When it comes to tactics, I firmly believe there is no “one size fits all” approach to FM. You can create a framework that works, but you will constantly be tweaking, testing, analysing, rinsing and repeating to optimise the approach for your own team. For me, the main challenge in FM16 thus far lies in striking the right balance between order and laissez-aller. My FM15 tactics were characterised by free-flowing attacks and teams thundering through the opposing ranks with aesthetically pleasing football. I haven’t been able to replicate this style quite yet, instead coming up with a more gritty, counter-attacking style so far.

The overall formation hasn’t changed much.


The tactic has been set to a more defensive setting, which makes no sense at all initially, but just seems to work best. We tended to lose the ball quite often in advanced positions and got hit by lethal counter-attacks. The free-flowing football wasn’t working, so I instead dropped the team back around the own penalty area, speculating on fast dribblers upfront to hit the opposing team with counter-attacks. When we’re given more space instead of having to dominate, we do see glimpses of the traditional style like this.

If I had to try and explain why that works, I’d guess that the AI is not as easily overloaded as it was in FM15. By dropping back, we’re inviting the pressure onto us, which results in more space for break-away counter-attacks going forward. This tactic is mostly the result of three seasons of trial and error in the current Match Engine environment. It’s probably not perfect, but it’s the best I can do so far.

Table of Contents


Guido is the founding father of Strikerless and main nutjob running the show.


Guido is the founding father of Strikerless and main nutjob running the show.


Privy_Chamber · November 8, 2015 at 7:53 pm

Interesting. Do you think the ME will change much upon full release?

    strikerlessGuido · November 8, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    I reckon they will keep tweaking the ME and we’ll see a more final version around January.

      Privy_Chamber · November 8, 2015 at 8:00 pm

      Well, yeah, that’s always the case, but in previous years the beta ME had much more glaring flaws so the changes were big each update. This year, as a final year of the ME cycle, there haven’t been many complaints so maybe the changes won’t affect tactics as much.

      strikerlessGuido · November 8, 2015 at 8:57 pm

      I wouldn’t mind that, means I can actually build on past experiences haha

      tobiass · December 1, 2015 at 3:51 pm

      still strugling to download this save. i save as.. on dropbox into my tactics folder… but when i o into the game to load it up it says this file could not be imported. is it because it comes as a folder? how do i fix this? HELP pleaseeee

      strikerlessGuido · December 1, 2015 at 4:07 pm

      You’re trying to import into FM16?

      tobiass · December 1, 2015 at 7:37 pm

      yep on fm16. it comes up as a folder, with many different files inside. once im in fm16 and try to load it up, it says file cant be imported. is the tactic on steam?

      strikerlessGuido · December 1, 2015 at 9:41 pm

      Nope, but since it’s the same file, I doubt that would change matters.

      Doc · December 4, 2015 at 8:09 am

      Hi Godfather in using this tactic i have noticed a large vulnerability when playing against 433 teams. I tend to get countered an awful lot and always through the wings. has anyone else faced this problem? any possible solutions at all? replies will be much appreciated

      strikerlessGuido · December 4, 2015 at 9:04 am

      Yeah, you want to change to roles of the wing-backs to regular wingbacks on either Support or Defensive. You should also stick the defensive midfielder role on BWM(d).

Privy_Chamber · November 8, 2015 at 9:15 pm

In any case, it’s interesting to see your thought process and comparison what “works” and what doesn’t in this year’s ME.

I’ve seen impressions on a lot of FM forums that super attacking, aggressive tactics work just as well this FM, which conflicts directly with your opinion. Changing your tactic’s mentaliy to standard is a huge difference from attacking/overload all your tactics last year were using.

    strikerlessGuido · November 8, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    For me, they’re not working, but that could very well be because strikerless tactics lack a focal point for the quick passes forward. It was always pass and move for me, not the quick and agressive direct attacks that do work so well in this ME 🙂

Pizza Monster · November 8, 2015 at 9:49 pm

When you said you were dropping your mentality to a defensive one, I did not know you meant Standard, I was scared that you meant defensive or counter.

    strikerlessGuido · November 8, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    Hehe, I experimented with those as well. Amazingly, I get my best results in Europe on a contain setting, as an absolute underdog.

      Privy_Chamber · November 8, 2015 at 10:04 pm

      I had a contain tactic on FM15, it was an ordinary 4231 which worked amazingly well, both against big and small teams. To this day I don’t really understand why, but I completed the Pentagon challenge with it, using contain every second of it.

      strikerlessGuido · November 8, 2015 at 10:08 pm

      I think it’s because the team plays as a compact, cohesive block. Add some pace upfront and you’re set.

      Pizza Monster · November 9, 2015 at 4:39 pm

      Contain? I always assumed that a contain strategy doesn’t work except to see out a game. I assume that there’s not much action going forward so it puts pressure on the defense to hold their own for 90 minutes which is difficult.
      Do you still close down on contain?

      strikerlessGuido · November 9, 2015 at 6:20 pm

      Yeah, contain just seemed to work to make the team move as a block.

Grant Schwartz (@sidekickraider) · November 9, 2015 at 2:46 am

You should do an update based solely on how you test and tweak your tactic, start to finish! Also, what you’re looking for in game to make adjustments and what the sample size is.

    strikerlessGuido · November 9, 2015 at 9:09 am

    You reckon people will actually want to read stuff like that?

      Randy · November 9, 2015 at 9:12 am

      I know I would. 🙂

      strikerlessGuido · November 9, 2015 at 9:13 am

      I can always look into writing such an article.

      Randy · November 9, 2015 at 9:16 am

      What would be even more interesting is an article on how you approach games when you have tactics set. In other words, how do you maintain a lead, how do you play against much better sides, how do you chase a lead etc.

      strikerlessGuido · November 9, 2015 at 9:24 am

      Gotcha, tweaking the tactic.

      sgevolker · November 13, 2015 at 12:47 pm

      Definitly, please die that

Rob · November 9, 2015 at 10:34 am

Hi. I am in 2nd season with Liverpool how does this tactic work in prem?

    strikerlessGuido · November 9, 2015 at 10:35 am

    I haven’t played in England yet, but I reckon it could work there as well as it does for me in Holland.

      Rob · November 9, 2015 at 11:18 am

      K. What your training guide i will give it ago.

Rodrigo · November 9, 2015 at 5:45 pm

Hello Guido! I’ve been using the 1.0 for about 15 games and I’ve been getting some good results so far. Just some points that I notice and I think you did as well noticing the recent change of tactic:
– When facing inferiror teams the 1.0 tactic worked perfectly with the BPC giving huge help in the build-up play, and since the teams were very inferiror (Brazilian state championship) there wasn’t enough quality to build a counter-attack against my team. I notice that after a couple games all the teams would face me in a 4-2-2-2 formation that crowded the midfield and pressured my “Play from defense” with the two forwards. My solution to this was to to change the DM role to Half-Back and to change the full-back role to CWB (like you did) giving in this way more width on both the transition and attacking phase of play.
– I also created a version of my own of this formation, trying to utilize my favorite features from last versions that was to exploit the spaces a more high-defensive-line team would give to you. It is not as good but I did got two good results using it.

So my question to you is. Do you think it is possible to develop a tactic with the older concepts in this FM? Retaining possession, use of the CWB, use of the Trequartista and a more short-passing style?


    strikerlessGuido · November 9, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    I’m very confident I can rebuild the settings that worked in the previous version, it’s just tinkering with the roles and the midfield balance mostly. I’d love to see your version in action mate 🙂 Care to blog about it, I can offer you a spot here 🙂

Rodrigo · November 9, 2015 at 10:24 pm

Thanks mate! I will run some tests first and try to get some stability! If I do get some success I’ll let you know!! 🙂

    strikerlessGuido · November 10, 2015 at 6:35 am

    Thanks buddy 🙂 Always appreciated 🙂

      Rodrigo · November 11, 2015 at 1:08 am

      Guido! Hello again mate! Let me ask you.. Is it just me or you are having trouble scoring as well? I’ve been using a variation of my two tactics and your two tactics according to the opposition setup. I am being able to dominate EVERY game with all four tactics, with at least 60% of possession and at least 15 shots (only 1 or 2 from distance). But yet, I am not being able to transform this domination in goals nor at least “clear cut chances”. Most of the games I have either 1 or 0 clear cut chances, and I do have a good attack at my disposal leaded by Lucas Pratto. Any suggestions?

      strikerlessGuido · November 11, 2015 at 3:11 pm

      I had to re-shuffle tactics as well. I do have a few good set piece routines that help me break open games.

Privy_Chamber · November 10, 2015 at 9:46 am

I just want to say; don’t let Twitter doubters dissuade you from doing what you’ve planned. Keep it up, it’s appreciated. 🙂

    strikerlessGuido · November 10, 2015 at 9:48 am

    No worries. The counter-pressing version is going live as soon as the full game is released. Going for a Long Throw post tonight.

rerikk · November 10, 2015 at 12:23 pm

Great job on the blog. Been playing since 93 still learning new stuff. One question. How do you do team training?

    strikerlessGuido · November 10, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    Mostly balanced, though I start off on cohesion for the first few weeks. After that, I chop and change when the assistant says so.

Erik Sivertsen (@Erik_Sivertsen) · November 10, 2015 at 12:30 pm

Great job on the blog. Been playing since 93 still learning new great stuff after discovering your blog. One question, how do you do team training?

    strikerlessGuido · November 10, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    I chop and change when the assistant tells me to, though I generally start with cohesion in pre-season.

Privy_Chamber · November 11, 2015 at 6:42 pm

How’s the new strikerless holding up after the latest update?

    strikerlessGuido · November 11, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    Solid as always, though I am working with a Gegenpressing version right now.

      Privy_Chamber · November 11, 2015 at 8:28 pm

      Can’t wait to start a new save with it. 🙂 Would you, please, include a tactic to preserve a lead and a tactic against much better sides, or some recommended tweaks for those situations?
      That’s something you’ve never done (I think) and it would be greatly appreciated.

      strikerlessGuido · November 11, 2015 at 8:43 pm

      I had an underdog tactic, but that was on the old ME. I’ll see if it still works.

Privy_Chamber · November 11, 2015 at 8:45 pm

Oh, so you’ve done that amazing CL thing with Fortuna with just a regular Strikerless, no tweaks to counter the fact you were playing the best European teams? I know you must have assembled a decent team by now, but still.

    strikerlessGuido · November 11, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    I do tweak the tactic, but I reckon that’s material for a seperate post all together 🙂

      Privy_Chamber · November 11, 2015 at 9:05 pm

      Ah, indeed.
      I know I’ve been on about it and it’s not for me to request anything of you, but that kind of post soon following the new strikerless release would be absolutely phenomenal.
      Your tactics posts are always up to your usual high standard, but that kind of a post is sorely missed for those of us who follow your blog regularly. And what better time to do it then fresh after the game is fully released? 🙂

      strikerlessGuido · November 12, 2015 at 8:34 am

      That was the idea. Gegenpressing on Saturday, tweaking it the next week. Maybe a little Set Piece post as well.

sgevolker · November 13, 2015 at 12:04 pm

Hi Guido,

I’m using a 3-1-3-3 strikerless Formation with two shadow-strikers and an EG. It works very well, my Team is able to create a lot of chances, but I don’t score many goals. The attaking mitfielders doesn’t have high finishing, I think that’s the reason. What so you Suggestion this case? Individual training? Scouting other players who arme more suitable for the roles?


    strikerlessGuido · November 13, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    Individual training, maybe some PPM training as well. If you can afford better players, definitely invest!

jimmy · November 14, 2015 at 11:05 am

what training u use?`att mov?

gus_h · November 14, 2015 at 6:32 pm

Any news on the updated Strikerless?

    strikerlessGuido · November 15, 2015 at 10:59 am

    Next thing on the planning after the weekend; Strikerless with counter-pressing. Promised!

Mikka · November 14, 2015 at 7:06 pm

No updated Strikerless today? 🙁

    strikerlessGuido · November 15, 2015 at 10:59 am

    Next thing on the planning after the weekend; Strikerless with counter-pressing. Promised!

      Mikka · November 15, 2015 at 5:53 pm

      Cheers! Still plan to release an article on how to maintain it soon afterwards? 🙂 With those two combined with today’s set pieces article and a lot of people will be set for FM 16. 🙂

      strikerlessGuido · November 15, 2015 at 5:55 pm

      It’s an idea I’m definitely toying with, yeah.

      Mikka · November 17, 2015 at 5:33 pm

      I hope “after the weekend” didn’t mean “the following weekend”. Can’t wait to start a save with the new strikerless! 🙂

      strikerlessGuido · November 17, 2015 at 7:12 pm

      The idea is before this weekend.

Samba Selakovic · November 16, 2015 at 7:39 pm

Hey Guido I notice you use the complete wingback position a lot, I was wondering how talented your fullbacks are. It seems that getting the ideal fullback for that system is pretty difficult if you are not a world class team so I would try to train a central midfielder to that role.
The other way I have gone about now is to just play my fullback in there and hope for the best. And one thing I noticed is that fullbacks with decent pace, acceleration and stamina get high ratings even if their attacking and technical attributes are not great. Does this happen to you as well or is this a one off.

My first theory is that the game makes pace and acceleration a big part of their dribbling algorithm, so if your fullback has 15 and above for acceleration and pace but 5 for dribbling, he could be effective especially against wingers who can’t tackle to save their life.

I figured I ask because I always played my fullbacks and limited fullbacks because their attributes never matched the recommendation and it created huge gaps when playing without wingers. Now have switched to complete wingbacks or wingbacks and I am seeing a better performance.

    strikerlessGuido · November 16, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    Hey mate,

    That’s a good question. Whilst the ideal wingback is difficult to find, that applies to pretty much any position. I generally make do with the players I have or can loan/sign for low prices. Even a player that isn’t perfectly suited for the role can still have an impact, it’s the way they function within the team unit that counts. Like you mentioned, they need to be able to get forward and back again quite a bit, because that’s what I want them to do.

    In my eyes, superior off-the-ball movement is the key element of any good formation. For a strikerless formation, good movement is more than just an important element, it’s an absolutely crucial element. Because you lack an advanced focal point for your passing, as in some sort of forward to hold up the ball, you have to rely on players movement into space to either receive the ball or create space for others.

    The strikerless concept needs movement, either to exploit the space or to create the space by dragging defenders out of position. The whole premisse of a strikerless formation entails that the various lines in the formation are closely packed together. This means that a single run by an attacking midfielder, can open up space for three or more others nearby, waiting to pounce on positional weaknesses by the opposing team. Because of their close proximity to one another, the lines are able to interchange quite fluidly. In normal people talk; because the lines are so close together, players don’t have to cover great distances to benefit from each others movement.

    The second reason why the formation should be as tight and cohesive as mentioned in the previous paragraph is the knock-on effect of movements. An attacking midfielder dropping dropping back into midfield creates space for a winger to run into, which in turn creates space out wide for an attacking full-back or wing-back to overlap. In short, you can’t have runners exploiting space if there is no space. You need shadow runners as well, people moving around with the sole aim of creating space for others. When your players remain static, no space can and will open up for others to exploit.

    It sounds great when you read it like that, it even makes complete sense, but how do you translate a concept into a working tactic in-game? How do you create movement? I want to generate space by having the wing-backs stretch the defence. The premisse of stretching a defence is as easy as it is effective. By stretching the defensive line, by drawing defenders out wide, you are creating gaps between the lines, causing unrest and undermining the cohesion and organisation of the defenders.

    Hope that helped answer your question a bit. The TL;DR version, the attributes are not that significant, it’s how this role interacts within the entire team philosophy that does.

Tribal Enfexion (@trblnfxn) · November 16, 2015 at 11:00 pm

hi guido

first of all, i like your work. i use your tactic on my shrewsburry game. i bought many amc for shadow striker role. but they misses goal chance too much.

what can i do for this problem? “spent much money for better amc” is not an option 🙁

Cem · December 7, 2015 at 3:18 pm

I am using a similar system with Glatasaray ; The diffrence is the front three I use has two Inside forwards, and an one player in the centre attacking slot which is on Attack duty. On the midfield ı use advanced playmaker on support duty with a central midfielder on attack duty. And on dmf slot i use mainly deeplyng playmaker on suport duty. What do you think about this?

The Dude · December 8, 2015 at 12:25 am

Quick question about your tactic? In fm 2015 you went for an attacking midfielder on attack duty as the withdrawn target man, now you went for support, any particular reason for the change?

    strikerlessGuido · December 8, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    Yeah, I tried to balance the midfield to stop getting mauled on the counter 🙂

Crayola · December 16, 2015 at 1:13 pm

My players get so tired after using this tactic!

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