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In-depth Tactic comparison thread


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“Facts are more important than opinions” is something I have learned already a long, long time ago.

I read on so many tactic postings that this particular tactic is the “best ever” etc. And I wondered how there can be over 20 “best ever tactics” out there. This triggered me to have a closer look at them all, see them in action with the same team and compare the performances of each tactic.

When you ask 100 people what to their opinion the best tactic is out there I bet you get 85 different answers, maybe 15 people mention a tactic already mentioned.

Everybody wants a tactic that makes them win 100% of the time and I can honestly say, for sure in FM 2014 that is simply not going to happen. First of all, it wouldn’t be realistic and secondly: depending on the team you choose (like in this case with one of my test teams with a media prediction 12th, it is unreal to expect a win against the big teams all the time). Maybe with a team like Barcelona or Manchester City/United you will be able to dominate almost every match and win 95% of them, but that is regardless of which tactics you’ll use, that is why I selected a weaker team, where good tactics are needed to achieve something. I also ran the same tests with a team in a different league and a media prediction of 4th. Not a European top team, but still, a higher ranked team that actually has a chance of winning the local competition.

I tested 51 (yes fifty one!!!) popular and deemed to be “top” tactics for patch 14.3.1, after playing 15 matches with each tactic I eliminated the bottom few and di the same after another 10 matches.

In the end (I added a few recently released, very strong tactics) I tested a total of 23 tactics for the full 50 matches.

I have gathered and analysed the most important stats on each game I played with every tactic, and ended my analyses after playing a lot of games with each one of them with the exact same team.

Every tactic has its own strengths and weaknesses and even though a particular tactic might have been “build around a certain team” I wanted to make a fair comparison between the tactics I tested for this purpose. When you play 20+ time the same match over and over again with each time a different tactic it showed me very easily which tactic is showing consistent results. Some tactics show consistently higher possession stats, other ones more CCC etc. Which tactic is good for you all depends on your personal preference and the team you have chosen.

You might say “luck also comes into play” which of course is true, football is not an exact science and even though you dominate and have the best chances, it happens that you still draw or even lose the match. That is why I have played 20+ games with each of the tactics, just to get the “luck factor” (or “bad luck factor”) out of play.

So what is a “good tactic”? For me, but that is just me, I prefer to lose a game with 0-1, after completely outplaying the opponent and having 8-1 balls on goal, 4-1 CCC etc. My board probably would still be unhappy, but if these stats would be there, it shows the tactic is working well.

In between matches I went “on holidays” and left all actions (with exclusion of buying/selling players) to my assistant manager. The actual games were played, not simulated for a realistic experience. In generated matches the tactics chosen play a lesser role. When a player’s fitness dropped under 70% I substituted him, when possible. When a player was sent off with a red card in the first 70 minutes of the game, I replayed the match as it wouldn’t be a “fair comparison” in my own test environment.

The test was run with 2 teams; one had a media prediction of 12th, the other one a prediction of 4th in their respective leagues.

7 matches were played with tactic not being fluid, all other matches the tactic was fully fluid.

No injuries or bans in effect (used FMRTE for this purpose to create a fair comparison)

As you all may know, if you play a certain match and for some reason you replay that particular game 3 times, you will get 3 different results even if you play with the exact same players and tactics. For that reason I decided to analyse almost 30 games and not only review the results but basically all stats and involve these in the evaluation.

For example: there was a match in an earlier test game I played in which my team lost with 0-1, but my team’s possession was 55%+, CCC 4-1 and shots on goal was 8-1. (yes………………..it was the “1% chance“ that killed my result).

Does that mean that if you lose 3 games in a row like this that your tactics is always awful???? No….of course not. You can always have a bad result because of a big error/blunder in defence. Main thing is that you know if the tactic is good, that you will win 95 out of 100 times that match and losing it is hard, but always possible, even with the best tactical approach.

I actually would prefer to play with a tactic that creates lots of shots on goal and CCC’s instead of only looking at the results. Winning 3 times with luck while your team gets completely outplayed is a sign that your tactic is not good, but you might just have luck on your side. In some “tests” I found on the internet the main focus was on how many points were gathered in a certain number of matches and for the reason just mentioned I decided to take a different approach. Yes….in the end it is nice to see how many matches/points you gained but it should be more focussed on how effective you play with a tactic.

When you have the right players on the right spots and a tactic that works, the results will come automatically even when you lose a game or two due to bad luck or terrible blunders in defence.

I think this makes all perfect sense, but just wanted to make this clear.

All tactics were tweaked or made for and tested with FM 2014 with patch 14.3.1. When multiple versions of the same tactic existed, I chose for either the one which was “the best” according to the creator, or the one that was the newest/latest version, as it would be virtually impossible to test all tactics let alone…….all versions of just one tactic out there ;-).

All team talks (half time and after the match) were done by the Assistant Manager.

No OI (opposition instructions) done

Tactics were tested as “plug and play”, no shouts, no substitutions (except when players condition was under 70% or player was injured/took a knock and needed to be taken off). For your own reference please check the creators’ blog or posts to see if shouts are needed or even wanted, sometimes shouts can interfere with the tactic, instead of helping you play better.

Pitch sizes as indicated by creator of tactics, if not provided I used the standard pitch size.

Identical players were used on positions where possible during matches, when for example a 2-7-1 formation was chosen instead of 4-4-2 the needed changes were made to have the right player on the right position.

No individual talks with players, no team meetings or backroom staff meetings.

Press conferences all done by the Assistant Manager

Of course when you chose a certain tactic for your team a lot of factors come into play. You might have your own personal preference of the formation or line up you are looking for, you might prefer a counter attacking style above a “Tiki Taka” or an “all-out attack” formation. Maybe your team has a lot of DL or DR suitable players and you prefer to play with 4 defenders for that reason. Your chosen team might also be well known to play better in a certain system (Barcelona “Tiki Taka” is an obvious example) and you want to stick by that. But again, the statistics say it all. Some tactics show that they create a lot more chances for your team, some cause a lot of headaches because of a leaky defense etc.

When choosing a tactic a lot more factors come into play than just test results.

Of course I could have chosen another, more reputable, team. But I decided to take a team that is a clearly not an “easy winner” and see what can be achieved despite a low prediction (12th) at the start of the season.

It’s not hard to win games with teams like Manchester United, Barcelona, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich. Claiming you have found the “best tactic” and posting only your season result from one of the above teams is not conclusive “evidence” that your tactic did it all.

The scores in the tests I did could have been better if I would have subbed players that were having a bad day, looked exhausted or if I would have made other adjustments to the team based on performance, which everybody does in real. I decided however to keep playing with the same 11 as I started with whenever possible, to maintain an honest comparison.

DISCLAIMER:

It is not my intention, and never will be, to imply that certain tactics are better than others. The test was run over 50 games to ensure that the “chance factor” was eliminated as much as possible. My tests will only show which tactics worked best with my test teams (media prediction 12th and 4th) without any players sold/bought during the season, and without any interference or input during the matches. All based on a “plug and play” scenario.

I have/had no personal preference on any tactics and my testing has been done as neutral as possible.

*“It's a mariolicious xmas tree 3-4-3-0 (3T’s)” is an edited version of the original. I changed the position of the 2 AM - 1 ST set up with one with 3 AMs with “Trequartista” role and found out it worked even better than the original set up (from 3-4-3-2-1 to 3-4-3-0)

**I created and perfected “Antonio Conte 3-5-2 EDITED T2 2AM-ANCH v11” with my testing, however the credit for this one goes to the creator of “UMBRELLA PINBALL (TIKI-TAKA) 2323 T3 (14.3.1)”. It is a beautiful passing style tactic that worked only with one of my test teams. As I loved the positioning and the “CCC ratio” of “Antonio Conte by ARTISAN” I recreated this one with completely different roles but with the mentality of “Umbrella”.

I have included the results of the 4th media prediction team as well so you can see that some tactics performed great with this team, and some performed pretty badly.

As I wanted to create a test result with an underdog (12th) and semi top (4th) combined though the above results are the main ones.

Included for download are both spreadsheets with all results, so you can review all test results yourself closely.

http://s000.tinyupload.com/?file_id=24007953815747163442

http://s000.tinyupload.com/?file_id=54682496402195997749 (This is download for the "underdog team" spreadsheet ONLY)

As requested, here are all the tactics shown in overall spreadsheet in one download:

http://s000.tinyupload.com/?file_id=09188444207622544427

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Final results (after 50 matches played)

Most points:

1) It's a mariolicious xmas tree 3-4-3-0 (3T’s) 125 *

2) Mr Hough Bring CM Punk Back FM14.3.1 124

3) VanGaalUtd 122

4) Antonio Conte 3-5-2 EDITED T2 2AM-ANCH v11 121 **

5) Danilo (original) 120

4-4-2 back to basic by andrichbrand 120

Most goals scored:

1) 4-4-2 back to basic by andrichbrand 147

2) VanGaalUtd 146

3) Arturo 140

4) Steatons Total Annihilation v2 139

5) Mr Hough Bring CM Punk Back FM14.3.1 136

Least goals conceded:

1) TFF_UNREAL_V1 34

2) It's a mariolicious xmas tree 3-4-3-0 (3T’s) 34 *

3) Arte et Marte 36

4) Antonio Conte 3-5-2 by ARTISAN 37

5) Mr Hough Bring CM Punk Back FM14.3.1 37

Shots on target ratio:

1) Danilo (original) 2.898648649

2) Mr Hough Bring CM Punk Back FM14.3.1 2.827338129

3) VanGaalUtd 2.77037037

4) Antonio Conte 3-5-2 EDITED T2 2AM-ANCH v11 2.715384615 **

5) It's a mariolicious xmas tree 3-4-2-1 (original) 2.710144928

CCC ratio:

1) Antonio Conte 3-5-2 by Artisan 3.62

2) Antonio Conte 3-5-2 EDITED T2 2AM-ANCH v11 3.53 **

3) TFF EPIC v10 3.14

4) Danilo (original) 3.08

5) Arte et Marte 3.02

Overall the “control” “very fluid” tactics showed a better result in the tests.

*“It's a mariolicious xmas tree 3-4-3-0 (3T’s)” is an edited version of the original released by it’s creator. (I found out with testing that it works even better with 3 Trequartista's in AM roles than the original setup

**”Antonio Conte 3-5-2 EDITED T2 2AM-ANCH v11” is a tactic I created myself after finishing and analysing the test results. I made 15 versions of which “11” showed the most fluent play and results. The tactic is a mix between the formation of the “ARTISAN” setup and the OI’s preset and playing style of “UMBRELLA PINBALL (TIKI-TAKA) 2323 T3 (14.3.1)”. Umbrella didn’t make it to the final test as it was performing fantastic on my better team, but performed very poor on my underdog team.

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  • 3 weeks later...

THESE ARE THE FINAL RESULTS AFTER 50 MATCHES:

21lmm45.jpg

THIS IS THE SPREADSHEET FOR THE 4th MEDIA PREDICTION TEAM ONLY:

1zcn586.jpg

AS REQUESTED: THIS IS THE SPREADSHEET ONLY FOR THE "UNDERDOG TEAM" (MEDIA PREDICTION 12TH)

243qjph.jpg

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While the idea is fine, a tactic is very dependent on the type of players you have in your squad, which makes a comparison like this pretty invalid.

You are correct that some tactics work better for some teams than for others.

In my tests I have used two teams that have completely different kind of players with different skill sets.

Some tactics work better with team A some with team B.

Which would confirm your comment, however ..... There are also tactics that despite this work great with both teams, as the results show.

I actually covered this topic in my opening thread as well. ;-)

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link for these ? 1) PPP 14.3.1 (Possession-Pressing-Planing PPP Jassar) 57

2) 4-4-2 Back to basic by Andrichbrand 51

can u give me download link please? :D

Here are the treads for these two tactics.

When I have finished my testing I will provide links to all tactics so you can download and read more about the tactics.

http://www.fm-base.co.uk/forum/share-download-fm-14-tactics/145625-%2A%2A%2Afootball-manager-14-tactical-thread%2A%2A%2A%2A%2A%2A%2A%2A%2A%2A%2A%2A%2A%2A%2A%2A%2A%2A%2A%2A%2A%2A%2Ajassar%2A%2A%2A%2A%2A%2A%2A.html

http://www.fm-base.co.uk/forum/share-download-fm-14-tactics/160323-14-3-1-442-back-basics-andrichbrand.html

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When you say PPP 14.3.1, do you mean the home tactic, the away tactic, or using both?

Good question, I should have mentioned it in the thread.

I tried both versions at first, but found that in my tests the HOME version worked best in home and away games.

So if I mention PPP 14.3.1 in meant the HOME tactic

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Very interesting. I would say that it's clear from the OP that you understand the importance of all the peripheral factors to success in FM14 and as long as people take this into account when studying your results, then these tests can be very useful for highlighting particular trends and traits of tactics. Unfortunately, you are going to get people saying that because it isn't perfect it must be useless, or because it's difficult to attempt then you shouldn't even try. Ignore them. There is a lot of interesting information to be gleaned from your spreadsheet even after accepting that morale, confidence, staff, pitch size, weather, hidden attribute for "prone to biting other players as he has acquired a taste for human flesh" are taken into account.

On the subject of the spreadsheet, one cell that raised an eyebrow was the shots off target for the opponent in the PPP 14.3.1 target. Seems extraordinarily high compared to all the others. This is precisely the sort of thing that a test like this is great at showing.

Keep up the good work. Will follow with interest.

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If anyone is thinking of using this thread to pick tactics I would still use the spreadsheet attached and pick one with a strategy to suit their team.

I started a new game with cardiff and ran if for 6 months with "PPP 14.3.1 (Possession-Pressing-Planing PPP Jassar) 57" and sat bottom of the league! Where as with the more defensive or counter tactics the same team easily gets into the top half.

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  • 2 months later...

This is an interesting idea except you are missing easily the most successful tactic that most people I know of can use.... Silk and Steel V2. It would top most of your results right off. I am also quite confident my Tower would top your goal against results quite well, though it may not and I am just proud of it's efficiency in stopping goals for myself and the few who tried that I communicate with :)

In all, Silk & Steel V2 is the best tactic out there, bar none, tested and approved by many players. Of course not everyone will agree but this is an opinion I thought worth sharing.

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This is an interesting idea except you are missing easily the most successful tactic that most people I know of can use.... Silk and Steel V2. It would top most of your results right off. I am also quite confident my Tower would top your goal against results quite well, though it may not and I am just proud of it's efficiency in stopping goals for myself and the few who tried that I communicate with :)

In all, Silk & Steel V2 is the best tactic out there, bar none, tested and approved by many players. Of course not everyone will agree but this is an opinion I thought worth sharing.

At first look I only could find v5 of this tactic and tried it in the early phases. Do you have a link to this specific tactic, will give it a shot.

Update after 50 games will be uploaded shortly.

PPP 14.3.1 fell way off the top, so like earlier suggested, look in the spreadsheet for what YOU want out of a tactic.

Points don't really tell the whole story! ;-)

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This is an interesting idea except you are missing easily the most successful tactic that most people I know of can use.... Silk and Steel V2. It would top most of your results right off. I am also quite confident my Tower would top your goal against results quite well, though it may not and I am just proud of it's efficiency in stopping goals for myself and the few who tried that I communicate with :)

In all, Silk & Steel V2 is the best tactic out there, bar none, tested and approved by many players. Of course not everyone will agree but this is an opinion I thought worth sharing.

This was true until the patch arrived and took the edge off it. Was probably the most successful tactic I used throughout FM14

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bit shocked not to find my tactic in here, as atleast from what i have seen alot of people posted, its very consistent, creates loads of CCs, scores loads and some say they hardly concede goals.

When I started testing, your tactic wasn't there yet ;-)

I am testing it with exact same test environment now, so will be able to add yours to the end results

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When I started testing, your tactic wasn't there yet ;-)

I am testing it with exact same test environment now, so will be able to add yours to the end results

cheers mate, always nice to see a comparison vs other tactics

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I am curious to see what happens in the end. Which tactics stands out, in what situations, etc.

Keep up the good (interesting) work! :thup:

I have added some new tactics (7) which I'm currently testing.

A few really good ones too ;-)

As I want to come back here with full results only (after 50 matches testing) it will take me another week or so to complete.

But keep you posted on my "final" results.........................

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  • 3 weeks later...

This one has only 1 T, without Player Instructions, but you say 3 in OP.

Can you please confirm the correct tactic.

And thanks for all the effort put in this test.

People like me, with crappy slow PC's, sure appreciate it. :applause:

Rather difficult to play with small database, and each game taking 10-15 minutes. Now, at least, I have a rough guide on which tactics to avoid. :D

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This one has only 1 T, without Player Instructions, but you say 3 in OP.

Can you please confirm the correct tactic.

And thanks for all the effort put in this test.

People like me, with crappy slow PC's, sure appreciate it. :applause:

Rather difficult to play with small database, and each game taking 10-15 minutes. Now, at least, I have a rough guide on which tactics to avoid. :D

I'm so sorry. I also tested the tactic with 2 AM's and T 1. Posted the wrong one...................

Here is the link to the correct one: http://s000.tinyupload.com/?file_id=20687607351079220434

(same for the rest, just role changed from AM to T) ;-)

Cheers

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Great job OP!

I wanted to thank you for the work you put into this.

PS Where can I download "Pep's Bayern" ?

No problem, my pleasure!

My wife wasn't too happy with me testing (only during nights and dinners I wasn't clicking through, 700+ hours is a lot of "testing time" LOL..............................)

But got the job done.

Here is the link to that tactic:

http://www.fm-base.co.uk/forum/share-download-fm-14-tactics/158029-%2A%2Abayern-tiki-taka-under-pep-guardiola%2A%2A.html

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in your opinion which one was the most sucessful?

It's a mariolicious xmas tree 3-4-3-0 (3T’s) played very beautiful football, lots of possession too.

It performed great with both teams, and created lots of chances.

vanGaalUtd (which is the "new lease of life" version, there are more similar named tactics out there) also was a good one that I liked.

With my PSV Eindhoven team "Umbrella Pinball Tiki-Taka" was awesome with beautiful football and as I play that team now it was my 2nd favorite.

I created "Antonio Conte 3-5-2" (very similar to v11, just did minor tweaks) based on "Umbrella". The CCC ratio of the Artisan version was the highest and I like the formation.

That combined with the passing style and most of "Umbrellas" instructions made it my favorite one as CCCs are still very good but now it performed and looked better in the games.

Very close call for me between these four tactics

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  • 2 weeks later...
Which one of these tactics has a high goal rate for just one player? Looking for a very strong tactic for a team with a world class scorer like a Messi/Ronaldo

I tracked a lot of things, but unfortunately not which striker scored the most (in which position).

My guess would be too look at the stats and choose a tactic that has shown a lot of shots (on and off target combined).

Reasoning is that if you have a world class striker some of the shots that now show "off target" could be on target, given the players' ability.

Also, more shots on goal also means more goals, for the same reason.

Statistics will help you in this, and will help you to narrow down your selection. After this you should have a look at your team and which tactic you like best and suits your team best.

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  • 3 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...
Thanks :) since reading this thread ive started having a go with some of the tactics you have recommended, sometimes i find testing tactics more interesting than some of my career games,

Excellent thread.

Thanks a lot, appreciate the recognition. As you can imagine it took me many, many, hours.

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Is this still active?

would appriciate someone giving my 4-2-3-1 a swing! full thread is here on the forum "kallemannens deep 4-2-3-1"

This thread with tactics comparison was made for FM 2014.

I usually start playing the new game after the final patch is out, as when the match engine changes any earlier comparisons are worthless unfortunately. A tactic that is great can turn into a disaster tactic with a new update/patch.

I'm not sure if I will do this for FM 2015 but if so, it will be in a new thread and after the final patch for FM 2015.

Cheers

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  • 2 weeks later...

I stumbled across this thread looking for an analysis of fm15 tactics. Even though it was no use to me I still read it with interest as I couldn't help but be impressed with the method, organisation and results of this study. please repeat soon

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This thread with tactics comparison was made for FM 2014.

I usually start playing the new game after the final patch is out, as when the match engine changes any earlier comparisons are worthless unfortunately. A tactic that is great can turn into a disaster tactic with a new update/patch.

I'm not sure if I will do this for FM 2015 but if so, it will be in a new thread and after the final patch for FM 2015.

Cheers

Please do :) Always awesome read

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  • 2 months later...

I was playing with Lyndby and used 3-4-2-1 mariolicious christmas tree - so not even the best version. The only change I made was to change the forward to F9 (since I saw that the 3 trequartista tactic was even more lethal, I wanted to pull the forward back into midfield).

I went 4W-1T-0L over the next five games, with the only tie coming because I was trying to win the match and switched to a different tactic. I conceded 1 goal while playing 9 halves of football with this tactic. No other tactic even came close in terms of defensive solidity.

EDIT: I'm continuing the Lyngby save. Games I used to dread (e.g. Brondby) are now 3-0, 4-0 games. I will see if this tactic works for more than one season, but so far, this is the best I've tried.

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  • 4 years later...

Any chance the OP is still around? Would love to download this and the updated mariolicious 3ts tactic but links are down. Thanks

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