FIFA Ultimate Team is back in FIFA 18, and it is bigger than ever. After the addition of FUT Champions and Squad Building Challenges, there are even more modes and features in FIFA 18 Ultimate Team to keep you busy for the next 12 months.
For some people, playing Ultimate Team can be daunting, as there is a lot of new terminology and rules to follow. However, once you understand it, FUT is quite simple and can be one of the most enjoyable features of the game.
Goal explains how exactly FIFA Ultimate Team works and everything you need to know to succeed in Online Seasons and FUT Champions.
WHAT IS FIFA ULTIMATE TEAM?
One of the most popular game modes in FIFA since its introduction in FIFA 10, Ultimate Team allows fans to combine players from their favourite clubs and countries to make a star-studded squad that would not be playable in any of the other modes. Squad building is the best part of FIFA Ultimate Team as it allows people to create unique and unusual teams, or else just try to get all the highest rated players into a single XI.
FIFA Ultimate Team has both offline and online play on the console, as well as access to squad building tools, challenges and the transfer market via the web app and companion app. Players earn FIFA coins through playing games and from buying and selling players on the market, while player packs can also be bought using the Store.
HOW DOES CHEMISTRY WORK?
When building squads in FIFA Ultimate Team, you must pay close attention to team chemistry. A team with poor chemistry will not play as well as one with a high chemistry score, meaning that you must try to combine players into your team to make a playable XI. This provides an additional challenge as you cannot just pick 11 players at random and expect them to play well.
Players link to other players in your team and have stronger links if they share a nationality, a league or a club. Players from the same country and club will have the highest chemistry, as they have everything in common - this is known as a perfect link.
Each player has their own chemistry score based on their position as well as their connections to the players around them. This goes up to 10 if they are playing in their preferred position and have strong or perfect chemistry with their closest team-mates, and the full XI's combined score is the overall team chemistry. Therefore, not every player needs to have 10 chemistry to get an overall score of 100.
Chemistry can also be boosted by the addition of a manager. These staff cards also have a club and league, meaning they can give +1 chemistry to every player from that club or league in the XI. As well as that, players earn a loyalty bonus of +1 after they have played 10 games for your club or if you are the card's first owner (i.e. not bought from the transfer market).
Clever FIFA players can create unique squads by using chemistry correctly. Many players tend to pick either a single league XI or a single nation XI, but multiple leagues can be combined when strong links are used correctly.
HOW DO I GET ULTIMATE TEAM COINS?
Creating your Ultimate Team often requires spending in-game virtual currency known as FIFA coins. These can be earned from playing matches, completing tasks or selling players on the transfer market. Buying FIFA coins online is forbidden by EA Sports, and will result in your team getting deleted or even your account getting banned.
Instead, playing matches is one of the best way to earn coins. You get coins for each game you play offline and online, even if you lose! Playing seasons and winning promotion also results in coin bonuses, with title wins paying out even more.
Coins can also be earned from completing certain Squad Building Challenges, competing in the Draft or FUT Champions events, fulfiling Daily Objectives and from selling or discarding players. Many gamers use the transfer market to trade specifically with the intention of making FIFA coins, buying players who are undervalued and selling them at a higher price to make a profit.
WHERE DO I FIND IN-FORM PLAYERS?
Each week, EA Sports releases a special squad of In-Form players in the FIFA Ultimate Team of the Week. This is made up of the best performers from real-life league games or international matches from the last seven days. The Team of the Week is announced on Wednesday and the upgraded versions of the players released to the public at 1800 GMT on the same day for one week. These players remain upgraded after the week is over, but are no longer available in packs.
As well as the weekly Team of the Week, numerous other special edition cards and promotions are released over the course of the season. Holidays and events like Halloween and Christmas usually have special cards e.g. Ultimate Scream cards at Halloween where players get beastly upgrades.
Strong performances in the Champions League and Europa League are rewarded with Man of the Match cards, while Team of the Tournament, Team of the Season and Team of the Year squads celebrate the best overall performances in competitions and leagues.
Other upgraded versions can be earned through completing Squad Building Challenges. These cards are usually untradeable, meaning that they cannot be sold on the transfer market. One such challenge is the regular Premier League Player of the Month Squad Building Challenge, which provides a limited edition of the English top-flight's official award winner.
WHAT ARE DAILY OBJECTIVES?
A new feature in FIFA 18, players are now rewarded for completing specific requirements for Daily and Weekly Objectives. In addition, there are also a few Starter Objectives in place of previous editions' Manager Tasks, which pay out coin rewards, give bonus packs or provide other benefits to the gamer.
Many of these objectives are straightforward, including scoring goals, buying players on the market or applying contracts to players. Each of the Daily Objectives gives a small reward, while a bigger bonus is on offer if you complete all of the tasks in the time period.
Daily Objectives are renewed each day, so you better ensure that you complete them all or risk missing out on that day's reward.
HOW DO I DO SQUAD BUILDING CHALLENGES?
Squad Building Challenges (SBCs) were introduced in FIFA 17, and were one of last year's most popular additions to FIFA Ultimate Team. They give coin, player or pack rewards when they are completed, and range from very simple to quite difficult. The harder ones require players to have a strong understanding of chemistry to fulfil all the requirements.
All of the challenges need certain requirements to be met e.g. two players from Real Madrid, over 80 chemistry or only bronze players. During holidays or other events, the Squad Building Challenges are often themed. Last season's St Patrick's Day SBC required gamers to use Irish players to meet the requirements.
Each week, there are also Marquee Matchups, which choose four important games from around the world, and require players from the teams involved. Every month, there is a Premier League Player of the Month SBC, while throughout the year there is a SBC for all the major leagues requiring 11 players from every single team in that league to be traded.
When you submit your SBC team, you lose all the players you have chosen - this is the price you pay for what is usually a fantastic one-off reward in the Squad Building Challenge.
WHAT IS THE WEEKEND LEAGUE?
A new addition in FIFA 17, the Weekend League and FUT Champions Daily Knockout events return in FIFA 18. Each day, there are individual Daily Knockout competitions which can earn you a place in the Weekend League.
Some of these Daily Knockout tournaments have restrictions on the amount of gold, silver or bronze players required, or are restricted to particular leagues or nations. These are 16-team knockout tournaments, progressing through the first round, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final. To qualify for the Weekend League, you must win the final of the tournament - or else qualify via Division 1 of the Online Seasons mode.
The Weekend League requires gamers to play up to 40 ranked one-off matches against random opponents, with each win moving you higher on the leaderboard. The more wins earned during the Weekend League move into higher tiers - starting at Bronze 3 all the way up to Elite 1. This top tier requires 34 wins during the weekend, but gives excellent rewards including In Form cards and special packs.
WHAT ARE THE NEW SQUAD BATTLES?
Squad Battles are new in FIFA 18, allowing you to play against AI-controlled specially constructed squads. Like the Weekend League, winning more matches moves you into higher tiers, which in turn give higher rewards at the end of the Squad Battle period.
Points are earned for every victory and these determine your final tier ranking. However, this is dynamic across each week - meaning that your rank may decrease even without playing games due to other gamers earning higher points totals.
Some of the squads are chosen by the FIFA community, including FIFA Reddit and FIFA Forums, as well as by famous YouTubers and even footballers. The very first Featured Squad in FIFA 18 was chosen by Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann and featured a special 99-rated version of Griezmann himself alongside Icon Thierry Henry in attack.
WHAT IS THE FUT DRAFT?
In FIFA Ultimate Team, most gamers spend their time building one main squad focused on a single theme i.e. some players will try to build the best possible Premier League squad in Ultimate Team, while others will get the highest rated La Liga players into one starting XI. This means that most people do not get to use the best-of-the-best during the season.
One way to enjoy playing as the best players or even to test out highly rated players before buying them on the Transfer Market is to play as them in FUT Draft. This is a knockout competition where you open random highly-rated players in order to build a one-time Ultimate Team. It costs either 15,000 coins or 300 FIFA Points to enter, but the pack rewards often recoup far more than the initial expense.
After picking a formation, you go through each position and all the subsitute and reserve spots, picking players for each from a random selection at each position. This can allow you to have Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in your attack without having to spend millions of coins on the market. Like the normal game modes, chemistry is important when building your team, so make sure you do not just pick a bunch of random players as they may not perform well together.
WHO ARE THE FUT ICONS?
Previously known as Legends and only available on Xbox, this year Icons are available on all versions of FIFA 18. They are legendary players from history, including Ronaldo, Diego Maradona and Pele.
The Icons all have their own story, meaning that there is three different versions of each player in the game. For example, France forward Thierry Henry has an 87-rated left-wing version for when he broke through at Monaco, a 93-rated striker card after helping France to the World Cup and European Championship while at Arsenal and a 90-rated left-wing version after he joined Barcelona.
The Icons can be used in any squad in Ultimate Team as they provide a small chemistry boost for all surrounding players regardless of league or nation. If partnered with someone from the same nation, they will have a strong chemistry link.
|Ronaldo Nazario||90 96 94|
|Ronaldinho||91 94 89|
|Diego Maradona||91 97 95|
|Thierry Henry||87 93 90|
|Lev Yashin||89 91 94|
|Pele||91 95 98|
|Ruud Gullit||90 93 86|
|Roberto Carlos||86 91 88|
|Jay-Jay Okocha||85 90 87|
|Patrick Vieira||88 91 86|
|Peter Schmeichel||88 90 92|
|Carles Puyol||86 90 92|
|Alessandro Del Piero||87 90 92|
|Michael Owen||88 91 86|
|Deco||87 90 85|
|Rio Ferdinand||85 90 88|
|Robert Pires||88 91 85|
|Alan Shearer||89 91 87|
|Alessandro Nesta||90 92 88|
|Andriy Shevchenko||86 91 88|
|Edwin van der Sar||87 89 91|
|Emmanuel Petit||85 90 88|
|Filippo Inzaghi||87 90 85|
|Franck Rijkaard||88 90 86|
|Gheorge Hagi||85 89 91|
|Henrik Larsson||90 86 87|
|Hernan Crespo||85 90 87|
|Jari Litmanen||90 88 85|
|Javier Zanetti||87 92 88|
|Laurent Blanc||85 89 91|
|Lothar Matthaus||91 93 88|
|Luis Hernandez||85 90 87|
|Marc Overmars||88 90 86|
|Marcel Desailly||87 88 91|
|Marco van Basten||89 93 91|
|Michael Laudrup||85 91 89|
|Paolo Maldini||88 94 92|
|Patrick Kluivert||86 88 91|
|Rui Costa||85 90 88|
WHO ARE THE BEST PLAYERS TO BUY?
Buying the highest rated players in FIFA 18 will cost you a lot of coins, so most players will have to start out smaller and work their way up to owning Cristiano Ronaldo or Neymar. Finding cheaper alternatives is the best way to succeed on the pitch in Online Seasons or FUT Champions.
When buying players, make sure to understand how they will fit into your squad. There is little point buying Harry Kane to be your striker if the players around him are all from Ligue 1. Try to buy players that will get your team chemistry to 100, and will work with your playing style. Some people like pacey players to use their speed to their advantage, others prefer high dribbling and passing statistics to use skills and to pass the ball through the middle, while the improved crossing in FIFA 18 makes strong strikers more valuable.
Consult the EA Sports FUT Database to assess which players to buy, and look at more than just their overall and on-card ratings. A player might have an 81 passing rating on card, but this could come from 92 short passing and 70 long passing combined scores. If you rarely use long passing, this kind of player could be exactly what you need despite having a lower on-card rating than some other players in his position.
Also, be sure to check the market to see what prices the players are selling for. Everyone would love to have Sergio Aguero in their team, but he might be just a little out of your price range.
HOW CAN I ACCESS THE WEB APP?
The FIFA 18 Web App and Companion App has been released again this year, allowing you to hone your squad and use the transfer market even when you are not near your console. The Web App is accessed via your web browser, while the Companion App is available for both Android and iOS on phones and tablets.
This year, both apps also allow you to complete Squad Building Challenges and even earn some of the Daily and Weekly Objective rewards. Therefore you can play FIFA Ultimate Team on the move, and even ensure that you remain the highest bidder on a particular player when you are away from the game itself.
You can also access the Store and change your club settings via the apps, but cannot play matches or purchase FIFA points. The app also links to the FUT Database, allowing you to see every player's ratings and filter them quickly and easily.