/u/Davelbast, and today I'd like to take you on a trip. Back to a happier time. A time when our win-loss records were still in single digits, our tradepiles were empty, and the thought of getting through a Weekend League was just a distant glimmer in our eyes.
That's right, we're going back to the beginning of FIFA 19. Join me as I take a look back at the evolution of my squads from the very beginning until right this very moment.
Disclaimer: For many of the purchased players, I can't remember their exact prices so I'm using their Futbin prices from around the time I bought them. Some events may also not be in entirely the right order, but I've done my best here.
I, like many others, started my FIFA experience before the game's release, working my way up to ready for launch. There isn't much special about No.1, it's a bog standard PL team but with a twist – in honour of Brexit, I decided to get rid of all those Johnny Foreigners poisoning our league with their superior ability, technical skills and raw flair, and replace them with a fully English squad. Barkley and Wilson have kickstarted my FUT squads for the past few years, and this year was no different.
Serviceable servants, they helped me amass my first load of coins, which helped me to upgrade and take my team in a slightly different direction.
With the introduction of the CSL in this year's iteration, I knew I had to build a team at some point as it contained some of my favourite players from years gone by. Alex Teixeria, Pato, Hulk and Paulinho (who's previous year's Futmas card I still remember fondly) would all be signing for FC Bestia at some point. A full Brazil team would also allow me to integrate Giuliano, who's PTG card in FIFA 18 I had very much enjoyed. Paulinho being 20,000 coins was too much for me to splurge on straight away, so instead I opted for Allan and a chap called Souza who did a surprisingly good job on the defensive side of things. Neto became my first 84+ player to join the team, and was frustratingly inconsistent. Gabriel Paulista, his team and countrymate, was quite the opposite.
A solid team, we continued up the ranks which allowed me to go after my first big player.
I'd very much enjoyed using Anderson Talisca so far, and having played a few draft modes with Pogba in my squad, old Andie reminded me of a Poundland version of the Frenchman. So, when the opportunity arose to bag one of his informs in his release week for around half of what he was going for at the time (around 30k), I jumped at the opportunity. Playing him on the left of my CM meant that he could cut inside and hit those sweet timed finesses to the keeper's far corner. Bakambu and Marquinhos, who I'd both used and enjoyed in years gone by, also joined the team – as did Oscar, who I trialled for a few games before reverting bad to Giuliano.
As we were a few weeks in at this point and player prices were dropping, I thought it would be ok to start buying mid-tier BPL players, and buy I did.
Enter Fred and Felipe Anderson. I had played against these monsters numerous times, and numerous times I had been left dumbfounded by their seemingly broken cards. I had a few coins at the time, so decided to drop a cool 25,000 apiece (!!!!!) on both of them. Curiously, Paulinho, who was around 10k cheaper, was still not an option for me. Fred was like a Brazilian Kante, marauding round the pitch and nipping away at tackles until he got the ball, while Felipe Anderson's pace and skills made him a formidable winger for FC Bestia. After packing UCL David Neres in a CL player pack, and hearing how '4321 was the new meta', I decided to change my formation up slightly and give it a go.
The formation worked enough, and I could see its benefits in the current system over my old 41212(2), but the players weren't cutting the mustard for me. I'd started to lose quite a few games – at one point, I recall going on a loss streak which lasted nearly a full week and led to me selling my entire team before the next set of rewards came out. My rivals rewards had been pretty rubbish up to that point, and a lot of my coins were going on squad fitness cards, but that was all due to change.
Unpopular opinion time: Pre-patch, Toni Kroos was the most OP card I'd ever used. Playing him on the right of my CM meant that he could cut inside and hit those sweet timed finesses to the keeper's far corner. And boy did he hit. His
goalscoring record (apologies for the unnaturally miserable quality) is yet to be beaten by any other from midfield, and his historical stats outperform some of my current players. I packed him as an untradeable reward and instantly knew that he was the man to build my new team around. Quincy Promes, who I had always fancied using but had always been in a rubbish league, had been given a fancy One To Watch card in honour of his Sevilla transfer, and like a small bird to a piece of tinfoil in the morning sunlight, I was instantly attracted. Players returning from fun spells in previous years included Ben Yedder, Meunier (again, shoutout to his Futmas 18 card), and Thauvin.
I had found my groove again, and after learning that I was due to be made redundant at work, I began opening the Web App up at work and trading during the day. What were they gonna do, sack me?
You can see the beginning of my journey into trading here. No significant changes, although I could now afford some of the more marquee players. In-form Ben Yedder (around 100,000) and Casemiro (~60,000) showed that I was starting to get the hang around the little-known Buy Low, Sell High trading technique. It was around this time that I lost my job, and to console myself for losing my job after just buying my first property, I threw myself into trading (whilst occasionally looking for a new job).
And boy, did I trade. Before long, I had made my first million and that allowed me to tick off one of my long-standing FUT goals: buy an icon. The one who ticked off my desired boxes (fast, good finishing, good weak foot, aerial threat) was 87 Hernan Crespo, who I instantly fell in love with. I also bought IF Mbappe, who, along with Crespo and new additions Varane and Alba, cost somewhere in the region of 1.85 million coins. My Weekend League rewards were very kind as well at this point, with notable pulls including Kroos (again), Buffon and Kante tradeable from weekly free packs, as well as Sergio Ramos and Courtois as untradeable rewards in consecutive weeks. Kroos was still banging in the goals for me, and I let whoever would listen know how good he was.
I don't know, something just wasn't feeling right about my team. There wasn't enough presence in midfield, and it often felt like play just skipped past them. It was time for another change.
My new job meant that I could work from home, and that, coupled with an ankle break that just wasn't healing how it should've, left me in the house for very extended periods of time.
For no other reason than thinking it'd look good linked to Kroos, I decided to do the Bundesliga SBC with the intention of getting a nice, purple Gnabry into that LF position. Hopefully, I could use him to cut inside and hit those sweet timed finesses to the keeper's far corner. I decided to drop Ramos and try out having a left footed centre back at left centre back, which honestly made a pretty negligible difference to my gameplay. As well as this, I wanted to keep the right sided French core going, and I replaced Rabiot with Pogba, who was much better at long shots and surprisingly good defensively. To fund the SBC, unfortunately one of my top names had to go out and unfortunately that was Crespo. I never warmed to a 7 chem Griezmann, and knew that something needed to be done to get him up to that
perfect ten. To help my funds, I packed a certain Brazilian from messing around doing the Liga NOS League SBC (which I still haven't completed for the record…)
Not much to say about this one, except that I DROPPED TONI KROOS!!! Kroos always felt like a luxury player for me, and one that I knew wouldn't do me many favours as I reached the higher leagues. As I made my way up to the hallowed turf of Division 3, I knew I needed to compensate for my less than stellar defensive ability. Admittedly, I'd been relying a little too much on my various players' abilities to cut inside and hit those sweet timed finesses to the keeper's far corner, but other players were getting wise and beginning to utilise keeper movement to thwart my preferred method of attack. Keeping the same formation, I stayed defensive and aimed to get my opponents on the counter. I just about stayed in Division 3, but I knew my current team needed a little extra je ne sais quoi.
Renato Sanches' RTTF card seemed like the sort of player who would do well in my team. Well rounded, and with great physical stats, he was a monster on the park for a time, lifting the younger kids up by their ankles and stealing their lunch money from their upturned pockets. I also worked my way up to another icon in my team, managing to snag an 89 Klose on the cheap. I was relegated back down to Division 5, and in a rare moment of clarity, I decided to sell my whole team and
start again immediately take a short break from the game for my own sanity.
Ok, so tin-foil hat time here – I've always thought that the game will juice your packs on your return to entice you into playing it again. Case in point: I sold my team and played with a bog-standard one for a bit, (I didn't log this one, and for the life of me can't remember what it was), and with one of my first packs after avoiding it for a couple weeks this happened. I had always been a fan of Raul, and after reading some of the reviews for his Prime card I knew I had to get him for myself. The story was the same with Henry, and although I couldn't afford his ST card, his LM card was definitely in my price range. The two cards set me back somewhere in the region of 4 million coins, and before long my winning games were followed by polite messages enquiring just how much of daddy's finances I had wasted on this precious game.
Unfortunately, those messages were few and far between – my Weekend League performance dipped from Gold to Silver, and I was relegated down to Division 5. Gameplay round about this time was horrendous, the button delay almost driving me to insanity. My loss of form, coupled with the game suddenly running on Windows 95, AS WELL AS my house move finalising, meant that I had no time to play the game I loathed so deeply and I sold my team yet again, ready for a pack suicide around TOTY time. Not one Goldblue player was packed in over 4 million coins' worth of packs (though I did catch an IF Hazard which sold for quite a bit).
Here's a visual representation of how my team looked pretty much from Christmas until last weekend.
And here's how it looks now!
No really, this is my current team. Whilst up until last I could count on one semi-amputated hand the amount of FUT games I've played this year, I have kept more-or-less up to date with the content releases and have 'enjoyed' completing various SBCs, to the point that my current squad only has four tradeable players (De Ligt, Tagliafico, Cruyff and Promes).
There's a Thanos quote in the latest Avengers move which says something along the lines of 'You could not live with your own failure. And where did that lead you? Back to me…' and that could be said for some of this team – three of them I've had since around October-time. I genuinely cannot stay away from Promes – I know there will be better players out there at this stage of the game, but this man has been unreal for me. He's scored some of my favourite goals, has crazy good flair and is even surprisingly good in the air for me.
I still try the odd timed finesse, and luckily my front two are both good enough on their weak feet to cut inside and curl one into the goalkeeper's opposite corner, but that's not the only way I play. Ibra and Cruyff are a deadly duo up top, and my fullbacks overlap beautifully with Best and Promes on the wing to fire lethal crosses into the box.
In the midfield, De Jong is solid whilst Rijkaard teeters between the unplayable and the unwantable depending on what mood he's in. By mistake, I switched formation and Rijkaard was an absolute revelation at CB, so perhaps he'll make a move there in the future (and people say this game is unrealistic!)
What's next for this team, you ask?
Who knows. Ideally, I'd like a Dutch PL TOTS to slot in somewhere, though nowadays I don't have the coins to buy or the time to grind trading up to them. I'm in the middle of upgrading my Best Best to the Even Better Best (still salty about those fucking PIM cards y'know), and I wouldn't turn down a better Cruyff. Futbday Promes will probably make his way into the team at some point, and I'd really like an Eredivise CB and RB TOTs card. Courtois might eventually make way for Van Der Sar, so I can finally complete the idea I had way back in the middle of this month: 'Eredivise Past & Present/Dutch Hybrid (with George Best)'.
I know. Catchy, right?
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