We all know Electronic Arts as one of the gaming world’s established mainstays of the past few decades, as they’ve given us great mobile titles such as The Sims FreePlay, Need for Speed No Limits, and many others. Their sports division has also delivered its share of mobile gems, and these include the Madden series, specifically the recently released Madden NFL 21 Mobile.
This version of the game comes with an all-new feature called The Yard, plus all the great features you may recall from previous versions, including Overdrive, where you can match wits and strategies against other human players in three-minute football games, Season, where you can take control of your favorite NFL team across several years, and Masters Series, where you can complete drills and earn a plethora of currency and other resources.
Like all previous iterations of Madden NFL Mobile, this new title comes chock-full of modes and features, and it will take us much longer to describe each and every one of them in full detail. That’s why we’re simplifying things for first-time players, or those who may have played the game in the past but haven’t done so in a while.
We’re going to focus mainly on two modes — Overdrive and Masters Series — in this Madden NFL 21 Mobile beginner’s guide, as these are the ones you’ll likely be playing the most overall. However, we’ll also give you some advice on a few other facets of the game, so keep reading if you want to get a solid head start as a Madden NFL newbie or returnee!
1. The Basics Of Madden NFL 21 Mobile
Just like in previous versions of Madden for mobile, Madden NFL 21 Mobile has the same basic setup — it’s a version of the console game that’s made specifically for mobile gamers, and while all 32 teams are available in the game, your actual team — meaning the one you play in most modes — won’t represent the one you choose once you’re loading things up for the first time.
Regardless whether you’re a fan of the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs or prefer playing as last year’s worst team, the Cincinnati Bengals, you won’t start out with Patrick Mahomes or Joe Burrow respectively behind center. Instead, you’ll get the usual team of random scrubs to start with, as the idea would still be for you, as your team’s manager, to build it from the ground up and collect new players as you rise to the top of the rankings in Overdrive, which remains the central mode/feature of the title.
When it comes to the game’s controls, everything remains the same as it did in previous versions — use the virtual joystick on the bottom left to control your player, use the buttons on the right to perform actions such as passing the ball on offense, strafing while fighting off offensive linemen on defense, or switching from one player to the next.
Different buttons may be available depending whether you’re on offense or defense or which mode you’re playing, but the joystick will always be there to allow you to control your player’s movements. The same mechanics also apply when passing the ball — just tap on the letter above the player you wish to pass to (A, B, X, Y for receivers, RB for running backs) and tap on it again in order to increase your chances of successfully completing the pass.
After selecting your team and entering your name, you will go through a few brief tutorials where you will be taken through the basics of the on-field action — complete them and you will unlock a number of 65-rated stars, including New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas and New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley. As these are top-flight players at their respective positions, those ratings may sound way too low, but take note that they will still be the stars of your introductory lineup, and you can always improve them as you go along — if you don’t replace them with higher-rated players over time.
Given that he’s the Madden NFL 21 cover athlete, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is the last star player you will get to unlock, and while his 75 rating still doesn’t justify his real-life ability, he will be your top guy as a beginner player. You’ll also need to have an idea of how to be a scrambling quarterback when using him in the initial challenges — he’s a threat as a passer and a runner, and you’ll need to do a fair bit of both in order to acquire him! (Spoiler: You eventually will, as this is just a tutorial stage.)
2. Play The Masters Series Before Playing Overdrive
Now you may be thinking that once you’re done with the tutorials — and done reading the brief descriptions of each individual mode or feature that you may see when you access them for the first time — you’re all ready to send your team out for an Overdrive game. We beg to differ — even with the players you acquire during the tutorial stage, you won’t be ready to win in Overdrive.
Your team will simply be too weak and inexperienced, considering that the matchmaking system will invariably pair you off against other beginners in the lowest league, albeit those that have mostly played the game for a bit and improved their rosters in the process. So what mode should you be playing before beginning your Overdrive journey in Madden NFL Mobile 21?
That mode you should be playing is Masters Series, which is mostly unchanged from last year’s version. With each challenge you complete in this mode, your players will gain experience and level up organically, thus increasing your Team Power (not to be confused with the Overall, or OVR rating you also see on the top of your screen) and giving you more of an edge against opponents with a lower Power score.
These challenges run the gamut, as the game may ask you to engineer a fourth-quarter comeback (while behind by just a few points) against another team with the most updated 2020 lineup. No need to worry if you’re facing a league powerhouse like the aforementioned Chiefs or the San Francisco 49ers or New England Patriots — during the early stages of the first series, you’ll be facing substantially weakened opponents, so you shouldn’t have much trouble scoring against them.
Aside from the comeback challenges, other drills may require you to pass the ball to knock out all the hot spots — for example, you may have ten attempts to knock out all five hot spots by passing the ball while your receivers are in the highlighted zones. These can be tricky, but are fairly easy as long as you keep your eyes on the paths each receiver is taking and be prepared for the possibility that your opponent may blitz you on defense.
Considerably harder are the drills that require you to avoid both the highlighted red zones (which could move from left to right) on one side or the defenders on the other side while trying to score a touchdown as a running back. These are designed to improve your skills in avoiding or shaking off defenders, and have a steeper learning curve than most other challenges.
If you can choose, we suggest choosing the path where you have to avoid the red zones, as you can stop your run at a certain point before trying to dodge the next set of moving zones — that wouldn’t be an option if you’ve got defenders behind you who could easily chase you down! It still won’t be easy, but it’s arguably the lesser of the two proverbial evils.
There are also simpler passing and rushing challenges that require you to accumulate a given number of passing yards or knock out a certain number of zones (placed next to each other) as a running back.
Likewise, the defensive challenges seem to be quite easy, at least in the early goings — in here, you’ll be asked to prevent your opponent from gaining a certain number of passing or rushing yards, and the offensive team will typically be so inept that your teammates will be able to stop them on defense while you’re still trying to fight off the opposing offensive linemen.
There’s a variety of rewards you can win by completing the drills in Masters Series — you can win in-game currencies such as coins (common) and gems (premium), as well as Training Points (TP), Stamina, Briefcases, MS Tokens, and lots more. But these won’t be the only types of challenges that are available in Masters Series — you can also answer the trivia questions and win some prizes, and if you’re an NFL fan, many of the questions should be fairly easy. (If not, or if sports trivia just isn’t your thing, there’s always Google to assist you with those questions.)
The One Shot challenges are also available, and these may include any of the above drills and others, but with the difficulty level substantially ramped up. Likewise, expect bigger and more useful rewards if you’re able to complete a One Shot!
Each Masters Series challenge costs Stamina regardless whether you complete them or not, and at first, you’ll have way more than enough to get by. Completing each of the 10 stages in a series will reward you with a prize pack, which will then allow you to choose up to three types of rewards out of several choices. And once you’ve completed the entire series, you’ll win the player featured in the series — the first would be Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones — and unlock the next.
Also keep in mind that you can replay previously completed drills at any time, though you’ll still be charged the same amount of Stamina if you’re grinding for resources this way.
3. Play Training Camp In Masters Series To Win More Stamina
In the Masters Series menu, you’ll see one other series unlocked if you’re playing Madden NFL 21 Mobile for the first time, and that’s Training Camp. Unlike the usual series in this mode, Training Camp challenges do not cost you any Stamina, and there’s a good reason why this is the case — the goal in here is to complete all the available drills, and once you reach the end, you will earn a decent amount of Stamina, thus giving you just what you need if you want to keep pushing forward in the Masters Series. (Indeed, you will require a lot of Stamina considering how many drills there are in each of the 10 stages per Series.)
The types of drills in Training Camp are similar to the ones available in other Masters Series, though you will be paired against teams with a more similar Power rating as yours. That makes them a bit harder, though you still won’t need to worry much about the difficulty leveling up. Complete each of these individual drills, as well as the One Shots, and you can win various rewards, including Coins, XP (experience points, for increasing your player level), TP, and MS Tokens.
Sadly, there don’t seem to be any Trivia challenges to lighten things up, though there are multiple stages, with the amount of Stamina to win increasing as you move up from one stage to the next!
4. A Basic Overview Of Overdrive
This is probably the part of the guide you’ve been waiting for, because in case you missed it, Overdrive is still arguably the most popular mode in Madden NFL 21 Mobile. You can access this by going to Competitive (second to the left in the bottom menu on the main page), then tapping on Overdrive. Once there, you will see that you are in Bronze III — the lowest league — and you will also get an overview of your team stats — Overall, Offense, Defense, and Special — rated from 0 to 100, as well as your coach and scheme.
The default coach is John Harbaugh (the Ravens’ head coach, naturally) and the default scheme is Spread — as the game explains, this requires all six skill position players to have good agility, quickness, and strength in order to create mismatches against the defense. It’s the perfect scheme for a mobile quarterback like Lamar Jackson, though you still have the option to change your scheme and coach in the Team menu.
Overdrive games last three in-game minutes, and the goal is to score more fantasy points than your opponent. As we mentioned earlier, the matchmaking system will pair you against players with similar experience levels and overall team Power (in most cases), and when it comes to the games, all players will be solely tasked with handling the offense — the AI handles the defense for both sides, so that would, at least, simplify things especially since it’s still easier to play offense than defense.
Fantasy Points are awarded to your team whenever you do something positive during the Overdrive game — gaining receiving or rushing yards, scoring touchdowns, getting a first down after gaining at least 10 yards. The more yards you gain, the more points you can earn, though touchdowns, of course, will be worth the most points as that actually results in a score.
Meanwhile, you can also score points passively with the AI handling the defense for you — if you register an interception, tackle someone for a loss, sack the quarterback, or force a turnover on downs, that will also be added to your Fantasy Points. (Likewise, if you’re the one who gets sacked or intercepted or if you’re unable to convert after all four downs, you’ll see your opponent’s Fantasy Points increase.) Converting under Pressure Plays is also worth some Fantasy Points, and you’ll likewise score if you pressure your opponent and they’re not able to convert — we will explain this, however, at another time.
Additionally, each scheme comes with a Scoring Bonus, which is usually based on the nature of the scheme — for Spread, you’ll need to accumulate at least 20 rushing yards while controlling your quarterback. Once again, this is where having a mobile quarterback comes in handy! We’ll elaborate more on schemes (and coaches) at another time, so do watch out for that.
Once your Overdrive game is done, you will gain Fans for a win — the metric required for advancing from one league to the next — and earn Points based on your team’s final score, which will go toward your league’s bonus pack — for Bronze III, you’ll need 3,000 points to open the pack, which includes 50 Stamina, 1,000 Coins, one Tablet, and one 61+ OVR player. The folks at EA Sports have also added a nice little touch, and if you win a game, you will also earn a Silver Player (that’s also 61+ OVR) on top of the usual coins and XP.
If you lose the Overdrive game, you will lose Fans and you won’t get any rewards, though if it’s any consolation, your points as the losing team will still go toward your Points total. Better rewards will be available each time you league up, so keep playing this mode if you want to improve your roster sooner rather than later!
5. Tips For Winning More Games In Overdrive
When playing in Overdrive mode, having a superior lineup in terms of Power and OVR score is not enough if you want to win consistently. Here are some basic tips we believe could help you score more points and emerge victorious more often than not.
First of all, the game will suggest certain play types — Run, Pass, Play Action (PA) Pass, Special Teams, etc. — on the playbook, as well as certain plays within that playbook that could potentially give you the best outcome. Of course, you can choose your own plays and disregard the game’s advice, but more often than not, you’re better off heeding these suggestions. Also take note that the clock will keep ticking while you’re choosing plays — every second wasted leaves you more vulnerable to the opponent scoring on their end, so be as quick as possible when making your decision!
Likewise, you’ll also need to be quick when passing the ball, because Madden NFL 21 Mobile’s defensive AI, much like previous versions, still calls a lot of blitzes. You’ll know you’re being blitzed if you see the linebackers and/or defensive backfield charging your quarterbacks as the offensive lineman try to hold off the defensive linemen and some of the other LBs.
In that case, you may want to hit the Throw Away button — if you get sacked, you will lose quite a few yards in the process and get backed up further, and that could really turn the tide for the opponent! (We’re not quite sure, but there seems to be some element of momentum involved, where one good play could lead to another and vice versa.)
Speaking of game-changing moments, a lot of these happen during the third down — there’s a reason why third-down conversion rate is one of the more underrated team stats in the real-life NFL. Getting a fresh set of downs at that point can also help turn the tide, so make sure you’re as sharp as possible when you’re on your third down and typically one down short of having to attempt a field goal.
Naturally, you’re more than welcome to call regular plays on the fourth down — particularly Hail Mary passes — if you’re out of field goal range, and getting a first down after previously being fourth-and-long can be quite deflating for opponents — assuming momentum does indeed play a part in the game.
When passing the ball, it’s not just important to keep an eye out on the defense — you should also pay close attention to each of your receivers. You don’t want to pass the ball to a receiver who’s closely covered — for one, these defenders can easily bat the ball away or nudge the receiver to prevent him from catching the pass. Of course, there’s also the possibility you’ll end up passing the ball successfully — to the other guy, that is! Interceptions, as we mentioned, mean points for the other team.
Last, but not the least, we would suggest that you have a stable internet connection whenever you’re playing in Overdrive mode. If your connection is fickle, you will be automatically kicked out of the game, resulting in a sure loss. Whatever points you’ve scored at the time you were kicked out will still go toward your Points total, but as we pointed out earlier, you’ll still end up with no post-game rewards and you’ll lose fans.
6. Complete Your Goals
If you’re looking for another way to earn more Stamina, XP, Coins, and other rewards while also leveling up faster, we would advise you to check the Goals screen by tapping on the Goals button on the right side of the main screen — this will take you to a list of achievements subdivided into four categories, namely Daily, Weekly, Challenges, and Achievements.
Daily Goals, as the name suggests, can only be completed within the same day, and these may include claiming a Madden Bonus Offer, completing a Daily Challenge, claiming a login reward, etc. You only need to do these things once in a day in order to claim your rewards, which will typically include 15 Stamina, 550 XP, 1,500 Coins, 300 Rep, and 50 Cred — the latter two can be used as part of the all-new The Yard mode.
Weekly Goals, meanwhile, offer richer rewards, and these may include using 1,000 Stamina, completing 15 daily goals, and 15 daily challenges, all in the span of seven days. Completing all weekly goals gets you a Program Pack, 800 Tablets, 1,200 TP, and 5,000 Rep.
The Challenges section, just like Daily Goals, resets once per day, and gets you 50 Tablets, 400 XP, 1,000 Coins, 600 Rep, and 75 Cred for collecting a certain amount of coins, completing a certain number of events, or playing a certain mode so many times within a span of 24 hours, among others.
Finally, you can add to your Gems total by completing more Achievements, which are largely based on your team’s stats — for instance, these may include 100 Gems each for getting your Offense and Defense up to 75. That same amount of Gems could also be earned if you claim five Madden Bonus Offers or gain 10,000 yards on offense across all modes.
These are all first-tier examples, and you can earn more Gems each time you complete a new tier until you reach Tier 10 of 10! (Completing Tier 10 of 10 achievements, in case you’re curious, is worth 2,000 Gems each — now that’s a lot of premium currency.)
And this is where we end our beginner’s guide for Madden NFL 21 Mobile. We hope you have enjoyed our compilation of tips and strategies for the game. Be sure to check back from time to time, as we will share more tips and tricks for Madden NFL 21 Mobile in the near future!