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‘Madden 19’: Madden Ultimate Team Should Switch To Dynamic Cards

Madden 19 officially launches later this week, with the “Hall of Fame Edition” of the game coming out tomorrow for those that pre-ordered it. Again, it doesn’t appear much has changed this year, which has been the case with Madden for quite a while now. But one positive change did occur in Madden Ultimate Team, as EA finally took out contracts.


No contracts in MUT means users don’t need to worry about renewing in-game player contracts; instead, once they acquire a player, they can keep the player without having to do anything extra every few games. It’s a welcome change, but Madden Ultimate Team still needs a lot more work to get to the level it’s capable of reaching.


EA makes hundreds of millions of dollars per year from Ultimate Team, their most popular game mode, so they’ll probably tell you things are going just fine. But as the only football (by far the most popular sport in the U.S.) game on the market, operating in a monopoly, EA will have success no matter what they do.


However, the solution to make Madden Ultimate Team the best game mode it can be is simple: EA must adopt dynamic player ratings for the cards.


For a deep dive in how it could work, check out our “What Would A 2K Football Game Look Like” series from last year. It goes into how an NFL 2K football video game would do with an “Ultimate Team” mode of its own.


Basically, the dynamic ratings would work a lot like MLB The Show’s Diamond Dynasty mode. Players are essentially the overall they are to start the game. The card rating changes as the player’s overall on the real roster changes.


For example, Broncos rookie Bradley Chubb is an 80 overall to start Madden 19. In this case, his MUT card would also be an 80 overall. If Chubb is having a spectacular season and is in the mix for Defensive Rookie of the Year, his player rating is going to increase in Madden 19. Let’s say he gets to an 82 overall to an 84 overall to eventually an 88 overall—his Ultimate Team card would do the same every step of the way.


Conversely, if a player’s rating goes down, his dynamic card in Madden Ultimate Team would also go down. As an (very unrealistic) example, let’s say Julio Jones (98 overall to start Madden 19) has a subpar season and drops a bunch of passes while gaining only 700 yards on the year. Jones’ 98 overall would likely drop to the 70s—as would his Ultimate Team card.


With a dynamic ratings system in Madden Ultimate Team, it would create a marketplace that is contingent on predicting what players are going to do in real life. If someone thinks a player is going to have a breakout season, they can purchase a bunch of cards of that player at a cheap price and sell them when the price skyrockets.


This would be for the “base” cards, which there is one of for each NFL player. There would also be special edition cards like legends, flashbacks, rookies, and holiday cards. For example, Larry Fitzgerald (89 overall base card) could have a higher-rated flashback or holiday card.


Dynamic cards, along with special edition cards, would put an end to the poorly-rated cards that are currently in the game. There shouldn’t be a Matthew Stafford card with 90 throw power just for the sake of having the “Core Elite” card be rated lower than his other cards. It’s totally unrealistic to just decrease the ratings of players for the sake of more cards, and it affirms the poor gameplay in Madden.


If EA wants lower-rated cards for certain players, they should give them a rookie card that in most cases won’t be as good as the dynamic card or a holiday card.


Also, all legend cards should be very highly rated—at least 90+ for all of them. It doesn’t make any sense for a “legend” to be a low overall. And there should only be one legend card per legend, because it doesn’t make sense to have an 83 overall Steve Young and a 95 overall Steve Young.


Some might argue things would get stale with a dynamic card system because there is only so much you can do with a limited number of players. But EA could try to add a bunch of legends to the mix, which would also help teach the younger generation the history of the game.


EA making the switch to dynamic cards for Madden Ultimate Team would be a welcome move toward a more realistic approach to the game. It makes too much sense not to happen.


But knowing EA and the Madden team, it won’t.


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