Finesse shots have been nerfed. If you’re not an avid EA Sports FC 24 player, or haven’t jumped into a FIFA match for a while, you might not understand the gravity of this development. Finesse shots, those beautiful curlers that nestle in the top corner of the net, have been a part of the FIFA franchise for years now, played by pressing RB and B on your Xbox controller. You all play on Xbox, right?
EA Sports FC 24 saw the advent of PlayStyles, which were a brilliant addition that made all manner of off-meta players usable. The problem was that some PlayStyles were better than others.
Finesse+ was one of the most broken mechanics in the game. Players like Mo Salah, Son Heung-min, and Kenny Dalglish could curl in finesse shots from obscene angles, leaving your keeper flailing their useless arms in the air. Other PlayStyles, like Technical+, Anticipate+, and Power Shot+, can be useful in certain situations, but none were as oppressive as Finesse.
Having played the new update, finesse shots are still good. Use them anywhere inside the box, and you’re still scoring. Edge of the box? For the most part, still going top bins. By the corner flag, though? Or from 40 yards? Maybe play real football instead.
Speaking of real football, EA FC 24 players quickly figured out that setting your defensive tactics to 71 depth pushed your players right up the pitch into a gegenpress that was nearly impossible to surpass. Strikers turned into prime Maldini and it was no fun for anybody. This is completely gone in the update, and now pushing your team up the pitch only makes you susceptible to counter attacks or chipped through balls.
Finesse is just the start of the updates, but probably the most major. Technical+ is also on the receiving end of the nerfhammer, but it appears to have only felt a light tap compared to the full might that hit finesse. Thunderstruck Bernardo Silva is still rapid when technical dribbling past defenders and John Barnes terrorises goalkeepers.
However, while Finesse+ and 71 depth feel more balanced, EA has also focused on improving midfielders. Defensive midfielders like Aurélien Tchouaméni and Frenkie de Jong feel even better than before, breaking up play with ease. This seems like a good thing, and makes playing in the centre of the park feel a little closer to real football, but in reality it forces players down the wings.
Running to the byline with a fast winger like Diaby, Diani, or anyone else with weirdly similar names, before cutting it back to the middle for a poacher to bury in an open net is even worse than before. Instead of playing incisive passes through an opponent’s lines, isolating defenders, or using skill to create your own opportunities, players simply run around the edge of your whole team and then bypass the goalie with a cutback. This is practically encouraged with the new midfield update, and if your opponent decides to abuse the technique, you’re in for a boring match.
Finesse isn’t going anywhere, and neither are boring byline cutbacks. But if you asked me what the next meta would be (you did implicitly by clicking on this article), I’d say Power Shots. Players with even the regular Power Shot playstyle let fly screamers going over 100km/h, and the likes of Steven Gerrard and Trailblazers Kylian Mbappe take that to the extreme with Power Shot+.
Power Shots take a little skill to pull off, as they can go wildly wide if you misjudge your aim, so I think it’d be a less oppressive meta than the Finesse+ chaos. There was a chance for Whipped Pass to come into play, as it too bypasses the midfield, but Power Header has been unfairly nerfed, so I don’t see that happening any more.
Overall, this is a good patch for Ultimate Team. EA has fixed some of the worst offenders for broken gameplay and, while some other styles caught unfair strays, gameplay currently feels good. Of course, this could all change in an instant, as is the way with Ultimate Team year after year. But for now, enjoy it while you can.
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