Our tips to master FIFA 18's new Ultimate Team

© EA Sports
Written by Adam Cook
EA’s made a few tweaks to the secret sauce that makes Ultimate Team for this year’s editions. Here’s what to expect and how to stay on top in the new FUT.
FIFA can’t be accused of resting on its laurels. This year sees some of the biggest changes to best sports game mode in Ultimate Team, thanks to FIFA 18’s entirely new single player options. With the all-new Icons added to the mix, Squad Building Challenges, and plenty more, FUT now feels like a game all of its own, especially when you consider that you can even play it on the go thanks to the Nintendo Switch version.
As exciting as they are, The Journey 2 and Career Mode can wait; you need to get moving on your Ultimate Team. Get in early and get the best team you can – or at the very least get plenty of coins and packs to open. How you do that most effectively has changed, however, and that’s where we come in. Read our tips to stay on top in FUT this year.

Play the Squad Battles as often as you can

FIFA 18 Squad Battles screenshot
Winning big with single player Squad Battles
Squad Battles, are a lot of fun and can be quite challenging. These are strong Ultimate Team squads, usually with incredibly high chemistry, which make them tough to beat on the difficulty you’re used to. Don’t be afraid to drop the difficulty down for Squad Battles, because while you’ll be punished with a slightly lower points reward, getting a win and scoring goals will boost it back up.
With four replayable battles to try every day, you can spend time bumping your points up to your heart’s content and you’ll want to do this when you see the rewards. Due to playing pre-release and there being a less populated leaderboard, we netted a cool 65k coins, two mega packs, and one jumbo rare players pack in our first week alone. The leaderboards reset on a weekly basis, so you can really plough into this single-player mode to get some seriously good rewards back. In fact, even the lowest tier ranking will net you an ultimate loan player reward pack – and you’re grabbing coins as you play anyway, of course, so you’ve nothing to lose.

Get on FUT every day to do the challenges

FIFA 18 Daily Challenges screenshot
There’s more to do that ever with these challenges
FIFA 18 now has daily and weekly challenges. An extension of the regular yearly tutorial-style FUT objectives which show players their way around FUT, the daily objectives range from “win a game today by at least two goals in Online Seasons” to “assist a goal with an Argentinian player today” and even including simple things like “apply a fitness item”. The best thing is that completing each challenge nets you a reward: sometimes coins, sometimes mini packs. Complete all your daily objectives and get another reward.
Elsewhere, the starter objectives have been beefed up to go a little further and, you guessed it, they all give rewards too. The weekly objectives are more focused on getting you playing, asking you to score a certain amount of goals, or to buy or sell a set amount of players. But you’re constantly being given the carrot at the end of the stick in the form of more packs, more rewards, and more coins.

Watch the Champions Channel

Think you’re good at FIFA 18? You’re probably alright, of course, but the Champions Channel offers replays of the world’s best, giving you a chance to study and see what they do, or things you’ve not thought of or hadn’t figured out a good application for. It’s a cracking idea – Champions Channel means you can learn from the very best just by watching them play. We thoroughly recommend having a look at this from time to time, because if you’re not trying to improve, you’re going to get beat.

Squad Building Challenges have been expanded – get on it

FIFA 18 screenshot
Get stuck in to the SBCs
Not to sound like a broken record, but FIFA 18 really does seem to want to give you more rewards this year. Squad Building Challenges (SBC for short) have always been fun, but they’ve never seemed as deep as they do in FUT this year.
Multiple and sometimes repeatable challenges help teach you about chemistry and positioning before giving you a pack for your troubles. Whether it’s position modifiers, or just trying to mix up nationalities or leagues in a team, EA has you covered here. From basic to advanced, leagues, and upgrades, this single-player mode is well worth investing time in – and not just because you can earn sellable players from it. Yes, you read that right: some of the rewards from SBCs are now tradable, so get on that.

Don’t quick sell low rated players, they can be useful

On the subject of SBC, it’s well worth hanging on to the early low-rated bronze players and even some gold players you don’t want. Sure, you might net a few hundred coins (around 320 if you’re lucky), but they can be used in the Squad Building Challenges to swap for packs to open. While you may get a cool few thousand selling 11 gold players you don’t want, you could do a repeatable SBC that lets you trade them for a pack containing a guaranteed rare player. Go into the SBC, jump to ’upgrades’ where you’ll find bronze, silver, and gold challenges that let you swap 11 players you don’t want, for player packs. Bargain!

Don’t get ripped off on the market

A shot of FIFA 18 Ultimate Team
Sturridge for 10k? Actually, that’s not bad
The temptation is there to start FUT every year by grinding out matches and buying some good players from the marketplace. But that way lies madness, because at the start of every new FIFA, player prices are often inflated simply because everyone is hitting it at the same time. Likewise, there’s going to be a desperate demand for Icons early on, especially as some of the Squad Battle matches will contain them. But just like Legends before them, Icons are going to be incredibly rare.
FIFA 18 gives you plenty of rewards for playing Ultimate Team and moving around all the available modes within it. Don’t forget the Football Club Credits (FCC) you’ve accrued over the years of playing FIFA. These’ll give you the chance to get coin boosts for matches, but also to get some high quality loan players in for the harder earlier matches. Grab Gianluigi Donnarumma for a measly 800 FCC (for a 12-match loan, no less) as a high-quality goalkeeper to get you through the early matches when chemistry matters less and you just want to win a few games. Or how about Alexandre Lacazette for 1,800 FCC for eight matches? You’ll need to be level 30 for him, but that’s a bargain for a starting team.

Don’t be blinkered – go outside your comfort zone

FIFA 18 Ultimate Team
Just one of the squads you might face
You support Arsenal, we get it. But if you’re going to build a starting 11 in FUT that’s basically the team you support, we have to ask why you’re even playing FUT in the first place? The wonder of this mode is that it’s basically fantasy football, and that allows you to take Mesut Özil and put him in a team with Mats Hummels and İlkay Gündoğan and try them out together.
Check other people’s squads, see what’s working for them. Barcelona might have a team of superstars, but why not try mixing and matching and make your own unique team? Trust us, it’s even better battering your pals when it’s a team that contains players they might not have heard of. Use our tips and get earning coins, packs, and dominating your friends.
FIFA 18 launches on September 29 for PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, PS3 and Xbox 360. Read our preview of what’s new right here.
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