FIFA 18 Ultimate Team’s BRAND NEW game mode Squad Battles is taking the FIFA community by storm. Pitting your squad against the sometimes frightening line-ups of other gamers around the world in order to accumulate as many points as possible in a specified number of games and climb up the SB leaderboards. The higher you finish in the leaderboards, the more valuable your rewards upon completion of the weekly event.
To cut a long story short, if you want to be up towards the upper tiers of the ladder when the week is over, then you need to be playing on Legendary difficulty at least.. and winning! As you probably already know, squad battles difficulty is strongly linked to not only the strength of the squad you are playing, but the chemistry too. Difficulty levels on Squad Battles are more difficult than their respective difficulty levels in other game modes due to these fluctuating squads and chemistry ratings. Ultimately, the higher the chemistry of your opponent, the more challenging you will find it to play against them.
Legendary difficulty on any game mode is challenging enough, so how can you be expected to play against not only an even harder Legendary difficulty, but also against star studded squads packed out with the likes of Messis, Ronaldos, Hazards and more? Well, there are a few very important, and very effective tricks in order to do this. I’ll narrow it down to my Top Five Tips for Beating Legendary Difficulty on Ultimate Team Squad Battles.
Trick #1 – Legacy Defending
This is probably the first tip I would give to anyone who is struggling against higher difficulty AI. Ever since coming across this, I’ve felt like I’ve almost been cheating on the game. Legacy defending is an in-game feature that you can activate in your gameplay settings. The feature allows you to almost automatically chase down and press the opposition with the player you are controlling, and they’ll even put in the tackle for you too. By holding the ‘A’ button (XBOX) or ‘X’ button (PlayStation), your player will pressurise the opposition player with the ball and make the tackle, without you having to direct them, or press to tackle. All you have to do is change player. Like I said, almost a cheat, right?
This is crucial because trying to press and tackle against legendary difficulty on the almost manual style ‘Tactical Defending’ setting, sometimes feels impossible. Not only does this win the ball back for you over and over again, when you get better at timing it, you’ll be winning the ball so high up the pitch and become a lethal counter attacking force. This for me, is by far the most effective trick I’ve come across to improve your chances against the harder difficulties.
Trick #2 – Counter, Counter, Counter!
If you’ve been struggling on Legendary Squad Battles, you’ll already know by now that you’re not going to see much possession. Particularly the higher rated and higher chemistry teams, will often knock the ball about like a Barcelona squad on steroids. We’re going to turn this into one of our most deadly weapons.
The AI will pass, pass, pass, and especially on Legendary, will push its players further and further up the pitch in an attempt to make you concede. Something you may not know, is that on Squad Battles, the AI is programmed to win at all costs. There are no draws, as the games lead onto extra-time and ultimately, penalties. Due to this, the computer will play to win. This means that if the scoreline is a draw, or you are winning, the opposition will become more and more aggressive in it’s attacking as the game progresses. You may have noticed that you seem to score most of your goals late in the game? Well, as the computer becomes more aggressive in order to win, they will commit more players further up the pitch, take more risks in passing, and push their defensive line higher, playing straight into your hands.
So, now we know the opposition game plan, how do we use this to our advantage?
The starting tactic? Stay compact and defend well! Let the AI control most of the ball, let them knock it round, and almost let the time run down a little. Your aim is to try not to concede. So don’t take too many risks and try to minimise mistakes. If you manage to counter attack and steal a goal or two, then that’s even better.
Secondly, if you’re drawing, or ahead towards the start of the second half, this is the time to take more risks. Press higher, attack more, and play risky but cutting passes through to your forwards. You will definitely notice more space between the opposition defence, and you’ll find it easier to find openings and hit them on the counter. You still have to defend well though and do your best not to concede.
So your overall game plan is stay tight and compact for as long as possible, focus on not conceding and defending well. As the game progresses and you see more openings start to appear, and the opposition being more aggressive, then you start taking the game to them and picking them apart on the counter.
Trick #3 – Don’t Panic, Things Change Very Quickly
I can’t stress this enough; DON’T PANIC! There has been countless games where it’s been 0-0 on the 70th minute, and I’ve gone on to win 4-0 or 5-0. As mentioned previously, the longer the game progresses, the harder and more aggressively the AI will try to win the game. As the game reaches it’s later stages, you’ll find it easier and easier to pick them apart with ease, and make the most of the huge gaps that they leave in their defence. Trust me, once that first goal has gone in, the flood gates well and truly open. Keep calm, stick to the game plan, and you will come away victorious.
Trick #4 – Prioritise Points Awarded
You aren’t only awarded points for just winning the game. Whilst winning is your utmost priority, once you get a little more comfortable playing against Legendary, you should start prioritising how you need to perform in order to achieve the maximum points possible per game. Here should be your priorities, in order:
- Goals – Goals, Goals, Goals. Every goal you score earns you more points after the game. Scoring five goals past your opponent earns you significantly more points, so if you’re able to, scoring five is the main target.
- Clean Sheet – You also are awarded bonus points for keeping a clean sheet. As hard as this is against Legendary difficulty (because sometimes there’s just nothing you can do for the goals scored against you), it is absolutely possible to keep them out for the full ninety minutes, and you should be trying to do so. Once you concede a goal, prioritise fully on scoring. You only lose a mere 20 points per goal conceded, so winning a game 5-4 will actually earn you more points than winning 2-1, for example.
- Possession – So, you’ve bagged five against them. Maybe you’ve even managed to keep them out of your goal up to now. Focus on keeping the ball, you earn more points for having it around 60% in your favour.
- Shots on Target – Again, another match stat that you should keep in mind once you have prioritised the above. If you’ve scored your required goals, you will earn more points for shots on target, fire in a few accurate attempts to maximise points.
Trick #5 – Substitutions
Keeping in mind the previous tips, substitions can be the difference between winning or losing, or the difference between a 1-0 or a 5-0 victory. Like stated, as the game progresses and the AI gets increasingly aggressive, your substitutions will play a key part in your in-game success. As your opposition gets more fatigued, and space starts to open up in the latter stages of the game, it’s time to bring on your whippets.
You’ll want fresh legs, and fast ones to burst into those gaps in their defence, and tear apart those tired and sluggish defenders. I like to have on my more technically gifted, and more physical players from the start of the game, to hold the ball up, keep possession and stay defensively compact, like Alvaro Morata. As soon as the gaps appear and counter attacking becomes easier, on come my faster players who will leave their defence in the dust, my personal favourite super-subs being Marcus Rashford and Leroy Sane. This is why it’s important to keep a cool head if the result isn’t what you hoped for towards the latter stages, these substitutions if timed well, can completely change the flip the game on it’s head. Like I said, you can go from a frustrating stale mate in the 70th minute to a 5-0 victory with such ease.
Put these five top tips all together to create a lethal winning formula. It takes a little while to get the hang of it, but keep at it and eventually you’ll be earning the best rewards that this new and exciting game mode has to offer. I’ll see you in those Elite bandings!