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How to Play FM: A Twelve Step Guide

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wwfan   

Edit - March 2017:  Please be aware that the first section regarding Style (Team Shape) is now somewhat out of date and people looking at the Generalist / Specialist roles should treat it as such.  The following quote from Rashidi in a different thread details further:

 

Before reading: There are many ways in which we interpret football. Some people believe that a team should always employ the same tactic, no matter the opposition, conditions, and match situation. Others believe that a tactical approach should be altered to take into account absolutely everything, giving instructions to play the ball more direct in wet weather, specific marking oppositional threats, changing formation in relation to the opposition's strengths and weaknesses, etc, etc. FM allows both playing styles, and all those in between, to achieve. The below advice is only intended to help people through the basics, after which their own preferred playing styles should begin to shine through. For those who followed my previous thread, very little of this will be new, although I have added depth here and there. Hopefully it refreshes your memory a little at the very least. For those reading this for the first time, I hope it stimulates the grey matter and helps with your enjoyment of FM.

The Twelve Step Guide

1: Understand the core strategic concepts:

Philosophies/Styles: The philosophies/styles are mentality and creative freedom structures. They range from being very structured with low creative freedom, to being very unstructured with lots of creative freedom. A useful interpretation would be as follows:

Very Rigid:
Each player is given a specific job and is supposed to stick to it (usually 5+ different jobs across a team)
Rigid:
Players are assigned a responsibility that contributes to a specific element of play (Defence, defence & transition, transition & attack, attack)
Balanced:
Players focus on their duty (Defend, Support, Attack)
Fluid:
Players are given instructions to focus on defence or attack
Very Fluid:
Players contribute to all aspects of play

As you can see, each step reduces the level of specialisation. At Very Rigid, you have five plus different jobs, Rigid four responsibilities, Balanced three duties, Fluid two focuses, Very Fluid one method. In Very Rigid philosophies, you expect players to stick to their job description, so can assign multiple specialist roles. In Very Fluid philosophies, you expect everybody to do a bit of everything, which means specialist roles are redundant.

I consider the following to be specialist roles:
Target Man
Poacher
False 9
Flank Target Man
Raumdeuter
Trequartista
Enganche
Advanced Playmaker
Roaming Playmaker
Deep Lying Playmaker
Regista
Ball Winning Midfielder
Anchor Man
Libero
These four roles can fit in either camp, depending on your interpretation.
Complete Forward
Defensive Forward
Shadow Striker
Defensive Winger
Box to Box Midfielder
Complete Wing Back
Ball Playing Defender
I consider the following to be generic roles:
Advanced Forward
Deep Lying Forward
Attacking Midfielder
Inside Forward
Winger
Central Midfielder
Wide Midfielder
Defensive Midfielder
Half Back
Wing Back
Inverted Wing Back
Full Back
Limited Full Back
Central Defender
Limited Defender
Sweeper
I don't include keepers, although you might want to regard a sweeper keeper as specialist.

I generally suggest the following as a good rule of thumb (consider the either/or roles as 0.5):

 

Very Rigid
: 4-5 specialist roles

 

Rigid:
3-4 specialist roles

 

Standard:
2-3 specialist roles

 

Fluid:
1-2 specialist roles

 

Very Fluid:
0-1 specialist roles

Please note that these are my interpretations and not hard, fast rules. If you disagree and/or want to be more creative, fire away.

2: Adapt the roles to the player. You will find that many roles do not perfectly fit a player's strengths and weaknesses. Use the individual instructions to fine tune that player's skills to the role requirements. If you find you are fine tuning everything, it might be that you don't actually want the player to be performing that role at all and another one will be far more suited to his skill set. Don't blindly trust your Assistant!! Have a look and see. As player roles stick to the player, you can have one AMR set to an W/A role/duty, but another player with a skill set more attuned to creative passing set to a AP/S. You are no longer stuck to having the same roles active for all players without making lots of fiddly changes.

3: Become aware that the strategy names are more plastic than they seem. The defensive strategy still attacks on the counter, whereas the attacking strategy can still be defensively solid. Bar the two extremes (Contain and Overload), each strategy is both defensive and attacking. A good rule of thumb is that if you want to play with a lot of deep midfielders and a short passing game, choose a less attacking strategy, whereas if you want to have high, effective wingers and a direct style, choose a more attacking strategy.

4: Focus on roles and duties and their combinations. Make sure you have one Attack duty in defence, generally but not absolutely necessarily combined with one Support Duty (note, this includes the deepest wide players in your formation if you are not using the Full Back positions), one Attack Duty and one Defend Duty in midfield, and one Support Duty (or TQ or F9) in attack. This type of structure encourages movement between the lines, which is absolutely vital for a dynamic tactic that creates multiple chance types. It also ensures a tight defensive system in which the team defends en bloc, rather than in disconnected lines. Note that, perhaps counter-intuitively, this type of structure is less necessary in attacking strategies, as players will look to move high up in the pitch naturally and won't need to be told to make forward runs to do so.

If you play a lone FC formation, ensure he drops deep by giving him a support duty, a TQ or F9 role, as other roles run the risk of isolating him, resulting in his failure to contribute to play and relying on scraps and half chances. The exception is when playing an AMC directly behind him. In such formations, you might want your forward to stay high and range across the line to create space for the AMC to move into, so an AF/A or CF/A role/duty might be a better option. Make sure you have at least one no-nonsense midfielder role to break up play and provide a solid base for possession. If you want to use a playmaker, think about whether he'll be in the best position to hurt players, or will your approach see him isolated or marked out of the game. If you want to use a target man, consider whether his flick ons and knock downs will be easily picked up by a teammate.

5: Look at the team comparison page to determine how strong / weak your team is to the divisional average. Consider using the tactical adjustments to take advantage of / cover for this (e.g. if you have a very slow or lazy team, stand off more, whereas if they are quick and hard-working, press more). Although this will become less and less important as you shape your squad to a preferred style, the advantages gained from understanding how your team shapes up against divisional rivals could be vital when taking over a new club.

6: Use the team instructions to develop and save a favoured playing style, which should also suit your team strengths / weaknesses. For example, a highly technical team can sit deep and counter at pace, so using retain possession, pass into space, run at defence with a counter strategy may be worthwhile. A less technical but more physical team might want to impose themselves in a different way, so consider using more direct passing, hit early crosses, get stuck in with an attack strategy. There are all kind of possible ways to shape a playing style. At times you'll have a good enough squad to pick a style of your choosing, at times a style might be forced upon you. You might want to change styles on a match by match basis. There's no hard and fast rule. Just try to be logical in your combinations. Examples of different defensive styles can be found here. Examples of different attacking styles can be found here (deep possession and rapier countering a la Barcelona) and here (British fast-paced, direct winger attacks). Both are for earlier versions of FM, but should still be highly relevant to FM14. If you wish to partake in an FM14 thread about developing a playing style, then this thread on Arsenal is a fantastic place to start.

7: Before each match, consider looking at the weather conditions and the opposing team's formation to determine your match strategy. It can be very difficult to counter attack on a heavy, chewed up pitch, so you might have to abandon your preferred style and play an uglier game. You might want to expose an opponents lone wide player formation and exploit the flanks or look for overlap. You might be happy with your starting system. Although it's ultimately up to you how much you wish to adapt things in such circumstances, be aware that a lack of flexibility can sometimes be costly.

8: Look at the opposing team formation or player condition / skills and consider using OIs to counter them. You could use OIs to counter dangerous players or stop crosses coming in, or to target unfit, slow or cowardly players. Be wary of setting too many OIs as that can harm your team's overall structure.

9: Play the match dynamically. During the game, don't be afraid to change things up through shouts and strategies if things are not working. Do it logically rather than willy nilly though. For example, assuming going more attacking equals more goals might be a bad move, especially if the opposition is sitting deep and packing the final third with defensive players. If you see such a pattern, you might find that sitting deeper and countering will produce more chances than becoming more aggressive, as it will pull the opposition out a bit more. Once you've scored, decide whether you want to push for more goals or hang onto a lead and change things / keep things the same based on that decision. Over time, you'll learn to trust your in-match decisions and develop a system that works for you. You'll know what to change, when to change and when to trust your team to just get on with it.

10: Realise that team talks are contextual. They do not relate to the scoreline, rather how expected the scoreline is versus the quality / reputation of the opposition and the football you actually played. Sometimes you can be delighted at 0-0, at other times, if you've scraped a 2-0 lead with very few chances against a poor team, warning the team against complacency is required. React to what you think should have happened, not the scoreline. It's worth noting that although team talks and media interactions generally do not have a huge influence on how a match plays out, they can do. Sometimes a good motivational strategy will result in a player having the game of his life, and vice versa. Consequently, it can be worthwhile carefully considering your motivational strategy before key games, as it might make a subtle but vital difference during squeaky bum time.

11: Never stop learning. I worked out why my pass into space strategy wasn't working when I employed an attacking strategy. Watching through the match after a dour 0-0, it became obvious to me that everyone was rushing so far forward that my main deep creators were my BWM and FB/S. Not ideal. However, with a less aggressive strategy, my main deep creators were my AP and W/S, which was what I wanted. Hence, I abandoned the attacking strategy and played on the counter as a standard approach, changing my roles and shouts if I ever decided to play more aggressively (usually because of the weather / pitch conditions). If things aren't working as expected, there are always clues in the game if you watch closely enough.

12: Finally, if you get stuck and frustrated come to visit the tactics forum and explain your problem. As long as you are clear and detailed, then it is very unusual for us not to be able to help.

For further and deeper insight into fluidity/rigidity, passing styles, formations and getting your full backs working, please read this post: http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/366111-How-to-Play-FM14-A-Twelve-Step-Guide?p=9150212&viewfull=1#post9150212

Good luck and play well. Remember, we are here to help. We all want you to enjoy FM as much as we are.

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will be very useful, can't wait for the demo!

I like my players (esp my attackers) being very creative BUT also being quite the 'specialist' type. Would it make sense to have a very rigid style while using very creative type of attackers? I've used classic tactics and sliders until the very last day of FM13 so this is all very new to me :)

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wwfan   
will be very useful, can't wait for the demo!

I like my players (esp my attackers) being very creative BUT also being quite the 'specialist' type. Would it make sense to have a very rigid style while using very creative type of attackers? I've used classic tactics and sliders until the very last day of FM13 so this is all very new to me :)

I'd certainly start off with a rigid / very rigid style if you want lots of specialist attackers. Once you begin to get comfortable, you can then start to experiment if you wish. As I said, no hard and fast rules. Ultimately, it's your vision that counts. I'm just trying to help you take your first steps down the path.

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Not saying you're wrong, but I do find player roles to be very defined even in a fluid system. I play a narrow diamond 4-4-2 fluid counter tactic, and basically every position on the field seems to have a very individual and very specific playing style. I do apply a couple of custom settings to most of the positions though.

Not saying this to undermine your argument, which is probably correct, but rather to underline the importance of not being caught up in too dogmatic thinking on the subject.

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Str0aK   

Good stuff. I usually play with between 2 and 4 specialist roles depending on who is in the lineup. More often than not it's 3 so is it safe for me to assume that either rigid or standard would be suitable philosophies for me?

I want to generally play a short passing game with the ability to be more direct and creative in the final third (41221 formation). Standard should be able to accomplish this, right?

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Good stuff. I usually play with between 2 and 4 specialist roles depending on who is in the lineup. More often than not it's 3 so is it safe for me to assume that either rigid or standard would be suitable philosophies for me?

Correct. It's one of the easier FM "rules" to work out. Some people don't buy into it, but I personally always stick to it.

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I'd certainly start off with a rigid / very rigid style if you want lots of specialist attackers. Once you begin to get comfortable, you can then start to experiment if you wish. As I said, no hard and fast rules. Ultimately, it's your vision that counts. I'm just trying to help you take your first steps down the path.

thanks. So if I understand correctly a very rigid style wouldn't necessarily limit the creativity of the most gifted attackers? I do want my attackers to be very creative with the ball (esp the AP), but also want some very specialized roles...

I'll probably open a new thread once I get the demo and see all the new tactical options :)

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SPE3D   
4: Focus on roles and duties and their combinations. Make sure you have one Attack duty in defence, generally but not absolutely necessarily combined with one Support Duty (note, this includes the deepest wide players in your formation if you are not using the Full Back positions), one Attack Duty and one Defend Duty in midfield, and one Support Duty (or TQ or F9) in attack. This type of structure encourages movement between the lines, which is absolutely vital for a dynamic tactic that creates multiple chance types. It also ensures a tight defensive system in which the team defends en bloc, rather than in disconnected lines. If you play a lone FC formation, ensure he drops deep by giving him a support duty, a TQ or F9 role, as other roles run the risk of isolating him, resulting in his failure to contribute to play and relying on scraps and half chances. The exception is when playing an AMC directly behind him. In such formations, you might want your forward to stay high and range across the line to create space for the AMC to move into, so an AF/A or CF/A role/duty might be a better option. Make sure you have at least one no-nonsense midfielder role to break up play and provide a solid base for possession. If you want to use a playmaker, think about whether he'll be in the best position to hurt players, or will your approach see him isolated or marked out of the game. If you want to use a target man, consider whether his flick ons and knock downs will be easily picked up by a teammate.

With regards to having one attacking duty within your midfield I play with a DM, 2 x CM, an AML and an AMR. Do you include the attacking midfielders as midfielders or attackers? Sounds a silly question now I've written it :D but would still appreciate clarification.

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Then how about Barcelona style?

These specialist theory conflicts with your previous interpretation of their style.

It doesn't - wwfan used a Standard setup in this thread, which is in keeping with the Roles he selected.

http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/275877-The-Barcelona-Style-My-Interpretation?highlight=Barcelona

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alinp   
With regards to having one attacking duty within your midfield I play with a DM, 2 x CM, an AML and an AMR. Do you include the attacking midfielders as midfielders or attackers? Sounds a silly question now I've written it :D but would still appreciate clarification.

Related to this... if you didn't include the AML&R as "midfield" would you consider them as part of an attack front 3, hence 1 of your AM's could be in a Support role and your FC Attacking?

Also, in another guide about midfield pairs, llama3 (I seem to remember) recommends 1 Defend & 1 Support with an added 1 Attack when using a midfield triangle - this seems to contradict this guide?

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wwfan   
With regards to having one attacking duty within your midfield I play with a DM, 2 x CM, an AML and an AMR. Do you include the attacking midfielders as midfielders or attackers? Sounds a silly question now I've written it :D but would still appreciate clarification.

Midfielders. You have some really good opportunities for experimentation with five midfielders, because you have two "free" positions to play around with. You need one D, one S and one A Duty, but the other two are open.

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wwfan   
Related to this... if you didn't include the AML&R as "midfield" would you consider them as part of an attack front 3, hence 1 of your AM's could be in a Support role and your FC Attacking?

Also, in another guide about midfield pairs, llama3 (I seem to remember) recommends 1 Defend & 1 Support with an added 1 Attack when using a midfield triangle - this seems to contradict this guide?

It doesn't contradict. In a three man midfield you need one D and one A. The other duty would ideally be an S. It's not obvious in the OP, but S duties are the basic duties in midfield.

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teejay73   

I am playing as Spurs and at present use kyle walker and danny rose as my fullbacks, Now both of them can play the wingback role naturally and I prefer to use them as such, The question is how could I use them both with an attacking duty if I should be using another for a support duty? I may have misread what you said wwfan, But from what I understand, "4: Focus on roles and duties and their combinations. Make sure you have one Attack duty in defence, generally but not absolutely necessarily combined with one Support Duty (note, this includes the deepest wide players in your formation if you are not using the Full Back positions)" I would have to have one of my wingbacks on a support duty, Have I read that right?

Also to anyone who is playing with Spurs, What would be the best way to set up my midfield with the players I have at my disposal? I was thinking on having Sandro as my bwm (d) and either dembele or paulinho as a cm (s) and using erikson as my attacking midfielder sitting in the hole behind Soldado as a am (a), Seeing as Soldado would be my lone front man how would I best set him up given that erikson would be an attacking midfielder with an attack duty? I would be playing with Lamela and chadli as my inverted wingers, Though I have not decided how best to play them as yet. Ideally I would like my wingbacks to overlap with my IF's cutting in, Though this gives me another dilemma with erikson having less amount of area to play in. My formation is the 4-2-3-1 and I am struggling :(

Any help with this guy's?

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wwfan   

Generally, but not necessarily. You can have both WBs on an Attack duty, but you then need to think about where that opens up gaps in your formation. You may decide to take an attack duty out of midfield and use the midfield as cover for the rampaging FBs. You may only do that against good teams, or you may decide to keep one FB further back for away games. It's a matter of developing a logical strategy that gets the best out of your team for the situation they are in. If that's two WB/As and a holding midfield, or multiple runners from both strata, or a more cautious FB strategy for certain games, then all are good. It's up to you to choose when to do what.

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Thank you for this again wwfan. A very useful guide, which I'm sure will help me understand FM14

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How do you make the role stick to the player rather than the position ?

Make sure you have one Attack duty in defence, generally but not absolutely necessarily combined with one Support Duty (note, this includes the deepest wide players in your formation if you are not using the Full Back positions), one Attack Duty and one Defend Duty in midfield, and one Support Duty (or TQ or F9) in attack.

What do you consider midfield and attack, ie if you play 2 x CM , AML , AMC , AMR , Striker ?

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wwfan   
How do you make the role stick to the player rather than the position ?

What do you consider midfield and attack, ie if you play 2 x CM , AML , AMC , AMR , Striker ?

Bottom left on player instruction screen, you have an add player button. By accessing that, you can tell specific players to play in a specific way when playing in that position on the pitch.

Midfield = all players in the DM M and AM strata. Attack = F strata only.

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question: does it make sense to set a very rigid style while also using 'roam more' shout/instructions for certain players (ie wingers/attacking midfielders)?

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wwfan   
question: does it make sense to set a very rigid style while also using 'roam more' shout/instructions for certain players (ie wingers/attacking midfielders)?

Absolutely. You are setting a team philosophy that sets hard and fast rules and encouraging certain people to look for space in the final third. No conflict at all.

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Takata86   

After reading this guide i'm understanding how fm 14 works, but i have some doubts about match strategy and passing style.

Let me see if i'm understanding it:

1- if you want to play possession football or if you have fast players you should play with counter-attack strategy and short passing.

2- if you want to play vertical football or if you have tall/physical/strong players you should play control/ attacking strategy with more direct passing style.

3- for example if you are playing with Stoke City or Dortmund you should play a more direct style, maybe Control because you have a more physical side, tall forwards. if you are playing with Stoke City away against big sides (United, Chelsea, Arsenal, City), you can maybe play with control with stand off closing down. you shouldn't play with counter strategy because it works better with short passing and you have a weak technical team.

4- if you are playing with Barcelona it's a good idea play with a counter-attack strategy and short passing because you have a very good technical team with short players.

5- it's not a good idea play counter-attack with direct passing or Control/Attacking with short passing.

Am I right?

thanks!

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Counter = Slow tempo, short passing *in* possession, unless the ball has just been won back then it's fast, direct. (Taking this from a mod comment...)

Would it at all make sense to instruct the team to play lower tempo, shorter passing with counter? If I understand it right, this won't affect the counter-attacking part but rather the bits where the counter has failed, the team would instead hold onto the ball and play it akin to 'control'? (I don't mean exactly like control, just sort of...)

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wwfan,

I have a question regarding the Specialist = Rigid equation you have.

From what i've read about real life uses of specialist/fluid football I seem recall Sacchi expressing a dislike of specialist players (I think it was Makelele) and preferred 'team' players who would contribute more. I guess that means in FM terms he would favour a more fluid philosophy. And also that perhaps players who were good 'Mentally' would be the most appropriate for this system. Specifically Work Rate and Teamwork.

From this I assume that Real Madrid are a Rigid team, as in they favour the individual over the collective and try to balance luxury players (Ronaldo, Bale etc.), who are allowed to express themselves, with more disciplined players who give the luxury players the freedom to do so.

The antithesis of Real Madrid is probably (rather appropiately) Barcelona whose club philosophy is about team work, passing and not about the individual. Even Messi has to work for the team and his impressive number of assists is testament to this.

With this being said, and assuming i'm correct in my interpretation of the Fluidity settings, I can understand how a with a more Rigid set up you should have more specialists although I don't understand how you come to conclusions of how many specialists are ideal for each setting.

The things I don't understand are:

1) Why is it not recommended to use many specialist roles in a Fluid set up? I'm assuming that by selecting Fluid you are essentially changing the specialist roles into more generic roles. So what's the harm. What makes a DLF(S) more appropriate than a F9?

2)Why is a generic role a generic role? Surely it's just a collection of settings (run with ball, forward runs) and I can't understand why it's any different to an AP(A) for example. Obviously an AP(A) is different to a CM(A) but if you ignore the names of the roles, why is the AP(A) specialist and the CM(A) generic?

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Absolutely. You are setting a team philosophy that sets hard and fast rules and encouraging certain people to look for space in the final third. No conflict at all.

thanks you're very helpful. Right now I'm thinking a more rigid philosophy is the best fit for my ideas...

Another question though: I used to tweak individual players instructions a lot in previous FM games, and I think I'm still going to do this in FM14 (even without sliders :p). A rigid style would also mean the players will stick to these instructions too in addition to their role and duty? In some ways it would be like I 'order' them to strictly follow my tactical instructions, even when these instructions may actually encourage them to be very creative (eg dribble more, look for risky pass, roam more) which would be exactly what I want!

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wwfan   
After reading this guide i'm understanding how fm 14 works, but i have some doubts about match strategy and passing style.

Let me see if i'm understanding it:

1- if you want to play possession football or if you have fast players you should play with counter-attack strategy and short passing.

2- if you want to play vertical football or if you have tall/physical/strong players you should play control/ attacking strategy with more direct passing style.

3- for example if you are playing with Stoke City or Dortmund you should play a more direct style, maybe Control because you have a more physical side, tall forwards. if you are playing with Stoke City away against big sides (United, Chelsea, Arsenal, City), you can maybe play with control with stand off closing down. you shouldn't play with counter strategy because it works better with short passing and you have a weak technical team.

4- if you are playing with Barcelona it's a good idea play with a counter-attack strategy and short passing because you have a very good technical team with short players.

5- it's not a good idea play counter-attack with direct passing or Control/Attacking with short passing.

Am I right?

thanks!

It doesn't particularly matter whether I think you are right. What matters is if you can make your interpretation of this work. As you've drawn off some of my examples, some of our interpretations will be similar. However, that doesn't mean you can't play a very direct counter attacking system or a short passing attacking system if it seems right to you.

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wwfan   
Counter = Slow tempo, short passing *in* possession, unless the ball has just been won back then it's fast, direct. (Taking this from a mod comment...)

Would it at all make sense to instruct the team to play lower tempo, shorter passing with counter? If I understand it right, this won't affect the counter-attacking part but rather the bits where the counter has failed, the team would instead hold onto the ball and play it akin to 'control'? (I don't mean exactly like control, just sort of...)

You can certainly force that style of play by making counter tactics shorter and safer passing. You can also force a direct, run at the opposition at all opportunities countering style with a different set of instructions.

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wwfan   

1) Why is it not recommended to use many specialist roles in a Fluid set up? I'm assuming that by selecting Fluid you are essentially changing the specialist roles into more generic roles. So what's the harm. What makes a DLF(S) more appropriate than a F9?

2)Why is a generic role a generic role? Surely it's just a collection of settings (run with ball, forward runs) and I can't understand why it's any different to an AP(A) for example. Obviously an AP(A) is different to a CM(A) but if you ignore the names of the roles, why is the AP(A) specialist and the CM(A) generic?

1: CF hinders specialism and allows the player to try his own thing. It's not that specialist roles are unsuited to Fluid philosophies, but that Fluid philosophies can often make then redundant because the high team CF undermines the specialism. Hope that makes sense.

2: The distinction I make between specialists and non-specialists is very simple. If the role describes a position on the pitch, it is non-specialist. If it describes a specific job, then it is specialist. A winger is a player occupying the wing, hence non-specialist. A poacher tries to beat the offside trap and get on the end of moves rather than contribute to them, hence a specialist.

As I said above, you don't have to agree with me and you are welcome to apply different interpretations. If you think is a specialist is a player with some very high attributes and some very low attributes, whereas a generalist has an across-the-board range, go for it.

My read on managers is that they are the ones who set specialisation in tactics, not the players they have. Consequently, looking at the roles a player performs in reality is not going to be that helpful. If their manager has a generalist philosophy, then the players will not be performing specialised tasks, no matter how good at them they might be.

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Str0aK   

Question. I'm trying to play a 4231 narrow with 3 AMCs. Naturally I thought exploit the middle would be a good instruction for this system. I'm assuming that makes sense, if not let me know, but my main question is does exploit the middle alter the width of my formation or only the focus of my passing? I ask because it's already a narrow formation and I wouldn't want to be making it even narrower. Currently I'm using exploit the middle as well as play wider.

Also having trouble getting the movement I want from my shadow striker who is the most central of the three AMCs. I know it has been suggested to use a DLF-s or a False 9 as the front man in order to get the best out of the shadow striker but I'm using a CF-a because with three AMCs I don't think I need my striker dropping too deep. What are my options here? Is it a case of my CF-a (Osvaldo) occupying the space my SS (Lambert) wants to run into or is Lambert just not suited to the role?

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wwfan   
Question. I'm trying to play a 4231 narrow with 3 AMCs. Naturally I thought exploit the middle would be a good instruction for this system. I'm assuming that makes sense, if not let me know, but my main question is does exploit the middle alter the width of my formation or only the focus of my passing? I ask because it's already a narrow formation and I wouldn't want to be making it even narrower. Currently I'm using exploit the middle as well as play wider.

Also having trouble getting the movement I want from my shadow striker who is the most central of the three AMCs. I know it has been suggested to use a DLF-s or a False 9 as the front man in order to get the best out of the shadow striker but I'm using a CF-a because with three AMCs I don't think I need my striker dropping too deep. What are my options here? Is it a case of my CF-a (Osvaldo) occupying the space my SS (Lambert) wants to run into or is Lambert just not suited to the role?

I think Exploit the Middle and Play Wider can be a good combo. Not sure if I'd necessarily use it as a default instruction with a narrow 4-2-3-1, rather a go to option if you feel you can really dominate in the middle of the park. It can result in your play over-compacting with so many players narrow.

I don't see Lambert as a SS, because he's not going to be quick enough to make very effective bursts from deep. I agree that you have an issue in getting your FC to drop into an already congested space. Might be worth playing Osvaldo as an AF, with any and all instructions encouraging him to drift wide active. You might then see if Lambert can be an SS or is more of a creative target man or F9/DLF type of player.

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1: CF hinders specialism...

Ok, I don't 100% agree with you on certain points (probably to my detriment) but I think I understand where you're coming from. I appreciate you taking the time to reply.

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wwfan   
Ok, I don't 100% agree with you on certain points (probably to my detriment) but I think I understand where you're coming from. I appreciate you taking the time to reply.

I can absolutely understand that you could regard a F9 as a generalist role on par with a DLF. My interpretation is that the F9's main job is to create space for others by dropping deep, whereas a DLF just occupies deep space. Consequently, the F9 is a specialist role with very specific job, whereas the DLF is not. If you interpret how an F9 works in a different manner to me, more akin to a deeper DLF, then you'd see it as far more generalist and thus be happy to use it as such.

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I can absolutely understand that you would regard a F9 as a generalist role on par with a DLF. My interpretation is that the F9's main job is to create space for others by dropping deep, whereas a DLF just occupies deep space. Consequently, the F9 is a specialist role with very specific job, whereas the DLF is not. If you interpret how an F9 works in a different manner to me, then you'd see it as far more generalist and thus be happy to use it as such.

I'm not debating that, I agree that they are different roles. My disagreement is the way you define specialist/generic roles. In my opinion nearly all roles are specialist and generic. In a very Rigid system then all roles are specialist. A W(A) should stay high and wide, run at the FB, cross from the byline. In a Very Fluid set up he should be more of a team player and perhaps be less predictable. The role is irrelevant, it's more about the Fluidity which defines the role.

I guess that if you want players to do a very specific job then you're a rigid guy, and if you want players to act as team then you're a fluid guy. However, a specific job to me doesn't have to be a F9, DLP etc... If I want a goal scoring centre mid in a 442 Very Rigid, then I think CM(A) might be the best option and could easily be defined as a specialist role.

Hope that makes sense.

p.s. please don't take this as criticism of you or your guide. I'm just trying to understand the logic behind it better.

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Str0aK   
I think Exploit the Middle and Play Wider can be a good combo. Not sure if I'd necessarily use it as a default instruction with a narrow 4-2-3-1, rather a go to option if you feel you can really dominate in the middle of the park. It can result in your play over-compacting with so many players narrow.

I don't see Lambert as a SS, because he's not going to be quick enough to make very effective bursts from deep. I agree that you have an issue in getting your FC to drop into an already congested space. Might be worth playing Osvaldo as an AF, with any and all instructions encouraging him to drift wide active. You might then see if Lambert can be an SS or is more of a creative target man or F9/DLF type of player.

Yeah good point. I probably don't need to start with exploit the middle, I think I'll leave play wider as a default for now though.

That thought was pretty much the first thing that crossed by mind when I picked Lambert as SS. Not quick enough for the role but then I looked at the highlighted attributes for a shadow striker and they didn't include pace or acceleration so I figured it could work.

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wwfan   
I'm not debating that, I agree that they are different roles. My disagreement is the way you define specialist/generic roles. In my opinion nearly all roles are specialist and generic. In a very Rigid system then all roles are specialist. A W(A) should stay high and wide, run at the FB, cross from the byline. In a Very Fluid set up he should be more of a team player and perhaps be less predictable. The role is irrelevant, it's more about the Fluidity which defines the role.

I guess that if you want players to do a very specific job then you're a rigid guy, and if you want players to act as team then you're a fluid guy. However, a specific job to me doesn't have to be a F9, DLP etc... If I want a goal scoring centre mid in a 442 Very Rigid, then I think CM(A) might be the best option and could easily be defined as a specialist role.

Hope that makes sense.

p.s. please don't take this as criticism of you or your guide. I'm just trying to understand the logic behind it better.

I'll try to put it a different way. We regularly hear pundits and journalists talking about a team being too rigid and not having enough creativity. This is the central problem that the framework addresses. You have two ways to deal with this.

Firstly, you can employ some specialist roles that play feeds through. Although this is generally means playmakers/creative type players, such a system also requires a few water carrier types to support and counter the strengths and weaknesses of their more specialised instructions. Secondly, you can switch to a more fluid system, which allows players their heads. By doing that, you make moot the need for the creative and water carrier types, because everybody, in part, fulfils both those roles.

Although we can debate for hours the minutiae of which player is specialist versus which isn't, we will almost certainly agree on the problem of overly rigid play. That my solution may be different than yours is irrelevant. Prompting the thought process is what matters, and you certainly seem prompted :)

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All of that make sense and to be fair I do usually stay pretty close to your guidelines regarding fluidity, give or take a role. I just wanted to get clear in my head why you defined certain roles specialist. I'm pretty sure I have a clearer understanding now.

Thanks again for your time.

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You can certainly force that style of play by making counter tactics shorter and safer passing. You can also force a direct, run at the opposition at all opportunities countering style with a different set of instructions.

When you say "force" it sounds like it's unnatural :p

But I'm right in general that the instructions apply to the part where they aren't countering? O_o

I've got my team on Shorter passing, lower tempo and for most the part it works, though they do zig-zag up the field at speed sometimes. I play a flat 4-4-2, maybe not so good for counter attacking, the midfield seems a bit far away from the attack at times... I do have everything set up with A/S/D roles in each area, but it's not pushing them up... Perhaps a side effect of the counter mentality?

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In order to be able to apply and translate our innate knowledge of football in a computer game, it is necessary to know how actually the game works, don't we?

So, I was wondering why FM's Tactics Developers has never published a complete official guide?

Indeed, we can still explain our issues in the tactics forum, but I see no harm in a complete tactics guide, do you?

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I need some help. In previous editions we had play style panel, where we could set marking system and pressing. I always used zonal with press more, right now I don't know how to achieve that. Why the hell sliders are gone ? I didn't used them but at least I knew what the settings were.

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iMan   
I need some help. In previous editions we had play style panel, where we could set marking system and pressing. I always used zonal with press more, right now I don't know how to achieve that. Why the hell sliders are gone ? I didn't used them but at least I knew what the settings were.

The marking is Zonal by default now.

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Gonna read this tomorrow sofar it not my game .. For me its seems it just a game build on luck . In 13 you be a small club and you know suprise . Now that the sliders are gone its more difficult to break de AI. Now its just a game based on the players quility so its really hard to suprise with small clubs.. So far it has been a big dissapointment of a game..

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heliu5   

The tactic I made for Schalke: fluid+control (cwb-a,cd-d,cd-d,fb-d ; cm-d, dlp-s ; if-s, ss-a, w-a ; tm-s) with instructions Retain Possession, Shorter Passing, Pass into Space, Play Out of Defence, Float Crosses, Look for Overlap, Play Wider, Push Higher Up, Roam from Positions, Hassle Opponents, Use Tight Marking & Lower Tempo works pretty well at home with some big wins (4-0 against Leverkusen and Wolfsburg) but away from home we are desperate. My home record is 8-3-1 while away record 4-1-7.

I tried to play away with fluid+counter with DM (Anchor) instead of my AM (SS) and one of the CMs - CM-a with Retain Possession, Pass into Space, Play Out of Defence, Float Crosses, Run at Defense, Play Wider, Roam from Positions & Higher Tempo and still we can't beat anyone. It would be great to hear some thoughts about what do I do wrong.

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wwfan   
The tactic I made for Schalke: fluid+control (cwb-a,cd-d,cd-d,fb-d ; cm-d, dlp-s ; if-s, ss-a, w-a ; tm-s) with instructions Retain Possession, Shorter Passing, Pass into Space, Play Out of Defence, Float Crosses, Look for Overlap, Play Wider, Push Higher Up, Roam from Positions, Hassle Opponents, Use Tight Marking & Lower Tempo works pretty well at home with some big wins (4-0 against Leverkusen and Wolfsburg) but away from home we are desperate. My home record is 8-3-1 while away record 4-1-7.

I tried to play away with fluid+counter with DM (Anchor) instead of my AM (SS) and one of the CMs - CM-a with Retain Possession, Pass into Space, Play Out of Defence, Float Crosses, Run at Defense, Play Wider, Roam from Positions & Higher Tempo and still we can't beat anyone. It would be great to hear some thoughts about what do I do wrong.

I'm not sure about Pass into Space, Play Wider, From from Position and Higher Tempo as effective defensive shouts. They are all focused on attacking. Play out of Defence will also reduce the likelihood of your backline quickly clearing dangerous balls. Try to install some space reducing, highly disciplined play away from home and see if that makes a difference.

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heliu5   
I'm not sure about Pass into Space, Play Wider, From from Position and Higher Tempo as effective defensive shouts. They are all focused on attacking. Play out of Defence will also reduce the likelihood of your backline quickly clearing dangerous balls. Try to install some space reducing, highly disciplined play away from home and see if that makes a difference.

But Schalke is a good team, we are probably the 2nd or 3rd best team in the league. So I wanted to play a counter attacking tactic which is generally attacking. I will try without the shouts you wrote and we'll see how it goes.

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