As we roll into May, we move ever closer to the stage of the year-long Ultimate Team cycle where the market goes a bit crazy – the reveal of the Team of the Season cards. The announcement and release of these highly coveted cards is always accompanied by that most unique of Ultimate Team phenomena, the “Market Crash”. Players who have spent the last 8 months lovingly crafting their club rosters quickly lose the nut and start clearing their decks in preparation of buying packs, all the while hoping to see that flash of royal blue, effectively rendering that 84-rated in-form Theo Walcott or that 88-rated Antoine Griezmann as trash.
But, as the old saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and in this series of blogs, I intend to pick up some of these in-form bargains, give them a new loving home and hopefully introduce a few of them to you, so that you too can add some colour to those standard squads.
First up is one of what have affectionately become known as the “Frozen” cards – the Team of the Tournament cards, as they’re more commonly known. In this case, this card was released as part of the Team of the Tournament Knockout Stage line-up – Anderlecht’s other Belgian starlet, Leander Dendoncker.
An 86-rated central defensive midfielder, Dendoncker is available for the criminally low price of between 13,000 and 15,000 coins across all platforms, meaning you can add a player of superior in-game stats and greater versatility to, say, Sergio Busquets – somehow 87-rated, but that’s for a different blog – for around 2,000 to 3,000 coins fewer.
And what a card he has. Firstly, being Belgian means that you have plenty of options playing in Europe’s big leagues to surround him with, thus mitigating his main deficiency – playing in a league with few players you’d actually want to use. Secondly, his 74 pace, 93 stamina, medium attacking work rate and high defensive workrate mean that he operates as a true box-to-box force in the middle of the park. Those stats, along with others like 96 shot power and 87 passing, as well as a 4-star weak foot, mean that you can play him anywhere in the midfield without concern. And, whilst his 2-star skill moves will undoubtedly bother those who like a trick or two, his 86 ball control and 88 strength ensure he can still bulldoze his way past a marker.
His versatility also means that he’s arguably benefits from the application of a chemistry style more than most. Want to keep him at CDM? Apply a Powerhouse card, and the associated stat boosts see him jump out to being a 94-rated one. Likewise, apply an Artist card to boost Dendoncker to a 94-rated CM or a 90-rated CAM.
Other than the aforementioned 2-star skill moves or the league he happens to play in, it really is difficult to find a flaw with this card. Having used him for several games at CDM, where his long legs and exceptional standing tackle ability mean easy regaining of possession, I’ve now moved him to CAM, where his strength and long shot ability makes him a threat from outside the box in every game.
For the almost insultingly low price he can be picked up for, he might just be the best secret bargain in the game. Snap him up and thank me later.