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BiggusD

FM12 4-2-4 Wide Attacking, high possession Classic tactic: Six-Four v5

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This is a set of three tactics designed to allow you to be in control of the match and create a wide variety of chances.

The main tactic is the most attacking one, the 4-2-4. The four defenders and two defensive midfielders are all aggressive and willing to gain possession of the ball in lucrative positions on the field, while the four forwards aim to create space for themselves and use their strengths.

The two others are good options when the main tactic fails to dominate. The 4-4-2 often lets you take over the initiative, while the 5-4-1 usually causes the game to fast forward to the end with no highlights.

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The tactic is for the most part the same as the one I posted for FM11.3, except it is now converted to Classic. I have success with Bradford in FM12, and have had sucess with a variety of clubs in FM11: Las Palmas, Juventus, Schalke, Southampton, Carlisle, Wrexham, Manchester City, Milan, Sunderland. Needless to say, a great variety of player types have been in use, and as different players as Iaquinta, Huntelaar and Welbeck have all scored plenty of goals with no tweaks.

That being said, the more speed you have in your team, the better it works. Of course, player quality > all, but good players with good speed are optimal.

The four guys up front should have these qualities: Acceleration, Pace, Determination, Decisions, Team Work, Creativity, Technique, Passing, Dribbling. Recommended PPM's: Killer Balls, One-Two's, Comes Deep to Get the Ball, Dictates Tempo, Shoots with Power, Places Shots

The two DMC's should have these qualities: Acceleration, Pace, Strength, Stamina, Determination, Decisions, Team Work, Work Rate, Positioning, Aggression, Bravery, Concentration, Anticipation, Tackling, Marking. Recommended PPM's: Dives into Tackles

The four defenders should have these qualities: Acceleration, Pace, Jumping, Strength, Determination, Decisions, Team Work, Work Rate, Positioning, Concentration, Anticipation, Tackling, Marking. Recommended PPM's: Marks Tightly

4-2-4

http://www.gamefront.com/files/20934310/4_2_4_FM12_Six_Four_Classic__Bradford__Mar_2012__tac

4-4-2

http://www.gamefront.com/files/20934311/4_4_2_FM12_Eight_Two_Counter_Classic__Bradford__Mar_2012__tac

5-4-1

http://www.gamefront.com/files/20934312/5_4_1_FM12_Ultradefensive_Classic__Bradford__Mar_2012__tac

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If I were to make a list of the best team possible for this tactic, no questions asked, then it would look like this:

Strikers: Sergio Aguero, Wayne Rooney

Left Winger: Cristiano Ronaldo

Right Winger: Lionel Messi

Defensive Midfielders: Michael Essien, Javier Mascherano

Left Back: Patrice Evra

Right Back: Daniel Alves

Centre Backs: Gerard Piqué, Lucio

Keeper: Iker Casillas

... although this is perhaps not so revolutionary. I may make a list of affordable players later :p

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Am bored so will be trying this triple pack out with Man City today - Will post thoughts later :-)

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http://www.gamefront.com/files/20952846/Bradford_v_Bournemouth_pkm

Here's a match from my Bradford game, second season at home vs Bournemouth in League One.

Won 3-0 in an unremarkable game, but I think it shows a variety of chances created, some nice play against an established behind-the-ball defense, some nice counter-attacks and also how the tactic works with two "correctly-footed" wingers.

I recommend inverted-footed playmaker wingers who can also score goals (for instance Marek Hamsik on the left wing), but the tactic is designed to allow the players to use their strengths so the most important bit is that they are good players. In my experience the tactic rewards quality at an exponential (is that the correct term?) rate. EDIT: maybe "improportional" is a better word.

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Here's how season 1 ended

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Signings season 1

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Signings season 2

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How would you translate these tactics into TC (philosophy, strategy, roles)? Is it even possible in your opinion?

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How would you translate these tactics into TC (philosophy, strategy, roles)? Is it even possible in your opinion?

I think you would be able to make something like it for all the defenders and perhaps the wingers too, but not the DMC's and the strikers. FM12's Defensive midfielders can only have Support roles, so even at Attacking starting strategy, they might not have high enough attacking mentality I suppose. Even if they did get attacking mentalities they would be told to go forward often and hold up ball and whatnot. The forwards would be too selfish at that starting strategy anyways, and when told to run from deep often they do so too early instead of making space for themselves to receive the ball, and the attacking play would come to a halt one way or another.

The tactic started out as a TC tactic, and gradually settled into a Classic tactic only it wasn't converted. I did that last week and perhaps except I should have set the Philosophy to be more rigid, it is exactly the same.

The problem you would face when re-creating this tactic in the TC is that the six guys in the back are all aggressive and attacking-minded while not allowed to go forward, and the four guys up front are relatively defensive-minded but not allowed to go forward much either. This results in a defense which rushes in to gain possession of the ball relentlessly while the forwards are creating chances for each other in a relatively calm manner.

That can't be recreated in the TC, I am sure.

You can try setting the starting mentality to Attacking, philosophy to Balanced (or less), Closing down to More Often. Then change the DC's to Stoppers, the full backs to Defensive, the DMC's to Support (could perhaps try Anchor but those guys are way too passive), the wingers to Wide Playmakers perhaps idk. The strikers to Deep-Lying Forward on Support duty. Make sure no-one has Hold up Ball. Turn off Long Shots. Untick Counter Attack and Offside Trap. Turn off Run From Deep on everyone except the wingers.

Or you could just scroll down, find my FM11 TC version and untick the boxes one by one and see if you can replicate my instructions closely enough by adjusting roles and duties. Depending on what shouts you like to use, you don't need to have all instructions "open".

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I've been playing with this formation within the TC options for some time, with the primary aim of this...

the six guys in the back are all aggressive and attacking-minded while not allowed to go forward, and the four guys up front are relatively defensive-minded but not allowed to go forward much either. This results in a defense which rushes in to gain possession of the ball relentlessly while the forwards are creating chances for each other in a relatively calm manner.

...but with little success. The problem is the two DMCs are not aggressive enough and are not involved in our offensive actions as much as they should be. As a result, there's a huge gap between them and the front four. I've tried to bridge it with Inside forwards on attack duty, as well as one striker as deep-lying forward on support. That didn't bring results until I moved the DMCs to MCs (ball-winning mids, one defensive, one support). That closed the gap, all right, but made them even more passive. The only scenario they worked (more or less) as DMCs was when I was playing Counter strategy, defending deep and relying on direct passes for quick counters. However, it's not much of a use since I don't play that way very often (partially because it feels I'm inviting too much pressure without actually being aggressive enough).

You can try setting the starting mentality to Attacking, philosophy to Balanced (or less), Closing down to More Often. Then change the DC's to Stoppers, the full backs to Defensive, the DMC's to Support (could perhaps try Anchor but those guys are way too passive), the wingers to Wide Playmakers perhaps idk. The strikers to Deep-Lying Forward on Support duty. Make sure no-one has Hold up Ball. Turn off Long Shots. Untick Counter Attack and Offside Trap. Turn off Run From Deep on everyone except the wingers.

Seeing this, my problem could be the wrong philosophy for that setup. I've been using Fluid all the time, which is apparently not suitable for this kind of tactical approach?

I feel very limited with TC tbh, but I don't really understand how mentalities work, especially if I was to alter them manually. I do feel the problem (or at least part of it) lies there, but have no idea how would I go about learning the works of manual slider adjustments. Any ideas?

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Mentality is simply how inclined a player is to go into a tackle, take a shot, try to dribble, a through pass and stuff like that. Defenders and midfielders on high attacking mentalities will risk everything in order to win possession of the ball. On defensive mentalities, however, they will avoid doing that because if they fail that tackle or challenge the opponent is often through on goal or the defense is unbalanced. A forward on a high attacking mentality will do the same and be more decisive in his play, but he will also be more selfish as he will try to shoot any chance he gets - he is more desperate so to speak.

So defenders on defensive mentalities will be passive and attackers on attacking mentalities will be stressed out.

However, on attacking mentalities the players are back-tracking less.

I wouldn't worry about the gap between the attack and the defense. My tactic relies on it! If your midfielders stay in a central position, they will leave a lot of space behind them -and- not contribute much to the attack. On defensive mentalities they will make sure that there is minimal space behind them but not help up front, on attacking mentalities they will help with the attacking somewhat, but leave continents of space behind them. On normal/balanced mentalities they do neither and are completely useless. Everything is better with them as DMC's but then you need the forwards to drop deep to get the ball and the wingers to cut inside yes.

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All right, thanks for suggestions and explanations. I'm not inclined to just plug and play other people's tactics because the sense of achievement is then diminished. Instead, I'm willing to learn so I appreciate your help despite me basically spamming this topic (if we assume these topics are for "woa, nice one, I won 14 games on the trot" type of comments :)).

I'll play around certain things you mentioned and we'll see what kind of new tactical mistakes I can come up with. :D

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Mentality is simply how inclined a player is to go into a tackle, take a shot, try to dribble, a through pass and stuff like that. Defenders and midfielders on high attacking mentalities will risk everything in order to win possession of the ball. On defensive mentalities, however, they will avoid doing that because if they fail that tackle or challenge the opponent is often through on goal or the defense is unbalanced. A forward on a high attacking mentality will do the same and be more decisive in his play, but he will also be more selfish as he will try to shoot any chance he gets - he is more desperate so to speak.

So defenders on defensive mentalities will be passive and attackers on attacking mentalities will be stressed out.

However, on attacking mentalities the players are back-tracking less.

I wouldn't worry about the gap between the attack and the defense. My tactic relies on it! If your midfielders stay in a central position, they will leave a lot of space behind them -and- not contribute much to the attack. On defensive mentalities they will make sure that there is minimal space behind them but not help up front, on attacking mentalities they will help with the attacking somewhat, but leave continents of space behind them. On normal/balanced mentalities they do neither and are completely useless. Everything is better with them as DMC's but then you need the forwards to drop deep to get the ball and the wingers to cut inside yes.

Excellent post! Thank you!

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You can try setting the starting mentality to Attacking, philosophy to Balanced (or less), Closing down to More Often. Then change the DC's to Stoppers, the full backs to Defensive, the DMC's to Support (could perhaps try Anchor but those guys are way too passive), the wingers to Wide Playmakers perhaps idk. The strikers to Deep-Lying Forward on Support duty. Make sure no-one has Hold up Ball. Turn off Long Shots. Untick Counter Attack and Offside Trap. Turn off Run From Deep on everyone except the wingers.

I've tried this for a few games and it works well. What worried me when I set up the tactic is that all players bar the back four are on support. I thought that would cause imbalance and crowd the pitch; 2 DLF, 2 advanced playmakers on the wings, and 2 DMCs all on support. However, it works for some reason. I had ball possession and a few good chances even against better teams.

Also, I'm looking at the screenshots of both 442 of yours. What is your reasoning behind the tempo and width change between the two?

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The 4-2-4 is the attacking tactic, and the width is set exactly there because I found that it is there that the strikers find themselves in the right channels and angles related to the keeper, and the wingers are equally inclined to cut inside as they are to run down the flank. The six defenders are also evenly spaced - neither bumping into each other nor leaving large gaps between them. The full backs are positioned correctly in relation to both their wingers and my stoppers.

The tempo in the 4-2-4 tactic is slow because as an attacking tactic you will often push the opposition back and stay there. Thus there will be less space in front of the goals and if the tempo is quick, the players will often try to finish the attack as quickly as possible too. This is nice when on the counter-attack but against a defense with 10 men behind the ball cramming up in front of their goal, you will not create big enough chances even though the shot ratio is high. A slow tempo helps against this problem because the team keeps possession waiting for the right chance instead. When the opportunity arises the slow tempo doesn't stop the team from launching quick attacks.

The 4-4-2 tactic is there for the situations when you are overrun by the opposition -AND- don't create chances. The counter-attacking capabilities of the 4-2-4 tactic are strong, so being under pressure is not really a problem as long as your four forwards are running at four or less defenders all the time - then you win and you win big. The problem arises when you are under pressure and don't create chances at all. That is when changing the tactic can be a sensible course of action, and the 4-4-2 comes into the picture. It is a more defensive, counter-attack-oriented tactic that take less risks, defends deeper and attacks quicker. However, if you are under pressure and are forced deep into your own half, playing wide will cause gaps centrally, between the stoppers and betwen the stoppers and the full backs. This is why the tactic is more narrow.

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Right, just as I thought. :)

Now, I've tried to recreate such way of playing in TC with some manual slider alterations both in player and team instructions...

The first one is attacking...

http://www.sendspace.com/file/lic1sn

...while the second one is a back-up solution...

http://www.sendspace.com/file/bvuvv4

Would you mind taking a look at those two and point to an error if you spot one or make a suggestion or two?

I've tried both and they seem ok, not sure how they would fare in the long run...

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Right, just as I thought. :)

Now, I've tried to recreate such way of playing in TC with some manual slider alterations both in player and team instructions...

The first one is attacking...

http://www.sendspace.com/file/lic1sn

...while the second one is a back-up solution...

http://www.sendspace.com/file/bvuvv4

Would you mind taking a look at those two and point to an error if you spot one or make a suggestion or two?

I've tried both and they seem ok, not sure how they would fare in the long run...

Scrap that, I've noticed some huge errors, mainly that I gave my forwards too low of a mentality. The team seemed much more organized, but the front four weren't driven forward enough. I got tempo and width just about to my liking, but I'll need to make my forwards do their primary job.

The other one is a bit better, but still unbalanced.

So, even if you were about to check those tactics, save your time, they're not worth the hassle. :)

The bottom line is I think I'm getting the grasp of how exactly mentalities work. :thup:

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Scrap that, I've noticed some huge errors, mainly that I gave my forwards too low of a mentality. The team seemed much more organized, but the front four weren't driven forward enough. I got tempo and width just about to my liking, but I'll need to make my forwards do their primary job.

The other one is a bit better, but still unbalanced.

So, even if you were about to check those tactics, save your time, they're not worth the hassle. :)

The bottom line is I think I'm getting the grasp of how exactly mentalities work. :thup:

I hadn't downloaded them yet but thought of doing it later tonight. Thanks for saving me those minutes ;)

It takes time to build a tactic by testing what works and what doesn't, but the end result is usually more informed than the faith-based system of the TC's default roles, duties and strategies.

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My goal in general is to create a solid tactic (actually two, second being a more cautious back-up) I can "trust" and rely on. In other words, I'm not interested in "super tactics" that work regardless of your players, but in tactics I know it will complement my transfers and morale management. When I sign a good player, I don't want to be left wondering whether my tactic is preventing him to fulfill his current ability.

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My goal in general is to create a solid tactic (actually two, second being a more cautious back-up) I can "trust" and rely on. In other words, I'm not interested in "super tactics" that work regardless of your players, but in tactics I know it will complement my transfers and morale management. When I sign a good player, I don't want to be left wondering whether my tactic is preventing him to fulfill his current ability.

That is actually my approach too :)

The reason there are so few instructions set to "Often" in my tactic is that I don't want the players, whoever they are, to be faceless machines that do the same thing over and over again. When set to do things only rarely or mixed/sometimes there are more options open to them, which a healthy portion of Creative Freedom allows them their own choice. This way, attributes and preferred moves play more important roles at least to the attackers.

It is hard getting slow box-player target-men to work properly in the tactic, though. Creative, linking target men can be very good, but not those who are only big, strong and good finishers. That's a type of player that requires a whole team around them for creative support, but this tactic thrives on forwards who can create chances both for themselves and the three other mates up front - especially if they are not fast. It is often the four of them vs the opposition defense.

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I recommend ticking off counter-attack in the 442 tactic as it makes it more versatile. Counter-attack is a feature that instruct your players to keep the ball in the back in order to lure the opposition out of their defensive positioning, so if you are countered upon by a defensive opponent with the 424 tactic I recommend changing to the 442 tactic and counter their counter-attacks.

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I am now 1st in Championship in January, so the tactic is definitely making a difference since most of my players are of L1 quality.

With Roma, using the previous FM11 tactic I came 5th first season, which was a bit disappointing. 2nd season I am still way behind my friend's Napoli team so I switched to this Classic version of the tactic and the first match was really pleasing as I had full control and created many big chances (but won only 1-0 away). The next match was also pleasing, but that is as far as we have come so far. I will keep you updated next week.

I hope I get more responses regarding how the 100-or-so people who have downloaded this set of tactics are doing with them, their experiences and questions. The complete radio silence is bugging me since my friends have yet to come across tactics which appears to be significantly better, but I think there is still room for improvement.

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I'm using heavily tweaked TC versions of your 424 and 442 tactic. The latter brings some impressive results against better opposition since it's more cautious. The former is way too open to use against teams of equal or higher ability than my team. Maybe it's a question of bringing in better players, we'll see.

I haven't tried the 3rd tactic.

Don't worry about "complete radio silence", it's because you presented your tactics without a flash and loads of tests to show it off. Majority of people who download tactics just want to plug them in and win-win-win, without really understanding what's going on.

While I'm at it, what's your view on those narrow 41212 tactics that have been so popular? It seems they exploit the engine pretty hard since I've seen people overachieve massively using those tactics.

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I'm using heavily tweaked TC versions of your 424 and 442 tactic. The latter brings some impressive results against better opposition since it's more cautious. The former is way too open to use against teams of equal or higher ability than my team. Maybe it's a question of bringing in better players, we'll see.

I haven't tried the 3rd tactic.

Don't worry about "complete radio silence", it's because you presented your tactics without a flash and loads of tests to show it off. Majority of people who download tactics just want to plug them in and win-win-win, without really understanding what's going on.

While I'm at it, what's your view on those narrow 41212 tactics that have been so popular? It seems they exploit the engine pretty hard since I've seen people overachieve massively using those tactics.

Yes 4-1-2-1-2 is a good tactic when you balance it right. It is also pretty easy to stop if you play narrowly and have many players centrally. I haven't tested those myself, so I wouldn't know precisely how they work, but I assume they play through the middle and get lots of 1-on-1 chances with the keeper. That is good of course, but it can also be a problem if the strikers don't have the best of days.

Against AI using this formation, my strikers are struggling because of the narrow space between the defenders and the anchor man denying them space to drop in. The wingers are usually dominating quite a bit, though. On the other hand, they struggle even more to create chances on me because I am effectively playing with four central defenders.

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How many games do you usually need to test a tactic? How do you test it in general?

You know instantly whether there is hope for a tactic or not. The testing of the tactic itself takes roughly half a season to one season, though. I must say that before it comes to that I need to play enough FM to recognize how the ME works, and that may take many seasons. I am fumbling around blindfolded just like everyone else up to that point. I play test savegames normally except when there is something that is bugging me I reload matches, re-create the same situation as closely as possible, and then continue when I am satisfied (it may still be a loss or draw). It's not like that is a scientific method or anything but I think it helps me to pinpoint problem areas, especially in Extended or Full Match mode. This is a contributing factor for the discontinuation once the tactic is ready for a real savegame.

This tactic (or mainly the TC-fully-ticked-off version from FM11) has been tested/played for a total of roughly 25 seasons over several savegames since last February. I have used it with everything from BSN/S sides to Manchester City and Real Madrid (that was a holiday test-save) and it has always been good enough to make a clear difference compared to the AI, and roughly 15 of those seasons have been multiplayer-games with friends who were using several very popular tactics from here and it has always been competitive in that company.

So yes it is thoroughly tested :)

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Sh*t. I was hoping you'd say something like "you need just a few matches to see if a tactic will work." :D I don't want to play test saves and tweak the tactic along the way. :/

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Today I have played 6 or 7 matches, most of them with Roma second season, and won all of them. If anything, it seems that the patch only made the tactic better. I saw that the team morale that previously was Superb was set to Very Good quickly, and most of the players fluctuate between Fairly Poor and Very Good, just like I wanted :)

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The tactic is not very dependent on superb morale and winning streaks, but the defending does become poorer when the team is in bad form - it is still scoring goals, though.A good indicator if the tactic works or not is goalscoring efficiency. Shot-at-goal vs shots ratio should be 50% or higher (often 75% or higher), and goals vs shot-at-goal should be 1/3 if you created less than 10 shots, but it is higher if you create more. I rarely experience having the ball less than my opponents but I expect my Bradford team to experience this in Premier League.

Teams using the tactic should create from 8 to 25 shots, and from 5 to 15 shots at goal regardless of opponent. Normally I concede less than a goal per match, while scoring between 2,5 and 3,5 per match myself (on average). While shots against can be numerous, shots-at-goal should always be lower than yours. I have never experienced having a higher amount of "other chances" and long shots than any AI opponent.

Sometimes, the AI manages to counter-attack so forcefully that the Key Highlights only show opponent action. This is when I switch to the 442 tactic and often take control. If you are overrun, though, just stick with the 424 as you may then punish their adventurous playing style more than they break through you. I never switch to the 541 unless A: I have a two-goal lead, it is less than 20 minutes left and they are taking control of the match, or B: I am desperate.

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link not working?? pls post new link. thanks

All three links work fine for me this morning. Anyone else having trouble downloading?

wich tactis your 6 7 GAMES WIN ,??

The main tactic is the 4-2-4 attacking tactic. There is rarely a need to swap to one of the others in my experience.

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bradfordseason4.th.png

Very pleased with the first season in the Premiership. Won the League Cup and qualified for Europe next season.

bradfordseason4resultsf.th.png

bradfordseason4resultss.th.png

Because of the 13 signings in the summer window, most matches before January were a struggle and I often found the need to use the more defensive 442 tactic. The transformation that happened the moment the year turned 2015 astonished me. I signed 6 players in that window as well and from 1st of February I came into a troublesome streak of form again, which lasted roughly a month. I generally struggled when I was touted favourites, and this "took off" after the League Cup win.

bradfordseason4transfer.th.png

Here's the transfers, many of which are newgens.

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bradfordseason4squadand.png

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Here's the squad screen in June.

BTW, anyone know if it is possible to increase the resolution of the screen shots taken with Print Screen?

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