Many Madden fans focus primarily on Ultimate Team mode. It is a significant and fun playing option in Madden NFL 21. The core premise of Madden Ultimate Team is simple: Collect player cards to fill out and create a fantasy roster that can crush any other.
Ultimate team has evolved in notable and exciting ways over the years, and you can find an enormous amount of depth in assembling and tweaking a juggernaut squad. It’s more complicated than the rest of Madden and can be a bit daunting for new players. To that end, we’ve put together an explainer that breaks down each component of this year’s Ultimate Team mode. You can find valuable information here as you embark on your quest.
For starters, Madden 21 Ultimate Team features a team-wide leveling system. As you progress through solo challenges and head-to-head matches, each player will gain MUT experience points that increase your rank. You’re always gaining experience in Ultimate Team, no matter what action you take. You earn rewards every time you level up. Often they’re Madden coins, but you’ll occasionally receive cards and packs, which can further improve your squad.
EA Sports modified overall team ratings in Madden 21, widening the gap between ratings. Most players, even superstar-caliber players, have relatively low ratings to start out. While your initial squad will feature players with ratings around 60, once you start to replace players with others with slightly better ratings of 61 or 61, your team will noticeably improve.
Coins, Points, Contracts, And Items
You earn MUT coins by tackling and completing objectives in Ultimate Team. Those coins can be turned in for new items and card packs, whether via the store or through the auction house.
You can also use points obtained with real cash to buy new card packs and items. Some packs can only be purchased with points, which is frustrating, but you can still assemble a quality team without them.
Each player you acquire comes with a 25-game contract. When a Contract hits zero, not only can you not use that player on the field, but you cannot trade him in for coins or to another user or auction him off. Basically, it’s a dead card until you add some new contracts. Make sure to keep track of the contract counter and re-sign players when it gets low. You can buy contracts to assign players using MUT coins.
Items include player cards, coaches, stadiums, uniforms, playbooks, and collectibles. Out of the gate, you’ll have one playable stadium and one team’s playbook. Uniforms, stadiums, and coaches can be acquired through card packs and as rewards for completing challenges. Collectibles include cards with MUT tips and player-specific tokens that can be used to level up players.
There are four versions of every standard player card in Madden Ultimate Team — Elite, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. Bronze-tier players typically have ratings in the high 50s to low 60s. Silver-tier players are rated in the mid to high 60s. Gold-tier players have ratings in the low to mid-70s, and Elite tier players have ratings in the 80s.
You can “quicksell” these types of cards for paltry amounts, but we don’t recommend ever doing that with cards. Just know that you cannot auction or trade these. To upgrade them, especially ones of the bronze and silver variety, you’ll need to combine them into sets.
Complete Solo Challenges
Solo challenges place you in scenarios that, if completed, net you coins, card packs, and other items. We suggest completing some solo challenges before competing against other players. While some of the solo challenges can get a bit tedious, it’s the best way to give your team a fighting chance against human opponents without spending real money on points. EA has been adding time-specific challenges each week since launch, so there’s always more to do.
Auction House Trades
Opening card packs is pretty thrilling, but we don’t think it’s a smart use of your coins. You can get much more for your money buying cards at the auction house, where you place bids on players in real time. Like any auction house game mechanic, the key to success here is discipline: Don’t chase after the players you want, make smart bids, and walk away the price gets too high. You won’t get every player you want, and progress might come more slowly, but you’ll be using your hard-earned coins well.
When auctioning your own players, you can check and see what the same card has been going for on the market. Along with putting it up for bidding, you can place a “Buy it Now” price.
As mentioned earlier, some cards cannot be auctioned or traded. To turn underwhelming cards into better ones, you can use “Upgrade Sets” — a wide-ranging tool that lets you turn a group of junk cards into a single better one.
Using a set to upgrade a card is called an “exchange.” In exchange, you turn in 5 to 7 cards with the same general rating and tier, and you’ll get back one random, higher-rated card. For instance, you can trade in five low silver cards for one high silver card or five high silver cards for one low gold card.
Your starting lineup has a team chemistry rating. Generating your best lineup takes the positives from each team’s chemistry and compiles them together. You can also generate a lineup solely based on a specific team’s chemistry, which provides additional stat boosts for players hailing from that team.
As you collect more cards, you’ll receive increased chemistry options and boosts. The more players on that team that you have, the more boosts you’ll receive. Ultimately, filling out one team’s pie chart leads to higher overall team ratings.
Once you get the hang of all the moving parts in Ultimate Team, you’ll be ready to go head-to-head against human opponents. Due to microtransactions, many players may already have extremely formidable teams. So don’t get discouraged even if you lose; this is also part of the game.
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