I designed the Spades formation partially to take advantage of the fact that in Madden 2004 the opposing defense can only see the personnel package you bring in and not the formation you choose, before lining up (of course this doesn't really apply to people playing against each other in the same room). Spades uses the common two wide receiver, tight end, fullback and halfback set, and so your opponent may be thinking typical pro formation or I-formation when selecting a defense. In reality, Spades is a very different formation, maybe bearing slight resemblance to an I-Form Twins set.


Because Spades puts all of its blocking power and running ability on the left side while placing both receivers on the right, many defensive sets will not be ideally equipped to match up effectively. Spades excels against man-to-man defenses, which often leave no defensive backs left of the tight end. Power runs can seal all of the defenders to the inside while swing passes to the running back are left wide open. Zone defenses may be able to smother both of these types of plays, but may leave DBs overmatched on the right side by twin receivers. These strategic battles mean that with a good poker face and the ability to bluff, you can really clean house with Spades.

Unlike many of my formations, Spades does not leave much to be decided in terms of personnel assignments. The two wide receiver positions are the only real options. I stick with conventional wisdom here, which says that the #1 receiver takes the flanker position, allowing him to avoid bump and run and go into motion to best exploit defensive weaknesses.


Spades - HB Blast

HB Lead Toss

A powerful run off tackle. A defense playing tight man risks being trapped to the inside while the back sprints to daylight, while spreading out into zone offers cutback lanes up the middle.

Spades - Mace


Looks pretty innocent, doesn't it? Well Mace is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Despite its deepest route being a 5 yard post by the split end, these Raiders style "rub" routes (circa 2002) will frustrate any defense. Even the simple RB swing pass is surprisingly effective in this play.

Spades - Splinter


Splinter is a great play for attacking right down the middle of the defense. Although I use quick slants in a lot of my passing plays, few plays utilize the route quite as effectively as this one does. Very nice pass play in the red zone.

Spades - Hydra


If you need a steady go to play for converting those in between distances (about 4 to 8 yards), look no further than Hydra. Two WR routes clear out the defense for the TE, and the FB coming out of the backfield may catch defenses ready for a HB swing by surprise.

Spades - Galvanize


Galvanize is a simple play that is surprisingly effective. Based around getting the ball to the running back on a swing-like pass, a downfield block by the TE combined with a few nifty moves in space provides potential to turn a simple catch-and-run into a big gain.

Contact Arkaein with any comments or questions regarding the Monstrous Madden Playbook.