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(Five!) Easy Ways to Improve Your Team

Things need updates, and teams need improving.

The buddy whose bachelor party I referenced the last time I sat down to write an article like this has a couple kids now. Hell, I have a kid now. Meanwhile in Hattrick between, specialties tweaks, man-marking, and the USA series pyramids have all gone through some dramatic changes.

My previous article got up to 36 likes and a couple thousand views. If that isn't viral (in Hattrick terms) like GungGam style, it is at least moderately popular, like a cute cat video. So screw it, you all liked the last one so much, we are now up to FIVE things you can do to improve your team. If you didn't like the last article, LIKE COMMENT SUBSCRIBE!!

*Parts of this article are unchanged, and will be indicated as such with a (comment)*

If you already do these things, please ignore me. If you don't, and want to “get out of V alive”, doing some of these things may change your fortunes. If I was selling something, I'd say "YOU COULD WIN THE ML!!!", but I'm not, so I'll just say you might have more fun (as long as you find winning more games 'fun').

1. Gotta Have more Cowbell/Midfield (Still true!)

In Hattrick, it is said "midfield is king", and if you don't want to look like Man City/United vs. Barca, you had better wise up. Midfield determines the odds to earn chances to score on your opponent, and even if you are a counter-attacking team, a little more midfield means fewer chances you'll have to defend, and sometimes that is a good thing.

a) Team Spirit (TS) manage (Still true!)

"Well, I need to improve my midfield, better buy new midfielders."

Slow your roll Sparky, there are simpler ways to improve your midfield.

You have the option to change your team's attitude towards the match. Playing it Cool (which I will call PiC from now on) raises your team spirit (TS), and PiCing on days you'll dominate, or lose horribly can be a great idea. The higher your TS, the better your midfield. Sure, playing the #1 team in your series sucks, and they are going to put 8 past you. But look at it this way: PiC, Press (to reduce chances for both sides) and pray for a decent result, you'll be better off in your next match. Possibly so much better off, you can afford to PiC again to dominate.

Don't get too nuts now, you shouldn't PiC every game, and there is a set ceiling for TS. The lower your coach's leadership, the lower the ceiling. I wouldn't even suggest trying to TS mange unless your coach has poor or better leadership. Remember, TS drops slowly as the week progresses, so the TS level you have after a match isn't what it will be by the time you play your next match.

b) Oldies/New IMs (Still true!)

If you aren't training playmaking (the only skill that contributes to midfield), you could always buy better midfielders. You could buy cheap oldies, or younger folk, but regardless, aim for a consistent tier of skill. At the VI-V level, you can get away with midfielders having 12 to 13 pm skill.

Eventually, you'll want to get that up to 14+(III+ range), and at multiple positions as well if you want to play with the big boys, but we'll take baby steps here.

2. Get a Solid Coach (Still true!)

A solid coach not only trains players faster, but improves your player's form and stamina. Thus, the longer you only have a passable coach, the longer you are at a disadvantage developing your team. Stop losing time and energy! Splash some cash!

"So I should recruit a coach externally...?"

NO! What a waste of money. Buy an older player, 35+years, brilliant or better experience and at least inadequate leadership.

In one season (to the second you bought him), this player is eligible to be a much cheaper, internal coach for a fraction of the cost. During that season of waiting, while you still have the passable coach, I suggest training something fast (Goalkeeping or Short passes) to minimize the fact you are training slower that other teams.

The more experienced the player you buy, the cheaper he'll be to convert, and the more leadership, the more effectively they'll manage Team Spirit as a coach.

3. Specialty Optimize

There have been a lot of changes to specialties. New specs, weather events are now blanket events for better or worse, some special events are now more common than before, and other are less common or more difficult to complete. I could write a whole article on Specialties, but I'll stick to a quick overview.

“Best” Specialties by position:

Defender- Powerful, Head, Technical, None*

Inner Midfielder- Head, None*, Powerful**, Unpredictable**

Winger- Head, Quick

Forward- Quick, Head, Powerful**

Defensive Forward- Technical, Head

Notice something? A player with the Head specialty can always score you a corner+head event, and forwards/winger/IMs can get onto crosses by wingers and score more easily. The corner plus head event used to be an automatic goal, but is now harder to score. While head are still great option to have it at any position, they aren't the lock that they once were.

Powerful defenders do well in the rain, and are wonderful man markers, not to mention they boost your pressing skill, which can be key if you want to grind out a draw or get a friendly to OT.

Quick wingers can try and beat defenders 1v1, or pass to a forward (but only if you are playing a forward!). Forwards do the same thing. The more scoring the player has, in either case, the more likely they'll convert the 1v1 event. While all this is true, they suffer a 5% trainable skill penalty in rain and full sun.

Defensive Forwards can basically have the same skills as Offensive Inner Mids, high pm, high passing. The technical spec gives a bonus to wing attacks, and some teams have traditionally played a style that boosts mid, ignores central attacks, and sends attacks to the wings. These players dovetail with that strategy.

*Not having a specialty means never paying a 5% skill penalty due to weather.

**Powerful players in this position get an honorable mention in the "best" category, but need specific training to be useful, Def for Powerful defensive IMs, and PM and scoring for Powerful normal Forwards. Unpredictable Ims can be fun too with some passing, but since the Unpredictable negative event has a lower chance of activating, having an IM that is less susceptible to man marking is a bonus.

However there are some bad specialties in places that you don't want to have, the...

Worst Specialties by position:

Defender- Unpredictable

This is a bit disingenuous because I'm sure someone out there loves their UWB with passing and scoring because they can create and score Unpredictable chances, but I don't. There are so many better specs for defenders (hell, even none is a fine option), that you don't need the odd extra negative event to give your opponents a scoring chance. I mean, really, would you sign David Luiz unless you had too?

Inner Midfielder- Technical

If I see a Technical IM these days, I see a grand candidate to get Man-Marked. MM can be reasonably seen as a nerf on Technical Defensive Forwards, who historically have been one of the most powerful individual players on the field. It is bad enough when your TDF gets marked and your side attacks and a little possession gets nerfed, but you know what is worse? Having your mdifield nerfed so you get fewer chances to use your attack. Stay away from TIMs, unless you are training a TDF.

4. Train Set Pieces (Still true!)

Last but not least, take a couple weeks to train set pieces. It is a skill ignored by most teams, but an important one. 15% of your chances in a season, are set pieces, 10% are direct (penalty, or direct free kick), and 5% are indirect. Imagine you earn 100 chances, and that you must defend 100 chances in a season in competitive matches, against teams who ignore set pieces (as many managers do in the VI-V range).

If you have the edge in set pieces 15% of the chances you earn means that is 15 possible goals you have an advantage to obtain. Look on the flip side now, 15% of the chances you need to defend will be set pieces too, thats 15 goals you have the edge to prevent.

That is a total swing of 30 possible goals a season, in relation to your team, that you have a weighted chance of success in your favor.

5. Man Marking (MM)

What is it?

Man marking (MM) is a powerful but risky technique that hattrick has come up with in a bid to aide more defensive teams.

Who man marks best?

The best man markers are powerful Defenders with high defending skill.

How does it work?

For starters man-marking starts in the fifth minute of the match, and is based on the skills and ratings of both players involved in that fit minute. It is not affected by stamina of the man-marking player, or at least if I'm mistaken there, the man marker does not become less effective at man marking as they get tired throughout the match.

To clarify further, a man markers stamina will affect how they contribute to your ratings in a match, they will not deteriorate from the man-marking job they're doing. A defender with disastrous stamina could man-mark just as effectively in the fifth minute as they will in the 90th.

Keep this in mind if you choose to sub your man marker out for better ratings to finish a match. Sometimes it is almost worth being a player with poor stamina on the field man-marking an opposing player effectively than it is to remove them.

Tips on choosing a man marker?

I think you all know where I'm going with this, and if you don't, you really have it coming. I'm an advocate for going out and buying a cheap, high defending, powerful oldie (34yrs+), and designating them as your man marker.

Man Marking strats-

When is it best to man mark?

MM is most effective when you scout your opponent. If you are playing your opponent in a league match, check the last 5 league matches they've played (ignore friendlies). If their lineup is unchanged over those matches, or at least pretty similar, you can identify decent candidates to MM.

But MM in my mind is best used to make a possible blowout against your closer, or turn a tight match that you think you'll lose your way.

Using MM on a forward or winger could mean bringing an opponents attack ratings that were on par with your defense to below it. On an inner midfielder, it could mean making an even midfield contest yours.

If you are slated to win a game, unless there is an obvious MM situation (see below), you don't have to use it every week.

Top 3 best player roles to use MM against:

Technical Inner Mid
Technical Defensive Forward
Any Inner Mid

Technical players suffer the most from marking, so they should always be considered. I value possession more than attack, since possession earns you attacks in the first place, so Inner Mids are more valuable to nerf, so that you on average defend fewer chances (and earn more).

Any Inner Mid becomes #1 or #2 situationally, especially if you play a long shots team. Long shots are 66% more likely to be taken by a midfielder. I'd also say that given the rising trend in Long Shots teams you may see in series match play, NOT man marking one of their midfielders with a Defender is pretty dumb.

Techniques of Man Marking-

Mono y Mono

Forwards are best marked by Central Defenders, Wingers by Wingbacks (side doesn't matter), Inner Mids by Inner Mids. These match ups provide the most linear risk/reward to MM.

Mono y Bono?

If you're a team that does not defend well to begin with, and the team you're playing consistently sends out a technical inner midfielder, and the match is going to have a tight Midfield to begin with, I fully advocate sending your man marker, positioned at centre-back, to mark your opponent’s technical inner midfielder. Their midfield rating will plummet, your defense will still suck at defending their chances, but you'll have fewer chances to defend against.

Anyway, let me know how one or all five of these things work for you via HT-mail, or call me out in the comments or a thread on the HT-USA forum. Happy hunting on Sundays!

2020-01-16 22:45:15, 8441 vues

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