Madden 21 X-Factors: Every new X-Factor and Superstar Ability

After adding X-Factors to Madden last year in Madden NFL 20, EA has made several new additions to the move pool this time around, as well as bringing a few in for tune ups. The Superstar Abilities are also getting a new coat of paint, as EA doubles down on the Player Personality feature, also present in Madden 21’s cousin, FIFA 21.

Both X-Factor and Superstar Abilities are designed to replicate the way the best players in the real world react to tense plays on the field, giving you the advantage when you need it most. In real life, the Kansas City Chiefs don’t just have Patrick Mahomes’ stats on the field, they have the man himself; his personality, his determination, and his mentality. These abilities are supposed to distill this unquantifiable aura into something more tangible.

It’s fair to say they were teething in Madden 20, but they have real potential, and it’s good to see EA stick with them for Madden 21.

As well as the individual additions listed below, there are a few areas getting considerably more care than last time around. These include abilities around Pass Rush, which makes sense given that whole system has been overhauled, and to go with the Pass Rush additions, Blocking has also been beefed up. Stamina (which EA says they will “continually look to improve upon”) also gets a dose of abilities.

As far as changes go, the most broken ability from last year (Route Running) has been completely changed to make it easier, while a few others get similar ease of use upgrades. The bigger news for the competitive scene is that Dashing Dead Eye, No Look Dead Eye, Escape Artist, and Fastbreak have all been nerfed, while Pro Read, Gambler, and Blitz Radar have been buffed. Meanwhile, Guru Abilities have been removed completely as part of the pass rushing revamp.

Madden 21 NEW X-FACTOR ABILITIES

Madden 21’s new X-Factor Abilities help your players go above and beyond on the field, turning the tide in an instant.

  • Ankle Breaker – Truly devastating receiving threats are the ones that catch and can’t be caught. When they enter the zone; they have increased fakeout rates on spin/juke/hurdle after the catch.
  • Avalanche – There are tacklers and then there are these guys. When they enter the zone any successful hit-stick made while running towards the line of scrimmage will result in a fumble.
  • Blitz – Effective D-Line captains aren’t just examples to follow; they are motivators. When they enter the zone; all opposing blockers have their resistance bars wiped out.
  • Bottleneck – Bottleneck defenders realize that the best way to stop a route is to act early. When they enter the zone; they are highly likely to dominantly win any man press encounter.
  • Grab and Smash – Not all receivers need fancy footwork. When they enter the zone; they have increased success chance on stiff arm and truck attempts following the catch.
  • Relentless – The most tenacious defenders beat their blocks by sheer force of will. When they enter the zone; their rush move attempts are free.
  • Universal Coverage – The most physical coverage defenders prevent catches from happening even when their target has hands on the ball. When they enter the zone; they are nearly guaranteed knockouts.
  • Vanguard
    Vanguard players are the reason running backs thank their blockers in the postgame interview. When they enter the zone; they are nearly guaranteed dominant impact block wins.
  • YAC ‘Em Up – The best physical receivers don’t just come down with the ball; they carry it home. When they enter the zone; they are nearly guaranteed to break their first post-catch tackle.

Madden 21’s NEW SUPERSTAR ABILITIES

Madden 21’s new Superstar Abilities are there to help bring the best pros in the league to life, giving them the edge over the more average squad fillers at each and every play.

  • Adrenaline Rush – Pass rushers with this ability will have all of their – pass rush move points restored after sacking the QB.
  • B.O.G.O. – Defenders with this ability are granted a free pass rush move once per play after spending a pass rush point.
  • Balance Beam – Avoid stumbling when carrying the ball.
  • Bench Press – Defenders with this ability apply bonus fatigue to their man coverage target after a successful press win.
  • Chuck Out – Defenders with this ability apply bonus fatigue to their target after a successful zone chuck.
  • Closer – Locker room pep talks go a long way. Players with this ability can easily enter the Zone in the 2nd half.
  • Comeback – When playing from behind; players with this ability can easily enter the Zone.
  • Deep In Elite – Receivers with this ability catch more consistently while catching passes 20+ yards from the LoS; inside the numbers.
  • Deep In Zone KO – Defenders with this ability force more catch knockouts and react quicker in deep zone coverage; 20+ yards from the LoS and inside the numbers.
  • Deep Out Elite – Receivers with this ability catch more consistently while catching passes 20+ yards from the LoS; outside the numbers.
  • Deep Out Zone KO – Defenders with this ability force more catch knockouts and react quicker in deep zone coverage; 20+ yards from the LoS and outside the hash marks.
  • Deep Route KO – Defenders with this ability force more catch tackle knockouts in man-to-man versus deep routes 20+ yards from the LoS.
  • Defensive Rally – Defenders with this ability will grant a bonus pass rush point to all defensive linemen on any 3rd or 4th down.
  • Double Or Nothing – Pass rushers with this ability must spend double – the pass rush points to perform a move but are granted dominant wins.
  • El Toro – Defenders with this ability will receive dominant bull rush wins when their pass rush points are full.
  • Energizer – Ballcarriers with this ability will replenish a portion of their stamina upon successfully performing any skill move.
  • Extra Credit – Pass rushers with this ability are granted an additional maximum pass rush move point.
  • Flat Zone KO – Defenders with this ability force more catch knockouts and react quicker in any flat zone coverage; less than 10 yards from the LoS and outside the hash marks.
  • Fool Me Once
    Blockers with this ability gain blocker resistance points as a faster rate.
  • Instant Rebate – Defenders with this ability are refunded a pass rush point when they successfully shed blocks.
  • Lifeguard – Blockers with this ability defend against swim/club pass rush moves as if they had an additional resistance point.
  • Matador – Blockers with this ability have stronger protection against dominant bull rush moves attempted by defenders.
  • Medium Route KO – Defenders with this ability force more catch tackle knockouts in man-to-man versus medium routes; 10-20 yards from the LoS.
  • Mid In Elite – Receivers with this ability catch more consistently while catching passes 10-20 yards from the LoS; inside the numbers.
  • Mid Out Elite – Receivers with this ability catch more consistently while catching passes 10-20 yards from the LoS; outside the numbers.
  • Mid Zone KO – Defenders with this ability force more catch knockouts and react quicker in any mid-field zone coverage; less than 20 yards from the LoS inside the numbers and 10-20 outside.
  • Mr. Big Stop – Defenders with this ability will start and 3rd or 4th down with at least half of their maximum pass rush points.
  • Natural Talent – Blockers with this ability start every new blocking encounter with built-in resistance.
  • One Step Ahead – Defenders with this ability generally react much faster to receiver cut moves when in man coverage.
  • Outmatched – Defenders with this ability are highly likely to win contested catches against running backs.
  • Quick Draw – Passers with this ability have faster passing animations when they are throwing under pressure.
  • Reach For It – Ballcarriers with this ability will frequently attempt to gain extra yards while being tackled.
  • Ripper – Defenders with this ability will ignore 1 bar of blocker resistance when attempting rip pass rush moves.
  • Screen Protector – Blockers with this ability will dominantly win impact blocks on screen plays.
  • Second Wind – Players with this ability have a chance to replenish their stamina, once per play, when it is half depleted.
  • Short In Elite – Receivers with this ability catch more consistently while catching passes less than 10 yards from the LoS; inside the numbers.
  • Short Out Elite – Receivers with this ability catch more consistently while catching passes less than 10 yards from the LoS; outside the numbers.
  • Short Route KO – Defenders with this ability force more catch tackle knockouts in man-to-man versus short routes less than 10 yards from LoS.
  • Speedster – Defenders with this ability will ignore 1 bar of blocker resistance when attempting speed pass rush moves.
  • Spinner – Defenders with this ability will ignore 1 bar of blocker resistance when attempting spin pass rush moves.
  • Stonewall – Defenders with this ability will frequently prevent additional yardage gains while tackling.
  • Swim Club – Defenders with this ability will ignore 1 bar of blocker resistance when attempting swim/club pass rush moves.
  • Tear Proof – Blockers with this ability defend against rip pass rush moves as if they had an additional resistance point.
  • Tight Out – Passers with this ability improve the catching prowess of all tight ends who are open on pass plays.
  • Tough Nut – Blockers with this ability have an increased number of blocker resistance points.
  • Unspun – Blockers with this ability defend against spin pass rush moves as if they had an additional resistance point.
  • Unpredictable – Defenders with this ability are less likely to increase their blocker’s resistance bars when performing shed wins.

And that’s every update to the abilities covered for Madden 21. Get ready to hit the gridiron on August 28.