FIFA 21 Ultimate Team guide: 5 things you need to know

FIFA 21 Ultimate Team guide
(Image credit: EA)
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Easily one of the most infamous game modes in history, FIFA Ultimate Team gets a bad rap for its microtransaction-laden framework, but that hasn’t stopped millions of football fans from flocking to it to open packs and build their fantasy squad. 

Regardless of your personal opinion on it, you may be looking for some FIFA 21 Ultimate Team tips to help you settle in with this year’s version of the game mode. 

In this guide, we’re going to dig into the new features that have arrived in 2020, and talk about what you can do to maximize your success in the first few weeks of Ultimate Team, as the transfer market is destabilized and players flock to Squad Battles and Division Rivals to become the ultimate virtual manager. Here are five things you need to know about Ultimate Team in FIFA 21.

Fitness doesn’t matter anymore

Rejoice, fellow Ultimate Team fans! You will no longer have to waste money on Fitness cards to revitalize your players after many matches. This change means that you’ll get more useful items in your packs too. 

Every game starts with all players at 10 fitness, so now the only thing you have to worry about is chemistry and loyalty. Coaching stat items have also been wiped. However, they have been replaced by hordes of stadium cosmetics, so you win some, you lose some.

Buddy up for extra rewards 

FIFA 21’s Ultimate Team features fleshed-out co-op features, allowing you to quickly hop into a game with friends by tapping R2/RT and inviting your mates into a lobby. From there you can play Squad Battles, Division Rivals and Friendlies with friends and unlock special objectives that will help both players in the early stages of the game. 

Find your division via Squad Battles

This year you also don’t need to go up against those launch day pack-happy cash-flashers with 90+ rated teams if you don’t want to. You can now use Squad Battles to find your division instead, facing off against the AI to find an aggregate of your Division Rivals skill level which will likely be a more accurate representation of your ability, especially if you’re not dropping top dollar to get the most powerful players at launch.  

FIFA 21 Ultimate Team guide

(Image credit: EA)

Complete Squad Building Challenges in your downtime

Squad building challenges are one of the most fun modern innovations of Ultimate Team — they’re basically puzzles where you have to build teams with certain defined criteria to trade them in for better players and packs. But don’t spend all your in-game time on SBCs. 

Download the mobile app or head to the web app to complete them in your downtime. In some cases, it's even more intuitive on mobile, so take advantage of that and spend your time in-game actually playing football and making trades.

Watch your objectives

And of course, it’s always useful to check in on your objectives between each match to find out how you can adapt your in-game tactics to give yourself an XP boost and some potential rewards. Try spreading yourself across all game modes at first to get a good range of criteria completed, and keep checking your season progress to find out whether you’re ready to pick up free packs. 

Jordan Oloman

Jordan Oloman is a journalist and documentarian with experience across the pop culture/tech spectrum writing reported features, reviews. news, guides, op-eds and more for a wide variety of outlets. He is also an affiliate streamer on Twitch and have previous experience in scriptwriting, podcasting, game consultation and creating video content.