A new look at an old staple arrived this past weekend as the Road To The Knockouts cards for the UCL, Europa and Conference League dropped into packs. While the Spurs superstar Heung Min Son is undoubtedly the headliner, there were other interesting options added that could possibly tilt the scale in closely contested matches. Alexander Isak was definitely one of those inclusions that would have caught the eye of any FIFA manager who went the distance last year. Both TOTS and Summer Stars Isak were made popular last year by their unbelievably low price tags, yet unbelievably high goal scoring qualities. It was with this nostalgia that I entered into this review with a massive set of rose colored glasses, expecting a goal scoring record and a return to Rank I rewards. What I got, in the end, was a mixed bag result and my experience with this card can really only be described as the good, the bad and the ugly. With both the HUNTER and then ENGINE chemistry style applied it was a run out as the striker in my 4-2-3-1 formation putting Isak to the test for the Weekend League grind. Isak was the Swedish enigma all weekend long in the following squad:
I know that there will be varied experiences with this card… he has a set of skills that certainly means in the right situations, in the right hands, he will perform at an extremely high level. However, what I can tell you comes from the experience of having just played a weekend with NIF Mané in the exact same spot watching him perform wonderfully; followed by a very lackluster performance by RTTK Isak the weekend after. It is more complicated than blaming one card of course… but I truly believe Isak held me back this weekend and ultimately saw a drop to Rank II for this weekend's result.
While the No Loss Glitch went unchecked for most of Friday leading to a lot of 20-0 results in 50 matches for many of the community… the unforeseen result was certainly a massive drop in the market overall. The benefit for those that didn’t buy Isak prior to this calamity would be the very low price that the Swedish target man is available for now. Isak truly is a traditional big man up front… offering a fantastic 79 JUMPING & 88 HEADING ACCURACY to his already tall frame and certainly lead to a fair few headers in return. I was a little disappointed with his ability to score corners (blazing many over the bar) but in open play, it was definitely an added threat. However, the main reason for purchasing this card is always going to come in the shooting department… 87 FINISHING, 88 SHOT POWER & 81 LONG SHOTS mixed with the ever popular 5 STAR WEAK FOOT was every bit as good as advertised. The card is clinical… no really, he doesn’t seem to miss (okay, he does, but not as often compared to others)… the result of only 11 goals in 15 matches and the disappointment that came with that was the result of other areas and the only real issue with Isak shooting the ball would be the 81 COMPOSURE in the end.
Pace Rating: 6.5/10
Passing Rating: 7/10
Strength Rating: 8/10
What I have enjoyed about FIFA 22 so far has been the fact that big does not equal bulky. Players can still get up a head of steam and cause issues for back lines with the simplest R2 Sprint Boost. However, with Isak, it felt like a return to FIFA 21 woes as his size truly seemed to impede his pace and movement. Time and time again I played Isak into areas that his 91 ACCELERATION & 94 SPRINT SPEED should have seen the Real Sociedad man finding good goal scoring opportunities… only to watch the likes of Kounde and Miliao race back and nullify the chance. In these moments a fake shot or turn could still open up the chance for others but would lead to even more disappointment when the underperforming 90 SHORT PASSING… or astronomically bad 55 LONG PASSING undid every good thing the squad had worked to create. But at least I could hold up the ball to wait for help right?… Unfortunately, Isak does not perform like his size and 84 STRENGTH would suggest. “Extremely disappointing target man play” could easily be the title of this review and was just a perpetual letdown against the OP defenders currently running riot over the game.
Dribbling Rating: 6/10
Positioning: He Has None
Links: Good Luck Finding Them
So how does a player that felt so clinical produce so little… The 3 assists in 15 matches should be no surprise given the above passing discussion. Yet the goals still should have come with the shooting prowess this card has but didn’t. The two biggest reasons plaguing this card's production would be a complete lack of movement around the box… and the sub par dribbling when trying to use the left stick to maneuver in and around the box. The movement of this card is borderline in existence and if it weren’t for some magic from the likes of Dembele IF, Depay and Hero Ljungberg I am not sure where I would have ended up. Secondly, the dribbling was just so bad with this card… even with the +10 boost to 79 BALANCE it just simply is not happening with this card on the ball. And if the in-game issues are not enough… the difficulty linking Isak to play there in the first place was enough to deter me then, and certainly enough to make sure he never comes back now.
I enjoy a more open style of football when I set up my squads in FIFA… the issue with that is “if you live by the sword, you die by the sword.” In the case of Isak, the blunt sword in this man’s hands was enough to kill the Rank I dream before it even started and was certainly a frustrating experience. Again, I know the x goals in x games comments are coming… but I will assure you there will not be many repping this card come next weekend, he will be found out and passed over for the most part. However, there is one glimmering hope for this card moving forward and that is of course the two upgrade potential. Real Sociedad will have a home and home against the current bottom feeders SK Sturm Graz… and with two expected victories there along with any success over Monaco or PSV would see Isak jumping all the way to an 88 rated weapon. I do believe that the extra boosts to this card could really help the useability and potential longevity of this card in squads. But before then, it is a massive “steer clear” for me… and for the people undoubtedly in the comments… yes I need to “get good.” I hope you are all well. Cheers for reading.
Before this card was released, I was playing with his 700 coin gold card in my 1.5 million coin team and loving him. So, this card came out and I could not pass it up. He's a marked improvement on that card, and his Gold card is very very overpowered this year. There are 2 ways to play this card and I honestly believe that you need to play him 1 way over the other to enjoy the most success. Most people I have seen play him the other way though, which for me is losing out on the best aspects of this card (see below). The thing with Isak's card is that he has every characteristic that could make him meta on this game, and this year, the card makes the most use out of all of them. Last year his TOTS, Summer Stars and FFS cards were spectacular, fun and meta in their own inimitable way. The same applies here, but with the volume turned up in my opinion. The way the game plays this year better suits his lethal combo of being 6ft 4, H/L Workrates, fast, a good finisher, 5 star WF and 4 star skill moves. Try this card in a lone striker formation like a 4231, with a Hunter, on Stay Central, Get in Behind and Stay Forward and you'll see how dangerous his AI runs are. They're cracked.
As I mentioned there are 2 ways to play this card. 1. Put an engine on him, play him more as a target man, linking up the play and being more nimble than a card like Lukaku, Kane. And 2. Play him with a Hunter as a Get in Behind striker, with perhaps a little clunkiness, not the best passing etc. I want to stress this: the best option is number 2. This guy has been killing it for me in Elite Division Rivals and WL and he brings goals to your team like few others.
Let's start from the top:
1.Attacking AI. The H/L workrates combined with the size, body type and 99 sprint speed with Hunter, mean that if you play this guy on Get in Behind he's a demon. Always on the last shoulder, moving so intelligently looking for that ball in behind and when you play him in, he's very difficult to stop. For me, he makes the most intelligent get in behind runs in the game - similar to how Werner's Leipzig cards used to. Worst comes to worst, his incredible runs create space for your CAM to do damage with long shots, timed finesses etc.
2. 5 star WF - When he gets in those good positions, he has really lethal finishing on either foot. Makes it very difficult for your opponent to guess what you might do.
3. 97 Finishing with the Hunter - In the box, this guys finishing is pretty clinical by FIFA 22 standards. The boosted composure on the card is also really noticeable from the Gold. The Gold had 77 composure and it would catch you out sometimes where he would fluff a few easy chances. The +4 composure makes a big difference here, combined with the finishing boost.
4. Height and Strength. The strength boost is also really noticeable from the Gold card, which enables him to maximise his height and general size. His presence in game as a lone striker, is really nice, he's good at winning the 50/50s, getting jammy FIFA chances from just his sheer nuisance factor. He can hold the ball up if you need to giving him that extra dimension, but again, I don't think you should play him solely to do this (as you would with a Harry Kane type of striker)
5. The dribbling with this guy (again boosted nicely from the Gold). He twists and turns with the left stick really nicely in the box - its brilliant for creating scoring opportunities on either foot.
6. The body type. Very rare combo that you find with Talisca and not many else. He's tall but lean. Means he is very responsive for a big man, can twist and turn - very different to a target man type player and makes him faster than he otherwise would be.
7. Price. If you are able to get him in your team on full chem and maximise what this card brings, he's very undervalued.
8.EAids. Few cards in this game can match this guy for EAids. I felt it with the Gold and now with this also. When the ball is loose in the opponent's final third, this card has a way of winning the ball in the final third and scoring jammy goals.
There are cons however - I'm not going to sit here and tell you he's the perfect card when he isn't:
1.The balance. I know, the balance is low and you're thinking, I'm putting that engine on to boost it. But trust me, don't bother. He will do the occasional falling over animation, but that can be a bonus in the box as well, getting you more penalties. His balance isn't perfect, but the way he plays IG for me, its a minor con and with the other base dribbling stats, he feels clean on the left stick.
2.The composure. Whilst a marked improvement on the Gold card, he still will fluff the occasional sitter. The thing is though, through his movement and ability, he will get more chances than the vast majority of cards in the game. If he misses 2 good chances, but is able to create many, many more in the game by his insane AI runs, you're still going to score a crazy number of goals
3. Long passing. DON'T PLAY THIS GUY ANYWHERE OTHER THAN STRIKER. Goes without saying. 85 short pass and 82 vision is more than enough for a ST though. All the passes you will do with this guy, you'll have no issue. Just don't try to launch the ball from one side of the pitch to the other. I've never had any problems with his link up short passes, or through balls to a CAM overlapping etc. at all
4.Stamina. Again, a marked improvement on the 70 stamina of the Gold, but he will need to be subbed off in Extra Time. By contrast, the Gold would usually last 70-80 mins for me
5.No Finesse Shot trait. His finesse's have been ok for me, but nothing great, but again, you should only play this guy as a lone striker on get in behind. He is a penalty box striker, who scores tons in the box, not out of it..
He is definitely one of the best "Big" strikers in the game. He is incredible at shooting from every angle, even if he is marked tightly. He can feel a bit clunky especially if you have a bad connection, but when he speeds up he is extremely quick and hard to get off the ball. I have scored many goals just running at the defence because they couldn't speed up and follow with him. He is a great alternative (maybe even better) to the untradeable POTM Benzema. He can shoot with both feet and it's always nice to see a big striker with 4 star skills.
Passing (although isn't really a problem at striker with engine=
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