FUT Champions (better known as ‘FUT Champs’) is one of the more recent additions to the FIFA world, and it definitely has a learning curve
The gameplay feels a bit more tuned down to make for slower paced contests, and its highly competitive environment can mean that certain cards are just unusable. And when it comes to game-style, tactics that work in other, less competitive modes like Squad Battles and Division Rivals won’t work either. Even the mental side of you, the player, comes into far bigger of an effect due to FUT Champs’ incredibly high stakes (or about as high stakes as non-eSports virtual football can get).
That’s where I come in. I’m here to give you the best FUT Champs tips that I have acquired through multiple years of play. I believe these tips will help any player, from those struggling in silver, to players who can’t quite reach that elusive Elite rank. Combining these tips with your favourite cards and play-style gives you a great chance at doing so.
Don’t Over-Commit on Defence
It may seem like a simple tip, but you’d be surprised how common I see people break it.
When most players will be using forwards with 90+ pace, one bad move in your defence can be the difference between winning and losing. When it comes to tactics, I’d suggest starting with your entire defence (including fullbacks), and central midfielders all set to these instructions:
- Defensive Behaviour: Balanced Defense
- Attacking Support: Stay Back While Attacking
- Interceptions: Normal Interceptions
- Defensive Position: Cover Wing
This means that you’ll have enough defensive cover for any counter attack, and will be able to play the ball out from the back with your midfielders when you win the ball. Stay back while attacking is the key instruction here, as you don’t want your defensive midfielders bombing forward and leaving you exposed.
In general gameplay, over-commiting on a winger trying to get past your fullback, or a striker running straight at your centre-backs, is a death sentence. Instead, try holding L2/LT to jockey the attacker, and wait for the perfect time to step in and get the ball. This is especially helpful when you face an opponent with 4-5 star skillers in every position. Gambling on an interception is extremely high risk, and while it can result in a goal if you get it right, it more often than not won’t. Save your crazy slide tackles for the 90th minute when you’re down 2-1.
Use Agile Dribbling (A Lot)
One of the new mechanics in FIFA 21, agile dribbling is an incredible (and relatively easy) way to break down defences.
By holding R1/RB, every player in the game enters agile dribbling mode, where they take quick touches and feints to move through small spaces. Obviously, agile dribbling is best used with players that have high balance, dribbling and agility stats. For example, I love using agile dribbling with Ansu Fati or Riyad Mahrez, and I find it is often the best way to get around pesky defenders. In the video below, EA showcase how exactly it works.
But don’t be afraid to use it with midfielders or even defenders to break between the lines. Agile dribbling is a tool you should be using frequently if you want to win consistently on FUT Champs.
Go Around the Keeper in 1 v 1 Situations
Taking your chances when they arise is absolutely crucial. While just smacking the ball or finessing it around the goalkeeper does work, I’ll outline a couple of methods that, when executed properly, are almost impossible to not score with.
First, is a fake shot. For the uninitiated, quickly pressing O and X (B and A on Xbox) does a fake shot, and keepers in FIFA 21 struggle with these immensely. If your forwards have great pace stats, the best way to get around keepers is to fake shot to either side, when you’re about 1-2 metres away from the keeper. The keeper will then dive at your feet, missing the ball completely. Then, you either have an easy tap in, or even a penalty if the keeper trips your feet.
Secondly is the ball roll. When you are 1-2 metres away from the keeper, hold the right stick left or right (relative to player position) to ball roll past them and smack in an easy goal. This is perhaps more consistent than the fake shot method, but with practice, both are far more reliable than just going for a basic finesse or power shot.
Trigger Runs from the CPU
This is an often under-utilised feature that will add another dimension to your attack.
When you have the ball, pressing L1/LB will trigger a run from your nearest CPU player. It is such a simple thing to do, but its useful in so many situations. For one, you might be running down the wing but notice your midfielder’s are stagnant. Triggering a run there will open up space for your winger or potentially a through ball in behind. It’s also great for breaking down those annoying 1-depth drop back players. You can also call a man to come short with R1/RB, and even aim the run with a flick of the right stick.
We need all the help we can get against highly defensive players, and manually controlled runs are a perfect way to destroy a defence.
Taking a detour from gameplay tips, this is probably the most important out of the lot.
The mental game of FUT Champs is as much of a challenge as the actual virtual football games themselves. FUT Champs is, more often than not for most players, extremely stressful and mentally taxing. It sounds ridiculous for people who don’t play the mode, but fellow players will definitely agree.
That’s why it is so important to take breaks after a loss. Losing a game in any way will lead you to make silly errors and mistakes in an attempt to make up for the previous game, and losing 2 in a row can quickly spiral into a loss streak. You don’t want brain fades to make you miss out on those juicy TOTW red picks, after all. Instead, just take a break after a loss, and come back with a refreshed mindset. It’s only FIFA, after all, not the Champions League final.