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The Low End Theory: FUT 17 investing for the rest of us

Some tips to make coins if you’ve got less than 100K in the bank.

MLS: Sporting KC at FC Dallas
Sometimes, the Nuno Andre Coelho’s of the world can net you some pretty decent coin in FIFA17.
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

There are a lot of folks out there that can tell FUT fanatics how to make phat bank if they can buy and sell in-form cards (IFs), Team of the Year (TOTYs), or other cards that go for north of 150,000 coins. Guys like FUT Economist, Pistol Pete, and Golden Bear have lots of great advice on Twitter and Twitch. If you’re rich.

I’m not rich.

Hi. I’m Rapids Rabbi*. Despite a decade of playing the game, I’m not that great at FIFA. That’s not a lament, it’s just a fact. I’ve got a FUT record this year of 74-53-114, and I spend most of my time playing Online Seasons, bouncing between Division 7 and Division 8. I’ve never qualified for Weekend League.

I still love the game. I really love the new Squad Building Challenges, which require a little bit of strategy and puzzle-solving, while allowing me to get packs that I could have never afforded in FIFA 16. And I have developed a love for investing and trading on the Transfer Market. It almost feels like another mode in the game to me entirely.

Despite not being a FIFA millionaire, capable of swapping three TOTW Messis for a TOTY Ronaldo, I’m still an active (and pretty effective) trader. And I have a few tried-and-true methods I’ve developed to pick up coins that work, even if you don’t have that much money to your name, that I thought I’d share with my fellow low-end FIFA players.

1. Bottom Trolling - Systematic Bid Sniping

Regular sniping is a pretty well known phenomenon, and an activity that, although I engage in occasionally, I find mind-numbingly boring. Refreshing the Transactions screen and adjusting your ‘Maximum Buy Now’ bid over and over and over again is really, really tedious. I’ll try it occasionally, but I get bored quickly and move on.

Rather than snake a great player at a below-market-value price, I prefer to engage in ‘bid sniping’ en masse, in a systematic, strategic way. I pick a league, preferably one with an active Squad Build Challenge (SBC). Then I pick a position. I then set a low price for my maximum bid, typically around 250 coins. And then I bid on every player that’s listed: say, every Belgian League CDM, as long as they are listed at, say, a 150 bid/10,000 buy now price**. Since I’m effectively scooping undervalued players off the bottom of the market, I think of it as ‘bottom trolling.’

I quickly flip those players back onto the market at 350/400; sometimes more if I’ve noticed they’re more valuable. One at a time, that only generates 200 to 300 coins in profit. But if you’re turning over 20 or 30 players at a time, and re-listing regularly via the mobile app, you can generate a couple thousand coins in a single go, and pull 5000 to 20,000 in coins in a day. This method typically works best with Silver players, but in certain leagues and at certain times, Golds and Bronzes work too.

It doesn’t tend to matter what league you do this in. What does matter is that you stake out a specific league and a small set of positions, and stick to them. Know your market; know that there’s one really uncommon Irish centerback that you can regularly buy for 250 and sell for 2000. Worst case scenario is that occasionally you’ll be stuck with a guy a while, and end up unloading at cost (the price you bought him for, minus the 5% tax). Get good enough at it, and you’ll be generating scads of profit each time you run through a list of players. If you stake out a league long enough, you’ll also learn how the market trends for that league - some card prices consistently rise or fall at the same regular intervals, and you can know that, for instance, cards tend to sell cheap on Sunday and Monday, or in the morning, but rise in valuable by Thursday night.

2. The Long Con - The Buy and Hold Strategy

Rich FIFA players open packs and get rid of ‘discards’ - common golds rated 75-79, bronzes, players from leagues they don’t want - by dumping them right back onto the market or by ‘Quick Selling’ them immediately for a minimal number of coins. That’s dumb. Don’t do that.

If you get a card that isn’t worth much, hang onto it. Someday, it will be worth something. There will come a time when that card will be in higher demand. Perhaps a new League SBC or Marquee Matchup will require that card, or maybe they become valuable because of a Weekend League requirement. When FIFA17 dropped the new Scottish League SBC, I sold off a dozen discards at 800-2000 coins each. Another recent SBC made all of my Spanish Second Division players spike in value.

It helps to do this to pay attention to FIFA on Thursday and Friday, when Marquee Matchups and new League SBCs tend to come out; the spike in demand for your players tends to wear off in a few days - and for Marquee Matchups, evaporates entirely when the SBC expires on Sunday.

One more side note for ‘the long con’ - it behooves players that like to do this to spend a little money once in a while on Silver packs. Many Silver cards end up useful in SBCs, but since most FIFA players are busy trying to pull an in-form out of a Gold pack, there are fewer Silver players floating around out there in peoples card collections.

3. The Position-Change Trick

Some League SBCs make it so that FIFA players need require one specific player to complete a challenge. Sometimes that player is quite scarce, and their price tends to stay stuck near the ‘Buy Now’ maximum.

If that player is a central player, like a CM or a Striker, you can artificially ‘create’ a similar high value player out of a low value player. Say a team, like Toulouse FC in the Ligue 1, has a scad of central midfielders going for 17,000. You can crash that party and make a little money in the process. Go find a striker on Toulouse for 2,000. Apply a ST->CF position change consumable, and a CF->CAM position change consumable, and a CAM->CM position change consumable. Then price your player appropriately. And voila! You’ve just made about 10K.

This method is a little irritating, in that buying and applying multiple position change cards to a player is slightly time consuming. But if you’re dying to buy Mesut Ozil for your British squad, or can’t wait to get that Mega Pack, it’s worth it.

4. The PRP trick

PRP stands for Price Range Percentage - it’s a metric the ubiquitous FUTbin website came up with. When a player hits the maximum in their price range on their ‘Buy Now’ price - 10,000 or 17,000 for most Silvers - they’re PRP is between 90-100%.

These players will become scarce on the market because they cannot be bought and sold for profit, and EA will eventually, adjust their price range upwards. FUTbin tracks this too.

You can use this to make a fat stack of coins if you find the right player. Find a player sitting at or very near their PRP max. Buy him. Stash him on your team. And wait.

Usually, within a week or two, FIFA will adjust his price range upward, and a player you bought for 17,000 will be easily flipped for 23,000 or more.

It’s not foolproof. I bought Sporting KC’s Lawrence Olum and Nuno Andre Coelho at their PRP max, and sat on them for a week. Then two weeks. Then three. Then over the transfer window, Olum, in REAL life, was traded to Portland, and Nuno Coelho was flipped to Nantes. So FIFA didn’t bother to adjust their SKC cards; they just issued new ones with their new teams. And I had to sell their SKC at a small, FIFA-tax loss. Oh well. Still, if you find the right guy and have a little FIFA luck, this can be a good investment.

Best of luck out there, fellow low-end*** theorists. Oh, and don’t snipe me.

* If you’re interested, I’m normally over at my regular SBNation site, Burgundy Wave, writing about the Colorado Rapids. Give us a gander. We don’t bite.

** FUT Economist refers to the multitudes of players that list their cards for 150/10,000 ‘Lazy Listers’. I prefer to think of them as so rich, they don’t need to waste time investigating the market to properly price players. And I, in turn, do a service by repricing their ‘Buy Now’ prices into a range that can readily bought and sold quickly - I’m helping to maintain market liquidity.

*** If you didn’t catch it, ‘The Low End Theory’ is a hip-hop reference to an ‘A Tribe Called Quest’ album which is totally awesome. One of my other favorite things I ever wrote, about an away fan escapade in Seattle for MLS playoffs, was also is a riff on a hip-hop classic. It’s a thing I do sometimes.