A couple of disclaimers up top:
-I'm very much a newcomer to FM and Football in general, though I've played a lot of OOTP and other sports management sims. Apologies in advance for silly questions/not knowing terminology/etc.
-Yes, I shamelessly use the editor because I like learning new games by having the freedom to mess around however I like. Yes, I know Moukoko/Ugarte/Assuncao will never play in the VNL North. No, it's not boring for me (yet) to win every game by stupid margins - I'm building for eventual promotions anyways. And yes, when I want a real challenge I'll start a new save with less/no editor use. Later for the gatekeeping, please - let a noob enjoy messing around. [That being said, I am hoping to play this tactic in a more 'honest' save once I've refined it a bit, so please feel free to give advice that's more general/based on avoiding editor use, not so much about my specific players or this specific team.]
-Apologies in advance for the wall of text. I tend towards the 'information overload' style of communication, but I've tried to break it into parts and space things out decently enough.
Ok, so here's the quick backstory: being a fan of somewhat unorthodox strategies and free-flowing formations (I play a lot of Ultimate Frisbee personally IRL), I decided to build my first teams around the idea of Total Football from back in the Rinus Michels/Cryuff/etc. days. I started off by downloading a bunch of pre-made tactics from various sites that attempt to faithfully re-create various teams from this style/era (Ajax, etc.), and it has been a lot of fun. So, I'm now deciding to try my hand at making a custom tactic from scratch that's somewhat inspired by these, but not directly copying them. The result, so far, is this mess:
Player instructions are as follows (beyond the default for their role/settings):
-Center F9: roam from position, move into channels
-Side F9s: run wide with ball, stay wider, roam from position
-BBM: get further forward
-RGA: get further forward
-BPDs: stay wider
[Note: the keepers in all the screenshots should be set as sweeper keepers (support), I had them set differently by accident when taking the screenshots.]
A few caveats/foundational principles I'm working around:
-Extreme fluidity/positional switching is the priority since that's the TF hallmark; as such, each of the front three has a 'swap roles' situation set up: center F9 swaps with the Regista (might change this to swap with the BBM, thoughts?), and each side F9 switches with the corresponding CWB
-I want to use a Libero in central defense, ideally in 'attack' mode, because that seems to be a classic hallmark of many old TF teams
-I want to use 3xFalse Nine, because... Well, why not? What could be better than one F9? Three of them! Also, I was inspired by a recent meme on the r/footballmanagergames subreddit, not going to lie. The F9 role supposedly switches pretty fluidly all over the field like the tactic wants, so why not have as many as possible?
-I don't mind (and in fact rather like) the idea of players having to fit very strange/specific skillsets and play all over the field - for example, the F9/CWB combo is not one I see a lot of players having naturally, but there's surprising amount of overlap in the required attributes, so I figure players can be re-trained to fit this tactic over time. Same goes for the F9/Regista setup.
I tried to do a 3-4-3 to stay true to the original TF ideas, but in FM doing this with a Libero seems to inevitably leave the tactic with glaring defensive weaknesses - bright red patches all over the defensive third. No good. So, this led me to a 5-defender formation (4-defender doesn't allow Libero, and while some tactics I've seen use a central BPD to approximate it, I want the genuine article if possible), where the wings are major offensive players - hence the two CWB roles. (Note: I can shore up the weaknesses in the attacking third somewhat by setting them both to 'attacking,' but that downgrades the team fluidity from 'very fluid' to just 'flexible' so I decided against it for now; advice on this point would be welcomed though.) So... it almost seems like I sort of just accidentally re-invented the 3-4-3? I'm not quite clear on that. Moving the wings up to be WMs doesn't seem too bad, but it seems to weaken the defense a lot (especially with the Libero on 'attack') without much upside.
My thinking on the remaining positions:
-BBM: plays the full field, constantly switches between offense and defense, etc. Seems to fit the tactic? I have also considered a roaming playmaker instead. I see a lot of Mezzalas used, but they have to be off-center and I'm drawn towards midfield symmetry when I don't have wingers. Maybe that symmetry isn't important and I should have a Mezzala anyways? The F9-Mezz swap seems to be a classic TF thing? (For this same reason I have the two midfielders stacked vertically, not horizontally - thoughts on this? It seems to weaken parts of the midfield a bit, but I don't know how important that is vs. symmetry and other considerations.)
-RGA: honestly not sure, but from the description I think it fits the general idea of the tactic? Not quite as far back as the DLP, so maybe less likely to crowd the Libero? I've read some people say that Liberos and any sort of DLP/RGA/etc. can be problematic, and others say it's fine if you're careful about the formation and instructions and such. Can only be played from the DM spot, so if I go to horizontal midfielders this role will have to change obviously.
-BPD(cover): not sure on this either, but this seems to fit the tactic too of including the defense as relevant parts of the offense; 'cover' seems important given that the Libero is on 'attack,' but maybe I'm thinking about that wrong and they should be on 'defend' or 'stopper.'
I also have a weird variant of this that's supposed to be... I guess a 3-3-3-1 without wingers? I basically just drop the two extra F9s back to become Mezzalas, one on each side to act as semi-wingers. I imagine I might use this as a 'second half, up by several goals, almost-park-the-bus' type of strategy. It looks like this:
Obviously, I doubt we'll score many goals with this, but the defense looks solid and there's at least a non-zero chance of still scoring. Perhaps the BBM should be moved to an AM or some sort, but again this is the most heavily defense-focused variant. Once again, I can shore up the attacking-third weaknesses by shifting the CWBs and/or Mezzalas into 'attack' mode, but this comes at the cost of fluidity and some defensive presence:
(Note: setting the CWBs to attack but the Mezzalas to support at least gets me to 'flexible,' but still not fluid or very fluid like I want.)
Whew, ok. That's the information. Thanks for reading, if you're still here.
Any and all advice is welcome! I like to learn by drinking from the proverbial fire hose, so bring it all on.
Some specific questions:
-Is the RGA a good fit for this strategy, and can it play safely with the L(At)? If not, how should I reconfigure my two midfielders?
-How should I be thinking about the trade-off between more fluidity and better field coverage? Both in this tactic specifically, and in FM more generally.
-Do my settings for in/out of possession and in transition look ok? What might I consider adjusting, and why?
-Do my player instructions make sense/look ok? What might I consider adjusting, and why?
Thanks in advance for any and all input!