I can’t recall being this excited about something in FIFA in a long, long time. After the slightly longer than necessary wait for the annual FUT Birthday extravaganza (some speculated it wouldn’t happen) the team at EA Sports has rolled out a healthy dose of surprises for their 8th anniversary. Not only are we receiving new daily Squad Builder Challenges (one per day over the 8 day celebration) but they’ve unleashed the almighty Team of the Week 28 Guaranteed (Tradeable & Untradeable) versions if you’re rich enough to partake. These can be incredible and if you learned from Futmas then hopefully you stocked up on cheap 84 rated players and cheap TOTW cards like I did. You can expect plenty of happy hours and pack offers throughout so now might be your best time to load up on assets and help build your team.

From there we move into the heavy hitting SBC rewards, three special player challenges to earn an untradeable version of Fernando Torres, David Luiz or Stephan El Shaarawy. What’s so special about that? Well each player’s card is based on a historical FUT card that replicates the position & statistics from their absolute Ultimate Team prime. Back when they were “OP” as the kids like to say. Fernando Torres via FIFA 10, David Luiz via FIFA 13 and El Shaarawy via FIFA 12. Now before you go buck wild and think these are a slam dunk they’re not. They’re incredibly expensive and I’ll give my thoughts below if it’s worth proceeding or not.

Lastly and most importantly, FIFA released a special set of cards honoring a 23 players with special “birthday cards”. These aren’t current heroes but players who have been FUT legends in their own right throughout the years. No Ronaldo, Messi, Pogba, Aguero or Hazard but rather Eto’o, Sturridge, Nani and Doumbia. It’s an entire collection of OP cards that the FUT community has either loved or hated but either way they’re the original gangsters of FIFA Ultimate Team.

FUT Birthday Cards

Look at those blasts from the past. I can remember almost each and every one of those players appearing in nearly every FUT squad I played against. There are some players that I absolutely hated going up against, I’m looking at you Nani, Ibarbo and Welliton. While other players were crucial to my team a-la Gabriel Agbonlahor, and Darren  Bent who I could pair with Steven Gerrard or Frank Lampard in a 4-3-1-2 formation. Then of course there is the great Samuel Eto’o who was absolutely lights out in FIFA 11 with Inter Milan and continued to be great even during his switch to Russian side Anzhi in FIFA 12 and 13.

Yes your eyes are seeing it right, Fernando Torres, David Luiz and Stephan El Shaarawy are pictured above and they’re also receiving their own special SBC challenges. And to answer your next question, no the cards are not the same. The SBC versions are rated higher than these and in terms of David Luiz he’s positioned at CDM rather than CB in his SBC edition.

I must confess I did drop some money on FUT points for this event and I waited patiently for some mega rare player packs, 125K coin a piece. The results paid off as I pulled Eto’o, Ashley Cole, Agbonlahor and Sirigu as well as a pair of In-Forms (Tosun 82 ST | Forsberg 85 LM) from this week’s TOTW. Ashley Cole has been fantastic at left-back, he’s exactly the player that was so critical in every Premier League defense from FIFA 10 to FIFA 14.

Team of the Week Packs

TOTW Guarantee (Untradeable) – Min Rating 84, Min Chemistry 90

TOTW Guarantee (Tradeable) – Min Rating 84, Min Chemistry 30, Min 2 Players TOTW

FUT Birthday Premium SBC Rewards

FERNANDO TORRES – FIFA 10

Back in the day Fernando Torres was everything in Ultimate Team, he had the speed, dribbling and finishing ability that made him one of the most lethal options at the striker position. A lot has changed for the former Liverpool starlet turned Chelsea bust since 2013 who now plays for Atletico Madrid (he also had a cup of coffee at AC Milan as well). As you can see by the ratings below either of the two new Birthday cards puts Torres into elite company. Both are tremendous upgrades on his current base card and In-Form version. If you’ve been a Torres supporter and want to rekindle old memories then do what it takes to grab these cards. It all comes down to preference and willingness to spend money.

88 Birthday Card: ~500K on PS4, 400K on XB1

DAVID LUIZ – FIFA 13

David Luiz has always been tremendous in FIFA Ultimate Team, he would be a first ballot gamer’s lock for Legend status if we had our vote. He’s a center back with pace, physicality and offensive skill. There’s nothing not to like really. When Luiz burst onto the scene at Chelsea he was a lackadaisical defender who had a boat load of talent but many times his mental mistakes would cost his team dearly but he was so damn talented. Eventually Luiz would move from CB to CDM allowing him to participate in the attack but also provide extra insurance on defense. His move to CDM nearly shook the foundation of FUT in 2013 with his 80 IF card and then eventually his 81 MOTM cards.

We haven’t seen Luiz at this position until now, so if you want to go balls to the wall then complete the SBC challenge to grab CDM Luiz.  It’s going to cost you a fortune but it might be worth it, look at how incredible those ratings are. It’s heavenly actually. For those of us who don’t have infinite coin, you might want to take a look at the Birthday version. I own the In-Form Luiz below and the Birthday version is making my mouth water. The ratings increases are significant enough where the extra value of this card is worth it. Right now the going rate is roughly double (600K vs. 300K on PS4) but for an additional +5 in pace, +3 defending and +every offensive stat, and then add a chemistry card on top, you’re like at a near 99 overall Luiz.

STEPHAN EL SHAARAWY – FIFA 12

One day I need to make a list of my most hated players in FUT Ultimate Team and Stephan El-Shaaraway is definitely on that list. It’s not because I don’t like him as a player but rather I hated playing against him. Between his pace and skilled dribbling he was an absolute headache to play against. You have to remember back in those days pace was everything and Shaarawy was killer on the left flank. With all that context I’m not exactly too thrilled to see two more options of elite Shaarawy to play against but these cards look pretty good. The 90 pace for a central attacking midfielder is a joke, that could definitely be troublesome to defend against. I actually packed the 84 version but have yet to try him out.

For my money there are plenty of Calcio A options at CAM/CF/Striker where I don’t need to invest that much money in El-Shaarawy. Depending on how you position your team you have one million Higuain card options, one million Icardi options, Dries Mertens, Paulo Dybala, Radja Nainggolan, Marek Hamsik, Ivan Perisic, Miram Pjanic and Claudio Marhisio. I do enjoy building Calcio A squads but without one of the true elite cards like Higuain/Mertens I wouldn’t heavily invest here.

8 Days of Squad Builder Challenges

Each SBC has its’ own reward but depending on the number you complete (8 total) you’ll receive a special reward pack the following week.

Exactly 3 SBC Completed = Mega Pack

Exactly 4 SBC Completed = Prime Players Pack

Exactly 5 SBC Completed = Rare Players Pack

Exactly 6 SBC Completed = Rare Mega Pack

Exactly 7 SBC Completed = Jumbo Rare Players Pack

Exactly 8 SBC Completed = Ultimate Pack

My Wish List for Other “Throwback” Cards

Rafael Van Der Vaart (87 CAM – FIFA 12)

Klass Jan Hunterlaar (85 ST – FIFA 13)

Falcao (89 ST – FIFA 12)

Nene (88 LM – FIFA 12)

Antonio Di Natale (88 ST – FIFA 14)

Shinji Kagawa (87 CAM – FIFA 12)

Mario Balotelli (89 ST – FIFA 12)

Robin Van Persie (90 ST – FIFA 13)