Squad Battles were added last year, with Division Rivals building on its hugely successful model to change online play in FIFA 19 Ultimate Team. FUT Champions, Squad Battles and Seasons give a variety of ways to test your Ultimate Team online and offline.
Newcomers sometimes find FIFA Ultimate Team somewhat confusing, especially with all the various terms, modes and options. It's actually quite easy to get into and once you become immersed in it, you'll find yourself returning for more and more.
Goal explains exactly how FIFA Ultimate Team works and everything you need to know to succeed in FUT Champions, Squad Battles and Division Rivals.
WHAT IS FIFA ULTIMATE TEAM?
FIFA Ultimate Team is now in its 10th season, having been first introduced in FIFA 10 as a downloadable expansion to the main game. Now, it's the biggest and most popular part of FIFA, with gamers building their super squads containing players from their favourite clubs, leagues and countries. Want Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in the same team? No problem, that's possible in FIFA Ultimate Team - although you may have to earn a lot of coins before you can afford either!
Squad building is key to FIFA Ultimate Team, with many players creating the highest ranked side they can and others creating novelty teams based around a single theme. With over 10,000 players to choose from, the possibilities are near unlimited.
In-game coins are earned via playing and winning matches and tournaments, as well as from buying and selling players on the transfer market. Coins can be used to purchase players or packs, with packs in the Store also available via FIFA Points, which can be bought for real money.
As well as online and offline play on Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC, you can also tinker with your squads and do challenges using the web app and the companion app. The web app is available on PC and Mac, while the companion app is on both iPhone and Android.
HOW DOES CHEMISTRY WORK?
In FIFA Ultimate Team, you can build a squad of players who usually would not play together, but you must ensure that your side has strong enough team chemisty to perform to expectations. Teams with poor chemistry are not as effective as ones with high chemistry, regardless of the overall rating.
Team chemistry improves if players have links to each other. These links will be stronger if players 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 e.g. Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini both are Italian and play for Juventus so have perfect chemistry,
Placing players in their correct position also improves their individual chemistry, with players penalised for playing on the wrong side or in areas of the pitch they are not used to. The chemistry score for each player goes up to a maximum of 10 which is met when they are playing in their preferred position and have strong chemistry with the team-mates closest to them.
Each team has a maximum chemistry score of 100, so it is possible to reach this target even if every player does not have an individual score of 10. Manager items also help boost the chemistry scores of individual players. These staff cards also have a club and league, meaning they can give +1 chemistry to every player from that nation or league in the XI. However, this does not add 2 if they match both aspects. As well as that, players earn a loyalty bonus of +1 after they have played 10 games for your club or if you have pulled the card from a pack or challenge.
HOW DO I GET ULTIMATE TEAM COINS?
In order to buy the best players in FIFA Ultimat Team, you will need to spend FIFA coins. These are earned in a variety of ways: playing matches, winning tournaments or from selling players on the transfer market. Buying FIFA coins online is against the game's rules, and will end up in your team getting deleted or if you're a repeat offender, your account getting banned.
The most-straightforward method of making coins is to play matches. You get coins for each game you play and even more if you win tournaments. Even if you lose every game, you'll still get coins, so can re-invest in better players.
You can also use the FIFA Catalogue to purchase special items that give you bonus coins for a limited number of matches - e.g. 1000 coins x 15 matches. This is great in the early game as it lets you build a coin balance quickly.
Other methods to gain coins include completing Squad Building Challenges (SBC) or fulfilling Daily Objectives. Selling players will get you coins, with some FIFA gamers buying and selling players on the transfer market in order to turn a profit.
WHERE DO I FIND IN-FORM PLAYERS?
Every Wednesday, EA Sports chooses the best performers from the previous seven days and gives them upgraded items in the FIFA Ultimate Team of the Week. These upgraded items are released at 6 pm GMT and are available until the following Wednesday. These players remain upgraded after the week is over, but are no longer available in packs.
With the addition of the Champions League and Europa League in FIFA 19, players are also given special upgrades for good performances in Europe, while other cup competitions can result in Man of the Match items.
In addition to these, EA Sports hold numerous special events during the year, particularly around holidays like Halloween and Christmas in promotions such as Ultimate Scream or FUTmas. At the end of the year and the end of the season, there are also super-highly rated cards released in Team of the Year and Team of the Season.
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.
WHAT ARE DAILY OBJECTIVES?
Daily Objectives and Weekly Objectives were added in FIFA 18 and provided an easy way to earn rewards if you were a regular player. Starter Objectives also replaced Manager Tasks and provide a great way to learn some of the basics of FIFA Ultimate Team such as chemistry and the transfer market.
The objectives themselves are usually pretty simple e.g. score three headed goals, buy a fitness card, etc. The Daily Objectives offer small rewards with the Weekly Objectives giving better rewards like packs or coins or kits.
Like the name says, Daily Objectives last just 24 hours, so you need to complete them in the time period or miss out on the rewards on offer.
HOW TO DO SQUAD BUILDING CHALLENGES
FIFA 19 is the third year for Squad Building Challenges (SBCs), and they seem to get better and better each season. 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.
There are basic challenges like "Let's Get Started" which have simple requirements like submitting two bronze players in the right positions, but the bigger challenges with better rewards have much more difficult requirements - some even need Team of the Week items to be submitted.
When you submit the SBC team you have chosen, the players are removed from your club - so only use players you are happy to trade in for the rewards!
Squad Building Challenges sometimes have a theme, especially around holidays such as Halloween - in FIFA 18, one challenge required players from clubs with bats in their badge, like Valencia. 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.
WHAT IS THE WEEKEND LEAGUE?
The Weekend League is the greatest and worst thing to happen to FIFA, arriving back in FIFA 17. It is incredibly rewarding but also extremely frustrating, but luckily to lessen the frustration levels, the number of matches each weekend has been reduced for FIFA 19.
To qualify for the Weekend League or FUT Champions as it's also known, you have to take part in Divisions Rivals mode. This ranks you against similar level players and gives weekly rewards rather than the previous monthly ones for playing in the Daily Knockout Tournaments, which no longer exist in FIFA 19.
FUT Champions involves playing 30 one-off matches against random opponents, with more wins moving you into higher tiers - starting from Bronze 3 and going all the way up to Elite 1 (as well as an overall top 100, which requires you to win nearly every game to qualify for).
The rewards for FUT Champions are special In-Form cards from the previous week's Team of the Week and other special players which cannot be traded on the market. Unlike previous years, qualifying for the Weekend League now gives you an entry token that can be used at any time, rather than in the subsequent weekend.
WHAT ARE SQUAD BATTLES?
An offline alternative to Weekend League added in FIFA 18, Squad Battles proved to be extremely popular, especially among players who could not commit to playing dozens of matches each weekend.
Just like the online equivalent, the more matches you win, the higher your ranking will be at the end of the week. Luckily, you don't have to play 30 games over the course of a weekend, but just four each day - and don't even have to play them all if you don't have time, you can carry some over to the following day to complete within the next 24 hours.
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. You can check your current standings at any time, and then increase the difficulty level to try to earn more points.
WHAT IS THE FUT DRAFT?
Building your Ultimate Team requires a lot of time and a lot of love. Many players will devote the whole season to one team, whereas others might have multiple squads. If you focus on just one team, you may miss out on playing with players from other leagues or nations e.g. if your team is a Premier League one, you may never get to use Lionel Messi or Luis Suarez or some of the best La Liga players (in fact, even if you build a La Liga team, you might not get to play with these either as they're very expensive).
The FUT Draft was introduced to let you experience what it's like to use the best of the best (including ICONs), where you select players one at a time from a list of five players for each position in your starting XI and on the bench.
After the draft, you are entered in a knockout competition. It costs either 15,000 coins or 300 FIFA Points to enter, but the pack rewards often recoup far more than the initial expense. The further you get in the tournament, the better rewards you can receive.
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?
ICON players were added to Playstation and PC in FIFA 18, but have been around for a lot longer on Xbox, where they were known as Legends. They are a selection of retired players featuring many of the greatest players from football history.
ICONs have three different versions, with each version marking a different stage in a player's career. The highest rated of these is known as the Prime ICON and can cost millions of coins to buy on the Transfer Market.
In FIFA 19, all the ICONs are available from the start of the game in packs, but are extremely rare. Throughout the year there will be Squad Building Challenges where you can earn untradeable ICONs to use in your Ultimate Team.
The good thing about ICONs is that they have a small chemistry link with every player, meaning they can be used in most Ultimate Teams, even if they don't share a nationality. However, ICONs from the same country get strong links and can be much more effective.
WHO ARE THE BEST PLAYERS TO BUY?
Sure, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are the highest rated players in FIFA 19, but that doesn't mean they'll work well in your Ultimate Team, even if you can afford them. The best players to buy are the ones that will improve your chosen team, so usually ones that will share a league, nationality, or even club with the players they are playing alongside. This helps boost chemistry and makes the team perform better.
Also try to find players that suit your playing style. If you like using tricks to dribble past players, then look for players with five-star skills, while gamers who utilise speed will keep an eye out for players with high pace ratings.
Note that the best players will always be expensive and can often fall outside your price range. There are always cheap alternatives available, so shop around to find who might fit best in your team. You can also see how your team would look by using the Concept Squad option to assess what your chemistry will be like before you spend coins buying a player on the market.
HOW CAN I ACCESS THE WEB APP?
The FIFA 19 web app and companion app were launched in advance of the game itself, allowing players to build their squads and trade on the market before taking to the field. Returning players who owned and played FIFA 18 were also rewarded with special kits and a few free packs to get them started for FIFA 19.
The web app is available online and allows access to your club, your squads, the transfer market as well as Squad Building Challenges. The companion app is a condensed version of this and is available for iPhone and Android to allow you to access your FIFA Ultimate Team on your mobile devices.
WHEN IS THE PRICE CRASH?
The FIFA Ultimate Team transfer market is like the real world when it comes to supply and demand. When there is limited resources and limited currency, things are expensive. In the first few weeks, prices will likely be at their highest, but gradually go down during the season.
However, in past FIFAs, there has usually been a few price crashes which dramatically reduced the going rate of a lot of players - even high-rated ones. These usually happen around the Team of the Year and the weeks beforehand e.g. at Christmas time when more players start playing the game and more packs are bought in early January, as well as before Team of the Season in April or May.
A lot of gamers decide to sell up their excess players - and sometimes their main players - to raise funds to buy the Team of the Year and Team of the Season players or to buy packs in the hope of getting a 99-rated Ronaldo! A lot more packs are bought in the store too, resulting in more players being sold on the market. This increased supply then sees gamers undercut each other to sell their own players, helping the prices fall.