Sorare – breaking down the barriers part 4: complexity

A few weeks ago I asked a question on twitter – ‘if you’ve not made the jump over to Sorare yet, what’s stopping you?’

I got loads of engagement with that tweet so I wanted to take a few minutes to address some of the barriers that people spoke of. I’ve split this up into a series of posts so that I can go into a bit more detail about each one.

COMPLEXITY AS A BARRIER TO ENTRY

The final issue that kept coming up was the perception that Sorare is incredibly complex and not something you can get into without a lot of research up front.

‘I’ve tried three times and been completely defeated by it. I just don’t understand it’

Let’s be honest, starting out on any platform involves some sort of learning curve. With Sorare, you’re also dealing with a different sort of currency (crypto) but, beyond that, is it really that difficult to understand?

In simple terms, Sorare is a fantasy football game where you buy digital football player cards (via auction or from another manager) and use these to compete in games (with scoring based on live matches) to win more cards or money (as Ethereum). It’s really no more complicated than that!

In this article I’m going to do a quick walkthrough of the most commonly asked questions by newbies, which will hopefully show that Sorare is nowhere near as complex as you might think. I’ll cover:

  • The onboarding process
  • Understanding the player cards
  • SO5 tournaments
  • Training
  • The scoring matrix
  • How to get money in and out of Sorare
  • Buying and selling players
  • Essentials: SorareData and the Discord channel

I’m not going to go into any depth on the crypto side of things as I’ve already covered that in the first post in this series but I will cover the basics of funding the platform.

First things first – onboarding

The first bit of advice I give a new user is to sign up via a referral link. Signing up via a link means you’ll get a free Rare card after you buy your first five cards at auction – and who doesn’t like a freebie? Here is mine:

https://sorare.pxf.io/MDJ

You’ll then have to sign up with an email address. For security reasons, you may want to use an entirely new email address and certainly not one that has appeared in any previous data breaches. If you get an error message about this, try changing your password too as it might mean you’re using a commonly used password.

You then start to create your club. First pick a name and a logo, and then you’ll then be taken through a series of tasks to help you get to grips with the game. Completing each task will add new ‘Common’ player cards to your initial draft and should give you a good mix of positions and quality to get you started in the game.

The final onboarding task is to make your first bid on a player. If you don’t feel ready to part with cash at this point you can either skip that or put a low bid on a player where you know you’ll be outbid. You don’t need to put any money into the platform yet as you’ve got 8 gameweeks to get to grips with things through the Rookie league.

Note that at the very start of the onboarding process there is an option to skip all of this if you just want to get straight into picking your own players. There are pros and cons to this and I’d always suggest you work through this with a current manager if you do decide to go down that route to make sure you end up with a usable squad at the end of it.

You start as a Rookie and can enter into 8 gameweeks as a Rookie before the Rookie league is closed to you. Doing well in the Rookie league can win you more Common cards and also Rare cards (if you do really well). Note that you can use Rare cards in the Rookie league too and these can be captained for extra points.

Make the most of your 8 weeks as a Rookie and be aware that teams will roll over from one week to the next if not cancelled and that entering training teams counts as an entry too so don’t play unless your cards actually have games and a realistic chance of delivering for you. Your time in the Rookie league should help you to get used to using Sorare and give you a good start on your manager journey.

Understanding the cards

The Common cards that you get through the onboarding process are yours to keep but they aren’t Blockchain cards and can’t be traded. There are three types of ‘proper’ cards, with different levels of scarcity.

The higher the scarcity, the more power the card has and the more they tend to cost. Certain leagues require you to hold higher level scarcity cards in order to enter them.

Cards have bonuses which impact on their score in the SO5 tournaments (which I’ll come onto in a moment). The main bonus is based on the card level, which depends on its scarcity (as described above) and it’s XP (its experience in Sorare).

XP increases every time you play a card. It’s a slow, logarithmic growth but regularly using and training your cards will gradually build it up and it can help you to gain an edge in tournaments.

The starting level of a card depends on the card scarcity. The picture above shows the Rare levels, starting at 0, up to a maximum of 20. Super Rares go from level 40 to 60 and Unique cards from 80 up to a maximum of 100.

Each level is equivalent to a 0.5% bonus on the player’s score. In other words, Rare cards range from 0% bonus to a maximum of 10%, and so on.

Note that transferring a card will half its XP. Sorare explain this as being similar to the impact a real life transfer has on a player as they settle in to a new club.

As well as the level bonus, there are two other bonuses which affect a card’s score:

  • Picking a card as captain in an SO5 tournament adds a 20% bonus to their score.
  • Cards receive an extra 5% if they are minted as part of the current season – note that this bonus is lost at the end of the season.

Player cards remain usable for life, even if the player transfers to another club (providing they stay within a league covered by Sorare). Cards live in your gallery on Sorare and are visible to all other managers too – there are no secrets on Sorare!

SO5 Tournaments

Tournaments are what give the cards their utility on Sorare, and underpin their value. On Sorare, all tournaments require you to build a 5-a-side team, comprised of a goalkeeper, defender, midfielder, forward and one other outfield player, hence the name ‘SO5’.

Tournaments are based around a regional league structure, plus global leagues that cover all countries. Leagues are split into divisions so that cards of a similar scarcity are competing against each other. I covered the league structure and eligible teams in an earlier post in this series.

There are two gameweeks each week, running from Friday to Tuesday and from Tuesday to Friday. The number of leagues open each gameweek will vary depending on how many games are on. During busy times of the year, all of the leagues will be available but outside of that:

  • A regional league will be opened if there are more than 10 clubs under license playing during that gameweek
  • On a week where there is only one region due to be opened, if there are 20+ licenced clubs from two or more regions then the Global All Stars will be opened instead of the regional league.
  • The U23 league will be opened where there are more than 20 clubs playing.

Note that the coverage of American and Asian leagues keeps the SO5 structure running during the summer, when the European leagues are on a break (something to think about that when you’re building your gallery).

To enter a league, go to the ‘Play’ section on Sorare and this will take you to a team builder interface which allows you to place your cards in the SO5 players slots.

The score displayed next to players is their average score over the last 5 games. You can also see their bonus and the game for the coming gameweek, displayed via the club badges. The icon ‘NG’ means the player has no scheduled game in the coming gameweek.

There are three things that new managers sometimes miss on this screen, all of which are at the top left, above the list of players:

  • Turning ‘Stats View’ on allows you to see the last 5 scores and the opponent for the next gameweek. Keep this on.
  • Ticking ‘Used’ shows all the available players, including those that are already lined up in other SO5 teams or training teams. Keep this on too.
  • Ticking ‘No Game’ shows all the players that are available, including those without an upcoming game. You may find it easier to turn this off but be aware that it’s there.

Quite obviously, the aim is to get a team together that can score the highest points possible. Once you’ve picked your team and chosen a captain (who will get an additional bonus) hit ‘confirm’ and you’re good to go. You can change your team as many times as you like, right up to the deadline.

You can only enter one team into each division of each SO5 league. You might want to think about which divisions and leagues to target early on, so that you can build your cards around that perhaps bearing in mind which leagues are the most competitive (see below) or tend to cost more to buy players in.

Information above taken from @SorareHub

Training

Just like in real life, training is where you send your players when they don’t have a match and you want to build up their skills. Entering players in the Sorare training league will help to develop their XP, gradually helping to increase their bonus and making them more useful in the SO5 tournaments.

You’ll find the training league within the ‘Play’ section of the site. After you set your SO5 teams up, it makes sense to go into the training section and enter any players who haven’t been put in one of the other teams. You still have to build a 5-a-side team as before so you may not be able to train everyone, all of the time, as usually you’ll find that you run out of goalkeepers before you run out of outfield players.

One tip – players gain more XP during training if they have a game on during that gameweek, or are in a team alongside players who have a game. If you build your teams to contain at least one or two players with a game, alongside NG players, they will build XP more quickly. As far as I’m aware, the captain choice makes no difference in your training team.

The scoring matrix

If you’ve played similar games in the past, you’ll no doubt be wondering what the scoring matrix is like and how it compares to others.

The matrix on Sorare has two elements to it, which combine to produce a score that can range from 0 to 100 (with 50 representing an average score).

The Decisive Score is the element of the scoring that tracks the big actions. The things that make or break a match:

Sorare uses a ladder like structure to turn these actions into scores. A player starts at level 0 (35 points for a starter and 25 points for a substitute) and each positive action moves the player up a level, with each negative action bringing them down a level.

For example, if a player starts a game, scores a goal, gives an assist and then gets sent off, he’ll score a minimum of 60 points:

  • Starts (Level 0: 35 points)
  • Scores a goal (Level 1: 60 points)
  • Gives an assist (Level 2: 70 points)
  • Gets sent off (Level 1: 60 points)

His final score will be dependent on the All-around Score, which we’ll come onto in a moment, but if a player moves above level 1 they have a guaranteed score – this means that their score cannot be lower than this even if their All-around Score is negative.

The All-around Score is based on the smaller, more frequent actions in a match. There are lots of these – 39 if you include all the goalkeeper actions – so I won’t include the whole table here but have a look at the FAQs page in the Sorare support section if you want to see them all.

As you’d expect, there are big points scored for things like big chances created and clean sheets (defenders only), as well as points lost for big chances missed and goals conceded (defenders and midfielders). The result of the match has no bearing on the points – so there are no points for a win on Sorare.

The phrases in the matrix that cause the most confusion are these:

  • Double-Double = 2 in any 2 of these defensive categories: interceptions, won tackles and net duels
  • Triple-Double = At least 2 interceptions, won tackles and net duels
  • Triple-Triple = At least 3 interceptions, won tackles and net duels

Note that the above aren’t stackable – so a player can’t score a Double-Double and then a Triple-Double on top, the score will be the highest of the three.

During and after the games, you can view your players scores and the breakdown for these via the SO5 screen (‘Play’).

You’ll also find the table showing where you are against other managers, and the prize pool to show you what you win, depending on where you place. Usually you’ll be competing for a card, sometimes an ETH reward as well. If nothing else, you always want to aim to get an entry into the Global All Stars Division 4, where you can win 0.02 ETH for hitting a threshold score of 250 points – something which is very achievable.

Unlike some platforms where you might need to think about buying players that ‘fit the matrix’, I’d say that Sorare does a pretty good job of simply rewarding ‘good’ players. The key things to consider are players with high levels of involvement in the game and those that are regularly scoring and assisting – so it’s pretty much common sense.

Bear in mind that the cap of 100 points means there’s little difference between someone who has an amazing game and someone who has a very good game. What you want to look for is consistency i.e.; players who regularly post scores above average, and those that have the explosive peaks and a track record of hitting scores of 80+.

How to get money in and out of sorare

I’ve touched on this before but this is the one thing that seems to confuse people the most – how to get money in (and out) or Sorare. It’s actually not that difficult and it’s something that Sorare are trying to simplify all the time.

The simplest way to get money in is to bid or buy using a debit or credit card. If you try to buy a player when you have no ETH in your wallet, this will be the default option that comes up.

It’s simple but it’s not the one I’d necessarily recommend. Buying like this at auction can cause problems with banks randomly freezing your card (because of a number of bids being placed in quick succession) and if you buy like this on the secondary (transfer) market you’ll incur a 10% transaction fee.

The next easiest way is to use Ramp – a crypto-app which is embedded within Sorare (a bit like a crypto version of Paypal). You’ll find the Ramp option within your Sorare wallet so you don’t have to leave the site in order to transfer money in, but bear in mind that you need to be verified before you can start using it (which doesn’t always go smoothly in my experience). As an extra bonus, Ramp are currently covering the transaction fees so it’s the cheapest way of getting ETH into the platform right now.

If you bank with someone like Monzo or Starling Bank it’ll be even cheaper as you won’t have to pay any currency conversion fees.

The more complex way is to buy via an exchange like Coinbase and transfer in via a wallet (somewhere that stores digital currency; like Coinbase Wallet or Metamask). You’ll incur more fees using this route but you may also be able to time your buys to take advantage of fluctuations in ETH and, at the moment, you’ll need to register with something like Coinbase in order to withdraw anyway.

The fees can be pretty punishing though so you won’t want to move small amounts of cash and incur a lot of fees along the way – it’s better to make one large deposit/withdrawal than lots of little ones. Note that the commission on buying ETH is considerably cheaper on Coinbase Pro than on Coinbase.

If you do go for Coinbase, use my referral link and we’ll both get a few quid in Bitcoin once you buy a certain amount of crypto (currently about £7 for £70). Also make sure you do the various reward tasks on there to earn a bit more free crypto (these just involve watching short videos and answering some questions – easy money so well worth doing).

As it stands, withdrawals have to go to an ETH address, which means you will have to set up on something like Coinbase. Ramp are working on a withdrawal function too so I imagine that it won’t be too long before we’ll be able to withdraw directly to a bank card.

If you want a bit more information about using Coinbase to get ETH into Sorare, take a look at this video.

Buying and selling players

At some stage you’ll need to start buying and selling players. There are three ways that players transactions take place on Sorare.

Auctions (also called ‘New Signings’) are where you buy freshly minted cards directly from Sorare. This a similar to bidding on an auction on eBay – you’ll see the time tick down and you can enter a bid when you are ready. Each bid has to be at least 10% more than the preceding bid, so prices can upwards pretty sharply. Once the auction is into its last minute, any new bid will put the clock back to 60 seconds again, giving more people time to bid (so there’s no point in leaving it to the last second).

Auctions generally end every few minutes. Sorare also runs a ‘Power Hour’ every day, where 60 cards are auctioned over 60 minutes. Cards are usually auctioned one at a time but sometimes you’ll see cards issued in bundles of 5 – either because a new league is starting or because the club licensing only allows bundle sales (like Real Madrid and Liverpool).

The secondary market (also called ‘Transfer Market’) is where you buy directly from other managers. Sorare take no cut from this and cover the gas fees (the cost of transferring the card on the Blockchain). You can either buy instantly at the price the manager has set or you can send a lower offer to see if they’ll accept it. If you send an offer, you may have to wait a few hours for a response, depending on how active the other manager is.

You can sell your own cards on the secondary market but finding your player in your gallery and hitting ‘Sell my card’. This brings up a box where you can set your price.

Offers go into the ‘Direct Offers’ part of Sorare, which is the other way you can buy and sell players. You can also create a new offer directly through that part of the site, by searching for the user you want to trade with and then inputting the ETH and/or players you want to send and/or receive from them in return.

If you receive a Direct Offer from another manager, you’ll receive an email and the notification bell will signal when you visit the site next. You can then accept, decline or block the offer (blocking is only really used when managers repeatedly make derisory offers). Note that managers often withdraw offers quite quickly so don’t be surprised to receive an email but find the offer has disappeared before you have time to logon.

If you sell a player who is lined up in an SO5 team for a gameweek that hasn’t started yet, that team will be cancelled. If the gameweek is already in progress, the player scores will still count, even after he’s left your gallery.

You can find potential bargains and traps in all parts of the market so always do your own research on the player and on previous prices paid. I covered some of the variables that affect player prices in my last blog, the main one being scarcity. My main piece of advice is to always take your time on Sorare and not rush into making purchases because once you’ve bought a card, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to sell it again.

Always be careful to check the ETH values against your fiat (local) currency too. I’ve seen people put zeros in the wrong place and sell a card for a fraction of what it’s really worth. Take your time.

Essentials – Soraredata and the discord channel

The last two things that you really need to know are where to get some extra help or, in other words, make sure you sign up to SorareData and the Discord channel as soon as you join!

SorareData is your one-stop-shop for all Sorare stats and information. You can find out about current and past prices, look up information about other managers (or yourself) and you can even get involved with side games using your cards from your gallery (the beauty of the Blockchain is that the cards are yours and can be used everywhere, not just on Sorare itself).

The Discord channel brings together Sorare managers and the Sorare team to share news and information, to negotiate on player deals and to ask for help from others in the helpful Sorare community. You’ll also get the heads up on any Sorare competitions and announcements.

I think that’s enough to get you started and has helped to shed some light on some of the things that you weren’t sure about. Hopefully you’ll now see it’s not so complicated after all – it’s just fantasy football, with a side-order of digital collectables!

If you want to give Sorare a go, sign up using my referral link and get a free Rare card after you buy your first five card from the New Signings market: https://sorare.pxf.io/MDJ (and get in touch so I can help you as you start on your Sorare journey).

And if you want a much more in-depth beginners guide, take a look at this book which has just been published on Amazon: Got Got Need – The beginner’s guide to Sorare

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