Madden 21 Guide: The Yard Tips and Tricks

Use these tips to Madden 21's The Yard to get the most out of the franchise's newest game mode.

The best new feature in Madden 21 is The Yard, a brand new mode that pits smaller teams of six against each other on short fields built for scoring and style. With plenty of customization and tons of new gameplay rules to learn, there is a lot to unwrap when it comes to this new way to play Madden football.

If you're looking to get ahead of the competition, we've got plenty of tips for The Yard to keep you showboating down the sideline and pulling off highlight-reel-ready plays in Madden 21.

Treat Prototypes Like Armor Sets in RPGs

After you create your avatar, which can be used across a variety of modes in Madden 21, you'll want to get familiar with the many Prototypes in The Yard. Prototypes are a new concept that gives players various skill trees to chase. In a roundtable discussion with The Yard's producers, they likened Prototypes to "suits of armor" in an RPG. 

Each of the many Prototypes already available at launch offers its own baseline skills measured in things like:

  • Speed
  • Catching
  • Tackling 

There are many more, but you'll want to pick a Prototype that works for your game at the moment. It's important to also understand that every game gives you a new opportunity to choose a different Prototype.

As you use a Prototype, you'll unlock skill points, which can further your attributes even more. You should take advantage of this system, as it will allow you to continually have something to work toward in the game mode.

Maxing out a single Prototype is merely scratching the surface in The Yard.

Ignore Your True Position

Like Prototypes, every game of The Yard also asks you to choose a pair of positions. As The Yard is played with "Ironman Rules," where all players play both offense and defense, positional selection comes in groups like RB/LB or QB/Safety.

What's most important to recognize with this selection is it merely denotes where you line up at the start of a play.

Because The Yard is founded on trickery and stylish plays that call back to games like NFL Street, your "QB" may not even receive the snap. Instead, they may be the one downfield catching a breakaway touchdown pass from your supposed center or running back.

Don't let this surface-level designation box you into a role that is better left for traditional football. The Yard plays by its own rules.

Get Tricky With Your Plays

The best plays in The Yard are not those where a center snaps the ball to the quarterback who then passes to a receiver running a familiar route pattern. That's vanilla playcalling in The Yard. Instead, you should look to get very tricky with how you operate your offense.

  • Using LT/L2 + the button designated to each player, you can snap the ball to anyone on the field at the start of a play.
  • You can pass it behind the line of scrimmage as many times as you want.
  • Beyond the line of scrimmage, you can lateral it behind or to the side of you with LB/L1.

The One-Timer

One of the somewhat hidden tricks in The Yard is the one-timer. Soccer and hockey fans will know this move. It's when a player immediately passes the ball to a teammate or toward an area on the field as soon as it reaches them, like an instant deflection, pinballing the ball onto its next target.

As the ball approaches your receiver, using LB/L1 + the receiver button for whom you want it to go to, you can one-time the ball with a punch or kick. In a mode built on flair, the one-timer is like Jennifer Aniston donning 37 pieces of flair in Office Space.

Learn the New Rulebook

There are four stadium locations at launch, and each of them has their own House Rules. These act as modifiers to the already quite special rulebooks of The Yard. More locations will be added over time as well, and it's important to gameplan for these differences on a per-field basis. 

For example, each field has its own timer for how long it takes before you can rush the passer according to the nostalgic Mississippi Rule ("one Mississippi, two Mississippi...").

Others may start you first and goal for every drive, while others only give you one drive each game, meaning you really have to nail your playcalling and execution as it all hangs on just four plays.

Getting familiar with each stadium's House Rules will ensure you're able to react to the tweaks of every game in The Yard.

Chase Bonus Points

Scoring gets really weird in The Yard, but it's honestly one of the game mode's smartest features. While touchdowns are still six points, there are no field goals or PAT kicks.

Instead, The Yard awards players with an extra 1, 2, or 3 points according to which PAT attempt you take.

  • A 1-pointer starts at the 5
  • A 2-pointer starts at the 10
  • A 3-pointer starts at the 20

The customized scoring doesn't stop there.

  • Every interception is 1 point.
  • Scoring on a play with at least one successful lateral gives you 2 bonus points
  • A play over 40 yards awards another point.

Put it all together and you can chase the Holy Grail of The Yard's scoring opportunities: a 40+ yard pick-six with at least one successful lateral on the runback and a successful 3-point conversion afterward for a total of 13 points on a single play!

Those are some of the most important tips for The Yard in Madden 21. Now you know how to dominate the competition, whether you're playing on PC, PS4, or Xbox One. 


Mark is a dad, husband, bicyclist, animal rights activist, and a gamer, of course. You can find him on all platforms covering co-op, indies, horror, battle royale, or whatever else he's obsessing over right now. In addition to GameSkinny, he's been published on GameSpot, IGN, GamesRadar, EGM, Escapist, Official Xbox Magazine, and a bunch of other great outlets.

Published Sep. 2nd 2020

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