FIFA 13's Ultimate Team mode is an addictive beast. Electronic Arts know exactly how to keep gamers interested with regular offers, upgrades and promotions.
One such method is Team of the Week. This provides users with the opportunity to land in-form players within the contents of a normal pack of cards. What exactly are in-form players? How are they chosen? Is there a major cost difference between an in-form and normal card? I've got you covered.
What is an in-form player and how can I identify them?
This is a pretty straightforward question. An in-form player is an improved version of a normal card. They are easily identified as the only black cards on the market. Only players can receive in-form improvements—you won't find managers, coaches or other items getting the same treatment.
How are in-form players chosen?
EA pay close attention to the real-world happenings of football. Each week, the developer picks a squad of 18 players based on their performances from the previous weekend or set of domestic matches. If a player has done something especially important or proven his individual class to win an encounter, expect them to be considered for an in-form card.
For example, Team of the Week for Feb. 13-20 included Ben Foster, Arturo Vidal and Michu. Why was each player selected? Let's break it down:
Ben Foster: Saved Steven Gerrard's penalty and made six other stops to keep a clean sheet against Liverpool. He played a massive part in keeping West Brom in a game that Steve Clarke's men eventually won 2-0.
Arturo Vidal: Produced an assist in Juventus' important 2-0 win over Fiorentina. The Chilean midfielder also won more tackles and aerial duels than any other player, dominating his opposition with match-winning strength and doggedness.
Michu: Scored two and provided an assist in Swansea's 4-1 win over QPR. This is arguably the easiest and most likely way for an in-form card to be selected.
Players may also be selected if they have performed admirably out of position. Most recently, Bacary Sagna received an in-form centre-back version and Galatasaray's Felipe Melo was awarded a goalkeeper card after the midfielder saved a penalty.
When are in-form players released?
EA typically announces in-form squads every Wednesday at 6 p.m GMT/1 p.m ET. New players will be available in packs for a week from the announcement. Once that week is over, the only way you can pick up in-forms from a previous week is by purchasing them from other users in the auction house.
Why do some players have more than one in-form variation?
A handful of players have more than one in-form card. Using Michu as an example once more, the Spanish forward has been selected as an in-form player on two occasions this season. After a string of excellent performances, EA also released an upgraded version of the normal card.
Check out the statistical comparison and formation changes over at FUThead.
Is there a price difference between in-form and normal cards?
Naturally, stronger cards will sell for higher prices. In-form attribute improvements can also lower the price of the player's normal card for a short time, as many gamers panic sell in order to accumulate funds for the in-form version upon release.
It's a good idea to bide your time when buying in-form players. Spending on a card one minute after it comes out can ramp the price up significantly.
That said, wait too long and a popular player is likely to receive a price fix from clever users. This is where one consumer will snap up many of the same player and list them all at a higher price. If done correctly, this can have a major effect on the valuation of each card.
How can I keep up to date with in-form news?
If you want to be ahead of the curve on in-form selections, head on over to the official EA forums. Ultimate Team users have their own dedicate area, arranged by format, and pride themselves on guessing in-form squads before they are released.
Following EA Sports' FIFA account on Twitter is also a good bet.
If there's anything else you'd like to know about FIFA 13's Ultimate Team mode, please feel free to ask in the comments section below. Also, be sure to follow and chat with me on Twitter: