When it comes to creating teams in Ultimate Team, people do not only struggle to create the best team possible, they also struggle finding a formation that suits them best. In this guide, we will go through all the available formations and give you our opinions on them. Hopefully you’ll know which formation to use next time you create a team!

Before you start reading though, keep in mind that these are our opinions based on the experiences we have had with each formation. If you believe we are incorrect, or if you would like to have an input, feel free to comment below.


Formation: 3-4-1-2

Positives:

  • Good attack.
  • Balanced midfield.
  • Perfect for both wing- and center play.

Negatives:

  • Poor defense.
  • Easy to get counter-attacked.

Our Thoughts

It is not often we come across opponents using the 3-4-1-2 formation, mainly because of its negatives. The positives might be good, but the negatives really put it down. The poor defense and high chance of being counter-attacked because of only having 3 defenders is something that worries many of us.

But if you believe you are a fairly good defender in FIFA 13, we highly recommend trying this formation out, as it is good for attacking, has a balanced midfield which allows you to keep possession, and is great for those of you who want to mix between playing both on the wings and in the center of the field.

We recommend that you use fast defenders for this formation, preferably CBs with more than 75 pace if possible.


Formation: 3-4-2-1

Positives:

  • Very good attack.
  • Good holding midfield.
  • Perfect for wing-play.

Negatives:

  • Poor defense.
  • Easy to get counter-attacked.
  • Defenders are alone during counter-attacks because the wingers are far up the pitch.

Our Thoughts

The 3-4-2-1 formation is one of the most common 3-at-the-back formations, mainly due to the fact that it is very attacking and has a perfect wing-play. The attack consists of 1 ST, 1 RF and 1 LF. The right and left forwards, who were wingers on FIFA 12, help widen the play a bit more. But then there’s also 2 right- and left midfielders who love running up and down the field.

The midfielders hold up the midfield very well and depending on who you have at CM, they tend to be perfect play makers for the attackers, who score for fun.

Just like with all the other three-at-the-back formations, we recommend having fast CBs as you’re going to need them to stand a chance of out-pacing the opponents attack.


Formation: 3-4-3

Positives:

  • Good attack.
  • Balanced midfield.
  • Great for crossing.

Negatives:

  • Poor defense.
  • Easy to get counter-attacked.

Our Thoughts

Even though this formation is not commonly used, we believe it is a great formation for those of you who prefer having fast wingers running up the pitch. Even better is that if you have a striker with good aerial abilities, you get many opportunities to cross the ball in and score many headers.

As we mentioned with the previous formations, you can easily get counter-attacked and we recommend having fast defenders for this formation too.

We also recommend, as mentioned above, a player who is great at heading. Per example Falcao, Klose, Llorente and Mandzukic. These players tend to header in almost every cross.


Formation: 3-5-2

Positives:

  • Great attack.
  • Perfectly balanced midfield.
  • Strong defense.

Negatives:

  • Wingers are “invisible” at some points.

Our Thoughts

The 3-5-2 formation is my personal favourite so far in FIFA 13. I started using it more and more in FIFA 12 and it has now become the formation I tend to use most for my teams in Ultimate Team. It is so much fun to play with, especially if you use the perfect players.

What I would like to start with mentioning is the defense. Unlike the other three-at-the-back formations, the 3-5-2 formation actually has a great defense. Why is this? Because it has 2 CDM who basically act like 2 extra defenders, so to an extent, you can say you pretty much have 5 defenders in this formation, even though the CDM also help out in the attack perfectly.

The attack consists of 2 strikers and 1 attacking midfielder. These three players work perfectly together and move around in a triangle for most parts of the game. They are usually at the right place at the right time, which is perfect. We recommend having fairly pacy players in these positions as it really helps out when counter-attacking.

The left and right midfielders are invisible at some points of the games, sometimes when you need them the most. This is because they act like wing-backs, so they move up and down the pitch the whole game. Make sure they have a good stamina and pace – you’re going to need it.

Even though the defense is very strong in this formation, with the 2 CDMs, we still recommend having fast defenders as you still need to keep up with the opponents. Players who suit this formations perfectly are Thiago Silva, Felipe Santana, Sergio Ramos, Pepe and Chiellini to name but a few.


Formation: 4-1-2-1-2

Positives:

  • Great attack.
  • Strong defense.
  • Tends to dominate other teams.
  • Amazing overall.

Negatives:

  • None.

Our Thoughts

This is probably the most used and most popular formation in FIFA Ultimate Team history, and it’s no surprise why. The 4-1-2-1-2 is perfectly balanced all over the field, and as you can see, I have not mentioned any negatives, simply because I could not think of any.

You might think that this formation lacks central midfielders, but it actually doesn’t. For some reason, the one and only CDM holds up the midfield perfectly – especially if you’re using someone like Yaya Toure, De Rossi, Vidal, Khedira etc. If you want a review on Yaya Toure, read this review that our developer Zipko wrote in a previous post (scroll to bottom).

I have a Liga BBVA team using the 4-1-2-1-2 formation at the moment, and I have won almost every game with it so far. Every single player seem to perform perfectly every game and it makes it a lot easier, and funnier, for you to use them.

When building teams around this formation, try to buy the players in this formation instead of buying them in other formations to later on apply 4-1-2-1-2 formation cards to them – it costs a lot. The formation cards go for around 5-6k.


Formation: 4-2-3-1

Positives:

  • Very strong midfield.
  • Great defense.
  • Balanced all over the field.

Negatives:

  • Only one striker.

Our Thoughts

The 4-2-3-1 formation is a formation I used a lot in FIFA 12, but started losing interest in, mainly because of the 3-5-2 and 4-1-2-1-2 being preferred. However, it is a very good formation nevertheless.

This formation allows you to keep possession and dominate the midfield easily. The CDMs and CAMs supply your attack with great goal-scoring opportunities. It is then up to your only striker to make use of the chances. Behind him, he has a centre-forward who likes to move around a lot in the attack. You sometimes see him on the wings as well as on top.

Worth mentioning is the CDMs. Just like in the 3-5-2 formation, they really help out in defense a lot and are usually at the right places in the midfield at the right times. Together with the CBs, they build a wall in defense.

The only negative thing I mentioned about this formation is the lonely striker. It is nothing you notice a lot when using the formation, especially if your CF has a high attacking work rate, but you have to be aware of the fact that you don’t always have someone up there. Make sure your striker is a good striker overall, with good pace, shooting, dribbling and heading – it is much needed.


Formation: 4-2-2-2

Positives:

  • Good attack.
  • Good midfield.
  • CDMs help out a lot.
  • Strong defense.

Negatives:

  • Could use a more central player.

Our Thoughts

I have not used this formation a lot, but from what I’ve notice while using it, it is a very well-balanced formation, all over the field. It has a perfect mix of defense, midfield and attack. All players seem to work together perfectly. If you look at the formation, you can tell it’s very similar to the 4-2-3-1 formation. Some people prefer this formation instead, mainly because of the negatives I mentioned in the 4-2-3-1 formation – it has more strikers. But we also get somewhat of a dilemma. Either have two strikers or just one. If you choose, two – which is the 4-2-2-2 formation, you get no central midfielders. The two CAMs act more like wingers, you should be aware of that.


Formation: 4-3-1-2

Positives:

  • Good central attack.
  • Alright midfield.
  • Strong defense.

Negatives:

  • Weak midfield.

Our Thoughts

If you’re more of a player who prefers to attack in the centre of the field, this formation is perfect for you. But it has one weakness – the 3-man midfield. Even though you might have good midfielders who help out in defense and attack, you stand a large chance of being counter-attacked, especially against teams with 4 or more midfielders. The biggest mistake you can make in this formation is having two or more CAMs as CMs, why? Because they’re most probably not good at defending.

We recommend having 3 “original” CMs, or even CDMs, because they are so much better in these positions and in this formation. Chances with this formation is that your attack is amazing, but defense might lack a bit.


Formation: 4-3-2-1

Positives:

  • Good attack.
  • Alright midfield.
  • Perfect for both wing- and center play.

Negatives:

  • 3-man-midfield.

Our Thoughts

As you can see, this formation is similar to the 4-3-1-2 formation, just that it has 1 LF, 1 ST and 1 RF instead of 2 strikers and 1 CF. This allows you to play more on the wings, but still have a central-type of play.

Like mentioned above, the 3-man-midfield might let you down a bit, but is still good for supplying your attackers with great balls. We recommend using this formation if you consider yourself being a fairly good FIFA player with a bit experience from previous FIFA releases.


Formation: 4-3-3

Positives:

  • Good attack.
  • Good midfield.
  • Perfect for both wing- and center play.

Negatives:

  • Big chance of being counter-attacked.

Our Thoughts

The 4-3-3 formation is my preferred formation when wanting to play with attacking wingers. Unlike the 4-3-1-2 and 4-3-2-1 formations, this formation seems to have a stronger midfield for some reason. Either they spread around the midfield better, or it’s just a random conclusion of mine.

Nevertheless, just like the 3-4-3 formation, I recommend having a striker that has good aerial abilities, because you get many crossing opportunities here as well.

The chance of being counter-attacked is fairly large, because the midfielders tend to join the attacks and thus leave gaps in the midfield for the opponent to exploit. Try to learn to select and move around your midfielders using the LB/L1 buttons so that they stay in midfield for eventual counter-attacks. This takes some time to get used to, but if you give it some time, you’ll really like it.


Formation: 4-4-1-1

Positives:

  • Strong midfield.
  • Strong defense.
  • Good for keeping possession.

Negatives:

  • Feels a bit empty when attacking.

Our Thoughts

This formation is pretty similar to the 4-4-2 formation. From defense to midfield, it’s all the same, but when you look at the attack, it’s a bit different. Instead of having two strikers at top, it has 1 striker and 1 centre-forward right behind. This is the only thing I dislike about this formation, because it feels rather empty when attacking, and you usually have to wait for your players to run up the field in order to continue attacking.

Other than that though, it is very strong in defense and midfield and is very good for those of you who want to keep possession and use all your players together when attacking. When using this formation, try to pass around the midfield as much as possible and move up your players at the same time to create chances.


Formation: 4-4-2

Positives:

  • Good attack.
  • Balanced midfield.
  • Perfect for anyone.

Negatives:

  • None.

Our Thoughts

The 4-4-2 formation is considered being a default formation for almost every team in football. It is very balanced all over the field and I personally love using it because everything seems to work exactly as I want it to.

We recommend this formation to anyone out there who is looking for a formation they can feel comfortable in using at any time. It allows you to use your whole team in both attack as well as defense which makes it a perfect choice for most of you out there.

Just like the 4-1-2-1-2 formation cards, the 4-4-2 cards are quite expensive, so try to buy players who are already in this formation instead of applying cards to them.


Formation: 4-5-1

Positives:

  • Good attack.
  • Good defense.

Negatives:

  • Poor midfield.
  • Not too good for possession.
  • Large chance of being counter-attacked.

Our Thoughts

Looking at the formation, you can see it has 5 midfielders and might think it will be good for keeping possession, but it really isn’t. The formation is way too attacking for my likening, and many others’ as well, hence why you don’t come across people using it too often on Ultimate Team.

There’s nothing wrong with the defense, but you stand a large chance of being counter-attacked because of the weak midfield. Think of it this way, practically all players above the defense-line move up when attacking, even the CM. If you fail to score when attacking, the opponent’s goalkeeper will just get the ball up to any of the strikers they have in the midfield, which is pretty empty, so they keep on counter-attacking.

We don’t recommend this formation for beginners. It is more suited for players who are very good at defending and love attacking.


Formations: 5-2-1-2 / 5-2-2-1 / 5-3-2

Positives:

  • Super-strong defense.
  • Great for counter-attacking.

Negatives:

  • Poor midfield.
  • People hate on you.

Our Thoughts

The main reason to why we put these three formations into one little review is because we feel that they are the same, generally speaking.

They all have 5 defenders, who build up the strongest possible defense you can have in FIFA 13 Ultimate Team. The LWB and RWB move up and down the pitch throughout the game to build up the wing play, but they are also back to their defensive positions very quickly when needed.

What most people think about these formations is that their midfield is very, very weak. If you look at the 5-2-2-1 and 5-2-1-2 formations, they only have 2 midfielders, so you can only guess what will happen. You will have issues building up your attacks, because you don’t have many players to use. This will give your opponents the  opportunity to catch up with you and make it harder for you to attack.

If you do get through though, and get the ball up to your attackers, you are good to go and can create some very good chances.

We only recommend these formations to people who absolutely do not know how to defend in FIFA 13 – either beginners or those of you who need to get used to the faster game play. Expect to get a lot of messages from your opponents complaining about you using these formations, because it makes it a lot harder for them to get through with their attackers. As said, the defense is very strong.


Conclusion

That’s it for this time. What did you think of this guide? Which is your favourite formation to use when building Ultimate Team squads?