This Ultimate Team guide is about building a “tactically right” balanced team by selecting right players for the right roles.
When I first started Ultimate team I had several questions in my mind, such as: “what formation do I choose?”, “which players do I buy?”, “since there is no custom tactics, which tactics do I play and how?”.
I will try to give an answer for all these questions below.
How To Start Building Your Ultimate Team
So where do you start?
Firstly, you have to determine the ultimate goal of the team.
If it is about getting all 5-stars skill players or a specific club, this guide will be of little help.
If you want to build a balanced competitive team – buckle up, we are on the way!
Secondly, and the most important part is to determine your play style:
- do you love dribbling a lot?
- short or long passing
- crossing or playing into feet?
- attacking or playing defence with counter attacks?
- slow or fast build–up?
- down the flanks or down the middle?
Answers to all these questions will lead you to two key choices – formation and players.
You should always remember that these things are interlinked, specific players fit into specific formations with their specific roles.
Putting wrong player in terms of his profile into a position will hurt your team play.
To proceed, firstly you need to select the right formation for you. I will not dig into the formation selection, since this topic requires a separate article, just some key guidelines:
- Formations with wingers (3-4-3, 4-3-3) will give you width in attack to play direct long balls down the flank, with further option to cross in the box or to cut inside.
- Formations with 5 defenders (5-3-2, 5-2-2-1, 5-2-1-2) good if you like to play defensive and with counter attacks.
- 3 defender formations (3-5-2, 3-4-2-1, 3-4-1-2) perfect if you want to have lot of options in the attack, but require very precise and careful defending.
- Formations with CDM’s and CAM’s (4-2-3-1, 4-2-2-2) nice to have balance between attack and defense.
- Diamond formation (4-1-2-1-2) has great flexibility, but puts pressure on your players in terms of their fitness.
- “Classic” formations (4-4-2, 4-4-1) are a nice choice to have some flexibility in the attack, but require careful selection of CM’s, since there is no dedicated CDM.
Now, after you have picked the formation which you believe is right for you, let’s go to the sweetest part – player selection.
The Ultimate Team Web App for FIFA 13 will be much improved but to select the right players I suggest you use one of the great Ultimate Team databases available (UltimateTeamDB or FUTHEAD) because there is lot of information you need, which is not present in EA’s app.
Firsts thing to do – you have to define a role for each position, and only after that to select the right player with the right profile.
Let’s start with an example:
Let’s image you selected 3-5-2 formation, are planning to play a slow build-up game based on possession and decided to make a Serie A team.
You are thinking who you should put on your left flank in midfield. You have not that many options, we’ll focus on:
Juan Manuel Vargas and Ezequiel Lavezzi
Also there is Eljero Elia, but his profile is similar to Lavezzi (he is just weaker).
Probably the first thing you would think of – Lavezzi is better, he has much higher speed and better dribbling, and even higher overall – what can be more important for a winger?!
(Let’s put price aside for a moment) But let’s look at the player’s profile more precisely:
Lavezzi has High AWR (Attacking Work Rate) and Low DWR (Defensive Work Rate), while Vargas has High AWR and High DWR.
Now we should go back to the player roles, what is the player role you want to give to the LM in your formation?
- If you need a Winger who will drive the attacks down the flank, cut inside using his dribbling and look for the goal, then Lavezzi is the right choice for you, since he will rarely come back defending, and if he does, he just does not possess the necessary skills.
- If you need a box-to-box player, who can both develop attacks from the back and assist the defense in getting the ball from the opposition, then Vargas is the right choice. But the tradeoff is that you unlikely to have him score lot of goals because he does not have dribbling, finishing and speed required to fulfill this task.
You should now do the same exercise for each of your positions, starting with the defense and ending with strikers. Below are the key roles to think of when you are analyzing the position:
Although central back should be a balanced player, especially in 2 CB formations, two roles can be defined:
- Post man. Strong tall defender dedicated to winning aerial battles. Backbone of your defence. (Think of Matts Hummels or Raul Albiol)
- Fast Back. Central back with good pace and strength, whose task is to chase forwards and get the ball away from them. You would put this kind of players as LCB and RCB in 3 defender formations.
(Ivan Cordoba is a good example)
- Wing Back. Player who contributes to the attacks development a lot besides his defensive duties. Crucial skills: Pace, Passing, Defending, High AWR. (Ashley Cole, Philipp Lahm or Fabio Coentrao)
- Full back. Right/Left defender focused solely on defense and preventing the opposition from getting the ball down his flank. Crucial skills: Pace, Defending, High DWR (at least not lower than AWR) (Bacary Sagna, Phil Neville)
- Box-To-Box. Players who eager to participate in attacks as much as defend their own net. Crucial skills: Passing, Shooting, Defending, High AWR, High DWR. (De Rossi, Arturo Vidal)
- Defensive Midfielder. Player focused on protecting their net and retrieving the ball from opposition. Crucial skills: Defending, Tactical Awareness, Strength, High DWR, Medium AWR. (Cambiasso, Sami Khedira)
- Deep Lying Playmaker. Person dedicated to retaining possession and developing the attacks from the deep. Crucial skills: Passing, Ball Control, Vision. (Andrea Pirlo, Mikel Arteta)
- Box-To-Box. Player, who can both develop attacks from the back and assist the defense in getting the ball from opposition. Crucial skills: Passing, Defending, Strength, Tactical Awareness. (Juan Manuel Vargas, Christian Maggio)
- Winger. Player focused on getting the ball down the flank towards the box and making a cross or a pass inside. Crucial skills: Pace, Crossing. (Matthew Etherington, Vladimir Bystrov)
- Inside Midfielder. Strong attacking players, who will often cut inside using their dribbling and threaten the goal with a shot or a short pass. Crucial Skills: Pace, Dribbling, Finishing. (Ezequiel Lavezzi, Pedro)
- Advanced Playmaker. Player dedicated to building up the play up in front. Crucial skills: Passing, Ball Control, Vision, Long Shot (Toni Kroos, Yoann Gourcuff)
- Attacking Midfielder. This player is focused on scoring goals rather than on creating opportunities for his teammates. Crucial skills: Dribbling, Finishing, Long Shot (Kaka, Shinji Kagawa)
- Box-To-Box. Same as before – players roaming from their box to opponent’s both helping out in defense and attack. Crucial Skills: Pace, Passing, Defending, High AWR, High DWR. (Kevin-Prince Boateng, Steven Gerrard)
- Second Striker. Players good at attacking from the deep and creating options for their teammate up in front. Crucial skills: Dribbling, Passing, Finishing. (Alessandro Del Piero, Antonio Cassano)
- Speedsters. Fast players who rely mostly on their blazing speed to create chances. Crucial skills: Pace, Finishing. (Jermain Defoe, Loïc Rémy)
- Target Man. Tall and physically strong forwards, who use their skills to fight for the ball in the air and shove off defenders. Crucial Skills: Heading, Finishing, Strength. (Didier Drogba, Alberto Gilardino)
- Poacher. Strikers who rely on their reaction and positioning to get into the opportunity to score goal. Most of all-round forwards fall into this category. Crucial Skills: Finishing, Positioning, Reactions, Dribbling. (Gonzalo Higuaín, Falcao)
Using this logic to select your team you can create fairly cheap but very competitive team, which will be able to overcome statistically stronger opponents.
It is all about using right players for the right job rather than just hunting for high-overall players.
Good luck on your way to creating your Ultimate Team!
Article by Anatoliy Yakimets.