card you can either use or sell on that. Koulibaly’s requires 4 squads, which although there are more players to lose, the rankings are not as high so again it seems reasonable to do. Ronaldo’s card requires you to submit 26 squads. No, I’m serious, 26! And they are all squad’s that rank 85, 86, 87 etc. It was worked out that the total coins required to complete this was just over 2 million. For context, I am doing quite well for the start of this regarding players and coins, and I have 50k coins at present. They want 2 million submitted for this. Absolutely no chance. The only people who are going to do that, within the 12 day time limit, are those who love Manchester United and/or Cristiano Ronaldo, or those who have more money than sense.

People will build all sorts of different squads, and with EA also bringing out an Eredivisie POTM, which naturally was far easier to complete, along with packing Donyell Malen’s OTW, Memphis Depay, and with it being really easy to get the OTW Justin Kluivert (courtesy of Objectives, which is really worth keeping an eye on to get easy special cards) and Myron Boadu, it helped me make an interesting Dutch based side.

James’ Dutch Squad

It wouldn’t be one I would use for the biggest games, but for no hassle in terms of buying guys like Wijnaldum and Timber, it comes together quite nicely. I’ve got some decent looking Premier League and La Liga squads as well, so plenty to choose from depending on what seems to be working at any one point.

However, other players like to just focus on one squad, like our first guest contributor, Kevin Armstrong.

Guest Contribution

So another season of FUT has started! After James’s blog last week was so good and in-depth I thought I’d put in my two cents worth. Myself and James are a bit different when it comes to FUT, James likes to build various squads with various formations using his vast knowledge of Europe football. I however like to build one squad and make changes throughout the season. The past few years I’ve build serie A teams around Mertens of Napoli. Last season I settled on an EPL team  built around my TOTY Bruno Fernandes. This season I managed to pull Messi and Hakimi Ones to watch so I’ve started with a PSG/EPL Hybrid.

Kevin’s Squad

Ill check back in after a few more weeks of FUT to see how my team has evolved. Good luck and let us know your best tips and best pulls in FUT22.

Kev

James’ Top Tip

I talked earlier about this idea of the different stats making a bigger difference this season, which means that players who in previous seasons would not have been viewed as big assets suddenly have the potential to stand out more, and one player I would like to bring to people’s attention is Atletico Madrid’s Angel Correa.

Angel Correa

Having three stats that are as high as that, and with a chemistry card that would boost his shooting, you suddenly have a player who has no problem getting into the box, and then being able to finish really well, he isn’t someone who you would initially think of as a really good striker, but at the start of the game and if you are looking for a cheap and reliable option, I urge you to take him into consideration, because the dribbling in particular makes a really good impact.

I also talked about Objectives and how they are a really good way to get special cards. A lot of people will have taken the time to do the Camavinga and Kluivert cards, but I’d like to talk about ‘Silver Stars’. This was something that was brought in last season as a way to make it really easy to unlock an inform who was silver rated. It’s really easy, just play with a silver squad against another silver squad in a friendly mode and as soon as you’ve won 3 games, scored 8 goals and assisted 6, you’ve got the card. And because they are in forms, they’re often pretty decent wee cards.

Silver Stars

The first this season is Rennes’ Kamaldeen Sulemana, who has been rewarded for his assist as well as overall display in Rennes’ shock win over PSG. That pace and dribbling for a silver card looks fantastic, and considering the grind for this is really not bad at all, it’s a really simple and easy way to get yourself a fun and possibly useful card. I am a big fan of Silver Stars and will urge any and all of you to do these when you can.

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