A starter guide to help video game players new to the MUT card-collecting game mode
MADDEN 18 ULTIMATE TEAM - A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO MUT
by C.C. McCandless
(originally posted for sale on Fiverr, August, 2017)
Thanks for buying this guide! Let's get you started on the road to MUT success. Here's an important first question:
Have you bought the game yet?
If not, you have a few options. Madden 18 is available in both digital download and physical form. If you pre-order the game, you will receive two valuable bonuses: an elite player from your favorite team, and five squad packs of cards. Another option is to purchase the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time) edition. It is more expensive, but includes more MUT content to get you started. In addition to the pre-order bonuses, you will be able to select an elite G.O.A.T. player. The choices for this are NFL legends Tom Brady, Jerry Rice, Barry Sanders, Deion Sanders, or Ray Lewis. The G.O.A.T. edition also includes more squad packs (12), a uniform pack, and 2500 player contracts, which are consumed each time you play a game. Finally, the G.O.A.T. edition allows you to play three days early--August 22 instead of August 25.
All of the add-ons are helpful. You should certainly pre-order the game if you have not done so if you know you plan to purchase it. Best Buy will deliver the game on launch day, and some locations will have midnight openings. There are many pre-order options and they all have the same value.
What can you do before the game is released?
First, you need to have a MUT Rewards account (https://www.easports.com/madden-nfl/mut-rewards). This is a simple process that links your gamer name or tag to your Madden account. It's free, and it will track your MUT progress and give you some free bonuses during the course of the season.
If you have access to Madden 17, there is one other way to help your MUT team before you even begin. There is a program called Rookie Premieres, in which you can complete a set and earn a 99 rated rookie player in MUT 17 who will also be added to your MUT 18 team (the set expires August 18). The '18 version will not begin as an elite card, but it will evolve throughout the season--whenever a higher rated version of that rookie's card is released, his rookie premiere card will increase to match that higher overall rating. If you have not played Madden 17 at all, it could be a good way to familiarize yourself with the game and the MUT interface, but completing the set required for a MUT 18 player might be too time consuming.
You've got the game. Now what?
Congratulations! There should be a mandatory "day zero" patch for the game, so be sure to download and install this before you begin. If you have purchased a digital copy, a partial install of the game is already available. There are also tuning updates throughout the year that are required to play. These are quick and effortless.
Click on Ultimate Team and you'll be taken to the MUT menu. If this is your very first Madden experience, you will get to name your squad. This can be changed. You will begin with a free team of low-rated players. To start the year, MUT players are broken down into the following tiers:
Bronze: 59 overall rating or below.
Silver: 60-69 overall rating.
Gold: 70-79 overall rating.
Core elite: 80 and higher.
An important note: the MUT ratings of players do not correspond to their ratings in other modes of Madden. For example, Tom Brady is rated 99 if you choose to play franchise mode. But in MUT, he begins with two different cards: an 85 overall, which is the card received if you pick him as your G.O.A.T. player. Then he has a 90 rated version that can be obtained from packs or the auction house. All of the G.O.A.T. players should be 85 overall elite players. You will be prompted to select your favorite team and you'll also receive two 70 rated, upgradeable players from that team.
If you are brand new, I know that all of this talk about ratings and tiers seems like a lot. You don't need to worry about it at all to begin. You will receive packs of free players to start with, and that's all you need to get going.
Okay, you have a starter team. Now what?
You're one step closer to getting on the field! The easiest way to get ready to play is simply to select "best team overall" from the lineup screen. The computer will then make your best possible lineup for you. After that, the best bet is to play some solo challenges. There will be Kickoff solo challenges that reward free cards of Marshawn Lynch (70 OVR), Rob Gronkowski (76 OVR), and Champ Bailey (80 OVR). Over the course of the Kickoff solos you will also accrue coins and several free packs.
You have started playing the Kickoff solos and you're making some coins. What's next??
Opening packs is fun...but there is a way to optimize their value. Once you start receiving packs for completing solo challenges, you'll feel like you should open them right away. But if you are completing the solos without too much trouble, it is best for you to wait to open them until Saturday. This is the day that Legend cards are released (each available for a limited time), and there is a chance you could receive one in a free pack.
Another must: do NOT spend your hard-earned coins on packs. You'll feel like it. But if you want to improve your team in the most frugal way possible, use your coins to upgrade your team with players purchased from the auction house. You can filter all available players in the auction house in many ways, but being as specific as possible will yield the best results. For example, if you know you want a new running back, don't just look at all RBs. Narrow it down by tier, by overall rating, and even by team. Once this pool of options has been winnowed down, you may look at auctions that are newly posted, and also by the lowest "buy now" prices. This is the way to go.
There is a new, story based mode called "Longshot" this year. Playing through this mode can earn more free, high overall cards for you, including legends Dan Marino and Chad Johnson, as well as cards of fictional players featured in the story.
Finally, another tip regarding your cards: save everything. Quickselling player cards is the worst possible value. You can certainly auction some cards that you don't want or won't use as a way to earn more coins. But as your team improves, certain cards will be of no on-field use to you anymore. But save them. Many of these can be put into different sets to improve your team. For example, there is a new feature this year called Team Tokens. These are used to upgrade certain NFL stars from each team. There are four of these players per team, and at the start of the season these 70 overall cards can be upgraded to 75, then 83, and then 88-91 overall. Each upgrade requires team tokens, which are earned by completing team token sets, some of which include low rated silver cards.
After the game's physical release, there will be Team Leader sets for each NFL team, reportedly requiring 20 gold and 20 silvers each to complete. Due to the fact that some teams have more gold players than others, the scarcity of certain teams' cards will make them much more valuable. A quick look at the auction house after these sets are released will let you know which golds are most valuable.
This year you will have a MUT player level. This increases simply by playing games, and reaching certain levels will unlock new content for you. This is nothing to worry about, as it will happen naturally as you play.
I know that all this talk about solos and challenges and sets and upgrades may seem daunting. But once you have a few games under your belt, it will become second nature to you. If you're brand new, just have fun playing the game and slowly improving your team. When you become more accustomed to the gameplay and the beginning economics of MUT, I suggest you check out this website: http://www.muthead.com/18/players. MUTHEAD maintains an active database of all player cards available. It is an invaluable resource for researching players' ratings, auction house sale prices, and more. They also have a handy team builder feature that allows you to keep track of your team out-of-game by inputting the cards that you have.
Thank you for reading this guide. If you are a new player, I hope this gives you some confidence and insight to begin your Madden 18 Ultimate Team season.