Ultimate Team is a misnomer
The first trick to FIFA 15: Ultimate Team is in the name. You might think this is about building the best team possible and then wrecking the world with them. Not so fast, my friend. The game will give you some solid players to build a competent squad early on, but it takes its time to introduce the contracts feature, which makes players a ticking time bomb and a resource to be managed.
Each match you play counts down the number of contracts on a player, and then they’re unusable unless or until you use a contract consumable on them. As such, using your silver and gold players early on is a pathway to the doom of your wallet. As such, your goal needs to not be to build the ultimate team in that you’re building the best team in the universe, but that you’re building the ultimate team for the task ahead of you.
Win with the worst team you can contend with.
Quite simply, you want to run out there with not the best squad, but the squad that fits the lowest classification for as long as possible. This means using bronze players while they’re cheap and effective. In general, based on the difficulty level, you can play well below the computer’s team rating. Novice difficulty is playing soccer against an elementary school team. Amateur is only really slightly better. The AI only really starts picking up in competence once you get to Semi-Pro, and I recommend playing on that whenever possible at least. But whenever you have an easier match? Run out the scrubs and reserves! The higher the difficulty, the less gap you have depending on your skills.
Top-flight, 4 star or above teams, start to get to the point where they’re so physically dominant that unless you’re a FIFA expert, you’re probably going to get manhandled by them if you run a weaker squad out, no matter what. They’ll win more 50/50 balls, get more corners, breakaways, everything, to the point that it’s ridiculous. It will take some feel to know how bad of a team you can roll out there, but you’ll start to get a hang of it. But use your best team as a limited supply of bullets that you only bring out in the most important circumstances. Bronze players are cheap and replaceable, if you can win with them you can save a lot of coins.
Use multiple squads and the squad builder.
Thankfully, you don’t have to build your team every single time you take on a match for different quality opponents. You can have multiple squads, and I generally like to have a squad with just bronze players, silver and bronze players, and then a gold-quality team. You can use the team builder to make this process a lot easier, but I generally recommend going in and playing around with the roster additionally beyond that. You might want to switch around your bench and reserves so that you’re not wasting contracts on players just sitting around. As well, I recommend playing around with different formations.
Sometimes you might get a squad with a higher rating and/or chemistry if you build it to different formations. If you’re a junkie of the sport, you’ll know what each means, but if you’re a more casual fan, I’d say to go with the formation that makes for the strongest team. As well, while it may come at a chemistry deficit, sometimes it’s worth switching out weak players at a specific position with stronger players who, are, say, midfielders, but don’t play CAM position. In general, I’d say that you ideally want to run the most physically capable squad out there.
Remember, you can’t buy coins, so everything is earnable through playing
Don’t spend your coins all willy-nilly, as the only way to get them is to play matches and sell items. It helps keep the economy of the game in order since you can’t directly just effortlessly buy coins and wreck the transfer market. If you’re smart and handle your money wisely, you can buy more valuable card packs instead of spending money on dinky lower-tier packs. And remember: every card pack (the exception being that limited-time RED pack) can be bought with coins.
So don’t be afraid to grind coins with bad teams if you ever find yourself short. You get coins even from losses, so every match has a reward – but optimizing your rewards is key. There are many objectives where the reward is fewer coins than it would cost to buy the item that would trigger the objective’s reward. If you complete it naturally, then that’s fine and dandy. If not, then, you can get small rewards easily.
With your good teams, avoid playing matches without a greater reward.
Quick games, team of the week matches, these can be fun, but confer no greater rewards. Spend your time in seasons and tournaments. Online play is an especially egregious risk. Remember that you’re going to be going up against people on cellular and wi-fi connections that aren’t always stable, and your connection can have issues! These games are incredibly risky to play, even though there are rewards to be had.
Additionally, the people who are playing in these matches are generally way too good, so unless you’re extremely competent at FIFA, I’d just stay away. Tournaments can be risky as you don’t win the prize unless you win the whole thing, but they can often have extremely valuable prizes.
The transfer market is a great way to earn and save money.
Exactly what it says on the tin. Packs come with a lot of players and items. Many them are worthless and disposable, but it’s often quite possible to profit off of packs. You can do so by selling items and players you don’t need from your club, which even for low-level bronze players, is an option. After all, there’s times when someone’s gonna want low-level filler, and if you can pick up a cheap option, hey, good for you. Silver and gold players will often go for a lot more, but you can nab some real bargains.
You will often find good silver and gold players selling for very cheap, as some people will just quickly auction off players without really knowing or researching their values. They’ll go quick, so if you see a good bargain, bid or buy now right when you see it. As well, always have as many transfer auction slots going as possible, you never know when something will wind up selling, and there’s no reason for you to just have items you won’t really use sitting around in your club!
How you play the game itself can affect your riches.
We’ve talked a lot about the structure of the Ultimate Team meta-game, but the settings of the game itself are important, too!
This is all a matter of personal preference when playing, but experiment with camera angles beyond just the default angle. The problem with this is that aiming shots doesn’t work in the same way as passes, where pointing in a direction will aim the pass in that direction. For shots, it’s the spot of the goal that you’re aiming for. As such, you’ll fire a lot of shots to the left or right of the goal depending on which direction you’re going in a side-angle camera. The end to end camera does a better job at allowing you to aim shots all over the net, but I find that going north seems to provide a greater view of the field than going south. The Sensible Soccer top-down view helps out a lot with this, but you get such a bad clue as to what the height of the ball is. Spend a lot of your early, easy matches playing around with camera angles and even the height/zoom settings. The camera that lets you most easily pull off passes, see opportunities, and score goals will help you get the gold you need to not have to buy FIFA points.