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 also 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!
Over the past few years in particular, EA and the FIFA community have fallen in love with the idea of upgradable promo cards, and with great reason: Road to the Finals cards tend to remain solid as long as their teams are winning and Ones to Watch continue to upgrade as they adjust to their new surroundings, but the Headliners promotion is the most intriguing of the group. It’s a promotion where players who’ve burst into the limelight — or already-great players who are having career years — get a card that always stays a step ahead of the player’s best performance-based special card (e.g. Team of the Week or Man of the Match), and also gets an upgrade if the player’s team wins four consecutive league games.
The Headliners promotion has resulted in some seriously good cards at the top end, and it’s historically been one of the more expensive promotions of the year given that many of the best cards in it are in high demand. This year is no exception: even with Team of the Year now available, only ten out of the 22 cards are selling for fewer than 50,000 coins as of this writing, and popular cards like Kylian Mbappe (4.22m), Vinicius Junior (1.47m), Mohamed Salah (1.04m) and Virgil Van Dijk (588k) are selling for exorbitant prices despite boasting pretty minor upgrades over their next performance-based cards. There’s also Seko Fofana, one of the most incredible cards in the game, selling for 882k.
This series covers the less-expensive options in each promotion, though, and there are quite a few great Headliner cards to choose from within the 50-100k price range!
Marcos Acuña (Argentina, LB, LaLiga Santander — Sevilla)
Price: 64,500 (PS5)
Best Position: LB, LM, CM/CDM
Chemistry Style: Anchor, Shadow, Backbone
Marcos Acuña was one of the most popular players among FIFA 21 players and content creators, who eagerly awaited his special cards to see how they’d play when moved into the midfield. This Headliners upgrade, which pushes his Pace up to 86 among other, smaller upgrades, not only makes Acuña extremely viable in the midfield where so many FUT-heads will tell you he belongs, but a pretty damn good option at left-back as well.
Acuña is a near-perfect option for a box-to-box midfielder: his four-star skills, excellent Dribbling and Passing stats make him a great threat as a creator going forward; his 91 Crossing and 92 Curve ensure that he’ll be able to help out with your wing play; and his 85 Defending, 85 Strength and 89 Aggression mean that he’ll always be in the thick of the battle when you don’t have the ball. He’s also got a staggering 95 Stamina, so he’s going to do all of the above and a whole lot more for as long as you need him to. The only real downside is that he’s going find himself in fantastic scoring positions quite frequently but he’s only got 69 Finishing, so he’s not going to convert on a whole lot of them… That’s what your forwards are for, though.
Pop an Anchor on him and you’ve got a well-rounded attacking full-back or box-to-box centre mid, or a Backbone if you want to create a bulldog of a midfield player who can win the ball and then use it really, really well.
Arthur Theate (Belgium, CB, Serie A — Bologna)
Price: 51,500 (PS5)
Best Position: CB
Chemistry Style: Shadow
Arthur Theate is an absolute monster, and he’s made headlines because he’s having a great season at the age of just 21. Belgium has got a future star for its national team in a position of considerable need, and those FIFA 22players who enjoy using Belgian or Serie A squads have got a truly phenomenal centre-back that they should be able to use well into Team of the Season promotions if they so choose.
Theate is six feet tall, with 85 Pace, 99 Strength and 95 Aggression. His Agility isn’t the best, but he’ll be quick enough to make up ground on even the speediest attackers even without a chemistry style applied and his 85 Reactions mean he’ll be able to follow the play quite well. The other weakness in his card stats is his Interceptions at just 77, but that just means he’s more of a duellist than a defensive playmaker: he won’t be cutting out passing lanes or anything like that, but he’ll definitely beat opponents in the air and on the ground. He’s also got 86 points in Short Passing to help him get the ball out of tight areas, while 83 Jumping and 88 Heading Accuracy make him a viable set-piece threat, and his 96 Shot Power and 80 Long Shots make him a threat when it comes to darting out of the high press and scoring a 30-yard belter.
I recommend applying a Shadow chemistry style to the card, not for the Pace upgrade — although it is quite nice — but for the fact that it’s going to bump his Interceptions to a more respectable 87 while also maxing out his Standing and Sliding Tackle stats.
Luis Diaz (Colombia, LM, Liga Portugal — FC Porto [soon to be Premier League — Liverpool])
Price: 99,000 (PS5)
Best Position: LW, RW, ST
Chemistry Style: Deadeye
Luis Diaz is the latest player to have an outstanding, attention-grabbing season for one of Portugal’s biggest clubs, and his in-form card from Team of the Week 1 was an outstanding substitute for quite a while. This card has upgrades in the right places to make him even more lethal as a spark plug off your bench, but he also stacks up really well against some of the more “meta” starters you’ll find, so he’s a great option if you’re looking for a cheap left-sided player.
Diaz’s key attribute is, unsurprisingly, his Pace. At a balanced 94 Acceleration and 94 Sprint Speed, he’s going to get off the mark quickly but he’ll also reach top speed faster than most of the poor saps trying to defend him, and that top speed will also be quite a bit faster than them too. He’s also got 89 Attack Positioning and 86 Finishing, so he’s going to be a great option inside the box, while 93 Shot Power and 93 Long Shots mean he’s going to be a threat from 30 or even 35 yards. Diaz’s pace gives you the luxury to apply a chemistry style that doesn’t affect his Pace as well; I recommend either Marksman or Finisher if you’re playing him centrally, or Deadeye if he’s playing out wide for you.
The biggest drawback with Diaz, as with a lot of the lesser-hyped cards, is that you might have some trouble getting him into a top-tier squad on full chemistry unless you have a couple of Icons. His transfer to Liverpool should help with that, but that won’t reflect on his Headliners card until either he gets an in-form at his new club, or said club wins four consecutive matches. For the time being, you can easily link him with the Winter Wildcards version of Mehdi Taremi and the Rulebreaker version of Jesus Corona to create a nice front three — then wait for that upgrade and pop him into your Premier League super-team!