FIFA 13 Ultimate Team Market Crash – A Crash Course In What Happened Last Year

5 Dec
FIFA 13 Market Crash - Brace Yourselves

“There is only one god and his name is PackBot. And there is only one thing we say to PackBot: “Please.”

A Crash Course to the FUT Market Crash

The much hyped market crash happens for a few reasons but we can draw from FUT11 and FUT12 for some context.

FUT11 was the breakout year for the FUT mode and everyone was still learning the trading game. EA was also learning which levers to tweak with regards to increasing revenue from the UT game mode.

By FUT12, most traders in the game were prepared for a January/February ‘crash’ until EA threw a major curveball, but more on that later.

First, a bit of ECON101: Since not-inform (NIF) versions of a player continue to increase in supply over time, the price of a NIF also decreases over the course of a year. IF cards are the reverse. As they appear for a limited window they have a finite supply and gradually increase in value.

On to the market crash.

What happened to FUT12 over XMAS?

EA knows that a lot of its userbase gets PSN points, XBOX MSP and raw dollars as Xmas presents. They want to funnel you into using your dollars on UT.

So EA will get festive and throw players a huge bone in the form of special packs. These special packs included:

  • Jumbo packs: Double the size of a regular premium, with 7 rares instead of 6
  • Player-only packs: Same size as a regular premium, with 3 rare players
  • Jumbo player-only premiums: Same size as jumbo, player only with 7 rares.
  • All rare premiums: same size as a regular premium, but with 12 rare players!!

In FUT11 it was clear EA was testing how each of these packs performed (i.e. how many were bought, the impact on the economy) because they had an even greater variety of special packs.

In FUT12 having all-rare player-only packs and jumbo player packs eroded the market in January. Imagine the increased frequency of IFs and top-rated players from these packs!

However, Xmas/NY alone did not cause a huge impact. Yes, the average price of all rares dropped but most traders don’t hold stocks in regular players, they hold IF cards. The curveball(s) came with TOTY announcement and the transfer/upgrade update in early February.

What happens to FUT after The World XI TOTY announcement?

The annual FIFA announcement of the World XI is replicated in UT with a special TOTY which contains a majority of the most coveted players in UT. At this point, everyone goes batshit crazy when EA announces a Happy Hour (HH) for TOTY.

People dump their FIFA points into these packs and attempt to sell off their existing players (both NIF and IF) for coins to fund purchases of packs and/or TOTY IFs.

Adding to this frenzy are the IF players who are also listed in the TOTY. For e.g. IF Messi is guaranteed to be in the World XI, his FUT13 IF will become less valuable as it is superceded by the TOTY version, which leads to people listing their IF Messi’s at discount.

So the TOTY causes a market stampede. Again, traders from FUT11 are prepared for this because they are holding IF cards, usually players not in the World XI nominations.

What happened to FUT after the January Transfers UP announcement?

What really killed the market off was the release of upgraded players announced as part of the January transfer window update. On the 3rd of February and the 8th of February (see link below), besides updating transferred players to their new teams, EA decided they needed to also upgrade certain players. These upgraded versions (UP) were essentially re-releases of existing IFs. So your IF Aguero (rated 88) was re-released as an 88 rare card. Needless to say, UPs destroyed the market for almost every trader as twenty of the most valuable players in the game were essentially reduced to discard value. Not only were these previously released IFs reduced in value, but EA also upgraded an additional 116 players, rendering their previous NIF versions even less valuable.

IF Aguero

IF Aguero – 1.5 million

UP Aguero

UP Aguero – 90,000


TL:DR = EA’s special packs + increased spending power of your average punter over Xmas/NY + TOTY announcement + upgraded players announcements combined to cause a huge influx of rare players into the market, therefore causing a crash in prices.

This is a list of the (UP) players in FUT12:

This is a guide I wrote to prepare for the FUT12 TOTY:

Frequently Asked Questions (from Reddit)

  1. IF’s: Will they lose substantial value post-crash?
  2. Sell the Team or Keep it: We’ve seen a lot of great teams on here that cost relatively nothing yet are still competitive. Would you personally recommend selling your high-priced BPL team or are you keeping it?
  3. The Old Cards: When a player gets a new card with upgraded stats, how valuable will his old card be? Let’s take Ribery for example: His card is currently around 400k on the XBL market, and should he get an upgrade, what’s that card going to drop to? Will it substantially lose value (I’m talking a 200k+ drop) or will it still be a card worth keeping/selling in the future?


  1. Depends on what EA does with TOTY and UPs this year
  2. Sell your team if you can live with buying them back at a later date. If they hold sentimental value (first owner, fav player etc.) don’t sell
  3. Old cards: His old card is literally worthless. At most, 2x to 3x the value of the (UP) version. Good example from FUT12 – IF Aguero went for 1.5 million on XBOX pre-UP release and dropped down to 200-250K post-UP, while his UP version sold for 90K. IF EA decide to re-release the player in a different position that’s a different story and the IF may well retain its value – for example IF Sergio Ramos’ value as a CB is far superior to that of a RB.

My thoughts:

EA Sports is definitely behaving differently this year though, the clearest example is the lack of Happy Hours and even more telling, when there are Happy Hours, EA does not increase the odds of pulling an IF. This is good for the economy (restricting supply of IFs), which may suggest EA may not do something as crazy as the UP announcement this year /fingers crossed.

Let me know if you have any specific questions regarding the crash.

Ping me on Twitter @fantasyscout or on the forums (shorlurker).

Feel free to let me know if I got any details wrong – last year was a long time ago and I’m certain I missed/messed up on some of the finer details!

Also cross-posted to Reddit.

61 Responses to “FIFA 13 Ultimate Team Market Crash – A Crash Course In What Happened Last Year”

  1. Camel December 5, 2012 at 7:46 am #

    IIRC… in 2011 they released the entire World XI TOTY for a week. Whereas in 2012 they did defenders for two days, Midfielders for 2 days, Forwards 2 days etc. Then also bizarely extended the days you could get for with no apparent explanation… So the ‘frenzy’ lasted much longer than the first fews days as supply of, for example, TOTY Ramos was limited to a couple of days and everyone had only those two days to cash in their chips if they wanted him, rather than the week they had in 2011. So they just dumping their club for quick sales.

    Make sense?

    Good blog BTW!

    • ultimateteamguide December 5, 2012 at 10:45 am #

      Yup makes sense to me. I remember TOTY 2011 vs TOTY 2012. TOTY 12 was crazy because of their splitting up the players.

      Thanks too, I appreciate it:)

    • Jesse D December 13, 2012 at 11:45 pm #

      This has not been released yet, but somehow the market value of just about every card seems to have dropped dramatically. Many cards I trade have taken a 30% drop in their average price. I don’t understand what is going on here. Is this the result of traders prepping for the EOY team?

      • ultimateteamguide December 15, 2012 at 12:23 pm #

        I think the special Messi and the 24 hour jumbo pack Happy Hour added a ton of items to the auction house, forcing NIF prices down. I expect EA to add more special packs over XMAS.

  2. Silver Orange December 22, 2012 at 8:18 am #

    this was a very helpful guide, but i have a few specific questions that maybe you can help me answer.
    I want to build a team that has IF Mertens (81), IF Witsel (82), and IF2 Ter Steggen (82). What are the absolute best times to buy these players, considering that i don’t care when they are bought, as long as i am getting the best deals.
    I am thinking that mertens would be best to buy now, cause he is an old inform and not likely to be upgraded in february. Buy while the supply is decent?
    IF Witsel I thought would be cheapest when the TOTY is in packs, as people would be trying to get coins for packs. I am worried that he might get a February upgrade though.
    IF2 Ter Steggen I thought would be cheapest on Christmas day, since his TOTW would be still out and many packs would be opened on that day, increasing his supply to the maximum. However, I am pretty sure Ter Steggen will get a Feb upgrade. However, I don’t know if he will be upgraded to the stats of his IF1 (81) or his IF2.

    Anyways, I would really appreciate it if you could give me your thoughts on these players.
    Thank you so much

  3. mack December 25, 2012 at 10:19 pm #

    So i sold my Italian team for 170k (All NIFs) , Iwas wondering when should I start buying my team back for maximum profit? Should I wait until TOTY is announced? Great thread btw, cheers.

    • ultimateteamguide December 27, 2012 at 7:02 pm #

      NIF prices will continue to fall throughout the year, just that during certain times (after Xmas special packs, TOTY release and Jan upgrade release), the prices fall substantially. If it’s your only squad or favourite squad, then I’d buy them back as soon as possible – it’s no fun not playing with your favourite players/squad, right? If you can hold on for as long as possible (i.e. try creating a squad of underrated, cheap players), then you’ll have more coins leftover when you do buy back your new squad…

      • Daniel December 28, 2012 at 9:12 am #

        when will this market crash end. because atm on xbox all players are increasing in price for example hazard went down to 75k like 3 days ago now people are paying 85k plus.

      • ultimateteamguide December 31, 2012 at 9:11 am #

        It won’t end. Prices will keep falling

  4. tommy December 27, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

    when will they announce the toty????

    • ultimateteamguide December 31, 2012 at 9:12 am #

      Jan 7th is World XI announcement so FUT13 TOTY won’t be before that

  5. Jesse D December 28, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

    Do you have a guess as to which players will be on the TOTY? Has EA announced a release date for that?

    • Booooobies December 30, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

      I think tht it comes out on January 1st
      Midnight uk time!
      Ps buy my Ramos only 120k starting price

      • Booooobies December 30, 2012 at 10:43 pm #




    • ultimateteamguide December 31, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

      One fact that many people don’t know is the TOTY XI is voted on by the 50,000+ professional players themselves. It is merely a popularity contest where the most visibly successful players will win every year (unless they are immensely dislikeable). So the players in the TOTY are heavily Barca and Real Madrid flavoured for the third year in a row.

      EA will make an announcement in the days after the TOTY announcement.

  6. Serpent_Era December 30, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

    Hey just a quick question. so the prices wont rise after the market has crashed?

    • ultimateteamguide December 31, 2012 at 3:25 pm #

      no, since supply (of players) is always higher than the demand. The new players that are pulled from packs enter the marketplace where they compete with the existing players already on the market. There just isn’t a way for FUT13 to remove players from the market fast enough (known in gaming terms as an ‘item sink’ – i.e. coin sink, points sink, runes sink:

  7. cormac January 1, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    when will the market come back up to normal prices? what i mean is when will the prices become the same as they were before the xmas crash?

    • ultimateteamguide January 2, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

      They won’t. There might be some price increases but long term the prices will keep going down, especially after TOTY and the January upgrades are released.

  8. ShadowyExister007 January 3, 2013 at 6:01 am #

    Just a question here. I have a team: should I sell it now? It has a bunch of NIF’s and IF players (Seria A). Also, how much should I save up roughly for a few TOTY players? IE: Chellini, Buffon, and say Cavani? I know there will be multiple TOTY for the italians but any suggestions would be great. Also when should I rebuy my team? After toty or a few more weeks after? Please let me know. Thanks!

  9. Ninoo. January 5, 2013 at 8:16 pm #

    I would like to buy regular messi i know he will probably be in the TOTY but what is the best time to buy him?

    • ultimateteamguide January 6, 2013 at 2:02 am #

      During TOTY his NIF might increase on the first day since it will be ‘out of circulation’. After the first day or so though, his NIF should drop in price. I’d probably buy him when FUT13 is busiest (usually at Friday 5PM GMT) as that is when there are the most people on (and the most Messis listed).

      • Ninoo. January 6, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

        Thank you!

  10. Silver Orange January 6, 2013 at 6:05 am #

    when will the january upgrades appear on fut?

  11. FUT'13 January 6, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

    i’ve sold all my players leaving me with a totalt of 530k. I really want to buy a new team and was hoping to do that after the TOTY release due to price drop. I’m thinking of buying liga bbva. At what time after the release of toty is the best time to buy? (during ballon d’or draw, after ballon’dor draw, or after the emmidately after the release of toty on FUT)? And hearing of the “january upgrade” will i loose a lot of cash on buying my team before the upgrades?
    Sorry for long post

  12. thekompany January 6, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

    maybe the question was already posted by someone, but i want to know when FUT realeases the TOTY?

    • Jesse January 7, 2013 at 1:07 am #

      It will be released today, according to the AP. Looking forward to it.

  13. Garrett January 7, 2013 at 2:13 am #

    quick question that i can’t seem to find an answer to, would it be better to buy my team back the day of the packs being released, or at a later date?

  14. Allan Marshall January 7, 2013 at 11:09 am #

    this is a great guide, thanks.

    • ultimateteamguide January 7, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

      Thanks Allan, appreciate the support:)

  15. Ronald January 7, 2013 at 1:43 pm #

    Hi, out of my curiosity, I have a question, let’s say that a rooney price now is around 100K, and how much will it be when the TOTY is released? thanks

  16. Jeroen January 7, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

    I sold my entire squad which leaves me with about 800k.
    I want to know when is the best date to start buying back my team?
    I’ve seen this question a couple of times but didn’t find an answer.

    • James January 8, 2013 at 2:10 am #

      Yeah, thats pretty dumb on what you did!

      • Michal January 23, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

        IF he sold the squad before 1/7 then that was actaully a really smart move(which is what I think he did). If he sold it when the market crash then that would be dumb, but I dont think he did that. And also, its too late to say this but u should have bought it back day of the crash.

  17. Holger January 7, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

    should i sell ribery now??

  18. Audinio January 7, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    When will TOTY be in packs?

    • ultimateteamguide January 7, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

      Defenders are available now until Wednesday 6pm GMT

      • Jesse D January 7, 2013 at 10:51 pm #

        I can’t find the list of which defenders made the team. Where do we find that?

  19. Erik January 10, 2013 at 5:29 am #

    How long do you think til the market goes back to a steady normal rate? should i sell my team now and just take the loss while its “minimal” or possibly wait it out until the market rises again?

    • ultimateteamguide January 10, 2013 at 6:02 am #

      After the end of the January transfer window and the last upgrades are released, there will be a ‘steadier’ period until the TOTS (team of the season) in May/June. Prices will still go down for NIFs thoughout the period, just slower than this crazy period (Xmas, TOTY, Jan upgrade/transfers).

  20. Ninoo. January 10, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

    I have another question. I made a lot of coins during the market crash and I’m now thinking about buying the In form Messi. When TOTY Messi comes out I expect the IF Messi to drop in price. But when do you think the price of IF Messi will stop dropping and when would be the best moment to but him?

  21. drake January 10, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

    I have renaldo, and was wondering if i should sell him and buy packs or keep him and build around him. I already have barclays premier team except renaldo.

  22. zaklfc9 January 10, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

    Some players prices will definitely go back to normal and some may even rise! I have been buying loads of John Terrys and selling them when the price rises it happens on a weekly basis!

    John Terry will definitely not rise in overall as he has barely played. Do some players even drop in overall?

    I will have to wait a week or two but ultimateteamguide I’l prove you wrong by making over 3k profit on each card i have of JT. I have around 60 John terrys on my watch list and 20 in trade pile! I HOPE YOUR WRONG!!

    • ultimateteamguide January 14, 2013 at 6:04 am #

      Some players actually increased over the course of TOTY (think Iniesta, Xavi, Casillas and other players that sync well with the TOTY Liga players). Also Gareth Bale managed to hold his price extremely well while guys like Aguero and Rooney dropped around 10% (comparing 16-Dec to 14-January prices).

      I hope you bought John Terry at his absolute bottom price 3500 coins @ 8-Jan, because yes, you would have made a profit since he has rebounded to 4200 coins @ 14-Jan post-TOTY. However, one month ago on 16-Dec he was 5800 coins).

  23. ARW January 11, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

    Let’s hope they do the same next year, it’s better for players; at the end of the day this is a game for gamers, not market traders; trading, though a huge part is just a great addition to it.

    If having a monopoly of prices is good for some peoples games, then surely having a crash is good for others.
    Personally I hope they upgrade players like last year and continue to force the prices down. IF’s will keep the market going.

  24. KOCUR3S January 13, 2013 at 3:14 am #

    IMO after the January UPs the existing cards stats should change to higher. That would make the market more interesting cause you could invest (before the up) in players you think will be upgraded based on real life form😀

  25. Gregory January 13, 2013 at 4:59 am #

    I got toty marcelo today in a pack. His price seems to have dropped from about 490k to 480k through the day. Will it go back up later? how long will it take? hours? weeks? months?

    • ultimateteamguide January 14, 2013 at 6:05 am #

      I think almost all TOTY players will increase in price, (with the GK the sole exception) as they are now out of packs. If FUT12 is anything to go by, yes, they will go up.

  26. Shockwaa January 14, 2013 at 6:58 am #

    My team’s worth seems to have dropped some 40% during this crash, totaling a net loss of around 150k. I wish I had found this article before it happened. I could have saved a lot of coins… I’m trying to make a new squad, but I’m not sure if I should sell my current one now or wait until the prices rebound. Avg NIF players are back on the rise, aren’t they?

  27. Alfonso Allegre January 15, 2013 at 8:15 pm #

    Does NIF Ronaldo price will go down again? i was ready to buy him 1 week ago before TOTY was released cause he was almost under 1 million and i thougth he will keep decreasing, but now his price is rocketing again, should i buy him now before he becomes unaffordable ?

    • ultimateteamguide January 15, 2013 at 10:30 pm #

      I can see it slowly moving downwards over time. Because it is the most popular NIF card in the game, NIF Ronaldo’s card will decrease in price the slowest😦

  28. zaklfc9 January 19, 2013 at 1:15 am #


    I told you the prices would rise!! i made over 400k i bough 250k worth of john terrys all at around 2,500 – 3,000 coins. Sold every single 1 for atleast 4,500 – 5,000!! Woooooo
    bought Ramos for 130,000 just cause i wanted to play with him got bored n sold him now and hes going for 180,000 LOL gotta love TOTY

    • ultimateteamguide January 21, 2013 at 12:15 am #

      Good job buying low and selling high at the right times:)

      As I mentioned in my blog at Futhead: the prices hit rock bottom on the 8th Jan. Yes, you made money, but JT’s prices overall have fallen as he was worth 6,800 coins as late as Dec-31 (Xbox)

  29. Sondissss January 20, 2013 at 3:33 am #

    Now it is 20th of january, and every players price are very low… Should i buy a New team?

  30. Michal January 23, 2013 at 6:58 pm #

    I am new to Ultimate Team this year. And I was wondering what exactly happens with the market with the Updates. Does the market crash when they are realised just like it did during the TOTY release. Will all players including Informs and Silver temporarly go down in price. Or do only IFs who’s NIF got upgraded decline. And did that happen last year only because some NIF became as good as there IFs. I am asking cause I am trying to figure out whether its a good idea to buy certain IFs or should I sell my whole entire squad instead and buy it back during market crash.

  31. Michael Bruschini February 8, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

    I’ve seen a lot more “special deals” and announcements of “happy hour” this year. Not surprised NIF prices are very low. I like, however, the reward for playing through the seasons. What really annoys me though is that EA holds out on Messi. I think it’s unfair for EA to allow the price to consisently be over 1 million and advertise him in packs. People like me spend a lot of money trying to get him. His value should probably be around 500k, but then people probably wouldn’t be buying as many packs.

    • Michael Bruschini February 8, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

      For clarification: I don’t think EA should “ban” setting his price over 500k, they should however increase supply a bit.

  32. ryan February 19, 2013 at 7:31 pm #

    Absolutely nailed it. Does anyone know any tips on how to buy FIFA coins. I checked out but are there any more?

  33. jimmy February 23, 2013 at 3:12 pm #

    when will the next market crash happen?

  34. thomas bodholdt March 16, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

    its not okey!!!! fifa 13 has so many fails/errors/freezings/lagging and so on

    my own last experience is in FUT i buy some of these fifa points so i can buy gold packets.

    i get so much shit and only 2 rare players, but with low stats from these 5 packets cost 300 each but at last i manage to get 40000 in all so i buy a player so i could sell him and earn ekstra coins but when the auktion ends my player is gone….. i could see in my web app i won the auktion but no player i have tried to contact ea support but no response yet i lost time and Money GET IT TOGETHER EA :((

  35. Peter van den Heuvel March 24, 2013 at 10:30 pm #

    How many days/weeks before TOTS will happen a market crash?

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