Why grade abilities, and what do they mean?
Though this guide doesn’t require the Football Stars DLC to be useful, I decided to make it because the DLC has made it a lot more important to understand the value of every stat and skill. Rather than being able to train a group of rookies into a team with The Perfect Player for every role, you’re going to have to scour the transfer market for every edge your team can get: It’s more necessary than ever to be able to squeeze the best possible value out of players who aren’t built exactly the way you’d prefer.
To do that, it’s very useful to understand not only what the best thing to do with your rookie is, but also how useful any given player is liable to be, so you can get a sense for comparative value when considering players for buying or selling.
My aim with this guide, is to walk through what a player in each role can do for your team. It is also to help give a general guideline for determining the relative value of players with various classes, stat spreads, and skills, so you’ll know when to break the bank to snatch up that Gifted player and when they aren’t worth the trouble. Here is a breakdown of the various grades:
A: Abilities that are either extremely powerful, or absolutely necessary for a given class to function.
B: Abilities that either have strong conditional effects, or are frequently used to good effect by a given class.
C: Unnecessary abilities that are strong but a bit too conditional, or frequently used but low-impact.
D: Abilities you can get use out of, but that are wasted on this class.
F: Abilities you should avoid on this class.
If I didn’t even mention a given Skill, you can assume I think it’s awful for obvious enough reasons that it doesn’t warrant talking about.
Central Forward (CW)
The Central Forward has two abilities which naturally make them the best class for taking advantage of holes in the enemy defense. The first is to automatically move toward the goal at the beginning of each turn, and the second is a single point of Head Play, meaning a CF can always perform Crosses, albeit significantly worse than a player with a trained Head Play skill.
Central Forwards will naturally move toward the goal whenever the defenders leave a hole. This means they will find their way into good positions to take shots any time your other players force Defenders out of position. The CF should be focused on scoring, not disrupting the enemy formation or gaining momentum, which makes Accuracy the better offensive stat.
Dribbling is a less effective means of attacking the goal in itself, and the CF’s ability to utilize holes created by other classes means I find Control the least useful for CFs out of all Forward classes.
Among all Forwards, CFs are the least flexible. They want to get points in aggressive stats at all costs.
Even compared with other forwards, CFs will never be in positions where they need to use Passing.
Rainbow Feint: A+
Rainbow Feint provides an additional, powerful option for scoring. CFs are focused on getting into strong offensive positions which means these are their best skills. While Cannon Shot also allows you to attack from the wings (where CFs don’t want to go) Rainbow Feint can tear apart defenses from the center, when it isn’t countered by Reaction or CDs.
Cannon Shot: A-
While Rainbow Feint is stronger in the positions CFs occupy, Cannon Shot is still an alternative scoring method.
Head Play: B+
Crosses are one of the best ways to score goals, especially in lower leagues, and Head Play is an amazing skill. CFs still have useful headers without this, and FWs with fully trained Head Play will win Crosses something like 80% of the time a CF with Head Play would, in addition to being far more versatile than the CF. If you’re making a choice between making a Head Play player into a CF or a FW, consider the CF to be a stronger player in the short term, while the FW will be better after several years of training.
Doesn’t synergize with the CFs abilities, and requires good Control to be useful.
Slide Tackle: D-
The CF is your striker, they need something to help them score or I can pretty much guarantee you will find them useless. There are painfully few cases where CFs can mount an attack with this.
Wide Forward (LF/RF)
Wide Forward (LF/RF)
The Wide Forward uses their abilities to make goals happen independently. Although CFs and FWs can be better in the middle of play, WFs can reach the the goal at kick-off, thanks to their very powerful Break In ability. They also have the flexibility to assist with crosses and in the midfield.
To make use of their Break In ability, decent Control is necessary for WFs. And considering they need good Control, there isn’t much point in not going full for as much Control as possible and using it to attack the goal.
WFs can easily reach positions to Cross from. Having good enough Pass to meet the Cross Factor is a great alternative to using Midfielders, especially if the WF has skills to take the pressure off needing maximal Control to score with.
I actually don’t think Accuracy is ideal on a WF, and I’d prefer to train a character with mixed Accuracy and Control as a FW or CF instead. WFs need high Control, and can easily reach the goal, thus will usually want to attack by dribbling or using a skill.
A WF can help midfielders take a held ball. You don’t want them to, though.
Cannon Shot: A+
The WF has access to every square a Cannon Shot can come from, and can easily carry the ball to the goal.
Rainbow Feint: A-
It’s another scoring method. Powerful because of the WF’s ability to get into the penalty box easily, but a WF doesn’t benefit from its utility.
Slide Tackle: C
The mobility of the WF makes this passable, especially for WFs with decent Passing.
A WD isn’t in position to attack the goal after using Nutmeg, and you won’t need the Passing boost since they’ll be in the front after using it. No thanks.
Universal Forward (FW)
The Universal Forward’s mobility means they can be moved directly behind the defensive line to be passed to or to perform crosses. They are the best class for crosses, since they stay in position. Note that while Cannon Shot, Rainbow Feint, and Nutmeg are all very strong on a FW, there’s little point in having more than one of the three.
Dribbling past defenders? Another great way to open the defense. While it’s best to focus as much as possible on Accuracy or Control, it can be useful for a FW to be able to use both, since you don’t need as much of either if you’re more focused on opening the defense than scoring. The +30% Control they get if they end up with the ball can make it hard for the defense to get rid of the ball, too.
Power Shots are a great way to open the enemy’s defense, and hey, sometimes you actually score. That’s nice, even if FWs are less likely than CFs to be in front of the goal.
While it sucks when Defenders can hold the ball, doing so isn’t helping the other team win, either. Still, when it works, a Forward with good Defense will give you a lot of momentum by tackling or intercepting. The FW is the best positioned Forward to intercept passes, and most easily able to reach the player holding the ball.
A FW needs to have high Passing for the stat to be worth it, since they’ll have to pass through the defense or cross from the harder back positions. I don’t think it’s likely to be worth the sacrifice of other stats.
Head Play: A+
The fact that a FW can cross well AND bring a utility or direct scoring Skill makes it amazing. It can also be great that it helps the FW receive and intercept lofted passes, which helps to counteract the better defenses later leagues’ formations will have against crosses.
Shut down by a SW, but highly effective against almost any formation without one. It relies on the FW having decent stats, unlike Cannon Shot and Rainbow Feint, but you can find a lot of ways to use this to score.
Cannon Shot: A-
You can place a FW in the most vulnerable part of the enemy defense, even if that’s a wing, meaning they can Cannon Shot nicely.
Rainbow Feint: A-
Does basically the same thing for a FW as for a CF. Great!
Slide Tackle: B+
Though bad on other Forwards, the mobility and second slot a FW brings makes Slide Tackle excellent. It shuts down the ability for defenders with high Control to hold onto the ball, which would otherwise be a real thorn in your side at later leagues. Also gives you a powerful backup plan for failed passes and shots.
Olympic Kick: C-
There’s no point having more than one player with this on your team, and a FW can do a lot more with other Skills than any other universal class. Still, it’s not bad. Since I usually count these together I’ll add: Throwing In is definitely not worth giving to a Forward.
Layoff Pass: D-
If your FW has the ball, you’d prefer your FW to use the ball himself. Still, if you get a Forward with higher Defense, this can make them a good supporting player.
Attacking Midfielder (AM)
The Attacking Midfielder is the ultimate supporter of your Forwards. Their ability to draw Defenders out of position with False kicks, pass through Defenders more easily, and to attack the goal from further away, makes them ideal for setting up attacks and ruining the opposing team’s formation.
An AM can False Kick, then Power Shot the goal. While you won’t expect your AM to score, they will sometimes if they have good Accuracy — more often than a Forward attacking from their starting position. Those Power Shots will do a lot of damage to the defensive formation.
Here’s one trick which can make AM’s with high Accuracy very scary; get them one space in front of the corner, and they can pull the SW right out of the box, and shoot directly at the GK. This can be done at kickoff!
An AM is your best bet for passing through the defensive line. It’s not too strong because you will rarely have a spare action to shoot with after doing this, but it can be effective at keeping momentum especially if you have Forwards with good control, The AM can also be placed into the Forward positions, and go for crosses. While Wide players and MFs are better for crossing, there are some defensive formations against which the False Kick can make an AM a better choice.
The AM usually stands in a pretty good position to tackle and intercept, but that’s pretty much it.
The AM really doesn’t benefit from dribbling past defenders, and isn’t mobile enough to stall effectively.
Rainbow Feint: A+
You can use False Kick to draw out the defense, Rainbow Feint and then shoot. Not only gives you a better shot, but carries Defenders entirely out of position.
Layoff Pass: A-
An AM will be in the perfect position for a Layoff Pass into a shot on the goal. CDs counter this, but it still has many strong uses, even against well-defended goals.
If your AM has good Accuracy, this is their best method to score. Thanks to False Kick, you have many ways to set this up, but beware of CDs. It can also help set up a cross.
Cannon Shot: C
The AM can move into positions where a Cannon Shot is feasible. It’s not very good, though.
Your AM is often in a good position to intercept a Long Pass from the defense, which is nice. Still, with only one slot you would prefer something more proactive.
Slide Tackle: D
The AM isn’t positioned in a useful place for tackling, and isn’t mobile. They can use this and then attack, which is something.
Central Midfielder (CM)
The Central Midfielder’s free Press action makes them excellent at helping to retrieve the ball in early leagues. Around Second League, when the -15 that Pressing gives you becomes insignificant, they will shift into the role of an expert at lofted passes, helping to keep the momentum in your favor.
From the midgame onward, the CM’s +40% Passing is their main benefit. It should mean that they can manage lofted passes even from 5 spaces away, and won’t have trouble with a pesky DM.
The CM is mobile and centrally located, which makes them useful for both interceptions and tackles.
Holding the ball at the center of the field usually isn’t very effective.
Slide Tackle: B+
Slide Tackle makes the CM excellent at mounting counterattacks from the midfield.
The CM is positioned nicely for intercepting midfield passing skills.
Long Pass: C-
In the early game, Long Pass is strong on a CM. However, the CM’s strong affinity for lofted passes makes Long Pass a little below average.
Layoff Pass: D+
An alternative to Long Pass. Not quite as good for players like the CM who do better on your side of the pitch. Can be pretty good in lower leagues where you can place the CM further up and use them primarily for Pressing.
This can be interesting, but still not great, and better on an MF.
Olympic Kick/Throwing In: D
The CM doesn’t get too much out of skills, so these are not exactly awful.
Wide Midfielder (LM/RM)
The Wide Midfielder controls the sides of the field. Because their position is less central, they are not as useful for intercepting enemy attacks, although they can still pressure an offense that is also using wing positions. They are able to run the ball into a crossing position when otherwise you’d need two players.
The WM is almost always able to carry the ball into positions that are difficult to steal from. Since they’re experts at crossing, it’s very useful to be able to dodge a CD and cross to the middle, rather than being countered by a SW.
Having enough Passing to cross from any position is necessary, but more than that isn’t as useful as for other midfield positions, because a WM doesn’t need to pass through players or loft the ball to be effective. With high passing, they can deliver the ball to your offense just as well as any other midfielder, but that doesn’t need to be their job.
The WM can tackle from a lot of positions, but isn’t very good at blocking the ball. Their free Pressing also allows them to help even without any Defense stat.
The WM can easily get a bit close to the goal, but not close enough for Accuracy to be worth a darn.
Slide Tackle: A
With their peerless mobility, a WM with Slide Tackle turns an entire side of the field into an opportunity to counterattack.
Cannon Shot: B
If the defensive line is disrupted, a WM can easily carry the ball into a cannon shot position.
Long Pass: B-
The WM can just run far with the ball, which makes this a bit less important than for other roles. Can be effective when you don’t have a spare action to run with. You’re in a position which will get around Interception players, as well.
Layoff Pass: B-
Though not useful if you’re going for crosses, Layoff Pass makes a WM very useful to your offense.
The WM is almost never in a position one will want to special pass through.
Makes crosses faster…but you could have run past anyway with decent Control.
Defensive Midfielder (DM)
Overpowered until Second League, the DM makes it quite a lot harder for your opponent to mount attacks. Starting from Second League, you can expect to see the opposition lofting the ball over your DM, which reduces their effect somewhat: Note that your defenders will compete for a header in this case, which still gives you a major advantage compared with unopposed passes; even against players with excellent Passing. The DM also takes pressure off your defense, and controls a useful part of the field.
A DM’s entire purpose is to intercept the ball. They can also tackle the opposing forwards in place of your defenders, which allows you to keep your defensive formation intact and carry forwards out of position.
The DM usually isn’t passing through high-defense players, so they can actually get away with having a bad Passing stat. It’s still their second-most useful stat.
The DM is in a bad position to hold the ball, and this stat does nothing else.
Long Pass: A+
The DM often ends up with the ball, and likely has a bad Passing stat. With Long Pass, you can get the ball all the way to your forwards: Amazing!
Sadly, the DM’s free point of Interception isn’t enough. Supplementing it with the skill isn’t a bad idea.
Slide Tackle: C+
The DM doesn’t have the best coverage, and already has high Defense. Slide Tackle is nonetheless so good on your midfielders that you likely won’t regret having it.
Layoff Pass: C
Will only carry the ball to your midfield. Although way worse than Long Pass for the DM, it’s still valuable if their Passing is subpar.
Head Play: C-
Normally not worth looking at for midfielders, it’s actually alright in later leagues for a DM, as it means the opposing midfielders cannot loft the ball directly over their head.
Universal Midfielder (MF)
The Universal Midfielder is the most versatile player on your team. Mobility is their only strength, but it’s a huge one, which gives them countless potential roles. They can do anything any of the other midfielders can do (albeit not quite as well) and more.
Obviously, the MF can operate in the midfield and get the ball to your attackers. If you put them near the front, they can carry the ball to a corner and cross any time they get the ball.
The MF is mobile, and can be placed in any position to intercept. Of course Defense is useful!
The MF can carry the ball into annoying positions.
An MF could feasibly Nutmeg the ball all the way from the midfield to the goal…still better to have high Control, because that opportunity is ridiculously rare.
Slide Tackle: A+
The wide coverage of the MF makes Slide Tackle strong. If you combine it with a passing skill, the MF can be a terror for enabling counterattacks.
Long Pass: A
Works well with most common MF positions, and buys you a lot of momentum.
Layoff Pass: A-
If the MF is playing in the front side of the pitch, Layoff is better.
Many MF positions are great for blocking pass skills.
Olympic Kick/Throwing In: B-
The MF is your best candidate for holding these skills. Olympic Kick on a midfielder in particular means you’ll have a lot of ways to approach a corner kick.
Worth considering if the MF has high Passing and no Pass skill, Nutmeg can enable them to carry the ball up the pitch and then pass right through the defenders. Very nice if you’ve got a forward waiting in the penalty box!
Cannon Shot: C
One strong way to play with an MF is by placing them in attacker positions, and using them like a more supportive WF for crosses. When played this way, the MF is perfect for launching a Cannon Shot. That being said, it heavily restricts the locations you will want to place the MF.
Central Defender (CD)
The Central Defender’s job is to keep attackers away from key locations: Namely, the goal. They ensure enemy Forwards can’t simply dribble the ball where they want.
The CD needs higher defense than the attackers’ control, of course.
Having at least one CD with high Control is a good idea, to defend against corner kicks.
The CD ends up with the ball most often out of your defenders: They will try to steal it, and are always located perfectly to receive deflected attacks. Passing isn’t necessary, but it can hurt sometimes if you can’t at least beat the attackers’ Defense.
A single CD with Reaction is your best defense against Rainbow Feint. A CD placed in center position will protect every player around the goal from being feinted through. It’s a bit more effective than your SW or even your GK having Reaction.
Head Play: A
The CD is always going to be in a good position to protect against crosses and deflect lobbed passes. Head Play is an excellent tool for them.
Long Pass: A-
Given the CD’s propensity to end up with the ball, Long Pass will be a very valuable offensive tool.
Layoff Pass: C-
A much inferior skill for defenders.
Slide Pass: D-
Can save you an action…very, very rarely.
Full Back (LD/RD)
The Full Back is the utility defender. Unlike the others, they won’t be blocking the ball. However, their excellent mobility and utility makes them a valuable part of a team, especially as they are by far the best way to counter WFs.
Defense is far less important for the FB, as they won’t be intercepting shots or passes much. It’s used a lot for tackling, and sometimes for blocking enemy WMs from dashing past, and that’s about it. Mind that even an FB with high defense still isn’t reliable for stopping those pesky WMs.
Since the FB doesn’t need Defense to be useful, they can afford to have a strong Passing stat.
The FB can hold the ball as they run it up the field, and can help with corner kicks if your other defenders have poor Control.
Sliding Tackle: A+
Totally supplants the Defense stat for FBs. Since they’re mobile, they can be fantastic for grabbing the ball from attackers without needing to disrupt your defensive line.
Long Pass: A-
The FB likes to run and grab the ball, which makes Long Pass solid.
Layoff Pass: B-
Still not very good on a defender. The FB has fewer other good skills and can run up the pitch, so it’s something to consider.
Olympic Kick/Throwing In: C-
Something the FB can do without leaving their position (half the time). They don’t have many great skill options so it bears considering at least.
Maybe it sounds kinda good that they can cover your goal defenders, but it’s not terribly reliable, and largely unnecessary if anyone else already has it.
The Sweeper’s job is to stand in the way of players when they go for the goal. By merely being present, he prevents players from being able to Cannon Shot or Nutmeg. In addition, he adds a second roll to your defense against shots, and unlike the GK, doesn’t risk giving a corner kick when deflecting Power Shots. It’s the only class besides GK which you won’t be happy to have more than one of.
High defense is both extremely necessary and the only thing necessary for a SW.
The SW can use control to help with corner kicks, but it’s better left to your other defenders.
The SW is the third-best defense against Rainbow Feint. That might sound bad, but Rainbow Feint is very dangerous, and your SW doesn’t really have better options. I’d consider this a D+ if your GK already has Reaction though.
Long Pass: B+
The SW won’t receive the ball as often as your other defenders, but also doesn’t need skills as much. Long Pass is decent.
Slide Tackle: B-
Though it’s risky to have your SW leave the goal, they do often end up in a good position to do it. It’s nice that Slide Tackle doesn’t push the attacker into the goal.
Head Play: C+
The SW has decent odds of deflecting a cross from the corner even without Head Play. Still, it’s not awful.
Universal Defender (DF)
Where the Central Defender blocks players from passing by, the Universal Defender does the same thing with balls, whether they be shots or passes. Their second Skill and wide interception range makes them ideal for defending (slightly) farther out.
The DF is all about deflecting shots. While they can do better with a lower Defense than a SW or a CD, it’s still the stat they want and the only one they need.
The DF is your best bet for pushing attackers out of the penalty box during corner kicks. This is because during a corner kick, the attackers will already be at the goal, making the CD’s power less useful — also because the DF can afford to be a little more Control focused.
Passing is fine but unnecessary. The DF doesn’t end up with the ball quite as often as other defenders.
Slide Tackle: A+
Lets you get the time-efficiency of a CD when attackers end their turn near the DF. It’s also not too bad for the DF to move out of position, as they will often still be able to intercept passes.
Long Pass: A
Simply a great skill for any defender.
Though passes won’t go through the square your DF occupies too often, pass skills can be very dangerous, and it’s great to have a way to deal with them.
Head Play: B
Though not as good for countering crosses as on a CD, a DF also does well in the same positions. Don’t forget it also counters the Lofted Pass, which can be really useful especially in conjunction with a DM.
Layoff Pass: C
The DF might come a little further out from the goal…but it’s still far worse than Long Pass.
It seems OK, but when you think about it, there’s just no way to use an immune DF to create a formation that can reliably counter Rainbow Feint.
The GK protects your goal. Obviously. There’s not too much to think about here, but there is a lot of significance when considering how to build the rest of your defense.
The GK is the only defender that will never be drawn out of position. It’s worth sacrificing anything else to get more Defense on your GK.
Defends against crosses. In later leagues, you can sacrifice a little bit of consistency against shots to gain a lot of defense against crosses.
When the GK gets the ball, attackers are forced to back up. That means the GK will never be performing contested passes.
Strong Goalkeeper: A+
I feel that there are so many ways for a player with Cannon Shot to slip through your defense that it is the most valuable skill to have.
Playing Out: A
Makes your GK innately very difficult to cross against. I feel that AIs don’t use crossing as much I do, but it’s still very powerful. The defense against Olympic Kick is also nice, but it’s rarely seen.
Long Kick: A-
You’re sacrificing a lot to put Long Kick on your GK, but I think it’s worth it. By default your midfield will be positioned so that you can set up kick-off type plays (but with Skills!) any time your GK ends up with the ball, and that’s huge for counterattacks.
I think there are a lot of ways to counter Rainbow Feint, and if the player is in your penalty box, you are in danger even if they can’t just Feint in.
The transfer market is always going to be the way you should get and spend most of your money. It’s useful to understand how it works so you can invest effort in the right players. I’m not going to go super in-depth; but there are some simple ideas that are all you need to know.
First, you probably already know this: Put a player in your team for a bit to get their Interest level to High, so that they sell for full price.
Prices are exponential:
As players get better and more expensive, so too does the rate at which that value increases. For instance, a rookie picking up their first skill might have their value bump up 80,000 -> 90,000 while a veteran learning their 4th might go 1,200,000 -> 1,900,000. Big difference. Now, the 4th skill requires a lot more effort to acquire, but nowhere near 70x more. This means that it’s much better to invest more training into fewer players. It also means that, despite the very high prices, you should prefer players who are already well-trained (but mind that they aren’t too old), because you will receive a bigger return on your investment when you improve them further. Yes, contracts will become more expensive, but as long as you’re constantly developing the player, you’ll end up ahead when you sell them.
With Football Stars, this becomes even more true when you upgrade your scouts and buy off the personal list: Because you got a discount, the players you bought will already be worth more than you bought them for! You also need to mind the Giftedness and its effective level cap. If you hire a player near their cap, you won’t be able to increase their value through their level anymore, which makes them less valuable.
Age is not exponential:
In essence, a player’s value decreases slowly until they turn 28, at which point their value will begin to drop by about 10% of the value the player would have if they were in their early 20’s, each year. There’s a massive drop when a player turns 33 which makes even a great player sell for only a pittance.
Unless you don’t want to sell them at all, you should sell 32-year-old players for sure.
For universal players, you should try to have them learn as many skills as possible before selling them, as those 3rd through 6th ones will make you so much money it’ll alone usually at least counteract the ageing reduction. For specialized players you can’t expect their value to go up much once they start getting old, especially relative to the contract price.
Learning the 3rd skill onward always has a much bigger effect on price than the “Fan Favorite” tree, though keep in mind the Group Bonus for finishing the “Fan Favorite” tree, which can be quite significant to your club.
For young players who you won’t develop much, it barely hurts their sale value to keep them until they turn 28. After that you should sell players you won’t use regularly ASAP.
This is all that we can say about Football Tactics & Glory – Players Guide in Each Class/Strategy for now. I hope this post helped you. If there is anything that we should add, please let us know via comment below. See you soon!
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