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Does Madden NFL 18's Ultimate Team Perpetuate Money Plays?

Madden NFL 18

Does Madden NFL 18's Ultimate Team Perpetuate Money Plays?

As we hit the one-month mark since the release of Madden NFL 18, the meta of the game is taking shape. Playbooks have been scoured, offenses and defenses are being locked in, and Madden Ultimate Team play styles are being finalized for the long haul. With all of that said, figuring out how the game plays has also led to people figuring out how to break the game and find the always dreaded money plays.

Doin’ It For the Money

Unfortunately, as players grind through the MUT Solo challenges, the desire for money plays increases. Some challenges are very specific and quite difficult to execute. As players become more and more frustrated with holding a team to less than five yards on the first play, to completing five straight passes, the search for and use of money plays goes up.

A quick search of YouTube will pull up countless results for broken plays. “Guaranteed TD” and “Shut Down Any Offense” litter the search results as YouTubers and Twitch streamers look for ever more effective ways to break the game AI and mechanics in order to secure victory. This single-minded focus boils down Madden NFL 18‘s robust schemes down to a handful of plays on each side of the ball even at the highest level of competitive play.

When Everyone Does the Same Thing…

No one can forget that during the Madden NFL 17 Championship Series, the defense of the day boiled down to user-adjusting Nickel Blitz 2 and cross-manning cornerbacks to take away crossing routes. Everyone used the same defensive strategies and it made the competition boil down to who ran those exploits more effectively. On offense, the swerve ruled the day and led to many rage quits and broken controllers.

So how does MUT contribute to the perpetual use of money plays? Simple. With no consolation for losing a game, winning at all cost rules the day. Getting a competitive edge takes precedence at all costs. Playing a solid game of Madden is subverted by the need to score early and often. Money plays have become the meta for Madden NFL 18.

That’s not to say that money plays wouldn’t exist in a vacuum. Some players take pride in their ability to break a game. MUT just increases the amount of players by incentivizing only winning. As the life cycle of the game goes on, the problem plays will only increase.

Adjustments Attempted

EA has tried to tone down what ailed the game last year by eliminating the swerve, toning down user LBs, continuing to combat nano blitzes, and generally trying to improve the AI logic. Unfortunately, human players will always be more adaptive and inventive than AI in Madden ever will be. Even when EA patches things that are broken, (such as the Gun Monster formation at launch) users will move on and leverage the new patch changes into different money plays.

At the end of the day, money plays will always be present in Madden games. It’s too tempting to throw for 10 touchdowns in a MUT game. Grinding solos are made easier when you know that you can instantly stop the CPU opponent. The quest for better and better cards is only rivaled by the search for better and cheesier plays. It comes down to a choice: Play the game to win at all costs, or play the game for fun at the risk of being left behind.

What are your thoughts? Does the way MUT is designed tempt you to use money plays?

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  1. I'm most likely the lone wolf here, but I feel like MUT is getting the bulk of the blame. When in my perspective, YouTube and twitch in general is the cause of exploits running wild.
    Regular H2H doesn't get any spotlight on social media, because MUT H2H has something new every other day. Something to look forward to.
    If they REALLY wanted to eliminate same play exploits then all they have to do is add to the solo challenges that plays can only be used X amount of times.
    I personally enjoy the solos this year, because some can be completed in 5 mins or so.
    Sent from my SM-G950U using Operation Sports mobile app
    100%.
    I quit MUT after they "Fixed" gauntlet challenges.
    But had money plays.
    H2H you see the same plays over and over again, on each side of the ball.
    I know there will be people who come on here and say No no no! We all use different plays and htose money plays are so easy to stop and blah blah.
    Maybe they are, maybe they arent, but its still boring AF.
    There's nothing more aggravating than playing someone who runs the same defense the whole game and can stop everything. Which is essentially why I quit MUT. That and EA deciding to charge tickets for Draft Champs. With no other way to get upgraded players other than to grind solo's which I hate or spend real money which I'm not going to do MUT is essentially dead to me. I find head to head games with the regular rosters produces the most competitive and engaging game play. So that's what I play.
    misterkrabz
    There's nothing more aggravating than playing someone who runs the same defense the whole game and can stop everything.

    Forgive my obtuseness but I simply don't believe there's such a thing in this game.
    With the exception of obvious bugs in the game such as what exists with Gun Monster right now I really don't believe there's any offensive play which is guaranteed yards against any defense either. "Money plays" absolutely used to be a thing in Madden when the defensive AI couldn't keep up and would only spot drop in zone coverage, but that's vastly improved over the past two cycles.
    Nowadays it's my personal opinion that the term is a blanket excuse for lazy play calling and not using pre-snap defensive adjustments. There are a ton of different things one can do on defense to counter different route combinations, formations, and sets. In my personal experience, the overwhelming majority of Madden players don't even attempt to use those tools. If you're just sticking with stock Cover 3 half the game and never attempt to disguise the coverage, which is what I see a lot of people do after the Seahawks popularized Cover 3 in the general case, of course your opponent is just gonna easily identify it pre-snap, audible to his favorite Cover 3 beater, and march right up and down the field on you.
    As to why people try to find money plays, yeah the MUT and competitive scenes are obvious reasons why that's happening. People look for any upper hand they can get when real-life money is on the line.
    People want instant gratification, that is why cheat codes in games exist and why people search for "money" plays. This issue goes far beyond MUT and was prevalent long before MUT was a thing. Go all the way back to Tecmo Football and people can tell you the money plays all the way back then they used against their friends.
    SteelD34KC
    100%.
    I quit MUT after they "Fixed" gauntlet challenges.
    But had money plays.
    H2H you see the same plays over and over again, on each side of the ball.
    I know there will be people who come on here and say No no no! We all use different plays and htose money plays are so easy to stop and blah blah.
    Maybe they are, maybe they arent, but its still boring AF.

    Agreed, and they can be both easy to stop and STILL boring AF. I haven't played much online head to head this year since they made Draft Champions a pay-to-play microtransactions ticket mode, but this was my feeling in Madden '17.
    I don't have good stick skills, but for the most part, I understand football concepts and how to stop most "money plays" or go to plays. So, in Draft Champions, my first defensive possession would usually be to figure out what types of plays my opponent likes to call, and then take those away and see if they can still do anything. I'd say about 75% of players, once you take away 4 Verts to their tight end, would just quit the game. Others might stick with it, even as you're ahead 14-0 and have 2 interceptions, they'll continue to call these plays over and over and over again. Yes, you can stop them 80% of the time, but no, that's not fun, it's incredibly boring, because many players reason if 4 verts bomb works, say, 20% of the time, and it gains 45 yards whenever it works, then as long as luck is on your side and it works once every 4 plays, then you're probably going to score a touchdown on that drive. But that's incredibly dull.
    So, sure, you might win most games because most people pull the plug / quit when they face someone who knows how to take away their favorite money play, and then the other percentage might stick with it and take a beating hoping to get lucky using their money play, but that's not really exciting. Spending more time in loading screens than on the field shouldn't be the reward to stopping someone and their money plays.
    T4VERTS
    People want instant gratification, that is why cheat codes in games exist and why people search for "money" plays. This issue goes far beyond MUT and was prevalent long before MUT was a thing. Go all the way back to Tecmo Football and people can tell you the money plays all the way back then they used against their friends.

    Absolutely.
    Madden '96.
    Dallas Cowboys
    Outside toss to Emmett Smith, worked like 80% of the time.
    When facing a defense that loaded that way, audible to I-form post route to ... Novacek (?), worked the other 20% of the time.
    I remember being an idiot 10 year old doing these plays over and over again, and finally one day another friend came over who had Madden and stopped them, and beat me like 28-0, and I was furious and thought he was a cheater.
    Wasn't as bad as NFL '95 (by Sega) or Deion Sanders '95, whatever the game was that year, where if you dove on the ground on any hail mary/deep pass, your WR would automatically catch it. My friends and I had house rules against it because it was just cheap, but everybody notoriously did it once or twice a game and said "OOPS MY HAND SLIPPED." At least back then if you cheated in digital football, someone would take you outside and beat you up for it so there were some social ramifications.
    CM Hooe
    Forgive my obtuseness but I simply don't believe there's such a thing in this game.
    With the exception of obvious bugs in the game such as what exists with Gun Monster right now I really don't believe there's any offensive play which is guaranteed yards against any defense either. "Money plays" absolutely used to be a thing in Madden when the defensive AI couldn't keep up and would only spot drop in zone coverage, but that's vastly improved over the past two cycles.
    Nowadays it's my personal opinion that the term is a blanket excuse for lazy play calling and not using pre-snap defensive adjustments. There are a ton of different things one can do on defense to counter different route combinations, formations, and sets. In my personal experience, the overwhelming majority of Madden players don't even attempt to use those tools. If you're just sticking with stock Cover 3 half the game and never attempt to disguise the coverage, which is what I see a lot of people do after the Seahawks popularized Cover 3 in the general case, of course your opponent is just gonna easily identify it pre-snap, audible to his favorite Cover 3 beater, and march right up and down the field on you.
    As to why people try to find money plays, yeah the MUT and competitive scenes are obvious reasons why that's happening. People look for any upper hand they can get when real-life money is on the line.

    Hard to disguise coverage when they are shown after the play :brickwall
    :brickwall
    Datninja619
    Hard to disguise coverage when they are shown after the play :brickwall
    :brickwall

    Showing a play after doesn't have anything to do with it. That's not a matter of disguising a coverage that is hiding a play which is different. You can figure out coverage by checking the CB alignment then rolling your eyes to a safety post snap relatively easily. There needs to be more plays where they bluff the coverage and drop from different alignments pre snap. There are some in game but not nearly enough for the chess match people are looking for.
    Datninja619
    Hard to disguise coverage when they are shown after the play :brickwall
    :brickwall

    The point of disguising coverages isn't to hide what you are doing post-snap but rather to prevent your opponent from identifying what you are doing pre-snap. You do this to avoid him making easy pre-snap checks to beat your defense.
    Some examples as to how you can disguise your coverages in Madden:

    • you can call plays such as Cover 3 Show 2 and Cover 4 Show 2 to disguise your coverage
    • if you show blitz while in a two-high coverage, one of your safeties will approach the line of scrimmage, changing your defense to a single-high look while not changing your two-high coverage of choice
    • if you base align while in a single-high look against a balanced formation (Triangle / Y then D-Pad right), you can back up the strong safety to a two-high look while still playing whatever single-high coverage you called
    • if you're playing against a trips left set and you are in zone coverage, you can use Man Align (Triangle then R1 / Y then RB) to put your RCB over top of the closest slot receiver to show a man coverage look while maintaining the zone play call (and all your players' coverage assignments will shift appropriately to account for a defender moving across the formation)
    • you can use individual coverage assignments (Triangle then X / Y then A) to move around specific defenders relative to receivers; you can back off your LCB and make your RCB press to show a Cover 6 look, back off both your CBs to show a Cover 4 look, press your CBs to show a Cover 1 / Cover 2 look, bring up a safety / nickel CB and back up the perimeter CBs to show a Cover 3 look, etc.

    Yes, your opponent will see what you called after the fact, but the point is to fool him pre-snap. It does not matter that he can see what you're calling post-snap if he can't identify it pre-snap, which leads to him making the wrong pre-snap read, checking into a bad play, and either throwing to the wrong guy or panicking when his target isn't there and taking a sack. Of course, if you are calling the same coverage every time regardless what you disguise it as a smart opponent will catch on, so you'll need to mix up play calling as well to really get the most out of your defense.
    As a side note, I wish there were better commands to disguise coverages easier. My favorite feature of APF 2K8 was the ability to change the defense's pre-snap coverage shell. It's possible to achieve the same results in M18 if you're good on the sticks, but I'd like to see that get into the game someday in an easy-to-use fashion.
    CM Hooe

    As a side note, I wish there were better commands to disguise coverages easier. My favorite feature of APF 2K8 was the ability to change the defense's pre-snap coverage shell. It's possible to achieve the same results in M18 if you're good on the sticks, but I'd like to see that get into the game someday in an easy-to-use fashion.

    THIS is more along the lines of what I expect to be able to disguise a coverage. Edit : Disguise a defensive play
    I've always been a believer in the need to allow a defense to be called this way:
    Personnel > Alignment > Stunt/Game > Blitz (IF desired) > coverage
    So I could call - Dime Ted (DT and DE stunt as example) Nickle blitz Cover 3 show 2.
    Currently it's a race between defense to make alignment and DB hot routes and the Offense to hike the ball. That's not including fiddling with players that don't want to stay where you align them either.
    Sent from my SM-G950U using Operation Sports mobile app
    I don't blame MUT.
    Many gamers have the mindset that if you are not winning it is not fun. The foremost goal for them in any game is to win. This mindset predates MUT and if anything, MUT was born out of this mindset rather than creating it.
    I remember one example from many years ago with playing Madden with friends. May have been around Madden 10, not sure. One of them discovered an exploit that allowed than to block any kick ~80% of the time. The second or third time he did it to me I was annoyed and chastised him for the way he played (he used every cheese tactic available to him, like moving the DE to basically where the slot corner would be then just turboing past the line, or literally running around in circles before the snap then coming in unblocked for a sack). Out of the 5 of us, two felt that that is not how you play football games and the other 3 said its a videogame that they are trying to win. The 3 just could not grasp why we would limit ourselves instead of doing everything to win.
    ggsimmonds
    I don't blame MUT.
    Many gamers have the mindset that if you are not winning it is not fun. The foremost goal for them in any game is to win. This mindset predates MUT and if anything, MUT was born out of this mindset rather than creating it.
    I remember one example from many years ago with playing Madden with friends. May have been around Madden 10, not sure. One of them discovered an exploit that allowed than to block any kick ~80% of the time. The second or third time he did it to me I was annoyed and chastised him for the way he played (he used every cheese tactic available to him, like moving the DE to basically where the slot corner would be then just turboing past the line, or literally running around in circles before the snap then coming in unblocked for a sack). Out of the 5 of us, two felt that that is not how you play football games and the other 3 said its a videogame that they are trying to win. The 3 just could not grasp why we would limit ourselves instead of doing everything to win.

    People repeat what works. That is why we complain about video games instead of paint animals on the walls of caves.
    Datninja619
    Hard to disguise coverage when they are shown after the play :brickwall
    :brickwall

    This is obviously tangential to the original topic, but it stuns me that competitive Madden and almost all leagues play with previous play on. I would never play in any setting that didn't turn have it turned off.
    jfsolo
    This is obviously tangential to the original topic, but it stuns me that competitive Madden and almost all leagues play with previous play on. I would never play in any setting that didn't turn have it turned off.

    Devil's advocate: is Previous Play much different from having an eye-in-the-sky offensive / defensive coordinator telling you what your opponent last ran from the booth, as to try and help pick up on your opponent's tendencies?
    Personally the feature is not that offensive to me and I've honestly never even considered turning it off for any league I've run, but I understand that reasonable minds can beg to differ.
    jfsolo
    This is obviously tangential to the original topic, but it stuns me that competitive Madden and almost all leagues play with previous play on. I would never play in any setting that didn't turn have it turned off.

    Just so happens that I made a comment regarding this issue in another thread before I saw your post.
    May I ask, why do you feel it should be turned off?
    I realize that competitive play and many h2h leagues like for the experience to be this fast paced, speed chess game rather than something requiring more deliberation. In that vein I feel that the user should have be his own eye in the sky as it were, and dissect for himself what his opponent is running without that written confirmation being given to him on a silver platter.
    Now of course in a single player game you can take your time and figure that stuff out, but as I said before the h2h experience is a different animal so a shortcut is used. Doing it for myself is a key part of my enjoyment of the game.
    We keep it on by rule in our league because it makes it really easy to tell if someone is running the same plays over and over. It can help a player identify their opponent's tendencies more easily, but I think it replicates the NFL experience as a coach better because you don't have time while playing Madden to observe pictures and video of past plays to find those tendencies and make adjustments.
    As for the original discussion, sure there are ways to combat money plays on defense, but the sheer number of adjustments that need to be made are impossible when someone is hurrying to the line and snapping within a few seconds. Since the CPU doesn't adapt and adjust to tendencies on their own, the user has to do it all on their own. I can know a slant or post is coming from the slot WR, with the outside WR running a drag, but I have to make 3-4 adjustments with some of those being individual instead of global to stop it. There's no way to do all of that within a few seconds. It would be great if my CBs would play inside leverage on their own after my opponent throws 3 or 4 consecutive inside breaking routes (and even better if it worked properly when I do it myself).

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