April 28, 2012 - 05:30am
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15
Date Joined:
28 Apr 2012
Last Active:
22 Jul 2014
Following the introduction of touchline instructions and the TC, we have been graced with an innovative approach to tactics which has ultimately rendered the classic sliders obsolete. Better yet, it is a system which the match engine can cope with. Case in point, you don't see any "super tactics" which crack the engine that are 100% TC & touchline strategy based. Also, the AI's tactics are themselves based on this system, so it's a level playing field for all parties, as well as representing a more challenging simulation.

Using the TC and shouts can be very simple or wonderfully intricate depending on how much the user enjoys the tactical side of the game. The purpose of this article is to discuss the merit of several strategies for the benefit of casual players who don't have the time/and or desire to engross themselves into football and/or FM, but would like to gain a better understanding of the TC system's complexities, as well as how some real-world football logic is incorporated into the game.



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As a starting point, it should be noted that all of the pre-set shouts are useful in certain conditions (yes, even Shoot On Sight), while they can also become a burden, so it's advantageous to be mindful of how effective a shout is likely to be depending in the situation. For example, with some basic awareness of formations, Exploit The Middle would always be a futile approach to try and break down a narrow diamond (due to their numbers in the middle), while Look For Overlap is completely redundant if you are using a formation which doesn't utilise fullbacks/wingbacks. Meanwhile, Look For Overlap combined with Play Wider always works wonders for a 4-5-1 variant vs 5-3-2/3-5-2 & 5-2-3/3-4-3 (due to the fact that 4-5-1s outnumber these formations 2 to 1 on the flanks).



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There are shouts which are futile when used together, such as Get Ball Forward and Pump Ball Into Box. The latter overrides the former by increasing the passing length and tempo even further (in addition to making other changes, such as reducing through ball modifiers).

There also lies a conflict when using shouts such as Retain Possession combined with Pump Ball Into Box or Get Ball Forward. It's as though you are saying "I want you to patiently recycle possession for as long you can in-between transitions...but I also want you to get the ball upfield to an attacking a player as quickly and as often as possible". Take your pick, you can't utlise both strategies effectively at the same time. A conflict on a similar magnitude would arise when combining Retain Possession with Clear Ball To Flanks, Look For Overlap with Exploit The Middle, or Take A Breather with Get Ball Forward/Pump Ball Into Box, etc.





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Getting it right at the later stages of a game is crucial, especially with due consideration of what the opposition are setting out to do. If you are chasing a result against a team that's parking the proverbial bus, it's generally a bad idea to consider shouts such as Pump Ball Into Box, Play Through Defence and Pass Into Space, Hit Early Crosses or an Overload match strategy. A direct style of play plays into the hands of a team that's sitting deep in numbers, while aggressively pursuing through balls isn't recommended against a defensive shape geared towards getting men behind the ball. It's only likely to result in impatient moves which fail miserably to break the opposition down. In contrast, this approach may be much more likely to bear fruit against a team that are themselves looking for a result, such as when drawing against a team who, like yourself, happen to be looking for the win also.

When trying to find space against a defending team which would otherwise be elusive, it is better to consider a Standard/Control/Attacking match strategy, and utilising one or more of the following shouts: Play Wider, Look For Overlap, Stay On Feet, Stand-Off Opposition, Drop Deeper, and Play Through Defence. When off the ball, it can be a very effective strategy to invite the defending team out of their own half and encouraging them to get some players forward (Stay On Feet and/or Drop Deeper) with a view to exploiting the space surrendered after regaining possession. On the ball, however, patience and/or creativity is the order of the day and represents the more effective means of probing until enough space opens up for an attacking move to be a meaningful one.

e.g. Control match strategy, Play Wider and/or Exploit The Flanks, with Stay On Feet and/or Stand-Off Opposition, and Drop Deeper, is an excellent way for a 4-5-1 variant to beak down an opposing 4-5-1 variant which is attempting to shut-up-shop. Due to the fact that AML & AMRs typically only track back when when marking opposition wingbacks, the flanks is where the space will usually be found, as opposed to going through the middle of the park which is fairly congested with 6+ midfielders from both teams. Your wingers suddenly have more space to run into and more time on the ball, thus making them more difficult for opposition wingbacks to deal with.

It can be a very different scenario late in the game when the opposition are still playing positive football. In this case, there are plenty of shouts which could potentially be effective: Push Higher Up, Look Overlap, Get Stuck In, Play Wider, Exploit The Middle/Exploit The Flanks, Pass Into Space, Hassle Opposition, Work Ball Into Box, Hit Early Crosses, Get Ball Forward/Pump Ball Into Box, and Run At Defence. Using shouts from the aforementioned which suit your team/make full use of any numerical advantages your formation has/exploits a weakness in the opposition's formation.

e.g. An Attacking match strategy with Get Ball Forward/Pump Ball Into Box, Pass Into Space and Work Ball Into Box is a simple and effective enough approach for one who fancies their teams chances to come out on top and convert chances in an open and thrilling end to a match where both teams are going all-out. In this situation, there is space in abundance (for both teams), so the quicker tempo and more direct style of play works wonders.




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When looking to grind out a narrow result, there are two very different approaches that can be considered, subject to personal preference and/or the personnel available. If parking the bus is preferred, a Contain/Defensive/Counter match strategy ought to be used, as well as one or more of the following shouts: Stay On Feet/Get Stuck In, Play Narrower/Play Wider, Drop Deeper, Retain Possession, Stand-Off Opposition, and Pass To Feet.

e.g. Defensive match strategy, Stand-Off Opposition and/or Stay On Feet, Drop Deeper, and Play Narrower allows for a strategy which is geared towards denying space in the middle, funnelling the opposition to the flanks, maintaining team shape at all costs, and forcing attacking players into "cul-de-sacs" towards the end of their move. It is not without its risks, but it is the type of defensive setup which is the most difficult to break down. The downside is that it can allow a creative player more time on the ball, an issue which can be accentuated further if he happens to in an area of the pitch where a formation has a numerical advantage. e.g. A creative playmaker in the 3 man midfield of a 3-5-2 up against a 4-4-2.

When looking to adopt a counter-attacking strategy, shouts such as Clear Ball To Flanks and Get Ball Forward ought to be added alongside desired defensive instructions The team will then aim to be defensively sound whilst attempting to hit the opposition on the break. This may not be particularly effective unless a team possesses quick forwards.




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In conclusion, there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to adopting touchine strategies, especially with AI teams using shouts over the course of a match, too. Each of the instructions are effective in different circumstances and the TC & shouts system, unlike the the classic sliders before it, is not one that can be cracked and mercilessly exploited. Engaging AI teams with a 100% pure TC & shouts approach can be riveting, sometimes even challenging when you don't have a superior team.
April 28, 2012 - 06:53am
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175
Date Joined:
27 Dec 2011
Last Active:
30 Jul 2014
This is really good info.. I always used Retain Possession with Work Ball into Box, to try to play a possessive style but it is not consistent enough. I like how you explained what the effects of the other ones too, because I have never used more than half of those touchline instructions.
May 09, 2012 - 02:21pm
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Date Joined:
10 Dec 2011
Last Active:
27 Mar 2014
at which point in time, would you suggest applying the instructions?
May 12, 2012 - 06:06pm
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Date Joined:
06 May 2006
Last Active:
26 Jul 2014

View Postmenidi, on 09 May 2012 - 01:21 PM, said:

at which point in time, would you suggest applying the instructions?


It's all about watching the game and understanding what's going wrong. Like if the opposition are playing narrow, you could play narrow to match them but also exploit the flanks with your wide players.