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New Superstar Abilities, Ben Roethlisberger And Cam Newton Stripped


EA Sports just released a massive new update that announced new X-Factor Zone and Superstar abilities, reshuffled the X-Factor player list and addressed several issues across multiple modes.

Cam Newton and Ben Roethlisberger have been all or most of the NFL season, and EA downgraded both players as it pertains to their Superstar abilities. At the start of the season, Roethlisberger possessed the X-Factor “Sleight of Hand” ability. That has been downgraded to a Superstar ability.

Green Bay Packers defensive back Jaire Alexander has replaced him as an X-Factor player. He has the “Shutdown” X-Factor along with Man-Up and Acrobat Superstar abilities.

Newton had “Freight Train” X-Factor as well as “Escape Artist,” “Fastbreak” and “Anchored Extender.” However, due to his inactivity, and there’s even talk that he may have permanently lost his starting spot to Kyle Allen, Newton has now been stripped of all X-Factor and Superstar Abilities.

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook supplanted the Los Angeles Chargers’ Melvin Gordon as an X-Factor, and the Kansas City Chiefs took Newton’s place on the list. Here are the rest of the X-Factor and Superstar ability changes:

Updated Superstar Players:

  • Rams WR Cooper Kupp
  • Cross Route Specialist
  • Titans S Kevin Byard
  • Pick Artist
  • Buccaneers OLB Shaquil Barrett
  • Edge Rush Elite
  • Packers DT Kenny Clark
  • Inside Stuff
  • Falcons MLB Deion Jones
  • Lurker
  • Chargers RB Melvin Gordon, downgraded from X-Factor to Superstar
  • Juke Box
  • Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, downgraded from X-Factor to Superstar
  • Sleight of Hand
  • Downgraded Superstar & X-Factor players, no longer equipped with any abilities:
  • Cowboys MLB Leighton Vander Esch
  • Panthers QB Cam Newton
  • Vikings WR Stefon Diggs
  • Saints CB Marshon Lattimore
  • Bears RB Tarik Cohen
  • Browns QB Baker Mayfield

These changes won’t affect existing franchise league rosters.

Here is a breakdown of the new X-Factor and Superstar abilities:

New X-Factor Zone Abilities:

  • Protective Custody – Ball carriers with this ability are immune to fumbling when in the zone.
  • Ultimate Team Requirements: Available as a Zone ability for running backs only
  • Mossed – Inspired by Ultimate Team Legend WR Randy Moss, when players with this ability enter the zone, they will win contested catches regardless of coverage on passes of 50 yards or more (but does fall back to ratings formula when countered by pass coverage abilities).
  • Ultimate Team Requirements: Available as a Zone ability for wide receivers and tight ends
  • New Superstar Abilities:
  • Lumberjack – Defensive ability, preventing broken tackles and can cause fumbles when using cutstick tackles
  • Out My Way – Defensive ability that always wins vs. impact block attempts vs. WR’s, TE’s and RB’s
  • Goal Line Stuff – Defensive ability allowing quick blocksheds against 1-on-1 run blocks within 5 yards of the goalline
  • Inside Stuff – Defensive ability allowing quick blocksheds against 1-on-1 run blocks on inside running plays
  • No Outsiders – Defensive ability allowing quick blocksheds against 1-on-1 run blocks on outside running plays
  • Tank – Inspired by Ultimate Team Legend TE Rob Gronkowski, ball carriers with this ability break all hit-stick tackles (but does fall back to ratings formula when countered by ‘Enforcer’); this ability is only available for TE’s inside of Ultimate Team.

EA deserves a lot of credit for continuing to add to the list of X-Factor Zone and Superstar abilities. There are a few that counter some existing abilities, which should theoretically create balance across the board.

There are a plethora of updates to several modes. Here is a list of everything that was changed in this most recent update:

Franchise Updates

  • Fixed an issue causing all players from a downloaded Draft Class file to appear as ‘Early First Rounder’ in the ‘Scout College Players’ tile
  • Players will only see this fix when importing a new file or re-importing the same draft class file. The fix activates when the import is processed, so existing leagues will have to make sure to import before it will take effect.
  • Fixed an issue causing leagues’ injury records to be deleted when toggling off the Pre-Existing Injury league setting during the season; this option is now only available during league creation
  • Fixed an issue with the menu when creating a new Cloud Franchise league, using Real-Life Rosters, and navigating the Choose Week menu
  • Improved ‘Advance Week’ loading times in Offline leagues when the league has multiple characters
  • Fixed an issue in multi-user leagues where menus would persist when another user advanced the week
  • Added a warning for coaches about save-settings when switching between Offense and Defense in the Auto-Subs menu
  • Updated players that are “Last Chance” (players that will enter Free Agency the following week if not re-signed) to now be listed as ‘0’ years remaining in the Team Salaries menu
  • Fixed an issue in the Trade Center menu, making TE’s & WR’s now show stats for ‘Receptions’ and ‘Receiving Yards’; HB’s now display ’Rushing Touchdowns’ and ‘Rushing Yards’
  • Fixed an issue causing the ‘retire’ text to say ‘Undrafted’ when the Face of the Franchise: QB1 user was cut from the team

Presentation Updates

  • Various commentary updates
  • Updated Buccaneers Defensive Starting Lineup presentation to reflect 3-4 defense rather than 4-3
  • Updated coach tip for the ball carrier ‘Give-Up’ mechanic

Gameplay Updates

  • Re-introduced stumbling for ball carriers in specific situations. EA has re-enabled the functionality that causes ball carriers to stumble when running into traffic in specific situations. We have isolated stumbling to situations where they are necessary but will continue to monitor and take feedback around more situations that may require ball carrier stumbles.
  • Tuning to reduce the frequency of ‘auto-broken’ tackles vs. AI-controlled and user-controlled defenders when using conservative tackle on Competitive game style. This tuning will significantly decrease the frequency of ratings-based broken tackles on Competitive game style, with an even lower chance of a broken if the conservative tackle is being performed by a user-controlled defender. Conservative tackles can be used via the mechanic and/or by running into the ball carrier to initiate a tackle interaction.
  • Tuning to prevent ‘auto-broken’ tackles when the ball carrier is using the cover-ball mechanic on Competitive game style (excluding hit-sticks)
  • Tuning to prevent the ball carrier from retaining top speed while using the cover-ball mechanic on Competitive game style
  • Added functionality to receiver Zone abilities ‘Rac ’em Up,’ ‘Double Me,’ and ‘Max Security’ so that they will beat the press vs. man coverage when in the zone
  • Tuning to slightly increase block-shed speed for the ‘Run Stuffer’ Zone ability when in the zone
  • Tuning to reduce situations where AI-controlled players are allowed to cause fumbles on Competitive game style (excluding vs. scrambling QB’s). Based on player feedback, Madden players have expressed that AI-controlled defenders can have too much of an impact on the outcome of games when they can cause fumbles as frequently as user-controlled defenders. This tuning change will significantly decrease the chances of AI-defenders forcing fumbles on competitive game style, but does NOT apply when tackling scrambling QB’s.
  • Fixed an issue that prevented the offense from snapping the ball with a player in motion while the defense was resetting the play
  • Fixed an issue allowing inaccurate sky kickoffs near the sideline to be frequently recovered by the kicking team. (This has come to be known in the community as the ‘Scum Kick.’ This fix will force kickoffs that are very inaccurate to sail out of bounds.)
  • Tuning to fix an issue with Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger’s short & medium pass animations to the left
  • Fixed an issue sometimes causing a player to freeze on the ground after getting tackled by the feet
  • Fixed an issue allowing an AI-controlled defender to make an interception vs. the ‘Gambler’ ability in a specific multi-player catch situation
  • Fixed an issue sometimes causing the kickoff animation to misalign during an onside-kick attempt by an AI-controlled team
  • Fixed an issue causing the coach-cam play-art to display incorrectly on Strong Open Slot Zone Alert Bubble
  • Fixed an issue causing a missed handoff when using an audible to End Around plays
  • Tuning to improve pass leading down on slant routes

Ultimate Team Updates

  • Added functionality for players to get currency refunds for Superstar Abilities, Zone Abilities and Chemistry
  • All Superstar Abilities, Zone Abilities, and Chemistry will be eligible for a 90% refund at all times. Players can choose to manually go and refund individual abilities/chemistry or the refund will happen automatically when downgrading an item. After refunding, the ability/chemistry will need to be purchased again should you choose to re-equip it.
  • Added functionality to prevent points from improperly being awarded in specific House Rules when a penalty is committed
  • Updates to MUT Draft Coach Round
  • An additional Coach Round has been added at the end of the draft, with the option to choose a new playbook.
  • Choose 1 of 3 playbooks in the first Coach Round, then have the option to choose a new playbook from 3 NEW choices in final coach round, for a total of 6 playbook options.
  • Increases chance of getting a particular playbook from 9.38% to 18.75%
  • Player Likeness update for MUT Legend Rob Gronkowski
  • Player Likeness update for MUT Legend Calvin Johnson, Jr.

Superstar KO

  • Snoop Dogg added as an Icon to the Superstar: KO Draft Pool 
  • Additional Legendary players added to the Superstar: KO Draft Pool
  • TE Rob Gronkowski
  • WR Randy Moss
  • WR Terrell Owens
  • LB Ray Lewis
  • Additional Superstars added to the Superstar: KO Draft Pool 
  • Chiefs DT Chris Jones
  • Packers CB Jaire Alexander
  • Vikings RB Dalvin Cook
  • Additional Presentation has been added to the Superstar: KO Stadium
  • New cameras and beauty shots
  • Team coach added to stage for winning team celebration
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