8 essential Madden 19 tips to know before you play

Whether you’re a gridiron guru or someone who’s not even so much as thrown a virtual pigskin in a fit of rage, Madden 19 can be a cumbersome beast to tame. There’s so much going on, even without accounting for the myriad new features this year, that it can all be a little bit overwhelming. But I’m here to help. I’ve put together eight of the essential Madden 19 tips you should absolutely know about before getting into the game. From Longshot, to Madden Ultimate Team, Franchise, and beyond: it’s all here – and ready to help you get your game on.

Get a new Draft Class downloaded in Franchise Mode

One of the most requested Madden features ever, this year you can now import your own custom Draft class. Whether you want a cacophony of celebrities filling your roster out or the real-life college contingent from this year and beyond, you’re going to need to download the thing first.

You’ll get the option to download a Custom Draft Class upon starting Week 3 in Franchise Mode. Go to ‘Download from Madden Share’ when selecting what Draft Class you want. From there, you’ll be taken to the list of community files. While contents are sparse at the moment, expect that to swell within the coming week with a bunch of weird and wonderful choices on offer. Simply download your chosen file pack and it’ll be applied in-game.

Brush up on your schemes and styles

Don’t know your Base 4-3 from your Tampa 2 formations? Couldn’t spot a Vertical Run if it came up and smacked you about the face? Then you’d best get cracking the books. While each offensive and defensive setup is nearly summarised to you in the Franchise Mode’s new Schemes menu, it still won’t matter if you don’t have the system down pat. Experimenting with each formation to see what works for you – especially as certain players this year perform better in certain schemes – in practice is the best way to get to grips with the half-a-dozen or options available, but a quick Google wouldn’t go amiss, either.

Upgrade the Field General archetype in Franchise Mode

There are literally dozens of archetype options, which enable you to upgrade each player as you see fit depending on how you play the game, but which one is far and away the most effective early on? For me, it’s the Quarterback Field General archetype. Not only is the signal-caller the main reason your team will be rolling into post-season and (hopefully) beyond, the Field General archetype plays on the main thing a QB needs to have in his locker: passing. A quick scrambler of a quarterback will still keep his speed no problem but, with the Field General Archetype, all types of quarterbacks will get a welcome boost thanks to the upgrade in short, medium, and long pass accuracy.

Solo Battles should be your new MUT home

Madden Ultimate Team hasn’t changed a whole lot this year but, to ensure the cards fall the right way for you (as it were) then MUT Solo Battles must be the first place you go to after reaching MUT Rank 6. If you’ve played FIFA’s Squad Battles, the premise is extremely similar: community-made squads will be under AI control and you must aim to beat them to gain access to bigger and better rewards. It’s by far the best way to get great players in the first few weeks without the controller-crushing pressure of going against an online opponent – and some of the rewards are utterly insane. Hail Mary packs and thousands of coins, anyone?

There are new running techniques

I know, I know. No one really wants to hear about running the football down the throat of the opposition in a Madden game. The series is, after all, about wish-fulfilment and making those ridiculous off-balance passes and 70-yard bombs. But hear me out. Running this year has been vastly improved – and you’re going to want to use it to get the edge in every single game. A simple hold of R2/RT this year will let you pull off some cuts that’ll bamboozle all but the very best defensive players, and is a trick you need to have in your arsenal early on. If you’re in need of more space to charge down the field, be sure to hold L2/LT and move to initiate a stutter-step that, should you pull it off correctly, may lead to defenders backing off and giving you some more room to manoeuvre.

Use the big boys

That’s not all there is to the running game in Madden 19. With the ‘Push the Pile’ technique you can help sculpt a gaping hole in the middle of the field just by flicking up on the right stick and letting your running back gently nudge your O-Line into place in the middle of a run. It may not sound like much, but it could be the difference between 4th and 1 and 1st and 10. This year, every yard matters.

Do it yourself in Longshot: Homecoming

As already mentioned in my Madden 19 review, Longshot: Homecoming is an often heart-warming story about how football can bring people and communities together. Despite that, the actual football gets in the way of things. Devin is required, on occasion, to complete certain scenarios and goals. While some can be restarted ad infinitum to ensure a positive outcome, some are one-and-done and you can often be let down by janky AI. There’s one simply way to overcome that: do it yourself. Devin is often strong and mobile enough to scramble past even the most elite defenders in Longshot, and can often pick up big yardage at any time. Use that to your effect, lest you want your popularity in Mathis and beyond to plummet.

Quickly upgrade your MUT players

Some players this year can get a big boost in stats thanks to merely discarding unwanted players. Every time you consign a card to the scrapheap, you’ll be given a set amount of training points. Pressing Square/X on a chosen player you want – though it appears only more highly-rated players can get more multiple bonuses – will give you the chance to make them a force to be reckoned with. Doing so will up their stats across the board, and may even raise their OVR level, negating the need to wheel and deal in the auction house.

Looking for more help? Then check out our Madden 19 player ratings: the top five players at every position.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.