|Allan (Memphis) - Friday 11-18-05 9:48|
|Hey guys, |
I haven't spent alot of time discussing the mechanics of the game over the past number of season. Even when tactic discussions come up I get a little bit of that "deer in the headlights" look as its a little over my head. However, I'd like to make this the season where we tweak/update these tactics to improve them over the long haul. I'd also like to do it in a way that isn't overly complex and can be presented in a clear fashion. I would echo Jay's comments in the keep it simple and at the same time throw out that if we can keep the lineups page as accurate as possible, well, no manager has to 'guess' what the best tactic might be for their formation that day...they can see it in the numbers to the right of the page (but perhaps with some adjustments to show impact against other tactics).
Anyway, I see a couple of comments from Mark and Robin on the Blog apparently indicating their distaste for Longball? ;-)
As I stated in my email, I haven't played this tactic much until this season when I started looking at the numbers (I know, I'm a bit slow). At the same time, the formation of my team where my MF is a bit weak but we're strong in DF/FW makes me lean towards that type of tactic.
Below are my "base numbers" from my orders page for the lineup I played against Robin in Match 8:
Its worth noting that what you see in the match report differs as:
-some players are now coached/trained
-I had one DF marking Robin's FW
-MORALE is not added
-Home Bonus (11) is not added
-Orders does not account for 2:1 which would be violated for some tactics causing an adjustment not presented here.
Still, this is what I have to look at when I decide what to play. As best I can tell, at the start of the match (GK not included) we both had 227 SLs on the pitch. MP outshot AYR 5-3. Nothing susprising about that, certainly not unexpected given that MP had 11 added to DEF/OFF via the home bonus. In terms of bonuses, AYR would also receive a +9 and +12 at various times of the game to their DEF total as (.5 * SW) is added to the DEF when playing against marking.
In conclusion, I took a look at my match to see if there was something that resulted in my team getting a free ride against AYR. I don't think there was. However, this could be an exception, you may have volumes of matches where a team won a game they had no business winning because they played Longball and received benefits to the extent that it really extended their chances to win.
Everything is on the table for this discussion, I know it might get very complex before we get a simplified outcome, here are some possibilities:
-lower the FW multiplier (from 1.5 to ??)
-2:1 is not enforced...but maybe we need a 2.5:1 or 3:1 so that you can't just put out a handful of SL in the MF area?
-Add counter-measures by beefing up the bonuses for playing against Longball (currently we just have: All except Stall against Longball and Early Cross add 50% of SW SL to DEF).
I'm open to ideas but not to accusations...so let's go from BRAIN DEAD to Brain Alive. I certainly would not accuse my esteemed colleague from Ayers of being brain dead for having only 1 FW above SL 9. ;-)
|Rob (Boston) - Friday 11-18-05 10:58|
|Well, there's the obvious counter to Longball built into a solid Ball Control team - Kevin Martin has excellently described that in the past, so I'll leave that to him, so there's something towards a balance.|
I'm personally more in favor with using counter-measures from other tactics to thwart the offensive power of Longball rather than throttling back the multipliers.
Being that longball is largely a tactic that relies on long, not-necessarily-accurate passes from the defense to the wingers, then the wingers feeding the forwards, it should be able to be countered by teams that employ strong midfields (ala Ball Control), but it should also be able to be countered in other areas. Longball is a not a tactic that relies on a team's passing abilities or total team skills in general, so those tactics that do rely on those abilities and skills should receive a bonus against Longball. So what would this entail:
I also have a thought that CounterAttack and/or Opportunistic should receive some counter measure to longball, but I need to put more thought into it.
|Alon (Gauteng) - Friday 11-18-05 14:52|
|I have played a ball controll team when I played in Marks SESL and I know what Robin means about it being easier.
It is by no means unbeatable though.I do think some of the other tactics need to be looked at. I often try to play ball controll but truth be told I would probably be better off just playing N with the same configuration.Probably there the OTF + 5/4 bonus for each extra MF is not enough to justify the loss of so much GP. Also this should be a great tactic to counter L using a sweeper as well but the tactic itself marginalizes the sweeper so it doesnt really work as a defence to L. The thing about L is it gives the advantage of extra FW in exchange for MF strength but unlike other tactics the penalty is in the OTF and not the GP.As OTF can be run down to 0 the penalty can be eradicated(as those CP will be used elsewhere).
After rambling a bit I would idealy like to see the 1.5 FW multiplier reduced slightly and the B tactic beefed up slightly ,maybe by increasing the bonus for extra MF or reducing the penalties to GP.
I think there should be a response to a manager playing a predictable tactic.Last season I was much to liberal in my use of P and I really should have been punished more often but fortunately I wasnt.
|Tim (Zaragoza) - Friday 11-18-05 14:55|
The L and E modifiers were changed when marking didn't affect 2:1. It appeared from a purely calculated basis that they were suffering a bit. We didn't have much experience based data as we only had two teams at the time that were playing those tactics regularly. And they were doing all right, no question about that. It was just that we were looking to encourage use of tactics other than normal, which at the time was played for about 85% of all match time league wide. The rest being mostly defensive. One of the Spanish league commissioners said they used a lot of L and it didn't need changing. We said, "Great! Can you give us some data, please?" Which he didn't, so Al went ahead with the change.
Personally I like marking not being subject to 2:1 - I've already made that clear. But if it is, then L and E should return to the previous formulas. The reason is that there isn't an effective tactical way to throttle back the number of shots, and L/E convert a higher ratio than any other tactic, for the simple reason that they have the highest chance of the shot being assigned to a FW. If L & N are generating the same number of shots, the same team should score more often playing L.
When you combine that with the coaching issue, L starts to really kick into the lead. For L you have GK, DF, FW. That's it. For N you have GK, DF, MF, FW and OTF. With the coaching divided up more, you may generate the same kind of area stats, but you will have less stars, and 25+ is where the SL starts to really kick ass. Especially if they're played with aggression.
I don't see the need for a complex solution. Revert to old formula or remove marking from 2:1. Either should fix the problem. One provides a hardwired solution, the other provides a tactical solution.
|Kevin (Kirksville) - Friday 11-18-05 16:23|
|Tim's position on this has been abundantly clear for the past season, and it's still just as valid now unfortunately. We can't let these things go to his head or he'll just get downright unsufferable. ;-)|
Ball Control as the counter to Longball is a good alternative, yet it is hampered by the 2:1 rules being imposed AFTER marking SL is reduced and not before. For example, if you have 3 defenders around 20 SL each, you can field a 3-5-2 team with 60 SL at DF, up to 120 SL at MF, and whatever you'd like at FW. Now let's say you are set to play a decent longball team with two good shooters (or any team with two good shooters for that matter). You mark with two defenders and you are left with one guy at SL 20. Your vaunted midfield of power is now left with a Max SL of 40. That's just two guys for most teams, three at most! So you pull a FW and play your #4 defender (SL 15 or so) and now you're up to 35 SL at DF, 70 SL at MF, and only one FW. That still can get you crushed by any longball team with 4 FW/WG players over SL 20 and anything in the midfield higher than SL 2. You are far better off not marking and just hoping your offense can carry out over the other guy's.
Of course, we could make it even simpler and just knock the FW multiplier in Longball down along with the WG multiplier in Early Cross (to prevent teams from just switching tactics to gain the same ol' advantage). Settling on a multiplier would be the only hotly contested debate left. How dull would that be though?
|Kevin (Kirksville) - Friday 11-18-05 16:37|
|As a manager who plays a mostly Longball team, when were you looking at making these changes (should you decide to change them at all, of course), Al?|
My reason for asking is that some teams (like KIN) have spent the past two or more seasons building up a solid team for their chosen strategy at the expense of flexibility to move to other tactics. Of all the tactical choices, Longball tends to pigeonhole a team. OTF is useless most of the time, so why spend all that CP on it that only helps when you switch to stall after already being up by 2 or 3 goals? Better to just keep playing L and sub out a FW for an extra DF. Also, as the only strategy to ignore 2:1 rules with regard to MF to FW SL, most Longball teams have little in the way of a midfield and would have trouble fielding decent offensive firepower under a Normal tactic without wasting 20% of a few players' respective SLs by going OOP. Also from experience in other leagues, it can take a team two or more seasons to invest in OTF and the midfield without just abandoning development of the FW and DF positions all together for the duration of the midfield rebuild.
If these changes are going to take place starting THIS season, I vote against that. If looking at a change during the off-season to take place next year, I'm fine as long as we settle on something soon so I can pursue auction choices/trades that include the letter "M" in the positions and also to adequately plot CP purchases/trades for more resources to account for needing an OTF higher than 1 in the near future.
|Robin (Ayers Rock) - Friday 11-18-05 17:15|
|Sorry if I upset anyone with my Longball outburst > that was the intention :)
As for my game Vs MP , I fully expected AL to play longball and MARK my FW (see match report). Nothing wrong with that at all, he has 4 "Big" FW's.But if you look at Al's team he has 6 MF players one on 27SL and 10 OTF. So Al has built a team that is versatile and can use most of the different tactics. I would use Longball as a tactic if the circumstances were right and I had a couple more FWs. I view all the tactics as an option and certainly there was no slur intended to AL, as he has the option to play any tactic and confuse the opposition, which is the Ideal position to be in.
I have been playing this game for a few years now (some say too long ) and like some others play in other leagues. In another league as an experiment I created a Longball team which became successful and would still be successful had I kept the team. It is not difficult to create and maintain a successful Longball team.
I have seen the trend over the last few seasons in ALL of the leagues using the OLmec, for managers to create teams using Longball. Very soon they will ALL be called the "Longball Leagues".
There are 5 main areas in which to use CP: OTF/GK/DF/MF/FW.
A team playing Longball usually ignores 2 of these OTF & MF. This makes life much easier for the Longball manager. Also forward planning is easier with regards to Auctions/draft etc.
Only really have 3 areas to think about.
It is much simpler to create/maintain a Longball team.
|Mike (Motor City) - Friday 11-18-05 23:42|
|I realize that there is much more to it than the simplistic table that Al published at the top. However, when a novice such as I looks at that, it seems that Longball is a much more balanced attack than Normal implies. In fact, with a relatively small decrease in def, one gets a rather sizeable increase in off with no change in gp.|
Based on that chart alone, if I had my choice I would play Longball over Normal any time.
|Steve (Asteria) - Saturday 11-19-05 4:30|
|I like Tim's idea (ignore marking for 2:1) because when your team has the ball you aren't marking and so your DF can play the ball.|
How about the Ball Control MF bonus being applied to all tactics? If you have 5 MF and they have 2, then your extra MF would tend to defend anyway. Use the BC bonus on the OTF value for the tactic.
Another thought was having the 2:1 FW:MF even in longball. It then forces you to have some SL in MF - though of course a 4-2-4 Longball team is likely to have less DEF simply because they have a weak midfield.
|Alon (Gauteng) - Sunday 11-20-05 7:43|
|Having thought it through more carefully the following are the reasons L is an abnormally strong tactic and why it is a bit embarassing that I have not been playing it yet.(though apparantly at some stage the ratios were changed which I did not notice)
2) The area being reduced is not subject to 2:1 so no Cp needs to be expended on maintaining players for it.
3) The only penalty for using L is that OTF is not counted but Long ball teams would run down their OTF over time so this is not a real penalty.
4)The game aside from this tactic is structured so that the more defensive players get to contribute more in terms of value to GP def and offense,but this is balanced in that offensive players score more goals. With L FW suddenly contribute1.5 the same as DF whilst in no way having their goal scoring ability reduced.
5) It would not unfairly prejudice L players to adjust the ratios immediately provided that the tactic is brought in line with other tactics available as opposed to made redundant.
6) On marking I agree with previous coments that it is virtually rendered redundant for all but L teams who dont have to comply with the 2:1 rules for their midfields by applying the 2:1 rule after marking is taken into acount.Thus the 1 possible response to partially combat L teams is actually a weapon which actually strengthens them.
|Clive (Essex) - Sunday 11-20-05 17:21|
|ooo..lots of good stuff going on.|
My views on tactics have not changed much in the last few years. Different tactics suit differnt league due to the differences in the availabilty of certain players, the overall skill levels and the variety of play styles of your opponants.
The change to the standard Ball Control multipler from 10 to something more related to the skills of the team (as Rob suggested above) is something I have long advocated.
What is also required is another scissor-paper-stone choice for managers to pick. I'd suggest Normal continues to the the foundation from which the others are derived, but they need to concentrate of differnt (or differing combinations) of positions, bonuses (OTF etc, maybe something new) and cross-referenced tactical effects (all vs stall etc).
Finding those combos, is the difficult bit, so that one tactic does not dominate, but that perhaps a varirty must be prepared for.
|Allan (Memphis) - Saturday 12-03-05 11:11|
|Hold the presses, I think I agree with Clive. ;-) |
A new tactic or tweaks to existing one was proposed at the outset of the 15th campaign but met with "why change for change's sake".
So I'm interested there in changes.
Here's my take on a Longball tweak for next season. How about adjusting the OFF for FW down from 1.50 to 1.375?
|Phil (Missouri) - Sunday 12-04-05 0:46|
|Graham (Barcelona) - Monday 12-05-05 6:28|
|So let me get this straight by playing longball I can mark with the 2 MFs I leave on and effectively use them to mark out the opposition? For no effective penalty?
Wonder why I havent been doing that up to now
|Steve (Asteria) - Monday 12-05-05 11:48|
|Only DF can mark.|
|Steve (Asteria) - Monday 12-05-05 12:12|
|1.25 is probably too low. With SL 20 players (Div 1 T17, Div 2 T11 is close to this).....|
Normal: MF adds 25, FW adds 20, max OTF adds 20
4-4-2 Normal, the MF+FW+OTF add 160.
We need another 20 from the FW = 5 each. So FW have to add 30. Lets see 30/20 = 1.5
So the multiplier ought to be 1.5 :-)
OK, this doesn't take into account that Normal needs you to coach OTF as well as the players, and neglecting FW will lead to less goals.
|Alon (Gauteng) - Tuesday 12-06-05 1:24|
|From My understanding of the tactics at a 1.25 offfensive multiplier L is still the best tactic available.|
Steves analysis seems to miss the trend that runs through every other tactic-the more offensive the player the less they add.Normally SW give 2.0 ,DF 1.5 MF 1.25 and FW 1.0
In E the multiplier for WG should probably be increased by greater than the amount for FW in L as only 2 players can be Wings whilst 4 can be forwards.That would then transform that tactic from being the damp squib it currently is.Can anyone ever remember a manager using the E tactic?
Managers including myself are going to have to get over their real world prejudices against L being boring and accept that if they want to compete effectively in an Olmec league even at a 1.25 multiplier without other tweaking L is going to need to be a large part of your tactics.
|Tim (Zaragoza) - Wednesday 12-07-05 17:00|
The old multiplier was 1.25, and it is quite effective in FLATNZ. At the moment we have 2 teams playing predominantly BC, 6 L, 6 N and 2 mostly O/S. Don't know how the others feel (Robin, Kevin & Phil), but after 9 seasons, I don't think the modifiers really needed to be changed. I never thought the marking should be made subject to 2:1 rule.
The thing that is so easy to forget is that it is not just about the area stats. It is also about the coaching and the shot allocation by position. When we were revising the formulas for Season 11, I for one was thinking far to much about the area stats, and not enough about the other influences. Can't speak about any revisions for S12&13.
|Kevin (Kirksville) - Friday 12-09-05 15:12|
|It seems the prevailing suggestion is simply to drop the FW multiplier from 1.5 to something around 1.25 or 1.3. If we're just scaling back one tactic, I guess that's acceptable and will brook no complaints from me if that's Al's final decision.|
That being said, I would prefer to see other tactics tweaked up to be more effective against each other to make tactical choices more critical on a regular basis. That would make what your opponent is doing more important instead of simply finding your own best tactic by the numbers and playing that all the time because the opponent's bonus versus you doesn't make up for your own increased strength in your chosen tactic.
The first change would be to make the OTF bonus for Ball Control vs. Longball or Early Cross to be twice what it is. Ball Control bonus vs. All would stay the same formula. If I'm reading it right, the formula is:
(OTF + 5)/4 X (# of more MFs you have than them)
This gives us a max of (10 + 5)/4 X 3 = 11.25. I would suggest making the "4" into a "2". You want to play normal against L? Fine. No penalties and no rewards. You want to try Ball Control? Then up the rewards for getting out of the box and leaving your GP significantly lower. With the change to a "2" as the constant dividing number, the formula yields a potential bonus of:
(10 + 5)/2 X (3) = 22.5 or twice as much as before, adding 10+ to DEF and OFF while GP is unchanged. This number does a better job of making up the offensive/defensive differences in SL created by the Longball teams being able to ignore resource investment into OTF & MF players. Perhaps a simpler way of saying this is that the OTF bonus for Ball Control vs. L or E would be doubled from what it currently is.
If this change were accepted, then I would propose that we complete the rock-paper-scissors by upping a stat for Counter as well to balance out Ball Control so it too can be trumped if the opposition plans for it. Currently, Counter Attack loses .25 of SW SL from GP which is moved to OFF. No problem. It also loses .25 of DEF SL from GP, which it gets to add back into OFF if facing a Ball Control or Press team. No problem. Counter also loses .25 of MF SL from offense and it goes? Nowhere. You lose a significant chunk of OFF when compared with Normal without gaining it anywhere else. The insinuation that .25 of your one SW's SL as a bonus to offense can make up for losing .25 of your total midfield SL (3-4 players for any non-longball team) is ridiculous. An SL 20-25 SW would add 4-5 to OFF while a midfield of 3-4 players with a combined SL of 60 loses 15 from OFF. Admittedly, Counter gets the 20% offensive total bonus vs B or N, yet this bonus still won't make up for the loss of MF offense unless the Counter team is playing at least 4 DFs with SLs in the 20s (only a few Alpha teams can pull this off) or has 3 FWs on the field (which I've never seen as it defeats the point of a defensive-minded Counter strategy anyway by leaving the DEF too thin). Right now, unless you catch a team playing Press and have a juggernaut defense, Counter just isn't worth playing over a Normal strategy where your GP remains up and your midfield strength doesn't just disappear from the offensive end of the field. To make up for this, I would suggest adding the .25 lost from the MF OFF addition onto the MF DEF contribution. This will beef up the DEF just enough to have a little more possession time and maybe cut off one shot from the other squad per match, without making the tactic too powerful against any other tactics.
The final result of these two little changes (double OTF bonus for B vs L/E & double OFF bonus for C vs B) would be to make OTF or a few decent midfielders valuable for a longball team as well. You would have to be able to effectively counter teams expected to play ball control against you. MAs would also be more valuable again instead of simply keeping them around as FWs with different letters in front of their names which could also raise the auction prices on them so resources don't get out of hand in the league. Further, if Counter were played more then the Sweeper would perhaps also come back in popularity as being the best defender on a team instead of the #3 or #4 guy who plays once in while and just isn't worth giving up the offsides chances the rest of the time.
In theory of course. If my projections could be counted on a being fully accurate then I would be rich enough by now to have bought my own soccer team instead of just managing a few in PBEM leagues...
|Kevin (Kirksville) - Friday 12-09-05 15:17|
|Wow. Sorry about rambling on there. One more point before I shut up for a while.|
The above point (I think) about E not being worth because you can only get the extra bonus for 2 WGs instead of getting it for 4 FWs is very valid. I would propose still leaving the "must play 1 FW at all times" rules and change the WG parameters to 0-3 instead of 0-2, which will allow a team to capitalize on every else not properly respecting the 0/10 WGs in the auctions this year. The 3 WGs combined bonus would be enough to offset the Longball bonus for 4 FWs and make E a viable option for a team looking to be more unique than their counterparts and being able to hoard less wanted players for lower prices while the longball team still competes against everyone who needs that good FW to score.
|Tim (Zaragoza) - Saturday 12-10-05 1:06|
|Not bad, Kevin. The Counter addition makes a nice touch. Counter is probably a tactic that needed refining more than the others in the first place.|
|Graham (Barcelona) - Monday 01-02-06 18:59|
Could I just add that it would seem only fair to give at least a half season warning if any changes were definitely to take place.
Teams like my own are very Longball(80%)/Normal(20%) oriented and changing the balance without at least allowing us the opportunity to start modifying our tactics would be a touch unfair.
Same could be said for any of the tactics.
I'd hate to find, for example, that if my wildest dreams come true and I get promoted this season, only to find my team badly out of step with the prevailing tactics and face the drop the very next season as a result.....
|Allan (Memphis) - Saturday 01-14-06 11:18|
I can confirm that there is some good discussion going on between Mr. Given, Atie, and Peterson. No target date yet on when everything is finalized but I would concur with your request for fair warning and hope that in February we're pretty close on something.
|Mark (Scotland) - Monday 01-16-06 9:01|
|I agree with Kevin that Early Cross needs be made more attractive. This is not because I seem the only team bidding for WGs in the auction!|
Why have team tactics almost no one uses? Allowing 3 WGs to be fielded is a decent idea, although given a soccer pitch only has a right wing and a left wing I don't know exactly what wing this 3rd WG would play, but hey, this is only a game and the idea by Kevin is a good one.
Random thought - to avoid huge scores, why not make any team going 4 goals up in a game automatically change to Finesse team tactic and pass the ball around to torment the opposition (as would happen in real life) but crucially for mswl they hardly get any shots at goal to keep scoreline sensible?
|Tim (Zaragoza) - Monday 01-16-06 15:17|
If we do it right, no-one should be penalised, regardless of prefered tactic. :-)
|Graham (Barcelona) - Wednesday 01-18-06 6:03|
To my mind a simple way of testing this would be to take a number of 11 player teams with every team having say 250SL split amongst the team to best advantage for each tactic.
If they all play a game (preferably 2 or 3) against each other and the scores are either draws or only perhaps 1 goal in it then you have reached your goal of a balanced set of rules?
You can perhaps rule out one or two freak scores if they are not repeated elsewhere, but thats seems to be a reasonable goal to me in terms of a target?
|Mark (Scotland) - Friday 02-03-06 6:31|
Are the MSWL Tactics Committe ready to report back on their findings and conclusions?
|Mark (Scotland) - Friday 02-03-06 6:32|
Are the MSWL Tactics Committee ready to report back on their findings and conclusions?
|Mark (Scotland) - Friday 02-03-06 6:33|
Are the MSWL Tactics Committee ready to report back on their findings and conclusions?
|Graham (Barcelona) - Saturday 02-04-06 15:28|
|Is this some sort of NooYawk NooYawk - so good they posed the same question thrice? GMcD.|
|Andy (Barnsley) - Tuesday 02-07-06 4:33|
|In that case, perhaps NYT would like to comment on "the scandal and the vice" allegations...? Now isn't it a pity what they're saying about NooYawk City? :o)|
|Mark (Scotland) - Tuesday 02-07-06 17:24|
Think when I hit "refresh" it posts my message again and again Graham.
I accept saying it 3 times might have sounded like a nagging wife, so apologises for that Committee!
|Allan (Memphis) - Tuesday 02-07-06 17:31|
|Nag nag nag...Mark you are starting to sound like Graham...|