FIFA 17 Ultimate's Team's biggest event of the game's life cycle is upon us.
"Team of the Season", better known in the FIFA community as TOTS, is an action packed month of weekly releases of super charged player cards from most of the world's top leagues.
While the likes of Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Robert Lewandowski are venerable locks, some of the more intriguing selections will be the likes of RB Leipzig’s Naby Keita and Napoli’s Dries Mertens getting the best cards they've ever received in any edition of FIFA Ultimate Team.
Whether you're a casual FIFA player new to FUT or a hardcore Ultimate Team enthusiast alike, there's a ton of ground to cover. Let's start with the basics:
What is FIFA Ultimate Team?
Ultimate Team is the FIFA video game series' most popular mode. It's part FIFA-powered fantasy football, part football card collecting. Essentially you buy individual player cards or open packs of cards in an effort to assemble the best team possible. Player in-game ratings and performances are amplified by creating lineups of players of the same nationality, league, and/or club.
Like many of the more played games these days, the game-within-a-game is essentially a "freemium model". It's possible to play hundreds of games without ever spending a dime and amass a pretty respectable team, but if you want to really boost your chances of a true super team, you'll have to spend real money to buy in-game currency.
What can you buy with the in-game currency?
FIFA points, which come in denominations ranging from 100 (£.79 or $.99 US) to 12,000 (£79.99 or $99.99 US), can be used to purchase an assortment of packs of player cards, in-game items and various consumables. In-game items range from kits/uniforms to stadiums while consumables allow you to increase the number of games you can play with your player cards or to recharge their fitness levels.
There are now more than two dozen known pack types with a minimum of six base variety packs available at any time. During big events like Team of the Season, limited edition/count restricted additional variety of packs are usually made available. There are also "Lighting Rounds", where better packs are available on a first come-first serve basis.
I'm not trying to spend money. Can I still have a good time?
Sure. If you love playing FIFA, it's extremely possible to grind your way to a good team. It's going to take time and patience to build a competitive one, though. And you're less likely to ever have a superteam if you don't open up your wallet.
Should I open packs? And if so, which should I open?
I'm personally of the opinion the ROI on spending coins, the other form of in-game currency in the game which can't be purchased, to buy packs is too low to make it worthwhile. If you're not willing to buy FIFA points to open packs, your best bet is to use the coins you accrue from playing games to invest in Squad Building Challenges — a new game mode in FIFA 17 that lets you permanently trade in players for packs or untradeable players — and/or buy players on the transfer market.
If you're going to spend money at all, the Rare Players Packs (aka 50K packs), Jumbo Rare Players Packs (aka 100k packs), and Ultimate Packs (aka 125k packs) give you the highest odds of pulling the best possible players. They are not coincidentally three of the most expensive packs you can buy.
Can I get one of those super charged cards just by playing games?
Yup. Just like last year’s TOTS, the FIFA team are offering special Daily Knockout Tournaments which if you win results in an untradeable blue card as the prize. As these prizes are untradeable, whatever cards you get will either be part of your team forever or you'll have to discard them for no coins. These start for select leagues on Tuesdays for the duration of Team of the Season.
As mentioned, this year’s game also introduced Squad Building Challenges (aka SBCs) which give you a pack with a shot at (or perhaps even a guaranteed) Team of the Season card. Each Tuesday, you’ll have 72 hours to knockout a Bonus Reward SBC. The more of them you do, the bigger the prize. If you successfully do all the Bonus SBCs, you’ll get a pack containing a guaranteed TOTS player. If you’re eligible for a TOTS Bonus SBC Reward, you’ll receive it on June 28, 2017.
Here are the prizes based on how many Bonus SBCs you complete:
- 2 TOTS Bonus SBCs – Mega Pack (untradeable)
- 3 TOTS Bonus SBCs – Prime Gold Players Pack (untradeable)
- 4 TOTS Bonus SBCs – Rare Players Pack (untradeable)
- 5 TOTS Bonus SBCs – Jumbo Rare Players Pack (untradeable)
- 6 TOTS Bonus SBCs – Ultimate Pack that includes a guaranteed TOTS Player (untradeable)
Forewarning: the prices to do these aren’t always trivial. You’ll likely have to really be willing to put some game-time in to accrue the coins necessary to buy the players to trade in as part of the SBC.
How does Team of the Season (TOTS) work exactly?
Each week, one or more team of 23 players representing the best from a particular league or geographic region will be released into packs. When those special cards are in packs, they replace the ordinary (or non-in form) version of those player cards. When La Liga Santander, the biggest and best league in Spain, has their TOTS in packs, for example, you won't be able to pack pull the ordinary 93-rated Messi. Instead, only his blue higher rated card will be available in packs.
How long are those special TOTS cards in pack?
For the biggest leagues, usually a full week. For some of the smaller ones (the lower level English clubs, for example), typically only three days.
What dates do each of the TOTS come out?
This season represents the second year in a row the big leagues will be released each Friday, beginning with the Team of the Season Most Consistent Without an Inform, a collection of players who have been consistently outstanding in real life but haven't been a part of any of FIFA's Teams of the Week in the last league calendar year.
Assuming all last year's teams are both the same ones released and in the same order, here's the releases to expect:
In packs: May 12, 2017
In packs: May 16, 2017
In packs: May 19, 2017
In packs: May 23, 2017
In packs: May 26, 2017
In packs: May 30, 2017
Ligue 1 Team of the Season
Projected available in packs: June 2, 2017
Portuguese Liga NOS Team of the Season
Projected available in packs: June 6, 2017
La Liga Santander Team of the Season
Projected available in packs: June 9, 2017
Latin America All-Star/Russian Premier League Team of the Season
Projected available in packs: June 13, 2017
Serie A Team of the Season
Projected available in packs: June 16, 2017
Rest of the World Team of the Season
Projected available in packs: June 20, 2017
EASFC Team of the Season (best of all the leagues)
Projected available in packs: June 23, 2017
Is there anything new this year with respect to the league TOTS?
The biggest change we know for sure is that for the first time ever, fans will be able to help determine 11 of the 24 Bundesliga Team of the Season players. You can vote for those from a select list of candidates here.
When is the best time to open packs to maximize my chance of getting a special blue Team of the Season card?
It really depends. What league does your favorite team play in? Which is your favorite league to watch? Which league are the majority of your FUT team's players from?
Those are all questions to factor into your pack opening calculus.
Are there any other ways to get blue TOTS cards?
You could play FUT Draft. Introduced this FIFA, FUT Draft lets you spend a 15,000 coin or 300 FIFA Point buy-in to draft your own team from scratch and play through a one-off tournament online or against the computer for prizes. The online prizes predictably are better.
If you lose in the first round, you'll roughly get a FIFA Point equivalence of your entry fee. For each subsequent win, however, up to a maximum of four, your prizes get better and better.
If you want to spend money, play with some outstanding players (including Team of the Season players) you might not be able to afford otherwise and improve your ROI in terms of money spent-to-quality of packs received (especially if you're an experienced FIFA player), FUT Draft might be your cup of tea.
I'm a FUT veteran. What's in for me?
Besides the adrenaline of pulling first-owner blue cards, the FUT team's pulling out all the stops again this year.
In addition to at least 15 different Team of the Season squads, more Squad Building Challenges and possibly never before seen packs could be surfaced.
We know the in-game TOTS themed tournaments with cool rewards (like untradable blue cards and packs) are back. It’ll be interesting to see what all else they unveil this year.