Though many Madden fans focus primarily on Franchise mode, there’s another significant and fun playing option in Madden NFL 18 — the card-based mode, called Madden Ultimate Team (MUT). First added in Madden NFL 10, 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. While seasoned veterans may know much of this, Ultimate Team works a little differently in Madden NFL 18, so you may still find valuable information here as you embark on your quest.
For starters, Madden NFL 18 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 MUT coins, but you’ll occasionally receive cards and packs, which can further improve your squad.
EA Sports modified the way overall team ratings are calculated in Madden NFL 18, widening the gap between ratings. More so this year than in years past, the difference in performance between a team with a 70 rating and another rated 71 is significant. Most players, even superstar-caliber players, have relatively low ratings to start out. Our Marshawn Lynch card, for example, had a 58 overall rating. That’s extremely low for a player of that caliber. The change puts more emphasis on overall ratings. 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.
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.
Some cards fall outside of the standard “core” cards. There are Legends, NFL Stars, Longshot, Kickoff Challenge, and more. All of these, and others designated as NAT cards, cannot be traded to other users or auctioned off.
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,.
Complete solo challenges
You can spend dozens of hours in Ultimate Team without ever playing a human opponent. 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.
Complete Longshot mode
Madden 18‘s story mode is fantastic, and you should play it no matter what, but you definitely need to play it if you want a quick boost for your Ultimate Team. By playing Longshot, you’ll unlock cards for its protagonists, Devin Wade and Colt Cruise, who both have mid-70s ratings. Once they’re unlocked, you can play through a set of Longshot-specific solo challenges that will push their ratings even higher. You’ll also get NFL legends Dan Marino and Chad Johnson, who are both rated in the 80s. Right out of the gate, they will be your best players.
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