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FIFA 18: Essential Tips and Tricks from The Real Experts

“I feel an endless need to learn, to improve, to evolve, not only to please the coach and the fans, but also to feel satisfied with myself. It is my conviction that there are no limits to learning, and that it can never stop, no matter what our age.” The above words come not from Albert Camus, but fellow philosophical thinker Cristiano Ronaldo. And while he’s clearly talking about real football, they can surely be applied to the game on whose cover he currently resides: FIFA 18.

Us journos can give you our expert advice, but even we can’t match the millions of hours clocked up by its collective fanbase every month – unless Doc Brown really does invent a time machine and deliver it to GR+ Towers in the next, ooh, seven minutes. Here, then, are the best fan tips garnered from across the net, all thoroughly tested by yours truly and already transforming my experience of the game.

Finding dribbling tough? Stick with it

Despite clocking up nearly 700 games in FIFA 17, the weakest part of my game remains dribbling – my right stick skills on the digital pitch are about as effective as my Messi impersonations on the real one.

A lifeline on this front has been Operation Sports, where users have shared a variety of useful tips, ranging from noob-friendly to advanced. Take this one from Kenn5373: “The most simple skill move which is very effective is the ball roll. Just flick the right stick in the opposite direction of where the ball is on your foot. I've blown past multiple defenders in the box just by using that move alone. It's also a 2-star skill move, so just about everyone can do it.”

“I think the easiest and most overpowered skill move is the fake + change direction,” adds Unitedred. “Flick the right stick to one direction and move in the other direction. The player doesn't need a high skill rating to pull off this move. It can be used either in the midfield or on the wing.”

“If you have a 4+ star skill player, use the Berba spin (flick right stick forward and then flick to the side you want to go to),” he continues. “It's one of the most overpowered and overused moves among top players on FUT. It's also really effective against the CPU.”

Final word in this department goes to AirForbes1. “The two most useful skill moves against the AI are as follows,” he says. “Body feint: flick the RS to the left or right of your players, then use the left stick to exit [in a specific direction]. Keep the exit direction under 90 degrees and you'll keep your speed up. And step over: quarter rotation of the RS, from the front, to left or right. Exit with the LS in the other direction, and keep this under 90 degrees.”

The Chemistry lesson everyone needs

Chemistry is the gel which holds every Ultimate Team line-up together. Yet despite its status as the most popular mode in sports gaming, few players grasp its deeper nuances. For instance, did you know you can change your formation within seconds of kick-off and not suffer any punishment from a Chemistry perspective? EA themselves admitted as much after the release of FIFA 17: “The first point to keep in mind is that the effects of Chemistry are applied to players at the start of the game. These effects are governed by a combination of Team Chemistry and Individual Player.”

One way you can use this to your advantage is by switching full backs to central midfield – a conversion Phil Neville and Philippe Lahm made successfully in real life during the twilight of their careers. “Guys like Marcelo are great at CM,” writes RealPeterParker on Reddit. “I start the game on a 433(2), with Marcelo and Carvajal as my full-backs, and two poor midfielders just for chem. Immediately after the match starts] change to a 41212 narrow, sub the mids for Gaya and Pereira, them put Carvajal at CDM and Marcelo at left CM. Who needs Kante and Pogba when you have these?”

Ricardo Pereira, Joshua Kimmich and Thomas Meunier – all right-backs with in-form cards available – are also recommended for the same early-match position change on the same thread.

Before tinkering, note that subs do incur something of a chemistry cost, so in the above example Gaya and Pereira won’t perform to their maximum ability. This is also explained by EA in the post above: “Whilst substitutes benefit from being in a team with high Chemistry, they won’t receive the effects of Individual Player Chemistry.” That means their Chemistry upon introduction will range between 5 and 6.25, even if the player they replace has a 10 Chemistry rating.
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