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Champions League Fantasy: When and how best to play the Wildcard and Limitless chips

UEFA.com explains how using the chips at the right moment can make all the difference in your bid for Champions League Fantasy success.

Careful preparation is key to success in #UCLfantasy so it is worth pencilling in when the two chips – the Wildcard and the Limitless – are best utilised.

Play Champions League Fantasy

Firstly, here’s a rundown of the two chips available to #UCLfantasy managers:

Champions League opening goals of the season
Champions League opening goals of the season

WILDCARD

The Wildcard gives you the opportunity to make unlimited transfers for a specific matchday without being deducted any points. Players you transfer in will remain in your squad after the matchday has finished. If you have already made transfers prior to a matchday before activating your Wildcard, those transfers will be cancelled, along with any points deductions.

LIMITLESS

The Limitless chip also gives you unlimited transfers for a specific matchday, but it differs to the Wildcard in the following ways:

  • There are no budget restrictions when playing the Limitless chip, meaning you don't have to sacrifice certain premium assets when assembling your squad.
  • Once the matchday has concluded, your squad will revert to how it was before you activated the Limitless chip

Once again, any transfers and/or points deductions that occurred prior to activation on that matchday will be cancelled.

Fantasy rules

WHEN SHOULD THE WILDCARD BE USED?

Club Brugge v Paris: Mbappé's 2019 hat-trick
Club Brugge v Paris: Mbappé's 2019 hat-trick

#UCLfantasy managers are automatically given unlimited free transfers prior to the start of the group stage, and also before the round of 16 first leg ties. This means that the Wildcard chip can be used at any time except Matchdays 1 and 7.

There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to using the Wildcard, as circumstances can often dictate when it should best be deployed. For example, if your squad is littered with injuries and suspensions for a particular matchday and you are unable to easily resolve this with free transfers, then the Wildcard is there to get you out of trouble.

If things generally go to plan though, Matchday 3 is a useful time to aim for. In fact, this was the most popular matchday amongst the top 5,000 #UCLfantasy managers last season when it came to using the chip, with 25.9% of that elite group choosing this particular matchday. This makes sense from a strategic point of view given that it is halfway through the group stage, allowing #UCLfantasy managers to make informed decisions based on player performance in the first two matchdays as well as taking advantage of the fact that there will still be four matchdays to go before unlimited transfers are granted again, therefore maximising the benefits from a strong Wildcard squad.

If you’re looking to hold on to the chip until the knockout rounds, then activating the Wildcard prior to Matchday 9 – when the quarter-final stage begins – has plenty of advantages. This was the third most common strategy last season amongst the entire #UCLfantasy userbase with the most obvious benefit being the ability to set your squad up for the quarter-final stages and beyond. With the potential for big-name players exiting the tournament in the round of 16, plenty of #UCLfantasy squads require major surgery at this stage, so those with the patience to keep the Wildcard chip in their back pocket can press home their advantage.

WHEN SHOULD THE LIMITLESS BE USED?

2020/21 Player of the Year - Jorginho
2020/21 Player of the Year - Jorginho

As is the case with the Wildcard chip, the Limitless can be used at any point except Matchday 1 and Matchday 7.

Identifying a set of favourable-looking fixtures for teams containing premium Fantasy assets is a sensible approach when deciding the best time to use the Limitless chip, as it gives you the opportunity to maximise your attacking returns from players with explosive points potential. Last season, over a quarter of the top 5,000 #UCLfantasy managers deemed this to be Matchday 2, but every season's fixture list is different and careful study of it is warranted.

Matchday 6 is a potential Limitless strategy that some may veer towards as it gives you the freedom to target teams who still have something to play for at this stage, or indeed select some differential options from sides who are likely to rotate heavily. Indeed, the equivalent matchday in 2020/21 featured the highest single matchday score of the whole season, with one #UCLfantasy manager ('Juventino') amassing 126 points on Matchday 6.

Ronaldo: great Manchester United goals
Ronaldo: great Manchester United goals

WHAT SHOULD BE CONSIDERED WHEN ACTIVATING CHIPS?

The key to a successful Wildcard or Limitless squad is a healthy balance of players who will be competing on each day of the matchday as it offers you flexibility when it comes to changing captaincy and using your manual substitutions effectively. Analyse the fixtures and pick out some key options from each day, deciding ahead of time who your captain will be should you need to change it.

Ultimately, the performance of your own squad may dictate when you use your chips. If you've picked up a couple of injuries or suspensions, or if your chosen players don't appear to be starting for their respective teams, then it could be time for a shake-up.

Keep an eye on UEFA.com for plenty more #UCLfantasy tips in the build-up to the Matchday 1 deadline on 14 September!