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A closer look at Gary Mackay-Steven’s phenomenal new card in FIFA 20

NYCFC’s Scottish winger got a surprise upgrade this week in the form of a SBC. Let’s check it out!

SOCCER: SEP 29 MLS - New York City FC at New England Revolution Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

I spend more time on FIFA 20 than I’d like to admit. Despite my love-hate relationship with the series, I have poured dozens, if not hundreds of hours into this year’s title, particularly into Pro Clubs and Ultimate Team. So every time a special card is released in the latter game mode, I check it out and see if it’s worth grabbing.

For the past few weeks, FIFA has had an ongoing promo called “Shapeshifters.” For those of you who are unaware of what that means, Shapeshifters is a promo in where players are given upgrades — both slight and big in stature — to their base cards and a position change. For example, Cristiano Ronaldo, who’s base card is a striker, has a 95 right winger card. Vinicius Jr. — Real Madrid’s star youngster — has been given a 85-rated card (a huge boost over his 79-rated base) and has been moved from being a left winger to a striker. You also have crazier position changes like Real Betis’ Marc Bartra being moved from center back to striker. I’m sure you get the point by now.

But the one that caught my eye hits much closer to home.

To commemorate the beginning of the 2020 MLS season, FIFA has released a juicy 84-rated card for New York City FC’s own Gary Mackay-Steven! The Shapeshifter promo card gives GMS a huge upgrade from his base 69-rated card and is available if you complete a specific Squad Builder Challenge (SBC).

Now, I’ll admit it — an 84-rated card at this stage of the game isn’t exactly lofty. After all, we’ve already dealt with the Team of the Year, Winter Upgrade, and Future Stars promos to this point, ensuring that almost everyone has some kind of ridiculous player for their squad at this point.

But, surface-level attributes aren’t the entire story in FIFA 20. Like any sports game, there is a meta. And the meta this year is pace and dribbling. So let’s take a closer look at Mackay-Steven’s card and what abilities he has to see if he’s the right fit for your team.

Mackay-Steven’s Shapeshifter card is equipped with 95 pace, 85 shooting, 80 passing, 87 dribbling, 40 defense (who cares anyway), and 70 physical ratings. Quite impressive to say the least. Let’s break it down even further.

In the pace range, GMS boasts 98 acceleration which will make him almost immediately launch to top speed, which stands at 92. Additionally, Mackay-Steven has a 99 agility rating, meaning he can cut and dribble about as good as Lionel Messi in real life. To make the best of these attributes and give them a significant boost, I would recommend to apply the Sniper chemistry style to him for gains in both the shooting and dribbling categories.

And I still haven’t mentioned the best part.

GMS is a left-footed player and only has a 3-star weak foot, meaning that he won’t be too effective when shooting in traffic with his right peg. Fortunately, the Scotsman has 5-star skill moves which will allow the player to almost effortlessly cut onto his left foot for a stunning strike into whatever corner you choose (go for the near post, it’s cheese)!

Now that I’ve brought to you all of the goodness that this card provides, the biggest question on your mind is likely this — is he worth it? My answer? Hell yes!

Available until Thursday, GMS’s SBC requires only that you submit an 84-rated squad on 70 chemistry. According to FUTBin, this challenge should only cost you a little over 30k in coins. However, if you’ve been playing (or grinding) since the beginning of FIFA 20’s release, it’s likely that you already have most, if not all of the cards you would need to complete the challenge with little effort. And for 30k, Mackay-Steven is certainly cheaper than similar cards like Vinicius Jr. that could cost players hundreds of thousands worth of coins.

A valid concern with this card could come in the form of its role within your team. GMS is Scottish and plays in the MLS, severely limiting your ability to work him into your starting lineup on full chem unless your striker position is flanked by Celtic’s James Forrest — who has an impressive Road to the EL Final card — and some kind of icon. But I personally feel as if this card is perfectly suited to come off the bench late in games and eviscerate tired defenders with its pace and dribbling.

Also, it should be noted that MLS already has some great cards and is likely to get more as the 2020 season progresses. Upon retiring after last season, Bastian Schweinsteiger was awarded an impressive 88-rated card that I’d still consider useable if you completed the End of an Era SBC a few months ago. And despite now playing for Atlas in Liga MX, Luciano Acosta is still one of two rewards you can choose by completing the MLS league SBC. Not to mention there are several MLS players — including NYCFC’s Alexander Ring — that are about one in-form from getting a truly great card.

Regardless of anything, Gary’s new card is great and is more than worth the 30k price tag. You have until Thursday to make up your mind. Happy gaming!