CM9798 the game behind the game | @9798Nikolai

Our tactics king Nikolai has been out in the community asking the important questions: How do you win on CM9798 and can you share your ideas? I’ll let him explain…

Whilst playing one afternoon I dropped an idle question on Twitter.

The response was more than I’d expect from such a simple, perhaps obvious, musing.

It got me thinking. Stats, numbers and particularly player attributes are the mechanics of the engine, but they’re not the whole story. We all have a different way of playing the game.

So I assembled a group of effervescent (and very accomplished) CM9798-ers for a good old-fashioned Q&A. I was asking the questions and occasionally chipping in.

Once the camera flashes and applause died down, we began.

How do you decide on a captain? And do you ever change it?

Harry / @hsoper404

I would say always put your captain as someone who has the highest morale. And if more than one candidate is ‘superb’, choose the one with the highest influence.

Rob / @Taitanator

I think the quality of your captain has a massive bearing on consistent team performance.  When choosing a captain I think about their ability and consistency – both hidden – and then influence. I like my captain to be one of my best players but I also find that centre backs get some of the most consistent ratings so my captain is usually a centre back. I like their influence to be 17+. I rarely have goalkeeper captain, just doesn’t feel right. 

Finally I don’t think the influence stat is the most important as Solozabal of Betis has influence 20 but I find him to be quite inconsistent however Galante of Inter has influence 16 but is a really good captain.

Me:
I’m also not a fan of goalkeepers or strikers as captains. I pretty much swear by having a centre back with at least 15 influence mine. Failing that, a DMC. Andrew?

Andrew / @kingoftherooks

Influence, Determination, Adaptability. I generally like it to be a ‘keeper, actually. Also I’m pretty superstitious, so I change it if there’s been a run of bad results.

Ash / @CM_Hints

My captaincy is largely swayed by the influence attribute. I also tend not to change the captaincy for a whole season unless the player in question has lost form.

Liam / @LM9798

In the first game, I won’t set one and see who the game picks for me. Then check their influence, age and morale. Ideally, I’d go with a captain who has 15+ in influence, is over 28 years old and has good or better morale.

Because the game has an almost infinite database of dinosaur footballers from the ’80s on a free transfer, a good captain isn’t difficult to find if your squad is lacking – I say this for Division 2 or 3 teams. I will substitute the captain if I am 3-0 down.

How do you decide the corner taker?

Ash / @CM_Hints

Whoever has the best set piece attribute will almost always by default be my corner taker, most often an AM.

Rob / @Taitanator

I will usually always choose someone playing an AM role to do this and mostly an AMR/L. I look for good passing, set pieces and creativity.

Liam / @LM9798
Highest set piece stat. Technique is a plus, I’m sure it helps with those constant goalmouth scrambles.

Harry / @hsoper404

I think corner takers should be the player with the lowest heading

Andrew / @kingoftherooks

Set Pieces, Passing, Technique. Sometimes I put obscure players in and it works at times.

Me:
I trial 5-6 players in preseason to see who can curl the ball in ‘dangerously’. Sometimes they only have set pieces 12-13, so they can end up an ‘obscure’ pick too. I’m also a fan of just making it a striker with decent set pieces, because of the number of rebounds they can get from the keeper saving a header.

How do you best generate money through transfers?

Harry / @hsoper404

If selling a player, I check to see how many clubs are preparing a bid. If more than two, consider the first before rejecting the next. When the third bid comes in, consider then reject the fourth etc. You will always end up selling the player well above the asking price.

Also, if a lower league team, I try to sign players based on the Euro scout. Regardless of whether they perform well, their value skyrockets and are normally signed by a bigger team within 15 games

Andrew / @kingoftherooks

Never bothered by this. Happy to generate money from prize money or attendances.

Liam / @LM9798

Bit of a cheat way, but I use a save-game editor to apply better prize money to each competition including each round of the different cups. The economy of the game is massively flawed!

For my own players, if they become unhappy, they can leave. I sign young players who are highly recommended (by scouts) and am not fussed if they become a £1m player in a few months and leave because there’s usually someone in the database that will make an easy replacement.

Ash / @CM_Hints
I will sell out-of-form or reserve players to generate quick cash. At the same time I’ve also been known to buy cheap and sell high even if that player has been performing well.

Rob / @Taitanator

I find it really difficult to sell players who are playing well as I get attached easily. If a small club I use the loan trick to get the player’s value as high as I can before the big club release clause is activated. If a larger club, I will sell a good player who I like, if, I’m confident in the replacement I have, and the bids go above the asking price. However if you wait too long then the offers will drop back down in value.

Possibly the most important question of them all, how do you find a good goalkeeper? 

Andrew / @kingoftherooks

Look for a ‘keeper who concedes few goals at a mediocre club.

Ash / @CM_Hints

I filter by GK attributes and take it from there. It doesn’t matter if the ‘keeper is free or worth millions. I will often pick an U21 ‘keeper as my backup.

Rob / @Taitanator

This really is the most important position and you need the best you can get otherwise you lose so many games that you have dominated. The match engine makes the opposition ‘keeper really good in order to keep the score lines sensible so it is hard to decide who is worth buying and ‘keeper stats are – in my opinion – relatively meaningless, it’s all about the hidden attributes. If you are a top team I think your ‘keeper needs an ability of at least 150+ and a really high consistency. The other thing is young ‘keepers take time to reach their potential and are therefore not good to put in straight away, unless you are in a lower league. If you don’t like your ‘keeper early game the Chilavert is a good option, Bernd Meier and obviously Landreau. If you can wait Neville Southalls regen is amazing after a few seasons. Goalkeeper regens are harder to find because the stats don’t always stay constant.  I tend to use a range of +/- 2 when comparing against the retired players stats.

I also think you just have to accept that there will be games you dominate but lose because you concede every shot they take, having a good ‘keeper limits this.

Me:
But it still happens, sadly! Harry?

Harry / @hsoper404

I sign goalkeepers based on goals conceded rather than average rating. 

Liam / @LM9798
Highly recommended by scout, average rating, if I see a keeper save something superbly, it usually means they are world class. After a few seasons, look at the form of young keepers who make it to their Under 21 teams, as well as check their average rating. If Man Utd, Arsenal or Liverpool are interested in a young keeper, definitely worth trying to sign before they do.

Me:
For me it’s definitely a bit of trial and error. Saying that I do use stats to guide, usually 16+ but then I watch the match commentary to decide. If I see a goalkeeper saves it ‘superbly’ or makes a ‘magnificent’ save, I know they’re top class. Conversely if a ‘keeper saves it with his legs or parries it for an opposition player to score too often, he may be crap, whatever his stats or his average suggests.

How do you find a good striker or goalscorer without knowing the name?

Ash / @CM_Hints

Almost all strikers that I buy must show some goalscoring form. It’s not enough for them to have shooting as 20.

Andrew / @kingoftherooks

Usually just trial and error. I tend to buy a few then weed out the flops. But this is an area I’ll look at past records and stats. 

Rob / @Taitanator
If I’m a small club looking for a goal scorer I use the scout feature for recommended players and then just gamble, also the lower your club reputation the more people the scouts will recommend. The key stats I look for when trying to find an unknown future goal scorer are: finishing 15+, pace 10+, off the ball 10+. Depending on your options after using those stats I will then like to have determination, flair, stamina, 10+.

Harry / @hsoper404

If signing a striker based on goals scored, I always check how their team are performing. If the team are bottom half and the striker has 40%+ of their goals, it’s a sign of a good goalscorer.

Liam / @LM9798

Same as the goalkeeper really but with a few other considerations:

I find with inactive leagues, African/Asian/American players, goals scored can be misleading. Some tend to score 1,2 goals a season but will have an 8 average rating and get 20+ man of the match awards in a season. They can score 30 goals a season no problem.

I check and see how many shots they tend to take to score goals as well if they are in an active league. I think off the ball and shooting stats are pretty obvious, but it doesn’t always have to be 20 in each to make a good striker. I also like SC strikers and none of this FLC nonsense the game loves but doesn’t really mean anything.

Me:

All good stuff. I think my only add would be monitoring them in-game. Shots on target or making the keeper work in the first couple of games is a good sign. They will turn into goals or assists – missing the target, or ‘harmlessly wide’ doesn’t.

How do you know a player in general will be good?

Andrew / @kingoftherooks

For outfielders, average ratings are usually a good sign. That and a player that has accumulated a high value. Value seems to be linked to ability rather than potential though so can be a pitfall.

Liam / @LM9798
Ignoring regens? Highly rated by scout, high average rating if they are playing in their correct position. To filter out a bad player, in a big win of 4-0, 5-0 if every player has a 8 or 9 and you see a player with 6, it usually means they are no good.

I will sometimes scout players myself by watching their games with the view game option, although this can be fairly tedious if you’re short on time. I will also check a match and see how they got on. So if they are a striker, did they convert 2 goals from 3 shots, or did they have 11 shots on goal and not score?

There are also players wanting to move to a bigger club that suggests they are pretty decent. Star players and wanted players within a team as well.

Rob / @Taitanator

For a long time I wanted my players to have 10+ for pace, stamina and strength and then I looked for key positional stats.  As I’ve got older pace and strength are less important to me for certain positions. Other than that an average rating over 7 in the top leagues.

Ash / @CM_Hints

You don’t know if a player will be good or not until you try them out. Giving them a chance in an easier game always helps. But my patience will wear thin quickly if they constantly underperform.

Me:
Rob, you want to add something?

Rob / @Taitanator
Yes, one thing. Consistency is a really important factor in a good player. Marc Emmers and Fredrick Bild both have ability/potential of 130 ish but their consistency is really high. They can average over 7 at the top level despite not having top level ability, so when finding a good player sometimes you just get lucky with that*.

*Both Emmers and Bild also both have ‘big match’ 20. Bild has consistency 19 – Nik

What mid-match ‘tricks’ do you have? Swapping strikers over for example...

Liam / @LM9798
Yeah swapping versatile players around if nothing is happening. Substitute your goalkeeper for another striker on the penalty shootout screen. No subs unless necessary

Andrew / @kingoftherooks

I remember reading somewhere that constant chopping and changing tactics (before the match) is bad for the team’s performance. Plus I always sub off a 5 rating or lower. But generally let the game run its course with minor tweaks. 

Harry / @hsoper404
I’ve got one. A good way of seeing if a player can play in another position, search your own players on the Player Search option and go through each position. More than often a central defender can play in midfield but its hidden

Me:
Not so much a ‘trick’ per se, but I think it’s crazy how often a substitute striker will get the goal you need, especially coming on for a striker who’s getting 6. In general, I think the best trick is if, mid match, you feel you’re allowing too many chances, change the tactic slightly, then go back to the original, even after a few seconds. 

Rob / @Taitanator
The only in game thing I do is when you get good and teams set up ultra defensive against you I will generally change formation to an ultra attacking 2-3-5 direct or long ball, hopefully get a goal and then revert back to my original formation and style of play.

Do you make subs at a set time?

Andrew / @kingoftherooks

75 minutes, usually to preserve fitness or give a young player game time.

Rob / @Taitanator

I never make a substitution in a game that I am leading by a single goal unless a player gets injured or sent off. The times I have done this I feel like I concede straight away and end up drawing. I tend to make subs after the 60 minute mark. If I am leading by 2 clear goals I will make one sub at a time, usually a striker first and then maybe a midfielder, I will sub off people on a yellow card at this time too. I try not to make three subs just in case a player gets injured.

If I’m losing then I will take off forward players with a rating of 6 or below.  I do this at anytime in the second half and I might also make 2 subs in one go.  Sometimes this swings the game. 

Harry / @hsoper404

When playing in Division 1, 2 or 3, never make two subs at the same time. Majority of the time, a player will either get sent off or go off injured a few minutes later

Sometimes it’s better to make a substitution based on the opposition rating. If the opposition centre half is having a 9 and your strikers are both on 7, it’s a good sign to get someone else to have a go. This applies to all positions (except goalkeepers). I guess this is a kind of ‘trick’ too.

Liam / @LM9798
I remember some advice from one of the developers was if a player has a 5 at half-time, to take them off. I will do that but it’s rare anyone ever plays that bad unless it’s a cup game I’m destined to lose.

I try not to make subs because I believe the overall ability of your team becomes compromised. For example, if you have 11 players with 100 ability, you have an overall ability of 1100 on the pitch. If you introduce a sub that has 50 ability, your overall ability becomes 1050. This is why I think when you introduce a young player or player who is on the bench as a result of no other option and have to play them, you can concede a goal almost straight away.

If I am winning 4-0, 5-0, I’ll sub a few players just to see if the others can pick up on the momentum of the game and get themselves into good form.

Finally, do you drastically alter your tactic if you’re defending a lead or chasing a goal?

Andrew / @kingoftherooks

Defending a lead I occasionally flip into defensive for 5-10 mins, like an extra player dropped back, and then back to the original attacking formation. Chasing a goal, I never alter things much, CM9798 loves a last minute goal!

Liam / @LM9798
I will go all out attack in cup games if I need one goal and the game is in the final 10 minutes. I won’t even bother making sure players are in the right position to be honest. This has a massive success rate and I believe it is why it is in the game.

Ash / @CM_Hints

Yes. If I’m leading 1-0 and we’ve hit the hour mark I will gradually line up my players deeper. This is somewhat of a risk as you’re asking to be attacked. But in 90% of instances it seems to do the trick

So there we go. What a great way to ‘close out’ this Q&A. I hope readers find that as interesting as I did. Same game, lots of different ways to play it. Thank you all – great stuff.

My thanks to Nikolai and the squad for putting this together – hopefully some useful ideas to take on board!

2 thoughts on “CM9798 the game behind the game | @9798Nikolai

  1. Very interesting contribution from Nikola and the other great players. In some ideas I agree and in others not, but all very good. Interesting, for example, how they have managed to detect indicators of a good goalkeeper based on comments from the match, they are correct!

  2. In respect of making money, my two go to ploys tend to be signing free agents that other teams are interested in and then immediately transfer listing them, which usually generates an offer in a relatively short space of time; and the player exchange feature.

    When I’m remodelling my squad, if one team wants more than one of my players and I can make the values fit, I’ll look to exchange them for one player with likely re-sale interest from other clubs (Tony Thorpe at Fulham is usually quite good in this regard), immediately list my new player and sell them on. Usually make the same amount of money or more, and save a decent amount on wages due to having less players.

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