Against all my initial judgments and with all the perceptions I had around Madden 17, I can stand here and say I was wrong (kind of). I truly believed I was going to pass on M17 based on the fact that I thought Madden 16 was significantly worse than Madden 15 and everything that was pitched about Madden 17 didn’t spark one interest in me whatsoever. I ended up buying the game and while at first I hated it (literal hatred) I have grown to be very fond of the game since the patch that fixed a lot of the game play issues during the first week. So here I am 180 degree from where I stood pre-release and playing the game nightly and really enjoying Madden Ultimate Team. And of course I’m doing Madden Ultimate Team “Clean” no pack juicing, this has been 100% authentic.
I purchased the Deluxe Edition just so that I could get some All Pro packs flowing in every week and hopefully build a decent squad instead of struggling for months with bronze/silver teams and breaking controllers over incredibly hard solo challenges. The first pack that I opened I struck the jackpot. I pulled an Elite 87 DeAndre Hopkins and immediately my team had some offensive fire power. Hopkins’ ratings are ideal for MUT challenges: 91 speed, 97 vertical threat, 90 jump ball, 96 possession and 91 Run-After-Catch. I couldn’t have asked for a better weapon. At that point it didn’t matter who my quarterback was.
The following morning I thought why not kill two birds with one stone. I went to Target and swooped up a pair (Tom Brady & Cam Newton) of McFarlane Figures that feature 7 “Free” MUT Pro Packs ($10.50 price added into the figures) that I can end up giving to my son as a present down the road. With each figure you immediately get all 7 packs up front instead of having to wait for a weekly disbursement. I cracked open the Tom Brady redemption packs and once again I struck red. I actually pulled an Elite 88 Tom Brady from the Tom Brady McFarlane pack. Ends up that was 100% coincidence and lucky me. The Newton packs I had no such luck but did get an 84 Gold Joe Haden which was my best defensive rated player at the time. You need elite cornerbacks in Madden and Haden is a great start to building out that position.
Walking into my first full night of Madden, I entered with Tom Brady and DeAndre Hopkins and I felt like any challenge was beatable. Tom Brady, while he lacks mobility and that can hurt at times, throws absolutely pin point accuracy darts. He throws for pace, touch, into space, he’s the best pocket passing QB in the game in my opinion. I took down challenge after challenge behind Brady’s arm and Hopkins’ legs. However the higher difficulty solos were extremely hard behind a shaky offensive line and a running back (Charles Sims III) with a low goal line rating and no break away speed.
The Week 2 Deluxe Packs dropped that Tuesday night and my prayers were answered. The pack contained an Elite 87 Richie Incognito who has been a god send at Left Guard. The two most important positions for a right handed throwing QB are LT/LG and Incognito is perfect at protecting Brady’s blind side. He’s an even better run blocker which has elevated Sims III productivity by double despite the fact that Incognito is a douchebag in real life.
After knocking out a load of challenges, I accumulated enough coin to purchase my first player. I needed someone on the defensive line to put pressure on the quarterback and help stop the CPU rushing attack so I bought Brandon Graham at right defensive end. He’s an 85 overall and reasonably priced at the time. Graham has a 90 physical rating with 88 pass rush and 91 coverage. He prefers the 4-3 defense which is what I typically run as well. He was worth the investment for 10,000 coin.
Below are the snapshots of my offense and defense after this first phase of MUT 17. I’ve stuck to my guns and have yet to buy any Ultimate Team Packs. My pack luck has been pretty insane putting three elites in my first week of playing MUT. Maybe it’s a reward from the Ultimate Team Gods for playing “clean”. I don’t expect the luck to last so it’s time to get to work and start the long, arduous grind of Madden Ultimate Team solo challenges.