FIFA 19 Ultimate Team Preview: Icons, Gameplay and New Features

The demo is out now and the full release of FIFA 19 is fast approaching. There has been a lot of renewed hype around this year’s offering with EA making serious efforts to fix the issues of the previous years. For many the game’s success will be measured by the improvements in FIFA 19 Ultimate Team mode – the mode which is the platform for the game as an esport.

The pro scene looks to be responding positively (Except of course, Kurt04011 but we’ll hear from him later) after big changes to FIFA 19 Ultimate Team – including a brand new game mode that gives you more opportunity to earn rewards and have a shot at the best in the Weekend Leagues. On top of that there is the new batch of ICON cards and this year’s selection look particularly juicy. No doubt we will be seeing some in action at the major tournaments later this year.

So if you have an interest in the professional FIFA scene read on to find out what you can come to expect in the year ahead.

The Cards

FUT Icon Cards

The community is excited for the new ICON cards. (Image: EA Sports)

There has been a lot of excitement around the new ICON cards being released this year. To be honest ICON seems too feeble a word for these guys – this guys are Gods of the game and it’s going to be interesting to see what cards find themselves as part of the meta. We can make an educated guess based on those that have performed well in the past but before that, it’s time to settle an argument. An argument so heated that if the UN had a look at it they’d say “we’re not touching that.” It’s the Lampard vs Gerrard Vs Scholes debate and we’re going to settle it the way all debates should be settled – with FIFA.

Lampard vs Gerrard vs Scholes?

FUT Scholes vs Gerrard Vs Lampard

EA has given the fans what they wanted by adding these three. (Image: EA Sports)

New ICON’s. Old Rivalries. Everyone has their favorite. Everyone’s favorite means they have to hate at least one of the others. It’s a mess but FIFA are weighing in with all three of them as ICON cards so let’s have a look at their prime cards and settle this once and for all.

Scholes edges it in passing with 91 to Gerrard’s 90 and Lampard with 88. Lampard lags behind the players in all the stats and thats why his OVR is “only” 90. He can feel a little hard done by with only 90 shooting considering he was a midfielder who scored more goals than most strikers.

It’s Gerrard that takes the crown, a true all rounder and beating the other two where it matters most in FIFA – Pace and Physicality and that’s why, for now at least, Steven Gerrard is the GOAT. And no it’s not because I’m a huge Liverpool fan and have Stevie G posters on my walls. It’s got absolutely nothing to do with that, it’s about facts…and Istanbul.

Top Picks

The players available this year have us licking our lips so here are a few of our favorites and why were excited to get our hands on them.

FUT Ballack

Ballack was a model of consistency throughout his career. (image: EA Sports)

A man who might have a word to say to the three CM’s we just spoke about. He can shoot, he can pass and his a physical specimen. Will definitely be an option for any FUT player.

FUT Sol Campbell

Sol Campbell comes in pre and post traitor cards. (image: EA Sports)

He might not be the highest rated CB released this year, that honour goes to Franco Baresi(93), but history shows us it might be the Tottenham and Arsenal legend(Ha..) Sol Campbell that finds his way into most sides. Great defensive stats married with blistering speed and built like tank – he looks to be an absolute beast.

FUt Nedved

Nedved was Zidane’s replacement at Juventus. (Image: EA Sports)

A card that has excited many is Czech Republic and Juventus legend – Pavel Nedved. A strong, powerful left mid with a vicious strike and unbelievable free kick. He terrorized defenses for years and it looks like he will be doing so again soon. Interesting to note that the 86 card is faster than the more well rounded prime Nedved. I wouldn’t be surprised to see people plump for that one instead.

Current Pro’s

FIFA Ultimate Team Mbappe

Mbappé continues his rise to the top football. (image: EA Sports)

What about the current players? FIFA have now released the top 100 players. Ronaldo is still at no.1 with 94, followed my Messi and Neymar – so no real surprises there. A player that many will can’t wait to get their hands on is Mbappé, given a big stat boost  this year. That 96 pace is a game changer – expect him to hit 90 OVR throughout the season with special cards.

Division Rivals

FIFA Ultimate Team Division Rivals

Division Rivals is going to give players something to do during the week.

The biggest change to FIFA Ultimate Team is the addition of Division Rivals. This fills a need that the community has long asked for – something to do midweek, between the Weekend League. Division Rivals is like a second-tier Weekend League. A mode where you can test yourself against good players, rank up and earn rewards in Coins, Points and Cards.

It starts with a series of placement matches which will sort you into a Division win games in your division and you will gain Skill Points – the more skills points you earn the higher you will go.

Not only that, as you progress you will earn qualification points that can be used to get into FUT Champions. From there you can begin your path to the top of the game. This addition looks set to add value to the game and a good way to improve your team.

Gameplay

FIFA Ultimate Team Custom Tactics

Custom Tactics will add a new layer of complexity to the game.

Issues with FIFA’s game play have been growing in the past few years. Players felt defending was broken last year. It made more sense to allow your AI to control your CB’s rather than doing it yourself and making a mistake. There were grumbles around the sluggishness in the player animations that resulted in slow attacks. Then of course the kick-off goals. A problem for as long as FIFA has been a thing. It looks like they are still in the game going by the information that came out of the recent Capture Event held in Berlin. Here is Chuboi’s view.

Disclaimer: ChuBoi is very much a part of EA family and any suggestion this will be fixed before launch should be taken with a large pinch of salt.

These problems aside and it must be stated the game is not yet released. There has been a conscious effort on the part of the developers to introduce new game play mechanics. With the intention being to increase the skill gap. There is the timed finish, a skill that while it is not necessary to play the game, will need to be mastered if you want to compete at a high level. Attributes have also been giving a look over with the more subtle one’s being given greater importance. A player with high vision for example will be able to do a no look pass easier than a player with a low vision stat.

Custom tactics has the potential to be a real game changer. EA are trying hard to make more formations and strategies viable. Crossing has a place in this year’s game after being non-existent in ‘18 and the ‘Constant Pressure’ tactic has been mentioned by a number of pro’s as a potential new meta. Hopefully this plays out in the game proper. It would be nice to see the top players having to think of game management and how the other player is approaching the game and adjusting accordingly.

The Last Word

So that’s a look over whats in store at the competitive edge of FIFA 19. If you are desperate to play after reading this, your in luck as the demo dropped today so check out.

We are going to give the final word to the man himself Kurt04011 who has been eerily quiet on Twitter recently. Take it away Kurt!

 

And remember, Esportranks is the best way to find out all the latest FIFA esport news. So make sure to check back with us to keep up to date with what’s going on.