Lots of changes this year to get our teeth into, so with help from Rashidi, Cleon and review by Jack from SI this is a brief overview. Do note we're not covering everything here, just the key highlights. We don't want to spoil all the surprises
. Team Shape Team Shape has been removed and has not been replaced. There has been a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation about this tactical setting for a long time now, so it’s been removed. Any functions it used to perform, such as adjusting player mentality or creative freedom can still be utilised but now we’ll be adjusting team instructions or player settings instead. Which we could always do anyway. Team Fluidity Team Fluidity is nothing more than a label attached to describe how we set up our players. It has nothing to do with Team Shape and should not be confused with it – despite using the same naming conventions. The way Team Fluidity works is essentially as a guide on how to structure our teams in a way we desire. Prior to this there was nothing to help us set up our roles. So for example – if you set all your attackers to attack and all your defenders to defend you’ll be playing in a very “structured” manner: defenders defend, attackers attack. Now change everyone to a support duty and your team will be playing with a more “fluid” style; everybody supports each other. As mentioned, don’t confuse this with the old Team Shape naming conventions, despite their similarities. In Possession / In Transition / Out of Possession The tactic creator has now been broken out further to add in the “In Transition” section. Here you can tell your players how to behave when possession is lost or won, such as counter pressing the opposition. On screen diagrams help you understand how this can work. Line of Engagement and Pressing Intensity The Line of Engagement is a new addition to FM19. In a nutshell, this instruction tells your players at which point on the pitch you want them to start pressing. The amount of Pressing Intensity you set then tells your players how much or how aggressively to press. Defensive Width As it sounds. We now have the ability to easily set how wide we want our teams to play when defending. Tactical Presets A whole series of ready made tactical systems have been included in FM19, covering a multitude of different tactical styles, from Gegenpressing to Tiki Taka, and much more in between. However, these are not plug and play and win tactics. They are a starting point, not the finished article, and may need further tweaking. The team we pick may also have an influence – so expect less tweaking if using Tiki Taka as Barcelona compared to West Brom for example. Your playing staff may also necessitate tweaks – perhaps your chosen preset asks for a Target Man but you don’t have a TM in your squad. You could therefore perhaps tweak the role to better suit the strikers at your disposal. Think of the presets as follows – before FM19 we had a 1000 piece jigsaw and no picture to help us put it together. Now we still have the 1000 piece jigsaw, but the presets give us a slightly out of focus picture to give us at least an idea of how the puzzle fits together.
Technically no. There seem to be options that weren't even in previous.
The things the game rewards as such haven't changed in more than a decade though. Then again, it's tried to be based on simple team sports, from my end either way. I'm curious whether AI will be more robust tho, also in terms of their playing styles. Those presets should hopefully help them a lot. With different AI it may be a different game to play.
I am curious how those presets are going to interact with how AI managers manage matches. See, they don't set a "tactic". A bit like managers in footie, they apply switches. Sometimes bigger ones, like turning things around at half time. Sometimes more subtle ones. They mostly react to scorelines. If the one team goes up 1-0, they may go more aggressive in an attempt to get an equalizer (pushing more players forward, etc.) At the same time, this may increase the likelyhood of conceding too though. If they themselvs go 1-0 up... In other words, Barcelona may try to see out a game in a different way than Stoke would. Similar, with the clock running out, teams try differently to get a desperate goal. Does that come to pass in-game? So far it's all been fairly vanilla. Somebody has reported an AI manager turning a towering centre back into a forward/Target Man type in that "desperate for a goal" scenario though, presumably in an attempt to lump the ball towards him and produce flick-ons. Basically playing that game of chance where it''s preferable to lump it forward than to risk not having much shots at atll for the remainder of a match, which looks interesting (not sure if happened previous).
No doubt FM19 will have its own set of weaknesses too which can be exploited. Though there will likely be overlaps. Some ME weaknesses have been fairly long-term. In my opinion they will exist until a few significant overhauls are applied as to how teams on FM defend in general.