Following on from our look at FIFA 13 Ultimate Team's in-form players, it's time to detail Electronic Arts' use of a brand new card. Man of the Match selections were introduced at the beginning of 2013 and are amongst Ultimate Team's rarest pulls.
These treats are the perfect way to differentiate your side from thousands of predictable lineups. As you'll see, many are crammed with generous statistical increases that can make a real difference on the pitch.
What is a Man of the Match card and how can I identify them?
Man of the Match picks are extremely easy to spot. All you need to do is look for bright orange cards amongst the usual array of bronze, silver, gold, black and blue. Similar to in-form variations, players are the only cards to receive a Man of the Match upgrade. Despite winning the Capital One Cup, don't expect to see managers such as Michael Laudrup rocking improved stats anytime soon.
How are Man of the Match players chosen?
EA has always had trouble taking cup performances into account when outlining the Team of the Week. Varying fixture dates—many of which appear midweek—makes it difficult for the publisher to include outstanding individuals into the weekly in-form roundup.
Man of the Match cards provide an instant remedy to this problem. EA now has the ability to reward stunning cup and tournament performances with a one-off immediate release that will only be available in packs for a couple of hours.
For example, Gervinho was the first player to receive a Man of the Match upgrade after the Ivorian scored a late winner in Ivory Coast's 2-1 African Cup of Nations win over Togo. Since then, players such as Victor Moses, Jonathan Pitroipa and Emmanuel Emenike also received orange cards for their performances at the major tournament.
At the time of writing, Swansea City's Nathan Dyer is the only non-African player to receive a Man of the Match iteration after scoring two goals in the Capital One Cup final.
When are Man of the Match cards released?
Unlike Wednesday's weekly in-form releases, it's a little more difficult to track exactly when Man of the Match cards can be expected. One thing is for certain: if a players puts in a game-defining cup performance, you should keep your eye out for a Man of the Match promotion.
Gervinho entered packs hours after winning the aforementioned encounter for his country. The same happened with other African Cup of Nations participants, but Nathan Dyer took two days to be announced and released.
Your best bet is to follow EASPORTSFIFA on Twitter for breaking news.
How long are Man of the Match cards available for?
Perhaps the key difference between Man of the Match and in-form cards is the availability of each. Both offer an upgraded version of a pre-existing player and are only in packs for a limited amount of time.
Although the in-form Team of the Week is available for seven days, Man of the Match cards will be in packs for a couple of hours maximum. Man of the Match promotions usually coincide with a territorial Happy Hour that offers consumers a quick opportunity at buying more expensive packs. These are usually premium and player-only purchases that offers a larger amount of items for your money.
It's worth noting any Happy Hour is available to all players. Nathan Dyer debuted in the UK version at 6 p.m GMT/1 p.m ET and exited packs the following hour. He appeared once more in the American Happy Hour at 12 a.m GMT/7 p.m EST and was available to everyone on both occasions. You just need to be awake at an ungodly hour for that second chance.
All orange African Cup of Nations cards were re-released in a Team of the Tournament capacity once the championship had ended. I wouldn't expect this to happen for anything other than month long football festivals.
Is there a price difference between Man of the Match and normal cards?
Absolutely. Improved attributes and rarity ensures Man of the Match players sell for a lofty price. These cards will be hugely expensive shortly after they release—but after a short period of time—the cost will settle.
It's best to buy when the auction price has zoned in on a defined cost. Dyer regularly sold for over 200K an hour after release and was even snapped up for 311K. Just one day after, a number of these can be instantly bought for 130K, perhaps even cheaper on bid.
How can I keep up to date with Man of the Match news?
As previously mentioned, following EASPORTSFIFA on Twitter is a great way of staying in the know. The official EA forums is also an excellent community that enthusiastically discusses new cards as soon as they are announced.
If there is anything else you wish to see covered surrounding FIFA 13, please let me know in the comments section below and be sure to follow on Twitter: