The biggest FUT promo of the cycle is upon us
It’s here! Take your history books out, yeah, and throw them in the bin, because after Team of the Year in FIFA 22 Ultimate Team, they will surely have to be rewritten. And if you think that’s hyperbole, just go look at a few TOTY YouTube thumbnails. This is the big one! Team of the Year brings the largest player boosts, the most exciting upgrade packs, and by far the most opportunities for EA Sports to dive into your wallet and roll around like Neymar Jr hit by a stiff breeze. There’s a lot of fun to be had. Let us be your guide.
EA Sports is sticking with the slightly later timing it adopted last cycle for Team of the Year in FIFA 22 Ultimate Team, which means the first TOTY players will go into packs at 6pm GMT on Friday, 21st January. While EA never reveals the entire schedule in advance, leaks have been very reliable this year, and the word on the grapevine is that this is the roadmap:
It’s worth noting that when midfielders go into packs, attackers are cycled out, and when defenders/GK arrive, midfielders are removed. The only period when all the positions are available is from 28th January onwards. In previous years, EA has also dropped a “12th Man” based on a fan vote a day after the full XI is in packs, and we would expect that to happen this year too, although timings may vary. We will likely also see some “Honourable Mention” cards to pad out the array of specials available in packs.
You may already know the answer by the time you read this, but at the time of writing all we have is a list of nominees to go on. Fortunately, some of the team picks itself. We predict:
There is a little debate around some of these picks, but not that much. In defence, Hakimi is not a dead cert (Trent Alexander-Arnold or Alphonso Davies might be there), while Kimmich is mostly on the list because EA probably won’t allow a full Premier League midfield. (If they do, we would expect to see Kante in there.) Attack is where the biggest question lingers: can EA really leave out Mbappe, the cover star? We shall see.
In previous years, the transfer market has taken a huge tumble ahead of Team of the Year as FUT players have sold off their teams to make sure they have coins in hand. With so many packs being opened during TOTY, supply goes through the roof, driving down prices and allowing everyone to buy things cheaply.
This year, it’s not quite so simple, because the puppetmaster economists at EA have been fiddling the market in new ways. Rare Gold players are historically cheap, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi both available for under 300k, while the most expensive Rare Gold of this cycle, Kylian Mbappe, is now under 900k. The sheer volume of high-quality special cards released through promos like Winter Wildcards means that very competitive teams can already be assembled on the cheap.
All of which is to say that there won’t be a traditional market crash where everything valuable plummets overnight, because most cards are already at historic lows. We will probably see Prime Icons, and rare meta cards like FUT Hero David Ginola, take a short-term hit, but for the most part we will see a continuation of the gradual, steady decline in prices that has been going on for the last few months.
So is it worth selling your team? If all your coins are tied up in high-rated special cards, then yes. But if you decide to hang onto them, you won’t lose anything like as much as you might have done previously. If you’re still rocking golds, or mostly untradeable, you should be fine.
In short, we expect the following:
This year, EA introduced a new event called “Team of the Year Warm-Up” in the week prior to TOTY itself, featuring time-limited Objectives and Squad-Building Challenges. Unusually, there was no special team to go with this or any other incentive to open packs. In fact, the messaging around Warm-Up suggested that it was designed to help us all craft and save packs for Team of the Year itself.
Saving packs for TOTY is an annual tradition for a lot of players, who hope that the sheer volume of packs in their saved pile will mean they stand a good chance of getting hold of one of those fabled blue cards. If you throw yourself into the Warm-Up activities and complete the regular SBCs, you should end up with a lot of useful packs.
During TOTY itself, we expect to see the usual repeatable league-specific upgrade SBCs, which are designed so that devoted players can open them en masse and then recycle unwanted cards back into the same SBCs over and over. Again, in the hope that sheer volume (and league specificity) improve the chances of bringing home the blue.
We should also see some unique Flashback and/or Moments SBCs, at least one Honourable Mentions player unlockable via Objectives or SBC, and various puzzle SBCs and other snackable extras. EA dropped an Icon Player Pick SBC on 16th January for two weeks, which is designed to harvest our high-rated fodder and duplicates as we open all our saved TOTY packs, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see another Mid Icon Upgrade SBC or something of that nature too. We haven’t had a FUT Hero Upgrade for a while either, and while the power curve has passed those cards by for the most part, they still hold a certain allure for a lot of FUT fans.
If you’re planning to deploy an army of FIFA Points in the battle to claim an elusive first owner Team of the Year card, then you may want to focus on Lightning Rounds, when EA stocks the FIFA Store with some of the most valuable packs in the game for brief periods. Typically during TOTY we see three Lightning Rounds per day, at 6pm, 7pm and 8pm GMT, where limited volumes of high-value packs are listed and when they’re gone, they’re gone.
The schedule usually looks like this:
This year, some of these packs guarantee at least one card with a specified minimum rating, e.g. Ultimate Packs will definitely have at least one 84+. In practice, pack probabilities are stronger for the more expensive packs. But regardless of which you choose, the probability of packing a TOTY card remains very small, so do be careful.
It’s also worth noting that EA has been releasing Lightning Rounds at other times of the day and in other configurations at various points in FIFA 22, so there may be other opportunities to buy up interesting packs if you keep your eyes open. Again though, the chances of packing a TOTY are always small, and while you can obviously spend your money however you want, we will be focusing on free methods like saved packs and upgrades for our clubs.
Finally, a quick reminder about how to make coins during big promotions. The best and most obvious way is to take advantage of the hugely increased supply of cards during Lightning Rounds. High-rated fodder will be valuable throughout TOTY because of things like the repeatable Icon Player Pick, but when Lightning Rounds are active, the number of those cards being packed increases massively, so the price is briefly driven down. If you buy up those cards at their lowest, then wait a few hours, you can sell for a profit.
A good example of this would be someone like 86-rated Parejo, the Spanish CM, who is a very common “walkout” from high-value packs. Look up his price beforehand and make a note, then search for him during Lightning Rounds and see how low he goes. When he is comfortably lower than normal, snap him up and wait for the rebound. As long as the price difference is greater than 5 per cent (the ‘tax’ EA takes when you sell a card), you will profit.
Another option, though it requires a lot more coins and a good deal of confidence, is to buy TOTY cards themselves when they drop lowest. Most TOTY cards are expensive during the first week, but then drop heavily in price on the Friday when the whole XI goes into packs, because that is when the majority of FUT fans with saved packs start opening them. As they use up their packs and FIFA Points, supply declines and by the first couple of days of the next week, the price has gone up again. Prices then fall again after that, but if you ride the wave carefully, there are coins to be made. Good luck!
FIFA 22 is available on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, and Google Stadia.
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