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How do you deal with half/second season syndrome?

Started on 27 August 2020 by Nirsen
Latest Reply on 28 August 2020 by Si49
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One of the most frustrating aspects of the game for me, since I started playing it (FM08), is that half or second season syndrome - that random point of time when your tactic stops working.
While saying it, I'm also think it's a good thing, cause otherwise it could be a really boring and unrealistic game.

Anyway, in almost each one of my saves, I've barely managed to cope with that.
I'm starting the season perfectly, exceeding expectations, winning against hard sides, etc.
And then, at some point I can easily sense that my good times are comes to an end - I start drawing 2-3 games in a row, and then even loosing against weak sides. Everything stops working.

What do you do when its happens?
I mean, logically you should change your tactic. Other teams' AI understand that you are a good team, and they enhancing their tactics so they could win you. So you got to adapt too.

But this is where my problem starts - I've built a tactic at the start of the season, this is the tactic that I think suits my team the best. Let's say I chose to play some kind of gagenpressing tactic, this is the way of game that I think suits my team, so how can I suddenly change it? I don't think that at this time, when I didn't made any significant changes in the squad, I should change the tactic style.

Also, minor changes never worked for me. I always try to just change small things like "okay let's start playing more directly and let's pressing a bit less".
But it's never worked, seems like the game demands total change in your tactic style.

Any thoughts and ideas would be welcomed :)
Nice post.

The trick is to change enough in your tactic/approach to not effect your familiarity but to make a significant enough difference to overturn the AI's adjustments.

If you are being overly successful then all the AI is doing is treating you with more respect. They are seeing you as more of a threat so are playing more defensive or taking less risks against you.

Less risk usually means they are playing deeper leaving less space behind them but more in front of them. So your possession should increase, but your creativity will lower, as there is less attacking space for you to operate in.

How you counter this depends a lot on the current tactic/formation that got you there in the first place. you don't want a radical overhaul of what you are doing as this will lead to very inconsistent performances, especially early on. If you start to lose games you lose morale, this makes your players make worse decisions & make more basic mistakes.

Depending on how overly successful the AI judges you have been with deem the amount the AI adjusts. It's a reputation thing/score. Some teams, the very best, will still be deemed pre game as the favorite & they will still approach you in an attacking manner. You will almost certainly find your original approach will do better against these 'better' sides, if not a more defensive approach.

From what I have described above then I am recommending heading down the more than one tactic approach depending on your opposition & how they are setting up against you.
I have found a second tactic sometimes work, or even changing half way through a game.
I am currently having same prob on my save, was top of league with Juve (2033 and we are not expected to win league) before xmas break, since the break I have drawn against Perugia, and Frisinone in cup and lost 4-1 to Lazio(who aren't a bad side) but against Lazio every counter they scored, and my players just kept kicking back into their players which pisses me off.
Now send by 3 points and lost chance of title in my opinion. Create a lot of chances but go games with striker having 1 shot on target.
I am using the Bielsa OM tactic, as wanted a change from Knap. I do edit the tactics for the opposition, but some games nothing you do helps. Change tempo passing style mentality. And no response. I do believe there are some games that you are just going ti lose
I wouldn't say there are some games you are just going to lose for tactical reasons, I see it as there are some games where you aren't going to have the sufficient enough quality to win. This is due to the oppo treating you with more respect & you not having the ability to break them down.

Reputation is a sliding scale. Let's call it 1-10, 1 being the lowest.

With a perceived underdog team you are initially judged by the AI as a 3, for example. They treat you as a 3 but due to the quality of your over achieving tactic you play as a 7... But you only have the quality of players for a 3-5 range.

So what happens is this, you over achieve judged as a 3 and the AI then adjusts you to a 7... They now treat you as a favorite. They play more defensive against you as they are seeing you as a 7. But you only have the quality of player as a 3-5 range so you aren't able to break them down.

This isn't tactical related as such, but you have to know the match/tactical engine very well from game to game to consistently over achieve against teams who are treating you with a higher reputation that your players actually deserve. It is your results from your overachieving tactic that have gained you this reputation, not necessarily your players.
But I would say Juve challenging for title isn't over achieving? I will beat this in mind for rest of season, so you say to change, bit not change significantly, is this changing defensive line and engagement to let them out a bit. Mentally with traffic is positive, should I drop to balanced (which I did do and change numerous other things to try overcome the lack of impact of my tactic) but nothing worked in my favour.
Lazio did have dinner good players (that I signed as their manager), but yout could bet that if I was Lazio, I wouldn't have won 4-1.
Anyway, how is this sliding scale overcome then?
Well using the same sliding scale again (Which is a pretty shoddy example but something I wanted to be able to explain easily enough with), Juventus would start as a 7-8 favorite & if you are very successful you would become a 10.

The range of change is always about the same, it is the AI adjustment which will alter.

Inter & maybe one or two others would initially treat you as an equal I imagine, that reputation would change with success & you may well struggle to break them down with the same tactic.

What to change is the key question... It depends on your current tactic & what adjustments the AI have actually made. Usually they just drop their team mentality (risk level) & maybe formation wise set up more defensively. They tend not to change their roles or individual PI's, just their base set up & approach. This gives them a more defensive base set up & makes them harder to break down.

Every AI manager has their preferred tactic/shape. They also have defensive & offensive versions dependent on the situation in front of them. All they are doing is starting with a defensive version against you. But every AI manager is different, they all have their own traits and preferences for style of football.

Personally I would change my mentality to more attacking (If this is possible) as the first step. Here you are taking more risks which is the initial step against a team taking less risks. However I wouldn't go any higher than Attacking with the mentality. If your base tactic is already Attacking Mentality then I would look at having a more attacking formation set up or using more attacking roles. Which I chose would depend on the strengths of my team & potentially the set up of the opposition. Every case is possibly different, this is a very hard situation to master.

As for how is the sliding scale or reputation change overcome... Well you have to improve your players or learn how to tweak tactics enough per opposition.Tactically you are already over achieving so your tactical tweaks have to be fine tuned, this is very difficult in the current match engine as everything in it is overly complicated. If you improve your players you will get better, but this only works when you start as an underdog. At someone like Juventus you will already have very good players.

What will also happen is that if you go through a period of negative results your rep will adjust back down a little... So teams will treat you as less of a threat again. Reputation is adjusted by the AI every month end in the game based on your previous months results.... But only in very small amounts. At the end of every season there is a much larger adjustment.

This monthly adjustment by the way also explains why suddenly more players become interested in joining your team at different points, if you check your shortlist for interested players at the start of every month it may well have changed due to your reputation score altering. Your reputation is used to measure many things in the game.
Cheers explains difficulties at start off 2nd half of season and at start of new seasons sometimes.
I think sometimes when yout have a string of good results you get lulled into a false sense of security.
The example I used when lost 4-1 to Lazio,
Started positive, 4231, went 1 down, went to attacking went 2-0, changed to balance, and shorter passing and lower tempo to be more deliberate in play, went 3 down, then lous of tinkering, went 4 down scored a consolation right at death. So any chances I made just seemed to have no positive affect scoring wise. But stats of game showed I was the better team, Just not taking chances.
But maybe I should've resurrected them more and dropped defensive line to stop a more direct counter, and instead of attacking WBs, as we were away, had supporting ones or even FBs.
Then I start to think, an I massively over thinking it!
In the scenario you have described it depends on the quality of the chances created. You can have 20 long shots when you might have been better waiting/working for for lets say 2 to 3 clear cut chances.

Clear cut chances are a better way of measuring 'chances', if you are creating CCC's and not taking them then that's just the randomness of the game. There's not much you can do about that really. On the next occasion you could well score them all. If you aren't creating CCC's that's much more of a problem.

Regarding over thinking this is a common issue. When the instructions in front of you aren't presented very clearly (which is a huge criticism that can be labelled at the games creators) then over thinking is very possible.

The first thing I always recommend is make only one change at a time so you can try to see the effect it is making. If you are making more than this then it can be very hard to determine if an outcome was the result of your change or not.

When making changes try to target areas of the pitch. If you have a star winger for example then target his flank for the use if the ball. Think about real football... If you have Ronaldo out there you want to get him the ball as much as possible, this is common sense. Another thing to do is to target weak opposition areas/players, now to do this you have to know more about them of course, but again this happens in real football all the time.
I theory then do you think changing player roles and tweaking instructions from game to game (which happens in real life anyway and I should really be doing more thoroughly), would make it harder for AI to work out how to play against you?
2020-08-28 09:41#277519 dmcgrath82 : I theory then do you think changing player roles and tweaking instructions from game to game (which happens in real life anyway and I should really be doing more thoroughly), would make it harder for AI to work out how to play against you?

I wouldn't say it makes it harder for the AI to play against you, no. The AI sets it tactic against you based on your reputation compared to its own. They don't tweak per your roles/TI's or PI's, they just pick which of their preferred tactics they would start with & then go from there depending how the match evolves.

During the match, every match, they make changes based on the flow. They change their mentality, make tactical substitutions & alter roles. They do this as a reaction to the match itself rather than figuring you out from the outset.

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