EA unveils new features coming to FIFA 22 Ultimate Team, including Division Rivals and FUT Champions overhaul

Take a look and see what will change in FIFA 22 Ultimate Team compared to FIFA 21.

Image via EA Sports

EA Sports has revealed all of the changes and new features that will appear in FIFA 22 Ultimate Team compared to FIFA 21. The devs are changing some of the competitive modes of Ultimate Team, Division Rivals and FUT Champions, how the goal celebrations will work in the next edition, and explained the concept of FUT Heroes, a new type of card that will feature retired players and offer chemistry for players who are from the same soccer league as them.

FIFA 22 will launch on Oct. 1 and many players have been eagerly waiting for news regarding Ultimate Team, the game’s most popular mode where you can essentially build the team you want and compete against other players.

Here are all of the Ultimate Team changes EA announced today, separated by topics.

Division Rivals

Image via EA

EA will completely change how Division Rivals, FIFA Ultimate Team’s mode where you can play against opponents with a similar skill level, works. The devs are introducing a new seasonal progression system along with the Elite Division, a new space designed for the best FIFA Ultimate Team players in the world to compete.

The way players climb Divisions and earn rewards has changed completely. Division Rivals is moving to a new ladder system where each Division is made up of the following components:

  • Ranks that reflect your progress within a Division and unlock better weekly rewards.
  • Stages, which are the individual steps between ranks.
  • Checkpoints that prevent losing progress and ensure that players remain at their appropriate skill level.

With that, the result of each match will determine a player’s progress on the ladder. Winning a match moves you forward one stage, losing a match moves you back a stage unless you’re on a checkpoint, and drawing will keep you at your current position. To start a winning streak, you need to win two consecutive matches. While you’re on a winning streak, you’ll see it indicated with a flame icon and you’ll progress an additional stage for every consecutive win.

“For example, you’ve won your last two Rivals matches, played a third, and won that as well. This will move you up two Stages. Win Streaks will continue until you draw or lose a match,” EA’s article reads.

FIFA 22 Ultimate Team will no longer feature placement matches, which have been removed from Division Rivals alongside the placement route through Squad Battles. All players will instead begin in Division 10 and will aim to make progress toward higher ranks and Divisions while earning weekly rewards.

EA created an Elite Division, which is situated beyond Division 1 and will be the place where the best FIFA Ultimate Team players in the world can compete. All players in the Elite Division are ranked, based on their Skill Rating, with the top 200 players appearing on the Global Leaderboard.

The weekly rewards will be earned by winning a set number of matches before the end of the week. When the week closes out, players will receive the reward based on the rank they’re in. The higher you climb in Divisions and ranks, the better your weekly rewards will be. In addition to the base weekly rewards, you can upgrade your current weekly rewards by winning more matches each week.

Image via EA Sports

Division Rivals is a seasonal competition tied to the overall FIFA Ultimate Team that lasts approximately six weeks. EA has introduced season milestones as a new way to earn additional rewards in Division Rivals by simply playing matches. Regardless of whether you win or lose, you’ll make progress toward your seasonal rewards. Players can earn up to three milestone rewards per Division based on the Division they finish in.

At the start of each season, each progression will reset to a lower Division for all players. The Division that a player is put in depends on the Division they finished the previous season in. There will also be changes regarding matchmaking.

“Matchmaking in Division Rivals aims to find the best possible match by looking for opponents in neighboring Stages and Divisions while taking into account the player’s physical location when determining the FIFA Game Data Center that the match will be played on,” EA said. “Players in the Elite Division will matchmake only with other Elite Players based on Skill Rating and the player’s physical location.”

FUT Champions

Image via EA Sports

Division Rivals isn’t the only thing that’s been restructured, however. The devs’ goals for FUT Champions in FIFA 22 Ultimate Team is to improve accessibility and reduce the overall commitment required to participate, with fewer matches in the week (30 in FIFA 21 Ultimate Team). To accomplish that, EA will move to a points-based system rather than wins so players will still make progress even if they lose.

To qualify for the FUT Champions in FIFA 22 Ultimate Team, players will continue gathering Champions Qualification Points in Division Rivals. Once they accumulate enough points, they’ll automatically enter the new feature called Champions Playoffs, which they can play whenever they want.

The Champions Playoffs are the first stage of the overall FUT Champions competition and it’ll be open for the duration of each FUT season, approximately six weeks. Players will progress through a limited number of games that they can play on their own time, earning points toward Champions Ranks and Rewards that will be awarded at the end of the Champions Playoffs run.

Players who earn enough points will unlock a Finals Qualification Token that gives access to play in the Champions Finals, allowing players to continue participating in the competition. If the player doesn’t qualify for the Finals, they can return to the Playoffs after gathering Champions Qualification Points in Division Rivals again.

Image via EA Sports

In FIFA 21 Ultimate Team, the entire FUT Champions was played on the weekend, which is why it was also known as the Weekend League. Now, the FUT Champions Finals will take place on weekends, running from Friday to Sunday, just like in FIFA 21. The Finals Qualification Token gives players the flexibility to enter the competition when they want, though.

EA has also touched on how the Champions Rewards will be distributed. The old system has been criticized for years since players would grind all 30 FUT Champions games to win bad rewards, in most cases. Now, you’ll compete for the first set of Champions Rewards when you start playing the Champions Playoffs as well as a slot in the Finals, where you can further increase your rewards.

A player’s position in the Finals will determine their additional rewards. If they finish all their matches, they’ll have the ability to claim their rewards instantly instead of having to wait for days. If they still have matches to be played, the rewards will be granted at the end of the competition based on where they finished.

FUT Heroes

Image via EA Sports

The FUT Heroes are similar to Icons, but these players didn’t have a career of the magnitude of some legendary soccer players. Their cards will focus on a specific moment in their career where they cemented their legacy in a soccer league.

This will greatly assist players when it comes to squad-building since the FUT Heroes will offer a green link to any player who’s from the same league as them.

“FUT Heroes belong to the Heroes Club but have their featured league from the real world. This opens up some great squad-building combinations that weren’t possible before,” EA said. “The Heroes Club acts as a wildcard with all other clubs from that league, so this means a Premier League Hero like Cahill will get a green link between any other Premier League player, regardless of what club they play for.”

A total of 19 FUT Heroes have been revealed so far, but it’s unclear if EA will announce more before the game is released. The player list includes: Diego Milito 88-rated (Argentinian, Serie A), Robbie Keane 86-rated (Irish, Premier League), Tim Cahill 85-rated (Australian, Premier League), Abedi Pelé 89-rated (Ghanaian, Ligue 1), Clint Dempsey 85-rated (American, MLS), Mario Gómez 88-rated (German, Bundesliga), Fernando Morientes 89-rated (Spanish, LaLiga), Jorge Campos 87-rated (Mexican, Liga MX), Ole Gunnar Solskjær 86-rated (Norwegian, Premier League), Lars Ricken 85-rated (German, Bundesliga), Sami Al-Jaber 86-rated (Saudi, Saudi Professional League), Jürgen Kohler 89-rated (German, Bundesliga), David Ginola 89-rated (French, Ligue 1), Antonio Di Natale 88-rated (Italian, Serie A), Joe Cole 87-rated (English, Premier League), Óscar Córdoba 87-rated (Colombian, Serie A), Aleksandr Mostovoi 86-rated (Russian, LaLiga), Freddie Ljungberg 86-rated (Swedish, Premier League), and Jerzy Dudek 86-rated (Polish, Premier League).

Main menu

Image via EA Sports

In FIFA 22 Ultimate Team, the squad-building challenge (SBC) tab will be located on the home page of Ultimate Team next to the Transfer Market tab since they’re both popular among players.

In the Play tab, players will find all of the gameplay features: Squad Battles, Division Rivals, FUT Champions, Friendlies, and FUT Draft. In the Club tab, players will find their Squad, Club Customization, Leaderboards, and Player Stats. A big change is that the Win/Draw/Loss record is no longer in the Club information in the top left. It’ll be available in the Stadium tile.

Player Item views

Image via EA Sports

EA has introduced a new Player Item view that will show off key Attributes. By default, this view will show relevant Attributes based on the position a certain card plays. FIFA 22 Ultimate Team will have a different view for Strikers, Midfielders, Defenders, and Keepers.

As new Player Items are released throughout the FIFA 22 Ultimate Team cycle, the devs will also change the default view on these Player Items to highlight Attributes that make them unique. By the way, you should disregard Kylian Mbappé’s rating in the picture above since EA used his FIFA 21 rating to show the new Player View.

Gameplay settings

There’s a big change coming to celebrations, which is definitely a controversial topic in FIFA. Goal celebrations are an integral part of soccer, but part of the FIFA player base despises them because some toxic players use long or funny celebrates to mock their opponents when they score a goal.

To tackle this issue, EA has introduced a new Celebration Camera Focus setting that allows you to focus on either your team’s reaction or your opponent’s celebration when you concede a goal. The default config is still set to watch “Opponents Celebrations” and changing this will affect every game mode in FIFA 22, not just Ultimate Team.

But this option to choose the celebration camera isn’t the only gameplay feature being implemented. In FIFA 22 Ultimate Team, the new Competitive Gameplay Settings will always be enabled for Division Rivals and FUT Champions, and players can enable them if they want to in other Ultimate Team modes as well such as Friendlies and FUT Draft.

The Competitive Gameplay Settings are:

  • Contextual Agile Dribbling: Off
  • Auto Clearances: Off
  • Auto Flair Pass: Off
  • Auto Shots: Off
  • Assisted Headers: Off
  • Jockey: Manual
  • Through Pass Assistance: Semi

Co-op public matchmaking

Image via EA Sports

There will be a new mode available in FUT Friendlies in FIFA 22 Ultimate Team called Co-op Public Matchmaking. The goal of this mode is to have a casual drop-in experience playing FUT with a new partner against other co-op opponents.

For Online Friendlies, you’ll enter into a new team select screen with a list of pre-made squads since you won’t be using your FUT squad in public matchmaking. EA will change these pre-made squads on a regular basis and will avoid the situation where both co-op partners want to play with their own Ultimate Team squad.

Stadium customization

Image via EA Sports

EA has made improvements regarding the FUT Stadium, which was implemented for FIFA 21 Ultimate Team. In FIFA 22, there will be a new VIP Area that will show off the club’s allegiance. The VIP Areas can also have a featured TIFO as an additional customization option.

Players will even be able to customize crowd sections and celebrate their club’s colors. The new crowd customization includes Crowd Cards, Two-Stick Banners, and Crowd Flags.