FIFA

Mike LaBelle: 5 pro tips to get better at FIFA Ultimate Team

by David Purcell

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Popular FIFA content creator Mike LaBelle has revealed five top tips for getting better at the game, during an exclusive interview with Dexerto. 

The former esports star has over 285,000 subscribers on YouTube and signed on as a member of the New York Red Bulls organization back in 2018. Ever since, he has been providing fans with unique analysis on big game changes, creating content as part of the Andbox organization.

With FIFA 21 very much on the horizon, following its reveal at EA's action-packed EA Play event on June 18, FUT players may be wondering what they can do to gain an edge over their opponents when the game releases. So, we asked Mike a few questions, and let's run through the tips he revealed.

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Learn from what's happening on the pitch

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FIFA 20 games can be cagey, so be wary.

Ultimate Team is an ever-changing beast in FIFA, as the meta moves around and some cards become in demand at certain points in time. Members of the community, in turn, are made to adapt to those shifts, and keeping on top of your own processes is crucial.

Speaking exclusively to Dexerto, Mike said: "Always make sure to review your own gameplay. It is one of the most basic ways for you to understand areas where you can improve."

How you can do that is simple these days, as well, as consoles and PCs have options to watch back elements of matches, key highlights, and it's really about honing in on what you're doing right and wrong to identify room for improvement.

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Look at things objectively

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Mike suggests keeping your Weekend League stats to one side.

FUT's Weekend League competition has its fair share of critics, that's clear, although it can be a really handy way of tracking progress in the highly competitive game mode.

Not only should players focus on gameplay, but also the results they pick up at the end of each well as well. This determines rewards, for starters, but over a longer period of time it should make areas of weakness and strength clearer for a player.

"Keep Weekend League statistics so that in addition to analyzing your on-pitch actions or movements, you’re able to take an objective look at your performance," Mike suggests.

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Don't get ahead of yourself

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Master the basics in the game and then start to branch out.

A lot of creators and players are always talking about the "meta" in FIFA. These discussions often include ideal methods of shooting, successful tactics, certain complex systems and adapting your style to fit that, but for those who really want to reach the heights, tightening up the basics of the game can help a great deal.

"Make sure you’ve mastered the basics before trying to take on more advanced mechanics. It’s the little things that sometimes make the biggest difference," says Mike. "Examples include passing, proper formation spacing, support runs, defensive positioning, and finishing."

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Make finishing a priority

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Be ruthless in front of goal, Mike says.

We've all got our pros and cons as players. Some of us are great at finding the killer pass, deadly on the counter-attack and play with speed, or have a stonewall defense. No matter the type of play style you adopt, however, the important thing is making the big moments count.

Shooting and heading (less so heading in this game) are what decide most matches. The best competitors only need a half chance, never mind a clear cut opportunity, so sharpening up your finishing skills should be right up there at the top of your to-do list.

Mike says: "Be clinical and be precise," and that might sound simple. It takes hard work and repetition. "If you are inefficient with chances this will keep you in the lower ranks for longer than you’d like, and make advancement that much slower," he adds.

Speed isn't everything

Conquering Ultimate Team has always felt like a speed war, and not many will disagree looking at the different games released down the years. The fastest cards, the speediest style, it's always prevailed – but when you reach the top level, competitive play has been likened to a game of chess by LaBelle.

He said: "Never rush. FIFA will always be a title that is more like playing a game of chess where patience is rewarded and strategic planning is necessary to capitalize on the opposing team’s mistakes."

Waiting for your opponent to blink in a tight affair in-game might be one way to go, but if you look through the five tips Mike's rounded off for players here, it's much more than that if you want to become a truly great player.

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Defenders always find a way to catch up in FIFA.
The 30-year-old has been trying to help change the perception of FIFA esports for some time now, recognizing the stars playing at the peak of their powers in the competitive divisions as athletes rather than gamers.
Hopefully, with this insight and these pro tips, you will be able to jump your play up another level just like he did – transitioning from playing for fun, for competing at major events.

For more FIFA 20 news, leaks, guides, and interviews follow us on Twitter @UltimateTeamUK. As more FIFA 21 content is revealed, we'll be the first to let you know and break it all down into helpful articles like this one.