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FIFA 21 What If guide: Kante, Raphinha and Fer score upgradeable cards

FIFA 21
(Image credit: EA)

FIFA 21 What If is this season's most innovative and inventive promo, seeing in-game cards upgraded based on real-life team performances over a series of five matches. The FIFA 21 campaign includes two teams worth of players such as N'Golo Kante and Kevin Mbabu, plus a handful of SBC and objective rewards, with Blackburn's Adam Armstrong a pleasant surprise. What do the cards cost, and how exactly do individual players earn those boosts? All is explained in GR’s FIFA 21 What If guide.

FIFA 21 What If: how does it work?

FIFA 21

(Image credit: EA)

On Friday, February 26, EA released eleven new black-and-purple cards into packs. They represent boosted versions of players such as Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante, who jumps from an 88-rated base gold item to a 91-rated What If special card, with stats such as 81 pace, 87 physicality and 89 defending. Those increases alone would have been sufficient to see gamers forking out millions in virtual currency to add one of FIFA 21’s most meta players to their Ultimate Team.

There’s a clever additional wrinkle, however. Kante can earn yet another +2 OVR points, taking his final rating to 93, based on real-life team performances in the next five Chelsea matches. Same for Jadon Sancho and Dortmund, Kevin Mbabu and Wolfsburg, and so on. 

For midfielders and attackers such as Kante and Sancho, the +2 card upgrade is awarded if their respective teams score a total of six goals over the next five league matches. For defenders like Mbabu, it’s contingent on their team keeping one clean sheet during the next five league games – as occurred in the promo's first weekend, earning him the boost. That sounds like a no-brainer, but is the sneaky part about items like these. Most owners of Wilfred Ndidi expected an imminent upgrade to his UEL Live RTTF card, but that will no longer occur after Leicester City’s shock exit to Slavia Prague.

FIFA 21 What If: do upgrades occur immediately?

FIFA 21

(Image credit: EA)

No. Upgrades only occur on the Wednesday following the successful achievement is completed. So while Mbabu's team kept a clean sheet at home to Hertha Berlin on Saturday, February 27, his card wasn't updated from 85 to 87 until the following Wednesday.

FIFA 21 What If Team 2: when does it arrive?

FIFA 21

(Image credit: EA)

FIFA 21 What If Team 2 arrived on Friday 5 March, and has been added to the complete player list at the foot of this page. Highlights include Dries Mertens (CF, Napoli, 89) and Sergio Reguilon (LB, Tottenham, 87). At that point Mbabu, Sancho and the rest of FIFA 21 What If Team 1 were rotated out of packs. 

FIFA 21 What If: How much do cards cost?

FIFA 21

(Image credit: EA)

Kante is a bank-breaker, inevitably. As I write this, in mid-March,  you’re looking at little change from a whopping 1.8 million coins. Sancho, at 1.1 million, also breaks the seven-figure barrier. Mbabu is 375,000, while new Arsenal midfielder Martin Odegaard sets you back 449,000 coins.

Bargains are tough to come by, but the two cheapest FIFA 21 What If cards are Pepe (CB, FC Porto, 88) at 57,000 coins and Vincenzo Grifo (LM, SC Freiburg, 86) for 46,500.

FIFA 21 What If: How else can I get cards?

FIFA 21

(Image credit: EA)

Squad Building Challenges and Objectives have played major roles in campaigns such as FIFA 21 Freeze throughout this season, and so that trend continues. In addition to dropping those eleven initial cards into packs, EA released an exclusive Francesco Caputo (ST, Sassuolo, 87) card which can only be earned by completing in-game tasks in the ‘Difference Makers’ Live FUT Friendly, such as scoring five goals using Serie A players and winning four matches. 

The following week saw Caputo rotated out for a special Matteo Guendouzi (CDM, Hertha Berlin, 87) item. Again, you had seven days in which to complete the necessary objectives.

Even more popular, particularly given Marcelo Bielsa’s attacking ways, was Leeds winger Raphinha’s new 87-rated card, boasting an astonishing 94 pace. That one could only be nabbed by completing a set of three SBCs, which have sadly now expired. Later SBCs included Cristian Tello (RM, Real Betis, 87), Wendell (LB, Leverkusen, 86), Leroy Fer (CDM, Feyenoord, 85), and Adam Armstrong (ST, Blackburn, 85).

FIFA 21 What If: is there a complete card list?

FIFA 21

(Image credit: EA)

Of course, and as has become traditional throughout this bumper FIFA 21 season, we’ve sorted it according to player rating below. The following list includes Team 1, Team 2, SBC and objectives items, as well as all upgrades. It is correct as of Sunday, March 14.

  • N’golo Kante (CDM, Chelsea) - 91
  • Jadon Sancho (RM, Dortmund) - 90
  • Alejandro Gomez (CAM, Sevilla) - 90
  • Marcelo (CB, Lyon) - 90
  • Chris Smalling (CB, Roma) - 90
  • Dries Mertens (CF, Napoli) - 89
  • Martin Odegaard (CAM, Arsenal) - 88
  • Lucas Leiva (CDM, Lazio) - 88
  • Morales (ST, Levante) - 88
  • Pepe (CB, FC Porto) - 88
  • Wendell (LB, Leverkusen) - 88 [SBC only]
  • Yuri Berchiche (LM, Athletic Bilbao) - 87
  • Luka Jovic (ST, Frankfurt) - 87
  • Roberto Pereyra (LM, Udinese) - 87
  • Sergio Reguilon (LB, Tottenham) - 87
  • Richarlison (ST, Everton) - 87
  • Ricardo Pereira (RB, Leicester) - 87
  • Florian Thauvin (CAM, Marseille) - 87
  • Francesco Caputo - 87 [ST, Sassuolo] [Objectives only]
  • Raphinha (RM, Leeds United) - 87 [SBC only]
  • Pierre Lees-Melou (CM, OGC Nice) - 87
  • Cristian Tello (RM, Real Betis) - 87 [SBC only]
  • Matteo Guendouzi (CDM, Hertha Berlin) - 87
  • Kevin Mbabu (RB, Wolfsburg) - 87
  • Leroy Fer (CDM, Feyenoord) - 87 [SBC only]
  • Daniel Wass (CM, Valencia) - 86
  • Vincenzo Grifo (LM, SC Freiburg) - 86
  • Kevin Malcuit (RB, Fiorentina) - 86 [SBC only]
  • Krepin Diatta (RM, AS Monaco) - 85
  • Adam Armstrong (ST, Blackburn) - 85 [SBC only]
  • Timothy Weah (ST, LOSC) - 72 [Objectives only]

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I'm GamesRadar+'s sports editor, obsessed with NFL, WWE, MLB – and very occasionally things that don't have a three-letter acronym. Namely: Bill Bryson, Pitch Perfect, and the Streets Of Rage series. I have two kids who aren't quite old enough to play Madden yet. Soon, though…