If you can hold your own in FIFA 22, then you might want to spend some time playing FUT Draft, because this unique game mode serves up some great reward packs for players who can make it through to the end. It's also a great training ground to try new cards and test your skills against competitive opposition.
Pro FIFA player Ryan Pessoa gives his insights on how to get the most out of the game mode.
Putting together a good FUT Draft team is a balancing act
How does FUT Draft work?
"FUT Draft is about building a team from player picks," says Ryan. "You choose a formation from a few randomly selected options, then you're given a choice of five players for each position. Ideally you try to put together a team with strong chemistry that can also do some damage to your opponent."
The biggest difference between FUT Draft and other modes like Division Rivals is that you need to pay to enter each time. Drafts cost 15,000 coins or 300 FIFA Points, or sometimes you can obtain a FUT Draft Token from packs or objectives. You're effectively staking that buy-in against your ability to win matches and get good rewards.
Once you've chosen your formation and built your team, it's locked in for that draft. You can move players around within the squad and swap players from the subs and reserve benches, but you can't change formation or call up other players.
It is possible to play FUT Draft in single-player, but the rewards are not as good as playing online. Whatever you decide, you play up to four matches, with rewards calculated based on how many you win. If you win all four matches, you've won the FUT Draft and get the best packs.
How to build the best FUT Draft team
"Putting together a good FUT Draft team is a balancing act," says Ryan. "Of course, you want really good players, but if you can't build chemistry between them then they won't feel brilliant on the pitch. Sometimes it's better to compromise -- you turn down that Neymar because there's a decent Icon in the same pick that would boost you to 100 chem."
Draft is one of those things you get more of a feel for through practice, but there are a few principles that are worth bearing in mind when you're building a team.
Pick the right formation
Ideally you know how to play a few formations, but most people have a favourite, so it's a good idea to pick a similar one if your best setup isn't available. For instance, 4-2-2-2 is a good substitute for the 4-4-2 formation.
Start with attackers
You want the best strikers possible in your FUT Draft team, so it makes sense to look at those options first and then try to shape the rest of the draft around them. If you're faced with similar options, it's good to prioritise top-five leagues and nations as they will be best represented in other picks.
It's easy to get tunnel vision when a good player pops up early on in a draft, but don't force yourself towards one league or nation unless you are getting a lot of relevant picks. In the worst case scenario, you can always bring that star player off the bench just after kickoff.
Think about how you will play as you draft
It's good to pause and take stock of your partial draft now and then. When the front five or six picks are locked in, where do you need to improve? Perhaps the Spanish CDM is a bit slow. Don't necessarily focus on getting Spanish defenders to link to him, in which case, as he may be ejected later in the draft.
A team with Neymar and Ronaldo up front will be potent whatever happens, but they won't feel as fast and dynamic if they have very low chemistry. Remember that a team with 100 total chemistry gets an additional boost, so it's worth putting in that 75-rated nobody at right-back if it gets you to that number. You can always sub him off at kickoff.
Don't be shy about substitutions
We've mentioned going to the bench a few times. It's not ideal, because players coming off the bench don't get their full Chemistry Style bonus, and using subs early means you can't use them later. But FUT Draft usually involves compromises, and it's better to have a 100-chem team that requires three subs straight away than a 65-chem team that doesn't.
Use Icons and Heroes for chemistry
Icons can link to any other player, which is a great way to stitch together players from rival leagues and nations harmoniously. FIFA 22 also introduces Hero cards, representing retired players who were in their pomp while playing in a certain league. Hero cards get a green club link to any player from the same league, as well as the usual nation link, so they're pretty handy.
There's no magic bullet for Custom Tactics in any FIFA game, so it's good to stick with what you know best
The best Custom Tactics for FUT Draft
"There's no magic bullet for Custom Tactics in any FIFA game, so it's good to stick with what you know best," says Ryan. "If you like wingers who get into the box for crosses, don't forget to dip into the menus to change that. If you like one of your CDMs to stay back, make sure you've tweaked that option. It sucks to lose matches due to factors you can control."
Let's face it, setting up Custom Tactics is a little boring and fiddly. The menus aren't the most responsive and you have to do it for every player individually. With that said, it can make a big difference in-game. There are no second chances in FUT Draft, so if you know you play better with a certain setting, make sure you change it. Here are some examples:
Stay Back On Attack - Full backs and your most defensive midfielder may benefit from having this option selected under Custom Tactics. Otherwise, you may be caught out when you lose the ball high up the pitch.
Press After Possession Loss - If you want to go for the quick rage quit, you could always switch this on at the start of the game and go hunting for the ball aggressively. It will drain your players though, so turn it off if you're in for a long haul.
Get Into The Box For Crosses - It remains to be seen whether the FIFA 22 meta calcifies around similar crossing behaviour to the previous game, but if crosses are even half as potent as they were before, then it will be worth telling your wingers to follow into the box to get on the end of them.
Sweeper Keeper / Comes For Crosses - If your goalkeeper doesn't have any good traits, it may make sense to change these options so that he comes out of goal to clear up any balls over the top or in behind the defence.
How to get the best FUT Draft rewards
"You really need to win three or four matches in a FUT Draft run to get decent packs," says Ryan. "Even then, it's not always the case that you make your coins back. It really depends on how patient you are selling consumables, and whether the market for certain cards is high. There are definitely times when FUT Draft pays for itself though!"
FUT Draft players over the summer certainly experienced one such period, when EA dropped a repeatable FUT Draft Token Pack SBC and some pack and player objective rewards to keep fans engaged during the offseason. Draft became self-sustaining, with the cost of the token SBC usually paid for by the contents of 1-win rewards.
Most of the time though, FIFA 22 Ultimate Team's FUT Draft mode will be a bit of a lottery. If you get four wins and the best reward packs, you're still at the mercy of the pack algorithm when you open them.
If you aren't sure you can regularly get three or four wins, we recommend prioritising other game modes most of the time, but keeping an eye on the transfer market to see when certain card types go up in value. When desirable upgrade SBCs are live, for instance, gold common or gold rare cards may be worth double their usual discard price, at which point even a mediocre FUT Draft run can be worthwhile.