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Nucleus

9 Steps To Creating a Tactic


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Hello Vibe and welcome to a Guide which hopefully many of you will find useful. Over the past couple of years of creating tactics for myself, I always find myself revisiting certain key elements, 9 in fact, when making any sort of system. That system can range from a simple 442 focused on wingplay, a 4231 formation focused on patiently waiting for an opening by retaining possession, or a full on attacking 433 focused on relentlessly camping in the opposition area to carve out scoring opportunities and any other system in between. So I thought I’d let the Vibe community fester in my mind for a little while by sharing these 9 steps. I understand that the new game is right around the corner but these points should still apply to it, or any other FMM game of the past.

 

Step One: Envision a style of play and understand what mentality and roles will do.

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Mentality affects how a team plays, do you trust them to go risky, do you want them to be more aggressive going up or do you want them to be cautious in possession? Mentality affects your team’s width, risk of passing, tempo and defensive lines. 

For example: A defensive mentality set with a narrow width is much more narrower than an attacking mentality set with a narrow width. A counter mentality set to fast tempo is slower than a control mentality set to fast tempo, despite what you may think. 

Player roles serve to create individual distinctions within that mentality, and we’ll get into them at a later stage.

 

Step Two: Create a Balanced Tactic

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A tactic doesn’t need to have 10 players with gung-ho roles to score a goal, a tactic with an abundance of supporting roles can do just as well provided you have considered what your players are capable of.

Always think about how you are first and foremost going to defend space vacated by an attacking player. Using a wingback? Then you need to understand that he will aggressively push forward. So how do you defend that space in his absence?

Don’t be too one dimensional, mix it up a bit. Using a winger on one flank to whip in crosses whilst having an AP on the other flank with short passes to drag defenders about will give you more chances than having two wingers doing exactly the same thing. Keep the opposition guessing!

A balanced tactic is all about defending, controlling and attacking space. Worry about keeping a clean sheet before setting up your attacking shape.

When creating a tactic, consider how you place roles first. When you select an attacking role in any position then you need to ensure you have enough supporting roles to play off them and more importantly, cover them. 

 

Step Three: Adapt the Roles to Suit the Player

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Some roles in the game may not suit your players strengths and weaknesses. If a player can’t dribble then choose a role which doesn’t require him to do so as much - CM over BBM, FB over WB, Poacher over AF etc. If he has poor passing, decisions and creativity then don’t give him a role where he will be required to create chances or take risky passes.

 

Step Four: Analyse How Roles Work Together In Your Tactic

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Roles should be able to work together to create effective passing triangles across the pitch. If you want a tactic that attacks space on the flanks then you want to have an attacking role in that area with adequate support to do so. Roles can be combined together to make it so you have as many different players split across different stratas of the pitch. For example - you could have a Central Defender in defence coupled with a fullback. Together these two roles are slightly offset to provide support for each other. The same can be said in a two man strike partnership. One striker can work off the other, think of a Target Man holding up the ball for a Advanced Forward to make runs into the channels. When you think of roles you need to think about combinations that work the ball seamlessly through each transition.

 

Step Five: Use Team Instructions Wisely

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Team instructions allow you to create styles of play, but not understanding what they do can be catastrophic. When in doubt, don’t use any instructions, if you’re unsure as to what they do then choose one at a time and analyse the effects. 

Despite what people may think, there are no rules on which team instructions to use within the game, as long as you think in a logical way and keep it simple you should be fine.

 

Step Six: Analyse Your Squad

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Study your squad to identify strengths and weaknesses - 

Use team report screen to gain a simple indication of how your team stacks up against the rest of the league. Squad depth will show you how many players you have capable of playing a certain position, and also ranks them by current ability.

Once you have identified your team, draw up a list of positions and rate each one with the players you have. The game is all about defending space, controlling space and attacking space. To do that we need to know how the players can perform defensive and offensive tasks across the pitch. 

You can rate them by how well they can perform these tasks - 

Defensive Tasks:

- How good your defenders are at dealing with crosses - Aerial, Positioning, Strength

- How good your players are at getting back  to help out the defence - Pace, Stamina, Teamwork (Work Rate is a hidden stat within this particular attribute)

- How good your players are at marking their opponents - Decisions, Tackling, Positioning, Strength 

- Who can spot danger before it happens - Decisions, Positioning 

- Who can put in a tackle if needed - Aggression, Tackling, Strength 

If your central defenders are strong in the air and also have good positional strength then theoretically you could play on a number of different mentalities. Your side could, if you like adopt a defensive stance and allow the opposition to cross the ball. If however they’re average at best then you’ll need to decide on a per game basis wether it’s too risky to sit back and allow the opposition the time and space to cross the ball. If you’re team is average at best, then I highly recommend playing with a defensive midfielder so that the back line gets more support.

Offensive Tasks:

Creating goalscoring chances is all about controlling space and using space. You need to know what kind of players you have at your disposal, and what they are capable of.

- Players who are expected to attack space (for example, those who play on the flanks or those who are expected to move in to the vertical channels) - Pace, Movement

- Players who are expected to control and work space (supporting roles, those who drop deep etc) - Strength, Decisions, Movement, Teamwork.

- Those who can find players in space (Playmaker type roles - AP, DLP, BPD etc) - Passing, Creativity, Decisions

Understanding what your players are capable of will influence your decision on what kind of formation you can use.

For example: I want to play an Inside Forward and I want him to attack the space out wide, then I will need him to have:

- Go in and attack the space - Pace, Movement

- Dribble down the flank or cut inside centrally - Dribbling

- Cross, Pass or shoot the ball - Crossing, Passing, Shooting

If you have a systematic way of deciding wether a player can perform a certain role it becomes a lot easier.

 

Step Seven: Analyse the Opposition

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Before each match you should have a quick look at who your opponents key players are.  Shutting them down at the source could be the difference between victory and defeat! For example: If your opponent have their best player as the number 10 and you want to try and nullify the threat he poses, then you should always consider playing with a Defensive Midfielder. 

 

Step Eight: Don’t be Rigid, Adapt!

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You should at all times have a plan B if things aren’t going your way. If you find that the opposition is having way too much space on the flanks then you need to counteract that whilst you can. Or you may find that the opposition are camping in their own box and this may require you to push up more, go wide or even get more players in advanced positions.

When the AI scores a goal it immediately changes mentality, and even roles to protect the lead. The AI plays dynamically to get a result, and you should do the same wether it’s a small role change or a significant change like changing your style of play altogether.

 

Step Nine: Have a Bench Strategy

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Your bench players can present an effective strategy change for you. If you find that you need a strong player upfront to hold the ball up for example. Or a rapid winger who can punish tired legs in the latter stages of a match. Don’t be afraid of thinking of different players who can perform different roles to create a different style of play. Consider as well that you might just possibly want to bring someone on to waste precious minutes to hold on to a lead.

 

These are the 9 nine steps I follow in creating a tactic, I hope some of you have found this article helpful and I look forward to hearing of your steps in creating a tactic.

Thanks for reading

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Nice writing @Nucleus eventhough the chart of player roles confusing me but still great content overall

I haven't realized that I even use these stuff untill today 😂 also in my current career I got Fulkrug, Zaniolo and Tomori as super-sub incase Odoi, Abraham and Parrott not doing their job

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4 hours ago, Rob said:

Great article.

Thanks Rob, I hope the community find it useful!

4 hours ago, Lord Danish said:

Nice writing @Nucleus eventhough the chart of player roles confusing me but still great content overall

I haven't realized that I even use these stuff untill today 😂 also in my current career I got Fulkrug, Zaniolo and Tomori as super-sub incase Odoi, Abraham and Parrott not doing their job

Thanks mate, appreciated. That player role chart should be taken lightly. It’s simply a visual representation of how player roles are intertwined. It’s the writing you need to look at 😛

3 hours ago, Mr Tree said:

Great piece. The Rio photo made me laugh :D

Thanks Tree! Yeah I kinda wanted to make some of the pictures represent the step in a comical way, the Rio one and The Bielsa “analysing opposition” being my personal favourites :D 

1 hour ago, Kanegan said:

Brilliant article. 

Appreciated Kanegan :) 

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2 minutes ago, Belhote said:

Very helpfull thanks, I suck when it comes to creat tactics, every tactic I make just doesn't work. 

Thank you. I hope this helps in any way :) 

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Great article.  You're obviously far better at this than me, so the following points are questions, not criticisms:

Your Step 1 is to envisage a way of playing.  Wouldn't you base this on the squad (which I think is step 3 in your case).  Simple example: I have two great wingers and a Striker with 20 for Aerial, Strength and Movement, and 1 for Passing and Pace.  Wouldn't that affect my way of playing?  Or my three best players are CDs with little pace?

You don't mention watching the games (or at least the extended highlights!).  That could go in step 4?  For example, I wanted to play on Balanced mentality, but when watching the game I noticed my WB never got high up the pitch, so I had to "increase" the mentality to Attacking/Overload.

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7 hours ago, Scouse Mouse said:

Great article. 

Thank you very much :) 

7 hours ago, Scouse Mouse said:

Your Step 1 is to envisage a way of playing.  Wouldn't you base this on the squad (which I think is step 3 in your case).  Simple example: I have two great wingers and a Striker with 20 for Aerial, Strength and Movement, and 1 for Passing and Pace.  Wouldn't that affect my way of playing?  Or my three best players are CDs with little pace?

I always envisage a way of playing first and then analyse my squad to play that way. There’s absolutely nothing wrong (In fact, it’s advised) in analysing your squad first and basing a tactic on their strengths and weaknesses though. The order of these steps aren’t gospel and they can be followed in any way you like to be honest. 

7 hours ago, Scouse Mouse said:

You don't mention watching the games (or at least the extended highlights!).  That could go in step 4?  For example, I wanted to play on Balanced mentality, but when watching the game I noticed my WB never got high up the pitch, so I had to "increase" the mentality to Attacking/Overload.

The fact I didn’t mention the match engine should speak volumes about it tbh. As for your example there are several ways to increase the likelihood of your wingback advancing forward without changing mentality. You can select to “look for overlap” which will naturally give him a higher starting position on the pitch, or you could drag and drop him naturally to a more advanced strata on the pitch, or both :) 

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Great article mate! Wish I'd had this a few years back so I didn't have to work it all out by myself! 😄 

I do most of what you've written, but not overly much on analysing the opposition - I used to, but am playing faster these days, so just take note of their formation and then switch things if I need to, but I don't go into who their key players are etc. It has to be said my approach is to have much better players than the opposition, so it matters less in that case. I do tend to go more into detail in important games like the Champions League Finals etc.

The only thing I'd add would be a "10. It never ends"... The Tactic I am using now is fairly different from what I was using in FMM17 (same basic formation, but quite different instructions) - but I never actually Changed Tactic, I just tweaked it as I went and found improvements etc.

Anyway top work - really great article. 

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2 hours ago, Nucleus said:

I always envisage a way of playing first and then analyse my squad to play that way. There’s absolutely nothing wrong (In fact, it’s advised) in analysing your squad first and basing a tactic on their strengths and weaknesses though. The order of these steps aren’t gospel and they can be followed in any way you like to be honest. 

I know exactly what you mean. It's a tricky one tho tbh, as in my earlier FMM days I would ALWAYS analyze my squad first and single out my top players, my spine of the team and build a team and formation around them. Just like in real life and I always played this games as if I were managing a real team. Just fun that way I guess. But I have "caught" myself more and more going with formations I know work well I try to fit my players into that system. Firstly, because it's a working reliable set-up, secondly because I've tried lots of standard formations that kept failing so I was getting bored of the inevitable timewaste. 

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12 minutes ago, Scratch said:

Great article mate! Wish I'd had this a few years back so I didn't have to work it all out by myself! 😄 

I do most of what you've written, but not overly much on analysing the opposition - I used to, but am playing faster these days, so just take note of their formation and then switch things if I need to, but I don't go into who their key players are etc. It has to be said my approach is to have much better players than the opposition, so it matters less in that case. I do tend to go more into detail in important games like the Champions League Finals etc.

The only thing I'd add would be a "10. It never ends"... The Tactic I am using now is fairly different from what I was using in FMM17 (same basic formation, but quite different instructions) - but I never actually Changed Tactic, I just tweaked it as I went and found improvements etc.

Anyway top work - really great article. 

Thanks Scratch, really appreciated :) 

It never ends is absolutely true. Even with a world beating team and an unbeatable tactic who doesn’t at least “try” to better it! 

Thanks again!

13 minutes ago, BatiGoal said:

I know exactly what you mean. It's a tricky one tho tbh, as in my earlier FMM days I would ALWAYS analyze my squad first and single out my top players, my spine of the team and build a team and formation around them. Just like in real life and I always played this games as if I were managing a real team. Just fun that way I guess. But I have "caught" myself more and more going with formations I know work well I try to fit my players into that system. Firstly, because it's a working reliable set-up, secondly because I've tried lots of standard formations that kept failing so I was getting bored of the inevitable timewaste. 

And I would do exactly the same in my earlier days of the game. The thing is, team building is so easy on this game wether you are a moneybags team or not. A lower league side could potentially build a team capable of playing a tiki tala style purely from the available free agents, that’s mostly the reason I listed them as “envisage a style of play” first, and “analyse your squad” afterwards. Thanks for your insight Bati :) 

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2 hours ago, Nucleus said:

tiki tala style

Pls tell us more about this style 😂 

I always love reading these guides, great to reread every now and again and there's something to learn for all of us no matter how veteran we may think we are. If it isn't the guide itself it's the discussion it generates. So good work 👍 

2 hours ago, Scratch said:

I do most of what you've written, but not overly much on analysing the opposition - I used to, but am playing faster these days, so just take note of their formation and then switch things if I need to, but I don't go into who their key players are etc.

Yes and no for me on the analyzing opposition bit. If it actually makes a difference I can't say for sure but I simply enjoying doing it during certain careers. I do think it gives me better results tbh but in order to really determine whether it does or not I'd have to experiment with identical saves for X amount of games etc etc. Another reason is it makes me feel more.. managerly 😁

But for careers I'm not intending to post I play faster. Formation, tactics, subs, it's all the same for every game. But once there's a spot on the leaderboard at stake I check for possible exploits. Simple things like misplaced players, formations with too much space in middle or sides, and "bad" player role combinations like BWM+BBM or any 2-man midfield with a BWM at that, multiple BPDs, stuff like that. It's more time consuming but also fun in a certain way.

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6 minutes ago, BatiGoal said:

always love reading these guides, great to reread every now and again and there's something to learn for all of us no matter how veteran we may think we are. If it isn't the guide itself it's the discussion it generates. So good work 👍 

Thanks Bati :) I had hoped it would generate a discussion, so it’s a win win!

7 minutes ago, BatiGoal said:

check for possible exploits. Simple things like misplaced players, formations with too much space in middle or sides, and "bad" player role combinations like BWM+BBM or any 2-man midfield with a BWM at that, multiple BPDs, stuff like that. It's more time consuming but also fun in a certain way.

This is exactly what I do. As you say, it might not make a difference, but it’s better than doing sod all but let the game run is the way I look at it 😂 during a match I’ll check the opposition page at certain intervals (every 15-20 in match minutes or so/after a goal is scored/sending off and so on) if there’s an opportunity to exploit something then I’ll opt to take it regardless of if it works or not

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12 hours ago, BatiGoal said:

But once there's a spot on the leaderboard at stake I check for possible exploits. Simple things like misplaced players, formations with too much space in middle or sides, and "bad" player role combinations like BWM+BBM or any 2-man midfield with a BWM at that, multiple BPDs, stuff like that. It's more time consuming but also fun in a certain way.

Yeah, I get you. I used to do this and still do it for the big games (ie Champion's League), but just can't spend the time anymore for the vast majority of games. Now it's more like: 1) spend some time making sure the tactic works; then 2) sit back and reap the rewards.... 😄

If we were struggling, then maybe I'd have to spend more time, but I put myself in a situation (weak league, strong players) where we never struggle. Maybe that means I don't quite get as many goals as I good, but I'm doing okay and I'd never get through a long career otherwise. 

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13 hours ago, Ashez said:

Solid article @Nucleus, I agree with most the points made so this should be a great help for new or struggling players :)

Thanks Ashez :) 

 

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Great guide, it’ll be a great help to people new to the game and I’m sure it’ll get more experienced users thinking about things in a slightly different way. 

I totally agree about not going overboard on team instructions as it can be easy to get caught out thinking you need to change every single instruction just for the sake of when it’s often not the case at all.

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This is such a great breakdown of the different ways that one can approach the task of setting up a tactic for a team. Thanks for your hard work and useful insights. And really, thanks to all the folks posting here, since, as Bati mentioned, there is a lot to learn from the ensuing discussion as well. 

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