There’s no bigger gaming series in the world than FIFA. Yet its most popular mode, Ultimate Team, can appear overwhelming to the casual player, with social media lexicon as indecipherable as Ba-Shu scripts: “Packed SIF Messi from the Sivasspor SBC! Flip or hold?”
The guide below is intended to change that. In addition to getting up to speed on the secret language of FIFA 18, you’ll be able to quickly compete with the elite, and rack up gold coins as swiftly as Craig Dawson does yellow cards.
FUT basics: Chemistry, cards, and special editions
Ultimate Team blends competitive matches, played online or off, with digital-card collecting. The difference from your Panini years is its player cards have attributes: you build a squad from them, then take them into those competitive matches. Cards can be acquired either through opening packs, or buying and selling from/to other human players in an auction market. As with real football, the better the player’s attributes, the more he’ll cost you.
It’s not only attributes that matter, however. By placing players of the same club, league or nation next to one another in your team, you increase its ‘chemistry’ – a measure of how well players work together on the pitch in areas such as pass accuracy.
As the real-life season progresses, special cards are released into the market for a limited time, which is where that ‘SIF’ term stems from: it means Messi’s ‘second in-form’. So while his standard card has an overall rating of 93, a strong weekend performance in real-life might earn him a 94-rated ‘in-form’ card in the Team Of The Week, released every Wednesday. Another impressive performance later in the season would then earn a 95-rated card – his second ‘in-form’, hence ‘SIF’. Yes, TIF and FIF cards exist too.
The current Team of the Week can be found online, you should be using it to find new players to add to your squad that might fit in, in the limited time they’re available.
FUT short-term tactics: How to quickly boost your coin balance
The packs mentioned earlier, from which you acquire cards, come in three types: gold, silver, and bronze. Although the better players are found in gold packs, you should never buy them; because far more gold packs are opened than any other type, the cards found within are terrible value on the secondary market. Sustained play unlocks gold packs in other ways, such as Squad Building Challenges (which we’ll get to), and shrewd market work will eventually earn you enough coins to buy any player.
To expedite your coin making at the outset, click R3/RS and unlock all FUT bonuses available to you in the FIFA Catalogue. These can be worth up to 1000 extra coins per match. Then focus all your early coins on buying bronze packs – and, when you’re feeling a bit more wealthy, silver packs.
Place players from the Premier League, Ligue 1, Bundesliga, Calcio A and La Liga straight on the market – ensuring you hit the ‘Compare Price’ option for each before doing so, to guarantee you’re getting at least market value. Stash all other players in your club. Also transfer-list all Injury healing cards, Player Fitness cards, and Squad Fitness cards. The latter will eventually sell at a minimum Buy Now price of 1,400 coins; a profit of 930 (EA takes a small sales tax) from that 400-coin pack price.
FUT long-term tactics: SBCs and discard in-forms
The reason for stashing all players when you open bronze and silver packs is that eventually these cards have value far beyond the price paid for them. That’s a result of the other term referenced earlier: ‘SBCs’. Squad Building Challenges require the submission of sets of cards according to specific conditions, in order to earn attractive rewards. So a gold pack might be given in exchange for a team comprising two leagues and two nationalities, collectively rated 78 or over.
Every weekend, the focus of SBCs is Marquee Matchups. This is a set of challenges inspired by fixtures taking place that weekend: so Manchester City vs Manchester United would likely require submission of an all-Premier League team containing a player from each.
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