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Steaton's 'Invincible' 4-2-3-1 - Consistency - Balanced - 14.3.0 - Plug and Play

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This tactic is an improvement on the other popular tactics you will find here (I've tested the popular ones extensively on full match and in great detail - pick any team try on versus or any other and you can see - the result is CONSISTENT - try and soon you too will use 'Steaton's Invincible 4-2-3-1).

So blah blah blah :) - 'Invincible' - its not a cheat tactic - but I have got the 'Invincible' achievement going unbeaten for entire season twice without a massively superior team - which I think is hard to do in this version:



If you make ANY modification to the tactic in any way please make sure you make that clear before posting any results.

Steatons 4-2-3-1 Invincible - Vanilla v1 - Tactic Download Link:


Please note:

1. When you first try it please do not make ANY changes regardless of your player types and if you have to play out of position a bit or player attributes (for the first couple of games at least), appreciated or you may not get the results you expect, don't worry though it will deliver in the first 2 games - unless you are on a complete dive or have recently bought many new players, I had 3 losses against man c, liv, chelsea 3 of my first 4 games after swapping many players - but this is rare and temporary and would have happened regarless of tactic.

2. Do not use any Opposition Instructions.

3. No need to be 100% familiar for it to work fine (though makes a slight difference).

4. Use defensive positioning pre match preparation training.

It delivers and performs consistently against other formations and tactics and this is because of something relating to the balance. What this means is that it is very much plug and play and doesn't really need adjusting regardless of team/players you are using - though feel free to try (I have a lot) but somehow it disrupts the balance so be careful when doing so but somtimes they will work (will discuss what has worked for me and what disrupts later). Note though it may seem like you have improved it in a particular match - but then the consistency that this tactic has can be effected when you try it against other formations. I play multiplayer exclusively so I don't have oodles of example results to hand - but will get some screen shots from the host ASAP. In the meantime I will show you some results from my test game.

I will also try to show comparisons to other popular tactics and discuss - using versus mode and by showing match stats of those games and some match analysis - please feel free to suggest a tactic you would like to see a comparison of. But first let me explain the tactic.

The formation - a popular 4-2-3-1:


OK so nothing particularly surprising or special in the formation - in fact that is true of the tactic in general - its the balance and consistency that sets it apart.

Some results with Portmouth UPDATED just won the champions league - lucky run in but beat real in the final:


My best player (I really don't have premiership quality players) - it's been a challenge to sign players without money or reputation all these are free transfers (p.s. this is a random names game):


Right so how does the tactic work. Well to explain I'll just play another game I think it's Villa next just to make sure it's the 14.3.0 version and that I've not tweaked it in game - and I will show the analysis along with a description of player individual settings - here goes:


So you can see here that the defence relies a lot on interceptions and headers and less so on tackles (though the covering defender is required to make a key tackle from time to time) - this is because the distance between the defence and the midfield is balanced particularly well. The tactic relies on the full backs to add that extra bit of attack which can leave you exposed but if you adjust the setting of them the tactic as a whole doesn't seem to work quite as well.

Analysis follows and this is pretty typical most games fit the same sort of profile as I will later show when I do some versus games.

Shots (most shots are attempted from within the penalty area):


Average Positions (actually this seems a bit different that usual with inside forwards staying wider than usual and midfielders are a little bit more defensive):


Interceptions (you can see here that the space between the defence and midfield is part of the key to the balance and consistency):


Crosses (The crosses to the centre are typically the most effective):


And now for a versus match as promised:




Links for other versions (Plugged and Resilient) have been removed as these versions were not consistently good enough.

Please add me 'Steaton' on Steam for multiplayer games or if you want to try your tactic versus mine in versus mode - or even if you just have questions

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Key Game Copncept

Tactic familarity does help but there is another big factor as to how well your player perform and more so than in any other previous version of FM as follows:

No tactic works as well for a few games after you sell and buy many players (a team level issue - the more change the longer and bigger the impact - still a better tactic does help regardless of this disadvantage) and for new players to perform at their best (at an individual level) it can take a full year for them to settle properly as individuals and many factors are important, language, personality, amount they play - you can see this from the assistant advice in the match once they stop saying such and such is not used to closing down or whatever then they have settled fully and you really notice it in the way they play - the individual will go from 80% their ability to 100% this translates to avg ratings from mid 7's to 8's. None of this is tactics though its all just about how long they have been in your team and how different your tactic was when they signed compared to what they played before you cant get rid of it by changing the tactic to suit the player.

What team is this suitable for?

The game engine is the same for all teams and divisions so IMHO a good tactic works for teams in all divisions, as a general rule. You still need decent players to get promotion but the tactic can help you to perform better than you otherwise would (or should).

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When the weather is awful and you dont seem to be performing - consider the retain possession, work ball into box settings (what to set them to I'm not certain) and perhaps lower the tempo and fluidity amoungst other things - only really matters in torrential rain/hail/snow and strong wind or you can get away with it without changing anything - but you will get more random results during the winter in particular when you combine buying and selling new players with bad weather (January transfer window for instance is a dodgy part of the season).


1. Take injury prone players off early or those recovering from recent injuries.

2. Reduce training intensity in the winter I do this throughbout January to allow players to recuperate a bit more between matches.

3. I think highly fluid tactics and Box to Box midfielders who do the most running will suffer most.

4. Hard tackling may increase risk of injuries more than you would like.

Thats my observations but lets just say weather makes a big difference and is underestimated, this is especially true in this version. And that was stated by SI themselves (several versions ago).


Its probably more effective to have a bad weather version of your tactic than it is to have the all famous home and away versions IMHO. Though in all honesty I haven't bothered in my online games I am in a hurry no time to mess with tactics too much, if on the off chance I happen to notice the weather during the game and I'm worried its not going well then I may make a small change (and I do notice it a bit more now I'm aware of the difference it makes - could help avoid a draw 0-0 - or avoid a fractured arm or worse a broken leg).

The scoring zone:

Another nugget of useful information for you - most goals (except set pieces and flukes) are scored from the marked area this in the danger zone) - anything directly down the middle is normally saved and anything too wide an angle normally misses - I think around 80% of all goals come from these 2 small zones - that means that clear cuts (or shots) here are 4 times better than other clear cuts (or shots) - they are not all equal so match stats can be mis leading - the key to a good tactic is getting shots in this zone more often, its also the key to countering a tactic to prevent the other team from getting shots off from here (sad to boil it down to this but this is the way it is and is probably true in real football to some degree - fortunately achieveing this is far from simple).


Example: The reason this is so important is that for instance if you move you defensive line up you may allow cross to land in this zone rather than closer to the byline increasing the number of goals. On the flip side a very high line could mean that shot are taken before the break away player reaches the zone e.g. from the edge of the area again reducing likelhood of goals significantly. You can use this info to help you make tactical decisions and pick which PPMs best suit your players.

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So far have tested against (playing same team against same team on versus) - All wins (try for yourself):

Mr Hough - 3-0

4-4-2 Total Football - 3-1

Tylerbode: Blitz tactic (Best) - 3-1

Please leave feedback if you would be so kind

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Is there more of a description for this tactic? Tried it with Barca, first game against the B team I beat them 13-1(never done that before) and Fabregas got 6 goals from the AP position!!

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I don't use OI it disrupts the tactic reducing performance.

Training I vary it, but since the patch defensive positioning works best because set pieces doesn't seem worthwhile any more. It tends to score in every game but does let the odd goal slip through.

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Thanks mate. I also noticed that you used quite a few custom instructions on players' set-piece instructions (under "player instructions screen", for example "near post flick-on" by your DCR etc.), also "aim for a far post" corner instruction, long throws... How would you say these fare out in a game (there was a considerate toning down of dead ball efficiency in 14.3, both user & AI)? Any particular observations regarding attacking/defending set-piece/corner efficiency? Tactic looks great, lots of possesion & shots, finally a 4-2-3-1 that works (fingers crossed).

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Yeah before the patch near post was best but after the 14.3 patch if you hit it to the back post often it will end up creating a goal even if you don't score directly from the header (and sometimes you still do). Defending corners seems very decent now with them rarely scoring any (previously was important to do defensive set piece training).

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So does anyone have a tactic they would like me to do a 5 game versus comparison with? Tell me you favorite and we will see what happens :) - I post the results - I'm just not sure which is the most respected the popular ones I've tried aren't good enough to pose a challenge.

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All the instructions are shown in the first screen and sample match stats so you can see what the players do during the game, but in general just get good players as usual, all the passing and off the ball movement stats are probably the most important as is uses through balls quite a bit.

ps. After a bit of experimentation we are seeing chip crosses as being a key to this tactics success so perhaps you should optimise for this (difficult to be sure - but feel free to experiement and feedback)

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I've used this and just losing heavily. Have you actually tested it in a league or just playing against other tactics in the forum? The AI don't use tactics posted in the forum.....

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Did you use OI? - I think you probably set closing down or marking on a striker and upset the balance in defence - also mid season it may take a while for your players to adapt (normally doesnt matter too much though).

You could provide more information e.g. screenshot of your detailed match stats, and your in game assistant advice, team morale and recent results? One of these might give a clue where you are going wrong.

Even better would be a link to a copy of your save game - I will try and post results.

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Absolutely fantastic tactic, mate. Ripping up Serie A with Sampdoria. Been struggling against "park the bus" type opponents since the beginning of FM14, but this just rips them apart. Saying that, those type of teams appear more in the 2nd season, so it could all still go pear shaped.

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Got the Carling cup:



But look at this interesting obsevation:




Im thinking that if we pay close attention to the runs and why they don't work in the middle of the park (red in middle for offside) we might be able to adjust and make an improvement. I thought run were dribbles but this movement chart suggests they are forward runs anyone know (otherwise will figure it out)?

Edit: 'Runs past opponent' must be forward runs otherwise it would say dribbles or runs with ball?

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Trying it now in a new AC Milan save,didn't buy anyone,sold De Jong & Amelia. Preseason games were handled by my assman,but still I'm undefeated. Granted I'm only in Nov,but the play my team is sporting is something I couldn't have dreamed of. CL game at Olympiakos - 19 shots to 6. Front line all chip goals,but main man is adv.playm.. Kaka' plays it and it's the first time he managed to put not decent,but great performances. Will update you how it goes,it's gonna be sleepless night I suppose. :)

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do u use individual training.?

For me this is a tactics thread - I don't really see tactics and training all that much related except for the choice between attacking movement or defensive positioning and that also depends on the opposition.

But yes I find best training is a nice stable average on:

- Team Setting

- Individual and

- Match Prep

- with Rest B4 and After on (though occasionally turn off B4 for a training boost)

I think this tactic may bias to defensive positioning.

I use individual role primarily rather than specific attribute - though if near a stat boost a short push for an attribute can get the +1.

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You know I've been seeing the chip goals too and not so many through balls anymore and have been thinking of seeing what happens if I reduce play into space in team instructions. (Note: I tried crosses to near post to make more o a chip but its not as good - I think the chip into the centre often fall for another player to finish after the head).

ps Am I speaking in code here :)

The other setting I've been playing with is using F9 instead of poacher - as poachers do more runs and see prev post runs dont seem to be working they tend to be red. I have tried a variety here but F9 seems most likely alternative - basic testing inconclusive so far but havent focussed on this enough.

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Mr Rosler's tactics for 14.3 weren't working for me so trying this out... very inconsistent with quite a strong Arsenal squad I have. Go to Everton and win 6-2... then lose 1-0 at home to Newcastle and 2-1 away at Hull.

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The purpose of thread thread is to examine how to make tactics based on the GAME and not based on real life football (however SI have done a good job creating a simulation here) - many posts are IMHO a bit b**ls**t when they make too much of an assumption about how it matches real football yet as stated the simulation is good enough for it still to have value.

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Well I did turn off "dribble more" for my MC from the get-go,my players there all have poor driblling skills. Just won against Genoa 6-3 with a man down almost all game (red card). This is the formation for winning,because it's very attacking,so naturally there's gonna be lots of ccc against me. But after 14.3 ccc isn't as much reliable as before. BTW tactic isn't fully fluid yet. Steaton let me know how your F9 experiment goes,agree with fwd runs,but in my view that's exactly what's making overload in oppo.area. Even my IFs are constantly in offside,and they're on support. Once again,great work mate. :)

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looks great will try..but i think that it should be more stable in the back....

I would agree (makes complete sense - its always 3-1 or 2-1 not as common to have 3-0 or 2-0) accept for the fact that it normally seems to score more than it lets in - really consistently - and against much tougher competition - however you could try to find a way to tighten up using the fulbacks or MCs but big risk of disrupting balance so do it and check the stats compared to prev games to see how they changed (thats detailed match stats for your team - and match analysis may give you something to work with too - as well as observing in game of course).

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People may have heard of the famous/infamous diablo tactic which made use of an exploit of the MC running through the middle and the defenders not dealing with it correctly many people including myself had spotted this but the person who created the diablo tactic set every setting on every player to maximise the chance of taking advantage of that exploit - I was impressed by its purity :)

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I did try an F9 versus an identical Poacher team, players, fitness, tactical understanding - and score was 1-1 - was on versus so detailed stats not available to analyse enough have to do that in proper game - in other tests it also didnt make a huge difference but at this point in time im still for Poacher - but still uncertain as I have been trying it quite a bit.

Sometimes it seems you get more players runinng at the defence to dispupt it with F9 like an overload (feeling not fact) - but we have seen its chips that make this work so the key to judging will be to see how it effects the chip crosses into the penalty spot - likewise roam from position setting on SC and moves into channels may also be wasting preciecious chip possibilities.

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So I going to list out the potential for improvement that you could investigate:

- Try to tighten up in defence without adversely weakening the balance. It tends to be a run through your players, a short back pass from narrow byline or a pass to the outside of your DCs that create the goal against. Going wider on team instructions seemed to work in another tactic (for improving defence since between DCs type goals are rare) but need to see effect on balance and if it reduces the all important chip cross - perhaps going narrow on inside forwards may counteract.

- Try to figure out if there is an opportunity to improve based on the fact that run in the centre dont seem to be successful and is potentially wasted possession that could be put to better use.

- Anything to make the chance of chip crosses to the penalty spot with follow through from midefield seems like a winner. Note: The AMC does seem to do runs successfully just not in the centre but round the centre - not sure I can match this to what I've seen on the pitch - anyone get any insight please share. Another thought is that I don't know how changing from drill to float to not specifying will effect tactic - drill is set as it worked better in previous version which scored in a different way.

- I havent experimented with CM(S) player settings enough and this position seems to underperform - but recently I figured out that the CM(S) is better suited to the more defensive DMC type player than the DLC(D) who need to be the more creative/technical/passing type - it works best that way round if you have to choose.

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I dunno if anyone else is experiencing this, but I'm getting a shed load of penalties (I'm not the one conceding them). I've had more penalties in around 25 games than I've had in my entire time playing FM14. Against Napoli I won 3-0 and all 3 were from the penalty spot. I've had 15 in total.

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