Even though MLB The Show has spent the last couple years separating its Diamond Dynasty mode from the rest of the pack by making it the best card-collecting mode in any sports video game, it can still be overwhelming to newcomers. There’s plenty of opportunity to build your own competitive squad without needing to spend any real money at all, but some are still bound to be initially confused by what exactly they need to do in order to get their hands on those good cards as quickly as possible. Well, hopefully this MLB The Show 21 Diamond Dynasty guide can help you all out.
It bears mentioning that the launch of Diamond Dynasty, and MLB The Show 21 in general, has been fairly rocky. This year there have been problems with XP not being logged properly, players vanishing, and a whole lot of unhandled server exception errors. It was enough to see the much-promoted double XP weekend after launch become a bit of a joke because people were lucky if they could even log in to play the game at all. Predictably, double XP weekend was and remains in effect as an apology.
That being said, to help people understand how all of the different components work within Diamond Dynasty, and which modes and features to prioritize if you’re trying to make your team as elite as possible, here’s a helpful guide to make everything a little more manageable for those who might be slightly confused.
MLB The Show 21 Diamond Dynasty Guide
The first places you should probably get acquainted with in Diamond Dynasty are the various tabs under the Programs header, as these will always help you keep track of the rewards you’re seeking. The XP that you earn from playing games in Diamond Dynasty (and even in some modes outside of DD like franchise and Road To The Show) will see you gradually unlocking rewards in the current inning program. Ultimately, the big prize that you’re trying to attain is your choice of an Inning Boss at 350,000 XP, though there are also some valuable rewards beyond that point too for those with the time and energy to push a little further beyond.
You’ll notice that the inning programs aren’t the only one ones available. There are a few other program options that work slightly differently by not using XP as the requirement. The new monthly Daily Moments program is probably the simplest one to grasp. It merely requires you to play a quick moment that will earn you a single point in the program and each point will help you to unlock rewards that get better and better depending how many of these moments you complete in a month. This should make the daily moment one of the first things you do in Diamond Dynasty when you log in every day — unless of course you’ve already unlocked the ultimate reward that month, like April’s Roberto Alomar. If you have already done that, then doing the daily is ultimately meaningless.
There are also Team Affinity programs that you progress through by earning Team Affinity points. You obtain these by completing a variety of different missions and moments within and outside of Diamond Dynasty. The missions include playing games with players from specific teams, collecting players from specific teams, and playing through a season with specific teams in March to October. These programs will take a little bit longer to complete, but they will be really important to people who want to collect players from their favorite teams.
Player programs are a little scarce right now, but you can expect there will be more of them added throughout the year. For now, you can acquire players like Mickey Mantle, Eric Davis, and Huston Street by finishing a group of moments featuring these players, and then doing a mission or two that can either be completed online or offline depending on your preference.
Monthly Award programs are still to come, with the first one likely being added in early May once the actual MLB season has finished its first month of play.
The important thing to be aware of within all of these programs is the list of tasks within each of them. They should helpfully point you in the direction of what you need to be doing to progress and earn rewards. All of these tasks will clearly show you what you’re required to do and how much XP (or affinity or player points) you will then receive for completing that particular task.
Of course, it can be hard to figure out where you should even begin within Diamond Dynasty. A lot of that will depend on whether you prefer to play online or offline, so let’s break down the best options depending on what kind of player you are.
Diamond Dynasty Single-Player Components
The big appeal of Moments is that many of them can be accomplished pretty quickly, as they’ll sometimes require only getting a hit or pitching an inning without giving up a hit.
The group of moments that should always be a top priority are the Topps Now 2021 Moments that will be updated throughout the season on a weekly basis. These will have you re-living moments that happened recently in the real MLB. Though many of them will be pretty easy and straightforward, you can usually expect one of them to be something a little more complicated and difficult. It will be worth completing the entire group in the end though because this will regularly reward you with valuable gold and diamond cards that can instantly become contributors to your squad.
Beyond that, doing your daily moments is important, as mentioned before. If you’re looking for even more moments, target the ones in the player programs to help get you diamonds like Eric Davis and Huston Street (or even the evolution Giambi). Make the ones in Team Affinity a last priority because these are only a small part of the Team Affinity programs.
MLB The Show‘s adaptation of the board game Risk, Conquest involves conquering various maps and taking over the strongholds of different teams while completing specific goals for each map. The maps that should probably be tackled first are the two 1st Inning Conquest maps.
The best strategy to use on any of the Conquest maps is not too complicated. Use the Attack phase to first try to occupy as many open spaces as you possibly can. The more that you’re able to occupy, the more reinforcements you will receive when you get to that phase. Then load up all of your reinforcements and slowly pick off as many of the territories you can where other teams only have a “1” on the space by simulating the games. You don’t need to even worry too much about doing anything during the Steal phase (unless that’s a specific goal for the map), or the Move phase (at least until you have enough reinforcements to create separate platoons to conquer different areas of the map).
Eventually, you’ll get large enough numbers that you can start taking out the spaces where teams have a few more reinforcements, and once you’ve occupied the majority of the map, you can then begin taking the strongholds. Typically, it’s good to do this with about 50 reinforcements or so because then you’ll usually be able to play the 3-inning games on Veteran difficulty and that will make things a little easier.
Conquest can be rather time-consuming and a little tedious, but luckily, many of the maps have hidden rewards like packs and stubs along the way to keep things more interesting. Once you finish the 1st Inning maps, you can also start working through the huge Nation of Baseball Challenge map with all of the teams for an 89 overall Albert Pujols reward.
A more recent addition to Diamond Dynasty, Showdown essentially ties together a series of moments that will make a final Boss Showdown easier or harder depending on how you perform within them. Each moment that you complete will give you a chance to improve your squad by adding both better players and special perks that will give you boosts in certain scenarios while also earning you runs that will make it so you need fewer runs to mount a comeback in that final Boss Showdown. At any time though, you can go ahead and just skip to that final Boss Showdown, but bear in mind that your team might then be a little shorthanded and you’ll have more of an uphill climb against a tough pitcher in that Showdown.
There are a couple Showdowns to play but, once again, the most important one to tackle is the 1st Inning one that will earn you a whopping 35,000 XP towards your quest to 350,000. The Team Affinity Showdown is also the most efficient way to grind a Team Affinity program (it’s repeatable so you can earn Team Affinity points by doing it over and over again).
Diamond Dynasty Online Components
If you’re looking for a way to fulfill the requirements of online tasks without having to play full 9-inning games, Battle Royale offers a good alternative with quick 3-inning affairs. The mode also ensures balanced lineups on both sides by having you draft your entire team from an equal assortment of diamonds, golds, silvers, bronzes, and commons. This means you can craft a squad with the strengths and weaknesses you prefer.
You get prizes for accumulating more and more wins, with 12 wins netting you the best prizes, but two losses will see you eliminated and have to start all over. It does cost you 1,500 stubs to enter (though your first entry is free), but you are guaranteed a pack no matter how many wins you accumulate. Normal packs regularly cost 1,000 stubs anyway, so at least you come away with something.
Unless you’re an elite player, don’t expect to typically get anywhere near 12 wins, but it’s entirely possible to pull a few wins out of each run as an average player. Plus, you never need to worry about coming up against any vastly superior squads thanks to the draft. It’s also a good way to test out some really good diamond cards for a limited time before shelling out a bunch of stubs in order to get them on the marketplace.
With full 9-inning games, Ranked Seasons requires a bit of a commitment, but it’s also the mode that’s the truest representation of the real sport. It’s also the one online mode where you get to utilize the full power of the squad you’ve built without any limitations. By winning games, you’ll ascend different tiers that will see you earning better rewards at the end of each “season.” As you might expect, the matchmaking ensures that you’ll come up against tougher and tougher opponents as you continue to level up, making it very difficult to get all the way up to the World Series tier for the finest of rewards.
You’ll want to field a team that’s at least somewhat decent before you enter into this mode, though it’s not all that hard to move up at least a few levels since the opponents you often run into at the lower tiers are generally not all that great at the game. You’ll eventually get to the point where you end up against players right at your own level and it will be hard to get to the next tier, but this is also where you’ll play some of your most fun and competitive games.
This year, they’ve also added the ability to earn separate rewards for racking up wins in Ranked Seasons, allowing you to now even unlock World Series rewards without needing to ascend to that tier — provided you can tally 40 wins over the course of a Ranked Season. The same sort of concept applies to Battle Royale as well.
One of the advantages of the regular events that they have in Diamond Dynasty is that (unlike Battle Royale) they never require any sort of entry fee, so the stakes are always pretty low. All of the events will have games of different lengths (usually 3 or 6 innings) and specific lineup requirements that you must meet in order to enter. Similar to Battle Royale, you will get prizes for each run depending on how many wins you can rack up before losing twice. However, unlike Battle Royale, you can also unlock rewards for cumulative wins that you tally over the course of all of your runs.
The downside to events is that you might need to use the marketplace to stack your lineup with the necessary cards for each event that will get you relatively close to the maximum allowed overall rating. You don’t have to do this, but you will play some loaded teams and elite players who are trying to grind out a lot of wins over the course of an event. It can get a little discouraging sometimes, but it’s important to remember that you don’t have to spend any stubs to enter each time and every win gets you a little closer to a reward.
Items Of Note
Another way to get your hands on coveted cards in Diamond Dynasty, whether they be players, equipment, or rituals, is through the marketplace. Here, you’re able to buy and sell to your heart’s content, but there’s a smart way to go about it. If you’re really dying to get a card right away, you can use the “buy now” option associated with the card, but this will always be more expensive than putting in a buy order instead. The idea with placing a buy order is that you want to make a bid that’s slightly above the current “sell now” price that’s posted (or you can bid just one stub above that sell now price, but some consider this to be bad marketplace etiquette). By doing this, you’re ensuring that if someone decides to hit “sell now” on that particular card, you’re in line to be the one who receives that by virtue of having the current lowest bid.
Similarly, if you’re trying to make some stubs off valuable or duplicate cards you already own, you’d want to put in a sell order that’s slightly below the current buy now price. It’s entirely possible to spend hours a day playing the market by finding cards with decent margins between their buy now and sell now prices and rotating buy and sell orders for the cards. But remember, the game does take a percentage of your profits from sell orders, and these can also take some time to process when there are others doing the exact same thing by putting their own competing orders against yours.
The in-game tutorial and starter collections do a decent job of explaining how to redeem the cards you collect for rewards, but there are some nuances to it that could be expanded upon further. One tip to offer is to consider pursuing the completion of the collections of teams as they become affordable to you. The lesser teams in the game who don’t have as many expensive diamond players on their rosters, for example, will naturally have collections that are easier to complete by using the buy orders in the marketplace for them.
For the teams with those pricier players, it can be good to wait until you have some kind of starting point. Let’s say you happen to pull one of their diamond players from a pack that you either bought or received as a reward. Depending on the team, just getting that one card can suddenly make their entire collection look a lot more affordable. As with many things in Diamond Dynasty, the collections then feed into unlocking other rewards too. For example, the Team Affinity programs require collecting players to complete some of the missions.
Inside Edge & Roster Update
Every day, SDS analyzes the games in the real MLB and either lowers or increases the attributes of some players in Diamond Dynasty based on whether or not they happen to have favorable matchups. This usually doesn’t really fundamentally alter a card all that much, but it’s something to be aware of when you log in each day as it may be enough of a difference to cause you to prefer another player in your collection over one you had been using regularly in your lineup.
That being said, this shouldn’t be confused with the roster updates SDS will do periodically over the course of the season, which will indefinitely change the attributes and overall ratings of players. It can sometimes be valuable to monitor a player’s progress in the real MLB and foresee that player getting an upgrade to his overall in Diamond Dynasty so you can then purchase him at a lower price in the marketplace before the bump happens. If you predict things right, you’ll either have a bargain player on your squad, or you can then flip him on the market for a profit when his price inevitably goes up.
New to Diamond Dynasty this year, you’ll see after games that you will earn progress via parallel upgrades to players in your lineup, which is designed to boost the attributes of the cards as you use them more. With five tiers to progress through for each player, it’s a slow process that requires a lot of playing to fully maximize the potential of those boosts, but it provides a nice incentive to invest in certain guys and develop a familiarity with them.