MLB The Show 21 is dropping on the 20th of April and I couldn’t be more excited. The baseball season is underway, the new game is following shortly after and, the most hype thing for some people reading this, the game is available on Xbox.
Whether you’ve played The Show before, or you’re an Xbox player picking up the game for the first time ever, I’ve got you covered. Here is my guide for how to start Diamond Dynasty in MLB The Show 21.
Now before we start, I want to clear up a couple of things. Firstly, why should you take advice from me? On MLB The Show 20, I didn’t spend a single penny after launch, and I completed every single live series collection and got the 99 Overall Collection Mickey Mantle card, less than 50 days after launch. I have spent over 500 hours playing diamond dynasty in MLBTS 20 and I am pretty efficient on the game.
How to start Diamond Dynasty in MLB The Show 21
The second thing to note, I am writing this in advance so that everyone who is reading it can have these tips before the game drops. I don’t want to tell you how to start the game a week after you’ve bought it. So, keep in mind that these tips are based on previous DD games and that some things will naturally be different.
The following tips have the sole objective of getting you off to an efficient start to make sure you can start to build yourself a good team and have a blast on one of my favourite modes in gaming.
So, here goes.
1 – Open All Packs and Free Rewards
This stage depends on a few factors but whether you’re spending money, pre-ordered a special edition or both, there’s a high likelihood you have some packs to open. Do this first and see what you get!
Last year I got Mike Trout in a pack on the very first night of the entire game (technically before it even came out because I had early access!)
This set me up for ages because he was the most expensive card in the auction house.
Once you have opened everything, you can decide for yourself what you want to keep and what you want to sell. My personal policy is to only sell the really expensive cards because you’re going to want to collect them all later anyway and you can make money in other ways. Now you can set your starting lineup and get yourself all set up with the base team you’re going to be building on. Focus on power and contact and pick pitchers based on the actual pitches they have more than the ratings, you won’t be playing online for a while anyway.
2 – Create your ‘Ballplayer’
This is by far the most important tip on how to start Diamond Dynasty for new players! At the start of each year, the first thing I prioritise doing is levelling up my personal created player. The reason that this is so important isn’t immediately obvious.
Your created player is essential for multiple reasons. Firstly, it’s a free player who you can start for you. However, it’s not just as boring as that. Your created player can be levelled up in specific positions, built to different archetypes and be a really high overall. My CAP Centre Fielder took me hardly any time to level up and he has 74 Contact vs R, 69 Contact vs L, 86 Power vs R, 80 Power vs L, 70 Vision and really good fielding stats. This 89 Overall CF would be worth over 100,000 stubs if you had to actually buy him. I started this player in my team until I got Mike Trout.
My recommendation for where to put CAP’s in general (without seeing 21’s system) are one of the outfield spots – whichever build you like best – Catcher or Shortstop.
And, my sneaky favourite that not many people take advantage of, making an absolutely lights out pitcher. Pro tip: give him a really funky release/arm angle and you will basically get an inning for free while the opponent is trying to work out what is going on.
Leeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet’s play ball!
— Xbox Game Pass (@XboxGamePass) April 2, 2021
For transparency, I have no idea how the MLB The Show 21 ‘Ballplayer’ system will be different. They haven’t fully explained how it’ll work yet, but it shouldn’t be too dissimilar to previous versions of the CAP.
Make one (or multiple if you can) ASAP and get them to the highest overall possible.
2B – Buy Ballplayer Gear
Just as a bonus Diamond Dynasty tip, if you really want to dominate online, once you have got your team ready to actually play ranked games, buy some gear for your created player. Gear is absolutely essential in this game. You can make your player basically unstoppable if you’re willing to spend a bit. It’s 100% worth it.
Through the gear on my CAP, I can increase my attributes an alarming amount.
I get: +11 Speed, +16 Stealing, +10 Contact and +10 Power – not to mention all of the other attribute boosts.
This equipment is massively powerful and will turn your 89 rated created player into something closer to a 95 OVR. And don’t forget, this is attainable very early.
3 – Grind out some offline content: Moments, Conquest and Showdown
I love playing Diamond Dynasty and Ultimate Team and any equivalent mode for the same reason as everyone else. We all want to compete online and use our team in ranked games. But, be patient. The key is to earn the offline rewards first. Then, use them to be ready for the real action.
If you get the game with early access [by ordering an upgraded digital edition of the game], I recommend playing offline content exclusively either until you finish all of it or launch day comes, whichever is first.
Who will you choose? Here are your first 5 legends included in the Collector’s Editions of The Show’s 💎 choice pack: Jackie Robinson, Ken Griffey Jr., Willie Mays, @MarianoRivera, and Bob Gibson! More will be announced 4/8!
Pre-order now: https://t.co/cT3M2ZwDMy#MLBTheShow pic.twitter.com/MefUEPlBZW
— MLB The Show (@MLBTheShow) April 3, 2021
The offline content you should expect at launch is mostly very standard stuff but good rewards can be earned. Let’s look at each of the different modes that were in MLB The Show 20 (and the first two have been a staple of the mode for multiple years).
These are my favourite way to start the year, every time. Moments are very similar to ‘Solo Challenges’ if you have a Madden background.
They are individual instanced challenges which put you in a situation and give you an objective to complete to progress through a line and earn rewards.
An example of an easy moment would be to pitch an inning and record 2 strikeouts without blowing a save (the first moment in MLB The Show 20) or hit one home run in a plate appearance (the second), for example.
These are easy and most importantly quick and repeatable challenges. You’ll be able to do them on the first attempt if you’re experienced, especially on low difficulties.
As you progress through Moments, the in-game ‘difficulty’ will rise but the challenges themselves will also become significantly more challenging. You will be tasked with pitching 8 innings without giving up a single run, or to tally up 12 total bases in a single game while player-locked.
Moments start easy but they can become very challenging for newer players as they progress. Do as many as you can and don’t give up if they’re difficult – the harder the challenge, the better the reward.
A fan favourite and a really unique mode to MLB The Show, Conquest mixes Diamond Dynasty with Risk.
You start on a map with a ‘stronghold’ for team and you have to try and conquer the map. The main Conquest map is a full map of America with all of the teams on it, and you have to try and conquer the entire map. When you have captured all of the strongholds, you get a reward as well as lots of stubs and XP along the way.
In MLB The Show 20, the Conquest reward was an 87 OVR Willie Mays who had 92 speed and hit well against lefties.
I would recommend doing the main conquest early on for the free player and more new conquest maps get added throughout the year.
A brand-new mode that was only added this previous year, Showdown is a pretty fun and genuinely challenging (you can make it more or less challenging based on how patient you are) experience.
You draft a team at the start, with only a few star players and mostly mid-tier or mediocre cards. Then, you start playing through the showdown. You will be given smaller challenges and games to play, allowing you to earn upgrades to your team – better players and some perks.
As you go, upgrading and improving the lineup, you will progress through two mini-boss games, and then finally the final ‘Showdown’. As well as your upgrades, you will shave off runs from a deficit in that final game. A showdown is a unique instance where instead of innings, you just have 20 outs. You have to walk off the game within your 20 outs to win the game and complete the Showdown.
This is a fun and unique new mode. It can have pretty damn good rewards. I do recommend newer players playing and winning every game to make the final showdown easier.
4 – Programmes and Collections
I won’t go super in-depth on the whole grind to unlock every card in the game, but it’s important not to just play without any direction once you’re done with the initial ‘grind’ of the game.
There are plenty of things to work toward that are passive as you play the game. The two key things to look into are programmes and collections.
Collections are super easy to understand. Collect a related bunch of cards – ie a whole team or multiple players from the same set – and get given a reward that is related to that set.
The main form of collecting is the long game. Each year, if you collect every single card for every team, you get incredible rewards. Each team has a reward card which is good, but then each division has even better ones, and then when you collect all of the NL and AL cards you get some insane rewards. Then, finally, the best card in the game.
When you collect every single card in the entire live series collection, you get a 99 rated near-perfect card. In MLB The Show 20, that card was Mickey Mantle.
Mantle’s card is perfect. He has 110 Contact vs R, 125 Contact vs L, 119 Power vs R, 102 Power vs L. On top of those, Mantle has 91 Plate Vision, 92 Speed, 80 Stealing, 87 Fielding, 94 Arm Strength. He’s the perfect center fielder. If you’re willing to put in a grind and you want to play the game a lot, this live series collection reward is the holy grail.
Programmes are more fluid, and involve gameplay itself, with challenges and milestones which unlock as you progress in the programme.
Programme rewards are absolutely huge. They are by far the best way to get individual good cards, outside of collecting every live series card in the game.
There is a main unlock path which is absolutely central to your early progression is the ‘XP Reward Path’ which will give you lots of free players, including some of the best cards in the entire game when you get further down the line.
These cards are truly elite.
The 99 OVR Corey Kluber Cy Young card is the most popular starting pitcher in the entire game. And when you reach level 100, you get an incredible 99 rated card. Once you reach level 100, you restart back to 0 and then start the grind again and earn more.
There are also programmes for each ‘inning’ which brings new moments, rewards and content to the game and my personal favourite programme, the new Team Affinities that were added in MLB The Show 20.
The Team Affinity programmes are a set of missions for each team – using players from that team, getting hits from that team and using cards you get as rewards – which allow you to unlock rewards for that specific team. The cards from Team Affinity are really good and fun to unlock. Also, it’s genuinely really helpful for someone who wants to play with their favourite team’s players.
The most important tip – Enjoy!
If you wanted to know how to start Diamond Dynasty on MLB The Show 21, that is either because you’ve never played it, or you want to be more efficient!
These three tips for what to do first and in what order are exactly what I am going to be doing with my early access. Then my fourth tip is open-ended. Pick what you would like to do now that you have some money and cards and enjoy!
The most important thing is that DD is fun as hell, and no matter what your priorities are – an online ranked competitor, a card collector, or a casual fan of their favourite team – it’s fun for all different types of players.
You can try and unlock every card in the game, or you can just use the basic team you’ve built online and see what happens! But, what I can promise you is by starting with my tips in this order, you will be well equipped, knowing exactly how to start Diamond Dynasty, and your team will be ready to go on launch day.