FIFA 21 Ultimate Team basics: Here’s everything you need to get started for the first time

FIFA 21 Ultimate Team
(Image credit: EA Sports)

Navigating FIFA 21 Ultimate Team for the first time can be tricky. 

There are a ton of new concepts to learn as well as a bunch of new players to try out which can be rather overwhelming, but if you put in a little bit of effort into learning the game’s in and outs, you’ll find yourself enjoying Ultimate Team to the fullest in no time.

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On that note, here’s a comprehensive guide to get you started in Ultimate Team.

What are chemistry styles and how do they work?

FIFA 21

(Image credit: EA Sports)

Unlike other game modes in FIFA, Ultimate Team allows you to upgrade a player’s stats with something called a chemistry style.

Chemistry styles are a set of items that improve certain stats on a player’s card. They’re akin to “power-ups”, but unlike a typical power-up, chemistry styles aren’t temporary, instead, they have a lasting effect on a player’s stats.

You see, every player has six face stats that dictates their overall ability, namely; Pace, Shooting, Passing, Dribbling, Defending and Physicality.

There are a total of 19 outfield chemistry styles in FIFA 21. Some chemistry styles boost just 2 face stats, while others boost 3.  For instance, a hunter chemistry style offers a +10 boost to a player’s pace and a +7 boost to a player’s shooting (two face stats).

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On the other hand, another chemistry style, like, say, an anchor chem style, offers a +5 boost to a player’s pace, a +7 boost to defending and a +7 boost to physicality (three face stats),

It’s worth noting that, in order to enjoy the full effects of a chemistry style, your team’s chemistry rating has to be 100, and your player’s chemistry rating has to be 10. You can apply a chemistry style on any player regardless of their position, however, certain chemistry styles cannot be applied on outfield players as they are meant for only goalkeepers.

Some chemistry styles are better suited to some positions than others. For example, a hunter chemistry style upgrades pace and shooting, so as you can imagine, a striker would get more use out of it than a centre-back.

You can get chemistry styles by buying them off the transfer market. You can usually get most chemistry styles for around 200 to 1000 coins, however, a shadow chemistry style will set you back by around 2500 coins.

How to build a team

FIFA 21

(Image credit: EA Sports)

Some might argue that assembling a team is the most exciting part of Ultimate Team, after all, unlike other modes, you get to be creative with your squad. However, before you stick Messi and Ronaldo up front, there’s one thing you need to be aware of - chemistry.

Chemistry, to a large extent, governs how well your players perform on the pitch. There are two types of chemistry - team chemistry and player chemistry. The maximum amount of chemistry a team can have is 100, while the maximum amount of chemistry a player can have is 10.

You should strive to get your player and team chemistry levels up to as high as you possibly can(ideally 100), because when your player and team chemistry are low, your players undergo an immediate decline, which can be anywhere from -1 to as low as a - 25 stat reduction, which, as you can imagine, affects the way your team plays.

If you don’t want your players to undergo a massive stat reduction, you need to maintain a high chemistry rating when you’re building a squad - which is pretty easy to do - all you need is to make sure that your players “link” each other, by being from the same league, nation or club.

What do you do with packs?

FIFA 21

(Image credit: EA)

Packs are a key part of the Ultimate Team ecosystem. They offer you a chance to get players, chemistry styles and other FUT items for your team without having to buy them on the transfer market.

However, packs are completely random, meaning, you can never really predict what player (or players) you’re going to receive from a pack. For instance, you could get Lucas Torreira in one pack or receive Cristiano Ronaldo in another. It all depends on how lucky you are,

You can usually get packs by completing objectives and squad building challenges. You can also buy packs with real money in the FUT store.

There two main types of packs - tradeable and untradeable. A tradeable pack is a pack that allows you to sell the items you receive from it on the transfer market, an untradeable pack, on the other hand, doesn’t allow you to sell the players or items you receive.

How do you know you have a good team?

FIFA 21

(Image credit: EA)

The definition of a good team varies, but objectively, a good team is one that has 100 team chemistry and boasts pacey strikers with good shooting stats, fast defenders who also boast immense strength, and midfielders capable of bolstering your attack with good passing and dribbling. 

You can still build an objectively good team without 100 chemistry, but it’s great for your squad to have max chemistry, because of its influence on their squad and ultimately, how they play.

SBC - Squad Building Challenges. (these are puzzle-esque challenges that offer you rewards for submitting a squad in a particular order).

TOTW - Team of the week (This is a team featuring the best performing players of the past game week.)

IF - In-form. ( A player who’s part of the Team of the week receives something known as an in-form card, which is essentially an upgraded version of their normal card, 

NIF - Non-Inform (A regular card)

SIF - second-Inform 

TOTY - Team of the year

TOTS - Team of the season

GG - Good game (It is occasionally said at the end of a game as a show of respect to a formidable opponent)

BIN - Buy  It Now (you will usually hear BIN mentioned in the context of “Bin Price”, “Max Bin” or “Min Bin”. 

Bin price literally translates to “buy it now price”. It means the amount of coins you have to spend to purchase a card immediately.

Max bin means a player’s maximum “buy it now” price while Min bin means a player’s minimum “buy it now” price.

Bid - The FUT transfer market works like an auction. You have the option to either bid on players or buy them immediately. Bidding takes time, but it allows you to get good deals, Buying immediately, on the other hand, is quick, although it can usually be marginally more expensive than launching a bid.

Web App - (An actual web app made exclusively for trading and squad management.)

Companion App - (A mobile app for trading and squad management.)

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Phillip is a football writer from Nigeria. He’s been a football writer since he was 13 and after getting his work featured on various news outlets including the Daily Mirror, Red Bull, Planet Football and Football.London over the years, he has now turned his focus from solely writing about the beautiful game, to covering the not-so-beautiful virtual game of FIFA as a brilliant excuse to spend hours on his Playstation.