Madden 21: X-Factor vs Superstar abilities – Why Superstars should be your focus in the new game

The always activated abilities are far more effective over the course of a game

Tom Owen by Tom Owen
Madden 21 X Factor abilities vs Superstar abilities

Madden 21 is nearly here, and the hype is building.

Many aspects of Madden 21 have been revealed, including all ratings.

We also have all the Madden 21 X-Factors, as well as hints about new abilities to be added.

Whilst they are fun, we believe that the Superstar abilities are actually way more important.

Separating great from good

The addition of X-Factor and Superstar abilities as part of the newness included in Madden 20 has had mixed reviews.

With criticism around how they rate players, EA Sports tried to slowly lower the average rating in the game and create a bigger spectrum.

rsz m21 superstars mccaffrey
UNPLAYABLE: Will McCaffrey be stopped with his 99 rating?

With that, they needed a way of making good players really good. Let’s face it, there’s not a massively noticeable difference in-game between a player with 80 speed and 85 speed.

READ MORE: What happens in Madden to players that opt-out the season?

So they introduced the abilities model. Depending on the players stats, they will unlock abilities that match their play style and development traits.

Over time, players can gain and lose abilities as their stats change. If a player becomes an X-Factor development trait, this then unlocks those abilities in game.

What’s the difference between X-Factor and Superstar abilities?

The biggest difference between them is that Superstar abilities are always activated.

Many players are drawn to flashy X-Factor abilities. Having a QB with the Omaha ability meant you can see what coverage they are in.

rsz madden 21 superstar abilities
CLARITY: Madden 20 showed you both sets of abilities before each game

There’s no doubting they make a huge difference. But they often come with barriers in play to activate.

For example, the Omaha ability mentioned requires you to have 6 consecutive completed passes of more than 5 yards in the air.

READ MORE: Madden 21 closed beta feedback offers fans hope

Then once you have them activated, you can lose them by taking a sack of a tackle for loss.

In the CFM world, many running leagues have commented on how this has encouraged spam styles of playing as players try to unlock them for an edge.

Superstar abilities are more important

There will be around 120 Superstar abilities in Madden 21 and the sheer volume makes them as valuable as the X-Factor ones.

Because they are active permanently, they do damage to the opponent on every single play.

rsz m21 superstars henry
COOL AF: The new styling of the X-Factor abilities is inspired by comics

Using Derrick Henry’s ‘Arm bar’ ability on every single tackler in a game makes a bigger difference than the ‘Freight Train’ X-Factor he has that requires three 10+ yard runs first.

Once you manage to activate this ability, it only takes a single tackle for loss for it to disappear again.

When building a MUT or Franchise team, don’t be distracted by the X-Factor stars. There’s much more value in Superstar players.

READ MORE: Will slower users in Madden 21 be good or bad for gameplay?

Tom Owen