Because even the worst promotions have some hidden gems...
Welcome back to Three of the Best, a series here on Doublejump where we take a look at FIFA 22 Ultimate Team’s major promotions and list some of the cards that you might have overlooked. A couple of notes about the series before we get started:
We will be focusing on cheaper cards. It’s obvious that any new version of Neymar or Kylian Mbappe is going to be worth the coins, so there’s no point saying it again;
We’re avoiding any cards that are only available for a limited time (namely SBC and Objective cards) since we want this series to be as relevant now as it is in June; and
We’ll also typically wait to release these articles until after the promotion, given EA’s penchant for a “mini-release” this season.
With all of that out of the way, let’s dive in!
In theory, FIFA 22 Ultimate Team’s early-December themed promotion, FUT Versus, was actually a pretty good idea: to “celebrate the opposing forces in football”, each player involved in the promo would have a Versus Fire and Versus Ice card released, with “two contrasting playing styles…which give each FUT Versus player two unique permanent upgrades and item designs.”
In practice, unfortunately, the promo was a bit of a flop. EA’s marketing had players believing that they would see, for instance, one version of Marcus Rashford who’d be at home as a box-to-box midfielder or even a full-back and one that looked like a super-juiced centre-forward, but what they got instead is two cards with… Very similar stats. There are differences in the two cards’ Dribbling (90 for Fire, 87 for Ice) and Physicality (80 for Fire, 93 for Ice) stats, but those differences are so negligible that there’s genuinely no real reason to spend the extra 100,000 coins on the Fire version over the Ice version. There are some cards with more significant statistical differences, but even then, their play styles aren’t radically different. It’s been a bit of a disappointment.
With that being said, even the worst FIFA Ultimate Team promos over the years have had a couple of highlights, and FUT Versus is no exception. Here are the three cards you can’t afford to miss if you’re looking to upgrade their positions!
Versus Fire Kevin Mbabu (RB, Switzerland, Bundesliga — Wolfsburg)
Ever since he became a Gold card in FIFA 19 (though his chemistry links in FIFA 19 weren’t the best), Switzerland’s dreadlocked right-back has stood out as a “starter” type card that can actually stay relevant into the New Year. Mbabu’s combination of Pace and Physicality, along with his 6’0” height, have made him not only a top-tier full-back, but a top-tier centre back for those who like to experiment with position changes. His biggest drawback has always been in his actual Defending stats: his somewhat-average tackling and defensive positioning have left him susceptible to unnecessary fouls and occasional lapses in judgment.
This Versus Fire card boasts a +10 upgrade to Mbabu’s Defending, bringing him up to a respectable 84 — with 85 Defensive Awareness, 86 Standing Tackle and 91 Sliding Tackle — that you can boost even further with an Anchor chemistry style (and further still with a Shadow if you’re happy with his 84 Physicality). It’s right in line with the best non-Icon full-backs in the game, with the added bonus of being able to switch into the centre-back position and still hold his own. His Interceptions are still on the lower side at 79, but the chemistry styles can bring that up significantly.
There are definitely other options in the Bundesliga when it comes to the right-back position, namely Mbabu’s Versus Ice version or Nordi Mukiele’s Road to the Knockouts version, but neither of those are as complete a defender as this version of Mbabu. His Ice version loses out on some Defending stats, bringing them down into mediocre territory, while Mukiele is comparable (especially at only 40,000 coins) but suffers in important areas like Stamina, Agility and Balance. Mbabu is the most complete option at the position for now, and one that you should definitely consider.
Versus Ice Alexis Claude-Maurice (CAM, France, Ligue 1 — OGC Nice)
Price: 35,500 (PS5) Best Position: CAM (Central or Wide), CM, LB/RB Chemistry Style: Deadeye, Marksman, Powerhouse
Alexis Claude-Maurice came straight out of absolutely nowhere on FIFA 21, with his second in-form card garnering rave reviews despite being released more than halfway through the game cycle. That card boasted a blistering 97 Pace (featuring 99 Acceleration) along with good-enough Passing and Dribbling stats to become a fantastic cheap super-sub upon release in April, so fans naturally salivated when they saw the upgrades EA SPORTS applied to his Fire and Ice versions on FIFA 22.
You don’t need to dig too deep to see exactly why the nimble Frenchman has shown up on this list: without a chemistry style applied, he’s 80+ rated in every position except for centre-back, and with Basic, he’s 81+ in every position on the field. I’ve chosen the Versus Ice version for this list predominantly because the additional Defending stats — namely the +5 Interceptions over the Fire card — make him equally at home as an attacking full-back; you could just as easily use the Fire card, but he wouldn’t be as versatile. The glaring weakness here is that he’s only got a 68 Slide Tackle rating, but that rating’s also the only reason why he only has 80 Defending and not something like 84. If you’re more inclined to put him up forward, a Deadeye chemistry style turns him into an eye-popping 90-rated CAM, while those who choose to run him through the midfield (he’s fantastic as a CM in a narrow 4-1-2-1-2!) will get the best results using a Powerhouse to boost his Defending and Shooting. Alternatively, you can go with a Hunter or Shadow to max out his Pace if you’re so inclined.
Just like his second in-form in FIFA 21, Claude-Maurice makes a fantastic option as a substitute in FIFA 22 because of his incredible versatility, but he can easily slot in as a cheap option for your starting XI as well.
Versus Ice Adama Traore (RW, Spain, Premier League — Wolves)
Price: 169,000 (PS5) Best Position: ST, LW Chemistry Style: Deadeye
Until recently, I genuinely enjoyed seeing my opponents bring Adama Traore in off the bench expecting him to produce the miracles he produces in real life — he’s fast and a great dribbler, but his base card’s Shooting stats are so pitiful that I’m not scared of him in the slightest. This Versus Ice card has completely changed that, and the fact that he’ll only set you back 169,000 coins is genuinely panic-inducing. Bringing his shooting up to 83 means that he’s going to bury the vast majority of the chances you create for him, and when you consider his 98 Pace and ludicrous 96 Strength… Let’s just say you’re going to have a really, really easy time creating chances for him to bury.
Traore’s nearly-maxed Pace stat and 91 Dribbling (weighed down by 70 Reactions) are a huge bonus in and of themselves as well, because it means you can focus on using chemistry styles to boost his Shooting into elite territory: Deadeye brings him up to a frightening 90 Shooting, with 93 Finishing and 99 Shot Power, as well as a respectable 84 Passing for when he needs help getting the job done. Did I mention that he’s also got 96 Strength? This man could bully Superman into submission, let alone Marquinhos or Raphael Varane.
I’ve recommended playing him as a left-winger due to his one and only real weakness: he has a two-star Weak Foot rating (I’m surprised that EA didn’t upgrade that to four for the promo), which means you’re not going to be too much of a threat unless you’ve got him on his right foot. He’s also going to be a fantastic striker with his size and brute strength, so you really can’t go wrong.