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Fantasy FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022: Chip Strategy

FIFA’s “boosters” are not quite what we’re used to. Check in to see how I’m planning to use them.

WSOP No-Limit Texas Hold ‘em World Championship
When will you put your chips in play?
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

I had originally intended to use this space to post a Rate My MD-1 Team article. But we’ve already name-checked each country’s prime fantasy assets in our series of Group Previews, and Dhivakhar has already published an excellent MD-1 Player Picks article.

Consequently, rather than seeing the squad I’m contemplating for MD-1, I think our readers might benefit more from hearing my thoughts on chip strategy — something we haven’t really touched on yet.

Below is my current plan and the rationale behind it.

The “Boosters”

There are three “boosters” (commonly referred to as “chips” in other formats) that are available to us In the official FIFA World Cup fantasy game: Wildcard, 12th Man, and Power Captain.

These boosters can be played once each, and never simultaneously. They must be activated before the first fixture in a Matchday, and once played they cannot be reversed.



The Wildcard booster allows you to make unlimited transfers within a specific matchday, although you will still be restricted by the budget allowance for that round.

This chip is not available ahead of MD-1 or ahead of the Round of 16, since we already get unlimited transfers during those periods anyway.


12th Man

This chip lets you choose an extra player in addition to your selected squad, so when you play this booster you’ll have 12 men collecting points for you in that matchday instead of 11.

Your can choose anyone you please to serve as your 12th Man, irrespective of the normal budget and team restrictions, but your 12th Man cannot be captained, substituted, or transferred.


Power Captain

This booster automatically assigns double points to the man in your starting 11 who returns the most points. No need to fret over where to place your armband, or whether to stick or twist — at the end of the matchday the game will automatically captain the best producer from among your 11 starters.

So be sure to get your subs right because the players left on your bench at the end of the matchday will not be eligible.

The Plan

As with the official fantasy platforms for the English Premier League and the UEFA Champions League, there are various strategies for chip deployment in fantasy FIFA World Cup as well. The different gambits and contingencies are too myriad for me to cover individually, but each has its own faults and merits.

After considering them all, here’s what I’m planning:

  • Power Captain: MD-1
  • Wildcard: MD-2
  • 12th Man: MD-3 or MD-4

I’m no expert in either game, but based on my experience with fantasy Champions League and fantasy Euros, I’ve become a fan of spending my chips in the Group Stage. Why? Well, mostly because the weakest 16 teams are still in the tournament, and their lopsided fixtures can be plundered for fantasy treasure.


Matchday 1

With the entire pool of players available to us, and no Qatar-specific track record of form or production to guide our decision-making, the Power Captain chip looks good to me here.

Rather than guessing at who my best player is going to be before I’ve even see any of the 32 teams play, I’ll push the easy button for MD-1 and let the machine automatically double the points of my best performer, whomever that turns out to be.


Matchday 2

This is going to be a little complicated, but if you stick with me through this explanation, you’ll be able to leverage a potent nuance of the World Cup Wildcard that can separate you from the casuals (and even many of old hands who aren’t in the know).

Here’s the exact language from FIFA describing the Wildcard: It “will allow you to make unlimited transfers within a specific round.” It’s that word “within” that is key.

On Friday, Andy at Let’s Talk FPL (a fantasy football YouTube channel) confirmed via direct text communication with insiders at the FIFA fantasy game that your Wildcard will remain active throughout the entire matchday. That means you can continue to utilize your Wildcard privileges right up until the final game of the matchday ends. This is incredibly powerful, and here’s why.

Using your Wildcard, you can set up your ideal squad ahead of MD-2. Then, based on updated team news and injury reports that filter in even after the matchday unfolds, you can drop players who haven’t played for other players who haven’t played as many times as you want in order to maximize your returns in the current matchday.

Sound pretty awesome? Well it is. But it gets even better. Before the end of the final game in the matchday, you can also use unlimited free transfers between locked players to bring in an entirely new squad that is optimized for MD-3.

It may take you a couple read-throughs before you grasp what I’m trying to explain, because it is so totally different from anything we’ve seen before in other formats. But basically, if you play your Wildcard in MD-2 (remember that you can’t play it in MD-1 or the Round of 16), then you’ll also be able to wildcard for MD-3 as well.

Essentially, by playing the booster in MD-2, you can use a single chip to wildcard twice, plus make unlimited squad adjustments for that round as long as the players involved in those transfers haven’t played yet. These amazing features are why I’m playing the booster in MD-2.

This double Wildcard advantage is lost if you play the Wildcard in MD-3, because everyone gets unlimited free transfers in the next round anyway. And if you save your Wildcard until the quarters, semis, or finals, then your player selections will significantly overlap with those of other managers, since the pool of available players will have shrunk significantly since the Group Stage. It’s difficult to advance up the rankings that way, so it’s a weak time to deploy your Wildcard.

Besides, with four free trades available for the quarters, five for the semis, and six for the finals/consolation, you shouldn’t require a Wildcard to patch holes in your team if you’ve been thoughtfully planning your transfers along the way.

*Disclaimer: The intelligence that FPLTips provided about the Wildcard nuance is reliable but unverified. I’m going all in on it unless I hear otherwise, but you do so at your own risk.


MD-3 or MD-4

By MD-3, some teams will be on the verge of death. Others will be on the verge of survival. Still others will be already-secure or already-eliminated. The upshot is that some teams will be forced to field their best 11, while others will have the luxury of preserving their studs for later.

We’ll know which matches will have meaning, and from those I’ll max out my representation using my MD-2 Wildcard (see above). To those I’ll add a twelfth player who won’t have to fit inside my budget cap or team-limit restrictions.

I can also see the logic of playing this booster in the Round of 16, where there will still be some lopsided matchups, and marquee players will feature in every match.

I’ll have to make a final decision on whether to play this chip in MD-3 or MD-4 before the deadline for MD-3 passes, so stay tuned for updates!

If you haven’t yet, make sure to join NMA’s mini league (you must register on the FIFA site and create your team first):

League code: K2QVR5ZB


We’ve also dropped previews of every World Cup group:

Group A Preview

Group B Preview

Group C Preview

Group D Preview

Group E Preview

Group F Preview

Group G Preview

Group H Preview

In addition, we’ve published a Group Stage fixture difficulty table and a MD-1 Player Picks piece to help you target the best matchups and the best players for your fantasy squad. We’ve also put out a MD-1 Fantasy Preview to help you organize your plan for the opening round.

Finally, we’ll keep you abreast of team news, injuries, and suspensions as the competition unfolds. We’ll even post daily match reviews and a running table of important tournament statistics, so be sure to check in at regularly!


As I mentioned, there are a litany of different ways to play the boosters, all with solid reasoning behind them. If you see things differently than I do, our readers (and I!) would love to hear your perspective. Please log in and share it!



I will play my Wildcard in

This poll is closed

  • 62%
    (72 votes)
  • 20%
    (24 votes)
  • 10%
    The Quarterfinals
    (12 votes)
  • 4%
    The Semifinals
    (5 votes)
  • 1%
    The Finals/Consolation
    (2 votes)
115 votes total Vote Now



I will play my 12th Man in

This poll is closed

  • 29%
    (30 votes)
  • 3%
    (4 votes)
  • 39%
    (40 votes)
  • 18%
    The Round of 16
    (19 votes)
  • 7%
    Later than the Round of 16
    (8 votes)
101 votes total Vote Now



I will play my Power Captain in

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    (25 votes)
  • 9%
    (9 votes)
  • 17%
    (17 votes)
  • 25%
    The Round of 16
    (25 votes)
  • 21%
    Later than the Round of 16
    (21 votes)
97 votes total Vote Now