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The importance of stats in FIFA 17

It turns out that not all stats are made equal.

FUT 17
EA Sports FIFA

March 27th marked the six-month anniversary of FUT 17 - that’s 25 weekend leagues, hundreds of SBCs, thousands of special players, and millions of games played by the millions of Ultimate Team players around the world.

Arguably the most important part of FUT are player ratings and stats. We constantly strive for higher rated players, with better stats in every category. However, the existence of overpowered players who play well above what their stats suggest have shown that these stats are not entirely accurate - there are clearly other factors at play.

Today, we’ll be delving into the world of player stats in FUT 17 - we’ll look at which ones matter, and which ones really don’t, as well as the other factors that affect players in-game.

Note: We’ll be looking at outfield players, not goalkeepers. To get a better idea of goalkeeping in FUT 17, check out our article about what makes a keeper overpowered.

The Stats:

We’ll look at the card stats one-by-one, starting with arguably the most important - pace.

Pace:

Most important stats: Acceleration, Agility, Balance

Most important traits: Speed dribbler

There is no question that pace is incredibly important in FUT - year after year, it remains one of the most important attributes for a player to have, and makes a difference in all positions on the field. It’s the reason why players like Aubameyang command such a high price-tag, or why normal players like Musa and Rashford play so well in game.

Pace in FUT is made up of two stats - acceleration and sprint speed. Acceleration is arguably the more important of the two, with the ability to burst away from an opponent being of paramount importance. Sprint speed, while important, is very surmountable in game - a player with 90 sprint speed and the ball at his feet is no faster than the opponent with 75 pace who is chasing him.

However, there are other stats that contribute to pace - you need to have high balance, agility and reactions to feel fast in game, and traits such as speed dribbler that allow players to move much more quickly on the pitch than their stats suggest.

As a result, the pace card stat can be very deceptive - it only takes into account two of the many stats that affect how players feel in game, and ignores traits such as speed dribbler that make players feel faster in game.

Shooting:

Most important stats: Finishing, Positioning, Shot Power

Most important traits: Finesse shot, Long shot taker, Tries To Beat Defensive Line

The shooting stat is relatively self-explanatory - players who can finish chances from both inside and outside the box, as well as get into good positions, have a higher shooting stat. A high positioning stat is a must, as without it, players tend to get lost in the opposition half. Having the tries to beat defensive line trait is crucial - it’s what makes players like Martial so damn good. Similarly, a good finishing and shot power stat means that players can place their shots well, and hit them with enough power to beat the keeper. The finesse shot trait is also very useful - it allows players to bend their shots are unnatural angles, making them threats from even the tightest angles.

However, due to the game mechanics in FUT 17, the long shot, volleys and penalty stats are largely irrelevant. I pride myself on my long shots, and I’ve always found that they are all about putting the correct amount of power on the shot and aiming in the right direction, instead of the actual long shot stat of the player. I’ve used players with high long shot stats, but not the long shot taker trait, who couldn’t hit the goal to save their life, as well as players with lower stats but the correct trait who could bang them in from 40 yards. The same goes for volleys and penalties - volleys are always hit and miss, and penalties come down to the player themselves.

Passing:

Most important stats: Vision, long-passing, short-passing

Most important traits: Playmaker

The passing card stat is possibly the most misleading of them all - FUT lumps in free-kicks and curve with passing stats such as vision, short and long passing, and crossing. As a result, you often see central midfielders with deceptively low passing stats (such as Busquets), just because they do not have the free kick, curve or crossing stats required.

If you’re looking for a set-piece specialist, then make sure to take a look at those free kick and curve stats. If you’re looking for a winger to whip those crosses in, make sure to check out the crossing stat. However, don’t be put off by a low passing stat, if all you are looking for is a solid central midfielder.

Dribbling:

Most important stats: Agility, Balance, Reactions, Dribbling, Ball-control

Most important traits: Speed Dribbler, Technical Dribbler, Flair

This is possibly the only card stat where what you see is exactly what you get - a good dribbler needs great technical stats, but also needs the agility, balance and reactions to be responsive and deadly in game. However, for players in positions where agility and balance are not so important, their dribbling stat may appear far worse than it actually is. This is because their agility and balance is low, bringing down their fantastic technical stats and reactions.

The most important traits here are the dribbling traits (speed and technical), but also the flair trait. The flair trait doesn’t affect your game too much, but a player with this trait can produce some truly special moments that other players cannot.

Defending:

Most important stats: Interceptions, Standing Tackle, Sliding Tackle

Most important traits: N/A

In my opinion, there is no stat more important than defending. Most of the time, your defenders are controlled by the AI, and having high interceptions and tackling stats means that they won’t make too many mistakes. The marking stat is important, but if you know what you are doing, it doesn’t really matter too much.

The heading stat takes the award for the most useless stat in the game (IMO). It doesn’t seem to affect anything in game - it doesn’t help with headed clearances, and doesn’t seem to affect the aerial threat a player poses. In fact, the only things that seem to affect a players heading ability are their height, jumping and the power header trait.

Physical:

Most important stats: Stamina, strength, aggression

Most important traits: Backs into player

Stamina is very overlooked on this game - as your players tire, their physical stats decline, making them worse. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to use players with high stamina. Strength and aggression work in tandem - a strong player with low aggression is not be bullied off the ball, but will lose a lot of 50-50 challenges. A weak player with high aggression will feel far stronger in game, and win a lot of 50-50 challenges, but will be bullied off the ball by stronger players. You really want players with good stats in both these categories.

The jumping stat is largely irrelevant, thanks to the way the game works this year. Height seems to be a far more important factor than jumping, with taller players tending to dominate in the air, and small players with high jumping still being outplayed aerially.

The one trait you really want to look for is Backs into player - it allows your players to bully other players when all the ball, and makes shielding far more effective (just take a look at Martial).

Weak foot and skill moves:

These are two stats that are the epitome of what you see is what you get. Manolas may be able to hit a 30 yard long shot, but he can’t do a roulette. The random nature of FIFA makes many of the card stats irrelevant, or at least much less important than they should be, but the WF and skill moves stats are fixed. They are not really affected by any traits or stats (except for the flair and outside foot shot traits).

Putting it all together:

Once you keep what we have just seen in mind, it’s not hard to see why certain players are overpowered.

Martial: possibly the best player this year, thanks largely to having stats in crucial areas, as well as some of the best traits in the game.

FUTHEAD

High pace combined with great balance, agility and reactions, as well as the Speed Dribbler trait, make him incredibly quick in game. High positioning, finishing and shot power, as well as the Tries To Beat Defensive Line and Finesse shot traits make him a far better attacker than his stats show. His decent physical stats, combined with the Backs Into Player trait, makes him a physical presence on the field. He also has the 4*/4* combo that truly makes him an elite player.

Musa:

FUTHEAD

High pace, good dribbling stats, and the speed dribbler all make him the speed demon he is. 78+ positioning, finishing and shot power are all incredibly important. He also has fantastic stamina, as well as the 4* skills.

Kante (81):

FUTHEAD

High pace, balance and reactions all make him very quick in game. He has a low passing stat, but good vision, long and short passing. He has low marking and heading, but sensational interceptions and tackling. Finally, he has incredible stamina and aggression, making him an omni-present nightmare for opposition.

Smalling:

FUTHEAD

Good pace, 80+ in all defensive stats, and high strength and aggression. Need I say more?

Using these metrics, it’s not hard to see why certain players play so far below their rating - they may have fantastic stats in some areas, but they are lacking the stats that make players effective in FUT 17. Just take a look at Pique, Godin, Filipe Luís, Busquets, Iniesta, David Silva or Thomas Müller (just to name a few).

Summary

This year, player ratings and card stats are more irrelevant than they have ever been. Instead of relying solely on card stats, we need to take a look at the in-game stats and traits of the players we use, as these are what truly make players over-powered.