Christmas Promo Eve – On Madden Number 5

While not as storied as traditional Christmas Eve, Christmas Promo Eve should have MUT players almost as excited as the real thing. But are we?

I hope we get card teasers tonight to hype us a bit for the content coming tomorrow.

Here’s the blog EA put out this morning.

Now I’m not going to put out a blog breaking down the blog but as I see it at this moment, without concrete overalls and the actual card teasers, there’s not a whole lot of hype in the community.

And the lack of coming content hype is an ongoing issue for EA in 18. They put out these legends of the game and expect us to write our stories around them. Do you see the way FIFA and NBA2K do pack openings? EA gives us a card and has us generate the hype for them, they can’t even take the time or effort to change the color on the explosion or do highlights of the player like Madden Mobile.

And to be fair to EA we do a decent job at hyping ourselves up from youtubers to tweets with exclamation points talking about playing with our favorite players. EA seems overly reliant on the NFL and our connection to it to sell their game. EA without the NFL’s history would have them unable to rely on a fairly shallow game mode to fund all their pet projects like NBA live.

Anyways, if we don’t get more hype tonight I suggest buying your team tomorrow at 11 a.m. Eastern since based on the blog it does look like we’re getting a lot of content, just not marketed very well.

Short blog today but 2 videos and a stream tonight along with a stream tomorrow with the promo. Hope to see you guys in there.

Investments – On Madden Number 4

I said I wasn’t investing in anything this past Market Monday. I was called foolish to avoid motivators as last year they went up after packs went away. Well as we’ve seen with investing in this and last year’s MUT, if people call something an investment, EA steps in and rectifies it.

Now, an unrelated subject.

Since day one I and many others have said that power ups are a bad idea. This exchange with Cuadz on the MUT sub hits the point:


But people are addicted to the high overalls and red chems that come along with locking in a card to your roster permanently. You lose a tremendous amount of coins and respect from others doing power ups but the draw is still there. Much like smoking.

Back to point, motivator cards were released last Friday.

EA initially announced they’re not going to allow people to do power ups on the motivator cards since the packs won’t be available all year. Aka the packs are “limited” to a short time frame of availability. Seems like EA is trying to save us from ourselves and their misguided sets. Not allowing MUTers the opportunity to waste a million coins plus powering up Von Miller among others was on one hand kind to the community, on the other cruel. People make irrational decisions with their favorite players, emotions get the best of us. So even though I had no dog in the fight, I had no power ups that could have gone higher with motivators, I seized the opening along with many others to criticize EA for creating a reason to exclude motivators from the power up promo. They made a similar and in the end successful attempt to exclude Black Friday cards from power up sets with them being “numbered” and their sets being only available for a limited time.

I fought on behalf of the emotional and irrational. This is a game after all and bad decisions by the community are a part of this game. Not everything has to be min-maxed and their crappy power up promo is a decision tree they need to allow people to continue to climb.

On the other side, more coin oriented people saw “limited” and their eyes lit up with dreams of yesteryear where once the packs disappeared, the motivator cards went up in price, allowing for an easy profit.

So on Wednesday, December 13th in The Year of Our Lord 2017, a post was made by Kraelo on Muthead about a set being added to the game to allow us to get motivator cards outside of packs.

This post, telling us that we’ll have another, permanent way of getting motivators relieved the tension around the power up promo and allowed them to now longer be “limited.”

It reminded me of a lesson we learned on Scrubs, good news for one person can mean bad news for another.

The fandom for power ups rejoiced with this new info and investors lost their pants. Darkened by the black on white Helvetica font of Muthead and Kraelo’s commitment to a lasting motivator set. Alas we hear another chapter in the continuing sob story for Vinnie the Mini Venture Capitalist in MUT. The lesson once again becomes don’t buy based on last year and don’t play Three-card Monte with EA. They’ve always got the queen up their sleeve and you’re betting on the wrong card.

Why does everyone hate rewards in MUT 18? On Madden Number 3

“…various factors play a part when it comes to reward tiers. This isn’t something people like to hear but rewards are based on level of difficulty, length of solo and solo conditions.”

-Kraelo (

EA tells us they factor in a lot of things when they calculate rewards, so why is the community so upset with rewards?

Everyone from solo grinders, to pack pullers, H2H players, Weekend Leaguers, draft champions and squads have issues with their rewards. I heard Salary cap rewards were fine from a couple folks so we’ll leave them alone.

But why is it most all of us don’t think the rewards for our time put in are good enough? Why is it across the spectrum there is so much hate? To say I have an answer would be foolhardy. Because let’s say you bump everyone’s rewards a bit, does this affect the market? So if you give a bunch more coins, it inflates, if you give cards, they go down in price and therefore the rewards level out to their old spot.

But say they want to increase rewards, how would we do it? Give pack rewards for grinding? Those end up disappointing far more than they please. Look at top end finishers in weekend league with their supposed great packs. They end up causing a lot of heartburn and anger at seeing guys who finished behind them pull better cards. This isn’t something that’s going to change. Pack luck is just that, luck. I’ve seen people win raffles with 1 ticket where the guy with dozens of them loses.

Does EA need to figure out a $ per projected number of hours grinding or do they have that already? Should H2H grinders be rewarded the same as the solo grinders on a coins per hour basis? Because one weekend league is around 16 hours of grinding. Grinding team leader solos for OBJ was around 16 hours too. But that’s a tough comparison because team leader OBJ/Mack took coins to complete by buying and selling players on the auction house plus the gold badges and so on.

But let’s skip past that digression and estimate say you get a max of 20k an hour grinding solos. And you can do solos normally just watching netflix or twitch or whatever. Let’s project 16 hours of solo grinding gets you around 320k. 16 hours of weekend league, if you have average skill level, you will win between 11 and 14 games. That gets you to gold 2 for weekly and monthly rewards. So on a weekly basis you’re earning 30,000 coins, 1 80+ overall player, 12 75+ Players and 5 70+ players. The monthly rewards at 5 gold players and 1 85 auctionable/88 NAT player is almost not worth mentioning.

So that’s around 115k if you count the 80+ overall at 10k average, 75 overalls at 5k average and the 70 overalls at 3k average. 16 hours of grinding to average around 7k an hour of returns. Less than half of what you’d get grinding solos.

This gets to the bigger question is if H2H is the reason you grind solos so rewards don’t need to be equal? That’s a whole other blog. Moving on.

Of course if you’re a better player you’ll get better rewards. But the biggest complainers of rewards this year are the guys finishing top 100 so take that for what you will. Again the problem becomes how does EA reward us for our time spent in game with in-game loot? If you buff the loot for all the complaints, it doesn’t solve anything as people still complain their rewards not being good enough because the market changed.

I really don’t know the best way to increase the feeling of reward in game for MUT. Is there a way to reward us through psychological tricks or some feel good longshot story or do we just want cold hard coin?

It feels to me that Madden rewards solo grinders more per hour spent in game than H2H grinders. And maybe that’s me being biased since I grind more H2H than solos. The math above seemed to point that way. But to continue it, one H2H game can take from 30-40 minutes and you get 1,000 coins for winning and the potential to move on to the playoffs if you win 7 games. The big rewards don’t step in until you win the Super Bowl and that’s rare.

Solo grinding has a similar payout structure, first solo, a couple hundred coins then it builds from there. But gauntlets can be done in a couple hours where a season of MUT would take you near 6-8 hours for the 12 games or so to win a super bowl. And that’s only if you can beat equal competition 4 times in a row in the playoffs.

What they could do is determine how many coins they want to reward us per hour and find the average amount of time it takes us to complete the tasks and reward us comparably. I believe right now in H2H they base all reward structures off people winning the Super Bowl every season. They need to understand we’re not all Superman.

So potential solutions, solo grinders need a good journey type solo sequence that takes a bunch of hours to complete and rewards both auctionable packs and coins. So 10 hours for the next solo journey = 200,000 coins.

H2H players should get a pack after every win they have in seasons all-pro 2nd string and higher. There needs to be a John Madden type reward for H2H like Squads has. Some huge end goal for season badges. The 93 overall player isn’t good enough. How about a Vince Lombardi item?

Weekend league players need to have their rewards close to doubled.

Squads I heard still needs to up the tokens but it’s payouts are similar to H2H now so a similar pack reward would be fine.

Draft Champions needs to mirror Salary Cap structure.

The biggest issue, and I’m not doing service to you guys burying it so far in the blog, is that the more rewards they give us to grind the game the less likely in their minds we will spend money on the game. I don’t agree with this thinking but I don’t have the space or time to flesh it out today. Maybe we’ll circle back to this statement in the future.

Talking about what else needs their own blog, pack odds. But for today here’s my quick solution for packs, they need guaranteed value for the silvers and other low cards. We need a trade in set for quicksells or a silver master card. They’ve actually done a decent job with this at times with flashbacks and football outsiders. More of that please.

Unfortunately this blog doesn’t offer a very good solution outside of just “increase the rewards please” or really ties home the grand idea that everyone complains about rewards no matter what you play in this game. I don’t know if there is a final point to be made on it and if there is truly a grand theory here. Someone smarter than me could probably figure it out. So sorry about that, I guess not all blogs will be winners, so no rewards for me today.

The Issues with Madden 18’s Gameplay – On Madden Blog #2

Today I’m writing about the issues with Madden’s gameplay including the zone logic, the running game and much more. Let me know in the comments or on twitter if I missed anything. Thank you to the gutfoxx discord for helping me brainstorm.

Obviously we all hate spins and jukes being too powerful against users so I don’t feel I need to get too in depth there. This thread before the game even launched does a good job of telling why we don’t like it:

Linebackers get too quickly to the sidelines being able to cover spread sets too easily. There is a limited disadvantage of running a 3-4 against 4 WRs. I’m not sure something as drastic as what happens when you run dollar against heavy sets needs to be added but maybe shuffle animations need to slow down a tick or something to allow them not to be able to cover out routes and the like so fast.

“Clearout routes” aka streaks have limited effect on how a DB breaks on a ball. Say you have a streak, corner and flat against a cover 3. The DB cuts and reacts to the ball too quickly if the corner route is thrown even when he’s running stride for stride with a streak route. Almost psychic at times with how he breaks on a ball being thrown behind him. They shift their momentum too quickly at times too.

In a cover 4 or other defenses, a safety doesn’t react very well to a ball thrown right at him on a streak route aka 4 verticals. They stand there flat footed as opposed to breaking on it to make a play on the ball or WR. The offensive players can call a possession catch and fall down without triggering an animation from the defender.

Along with the above, the lack of animations at times is very frustrating when you’re near a WR but he goes up and grabs the ball as your player stays flat footed. Since Madden is animation based, not being able to trigger one even as you’re close to the ball is very frustrating. Might be worth looking to increase the radius of animation triggers on passes very near a defender.

D-line going offsides on balanced should be removed. Random chance for a clutch 3rd or 4th based on a d-linemen jumping makes sense in real life but not how competitive madden is presented. Aggressive pass rush should be the only thing that allows them. And if we’re going off traits, does this mean disciplined o-linemen never jump offsides or are they just much better at not jumping but still will if the button is spammed?

Cloud flats are tricked by motion. For example, in bunch if you call the play curl flat (below) you can streak the TE, out route the outside WR and motion snap him to get the cloud flat to suck down.


Cover 3 and cover 4 should be able to counter corner routes without a clearout WR. The TE angle corner route gets open against cover 3 and it shouldn’t as the ball is thrown just about directly at a defender.

The force defenders need to be looked at in 18 the same way they were looked at in 17. The stretch and toss are killing us right now.

In addition WR’s hold LBs too long on blocks. The blockshedding this year isn’t as well balanced as past year. I blame some of this on MUT card stats. They made high end WRs like Antonio Brown and OBJ get too high of run blocking stats.

Run blocking intelligence – fullbacks and o-linemen run right past their assignments/the nearest defender and guys don’t find assignments down the field very well.

Linebackers need to be able to react to pulling guards better and not be faked out by ballcarriers on counters or left flat footed in tosses. I think play rec needs to show more of a difference in how guys react to runs. So a player with 80 play rec loses a step or two moving towards the ball carrier vs. a guy with 99 play rec is easily able to recognize the offensive playcall and move quickly towards where the ball carrier is going on tosses/stretches/dives and the like.

User controlled defenders shouldn’t be made to move by the CPU. I hate having my guy move across the formation in the wrong directions on counters because the CPU made me.

The scramble drill defensive zones are terrible. It seems after a while the guys stop reacting to threats that come in their zones.

The scramble drill for WRs could be improved. Often times I see a guy wide open but by the time I queue up the pass he’s moving directly towards a defender instead of staying right where he is, open. Make some intelligence where they try to get as far away from defenders as possible.

Playmaker is OP as CPU players don’t react to it very well to it. The playmaker chem makes centering an offense around it valid again like it was in Madden 16. There was a reason it was changed the following year.

Never stumble should be a thing on defense as users get tripped a ton. There is no chance to jump with defenders over downed bodies like there is with ballcarriers. Also, based on the standard camera angle It’s hard to see what’s in your way.

When trucking someone with a ballcarrier, the CPU still acts like the play is over on defense. Same with some other tackle animations. Players should stay pursuing and go for a gang tackle/strip animation or just try and bring them down as the truck animation plays out.

Vert hooks don’t match vertical routes like they should. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Call 4 verts from a spread or trips sets and watch. What separates vert hooks from hook curls? Both of them seem to end at 15 yards or so and a WR behind them goes unrecognized. A lot of times they basically become cones a couple seconds after the ball hikes.

Purple zones seem to be useless with the exception of showing us that’ll it’ll play match man in cover 3 blitzes or cover 3 match. They don’t cover as well as cloud flats so they are very rarely used online.

The Mid-Read zone coverage by MLBs is supposed to cover the deep middle in a cover 2 but it allows WRs to get behind it. People have just switched to calling a deep zone for the MLBs to play the tampa 2 coverage like it’s designed to do.

There is no “hard flat” hook zone so you can throw drags under them.

Guys can reach their max vertical jump too easy. Like they can move, stop, jump 35 inches in the air and pick a ball off 10-15 yards behind them too easily.

The sidelines should be able to be attacked better in a cover 2. I thought 17 had a decent sweet spot to fit the ball between the CB and the safety.

Let me know if I’m missing any gameplay issues. Thanks

Custom Audibles in MUT 18 – On Madden – Weekday Blog #1

Today I’m starting the blog back up. It was never consistent but I used to actually write on it. Lately it’s been a repository for Mut Men episodes and the occasional one off script for a video.

But the overall focus of this blog is just daily thoughts on Madden or whatever strikes me as something I want to talk about that day. It’ll only be weekdays and I won’t be editing it much so forgive the grammatical and spelling errors when they arise.

I hope a good name for the blog will come with time. For now we’ll call it On Madden.

Alright, lets talk about the talk of the town, the latest patch and specifically custom audibles. We have players sounding off in both directions with good points on each side. Youtubers generally fall on the side of entertaining gameplay whereas competitive players want gameplay that helps them and their style win. They want a skill gap that separates them from the legion of more casual players.

I myself put out youtube videos so you can imagine where I’m coming from. I think enjoyable gameplay should trump just about every other decision in this game.

As to custom audibles, will they help the spammers of wham, stretch, toss and dive out of singleback deuce close and tight slots? Yes, but it’ll also help the people that pick plays and adjust rationally like real football player to beat coverages. Get it in your head, you’re going to get spammed by those plays mentioned above in addition to Gun Bunch with or without custom audibles. The best competitive Madden players run less than 6 plays on offense and 2 plays on defense 90% of the time.

The spammers are going to spam without regard for audibles, competitive or not.

The main lovers of custom audibles are competitive guys who argue this makes more of a skill gap. I’ve seen this argued over and over, but just because a change in the game makes your game better, it doesn’t mean it makes the game better. There is a knowledge skill gap that you’re forgetting about, knowing what your opponents can audible to when they come out in one formation and switch to another was a skill gap. With custom audibles that part of the game goes away. So let’s not act like this is a holy grail and it’s going to separate the chaff from the wheat more than what we had already.

Custom audible knowledge, much like meta and formation knowledge will be made widely available quickly after the patch and this weekend’s competitive tournament. The spamming will continue with more effectiveness on offense because I don’t believe custom audibles on defense will make that big of a difference. Most completive guys change their defense with adjustments and not audibles. So in the end this is a buff to offense, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as defense has been the name of the game since the first patch where they up’d zone coverage.

To make a comparable feature on defense you’d need something like “custom adjustments” where you’d be able to input your adjustments pregame and with the tap of a button the game sets it up for you automatically instead of having to repeat the same 10 button presses every play on defense.

So, do I think custom audibles will make the game worse? No, the game is still going to be the same half dozen plays we already see until Rex and company can better balance the game.

And that’s what’s missing from MUT, balance.