Flipping Icons — Everything I know
UPDATE: FIFA 21
Although this guide was written for FIFA 20, the concepts and teachings I have written below are still highly applicable this year as well. I will be updating the guide throughout the year if anything new pops up.
Who the hell am I, and what am I trying to teach you?
It seems that although there is already a lot of information about icons and how flipping icons works, people are still pretty confused on how to get started.
I don’t blame you. I was in your shoes a while ago and everything looked too hard, didn’t know where to start, didn’t know what to buy, didn’t know how to sell, and obviously lost a lot of coins.
Then I met Mitch, and Mitch took the time to teach me everything I know right now and how everything works and how I can start making coins.
Fast forward a few months, currently I sit on 110 million transfer profit, and safe to say almost 90% of that is completely due to icons.
I then started a Twitter page and it seems like every day I get the same questions DMed to me about the same topics, and seemed like a good idea to just combine everything I know into one big article to teach you everything I know about icons.
First off, and probably the most important reason as to why icons are one of the best types of cards to flip is rarity. I’ve played this game for 4 years now and I’ve only ever packed one icon. That’s the case for most of the community, and even a bigger percentage has probably never even packed one.
When a card is rare, it tends to fluctuate more (we’ll get more into fluctuations later) throughout the day/week, and is also more likely to hold value better than other cards throughout the year.
Second off, they are one of the most elite cards in the game, and a big reason as to why people grind their butts off is to get one of these cards into their team. With that, comes a lot of demand for these cards, and due to the low amount of supply, we have a recipe for success.
Finally, they are also (usually) immune to any panic selling when EA drops any content or any new cards into the game. Even though that’s obviously not always true, and sometimes these guys go down in price due to some replacement cards coming out on the market, they tend to not drop that much so you’re usually safe flipping these daily.
What do I need to get started?
You need to have a good budget to start messing around with these cards. These are not cheap cards that you can buy in quantity, and sometimes you need to hold an icon for a day or two, so if you have tighter budget then this is probably not worth it in the long run.
I suggest having somewhere around 2mil minimum to get into this, and even then I’d like if you had a bit more.
Second, you need to have patience and you need to grind. I’ll explain a bit more about this throughout the guide and you’ll understand why I’m saying you need both of these ingredients, but just know from the start that this won’t be easy. You’ll spend a whole week learning prices, and then EA drops some big promo and now all the prices that you’ve spent so long memorizing are down the drain and useless.
Finally, you need to have the right mentality. Going into this assuming you’ll be making bank and not lose a single coin is a recipe for disaster.
In December alone, I believe I’ve lost somewhere around 10mil. However, that being said, I’ve made around 25mil, and that’s where you need to have the right mentality. Just be ready to lose coins, and don’t stress over it because you’re good enough to make it back the next day.
Stop blabbering, just teach me.
What did we JUST talk about with patience? Calm down.
At the time of writing this, there are 267 icons. 89 baby icons, 89 mid icons, and 89 prime icons. This is where it’s your turn to decide.
If you want to all-in and flip every icon in the game, you can do that. If you want to only focus on baby icons, you can do that too. Hell, if you only want to flip icons cheaper than 200k, you can do that too for all I care. It’s up to you and how many prices you want to learn and have fun with.
For me, I categorize icons into 3 parts.
- Low-tier icons.
- Mid-tier icons.
- High-tier icons
The difference between all 3 for me is price. Low-tier icons are sub-350k ones, mid-tier are sub-800k ones, and high-tier is everything else. We’ll talk about each one.
LOW TIER ICON CASE STUDY: BABY INZAGHI
Above is the graph for the 16th of December week (shout-out FUTBIN).
As you can see, icons follow the trend of almost every other player in the game. Stable prices from Monday to Wednesday, a rise in price on Thursday, usually a peak on Friday (mornings is usually the best), and then a drop-off in price for the remainder of the weekend with the WL sell-off.
How can you use this information? You can buy Inzaghi on Tuesday/Wednesday, and sell him on Friday morning.
You can buy him for 120k on Tuesday, sell him for 128k on Friday, for 1.6k profit.
Let’s take a closer look at this Saturday, the 28th’s graph.
The first graph is the “daily graph” which tells us that Inzaghi was 116k on Saturday. If we open the hourly graph for that Saturday however, we can see that there was a point in time where Inzaghi was 110k, which is 6k lower than the daily average.
That’s not all.
You can also see that he went up all the way to 123k. That’s 7k higher than the daily average.
The way FUTBIN works is that it goes to the market every hour almost and checks for the lowest price on the market. But what happens throughout the hour? Can’t someone list Inzaghi for 105k, and then someone buys it before FUTBIN checks? That’s exactly what happens.
When FUTBIN says an icon’s price was 110k at a certain point, that doesn’t mean that he didn’t go lower or that one or two listings didn’t pop-up at a lower price. That’s where you buy.
Let’s go back to the first graph.
So what if you actually buy him at 110k on Tuesday because someone listed for cheap, and then you sell for 128k? You now make 11k.
But wait. What if you actually sell him for 135k because he went up a bit more at a certain hour? You’re now making 18k. Awesome.
Hold up. Why the hell am I buying on Tuesday and selling Friday if this guy goes up and down in price every day?
You’re a genius, dude!
These guys fluctuate every hour. Although investing in them for a flip on Thursdays/Fridays is a viable approach, I must say I’m not a big fan.
What if you just wait for that Inzaghi to get to 110k at some point throughout the day, wait for the 5k undercut, buy him for 105k, and then just sell him for 123k (and even a bit more if you’re lucky) when he’s on his high?
That’s exactly what we’re going to be doing. Let’s take another example.
MID TIER ICON CASE STUDY: MID RIVALDO
Everyone’s favorite 2* WF player. Let’s look at his hourly graph today.
We identified the two prices we mostly care about. Rivaldo dropped to 620k today, and went up all the way to 675k. Here’s where the numbers lie a bit and where you need to do a bit more work.
Although FUTBIN says he went up to 675k, I’ve personally added this guy to my watchlist throughout the day, and not once did he sell at 675k today. The highest he sold was actually 668k.
But wait why is FUTBIN telling me he went up to 675k? Well, my friend, it just happened that when FUTBIN was checking his price, the lowest on the market was 675k, but that never really sold, and he got instantly undercut again back to 668–665k.
We don’t really care about that though, let’s just assume that if FUTBIN says his high was 675k, we can at least sell him for 665k.
After tax, if you buy when Rivaldo is lowest at 620k (assuming you don’t get another undercut and buy him for cheaper), and sell him at 665k, you’re getting back 11k. It’s not amazing, but profit is profit.
Ideally, you want to try to get a bit lower than 620k, maybe like a 610k, for that additional 10k profit to go to a total of 21k profit.
As you can see though, this guy fluctuated around 45k throughout the day, whereas Inzaghi only fluctuated around 10k. That fluctuation will increase the more expensive the icon is, but that’s where tax comes into play.
5% tax on 120k is 6k, whereas 5% tax on 665k is 33k. So, although mid-tier icons fluctuate more, you also need to buy at a bigger margin because of the bigger amount of tax.
HIGH TIER ICON CASE STUDY: MID BUTRAGUENO
This is where it gets a bit interesting, and here’s why:
Let’s do some quick maths.
If you buy at 1.34 and sell at 1.4, you will be making a whopping -10k. What the hell? Negative profit? Yep, forget about fluctuations a bit with these guys and let’s focus on something else.
With high tier icons you need to know one thing, and one thing only: What is the maximum I can sell this guy for? For Butra, you can probably get 1.38, but let’s just say you can get 1.4. After tax, this means anything you buy under 1.33 is profit.
However, this is a 1.4mil card, we’re not going to buy it to only make 10–15k profit. Let’s aim for somewhere around 40k, so now we need to buy this card somewhere below 1.29.
Put that in your head, and just get on the market. When you see a mid Butra for 1.29 or less, buy it!
Although these icons obviously fluctuate, in my experience you are more likely to get deals on “snipes” rather than just buying on fluctuations. If you look at my transfer list, you’ll probably see 90% mid and low tier icons, and 10% high tier icons because usually those deals are you getting lucky and managing to pickup a high tier icon that someone listed for way cheaper than the going rate.
You’re telling me I have to sit on the market, search for Butra with a max price of 1.29 and keep waiting till I find one?
I wouldn’t do that to you, baby.
Welcome to my house for the last 3 months: the 59th minute.
You’ve all heard about it, you all have no fucking clue what it’s about, and I’m here to tell you: it’s awesome.
Let’s take an example. Rivaldo is on average 640k throughout the day, and some guy goes and lists for 600k. What are the odds that makes it the whole hour of the listing? Hell, what are the odds that makes it a whole minute?
What if he lists it for 550k? What are the odds that makes it 5 seconds?
Zero. So how the hell are you supposed to buy it?
Well, here’s where the 59th minute comes into play. What you do, my friend, is you apply a filter (we’ll get into those later), and you just search for all icons.
You click next, next, next, next, next, all the way until you reach the page that has all the 59th minute listings. The 59th minute listings are basically the ones that have just been up on the market, and obviously is the place where you will find most of your deals.
This is where your preparation and confidence comes into play. Your job here is to buy every single deal you see for a price that you like. That could be a deal for an Inzaghi fluctuation, or even some crazy 20k undercut. That could be a deal for a Butra for 1.1. It could be anything.
The more prices you know, the more fluctuations you know, and the more icons you know, the more deals you’ll be getting, and the more money you’ll be making.
How can I get there faster?
Obviously, a lot of people are going to be trying to get to that 59th minute faster than everyone else, and thus getting the deals faster.
Few things you can do. First off, there’s this whole console vs. web app vs. companion app debate and which is better to get to the 59th.
Console is the slowest and the worst of the bunch. This doesn’t mean it doesn’t work or that you can’t use the console to find deals, but it’s just a disadvantage when comparing to the web and companion app. First, it’s slower to get to the 59th minute because of the menu lag on the console. Second, when you do get to the 59th minute, it actually takes you a while to scroll through the icons individually on that page.
Companion app is not bad. It’s very fast at getting you to the 59th minute, but takes a long time to actually buy the deal when you find one. In addition, it also just randomly messes up every once in a while.
Web app is the best. You scroll insanely fast to the 59th, you can see all the deals instantly on your page, and you can buy the icon real quick. Quick tip that some of you probably now: once you click buy and it opens up the popup, you can just press ENTER on your keyboard.
Filters, filters, filters.
“Hey dude, what is a filter I can make 10mil a day on?”
Nothing, dufus, but here are some that can help you get to the 59th faster.
Max Buy Now Price: 350k
If you’re starting out, this was my favorite back in the day, and it’s a filter a lot of the people I know use religiously. Given the fact that the lower tier icons are mostly under that price, and are pretty safe to trade with because of the small tax, you’ll find a lot of deals here.
Min Buy Now Price: 350k
Max Buy Now Price: 850k
This is obviously more geared towards mid-tier icons, but also follows the same logic.
Min Buy Now: 1mil
Higher tier icons, more risky, but also is a goldmine if you get lucky.
This is one that Mitch told me about when I started out. It’s pretty fun and filters out a lot, and for some reason Mitch hates Defenders so I guess now I hate them too. Combine this with the other filters if you want.
Alright cool, now tell me how the hell I’m supposed to memorize all these prices?
It ain’t easy, chief.
This is the hardest part, and honestly the part that mostly separates the different levels of icon traders. Like we touched on at the beginning, you’re free to select a range of icons you specifically deal with, or you can just flip all of them. Obviously, the more you trade with, the more prices you have to memorize.
That being said, different things work for different people, and there’s no way for me to know what works for you. I’ll just tell you what worked for me, and if that helps you then it does.
Primes came out around a week ago, and they hella fluctuated, so here’s what I did:
I created an excel sheet with every one of them, and columns for sell prices. I then went on the market, added every listing that I found interesting to my watch list, and if they sold, then I’d just track down the prices on the Excel.
No, I don’t have a life.
You can do that, I found that it helps memorize the prices if you write them down.
Another small tip that I used with primes when they came out is basically looking at their baby/mid versions and how much they sold for. If I have an idea of what their “weaker” versions went for, then I have an idea of the floor of that prime’s price (more or less).
This seems to be the new norm this year, where every price you see at a particular day just somehow goes lower and lower the next day.
It was very hard to get accustomed to it, and ended up losing like 7mil probably at the beginning. Then, I started looking at graphs, and noticed that more often than not, icons were at their lowest around 6–8PM. I started picking them up there, and then selling overnight when they reach their highest.
Fresh: no games played on the icon.
Generally, when dealing with icons, having a fresh icon usually means it will sell for a bit more.
From my experience, it doesn’t really matter at all with GKs. Matters a bit with defenders, a bit more with midfielders, and the most for attackers.
Try to aim for an additional 1–5% when you’re selling a fresh icon.
TAKING AN L
You buy a Butra at 1.3, and then suddenly he stops selling at 1.4 and goes all the way down to 1.3, the price you bought him at.
You have two choices. If you’re at a point in the week where he’s likely to go up again at some point, you can just hold and cut your losses or actually make profit again when he goes back up.
Second option, which I usually prefer, is just sell, take your losses, and move on to the next flip and make that money back.
BEST TIME OF THE DAY TO BUY
This is a question I don’t like because more often than not, not all icons are going to fluctuate to their lowest at the same time throughout the day.
That being said however, the more supply there is on the market, the lower the price of the icon is going to go. That supply is usually the most at 6–8PM.
FLIPPING ICONS WITH TOTY COMING SOON
It’s no secret that TOTY is in a week almost, and we all know what that means. Icons are going to drop, and they’re going to drop fast (judging by the past years).
This will be the same as downtrend market flipping, just buy daily at the lowest, and get out overnight. It’s definitely risky as people are probably not going to be buying icons as much with TOTY around the corner, but there’s certainly still a level of demand.
BEST WAY TO LIST ICONS FOR SALES?
Unless the icon is a super rare icon that only has 2–3 listings on the market, please don’t list for the lowest listing.
- You are minimizing your profits. The whole point of what we’re doing is working with fluctuations, and more often than not when you buy a certain icon he’s going to be on his downward fluctuation. When you list for the lowest, you’re probably selling him at one of the lowest prices you can. Always aim for either the average selling price, or a bit higher.
- You run risk of driving the icon’s price even more down. Let’s say the cheapest Inzaghi on the market is 120, and you list yours at 115, and he doesn’t sell, and then somehow 2 people list theirs for 112 and 110. Inzaghi is now 110, instead of being 120 and yours at 125.
That’s it folks. I’ll come back to this and modify it if I come up with any new tips or any new sections I need to talk about.
That being said, I usually tweet only about icons or the market in general, and you can follow me on @happyquinn11 to keep up.