Since the may update, Kick it out! has become more and more tactical. You cannot just choose 3-4-3 and replace the wing backs (WB) by defensive midfielders (DM) anymore and afterwards complain that the results are random, because your opponent had exactly the same idea.
Of couse the renewed simulation also has no patent remedy to win all matches, because the best formation depends on the opponent’s. Due to this fact you should have a closer look on tactics. If you think you can guess before a match which tactics your opponent will play, you can optimize your own formation to improve your odds. Obviously your opponent maybe does the same in that very moment… Of couse you could also chose a formation which has good odds against most tactics, but that’s obviously not as promising. Anyway, you won’t see the effect of the tactics in each and every match, but after many matches you surely will see a trend.
The six tactics
Let’s start from the beginning:
Since the May update there are six tactics: 4-4-2 (available for everyone) and 4-2-3-1, 4-3-3, 5-4-1, 3-4-3 and 4-2-4 which are only available with coach. 4-2-4 is completely new.
But the most important change made to the simulation is the increased importance of defenders. The more defenders you have, the less scoring chances your opponent has. Defensive Midfielders are worse in doing that than wing back and center back.
This means that 5-4-1 obviously is the only tactics with 5 defenders and hence the best defensive formation. It allows the lowest number of scoring chances for opponents. Unfortunately, 5-4-1 has only one attacker, so you won’t have that many chances, too. 5-4-1 is the “catenaccio” formation, and both teams playing it often results in 0:0, 0:1 or 1:0, depending on which attacker has more luck.
That said, 3-4-3 is the formation with the fewest defenders – only three. With two DM on the WB positions, it’s only one (remember that DM are worse defenders than WB or CB). The opponent’s attackers will be very happy about that. Obviously the May update had the most impact on 3-4-3, which was necessary because 3-4-3 used to be the strongest formation and nobody was playing anything else. 3-4-3 now takes a good amount of goals, but it also scored quite often. Matches with many goals are the consequence, and many people complained about the simulation yielding too many goals. But we just fixed a bug in fact: A bad defense must take many goals.
Ball possession is important
The simulation in Kick it out! rests upon the comparison of both team’s number and strength of midfielders being the crucial factor for ball possession. The match result report has the numbers, have a look at them. If two teams have players with the same strength, one additional player means more possession, otherwise it’s close to 50:50.
3-4-3 has four midfielders, 4-3-3 only three. Obviously 4-3-3 has less possession when playing against 3-4-3. This also means that a team with less Q needs additional midfielders to compensate that. For example, three midfielders with Q80 make up a total midfield strength of 240, the same as four midfielders with Q60 each! So if you play with 3-4-3 and Q60 against a team with 4-3-3 and Q80, you can reach a possession of 50:50!
What to do with the ball?
Whenever your team has the ball, the next question is: Which player gets it? There is a rather complicated formula to calculate this which tries to resemble what happens in a real match: Defenders don’t have the ball as often as midfielders, and attackers come last.
It also matters how many attackers you have! If you have three, your midfielders finds one them more often as if you had only one. This means: The more attackers you have, the more they have the ball and can try to score. Roughly put, if you multiply your total midfield strength by your total attacker strength, you would get a measure for the number of scoring chances – but then there is your opponent…
Man to Man
Whenever one of your players has the ball, a defensive player of your opponent (CB, WB or DM) tries to get it back. Often they are too far away, so there’s no duel. This often happens if your opponent has few defensiv players.
If there’s a duel, it depends on player strength who wins (and DM has less chances than CB and WB). If the attacking player keeps the ball, then he decides if he can try to score. Obviously attackers have the highest propability to do that, followed by OM and the rest.
Kick and… goal?
Not all shots hit the target. The better the attacker, the better the odds. And then there is still the goalie. The better the goalie, the more often he defends. That’s why the cat specialist is so ‘most wanted’: His odds to defend are even better.
Okay, so which tactics should I play?
As said before, there is no patent remedy. But there are some trends.
4-2-3-1 is the only formation with five midfielders. If you seek for ball possession, choose this. If your opponent plays 4-2-4, the difference is maximized: You have three more midfielders than your opponent, so they won’t see the ball that often. Of course you only have one attacker, so he’d better have high Q to increase his odds to score. Try a header specialist (with crossing specialists of course)!
The same applies for 5-4-1. As said before, your opponent won’t get that many scoring chances if you play this. But you have only 4 and not 5 midfielders like 4-2-3-1 so you won’t have 50 percent ball possession against a team playing that tactics. So your lonely attacker won’t get that many balls. But if you play against 4-3-3, you have more midfielders than your opponent, not even talking about 4-2-4. In both cases, your defenders have a lot of work to do against 3 or 4 attackers.
4-4-2 is the formation which is available for everybody. It’s a good compromise: Not too many defenders, not too few, and except against 4-2-3-1 you can expect to have 50% or more possession. And 2 attackers score more goals than 1.
The best formation…
…is the one that fits best to your team and to your opponent’s formation. Don’t forget that in tournaments and in the leage you can check which tactics your next opponent played in the match before. If you want, you can adjust your formation accordingly. For example 5-4-1: Your fans don’t want to see a match with two teams playing catenaccio. Most likely, such a match results in a 1:0 – only question is, which team scores. Switch to 4-2-3-1 if you think your opponent will play 5-4-1. Then you have more power in the midfield, and if you play with 5 or 4 defenders against the opponent’s lonely attacker, doesn’t make that much difference. Try to find out the weak point of your opponent’s tactics and exploit it by changing your own tactics accordingly.
If you have the archivist, check out the info page of other teams (tap their emblem or kit) to find out which tactics they played before. Note though, that this information might be out of date, because your handset doesn’t notice immediately when one of the other thousands of teams changes their formation.
Of course your opponent might also change their tactics in the last minute before a match. But remember that not everybody has the players needed to fill all positions in all formations. 15 players (1 G, 3 CB, 2 WB, 2 DM, 3 OM, 4 A) with roughtly the same strength are needed to change tactics arbitrarily and that’s expensive. Especially the three CB needed only for 5-4-1 are not found in all teams, because the other tactics need at most two. This is one of the reasons that 5-4-1 is still played rarely. Same applies for 4-2-3-1 because you need three OM to play it. But both tactics are good at least in preventing opponent’s goals, so if played for a complete season, you might have a slight advantage playing it, or playing a tactic against which only 5-4-1 is really good.
From all this you can see that there are many new things to consider to improve your odds. Of course you still can just have 11 players and play one formation – given that your opponent’s have the same strength, you will of course win many matches – but you might lose one or two, and if you want to win the championship, that matches could matter…
More on the forum
Visit the strategy forum for discussion about tactics and formations. Have fun trying everything out – and remember: Even with the best tactics (against the one your opponent currently plays) and more Q you could still have bad luck and lose.