If we presume that you’ve just started playing Ultimate Team, then right at the start, the first thing you should do before you start building a team is hammer through your Division Rivals placement matches with your starting eleven.
If you’re not so bothered about your rank and would entertain the challenge of climbing the leaderboard, just get them over with as soon as possible to get tens of thousands of coins or a good chunk of packs. Of course, the reward will depend on how well you perform, but you’re in for a healthy amount of currency, even if you lose every match.
With the very basic team you’re given at the start, you’ll also get an honest assessment of your actual FIFA skill without the top-flight players backing you, and the rewards will provide you with enough money and players to build a team that you want to play with, rather than pulling together a haphazard lineup with the limited amount of coins available to you at the start.
In the Objectives tab accessed from the Ultimate Team main menu, you’ll find a section titled ‘Foundations’ that offers tons of tradeable packs and free coin rewards for completing relatively easy objectives. Many of them can be achieved by merely engaging with all of the modes on offer in Ultimate Team. You should finish a few of them just by playing, but check in every once in a while to see what you need to do to wrap this section up, as the packs and coins stack up, and the criteria can be completed with relatively little effort.
From there, you can also check out the Milestones menu, which offers more focused tasks to complete for more lucrative packs and coin rewards. These are far more tricky and can be completed over your career, but knowing what you’re working towards can’t hurt.b
At the start of every week, your Squad Battles matches will reset, and you’ll have a week to complete them to earn points, which will determine the rewards you’ll receive at the end of the week. The best thing to do is beat all of your Squad Battles matches with the best team in your arsenal as soon as they drop. You can even refresh the repeatable matches to earn more to rank up further. Consider notching up the difficulty to get more points, as the rewards do start to scale dramatically at the higher ranks, offering Jumbo Packs and thousands of coins.
The same can be said for the online multiplayer mode Division Rivals. The competition will reset every week, and you’ll have to maintain your rank and score by playing every week. Play until you achieve a decent grade, which will give you enough coins, and you can confirm a substantial amount of income per week, and perhaps a few packs on top of that to boot.
Making money on the transfer market is more complicated than ever in Ultimate Team now that the market is stratified and saturated with Gold cards. You’re going to have to get very lucky to make your money back on packs, so you should think about which players are worthy investments and try to earn enough to hoard a few and resell them to try and sway the market in your favor and make some money.
It’s tough, but thinking psychologically about which players will be in demand is an excellent way to score some coins. If you spot a team of the week player who you think will be more lucrative down the line, then hold onto them and sell when their value spikes.
Keep an eye on the major league tables and fixtures for the week and look into buying and reselling the players who score goals to pre-empt the surge of purchases from football fans. Look at live Squad-Building Challenges too to try and figure out potential solutions and hoard the players you think that others may be looking for. Another age-old tactic is to buy through the week and sell at the weekend when more people will be playing to make your coins go even further.
You may be tempted to discard, quick sell, or even forget about any cards that aren’t players. Still, there is a lot of money to be made beyond the footballers in FIFA 21, especially if you stumble onto a consumable or Stadium piece that is unusual or tied to a club with a decent following.
If you’re a few coins out from the player you need and you start scrambling to sell, take a look at your badges and kits to see if you’ve got something that other players are clamoring for. You’d be surprised at the diamonds you may find in the rough — many in-game kits can sell for thousands of coins just for looking interesting. Chemistry Styles and Position Modifiers are also always worth a few thousand coins to more time-strapped, liquid players looking to deck out their new squad with better attributes.
Jordan Oloman is a freelance writer for IGN. Follow him on Twitter.