There has been a lot of talk about NFT fantasy platform Sorare in the FPL community lately and I wanted to provide an article to talk about what the game is, what it is not, and how to get started. I am writing a Daily newsletter about this, and you can subscribe or sign-up for the free weekly edition.
At the top, it is important to understand that this is a very different game, fantasy experience and transactional experience than now-defunct “indexes” like Footstock and Football Index. Leaving aside the misdealing and legal cases there – here is the key difference between Sorare and other platforms: you own the cards you purchase. By utilizing blockchain for their Rare, Super Rare and Unique cards, Sorare is creating individual assets that are more similar to tangible trading cards than anything else. This is not placing a bet on an index or with your local bookie.
Yes, you can use these cards to participate in tournaments on Sorare; you can also use them to participate in games on other platforms like Ubisoft’s One Shot League, a fantasy game for the Jupiler league which is 100% free to enter and uses Sorare common cards, all you need is a free Sorare account to enter). And the cards you buy do not have to stay on Sorare, which is how you see them being offered for sale on other NFT sites. Because of the blockchain, the ownership, price and other history of the card is clear, transparent and unique to each card. You own it until you sell it. But currently the most value each card has is either as a digital collectable and/or as a player asset you can use to field a five-a-side team in Sorare’s twice-weekly fantasy tournaments.
Sorare does not charge entry fees or allow wagering on the fantasy games on their site. Yes, you are playing for prizes, and yes, purchasing more cards allows you to enter more tournaments, but this is a benefit because once you buy a card you own it. If you buy a Trent Alexander-Arnold card this season you can use it this year, and every other season that TAA plays in a league scored by Sorare (which includes every major European league, so you’re fine on that front!). You don’t need to buy him each year, you don’t lose him at the end of this year. He’s yours (until you sell him). Got it? Great. Let’s walk through the first few minutes on Sorare so your Free experience is the best it can be and you’re using it to set yourself up for years of success.
Sorare is constantly making improvements to its onboarding experience, and the newest iteration is pretty strong, giving you the opportunity to be successful selecting Common cards which meet your needs while also securing your needs to have players that can actually, you know, play in the game. If you haven’t created an account yet you should do so using this link, which will ensure you receive one free Rare (blockchain, NFT) card after you purchase five from New Signings.
When you first log in to Sorare you are prompted to enter an email, of course, and a user and team name. Once you’ve confirmed your Nickname and Club name (this is not your favourite club, but what your Sorare club will be called) you’re given the chance to Meet My Squad.
You can elect to “skip” this with the button in the upper right. Don’t click it.
You want to meet your squad.
The next screen is to pick your three favorite clubs. Players from these clubs and leagues will form the spine of your initial squad. While it’s tempting to exclusively pick big name clubs like Liverpool, Bayern Munchen and Real Madrid, those leagues are all close to ending for the season. That matters for your Common cards because you’ll primarily use your Common cards in the Starter league – the only league for exclusively new managers where you can start five Common cards. Each new manager is eligible for the Starter league for eight weeks. Once you’re past that, the functionality of Common cards in the other tournaments is minimal – except for your goalkeepers.
Keep in mind that Common cards are not on the blockchain, do not have any resale or trade value, and will carry a massive -49.5% point deduction if you’re using them after the Starter league concludes. This doesn’t matter for your GK because division 4 in the various tournaments permit the use of one (1) common card and, because you must field a valid 5-a-side to enter the tournament having common GK means you’re able to enter the tournament without having to spend a few hundred dollars on a starting Rare goalkeeper cards. Even if you’re only getting 55% of a regular score of 40-50 points per match, that’s still 25-30 points from the GK spot which will be massive in terms of helping you hit 205 points (0.01 ETH payout) or 250 points (0.02 ETH) payout.
Because you’ll be using these cards primarily to play now (at publication that Spring and Summer 2021) and across the summer. So you’re looking to maximize your summer value you’ll want to ensure you’re picking at least one team from Major League Soccer, the K League and/or the J League. These have all just started, or are about to start, playing their regular seasons. This is vital because you want to get at least one GK from one of those leagues in order to have a regular starter in the other Sorare tournaments you will enter this summer.
I would recommend picking your three clubs from this list based on the value proposition each of these players offer. Keep in mind, the next eight game weeks from when you sign up are the key for your Stater league success. Playing well there will win you additional common cards (the top three places win Rare cards; given there are more than 10,000 entries in Starter league now, this is not a reasonable expectation to win, but Sorare has stated they’re evaluating payouts across their tournaments given the recent surge in user/managers).
Let’s Talk Clubs to Target As Favourites
FC Seoul’s starting goalkeeper Yang Han-Been is the highest scoring shot-stopper in the K League over their last 15 game weeks, dating back to last season. Selecting Seoul may not be a sexy pick if you’re trying to land your favorite players, but there will be time to buy them later. This is about maximizing your chances of winning!
Song Bum-Keun is another good goalkeeper in Korea, playing for Jeonbuk Motors, which also boasts a couple of high-scoring outfield players including defender Hong Jeogn-Ho.
Shifting attention to Japan, picking FC Tokyo opens the door to getting Under-23 ‘keeper Go Hatano, one of the most versatile and valuable players in the game. There’s no guarantee you’ll land him, of course, but Tokyo also has other excellent players across the other positions.
If you’re not targeting goalkeepers here because you are planning to buy a Rare goalkeeper quickly after starting, selecting Kawasaki Frontale gives you a chance at landing the midfield duo of Kaoru Mitoma and Akihrio Ienaga. They’ll score big points and give you a shot at landing in the top 3 on Starter leauge, but that’s a serious gamble at very low odds of success.
In Major League Soccer, teams including Seattle Sounders (GK: Stefan Frei and M: Nicolas Lodiero) and Dallas (GK: Jimmy Maurer and D: Ryan Hollingshead) offer a steadfast, every week goalkeeper with some upside outfield players. MLS does not start until the middle of April, so selecting ALL teams from this league will leave you less able to field a team in the Starter league until the regular season is underway. The closer you get to April 17, the better it is to select an MLS team in your trio. If you’re reading this March 6, picking from teams in England (most have 10 matches remaining), Spain (14 matches), Germany (10 matches) or Italy are certainly fine – and the onboarding will not exclusively pick from your favorite teams so don’t expend to much worry on it if your ride or die club is hot trash or nearly done their season. Or both.
The Juplier league is into the final five weeks of their season. Avoid them for the remainder of the Spring 2021 selections.
For my test, I picked FC Tokyo, Seattle Sounders and Paris Saint Germain – who doesn’t want the chance to own a Kylian Mbappe?!
And damn if I didn’t get him! That’s pretty boss. Given that an Mbappe card on the market – that’s Rare, Super Rare or Unique on the blockchain – fetches thousands of dollars this may be your best chance to own one!
After you click through onboarding you get another five cards; you now have nine cards and can pick your first Starter league squad.
Notice that none of those guys are from my three ‘favorite’ clubs. And there is a GK, two D, a M and a F, giving my a valid 5-a-side to enter. So you’ll likely be fine to play at a modest level even if you bonk the who favorite clubs thing, just maybe not with guys you know or like. To be fair, Arsenal aren’t available yet so you’re spared having to make that difficult choice, Gooners.
You get one more card for picking your first roster, brining your total to 10 common cards. If you select three players to “follow” (Sorare’s version of your personal short-list) you earn one more common card (I got Ander Herrera, meh). And then it’s squad selection time.
This is your free squad for the time being. Currently there are limited opportunities to add more Common cards, but they also have limited use. You’ll likely win more Commons in the Starter league, with a premium on winning additional goalkeepers, but get to know these guys because your free fate is in their hands. Or at their feet.
As a reminder: use my link when you join. After you buy five cards from New Signings you’ll earn a free Rare card. It repeat this because – as you’ll see – even entry level cards can cost €50 or more so getting one for free is a nice bonus!
You will need to buy some cards to engage in this experience whether as a collector, investment speculator or fantasy manager, but you can do that intelligently and with a strong set of supports. While there are some free resources available, a paid resource like the Sorare Daily newsletter makes sense to help maximize your time and investment. You can sign-up for free here and receive weekly emails, or subscribe on a monthly or discounted annual basis which cover the weekly tournaments, inexpensive cards to target, Sorare scoring, injury news, position battles, key Under23 players and everything else you’ll need to be successful.