This week brings the release of Madden NFL 23, and that means players will be diving into the ultra popular Ultimate Team mode. Ultimate Team is a mode where you can build a team of dreams. Think Joe Montana at QB, Tyreek Hill at WR, and Rod Woodson on defense. It is all possible in Madden 23 Ultimate Team, where legends can play alongside the stars of today.

In recent years, players have raised concerns that the Ultimate Team mode was shifting players more to the store. In other words, you would have to spend money in order to be competitive in Ultimate Team. There were exceptions to this, of course. However, for the average player, you would likely need your credit card just as much as good stick skills.

Madden 23 appears to be shifting that dynamic – and maybe in a big way. With changes to competition, progression, and perks, Ultimate Team in Madden 23 might look different.

Let’s take a look at everything that will be new or different in Madden NFL 23 Ultimate Team:

Weekend League Becomes MUT Champions

Weekend League was a competitive mode in Madden where players would play games on the weekend (go figure), accumulate wins, and be rewarded with items. It was a favorite of Madden streamers, especially those who competed to be in the Top 100 of each competition.

Now, Weekend League is being replaced by MUT Champions. Instead of just weekends for the competition, players can play their games at any time during the week. The max amount of games is still 25, and there is not yet any word on whether there will be rewards for a Top 100.

Rewards are now available to you the moment you earn them instead of having to wait until Tuesdays to claim them. MUT Champions costs one Champions Token to enter each time, but those seem easy to earn and can be stored in the binder.

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This change seems like a move that will make the mode more accessible to more players – particularly those whose weekends are typically busy but still want to play. Anything that allows more people to engage when they have time is good.

Madden 23 Ultimate Team Sets Have Changed For The Better

Completing sets used to be about the most tedious thing you could do in Madden Ultimate Team. In some cases, it required more than 80 button pushes to fill and complete a set.

This year, the developers at EA have recognized that fact and have made significant improvements to the process of completing sets. In Madden 23, you can easily fill sets based on the reward you are wanting to redeem.

Selecting a reward will give you the option of the game choosing the lowest rated, non-favorited cards that will complete the collection of any reward you want, then do that with one button press. In addition, it will look for any other collections those cards will apply to.

The changes to sets might seem small, and they do not impact gameplay. However, it is a significant quality of life change inside Ultimate Team that should make a lot of fans happy.

Player And Strategy Items

Player overall ratings have been tuned upward from years past to give players a better gameplay experience early in the game. Each Madden gamer will also get basic versions of standout players on your initial team. The players you get will be based on the team you select as your favorite.

Power-ups have been dialed back to keep lineups from becoming exclusively power-up players late in the game cycle. EA has promised that when a new, highest rated version of a player is released, that will be the best version of the player.

For example, a 93 overall Joe Burrow will be better than the Power-Up Joe Burrow. This gives players incentive to continue working towards new items and cards to put in their lineup.

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Strategy items are being revamped as well. The number of slots for strategy items is being dialed back to three – one offensive, one defensive, and one Team Affinity strategy slot.

There are new ways to earn strategy items, including in the new Field Pass programs. Finally, speed has been removed as a strategy item in Madden 23.

Some players will not like these changes. Again, EA seems to be working to make the MUT experience more accessible and simple for the most players possible. I’m all for that.

Field Passes

If you have ever played Diamond Dynasty in MLB The Show, then you are familiar with programs. In that game, player programs and featured programs are an excellent way to allow players to work towards rewards and keep them engaged. All without having to spend a dime.

Now, EA is bringing something very similar to MUT in Madden 23. If you are not familiar with MLB The Show, think along the lines of a Battle Pass you would see in Fortnite or Call of Duty. Field Pass, however, is completely free.

You will advance through the Field Pass as you earn XP by playing Madden 23 MUT. Each level you achieve will yield you coins, tokens, packs, players, or something else to use. There will be three different types of Field Passes running concurrently.

The first is a general overall Field Pass that will apply to all things MUT. Those will reportedly run for 60 days before a new “season” starts. At that time, your XP will reset to zero.

Head-to-Head (H2H) Field Passes give you rewards for playing in H2H multiplayer in MUT. It is not clear if this is tied to XP or wins, but these programs will reset every two weeks.

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There will be themed Field Pass programs that tie into whichever event is live at the time. For this think the Kickoff, Halloween, Thanksgiving, themed events that MUT features yearly. Advancing through these will give you the opportunity to earn items that apply to it rather than needing to acquire them through packs.

The impact of this change cannot be underestimated. Developers have shown a clear desire to make Madden Ultimate Team more inviting and accessible to more players of different skill levels – and that is a welcome change. It also gives more ways to acquire items and cards without having to spend money.

I have long been begging Madden developers to learn from the Diamond Dynasty model when it comes to player engagement. It appears that they have, and it will be exciting to see what comes next.

What are you looking forward to in Madden NFL 23? Let us know! And make sure to subscribe to our YouTube to never miss a thing!

The All-Madden edition of Madden NFL 23 releases on Tuesday, August 16. It is available on Xbox and PlayStation.

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