There are lots of meaningful gameplay changes in FIFA 22, and if you zoom out and look at the trendline, it shows one main takeaway: Everything is more exaggerated now.
Underlying attributes that decide whether a player wins the ball in a 50/50 have been given more weight. Keepers with weak hands will fumble more. Poor dribblers will get less touches. Non-defenders will get skittish filling in the centre-back position, just like non-strikers will get skittish in a goal-scoring position.
Apparently the boffins at EA Sports thought players weren’t differentiated enough, so they pulled every lever they had in the direction of deciding outcomes by attributes.
With that in mind, there are ways we can use this to our advantage. Certain playstyles have been buffed, and we’re going to go through how to adapt to FIFA 22 while playing to your strengths.
The aggressive contain defence is back
The bane of many attackers, this hyper aggressive defence used to be one of the most common playstyles until it was nerfed into the ground.
This involves pressing R1 while defending to call a 2nd player to contain the attacker. Except now, instead of slowly approaching like they’re about to dip their toe into a hot spring, in FIFA 22 this move actually represents a tackle threat.
If you manually approach from one angle while calling the 2nd defender from the other side, this puts immediate pressure on the other player. Most of the time, it forces them to pass backwards or risk a dubious pass that’ll likely be blocked.
You can see why it was nerfed. The ease of execution (just press R1!) plus its effectiveness made this an early elo barrier. You couldn’t rise in the ranks without learning how to pass around it, and everyone was doing it.
It was like FIFA’s Scholar’s Mate: learn to defend it or you don’t progress. But high-level players rarely commit to it fully, because it overextends the defenders and breaks formation. Now that it’s back, you can frustrate your opponents with it all over again.
Better players will either pass around this or put the ball over your charging defenders. Your goal is to be able to do this too. Practice passing around the two challengers, and if necessary, press R1 to trigger a run for a better through ball pass.
By crossing, or with a lofted through ball, you can put the ball over the challenger. If you do this, have a plan for what comes next. Above all, keep calm, because the real threat here is how easily it causes panic. If you’re feeling confident, you can try some flashy tricks to get around both challengers, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
When you’re up against a competent player who can do the above, you need to rein this in a bit. Instead of sending two rabid madmen to tackle, use the feature as it was intended — contain. Keep your formation, build pressure, watch for interceptions, and if they take too long, tackle.
Also, be wary — each time you press R1 it selects a new defender. This has led some high-level players to criticise it for not selecting the “right” defender. But it’s handy for when someone dribbles across your entire defensive line, trying to bait defenders out of formation. Just keep pressing R1 and they’ll move forward, then fall back into their zone when the threat is gone.
Strong players give you time with ball shielding
If your attacking player is up against one challenger, pressing L2 will shield the ball and hold off a tackle. As we mentioned above, this is now more exaggerated with the player’s Strength attribute.
The hidden gem here is how well defenders can hold up the ball in the corner, if need be, while some striker with a terrible tackling attribute tries to nab the ball. But most of the time you’ll longball to a chonkyboi deep in enemy territory, and can press L2 to wait for passing options.
This isn’t a good counter to the hyper aggressive R1 defence mentioned above. But if they’re approaching you with one challenger, it’s fantastic.
Most of the time, impatient human players try to get around the ball shielding. That means committing to one direction around the shielder. Then you just turn the other way, and you’ve won the 1-on-1. If you see them trying to move around the right side, turn left. If they move left, turn right. If they try to go through you, it’s a foul.
If they start calling the 2nd defender in to close in from both sides, that means they’ve opened up space in their formation. Look for opportunities to pass into that space, or press L1 to trigger a run and hopefully create that opportunity.
Also – and this will really grate on them – if they bring in two challengers from too wide an angle, that gives you space to just move backwards through them. Release L2, and simply walk between both challengers.
It’s brutal when it works. Just keep in mind you can’t hold the ball for long — plan to escape in under two seconds.
Get used to the Competitive Master Switch
This is a collection of settings that turn off various assists, ensuring what happens on the pitch actually corresponds to your input.
Why would you intentionally make the game harder? Because any online competitive settings, or future in-person tournament settings, will have this switched on — so you might as well get used to them now.
That said, if you only play against the AI or someone at home, and you prefer the assists, then go nuts. No harm, no foul.
Turn Timed Finishing on
Back in FIFA 21, you’d want to turn off Timed Finishing. Now, when you load up the game, one of the first things you should do is make sure it’s turned on.
This feature involves pressing the shoot button a second time at the point of impact. If you got it right, a green indicator will tell you the shot is now boosted for speed and accuracy.
Using this with a finesse shot just outside the box, with the right players, can result in a goal nearly 100% of the time. A few factors have to be right, such as using players good at finesse shots, no pressure from a defender, and it helps if you’re using their good foot. But with a bit of practice, you’ll be nailing this one consistently from range.
Keep in mind the penalties for missed timings here:
- Very early — large penalty
- Slightly early — small penalty
- Perfect timing — boosted speed and accuracy
- Late — no effect
With that in mind, it’s better to err on the side of being late than early. Happy striking.
Two-Pronged Counterattacks Are Buffed
Goalkeepers were reworked in FIFA 22, and one thing I’ve noticed is any keeper lower than god-tier has a much harder time holding onto the ball. There are more fumbles, more blocks, and less catches. That’s in line with FIFA 22’s overall philosophy — only keepers with high stats will have safe hands.
We can take advantage of this. When you’re pushing forward with two strikers, if the angle isn’t good for a shot, and you’re worried about defenders intercepting a pass, you can blast it towards the keeper with high power at a slightly inward angle. It’s unlikely the keeper will catch it, and instead it’ll ricochet to the other side of the goal where your 2nd striker can pick up the rebound.
This isn’t a new move, but it’s buffed now. Safe hands are scarce. If you shoot towards the opposite side of the goal and it goes in, great. If it ricochets and you pick up the rebound, also great.
Counterattacking teams with two speedy strikers champing at the bit are perfect for this, but you can also tinker with your formation and create this yourself with a 4-4-2 or a 3-5-2. Put your fast (and ideally strong) forwards up front, attempt the ricochet, and if it doesn’t work out, pass it back to a finesse striker to shoot from outside the box while the defence is still recovering.
Precise Lofted Through Balls
As we’ll talk about below, the meta favours long lobbed through balls right now. There are a couple of ways to do this. The normal way is pressing L1 and triangle/Y, gauging the power and direction manually.
The second way is by pressing L1 and triangle twice. This will loft a through ball with the exact power and accuracy necessary for the attacker’s run. It’s literally the perfect through ball.
The catch? It will always pick the attacker closest to you. So this is best used when there’s only one attacking option. If you’re on the wing with only two players and no support from the midfield, you know what to do.
Pick one FIFA 22 Skill
If you sincerely want to raise your FIFA skill, I sincerely recommend picking one thing at a time and perfecting it. What you’ll find is that this commands respect from your opponents, with flow-on effects throughout the game.
Back when I was properly decent at FIFA and won tournaments, my one thing was I could nail a finesse shot from outside the box, guaranteed. Just like I mentioned above — though this was before the Timed Shot feature.The flow-on effect of this was that opponents — be they friends or tournament players — knew they couldn’t give me that space. They had to charge out, breaking formation and creating space for me. Otherwise it’s a guaranteed goal.
I’ve seen other players do similar things with other parts of the game. If you’re that player who always nails a free kick, opponents will be terrified to foul you. Some are great at corners. Some have one set play they do at every kickoff.
Think about which part of the game you find most fun, and use that as a starting point.
The super knock-on is easy, and great
Double-tapping the right stick in a direction now performs a “super” knock-on, which has more distance. Use this to surprise defenders when you chase a ball down and move into open space.
The current FIFA 22 meta
Most players will be playing with Pass Block Assistance, and FIFA 22 has cut down on tacklebacks and increased interceptions. All of these things weaken the slow build-up style of play. The pace of the game might be slower, but every pass now has an additional chance of stopping your attack. This has led to a meta where fast runs forward are king, usually with a long lofted through ball to a winger to avoid potential interceptions.
I recommend trying this playstyle if you’re having trouble — it’s not everyone’s idea of fun, but it’s effective. Plus, trying it always gives you ideas for defending against it.
Hopefully there are a few ideas there that help your FIFA game. Good luck!