FIFA 19 Futmas: What is it and how do I get the best cards and packs?

Christmas is a massive deal in FIFA 19 (opens in new tab) Ultimate Team. Each year, EA drops new content on a regular basis throughout the festive period, such as limited-time ‘Lightning Round’ special packs and one-day-only Squad Building Challenges, also known as SBCs. 

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But how exactly can you make the most of all this new stuff without bankrupting your entire club? First, bookmark our comprehensive guide to getting rich with FIFA 19 Ultimate Team coins. Then read on…

What is Futmas?

As the name suggests, Futmas is the now-annual celebration of FIFA Ultimate Team (hence ‘fut’) and Christmas (this part you’ve surely worked out by now). It was first introduced six years ago, ahead of FIFA 13. 

How long does Futmas last?

Seventeen days. It started on Friday 14 December, and runs through to Monday 31 December. 

What type of SBCs are available? 

There are three types of Squad Building Challenges available: Daily Player SBCs, Prime Icon SBCs, and Futmas-themed SBCs.

Three Daily Player SBCs go live every evening at 6pm UK time (1pm Eastern/10am Pacific), and stay available until 5.59pm (12.19 pm Eastern/9.19am Pacific) the following day. They usually see a rare gold player have his stats increased by anything from +1 to +6. For instance, the first three were as follows: 

Alejandro Gomes (Atlanta) – 86 OVR, increased from 84

Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) – 84 OVR, increased from 82

Lucas Torreira (Arsenal) – 82 OVR, increased from 76

Prime Icons SBCs are less regular. The first two comprise former England defender Sol Campbell, and long-time Germany captain Michael Ballack. At time of writing they’ll cost you around 730,000 and 1.65 million coins respectively. However, each can be acquired for 20-loan spell at a significantly reduced cost should you wish to trial them without committing to buy.

Based on the first weekend, there’s no specific pattern to the Futmas-themed SBCs. A straightforward one titled ‘Futmas Challenge’, available shortly after the campaign got underway, gave you a Mega Pack (30 cards, all gold, 18 rare) in exchange for submitting a gold squad with 5+ rare cards and 90 chemistry. 

It’s worth signing in sometime after 6pm every evening to keep tabs on SBCs. (Not just during Futmas, but throughout FIFA 19’s lifetime.)

What other Futmas content can I unlock?

Themed daily and weekly objectives are available throughout the campaign, along with Futmas kits. For instance, Week One objectives included winning six online single matches with an MLS team to earn league MVP Josef Martinez (86 OVR), and playing three online fixtures in exchange for a red-and-green Futmas kit. 

Should I do the daily player 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 comes from redditor Imaduckquackk (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab). 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.

For instance, as a Palace fan I did the Zaha SBC at a cost of just over 72,000 coins. I’m happy with that for now, but with a couple of TOTW-worthy performances he could end up with a card rated 84 or better by the end of February for less than 72,000 coins, giving me heavy buyer regret as all Futmas cards are untradeable, i.e. worthless in terms of future sales value. That’s all part of FIFA’s risk-reward brilliance/madness. 

Which player SBC is coming next?

That’s top secret, but another redditor, stebus88 (opens in new tab), has produced an excellent prediction thread. It’s worth a look if you want to save up coins just in case one of your real-life favourites becomes available.

How do I get the best cards and packs?

Let’s answer this in reverse. For the best packs, only do SBCs. Never actually buy packs using your coins. EA will release ‘special’ packs for direct purchase as part of Lightning Rounds at various points in the Christmas period. Do not go anywhere near them.

Instead, make the most of the market being flooded with gold cards during and after those Lightning Rounds. Prices inevitably drop as people become desperate to offload duplicate or unneeded cards, and that’s where you can hoover up in terms of value for money. 

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 scored names like Arjen Robben, Robert Lewandowski and Leonardo Bonucci during Futmas last year for 10-20,000 less than their market price going into December. Plan ahead, and buy smart, for a very merry Futmas.

FIFA 19 is out now. If you’re planning on wheeling and dealing throughout Christmas but won’t be near your console, then be sure to check out our FIFA 19 Web App guide (opens in new tab)

I'm GamesRadar's sports editor, and obsessed with NFL, WWE, MLB, AEW, and occasionally things that don't have a three-letter acronym – such as Chvrches, Bill Bryson, and Streets Of Rage 4. (All the Streets Of Rage games, actually.) Even after three decades I still have a soft spot for Euro Boss on the Amstrad CPC 464+.