Sorare: next steps to success guide

Sorare is a blockchain game, using NFT football collectables. It’s easy to start playing but hard to master. I’ve been playing Sorare since August 2020 and you can view my gallery and manager stats here.

I’ve had moderate success on Sorare, most recently with a 1st place finish in Champion Europe!

If you’re completely new to Sorare, please make sure you check my getting started guide before creating your account. That’s my complete beginner’s guide.

This guide is the next level up, for when you’re comfortable in the game and are looking to add to your knowledge. I’ll cover:

What does winning look like on Sorare?

Let’s jump straight into one of the big questions for any game. What does winning look like on Sorare?

Sorare can be an expensive hobby so unless you are purely playing for fun and/or to collect NFTs of your favourite footballers, winning really means making a profit. There are two ways to do this:

  • Trade player cards for profit (buy low, sell high).
  • Win cards and ETH by playing SO5.

These two things overlap – you’ll cancel out any success on SO5 if you end up paying over the odds for your team and, likewise, you’ll need to understand how SO5 performances affect player values. Most managers will tend to lean more towards one style of playing the game.

What you pick will depend on what you enjoy, the time you have available and your budget:

  • Loads of time but not a lot of money? You might be better to focus on flipping cards for profit and building up that way.
  • Time-poor but happy to spend big? You could buy your way to SO5 success quite quickly if you’re smart about which cards you buy.

Bear in mind that you’ll need a different approach depending on which strategy you settle on and sometimes you really can’t mix the two. For example, if you’re focused on trading you’ll probably want to sell a player immediately as he comes back from injury to benefit from the price rise, whereas if you’re focused on playing SO5 you’ll want to hang onto him to benefit from his points on the pitch.

SO5 versus real life

SO5 is a competitive fantasy football game but it’s probably quite different to any other fantasy football game you’ve played before. It’s important to understand the key differences.

This is global football without any ‘league modifiers’ applied – the scoring is the same whether a player is plying their trade in a competitive league like the English Premier League or a ‘softer’ league where the big teams tend to score more goals and hold more possession, like the Eredivisie or the MLS.

If you are happy to look beyond the teams and players you know, you’re likely to find some real bargains. For example, a Rare card of a first-team forward of around 30 years old with an SO5 average of 50+ could cost you 0.5 ETH if you look in Ligue 1 but half the price if you look in the Austrian Bundesliga.

If you do choose to look beyond the leagues you’re familiar with, make sure you do plenty of research before parting with any cash. Also bear in mind that you’ll need to have players who play at similar times in order to make up a team each week (if you’re planning to enter SO5 tournaments). It’s not much use having three or four players who play during the summer and anther three or four who play during the winter.

The Sorare scoring matrix is pretty good in terms of reflecting real-life performances but it does have some quirks that you need to understand:

  • Sorare scoring is heavily weighted to big actions like goals and assists – so be wary of offensive players that don’t have regular goal involvements.
  • Some of the most consistent scorers in the game are players that play in high-possession teams as they have plenty of opportunities to rack up points for passes, crosses and chance creation. Playmakers do really well here, such as the unofficial king of Sorare, Hans Vanaken.
  • Don’t assume that you need clean sheets to get big scores for defenders. The clean sheet bonus is 10 points, which is high, but defenders can also score highly in defeats if they are making lots of tackles and other defensive actions – especially if they can hit the ‘double triple’ or ‘triple triple’ actions in the matrix (based on tackles won, net duels and interceptions). Having said that, a leaky defence will be a big hindrance to defensive players since Sorare increased the number of points lost for goals conceded.
  • Centre backs often outscore full backs due to the matrix punishing lost possession. All those speculative balls into the box cost full backs one point a time, compared to just 0.1 point for strikers.
  • The scoring for goalkeepers can be quite punishing with big swings every gameweek. This means the most important consideration when buying a goalkeeper is the certainty of their first team place rather than their average scores.

If you want to dig a little deeper into some of these nuances, take a look at this article by Sorare Intelligence.

Data, data, data

Data is your friend on Sorare. Data on transfers, data on player performance, team lineups, injuries, prices – everything. The more data you use, the better your choices are likely to be, so make sure you have a list of sources to hand.

SorareData is your one-stop-shop for data, so use it and understand it. Aside from the obvious things, like using it to check prices, build your lineups, view your gallery value and your SO5 scores, there are a few less well-known features that you can use to your benefit:

  • Similar players – under each player page there is a ‘similar players’ option, which is a handy way to find players with similar stats on sale for a lower price.
  • Stacks – also on the player page you’ll find information on which players score well together in the same team – useful information if you plan on building stacks (see below).
  • Concept Lineup builder (beta) – you’ll find this hidden under the ‘Scout’ menu. It allows you to put an SO5 lineup together and see how that line up scored together historically. Obviously this isn’t a guarantee of future performance but it is a helpful tool to use when picking your teams.

Many of the features on SorareData are free but you will need to upgrade to a paid account to unlock the more advanced ones. If you’re serious about playing Sorare, particularly if you’re playing at the Rare level and above, you’ll almost certainly find value in upgrading.

SorareData is great but it will only get you so far, and you need to dig a little deeper if you want to work out potential lineups, avoid DNPs and get ahead of the crowd during the transfer season.

I use the Sportsgambler website to check for injuries and suspensions. There may be more accurate sites but I find this the easiest and quickest one to find info on all leagues, so it works for me as a final check before I submit my lineups.

If you have players outside of the big five European leagues, it’s definitely worth following some of the localised Twitter accounts for up-to-date news and rumours such as:

You get the picture – for every league covered by Sorare, there will be someone with a Twitter account covering it. Find them and follow them!

Understanding the seasons

Sorare has seasons, mirroring the seasons of the global leagues. Understanding them will help you to buy and sell at the right time.

With most managers focused on the utility of their cards, the general trend is for player prices to be at their highest just before the start of a new season and then gradually decrease until they hit their lowest point when players only have a handful of games left.

Obviously this isnt always the case and other factors have a larger baring on the price of each individual player (form being the main one) but the point to note is that the best time to sell is often just before the season starts and the best time to buy is just before the season ends.

If you plan to build a gallery that can compete all year round, you’ll need to when different leagues are active. Generally the European teams break in the summer and the American and Asian teams break over the winter. Some leagues have both a summer and a winter break (like Russia) and obviously this year is going to be a bit unusual anyway with the World Cup taking place over the winter.

You’ll also want to understand the way different leagues work, for example the play-off structure at the end of the season for Belgian and MLS teams.

There are various online calendars that can help you to make sense of this, including this helpful post on Reddit.

Knowing when to buy and when to sell

You should aim to buy low, sell high – it’s as simple as that! Of course, it’s far more difficult than that in practice but there are some things to bear in mind.

Utility is the main factor that influences price. This is impacted by the league seasons (as noted above), a player’s form and the number of opportunities that they have to compete in SO5. Prices will spike:

  • Before a season starts.
  • If a player hits a purple patch of form with regular +60 scores pushing their L5 score up high.
  • If a player is playing for a team with the potential for extra games e.g. Champions League involvement.

Buying a player on a price spike is a risky strategy. Really, this is the ideal time to sell – but that’s easier said than done as our natural inclination is to hang onto players that are performing well!

Be wary of players turning 24 and no longer being eligible for the U23 league on SO5 – that’s a foreseeable hit to their utility so prices will normally drop in advance of that. Likewise players in teams that are battling relegation to a league not covered by Sorare.

If you want to pick up players at low prices, focus on players who are:

  • Out of form but have shown they can score well historically (a poor L5 score versus a good L15).
  • Injured and still a few weeks away from being fit.
  • In teams that are likely to have additional games in the following season (for example teams that don’t usually qualify for Europe but suddenly find themselves in the Europa League places).

Another factor to consider is scarcity. This speaks for itself at the higher scarcity tiers but there are plenty of Limited and Rare cards that can suddenly become scarce because the player moves to an unlicensed team. If there are only a handful of managers holding a particular player, and the player is suddenly in demand, those managers can dictate the price.

As Sorare covers more leagues, there will be less unlicensed teams so players sitting at artificially inflated prices because of their scarcity might suddenly dip in price. For example, a player like Declan Rice at West Ham could drop in value if the English Premier League comes on board this season (as is expected).

The final thing that can impact price is the actions of Sorare itself – not something you can really plan for but something to be aware of. There are two ways that this can happen:

  • If Sorare decides to make significant changes to the game, such as changing the scoring matrix or the competition structure. You can’t really plan for this but if you stay abreast of announcements and discussions in the Sorare Discord channel then you might pick up hints of things to come.
  • If Sorare increases or reduces the auction frequency for a player. Again, you can’t really predict this but you can at least get a sense of how many players are still available for auction by checking how many are already minted against the total supply for the season.

Flipping

If you’re looking to flip players for profit then all the stuff we’ve just talked about will help you with pricing players. For example, using data to identify players whose L5 score is about to rise because of a low score dropping off, is a simple way of pinpointing players for flipping.

Some other things to think about:

  • There is more liquidity in the Limited market. The higher up the scarcities you go, the more difficult it can be to move players on (because there are less managers buying). Limited is ideally where you want to be if your plan is to focus on flipping players and certainly no higher than Rare.
  • A good trading strategy is to move players on quickly for a small profit. There are no trading fees on Sorare so small gains are still worthwhile, and the longer you hold a player, the more risk there is that their price will drop. If you can get in and out fast, and make a small amount of money each time, you’ll quickly find yourself in profit.
  • If you’re bidding at auction, estimate the likely price the player will go for and set your winning bid to just below this to make it more difficult for someone to outbid you. Auctions tend to go up in 10% increments, which can lead to some pretty big jumps that you can take advantage of to price rival bidders out.
  • If you’re buying from other managers, focus on players with plenty of supply and always start with a cheeky offer. I generally offer around 15% less to start with, negotiating with the manager via Discord if possible. Don’t take the mick but don’t be afraid to try for a bargain (but be aware that too many very low offers may trigger a temporary ban from trading).

Remember that players will typically go for a higher price at auction than via manager offers. This is because some managers need to buy at auction to work towards their free referral card and also because Sorare waves the 10% fee on credit card purchases for auctions so some people will price this in.

Stacking and handcuffing

Unlike other fantasy games, stacking (lining up multiple players from the same club in your team) is permitted on Sorare. Use this to your advantage.

Stacking is all about exploiting correlation – understanding which actions are likely to be replicated across a team in a particular match and which players demonstrate synergy between each other. 

For example, where a team is going up against a low-scoring opponent, you might want to stack defensive players to double on the prospect of clean sheets. Where a team is facing a leaky defence, you might want to stack offensive players, in the hope that players will share the goals or supply each other with the assists.

This can often be an all-or-nothing way to play the game – if the team doesn’t play well then you’ve got nothing to fall back on – but in a game as competitive as Sorare, those big performances will often be needed if you want to hit the prize places.

Even if you don’t want to stack players from the same team, it’s worth stacking players from the same league so you maximise your chance of being able to get out a full team during a gameweek.

Like stacking, handcuffing is a term that will be familiar to those who have played other DFS games. Handcuffing means buying the back-up player for a position, usually the goalkeeper, so that you’ve got cover if the main man is out injured.

Goalkeepers are often the most expensive position to cover in Sorare as there are less of them to choose from. Back-up keepers can be comparitively very reasonable and give you options if the no.1 is out of the team for a while – either to fill a space in your team or to flip for profit.

A good example from the start of 2022 is Fabian de Keijzer of FC Utrecht. If you look at his price chart, you can see his price suddenly increased by a factor of 15 when he became a first-team starter:

Planning an exit strategy

We need to talk about exit strategies, even if you feel that you never want to stop playing Sorare. I’m using this as the catch-all term to cover playing responsibility and having one eye on making sure you can leave Sorare in profit, if you need to.

It’s really easy to keep sinking money into Sorare. You will always want another player for your SO5 team and paying in ETH can feel a little removed from the cold hard cash that you need to keep the heating on and food on your table. But it is real money so please, play responsibly and don’t overstretch yourself.

When you first start out, you’ll probably find yourself in a ‘building’ phase for a while as you’ll need to assemble a decent-sized gallery and you’ll find it easier to do this if you recycle any rewards you get back into building your team.

At some stage though, you need to start withdrawing. Think about how you do this and whether you focus on reducing your gallery size and/or sell/withdraw any rewards you get. You may find it helpful to set yourself some targets such as:

  • When you want to have withdrawn your initial deposit so you are playing ‘risk-free’.
  • How much you want want to take out of the platform for each win you get.

To do this, you must make sure you keep some sort of record of how much you’re depositing in the platform (a spreadsheet!). Ideally, you want to start with some idea of how you see this playing out for example –

  • How much you’re willing to start with (say £2,000).
  • How much extra you are prepared to add in and over how long (say an extra £1,000 over the year).

I’ve deliberately used fiat currency above as ETH will fluctuate but you need to know how much is coming out of your bank so that you can make sure that at least as much, if not more, goes back in (which means you need to keep one eye on ETH prices all the time too).

Getting your money out means you need to be a little bit strict with yourself, such as:

  • Selling reward cards as soon as they hit your account, rather than waiting to see if you can make them work in your team (unless the player is injured or the league is on a break).
  • Remembering that every player in your gallery has a price. If your star striker hits a hat-trick two games in a row, this is a good time to cash him in – even if you don’t really want to!

Personally, I wanted to reach the ‘risk-free’ stage at two to three years on the platform. That’s a longer timeframe than some would be comfortable with but I was happy with the amount I’d put in and if it all disappeared into a black hole tomorrow, I know I could still sleep at night.

Think about how much you have in your gallery. If it disappeared tomorrow, what would be the impact on you? Do you worry when you see prices dropping? Do you have enough to cover real-world bills before you start spending money on player cards?

Remember it can take some time to move your cards on – especially if you’re dealing with the less liquid parts of the market like Super Rares. There are plenty of managers who will buy whole galleries in one go, but you’ll have to accept a considerably lower offer than the market value if you go down that route.

If you have a large gallery, you might also need to consider the tax implications of pulling a lot of money out in one go. In the UK, crypto is seen as an ‘asset’ and any disposal (exchange for fiat currency) is liable for Capital Gains Tax. I’m not going to give tax advice here because I’m not qualified to do so but if you stay under the yearly Capital Gains tax-free allowance of £12,300 (on any profit) you should be ok. If you go over that, or if your country has different tax rules, I’d strongly suggest you get some advice.

Whatever you do, remember that nothing is certain and crypto itself is a volatile asset. Plan ahead, keep it fun and keep it responsible.

I think that’s enough for now but if you think there are any topics I haven’t covered, let me know!


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

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