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First off, I have a confession to make. [stands up]: "Hi, my name is Dean and I'm a Plug & Playaholic." I should say, however, that I'm not suggesting there is a right or wrong way to play your game. If you want to create/do everything yourself (not just tactics but training, scouting and everything in between) that's fine, and if you prefer to use Plug & Play tactics, using someone else's training schedules, scouting shortlists, etc. that's perfectly OK too. Instead, I'm going to concentrate on tactics and attempt to show the disparity between creating your own and using Plug & Play, and why I believe this has caused so many problems for people, especially in FM19. It may also go some way to explain why there have been a number of arguments on these forums between people on one side who believe the game to be 'broken' and those on the other who insist it isn't. I'm not saying this is something I have researched for weeks or months on end, and I'm in no way an expert. This is just my opinion from what I have experienced in FM19. OK, here goes... There are essentially two types of tactic: 1) one you create yourself, with or without a little help, using logic with your formation, player roles and instructions, etc., trying to fit everything in neatly in a sensible approach and 2) a plug and play tactic that someone else has created to try and exploit certain weaknesses in the ME I think now more than ever, due to the ever increasing complexities within the game, more people are opting for the simpler plug and play option and these tactics are easy to find and plentiful in supply. Not only on here but on a number of other websites, with numerous 'testing tables' where someone has tried out all of these tactics over the course of a season, generally using one top team and one underdog. Now, with just a few clicks, you can see which of these have performed the best, take that tactic (or a few of them if you like) and just stick them into your save. I've been guilty of doing that on occasion (or most of the time) too but perhaps that's just because I can be very lazy What you will probably find with most of these plug and play style tactics is that, from a logical point of view, they don't actually make much sense. A lot of them will tell you to do all the things you probably shouldn't but because they end up working, very few people care about the whys and the wherefores. A perfect example of this is if we look at one of the main issues with this year's version: long shots and the high percentage of goals scored from them, and this thread (to start with at least) is going to concentrate on that. What you are likely to find is a very different approach between Plug & Play and what you might expect would work. First, we'll assess the logical approach. To help cut down on these long shot opportunities, using a DM can be very effective. You can possibly go without one if your CMs are up to the task but it's not easy finding the right ones, especially on a budget. Part of the problem is the correlation between your defensive line and your line of engagement. If these are too far apart, you will become too stretched and open to exploitation with all the space you are leaving between your midfielders and defenders. This can become disastrous when you consider the strength of long shots in FM19, especially if you don't employ a DM. Going the other way and bunching up too much (higher defensive line and lower LOE) might put more pressure on your opponents to try and prevent the long shots but this can create different problems, especially if you don't have quick defenders, as not only are you allowing your opponents to move up the pitch with freedom, you are also susceptible to the balls over the top or behind your defence, with little pressure to prevent them. If you have your fullbacks on attack duty, or even support if they also have PI's of get further forward, etc you are leaving yourself even more exposed. Add in the Counter-press, which seems very popular this year, and the Prevent GK Distribution, and this can become a nightmare as you will have 6 players high up the pitch, your two fullbacks pushing up too, and a massive gap in the middle of the park for your two CBs to deal with. To prevent all this mayhem, you are probably looking at going with a more balanced (or positive) approach, with both your defensive line and LOE quite similar, avoiding the extremes, and probably not pushing right up with both either. Perhaps go with a DM or, at worst, a holding CM who doesn't have the 'gets further forward' trait. Rather than use Counter-press, which would see your midfielders and strikers all pushing forward to try and win the ball back and leave all that space behind them, you might employ a few player instructions instead, but use them sparingly. Being sensible about it, using these PIs only for your most forward players. But when you look at Plug & Play, I find that the majority go with what the likes of @Rashidi would call a 'Suicide Press'. Things you are likely to see in a number of Plug & Play tactics: Attacking Mentality Higher or Much Higher Defensive Line Higher or Much Higher LOE Counter-Press Counter Prevent GK Distribution Extremely Urgent Pressing And a lot of the time, they use a 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 formation so there is next to no cover at all at the back. On the face of it, this looks absolutely nuts but, for whatever reason, a lot of these tactics work and work well. Some of these tactics also have the throw-in and corner exploits built in to take even more of an advantage. Using Plug & Play. When we first buy the game, a lot of us just want to dive right in. We don't want to be spending ages trying to design a tactic to suit our players or our philosophy, we just want to play, right? So what do we do? We take the easy option and go look for a Plug & Play tactic that someone has created because these guys have been around for years and we know they have come up with some unbelievably good tactics before. I'm talking about people like @knap, @Mr U Rosler, @Totalfootballfan, @FuSS, etc who have all been there, done that. We take on their tactics without question, try them out and stick with the ones that work best for us. We don't worry about how or why they work, only that they work. 4-4-2 is very popular with the Plug & Players this year, just like 3-4-3 (no strikers) was in FM17 (I didn't play 18). But here is the crux of the problem. (if this does not apply to you, just substitute every 'we' for 'I' as this is how I have often felt in FM19) The majority of these tactics have the 'suicide press' combination listed above, or at least most of them, but what happens if we want to wean ourselves off these Plug & Play tactics and create our own? Maybe we now have time to do something ourselves, perhaps we have managed to figure out our philosophy, or we just want something a little different. Where do we start? Well, we'd probably look at what has worked for us so far (i.e. 'suicide press') and try and tweak it. I mean, why wouldn't we? It's worked so far, right? And this is when the problems really begin. Most of these d/l tactics work as they are, that's the point. Somehow, the combination of things in them makes them work, but changing even the smallest thing can see them fall apart and we become frustrated. Perhaps the long shot issue comes to the fore, maybe the poor defensive heading is now more prevalent. We don't know, or even sometimes care, why it's happening, we just hate that it is and we fail to understand why. We might watch some Bustthenet videos and see that what is being explained there is very different to how we have been playing the game so far and to try and understand and implement everything is just too much to take in. We don't get how our team can overachieve one season with Plug & Play and fail the next with our own tactic. We head to the forums and see that plenty of other people are having similar issues and so we add our own little experience of it there too. There are, of course, a lot of others who have not experienced these problems. We become annoyed when they tell us we are moaning without reason or 'proof' and the conversation descends into a heated exchange. ---------------------------------------- All of this has happened to me this year and I'll add more details shortly but, for the time being... "My name is Dean and I'm a Plug & Playaholic. Thank you for listening." [sits down]
Greetings everyone from MrLTactics! MrlTactics.com is a fairly new fm website, but we already have a sizeable and growing community. The main idea of our website is to offer a unique FM service, namely tactic testing on a huge scale. In the beginning, we tested tactics manually for the community, but we soon realized that we didn't have enough spare time to do this next to our jobs/schoolwork and families. We then came up with the idea of making a script that did some of the work for us, so that it would require less interaction from us to keep the service available. However, after a while, even this approach became too time consuming, as the demand was greater that what we had time for. We then worked for months writing a more complex, better script, and now we are finally able to keep up the service with minimal work. Users can now send their tactics directly to our dedicated testing machine, and get their results posted directly on the tactic ladder on our website. We are very proud of being the only FM fansite in the world who offers such a service. In addition, we can mention that many of the world's top tacticians already have profiles in our forum, and some of them are also available on our Discord server. One of the tacticians who has helped us grow alot is Knap, who you SI-folks probably know well. To sum up, we want MrLTactics.com to be everyone's go-to site when it comes to plug & play tactics, tactic discussion, tactic creation, tactic testing, everything tactic related! There are many fm sites which can provide a better fansite experience in other areas, so we want to specialize on the tactic front. Our community is growing, and we hope to see many new faces in the time to come Best wishes in your FM journeys, Mr L & Luigi Our Website: mrltactics.com Our Forum: forum.mrltactics.com/ Our Discord: discord.io/mrltactics