One of the best ways to improve your roster’s ratings in Madden Ultimate Team (MUT) is with strategy items, which act as rating boosts to certain positions.

Much like past attempts by Madden to deploy rating boosts, a few of these strategy items are a lot more powerful than others. 

Using strategy items effectively is a surefire way to win more games in MUT.

In this guide, I’ll talk you through the best strategy items in Madden 23 Ultimate Team, and talk you through which ones aren’t so important too.

Strategy Item Overview

There are 21 strategy items in Madden 23 Ultimate Team; 10 offensive-specific items, 10 defensive-specific, and one team affinity strategy item that we won’t worry about here, since it doesn’t have much to do with actual ratings.

There are also seasonal strategy items that work similarly to normal strategy items, but aren’t as good and don’t have the same level system as the regular ones. 

Each of the 21 strategy items comes in different levels: 

  • Common
  • Uncommon
  • Rare
  • Epic (only available for “let it rip” and “in the zone” strategy items)

Each level stacks on top of the other, so if you get the rare level strategy item, you will receive the boost associated with the common level, the uncommon level, and the rare level all at the same time.

This makes the rare strategy items (plus the two Epics) essential items to collect if you want to boost your ratings, but the question is: which strategy item is the best?

Here are the three best offensive strategy items and the three best defensive strategy items in Madden 23.

Offensive Strategy Items

Strategy items offense

Let It Rip (Epic)

  • +2 to throwing power and +2 to deep accuracy for your quarterback
  • +3 to impact block to all offensive linemen

Let it rip is one of the two strategy items that have four levels, bringing what was already a good set of ratings boosts to a downright unfair one.

With Madden’s offense being all about big plays and utilizing speed as effectively as possible in order to score quickly, these QB boosts are extremely valuable. Adding two points to both of the long-ball stats is a dream come true for most Madden players.

It’s not just the quarterback stats though, the offensive linemen get a big boost to their impact block ratings, which admittedly isn’t the most important of all the blocking stats, but just think about how many rating points this adds to your team. 3 block rating points to each one of your offensive linemen, that’s a big deal no matter what the rating is.

Reel In (Rare)

  • +2 to catch in traffic
  • +2 to short route running
  • +1 to special catch for your wide receivers

I love all these ratings! Far too often I try to hit a receiver in the middle of the field, thinking that they are going to catch it, and they get hit by a defender at the last second and drop the ball. For that reason, I love the +2 to catch in traffic ratings.

I also really like the short route running boost as well because the short pass game is always an easy fallback plan if your game strategy goes wrong, and you don’t want your receivers running sloppy routes leading to interceptions.

Finally, there is the special catch boost which is a nice tack-on for any players that like to make highlight reel catches – perhaps with the new FieldSENSE system if you’re on next-gen.

Deep Route Specialist (Rare)

  • +2 release rating
  • +2 deep route running rating
  • +1 special catch for your wide receivers

As I discussed earlier, you can’t really overstate how big of a deal the deep pass game is in Madden 23 Ultimate Team. With a good deep passing game, you can torch defenses and have a lot of fun in the process.

With this boost, your wide receivers will immediately be much greater threats down the field, which in return helps your underneath game as defenses try to adjust to the deep game.

Defensive Strategy Items

Strategy items defense

In The Zone (Epic)

  • +3 zone coverage
  • +3 play recognition
  • +1 press coverage for all your cornerbacks and safeties

Just like in the offensive section, the strategy item that has an epic level is going to rank as the best strategy item on my list. It’s just unfair, these boosts just offer so much more than any of the other levels on any of the strategy items.

The ‘In The Zone’ item is specifically for teams that play great defensive playbooks with a lot of zone schemes, but even if you don’t, the play recognition boost alone is going to help your secondary incredibly.

Play recognition is an interesting stat in the first place as it is an intangible stat – it’s hard to tell exactly how big of an impact it makes in Madden – but it does seem to speed up animations and your players’ reflexes increase.

+1 to press coverage is just the icing on top of an already sweet cake with this item.

Bull Rush (Rare)

  • +2 to power moves
  • +2 to finesse moves
  • +1 to block shedding for all your defensive linemen

I’m a sucker for a good pass rush.

Whenever your defense can push the offense back with a sack, it’s always a momentum shifter.

This strategy item indulges my defensive cravings and then some by adding +2 to both of the big pass-rush ratings for your entire defensive line.

It’s always good to diversify how you attack O-lines, whether it’s with power moves or with finesse moves, the best D-linemen use both.

With this boost, your whole defensive line will have a leg up on the competition in terms of doing both. They also will have a small boost to block shedding, which of course is important if you want to disrupt your opponents’ offensive backfield.

Ball Hawk (Rare)

  • +3 man coverage for all cornerbacks
  • +2 zone coverage for all cornerbacks

If this strategy item had also included all safeties as well as corners, it would be a better item than the bull rush card, and you could even argue that it would be just as good or better than the In The Zone item too.

A +3 in anything for a rare strategy item is, well…rare!

It’s also incredibly valuable, especially since it applies to an attribute that is so important for your secondary and defense as a whole. 

+3 in man coverage isn’t the only great boost on this item card, because it also has a +2 on zone coverage ratings for all your cornerbacks. It’s a great item.

That rounds up the 3 best strategy items in Madden 23 Ultimate Team, for both offense and defense.

If you were looking for more MUT tips, I recommend checking out our guide on how to earn coins quickly first. It’ll be useful for getting the full fun experience of the game mode.