The season is barely half over for most soccer leagues around the world, but it's nevertheless the time of year in which FIFA celebrates the best players in the world with its familiar Team of the Year collection in FIFA Ultimate Team. This year's TOTY includes such luminaries as Lionel Messi and World Cup hero Kylian Mbappe, and there's an extremely good chance neither of them will ever appear in your team in FUT.
With the fan voting completed, EA announced the FIFA 19 Team of the Year today. Similar to the Team of the Week, Team of the Year commemorates the accomplishments of 2018's best players with extremely overpowered cards in FIFA Ultimate Team. Cards from the "Ultimate XI" can go as high as 99 overall, with players like Messi having absurd stats like 97 pace, 99 shooting, and 99 dribbling. By contrast, a typical elite card is FUT is typically in the mid-to-high 80s.
But lest you get too excited, the odds of actually drawing a Team of the Year card are astoundingly small—almost impossibly so. Your chances of packing a TOTY XI card are less than one percent, and they won't go up with subsequent draws. Pulling a Team of the Year Mbappe is like winning the lottery jackpot; sure, it could happen, but you're much more likely to throw away a huge amount for little to no gain.
Nevertheless, FIFA 19 is currently trumpeting that the initial wave of Team of the Year cards will only be in packs for the next 20 hours or so, pushing players to drop hundreds or even thousands of dollars in hopes of actually pulling one of the coveted XI. Even those willing to spend are apt to come up with nothing. YouTuber Bateson87 once dropped some 800,000 FIFA Points, which amounts to several thousands dollars in real-life money, in pursuit of a TOTY player, only to come up with nothing.
But as Bateson has accrued more than a million subscribers ripping packs, he's still at it. Let's see how he did this time around.
A dozen packs, zero top-tier players, and definitely no Team of the Year players. Eesh.
EA will continue to promote Team of the Year through special packs and other goodies, but the odds will remain impossibly stacked against players. Many of the packs offered by FIFA promise a huge number of players and multiple rare cards, but upon being opened contain mostly junk like badges, kits, and fitness items. What's more, there are a huge number of cards in FIFA, further lowering the odds of lucking into a Team of the Year draw, or even someone from a random Team of the Week.
As it stands, the best way to enjoy FIFA Ultimate Team is to not spend any money at all, which yes, is actually possible. Remarkably, for all the hoopla around the likes of Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk, some of the best cards in FIFA 19 are anonymous 76 rated overall defenders like Dayot Upamecano-a beast of a player who can strip the ball from even much better attackers (I know because he's on my team). Playing through FUT's various events and modes, it's fairly easy to earn enough money to build up an extremely dangerous squad.
FIFA 19's Team of the Year largely remains a tool for lending EA's soccer sim a degree of prestige well after its release. Pop into various team subreddits and you'll see a thread about a player like Paul Pogba or van Dijk appearing in TOTY. Players tweet about it as well.
All of this is great for EA, as it earns the series a large amount of free promotion, as well as a huge amount of money from fans hoping to pack the Super Special Version of their favorite player. But at less than one percent chance to draw a TOTY player, and with not even a pity counter to drive up the odds of packing an Mbappe or a Messi, it remains a sucker's game. Short of somehow finding five million coins in my couch (the going rate for a TOTY player in the auction house), I'm never going to have one of these players on my team.
Whatever the case, FIFA 19 remains a somewhat troubled game, so even if you somehow manage to pack a top player like Kevin de Bruyne, you won't necessarily have much fun playing with them. All the more reason to let everyone else scramble for TOTY cards while you pick up Upamecano for 1000 coins at the auction house.