Madden NFL 19: Beginner's guide to Ultimate Team
Madden NFL 19 offers a comprehensive football game for any fan of the pigskin. Whether you're new to the series or a returning veteran, and whether you're a casual viewer of the NFL or you're knee deep in player research to keep your fantasy team stacked each and every week, you can have fun in any of Madden 19's various modes.
One of those modes is Madden Ultimate Team. MUT, as we like to call it, gives you the ability to build your dream team comprised of your favorite NFL superstars. If you're new and in need of a little guidance, fret not. We're here to show you how to go from nothing to competing for a Super Bowl.
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How to earn coins fast in Madden Ultimate Team
Making money in Madden Ultimate Team is one of the first things you need to learn. The game uses coins as its standard free-to-play digital currency which, yes, means you can earn it without paying a dime.
Coins are mostly useful for player acquisition, but you can also use them to buy packs, work the auction house, and purchase new team items such as stadiums, uniforms, and playbooks.
You can also use them to purchase the tickets you need to play the game's premium events. Here are some of the things you can do to earn coins fast.
Complete your daily objectives
The first thing you'll see upon entering MUT is your objectives list. This list has an ever-revolving list of challenges, milestones, and goals to complete that'll reward you with a decent amount of coins.
One of the things you can count on to be there every single day is the list of daily objectives. It's always the same: complete two solo challenges, buy a pack and complete a set.
We'll talk about some of these things more in a bit, but completing that simple list takes no more than five minutes and will net you with a random "quicksell" item. These items serve no purpose other than turning them in for a modest coin reward. You can earn anywhere from 1,000 to 50,000 coins in the first tier, and the rewards get better as you level up. Do these every single day, and you'll be surprised how often you can cash out big time on them.
There are other objectives you can complete, such as weekly lists, promotional lists, and other categories. No matter which objectives you decide to tackle, you'll be rewarded every step of the way.
Complete solo challenges
Solo challenges are often bite-sized "NFL Moments" that have you completing a scenario such as stopping your opponent for a certain amount of yards or scoring a touchdown as time expires. These challenges provide the most reliable way to make coins in Madden Ultimate Team.
There's a base coin reward for every solo challenge you do based on difficulty, and some of them will even hook you up with as much as quadruple the reward for completing an optional bonus objective. They're a grind, but unless you're willing to spend extra money to buy your way to the top, it's a necessary evil.
Some of them can be fun, but some can also make you want to rip your hair out. Either way, stick with it. You'll find yourself swimming in coins before too long, as well as making out with a bunch of cool team and player items along the way.
Work the auction house
Once you have a bit of coin and some excess players, you can take a trip to the auction house and put that money to work. It's natural to want to go into the auction house and buy up all the players you need, but you can also take advantage of the Madden economy to help keep your coffers full.
Deploy a simple "buy low, sell high" strategy here. It's easier said than done, but all you're doing is buying a player below the market value and selling it at or above what you paid.
The reason it isn't as simple as going in and buying the cheapest card you can find is due to the way the auction house shows its contents. Any given filter will only show 100 cards based on whichever sorting criteria you choose (cheapest buy it now price, time ending soonest, newest, or what have you). This creates a situation where if I go into the auction house without applying enough (or any) filters, I see the cheapest card out of the 100 cards showing, but not necessarily the cheapest card available overall.
The idea is to whittle that list down to ensure no more than 100 items are showing. Once you've done that, it'll be easy to glance at the list of players you're targeting and see if anything is being listed well below its market value. Here's how to do it.
- Enter the Auction House.
- Set your criteria for finding players. As an example, let's say we're looking at all Elite-level Green Bay Packers players per position.
- Take those criteria and apply them using the filters on the left side of the screen. We'll set the "Quality" filter to "Elite," and the "Team Filter" to "Green Bay Packers."
- You can try to look at all players, all players on offense, or all players on defense, but you're probably still not drilling down enough. Instead, cycle through each position — such as QB, WR, and RB — to get a more granular picture of the market for these players.
This method is typically known as "sniping," but you could just as well call it football's stock market. No matter your preferred term of endearment, this is one of the most reliable ways to make coins in Madden Ultimate Team. It won't be as quick as solo challenges, but solo challenges are finite, and they also don't scale. With the auction house, you can hedge bigger bets as you make more coin, and your nest egg will begin to balloon before your eyes.
We've only just scratched the surface of possibilities for using the auction house in this manner. You could easily do simple buy low, sell high snipes or put your unneeded players up for sale and come out nicely, but the more work you put into it and the more creative you are, the more coins you'll make.
How to get better players in Madden Ultimate Team
Now that your coin base is better, it's time to put it to good use. Ultimately, the goal is to make the best team you can, and you can only do that by acquiring players. Here are all the different ways you can get those players and build your roster up.
Buy them from the auction house
All that coin you made in the auction house will likely be dumped right back into the auction house. This is the best place to go if you're looking for a specific player.
Bronze, Silver, and even Gold-level players are the most affordable. Gold players should be your priority to get a good team onto the field, especially if you're planning on competing against other players. You'll pay handsome sums for the Elite of the bunch. Just know that the better the player, the more coins you'll be spending. You won't be getting a 90 overall Aaron Rodgers, for example, unless you're willing to part ways with the lion's share of your fortune.
Earn them from solo challenge rewards
Next, hit those solo challenges up. These quick challenges will let you earn a few players along the way, as well as being the preferred coin-making method we mentioned before. And typically, completing an entire list of solos will get you an Elite non-auctionable player.
In the case of Madden 19, we'd start by going through the Campaign solos. You'll get a bunch of Silver and Gold players along the way, and by the end of it all, you'll have two 87 OVR cards — one each for offense and defense — to help get your team going.
Next, do the Diamond solo challenges to gain several player fantasy packs. These packs let you choose one of five players to add to your team, all of which are guaranteed to be at least Gold. There's a good chance some of these will come up as Elite players, too. In the end, you'll get an Elite fantasy pack that guarantees you one Elite player from any team of your choosing.
You should do the Rookie Gauntlet next. These solos are notoriously tricky, but they offer the greatest rewards for both coins and player cards. Finally, finish off by going through the massive set of Journey solos once you reach level 30. It'll be your single biggest source of coins in the early going, and will hook you up with an 89 OVR Carson Wentz player card upon completion.
There are other solo challenge lists which give you varying types of rewards, such as Training (a new currency used to upgrade Power-Up players), legends, or new uniforms. Do these as you see fit, and be on the lookout for weekly solos so you can complete them before they're cycled out. EA regularly releases new solo challenges throughout the year, so don't be afraid to run through all of these as fast as you can. It's the gift that keeps on giving.
Find them in player packs
While we wouldn't recommend packs as a beginner option, it's worth mentioning just for the sake of thoroughness. You can buy player packs of varying quality. Some will only guarantee one Gold player and a bunch of Silver ones, and there's a chance for Elite players in any of these packs. There are also some packs which guarantee Elite players and other items.
There are lots of packs that you can buy with coins, but this route generally isn't economically sound. Instead, if you want to rip open player packs, then the best way to do that is by paying money. Yes, real cold hard cash. Again, not an option we'd recommend for any newcomers unless you absolutely can't grind solo challenges.
We want to give a special shout out to the Power-Up player cards in Madden 19's Ultimate Team. These players are deceptive in that they first appear as lowly 68 OVR Silver cards, but you can upgrade those using Training points. This gives you a relatively cheap option to acquire players who can be built into powerhouses over time.
Some players can get as high as 88 or 89 OVR if you pour enough Training points into them. It's a big investment, but it can be one of the easiest ways to get serious players on your team if you aren't getting lucky on your pack pulls.
Complete a set
Have a crap ton of players and you're not sure what to do with them? If the allure of coins from the auction house isn't doing it for you, see what you can do with Sets.
Sets in Madden 19 let you exchange several player cards for some sort of reward. You'll typically be doing this to get access to high-level players or tokens needed for other sets.
Madden often runs promotional events featuring new cards and new ways to obtain them. Stay on the lookout for these events and participate in them whenever possible. For instance, you'll usually see events for all major holidays, as well as events themed after real-world happenings such as the NFL draft, the playoffs, or the Super Bowl. More often than not, you'll get bonus cards to start the promotion and you'll quickly earn more through solo challenges and daily objectives. Get enough cards and there's usually a set to put them in to get even better cards.
Like opening packs, completing sets is an option that is most unfriendly to newcomers or those who don't want to spend a lot of money on the mode. That's because you'll often need dozens of specific player cards and tokens to complete them, and not all of those cards will be cheap or easy to acquire. But by all means, if in a few months you find yourself with a binder of 1,500 player items or have hundreds of thousands of coins to fill in the blanks you have, go nuts.
How to build your Ultimate Team roster
With a bunch of cards under your belt, you can start to put together a pretty solid team. I'm going to stress one thing when it comes to your approach — there is no right or wrong way to do this. Make the team you want to make. Want to make a team of all Patriots players? Perhaps all players who graduated from Alabama? Maybe even a team full of players who have never started a single football game? The fun in MUT is that you get to do what you want.
That said, if you want to make the best team you can, there are a couple of things to note. For one, using the "Generate Best Team" option in the player lineup screen is an excellent way to get your highest rated players at each position slotted into your lineup. This is a nice time-saving tool to use in the early going when your team doesn't have any specific composition.
As you progress, however, you'll start to notice that you can squeeze even more out of your players by way of something called Chemistry. Each player's Chemistry rating will have some sort of impact on your team as long as you meet certain thresholds.
For instance, a Chemistry called Go Deep can increase the throwing power on all quarterbacks with that chemistry, and the catching ability of all receivers with it, but only if you have enough of those players on the team. You can reach up to tier 4 of a single Chemistry, but with a limited amount of player slots in your lineup, you'll have to prioritize based on your play style.
This concept in past editions of Madden effectively limited you to a shorter pool of players if you wanted to maximize their potential, but Madden 19 introduced the ability to customize the Chemistry slot on any given player. You don't have to give up Tom Brady if you don't want to just because he doesn't have the Chemistry you want — just spend Training to get him exactly the way you like him!
What to do with your new team full of studs? Why, compete, of course! There's no shortage of modes to play if you want to put your team to the test.
Salary Cap is the game's de-facto ranked mode and is perhaps the best mode for a beginner to check out. The schtick with this mode is that you have to adhere to a salary cap when selecting your players. Each player will have a salary cap rating that increases the better they are, and you can't start playing until you've created a full roster of players without exceeding the salary cap number. This means you can't stack your teams full of 99 OVR players, which effectively evens the playing field for those not fortunate enough to be sitting on a pile of football gods.
Here are some of the other cool modes to compete in, all of which will let you earn rewards the better you do:
- Head-to-Head Seasons: Play a 7-game regular season and make the playoffs to try and win the Super Bowl.
- MUT Squads: You and up to 2 other friends take on another team of 3. One player controls offense, one player controls defense, and the third player is the coach.
- MUT Draft: Start with a random team and pick up to 15 more players at random to see how far you can go.
- Weekend League: Qualify for a weekend tournament by completing a Head-to-Head season. This mode is not for the weak at heart but offers the absolute best rewards.
We should note that MUT Draft and Salary Cap require tickets for their ranked modes. You can acquire these tickets by buying them with coins or with premium points. We wouldn't go dumping coins into tickets right away, but once you have a solid team to compete with these ranked modes offer the best rewards.
See you on the gridiron!
By now, you have all the tools and information you need to get off to a fast start in Madden 19's Ultimate Team mode. Madden NFL 19 is now available worldwide. Get your squad together and see how far you can go!
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Updated February 2019: Added more detail about promotional and themed events in Madden Ultimate Team.
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