FIFA 19 FUT Birthday: What are the best cards and how can you get them?

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Roll out the Cristiano Ronaldo-branded bunting: FIFA 19 mega-mode Ultimate Team just celebrated its tenth birthday. And as inevitably as night follows day and Premier League meta team follows Premier League meta team during your weekend league jaunts, it’s led to a ginormous content drop. New cards, packs, and SBCs all went live at 6pm on Friday 22 March. And now there’s a race to get all the best bits ahead of everyone else.

Finding it a bit overwhelming? Then let GamesRadar do the hard work for you. Below you’ll find a comprehensive guide to FIFA 19 FUT Birthday. Use it in tandem with our FIFA 19 TOTW and FIFA 19 Ultimate Team coins tips to overhaul your squad and save coins in the process. Maybe even consider sticking up some bunting of your own if and when it leads to big-time FIFA 19 weekend league rewards.

What is FIFA 19 FUT Birthday?

Self-explanatory really. It’s an annual event to mark Ultimate Team’s inception, which occurred as DLC for FIFA 09. Back then it cost £7.99 and included the ability to include yourself in a squad as a created player. Below is my review for GR’s sister mag Official PlayStation Magazine UK, penned exactly one decade ago…

How long does FIFA 19 FUT Birthday last?

Ten days. The first batch of content went live at 6pm UK time on Friday 22 March, and new puzzles and challenges will appear at various intervals between that date and 6pm UK time on Monday 1 April.

Which new FIFA 19 FUT Birthday players are available?

FUT Birthday sees 47 different players past and present upgraded and/or given position changes. These are broken down into three categories:

- 30 FUT Birthday players, all with position changes and attribute boosts. 21 are available in packs, with nine more achievable via Squad Building Challenges (SBCs) or gameplay objectives. The full squad is pictured above. Highlights include Gareth Bale (ST, 93), Mo Salah (LB, 90) and Kylian Mbappe (LW, 91). Yes, a left-back Mo Salah. There's also a striker Virgil van Dijk card which is already selling at 615,000 coins. Bonkers.

- 7 FUT Anniversary players, all community favourites from previous editions of FIFA. These are only available through objectives or SBCs. The first released is David Villa (ST, 92).

- 10 Prime Icon Moments players – legends of the game already in FUT but given an additional ratings boost. You can only earn these by completing SBCs. Steven Gerrard (92, CM) is the first confirmed.

How do I complete the in-game FUT birthday challenges?

These are tough, but there are some seriously attractive rewards on offer - such as an 89-rated Zlatan Ibrahimovic CB card! Let's go through them one by one:

- Zlatan Ibrahimovic (CB, 89): win nine online singles matches using a team with 11 MLS players. No Icons, Flashbacks or players from ENG 1, FRA 1, ITA 1, GER 1 and SPA 1 allowed.
- Naldo (CDM, 88): win seven online singles matches without Icons, Flashbacks, and players from ENG 1, ITA 1, GER 1 and SPA 1.
- Gervinho (LW, 87): win eight online singles matches without Icons, Flashbacks, and players from ENG 1, FRA 1, GER 1 and SPA 1.
- Leroy Sane 10-match loan (CAM, 90): assist 10 goals with Premier League players in Squad Battles on Professional difficulty or higher.

Should I do the SBC for 'Player X'?

That all depends on how much you like that player, and what value he brings to your squad.

The best algorithm I’ve found for this came from redditor Imaduckquackk in the build up to December's FIFA 19 Futmas event and is as follows:

1. Do I want this card?

2. Increase its cost by 50%.

3. Name five players you would prefer within this new budget.

4. If you couldn’t answer question 3, complete the SBC.

5. If you could answer question 3, don’t waste your coins.

Point two is especially important. You can find out how much a particular player SBC will cost you over at the excellent Futbin. The reason for doubling this amount is that cards decrease in value naturally over the course of a FIFA season, particularly when a player scores a special TOTW or (later) TOTS card.

How do I get the best cards and packs?

As explained in the FIFA 19 Ultimate Team coins guide mentioned earlier, you should never buy Gold Packs. That even goes for promo events such as this one: as I write there's a limited-time Jumbo Rare Player Pack available for 100,000 coins. Do not go near it, under any circumstances. The chances of you recouping anywhere near 100,000 coins from the 24 players you pack are painfully slim. 

Instead, make the most of the market being flooded with gold cards throughout the FUT Birthday event. Make your own list of transfer targets, and the price you’re willing to pay (or can afford) for each player. Keep tabs on the market and when that player drops within your chosen price range, snap him up. In this way I've built strong squads for every major league in the game, such as the Serie A team pictured above. 

Can I expect any other FUT Birthday goodness?

Yup. The first time you log into the game once FUT Birthday is underway you'll earn an engagement rewards based on how much FIFA 19 you've played so far. It ranges from a custom kit (for 1-8 days play) to an Ultimate Pack (for 163+ days play). As the above image demonstrates, I'm something of an addict…

FIFA 19 is out now. Just starting out on your path to beating the elite? Then guarantee yourself the best FUT Champions rewards using our FIFA 19 weekend league tips.