FIFA 21 players are convinced EA secretly nerfs FUT cards: could they be right?

Lionel Messi furious at EA SPORTS nerf in FIFA 21 Ultimate Team.EA SPORTS

EA SPORTS secretly nerfs new FIFA 21 cards a few weeks after release to “make more money” from packs… at least, that’s the going theory spreading through the Ultimate Team fanbase at the moment ⁠— could they be right?

It’s an experience every FIFA fan has experienced in their FUT career; you’ve finally cashed out for that premium striker and slotted them into your team. Things click right off the bat; fifteen goals in eleven games… you’ve found a real gem!

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Only, things begin to come off the rails. Goals go wide. Passes run short.

Twenty or thirty games into your FUT player’s ‘career,’ you’re finding things just a little bit harder. The goals that were constantly flowing in the first dozen matches just aren’t there anymore.

Well, according to a growing theory in the FIFA 21 fanbase, it’s deliberate; EA SPORTS are secretly nerfing new Ultimate Team cards soon after release, in an effort to keep the meta based around fresh promo cards and SBCs.

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FIFA 21 players who originally dominated the game have fallen away in later stages... could it be secret nerfs?EA SPORTS
Players who originally dominated the game have fallen away… could it be secret nerfs?

FIFA fans “convinced” by theory

It’s a pretty loaded question; is EA secretly stripping out the best stats for new players, in an effort to “drive sales?” Well, FIFA 21 fans are pretty convinced.

“I think so…” one Redditor wrote in the Dec. 27 thread. “[João] Felix used to be decent at the start [of FIFA 21], very good after I got used to him, and now he is so much worse.”

Others accused EA SPORTS of “deceit,” and said it made sense considering how “money-focused” the FIFA publishers have become. Some offered up examples of Ultimate Team players that had fallen out of favor over the course of a given cycle.

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There were plenty too: Teemu Pukki’s POTM card. Drogba’s Icons. Sadio Mane’s TOTY card. Osimhen. David Villa. Alessandrini. The list went on.

Some FIFA players even thought it was “obvious” that EA were playing a secret role in ‘ruining’ players across the course of each FIFA cycle. “I think they nerf players whenever they release an ‘upgrade’. It’s the only thing that makes sense.”

Teemu Pukki's must-pick POTM SBC from FIFA 20 is at the heart of the theory.EA SPORTS
Teemu Pukki’s must-pick POTM SBC from FIFA 20 is at the heart of the theory.

So, is EA secretly nerfing FIFA 21 players?

For our money, it’s a pretty hard sell. EA SPORTS have often shown they’re interested in selling a few Ultimate Teams packs in FIFA, but to actively worsen players in their signature game mode ⁠— and hide it, to boot ⁠— seems pretty nefarious.

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What’s more likely is one of two things.

The first is that these players who buy new cards climb up the FIFA 21 rankings with their new acquisitions, and face harder opposition.

With better-ranked players lining up against them, players are going to struggle. Shots will miss a few more times, and goalkeepers will save more shots.

The second is internet connection, which is perhaps the most important part of any FUT match. If you have a sub-par connection, everything feels sluggish. It would make sense players dip in quality when your reactions are hampered. That, in turn, can lead to a top-class player feeling “nerfed” for the few games in a row when your connection is poor.

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That said, there’s no real way to tell. FIFA 21 players seem “convinced” ⁠— heck, this same theory actually popped up in FIFA 20 too ⁠— but until EA come out to confirm or deny the accusations, we’re in the dark about any ‘secret nerfs.’

Mbappe is one player that may have dipped in FIFA 21 so far.EA SPORTS
Could the FIFA 21 theory about player nerfs actually have legs?

This isn’t the first time the FIFA 21 fanbase has accused EA of playing around with the game’s code either. On Nov. 3, a theory sprung up regarding shooting in Update #4; players think shot power was nerfed without a word.

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Unfortunately, EA never addressed the supposed nerf, despite backlash.

We expect the same may happen here. Unless the theory grows into a mainstream idea, EA will likely simply ignore it, just like they did in FIFA 20 last year.