It’s that time of year again, Madden season! As has been the case for a number of years, the Madden Ultimate Team Mode is totally my favorite. It’s a crazy mode and it’s getting a bunch more attention every year. But what is this ridiculous mode and how do I do it without spending money?
What is Madden Ultimate Team?
Madden Ultimate Team basically turns Madden into a CCG like Magic: The Gathering. You start with a “Pack” of cards. Each card is a player, coach, playbook, uniform or stadium. You get enough players for a whole team, but not a very good one. When you play games of Madden with your Ultimate Team, you earn coins which you can spend on more packs to get random cards or you can buy cards from other players on the auction house.
That’s really it. You get more and better players, you can try harder challenges and build your team however you want it, sort of like Fantasy Football.
In Ultimate team, you can either play solo like I do and do Solo Challenges or play online seasons against other real people.
In solo challenges there are a bunch of different challenge games you can try. They have different skill levels(AI is on Rookie, Pro, All Pro or All Madden) and are against different teams. There are plenty and they keep adding more, so you shouldn’t run out.
In online seasons, you play against real people. If you win 5 games in the “Season” of 10 games, you go into a playoff for a chance at more coins. I don’t really like playing online so I haven’t done much of this.
In addition to trying to improve your team, there are sets or collections for you to complete. Completing sets gets you coins and bonus cards. There are sets for different teams, uniforms, playbooks, coaches etc. They usually add more sets throughout the year. This year they made many of the common collections repeatable. Before once you did it you were done, so you had no use for those cards, but not so this year. Beware that when you collect a card to a set, it is gone forever.
Auctions & Packs
You can get new cards through packs, which are random, or on the auction block from other players. Which way is better is up to you, but I’ll give you some thoughts on getting started a bit later.
You can buy packs with cash but you don’t really need to.
How to get started and how to not spend money
So let’s be honest, the reason EA is supporting this mode so much is that micro transactions (like buying packs with cash) makes a lot of money. They have to walk the line of making the mode playable without spending real cash but encouraging you to. We want to play without spending money, and here are some tips on how to do it.
There is a “Gold Value Pack” that costs $1 which gives you 5 silver and 5 gold cards. It’s not that much and it’s a a pretty good deal compared with the other packs, so if you don’t mind, maybe just do it to give you a leg up.
The game gives you some objectives to accomplish that also serve the purpose of teaching you how to use the different parts of the mode. Go ahead and do all those. You’ll learn and you’ll get some coins.
In terms of challenges, pick your team and do the Training Camp and Regular Season for that team. The end of the regular season can get difficult with a bad team because it moves up to All-Pro difficulty. If it’s too hard, leave it for later and start another one. Finishing the Regular Season challenges for a team will get you a gold player from that team, which is a great way to improve.
Also always do the week’s “Coin Up” challenges in the weekly section of the solo challenges. They are weekly challenges that go away. When you win them you get a special card from one of the teams. There is a “Set” where you can collect(spend) that card to get the special card from the other team. The set will explain how it works but generally whichever team wins in the real life NFL game that week will be worth more coins. It’s up to you to decide if you want to trade in the card to predict which team will be worth more coins.
How to expand your team
There are 2 ways to expand your team, packs or auctions. If you do packs, do not do rookie packs, they’re not worth it, only get pro packs. The advantage of packs is that you could get some really good cards, but it’s random. If you do the auction, you know what you’re getting. It’s up to you. I made sure to shore up my worst positions from the auction house, and get a good QB and RB(~80 overall) before getting packs so my team is somewhat reliable. If you want to be more methodical go with auctions, if you wanna take the risk, go packs from the beginning.
I also got good O-Linemen on the auction house, since I like to run it a lot and it’s so hard without them.
That’s basically it. Do the challenges, get the coins, get those players, brag to your friends. It’s fun to build something in Madden and Ultimate Team has replaced Franchise Mode for me to do that.
I will continue to write about Ultimate Team as the season goes on, be sure to check back!