I barely survived FUT Champions with my sanity

Benzema lining up to take a penalty, gameplay from my FUT Champions weekend league play

This is the running diary of my first ever experience with FUT Champions, FIFA 21‘s competitive weekend mode. If you haven’t already, check out part one which covers the first day of action. Part two summarizes my Saturday and Sunday. This is part three, which looks at the bonus day, Monday, and me trying to win a few more games and finishing playing all 30.

Monday’s a holiday in Canada and I have six games left to play in FUT Champions. I currently only have four wins to my name. Based on how I’ve played so far, getting any more is highly unlikely. At this point, I’m just hoping for some competitive games and not the blowouts I’ve been used to.

The post match screen of a 4-1 win against another player in FUT Champs

One More Day. I’d like one more win!

It’s Monday morning and I managed to play two games in. The first one was just another thrashing with a guy who had an incredible 92-rated squad. He had TOTS Lozano who could score from anywhere and my 85-rated Brazil squad (wanted to try something different) could not do anything to stop him. I could see what my opponent would do (down the middle with speed) but I couldn’t get defenders to clog the middle to force them to the wings. 

The next game, I actually ended up winning! 4-1 with me taking the lead around the 70th minute then scoring two goals in the 85+ minutes to seal the victory. That was actually a really good match. Again, my opponent was utilizing the middle of the pitch. This time, my defensive midfielder was able to cut off most of the passes.

I managed one more game in the afternoon. Unfortunately, it was yet another loss, this time 5-1. I don’t have much to say about this one that I haven’t already mentioned in previous blogs. I’m just bad at passing and I can’t get anything going. My opponent had a 5-0 lead and I’m pretty certain they felt pity for me and let me score that consolation goal.

This isn’t football/soccer

A 92-rated squad from FUT Champions, featuring Michael Essien in a striker role

Over the last few days, both with my own experience and the stuff I’ve seen on the FIFA Subreddit, are the odd player positions people pull off in FUT Champions. It’s quite common to see players out of their standard position. This isn’t just seeing a defensive midfielder slotted in a center-back role (which does happen), but also using position modifiers to play players in roles they wouldn’t typically play. I saw a post where someone changed Messi to a CDM and I played a match against someone who modified Michael Essien (one of the best defensive midfielders ever) to a striker.

Although sites like Futbin let you see how well the player would play in different roles, it never feels like they’re playing at a disadvantage. I can accept that FIFA isn’t true to the sport. It merely encourages people to go that extra mile to find any sort of advantage to win.

Ending on a high note – if you can call it that

Like Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, finding matches on Monday took time. In all, I managed to finish my FUT Champions adventure playing 29 of the 30 matches.

My final games started with a 3-0 loss. All three goals were direct results of my stupid passing and the inability to clear the ball properly. One goal was me passing the ball across my final third that went so slowly that they simply intercepted it and had a one-on-one versus the keeper. This opponent wasn’t good. I made them look good because I was so bad.

Thankfully, my last game was a 4-2 extra-time victory that was significantly more stressful than it needed to be. I was frustrated going into that match because the previous one ended in such a frustrating fashion.

One of the squads I used in FUT Champs

The 4-2 win was stressful because my opponent wasn’t fielding a very strong side. It was a decent Premier League-focused lineup. They still played mostly down the middle. They hit the post a few times and their keeper made some incredible saves. In the end, I was lucky to pull off the victory and end my miserable FUT Weekend League experience

I doubt I’ll be back

I don’t know if finishing with a 6-23 record for my first time is a good or bad thing. Considering I’ve been playing FIFA games for over 20 years, it’s definitely not what I was expecting. The record could have been worse, considering two of my wins were in extra time and only two were convincing wins. On the flip side, I also lost a few matches in extra time, which could have gone either way.

Most of my losses were by massive margins and in five of them, I failed to score a goal. I think only about three or four games finished with me having a passing rating above 80%. It’s hard for me to find the positives in my performance other than accepting that I’m nowhere as dedicated to playing the game as other people are.

The FUT Champs landing screen, showing my six wins

With more and more Team of the Season player items being made available, it’s highly unlikely I’d want to play against other people in this competitive format. I could just go back to playing the occasional Rivals and Friendly match, but I’ll probably just play Squad Battles against the AI.

At the same time, I think if I played Weekend League back in the first months that FIFA 21 was available, maybe my experience would have been different. Weekend League and FUT Champions are not welcoming to newer players.

If you recently jumped into FIFA 21 because it was available through EA Play or Xbox Game Pass, then you probably don’t have the squad depth as so many others. In all honestly, if you’re new to the game, I would strongly suggest just playing Friendlies where the stakes are lower and you have more creativity to build teams that suit your style. Yes, you still have the FIFA-META (most effective tactic available) to contend with, it’s easier to circumvent.

Thanks for following along

The rewards screen for FUT Champions Weekend League

I opened the rewards that I got for reaching Silver 1 as soon as there were granted. Other than the Red Player pick, who was Philipp Max from PSV, my rewards were pretty disappointing. I wasn’t expecting a marquee player, but I was hoping to get something I could use in a future Squad Building Challenge player reward.

While it was frustrating to play FUT Champions, it was a lot of fun chronicling it. This was something I’ve wanted to do for a while. I thought I was going to do this as a video piece, but considering my poor performances, it was better like this. I don’t have enough points to play in FUT Champions again this week. I’m also not sure if I’ll reach the 2000 points to participate in the near future. But, if I decide to do this again for FIFA 22, my aim is to do it as quickly as possible so I can stand a better chance against other players.