Developing your young players into their full potential is one of the most important things you can do in franchise mode. So often, gamers decide which archetypes to spend their skill points on based on nothing more than guesses.
Madden gives you some guidance on what each upgrade will give you but anyone who has played more than a handful of seasons in a franchise knows those aren’t particularly accurate.
We decided to do the work so that when you upgrade your star players, you know you are getting the absolute best return on your skill points.
We spent thousands of skill points on all of the different archetypes for each position and documented the results of our experiment. This effort took weeks of data collection and man hours and we hope that you find the actionable takeaways that we recommend worth it.
There are 4 quarterback archetypes you can use your skill points to upgrade in Madden.
- Strong Arm
- Field General
We spent 100 skill points on each of these archetypes and we’ll go through what we found in much more detail a little later on in the article. First, let’s start with what Madden claims each archetype’s top skill increases are:
What ratings Madden claims are most likely to be increased: Throw On The Run (TOR), Throw Under Pressure (TUP), Deep Accuracy (DAC).
What ratings actually are the most likely to be increased: Short Accuracy (SAC), Break Sack (BKS), Medium Accuracy (MAC), Throw On The Run (TOR), Throw Under Pressure (TUP)
Madden Claims: THP, DAC, MAC
Reality: AWR, MAC, TUP
Madden Claims: MAC, SAC, DAC
Reality: AWR, MAC, SAC
Madden Claims: BSK, TOR, SAC
Reality: MAC, SAC, BKS
Our Recommendation For Upgrading Quarterbacks
Everyone has their own player development strategy and no one way is the “right” way to do it. That being said, we noticed some clear trends in the data that give us confidence to recommend upgrading some archetypes and avoiding others.
Note: Our recommendations do not take into account superstar abilities that unlock at specific overall ratings. We are only looking at which upgrades produce the best individual attribute increases.
If there is a specific superstar ability you are working towards getting, it can make sense to upgrade that archetype even though the individual attribute increases might be low.
The QB attributes that are most important to us as high level Madden players are:
- Throw Power
Attributes we assign very little meaning to for QBs are:
- Break Sack
Taking all of this into account, the clear winner for best QB Archetype is Improviser.
Why Improviser Is The Best Archetype For QBs
There are a few reasons we recommend Improviser.
- The highest expected value for total individual attribute increases
- The highest expected value for Throw Power increases
- Tied (with Scrambler) for the highest expected value for Speed increases
- 2nd highest expected value (after Field General) for accuracies (SAC, MAC, DAC combined)
We’ll go through those points 1 by 1 but first we’ll quickly touch on expected value.
Each time you use a skill point to upgrade a player, you will get a different result. Spending 1 skill point on a specific archetype might get you only +1 AWR and +1 MAC the first time you do it but the second time you might get +1 THP, +2 DAC, +2 TUP. The third time you will get some other attribute upgrades and so on.
When you just spend 1, 2, or even 10 skill points, you won’t really be able to spot a trend because after all it could just be that you randomly got lucky or unlucky. When you do it 50 or 100 times however, you get rid of the randomness you might encounter when only doing it a few times and you can start to form your expectations of what any increase of a certain archetype should give you.
To put it a different way, if you flip a coin and mark down the results 10 times, you might get 7 heads and 3 tails. However, the more times you flip the coin, the closer it will get to it’s true 50/50 chances.
In the case of the coin flip, the expected value of getting heads is 50% and the expected value of getting tails is 50%.
Highest Expected Value For Total Attribute Increases
We did 100 tests for each QB archetype and marked down every individual rating increase they got then added all of it together for the total number of individual ratings increases.
What we found for these 100 tests is that the expected value of ratings increases for Improviser was the highest of all archetypes.
- Improviser: 478 rating increases on 100 attempts. Expected Value = 4.78
- Scrambler: 475 rating increases on 100 attempts. Expected Value = 4.75
- Field General: 352 rating increases on 100 attempts. Expected Value = 3.52
- Strong Arm: 349 rating increases on 100 attempts. Expected Value = 3.49
What this tells us is that when upgrading Improviser or Scrambler, we are much more likely to see higher individual ratings increases than Field General or Strong Arm.
It may not seem like much but the ~1.25 rating increase difference between Improviser/Scrambler and Field General/Strong Arm can add up quickly. If you are progressing a 70 overall player to 90 overall, within those 20 increases you can expect a player who was upgraded with Improviser/Scrambler to be about 25 individual ratings points (1.25 * 20) higher than a player who was upgraded with Field General/Strong Arm.
Those ratings will be distributed over a number of places. In that 25 point difference, you might see something like: +6 AWR,+5 DAC, +4 MAC, +3 SAC, +2 TOR, +2 TUP, +2 THP, +1 Speed for a total of 25.
Highest Expected Value For Throw Power Increases
Total expected value only tells part of the story though. Most Madden players (myself included) would rather get a +1 in THP than a +5 in Break Sack. Or they’d rather get a +1 speed than a +10 AWR. Some ratings are more important than others so we have to dig deeper into the numbers.
Below you can find the expected value increases for Throw Power for each QB archetype
- Improviser: 20 THP increases on 100 attempts. Expected THP Value = .2
- Strong Arm: 17 THP increases on 100 attempts. Expected THP Value = .17
- Scrambler: 14 THP increases on 100 attempts. Expected THP Value = .14
- Field General: 9 THP increases on 100 attempts. Expected THP Value = .09
This tells us that improviser is the most likely archetype to get throw power increases. In fact, you should expect a throw power increase in approximately 1 out of every 5 Improviser upgrades you make.
With Strong Arm it is ~1/6, Scrambler it is ~1/7, and Field General is ~1/11.
Highest Expected Value For Speed Increases
Speed is important at quarterback for a variety of different schemes.
- Improviser: 2 Speed increases on 100 attempts
- Scrambler: 2 Speed increases on 100 attempts
- Strong Arm: 0 Speed increases on 100 attempts
- Field General: 0 Speed increases on 100 attempts
With Strong Arm and Field General there were 0 increases in either Acceleration or Agility as well. So if mobility is important to you, you should choose Improviser or Scrambler.
2nd Highest Expected Value For Accuracies
After general ratings increases, throw power, and speed, accuracy is another of the really important things you’ll want upgraded for your quarterback.
Here is what we found in our 100 upgrades:
- Field General: 72 SAC, 87 MAC, 40 DAC = Total 199
- Improviser: 83 SAC, 73 MAC, 33 DAC = Total 189
- Scrambler: 88 SAC, 91 MAC, 0 DAC = Total 179
- Strong Arm: 0 SAC, 106 MAC, 30 DAC = Total 136
With Field General, you are going to get a good variety of accuracy upgrades but don’t expect much else.
With Improviser, you also get a good variety of accuracy upgrades but it is skewed a little toward short/medium accuracies.
With Scrambler, you cannot get any deep accuracy upgrades.
With Strong Arm, you won’t get any short accuracy upgrades and will mostly just get medium accuracy with some deep accuracy every now and then.
This goes against conventional wisdom which says if you want THP or DAC you should upgrade Strong Arm. That really isn’t the case.
A Different Way To Look At It
A different way to illustrate what we found is we made a fictional player who had was 60 overall for all archetypes. 60 Improviser, 60 Strong Arm, 60 Field General, and 60 Scrambler. Then we spent 25 points for each archetype and recorded our findings.
Here’s the results:
25 points spent on Improviser. Result:
- 85 Improviser
- 79 Scrambler
- 83 Field General
- 83 Strong Arm
Average Rating = (85+79+83+83)/4 = 82.5
25 points spent on Scrambler. Result:
- 83 Improviser
- 85 Scrambler
- 85 Field General
- 81 Strong Arm
Average Rating: (83+85+85+81)/4 = 83.5
25 points spent on Field General. Result:
- 79 Improviser
- 74 Scrambler
- 85 Field General
- 83 Strong Arm
Average Rating: (79+74+85+83)/4 = 80.25
25 Points Spent on Strong Arm. Result:
- 78 Improviser
- 71 Scrambler
- 80 Field General
- 85 Strong Arm
Average Rating: (78+71+80+85)/4 = 78.5
Most people will want a fairly well rounded quarterback. How that quarterback plays on the field is a result of his real ratings, not the overall rating of his highest archetype.
The test above shows that Improviser and Scrambler upgrades do a good job of bringing up all of the different archetypes while Field General and Strong Arm don’t.
Final Rankings, Raw Data, And Conclusion
Remember, every player development situation is different but our rankings for which quarterback archetypes you should upgrade are:
- Strong Arm
- Field General
Improviser is the pretty clear #1 for quarterbacks. You’d need a really convincing reason to get our blessing to upgrade anything else. This is just the beginning of our analysis. You won’t believe what we found for the cornerback position!
Madden School Unlimited members have full access to all of the raw data that went into this experiment so they can dig into it the details further.