Originally posted at https://drpoods.wordpress.com


Been quite busy at Poods HQ for a while, what with trying to resurrect saves that had gone the way of the dodo and I haven’t got around to writing anything for a bit. But I am back and here we go with another tactic for you all that guido has kindly allowed me to post here for your edification.

As a bit of background, I initially took my Buffalo Wing tactic that you can find here and simply “decapitated” it changing the striker to an AMC. Hence the rather colourful name. Having done so, I had a chat with the inestimable Lord of Strikerless himself who had a look at it and dabbled with some of his usual tactical alchemy to come up with what we have here.

Guido also used it as a test bed for some experiments with the overload philosophy and my word did it deliver. Extreme pressing and heaps of bodies pouring forward made for a really delightful tactic that has been quite successful, if I may modestly say so. Enough of that though, on to the tactic!


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As we can see it bears similarities in roles to the Buffalo Wing of my previous tactical effort. No hipster roles here as general roles form the framework for the PIs that are added to influence the behaviour of the players. What you will find (and I hope to show later) is that the CBs and anchorman stay back to protect against any fast breaks that can come from the inherent attacking nature of the tactic. The fullbacks really get forward and often are the final ball before a goal as they overlap the inside forwards on the outside. The CM-A attacks the ball late and, as I found with Chivas and Quanjian, gets more than his fair share of goals by coming from deep and finding space to lash the ball home. The AP-A is essentially the withdrawn targetman that Guido waxes lyrical about. It was a happy coincidence as it was simply a matter of adding the PIs from the Buffalo Wing’s striker to the AP-A. He holds the ball up and looks for options, essentially forming that role. Please note that you should try to get fullbacks with stamina. They will get tired from bombing up and down the flanks all day. But to make them “support” would detract from the attacking so they stay as they are.

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Yes. You saw correctly.

Overload – Very Fluid. It looks insane but it really does work. Players are allowed to roam and the more direct passing allows for the ball to be moved forward at speed where out multitude of attacking options can go to work. The pressing with an offside trap will allow for opposition chances from direct passing when on overload. If you are struggling or simply want some more stability, I have found that “counter” works extremely well. In fact, I used counter exclusively on several occasions with Quanjian and got some impressive Super League scalps.

Work ball into box allows us to get closer in before unleashing. There are a lot of long shots in the tactic. Nothing over the top, but they are present. Interestingly, when on counter there aren’t as many long shots. Make of that what you will.

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The Decapitated Buffalo can work effectively without OIs. In fact I didn’t use OIs for a proportion of my save with Chivas and Mexico which led to a 26-0-1 record in the Apertura and a Mexican Cup win along with Mexican fixtures. With Quanjian I have been using them and in my opinion it is your choice as to whether or not you wish to use them.

Guido swears by them and reported quite a bit of success with them installed. So if you are that way inclined you could always start without them and then add them in if you wish to. They certainly do work.


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Set to distribute to playmaker (the AP-A is the only playmaker role) and to ditribute quickly. Sometimes he will bang it long with no-one there. But don’t change it. The amount of times we win it back from the opposition CB is incredible and does lead to goals.

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The fullbacks bomb forward and marshal the flanks. Often they are key in the goals as the inside forwards, AP and CM-A overload the middle leaving acres of space for them to exploit. I suggest one with good passing and crossing. They will provide plenty.

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Ummm… Errrr… Get good ones? They are about as bog standard as standard can be.

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I love an anchorman. They don’t do the “sexy football” but they break up moves, make tackles and distribute the ball to the more creatively oriented players. Which is, you know, almost everyone on the pitch! For me, they are a key part of the tactics success.

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The CM-S isn’t as attacking as his partner but as I found with the same PIs in the Buffalo Wing he will do quite a bit. Essentially balances the excesses of the anchorman and CM-A.

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An attacking midfielder in all but position, the CM-A will probably be the one of your top 3 scorers, probably the leading assist maker and will be very important to your success. Arriving late to score goals, providing the ball to marauding fullbacks and inside forwards and then attacking the box. What a player. Great to watch too and he does his role in harrying any DMs or CMs of the opposition.

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Basically your average inside forward role. They will drag defenders away from the flanks and score a lot from crosses coming from the opposite side of the pitch. Often they will provide the pass to the fullback that leads to the assist.

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The AP-A will score goals, but in my mind he is the arch-creator. He holds the ball up and provides it to attacking players who are moving around him. A guy with strength and creativity will be useful so he can hold the ball up better, but if push comes to shove then get the creative option.


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I mixed and matched overload and counter as I mentioned which will lead to some lower scores than could be expected but as you can see it scores plenty and is quite solid defensively as well.

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Even if Quanjian were the class of the division, you still have to do the job and the defenders weren’t exactly the cream of the crop. It will be interesting to see how it goes with an improved backline and some better midfielders.

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Getting off to a hot start is a particular highlight of the tactic. This usually meant that if I go 2-0 up quickly then I basically continue on counter for the rest of the match. It tends to work very well. As you can see, there are slightly more goals conceded around half time. Once counter was used for the last 15 minutes these numbers dropped off.

Sadly, I no longer have my Chivas screenshots nor the Mexican games so I am afraid I cannot add them here. Suffice to say it worked a treat and made stars of Calderon and Fierro. Dos Santos and Velas annihilated teams with Mexico. Guido even won the World Cup with Mexico when he was testing it.

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Super League? Super Problems.

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Against Super League teams it was superb. This game was run on counter only.

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You may find yourself losing the possession battle occasionally but I don’t think it is much to be concerned about in the main.


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Now there is a clear indication of how quality wide men can make a difference. We had a u21 Chinese national team player at LB and Geuvânio as the LW. The Brazilian is more inclined to be a provider even though he chips in with goals. On the right wing we have Sun Ke. A star with the Chinese national team, he prefers to get inside and take a shot when he can. That being said, Sun Ke is not quite as good as his counterpart on the other side.

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This happens a lot. The ball is played into the AP-A (in this case Wan Cheng) who then delivers to the inside forward or the fullback and then turns. In this situation, he played it to Pato…

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Pato then streams forward and as you can see by the time he delivers the cross we have 4 on 4 in the box. The result was much as you would expect. Having 4 in the box at the end of moves is actually at the lower end of the scale and I have seen 6 or 7 in there before. It is extremely difficult for the opposition to deal with.

So, there we have it. The Decapitated Buffalo works very well in both overload and counter guises. It has given me great success with Chivas, Mexico and Quanjian. As of this post, I hadn’t tried it with lower league teams but I suspect that it would still produce fascinating football.

If you wish to give it a try, then you can have a go with it at the bottom of this post. I hope you enjoyed this article on the Decapitated Buffalo and if you have any further questions you can always find myself or Guido on FMSlack or twitter (look out for #strikerless).

Thanks for reading. Feedback, as always, is appreciated.



Seattle Red · April 22, 2017 at 7:09 pm

Brilliant stuff. As Guido noted in his Wolfpack thread, the combination of very fluid and overload seems pants-shittingly insane…but I can’t wait to give it a try.

I may try to adapt some of these principles into my aggro strikerless/libero tactic, which needs tweaking. Regardless, I love it.

    drpoods · April 25, 2017 at 7:17 am

    It can take some getting used to for sure. I will reiterate that using counter is also very effective.

Alan Butterworth · April 24, 2017 at 6:38 pm

Like everyone says it appears insane both with this and “Wolfpack.” There appears to be no reason why Very Fluid and Overload should work with these tactics so I have just played three games using a different stock strikerless tactic in each one. The only changes made to the stock tactics was to use Very Fluid, Overload and turn Closing Down up to the Max. OIs were changed as per Guidos recommendations. Results: won all three with a ridiculous amount of shots (but not that many goals). Perhaps there is a weakness in the match egine that can be exploited.

Jock · April 25, 2017 at 7:43 pm

Love it. Pants-shittingly scary indeed. So far out of my comfort zone i’ve gotta give it a go. Just curious why so many players are set to shoot less?

    drpoods · April 25, 2017 at 11:54 pm

    To try and encourage them to work it wide or into the box for a better shooting opportunity. There are enough long shots on overload as it is!

Alan Butterworth · May 7, 2017 at 9:48 pm

When playing Counter Attack do you remove the “Shoot Less Often” instruction? This tactic also works great if you use Shadow Strikers instead of IFs. A brilliant piece of work. Thanks

    drpoods · May 9, 2017 at 1:29 am

    The only change that is made when switching is the mentality from overload to counter. No other changes at all!

Joseph Kariuki · May 29, 2017 at 2:25 pm

can I instead using attacking mentality?
also what about in game management say if you are facing superior opponents?or an opponent that parks the bus

    Alan Butterworth · May 29, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    I am sure Drpoods will have a reply for you but I have tried 8 different strikerless tactics using overload, very fluid and shoot less often. They have all been insanely successful. It does not matter who you play against or their tactics. The AI cannot seem to cope with an overloaded midfield. Enjoy until “they” close this loophole. This particular tactic is the most solid one.

      Joseph Kariuki · May 29, 2017 at 3:44 pm

      also what is the discipline record esp as most players have a tackle harder pi?

    drpoods · May 30, 2017 at 8:26 am

    I would recommend the overload against teams to dtart unless you consider them much stronger. I have had a lot of success using counter in those matches.

    Regarding teams “doing a Mourinho”, counter can drag them out of their defensive block and allow you to really capitalise.

    Generally speaking I tend to use overoad for the first 15 minutes or (against weaker teams) until we are 2 goals ahead. Then switch to counter. You often find you score as many on counter if not more as the opposition get more adventurous chasing the game.

      drpoods · May 30, 2017 at 8:28 am

      You do tend to get quite a few yellows. But it seems that if you want to press aggressively in this version there isn’t really a great way to avoid them.

    Alan Butterworth · May 30, 2017 at 9:44 am

    The better the team you play against the more fouls and bookings you will concede. I am always near the top of fouls commited list. You just have to grin and bear it.

Anorld Kabamba · May 30, 2017 at 9:37 am

Unfortunately it isn’t working for my liverpool side is just losses and draws.

Matt · February 6, 2018 at 2:54 pm

Really late to the party here… but I have a question; the TI calls for more direct passing, but many of the PIs are for shorter passing. Is there a conflict there? What prevails when there are conflicting instructions?

    DrPoods · February 6, 2018 at 4:50 pm

    From watching games when I was using it, it essentially means that they will pass shorter but up and down the pitch rather than side to side. So no real conflict, it just seemed to me to make it a more direct style towards goal itilising shorter passing if that makes sense.

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