Let’s make FM Tactics work

FM Supersystems have been around since FM12, not just any tacticB

FM Tactics – The Supersystem gets stronger

What is a FM Supersystem? It’s even more powerful than a super tactic. In days of old, we used to make tactics that would break the engine. There were 2 notable engine breakers – Diablo and Scramjet. Each of them had the ability to generate unbelievable results. You could set the game on holiday with the ass man and come back crowned a champion at the end of the season. All you did was make a cup of coffee. So SI spent a fair bit of time working on a system of play that would make it harder for people to do this, and yes,  I did play a part in this. I submitted Scramjet and explained the logic of the system and how I used it to win. Today, we don’t have super tactics anymore, we do have something better.

For those who want to play the game, its the FM Supersystem. Its a total way of playing,and it has several elements and you should learn to master them all.


a. Club DNA

The first thing you do is set up a club DNA, this is a list of attributes that define your style of play. You select players that fit a certain mould and you have transfer policies in place to scout and sign them. You also set up a training system that focuses on these areas for players. When doing such a system you have two ways to go: You could use a training system that’s micro managed every quarter in which you set the training schedule to favour the attributes that are in your DNA. It is also possible for you to choose a balanced training program, and here, your focus will then be on individual areas of a player. Both work, the latter though can be more reliable, since it requires little to no micro-management. The former requires a great deal of attention to detail, so if you are the sort who likes to minimise your training portion of playtime, then I suggest going Balanced. Personally because of my limited time to play the game, I am venturing towards Balanced myself. I do feel that the gains for micro managing are good, however this is a case of min-maxing the performance of your side.


b. Tactics

My 4312 Supersystem still works in FM16
FM Supersystems are more than just a tactic

This is my pet bane. There is no such thing as a home/away tactic. And I hate the numbering system, it has never made sense to me. That was invented by journalists not football managers. Just ask any professional manager when they hand you the team list. When a team list is handed to the television directors, it’s just the team sheet. The manager doesn’t tell the tv crew that they are playing a 442, its the interpretation of the tv channel. That’s why I hate the discussion of the home and away tactic. It has no place in FM. People may disagree, but everyone is entitled to their opinions. This just happens to be mine.

For the sake of keeping things simple on FM, I will suggest this: Find a formation you like, you know and finally at least have the players for. Then take that formation, and understand how to make it more defensively robust, and how to make it more attacking.

If you watching any of the Torino games on Youtube, you will know what I mean. Recent Torino games will show you how I do this.  I keep the same system, and make a role change here, or a change to a few team instructions there. I keep it really simple, and it works.


c. Supersystem Fundamentals

These are the things you need to master tactically for you to become good at this:

  • Know how to manage Defensive Line changes – This is the single biggest feature you need to master. You need to know when your Dline is in danger and when you can afford to push up.  Episode 4 and 5 of the Torino Diaries cover these in a typical game scenario
  • Know your Attacking and Defending Shouts –  When I play, I prefer to use a sequence of shouts based on my style of play. I like to play with a high press and I love to do direct passing in the opponents half. I also play high up the pitch when I attack. I know that if my players tackle too soon, they will be over-committed, leaving pockets of space around them. So I have mitigating shouts. Watch the videos and see how and when I make these shout changes.
  • Understand the Opponent AI – Sometimes the AI throws everything at you, kitchen sink and all. You need to know when to buckle down and hit it on the counter. And your system MUST have the kind of set up for this to work. So if I am playing a 4231, I will actually drop my 2 MCs into the DMC strata and go structured.
  • Understand the impact of shapes – Basically understand the differences between Fluid and Structured. There are stark differences and these affect your team. In a structured system, players focus on their individual jobs during phases of a game, in a fluid setup, they are more likely to forgo their individual roles.


Getting the job done
The right players get the job done

d. Players

Avoid getting too emotionally attached to either players or those stars under the potential rating.  When you select your system, ensure you know where the cog or the heartbeat of your team is. In my system its my 3 midfielders. I know that for Torino to play well, they have to be good. And when I scout players I have a view of finding players to enhance aspects of my play. If you are struggling for performance, there is a strong possibility that you are doing one of several things wrong:

You are choosing the wrong player – assume you have a team, and you see a player with 15 for tackling and you decide he makes a great anchor. Analyse the attributes that counter these : bravery, concentration, acceleration, positioning etc. Even a lack of teamwork will see this player underperform. If you find that player is just standing there and not tackling, I would look at attributes first to determine why before I analyse the system.

These are just the broad areas you want to look at in FM16 before you embark on your merry adventures, get these sorted and may the FM force be with you. I have covered supersystems before on this site. You can find more information:


  1. Hi,

    I’ve question about playing styles (structure, fluid etc.) and their relation with player instructions. We can choose for example dribble more, shot often, more risk passes – so it can be related with more fluid styles?
    In other way dribble less, shot less often and fewer risky passes with more structured styles?


    1. Alright, as far as I know these playing styles you mention, structure and fluid should be taken in a simple context. When you are using structured, imagine you telling your team to be less creative and stick to instructions more. Here a team is more likely to focus on their roles during certain phases of play. More attacking players are likely to focus more on attack during attack in an opponents half, while those on defensive duty will hold back. Now if you are using fluid, that all changes, players are more likely to use their judgement, so you could see a side lose shape as well or coherence.

      You appear to be talking about team instructions here as well, when you refer to dribble less and fewer risky passes..Understand what the shouts do and the kind of players you have. If you tell a player to dribble less, you have one less “water carrier”, does have he have good passing, off the ball? These 2 attributes will tell me that he is suited to a game of dropping behind lines to become a thorn in other sides. You need to look at instructions not in isolation but in relation to a player and how you want the team to play. This will probably be the focus on my Torino 9 show. So look out for it

  2. I like this idea of having a club DNA, it’s not something I’ve ever thought about before. I’ve come up with a single sentence vision of how I want my team to play:

    “My team is fast and hard-working with excellent passing and its main threat coming from the flanks.”

    So that’s led me to concluding my club’s DNA should be Pace, Acceleration, Work Rate, Team Work, Passing and Crossing. So I’m assuming a player must be high (relative to the rest of the division) in these otherwise I shouldn’t be considering them. Am I on the right lines with this?

    Formation-wise I’m currently trying to decide between three, a 4-1-4-1, a 4-4-1-1 or a 4-1-2-2-1. My preference would probably be the 4-4-1-1 because I think I have the perfect player for that AM slot but in previous saves I’ve really struggled against crosses, especially when I don’t have a midfielder sitting in front of the defence.

    Grateful for any advice!

Leave a Reply