Save your coins and still compete with the best using these hidden gems
The economics of FIFA 22 Ultimate Team may not be the most glamorous thing about it, but for long-term fans of the game they have been fascinating to observe. Historically expensive cards like N’Golo Kante, Kevin de Bruyne and Bruno Fernandes have been cheap and accessible for months, and typically expensive ‘promo’ items from events like Rulebreakers and Winter Wildcards have settled into affordable price ranges as well. Compared to past games, FIFA 22 offers the most diverse range of interesting cards, perhaps ever, and there are some absolute gems lurking in the bargain bins.
Youcef Atal is the epitome of FIFA 22 value. Atal is traditionally a popular FUT card because of his versatility, four-star skills and five-star weak foot, and this version would be a very expensive luxury in most FIFA games. In FIFA 22, it’s 50k on PlayStation and 45k on Xbox. For that you get a player who can handle just about any role. He’s fast enough to do without a pace-boosting Chemistry Style, so you can go with a Sentinel to boost his defence and physicality, turning him into a great option at CDM, or you could go for a Powerhouse and use him as more of a box-to-box midfielder. Obviously he’s a fantastic right-back as well, and that five-star weak foot is brilliant for playing long passes to the opposite full-back under pressure. Even if you just bring him in as a super sub, he’s a must-have.
This Winter Wildcards take on Arsenal’s speedy full-back Kieran Tierney was released around the same time Base Icon Patrick Vieira was made available as a Squad Building Challenge, and in many ways Tierney would be more effective at CDM. Super fast without any kind of boost, he reaches 97 interceptions and 99 defensive awareness with a Sentinel Chem Style, and has base 83 reactions, which is around the same as Vieira, with much higher agility and balance. Obviously he’s no slouch at left-back either, but like Youcef Atal, his real strength lies in his versatility. All this, and he’s currently under 75k on both consoles.
The Versus promo was designed to give FUT fans the choice between two versions of each player, with tweaked stats pushing them in different directions, but in practice most people found the distinctions too subtle. However, Versus did give us an interesting opportunity to A/B test the impact on player prices when EA has to hand out large numbers of cards as compensation. When the publisher took Ice cards out of packs, it forgot to change the in-game advertising, meaning FUT fans were opening packs and receiving regular gold versions of players like Kevin Mbabu when the game told them they should have been receiving Ice cards. EA’s policy is to compensate anyone affected by giving them the missing cards, and a couple of weeks later they duly arrived, meaning large numbers of FUT fans ended up with free Ice cards. Fire was unaffected by the snafu, so we can see that the regularly supplied Fire Kevin Mbabu is now around 80k, but the heavily compensated and over-supplied Ice version is 55k. Exciting stuff, eh? No? Well then, just consider this: Mbabu is an exceptional Bundesliga right-back who costs a pittance.
As we move into the second half of the FUT season, base stats become less important as cards trend towards being excellent in every area, and so things like skill moves and strong weak foot become key differentiators. If you want to get ahead of the curve and practice with those things, there is perhaps no better place to go than Liga NOS in Portugal, where you can pick up Winter Wildcards Adel Taarabt and Rulebreakers Tecatito (of whom more shortly) for discard prices. Taarabt is an absolute delight as a box-to-box midfielder or CAM, with incredible dribbling, passing and shooting without much need for boosts, and his 98 aggression and 90 reactions mean he is always in the action. Scoring goals from midfield with Taarabt, who is a bit of a throwback to classic FUT titles, is a special pleasure.
The Bundesliga is one of the few major leagues where it’s hard to find amazing value, with cards generally stratifying into excellent-but-expensive and cheap-but-unusable. One exception is Dodi Lukebakio. If that name sends a shiver down your spine, it’s probably because you remember his hilariously overpriced FUTmas card from a couple of years ago, but this right-wing option ought to shake off that stigma. Available for under 40k, Lukebakio is fantastically fast without any kind of boost, meaning you can drop attacking Chem Styles like Marksman, Finisher and Deadeye onto him depending on your needs. He’s slightly let down by the three-star weak foot, but you can always use him while you save for the Headliners Serge Gnabry card, which is just under 200k at the moment.
Probably our favourite card in the game, Tecatito has five-star skills and a five-star weak foot, and with a Hunter he is virtually untouchable as a false-nine or anywhere on the left or right side of attack. He is perhaps a little weak to act as a striker, but that’s about the only thing going against this card, which absolutely dances through the game as though in a different dimension to everyone else on the pitch. Paired with Adel Taarabt and perhaps Winter Wildcards Mehdi Taremi (also of Porto), Tecatito is the lynchpin of a phenomenal little triangle of footballing fun. He’s 27k on PlayStation and 24k on Xbox.
Winter Wildcards was a big moment for FIFA 22, sending the power curve spinning upwards like all those out-of-control line graphs we’ve spent the last two years staring at forlornly. Even the so-called low-end cards were belters, and Morales is perhaps the most egregious example. One of the only cards in the game with 90+ ratings in pace, shooting and dribbling on the front of the card, Morales essentially has maxed-out pace and shooting with a Hunter Chem Style, and with a Hawk he only sacrifices a few points while gaining a large boost to physicality. With four-star skills and a four-star weak foot, there simply isn’t much wrong with any aspect of this card. He even has the Outside Foot Shot trait. For 60k on PlayStation and 50k on Xbox, he is by far the best option up front for a LaLiga team, and the perfect foil to that Flashback Benzema card that we know you’re still using.
For those of us old enough to remember David Beckham kicking Diego Simeone at World Cup 98, it’s a bit of a trip to be gassing a card belonging to his 26-year-old son who now plays in Serie A, but there we go. Giovanni Simeone is a beast in front of goal, and while it’s easy to dismiss this card because of its three-star skills and weak foot, everything else about it makes him one of the most complete strikers available. For around 30k, you get max pace and shooting stats in virtually every area with a Hunter, very strong dribbling — particularly agility and balance — and 99 jumping and heading accuracy. The latter could be increasingly relevant after the January gameplay patch when attacking buildup can no longer rely so heavily on driven ground passes.
With a rumoured Hero Player Pick SBC on the way, former Spurs legend Robbie Keane could see his price drop sharply, but even at 85k on PlayStation and 80k on Xbox, this card is a fantastic option for a Premier League-flavoured squad. Four-star weak foot and skill moves provide a solid foundation, onto which a Hunter Chemistry Style adds pace and shooting stats that only narrowly avoid being maxed out, and his dribbling is very good too. The Finesse Shot trait is a nice extra on a card that will prove durable even in the face of strengthening competition, and remember that Heroes get strong links to anyone from the same league, so he can be the glue that holds a hybrid together.
Messi isn’t exactly a hidden gem — or if he is hiding then it’s the one thing he’s bad at — but what may have escaped most people’s attention is his historically low price. For 300k, you get a player who can do virtually anything, and has that special sauce in-game. He has the Finesse Shot and Outside Foot Shot traits, to begin with, and of course has four-star skills and weak foot. With a Hunter his shooting stats are almost maxed out, while his acceleration goes to 99 and 90 sprint speed is manageable. Less common for any attacking card is this level of quality in passing and dribbling. Unboosted, he can do either to a standard that would look good on a card using a Chemistry Style to buff those areas, but he doesn’t need one. Taken together, the value from this card at 300k is just extraordinary, and while that’s more coins than most of the cards on this list put together, it is easily something a patient player could save up in two or three weeks. It will be worth it.
FIFA 22 is available on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and Nintendo Switch.
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