OK, so at this point it should be obvious that we’re a little FIFA 15 crazy here at Stealthy Box — we really like the game, what can we say? — having run two different tips features on it already; check them out here and here. Both of them covered the FIFA 15’s astoundingly deep Career Mode, but now it’s time to focus on what’s becoming one of the biggest modes in any game: FIFA Ultimate Team.
FIFA Ultimate Team is basically fantasy football, but instead of drafting your players you collect them via packs of trading cards. You build the best team that you can, and you see how you stack up against other teams. A simple and addictive idea on paper, but actually digging into FIFA Ultimate Team to manage a squad can be another thing entirely, especially for first-timers (including myself).
So rather than let newbies flounder in the fog for several hours as they try to find their footing, here are a few tips to get you started.
Download the FIFA 15 Companion App
The first thing that you’ll want to do is download the FIFA 15 Companion App, which is available on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. It’s important to grab the right app, as EA Sports has inexplicably given the name FIFA 15 Ultimate Team to this year’s mobile game and won’t help you manage your console team whatsoever.
See for yourself — you want the top one, not the bottom one.
Once you have the right app, signing into your EA Origin account will pull up your Ultimate Team squad, and you’ll have the ability to do just about everything you can do on your console short of actually playing matches. Player management, wheeling and dealing on the transfer market, and buying card packs are all available to you on the go.
Just as importantly, you’ll also get a small bonus pack of a few gold items, which may include a player or two.
Build a Concept Squad Using Your Favorite Formation
Ultimate Team mode in FIFA 15 allows you to build “concept squads,” where are essentially dream teams comprised of players that you want to acquire (shown as grey) alongside any that you already own. The starting eleven, subs, reserves, manager and formation are all up to your heart’s desire.
That last part is easy to overlook, as your favorite players might not gel with the formation that best suits your play style. Simply put, everyone is comfortable playing on a certain part of the pitch, and there’s a slight dip in player performance when they find themselves out of position.
In any case, filling out a concept squad allows you to quickly and easily set goals to play towards, while creating a dream team and gradually making it a reality is just plain satisfying.
Chemistry is Everything
Typically when building a fantasy team you want to go with the best possible players, and that’s largely true here. But on top of making sure that players are comfortable within your preferred formation, it’s even more important that they’re comfortable with each other when putting together a FIFA Ultimate Team.
FIFA Ultimate Team has a Chemistry system that affects how well your team gels, seen on squad screens as different colored links between adjacent players. The links are shown as green, yellow, or red, and it works as you’d expect — green links mean players are practically BFFs, yellow means things could be better, and red means that they’d rather invite Gordon Ramsay over to evaluate their failing restaurant.
Finding good Chemistry is pretty easy — players are happiest when they share a nationality, league, or club with each other. It’ll be up to you to find a good balance between overall ability and chemistry, as the very best players aren’t necessarily a good fit for your team. You’re better off shaving a point or two from your team’s overall rating to get your chemistry as close to 100 as possible; when Chemistry is low between players, they’ll often find themselves out of position when it matters most.
Play the Transfer Market When Possible
As you fill out your concept squad, you’ll realize that spending coins on card packs is far from the most efficient way of bringing it to fruition. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t buy card packs at all; they’re the biggest source for consumables that you need to keep your squad in tip top shape, and you might even get lucky and find a coveted player or manager.
But since there are so, so many players in FIFA 15 across a number of different leagues and countries, you’re best option is spending your coins on individual players and managers available on the transfer market. There’s no predicting the whims of the buyers and sellers that you’ll find wheeling and dealing there, but you’ll find plenty of gold-level players that are affordable with a handful of matches’ worth of coins, especially if you’ve been prioritizing high chemistry over purely great (and incompatible) players.
Complete the Manager’s Tasks ASAP
Unless you bought the Ultimate Edition of FIFA 15 which gives you a bunch of gold packs off the bat and 40 over the course of the year, you might not get a chance to open many of your own. To close this feature out, let’s get you at least one for free.
All you have to do to get your hands on it is check off every item on the Manager’s Tasks list found in the Club section of FIFA Ultimate Team. These tasks are largely remedial, and you’ll probably complete most of them simply by following the tips above. All told, it shouldn’t take you more than a couple of hours to get your hands on a free pack of gold cards, which you can either flip for coins or fill holes in your squad. Easy peasy.