4231 THE SS-WITCHER
Long time no see? Its been a while hasn’t it? So here we are back again finally able to upload a tactic to this beloved forum and have a crack at that tactic testing league… and who knows maybe even feature on the YT channel for them to showcase this badboy… before we get into that i will give you a bit of a background on me,
I have been playing FM since the CM01/02 and have been posting tactics on here for 4 years, For some of you that are accustom with my previous work I like to be a bit more in depth with why the tactic works rather than a few screen shots and the tactic just thrown up there, I do this so hopefully you will understand the rational rather than just taking the tactic and plug and play then when the ME is changed and the tactic inevitably fails then you can make tweaks yourself having the knowledge of how the tactic was designed in the first place… that’s the dream anyway, but that is enough rambling about me and how I operate lets get into this shall we…
- The tactic
- Team / Player Instructions
- Player roles / attributes
- Stats and results
here is a sneak peak of the tactic and what it can do to a team who much better that you and what you can to a team that you are better than... read the rest to find out how this was achieved!!!!
I will cover each of the above topics in more detail below however I will state now that this is going to be a long read and if you haven’t got the attention span to read it or just want the tactic to plug and play then scroll to the bottom and download and have fun with it…
This tactic or the idea of this tactic started on last years version of the game… this idea came to be from an opposing player destroying me when I was trying to make a previous tactic I uploaded work after the ME destroyed it, he got 20 key passes and 12 chances created and I couldn’t get near him with a FB or DM due to the positions he was picking up (I wish I had the screenshot to show you)… he was a ghost sniper able to pick me off at any time he wanted…. Worst part was he wasn’t even a good player, he wasn’t quick and he was technically average for the league too so the only thing I could do was the insane… watch the match back in full highlights to see what he was doing and how and why I couldn’t get close to him, after seeing that it was the role he was asked to play rather than the individual brilliance I then decided to dedicate X hours on creating a tactic in his homage and the result is what we are going to discuss below… He was an AP on support in AML position and what he was doing was floating inside into the space between the defence and midfield but far enough inside that the FB wouldn’t challenge and not far enough in for a DM if they had one to move over and cover… So my crazy idea was simple in theory, if 1 of these could do that much damage what would happen if we had 2 of them on either wing, the answer was sheer poetry in motion… with the shape and setup I settled on the team moved like a fluid wave always in space and always looking to hurt the opposition and due to being on a support duty they will still help out defensively when not in possession by going back out wide and covering off any FB that looks to get forward…
Finally the name… this tactic does more long cross field passes that I though humanly imaginable… so the tactic is a hybrid between one of the best games of the last decade and the fact that the team has SWITCHERS for days.
2. THE TACTIC
The shape settled on was a sort of 4231 but with high attacking wingbacks to isolate the FB and a midfield paring centred around protection and lateral movement to aid in ball retention… the DLP essentially staying still in possession and only moving laterally paired with a Segundo volante on support stepping into the midfield and even arriving in the box late if needed covering the vertical space… I have an CAM set as an SS, this is to do 1 of 2 things, if they have a DM then this will isolate him and keep him from getting to the AP’s, if they done but have a dual pivot in CM that drop in and cover then we will have a numerical advantage in the final 3rd with the AP’s on the inside with the SS making a 3 with the DM and CM making a block of 5 which most teams cant handle, add in the WB on the overlap creates 6-7 players in the final 3rd ready to receive the ball by making probing runs to create space for the pass. The AF is there to pin back the defensive line making sure that they cant get close enough to the AP’s to work their magic, defensively this is 100% gegenpress, get the ball back quickly, pressure from the AP/SS/AF from the front line not allowing any time on the ball while the WB and CM/DM drop back to form a block of 4 in front of the last line of defence being the CB, if they try and play through the lines then the DM/CM/WB will engage and the attacking block will drop in to support, if they go over the press the defenders will be able to head the ball to one of the DM/CMWB who will be coming back in…
3. TEAM INSTRUCTIONS
As for the team instructions it started very differently with a slow controlling tempo and trying to dominate teams with short passing that made teams move us but as we all know the ME doesn’t like that and you give the ball away far too often which lead to counter attacks and games that were literally finishing 5-5 or 6-6 (which I had twice each in a previous save) so to combat this and make us more stable at the back I changed to longer passing with a higher tempo which doesn’t sound like it should work as your not looking after the ball the way that you would if the passes were shorter and more methodical but when the passes are shorter it gives chance for the opposition to swarm around the ball and force a mistake where as if you are playing with more freedom of range and asked to do this at a quicker pace then the team look for a free man usually one of the APs or the DM and then they will look to progress forward, the DM will dribble with the ball before laying it off to the AP or WB and if the AP has the ball they will look for where the advantage is, if on to their WB or a reverse ball to the opposite AP or WB… the movement of the ball is the reason we create so many chances as the defence never has time to set, if they drop deep to compensate and say come on break us down that is where the APs shine as they make small probing movements to create a yard of space for a 1-2 or a shot or throughball…
in transition the team from attack to defence is listed above but in short its get the ball back quickly or force them to go long so our defenders can retain the ball, from the defence into attack it’s the most chaotically beautiful thing to witness… it looks really random and that the runners are aimless but it’s the nature of the tactical setup, if we win the ball back in our own final 3rd then the AF moves wide and the SS moves into the AF position, the AP come inside and the WB go round the outside, this all happens within a 3-5 second window and the opposition doesn’t know what to do, they try and pick up the players that are moving but that leaves the DM and CM almost stationary to receive the ball unopposed as the opposition scramble to cover the runners, typically the AP’s will be the most common out ball as they will move laterally inside without making horizontal movement once possession is gained, from there they will move the ball quickly to the most available runner to start the counter attack.
when defending the team will start with a high line and even higher press, pressing the ball as soon as its lost, this is done by the attacking block of 4 being the AP/SS/AF this will force the ball long or wide, if the ball goes long then the CB will mop up, if the ball is sent wide then the WB will engage the ball and stop the winger in their tracks to allow time for the rest of the team to fall in…
4. Player roles/Attributes
Now I will cover off what each individual position does in regards to the team and what I consider are the best attributes for the role based on if I were a prem side… for the attributes I would prefer the player to be well rounded and have 13-14 on all of the key atts rather than 15-16 on some and 10 on others, this is preference but overall the players will get better average ratings if they have a complete game, side note if I can I prefer all my players to be over 6ft tall and be physically better rather than technically proficient as the more ground a player can cover the more opportunities they will have to win the ball in both phases of play even if their success rate is less, overall this in my opinion and its based from NFL theories where individual match ups and
misdirection are key victory.
So I will now give my OPINION on what I look for in each role based on what I need the player to do in their role and as part of the team tactical… giving the key attributes that I look for in each player
## I only look for between 5-6 key attributes but will decide to pick a player based on the overall attribute picture…
#### the key attributes are the bare minimum that I require and the level needed will change depending on the league your playing in but in England I separate this into broad spectrums
Europe prem – 13 -16
prem – 12-15
Championship – 11 – 14
League 1 – 10 – 13
League 2 – 9 – 12
the reason for the broad ranges for each is due to the fact that I prefer to have a player in the top prem for example to have all 6 or 7 key attributes at 13 rather than 4 at 15 or 16 and the other 2 at 10 as I view that all the KEY atts to be as important as all the others and missing 1 or 2 for the level that your at can have a detrimental effect on the overall performance of that player and due to the fluidity of the team it will have a domino effect causing the team to suffer as a result
GK – The goalkeeper is generic in the sense that I only need him to stop the ball going in the goal, they are set to sweeper keeper on attack but that is for distribution of the ball to make sure that they have the freedom to go beyond the process of playing out to the CB and go into the DLP or WB if the opposition has a high press.
KEY – reflexes, one on ones, positioning, agility and balance
CB – these guys need to be physically dominant, as they are in a back 2 with little support from FB or DM they will be tasked to follow the striker into the channels so will need the pace to do this, their main job however is to win the ball in the air if the ball is forced long to recycle possession but also in both boxes from set pieces.
KEY – acceleration, Jumping reach, positioning, decisions, concentration, tackling and marking
WB – they provide all of the width for the team, they will spend more time in the opposition final 3rd than defending but if the ball is lost they will retreat into a back 4 so their fitness is key, because of what they are asked to do they need to be glorified wingers for large portions of the game so will need the ability to go past a man and put the ball in or square it to the AP. Being capable defenders is a bonus but not a must as defensively they will only look to engage to slow the opposition and block crosses rather than actually make a challenge.
KEY – acceleration, stamina, work rate, off the ball, first touch, dribbling
SV – this is a weird one as they cover a lot of ground but their conditioning during games means that they are never subbed, they are tasked with driving forward with the ball to get the team further up the pitch, this is physical running rather than a technical spectacle, technically they just need to be able to control ball and distribute the ball in a relatively simple fashion, due to his deeper starting position he will be afforded more time on the ball to make decisions on whether to run or pass. Where they end up at the end of an attack having a good longshot is a bonus but can be the difference of around 6-10 goals a season.
KEY – acceleration, stamina, work rate, off the ball, first touch and passing
DLP – ah the pendulum, the man that keeps everything ticking and is typically the pass before the assist every time so is very underrated in the ME but trust me without him the tactic wouldn’t be half as efficient. He needs to be proficient in distributing the ball both short and long and be able to work in tight spaces and have the ability to play out of those spaces, defensively this player is set to be the enforcer being the first player to engage the ball along side the SV when the ball is in central areas.
KEY – stamina, work rate, passing, tacking, vision, first touch, composure.
AP – if the pitch is a canvas then these guys are Picasso, they move into positions that the defence or midfield cant get to and are constantly moving around to create space and be available to receive the ball, this means that they get through a lot of grass over the course of a game, they need to be able to receive the ball and have the ability to play all ranges of passes, they are tasked to run at the defence when the opportunity arises so being quick enough to cover the ground is key. Defensively they press very aggressively and often will pick the pocket of the FB or intercept the pass to lead a counter so having the engine required is preferable
KEY – acceleration, passing, first touch, dribbling, vision, decision, off the ball, (stamina + work rate)
SS – the tactic started with 2x strikers and although the goals were still there defensively and ball retention was very poor which meant that there were a lot of 4-4, 5-5s going on which isnt sustainable, so I dropped one to an SS in the CAM slot, he is a hybrid player, he will get into very advanced positions and even steps into the striker slot if the AF drifts wide, typically he will be a mobile central pivot for the team and isolate a DM if they have one so he will need to be able to work in a very crowded area and also have the nuance to roam into attacking positions when the ball gets into the final 3rd like a striker would, defensively he will press the back line along side the AF and the APs so needs the engine to do so.
KEY – agility, balance, strength, first touch, finishing, off the ball, anticipation and composure.
AF – the striker in this tactic has a very simple role… put ball in net… now how he does this will depend what type of chances are being created but to cover off all basis I prefer my strikers at least 6ft2 and quick with a good first touch and a natural striker’s instinct in the box, the AF will spend most of his time in the penalty area and therefore doesn’t need to have the work rate to close down as this will be done naturally with the SS and AP performing and pushing him on to the keeper if the ball goes back.
KEY – acceleration, jumping reach, off the ball, anticipation, composure, first touch, finishing.
5. STATS + RESULTS
so this is my Oviedo team, newly promoted to La Liga and yes I appreciate I have abused the loan system allowances and I am essentially a feeder team for man city but the quality of the players still would only get them to a mid table side at best as im only a couple of years into the game…
best performers are the AF who as you can tell does what I need… he puts the ball in the back of the net… at the point in the season where I needed to share this tactic with you he is averaging more than 1 goal every game and has had 4 hattricks this season which is phenomenal.
The second best player is my CB (again on loan) for his goal contribution from set plays but more from his defensive performances where he is tasked to do more than a traditional CB in the sense that in a back 2 shouldn’t be expected to go into wide areas but has maintained solid numbers for tackles won and headers won over 90% which is staggering.
The third best player is one of the AP’s, this is very close between the ratings for both this he has more goals and assists, to be in double figures for both goals and assists is impressive and causes no end of problems with his dribbling and passing on the run.
The final player highlight is my WB, he is the top assist maker in the entire league and has a very high pass and cross completion rate due to the positions that he is naturally in within this tactic. As you can see he is a fairly average WB and doesn’t excel in any aspect of the role but that is proof of my point earlier that having all the key attributes rather than excelling at a few but missing some is better for overall performance.
The league table shows that this tactic is disgusting at times, to be unbeaten in the first season in a league is unheard of and to do so with as many wins as the team has is just phenomenal, just at a glance you can see that the goals scored is where this tactic shines but the goals conceded is arguably more impressive considering we are a newly promoted side.
Now from the fixtures/results page you can see how dominant we were in quite a number of these games (more on that in a minute) but I want to highlight the fact that against teams we should beat we are dominating and the teams that we have no right to be competitive against we are either getting the result or drawing against and in Spain I will add that there are some really weird pitch sizes and formations to come up against.
ill grab the 2 highest wins we had, a couple of the draws and then the games against the big teams to show you how good this tactic really is, as you can see we dominate most games without having possession advantage, I wish FM could get XG` as a stat rather than CCC or half chances as it would make it a lot cleaner but on average we are 3x more likely to score than all opposition that we have faced so far, even in the games were we are massive underdogs we have more chances created and in some of the games we make them look like mid table sides.
Here I will go through any random things that usually get asked around what I do for training for if there is a red card etc so I can cover it all off and hopefully answer any questions you might have, or catch out the people that don’t read it all and ask the questions anyway lol…
- If you have a red card put the SS in the position where the red was from and leave on if able to shuffle the team around or swap for a relevant player on the bench
- The right AP should be left footed and vice versa, this is personal preference and I haven’t looked at if it makes any difference but due to the position they take up and always coming inside it makes sense that they are opposite footed.
- Training – general: I leave all general training to my TL but add in “match review” manually after every game as the UI doesn’t do it
- Training – individual – I set each player to train in the role they are going to play in so all CB on BPD, all WB on wing back attack, all CM/DM to train as a Segundo Volante on support, the wide players training as inside forwards on support to keep training their finishing and all CAM and ST training as shadow strikers. As the added passing and vision for the strikers is useful to have…
from there I select the weakest area from their stats to focus attention on… typically for CB is quickness or final 3rd (decisions and anticipation) for WB its usually ball control, for DM/CM I focus on either ball control or endurance depending on traits…
finally I will put the entire team through player trait training to help their role… for CB simple passes, don’t argue, etc… WB to get forward whenever possible, dribble down flank and develop long bullet throw… DM get forward whenever possible, dribble with the ball through middle, play 1-2’s shoot with power… CM dictate play, switch ball to the other flank, look for killer ball, pass rather than shoot… AP look for killer ball, play 1-2’s cut inside from both flanks SS and AF – dribble through middle, try and beat the offside trap.
- Opposition instructions – don’t have any and don’t let anyone do them… I have the team on individual instructions to press
- Pitch size – the results are based on the average standard size for pitches haven’t tried with anything else…
- Subs – rotate wingbacks at 60 mins as they get through the most work then take off a central player on a card to protect against a red card or if not take off the player with the lowest rating…
- If defending a lead with 10-15 to go… drop D-line to standard and drop the SS to CM on attack, he will still get forward but will defensively be in a better position to help the team out
- If needing a goal in the last 10-15 then change the SV to attacking duty and select shoot on sight… due to the position he is in he will get 2-3 good shots in that time and there is always a chance of the keeper spilling it out for a corner or to the AF coming in for the rebound.
- Set piece takers – I set the right AP to take the left corners and vice versa as I prefer in swingers rather that out for the CB or AF to attack, LWB to take left throws and same on the right, free kicks I allow the best taker to take them regardless of position.
- Set piece instruction – all have a very basic set up, all corners are set to near post delivery with the CB and AF around the near post to attack – nothing special, free kicks, put the ball in to the big men running in – nothing special. Throw-ins – both set to long with the AF at the near post, nothing special but just puts the ball in the mix.
So there we have it… 4000 words later… that’s half a dissertation at uni… thank you for reading to the end if you got here if you died half way through then I apologise but also assume no responsibility as it was your choice. I hope you all have fun with this tactic and let me know in the comments how your getting on with it with some screenshots as a testimonial to the tactic or any tweaks you might have made…