#FM17 – The Monaco way

In real life AS Monaco has been known as one of the top clubs in the French Ligue 1, even though they are based in a tiny neighboring nation.  The nation they are based in is Monaco, and the club name is based from that nation, and the colors are the same colors of the nation.    This nation is so tiny that they are the only football club in the nation, thus the reason why they play in France.

In recent years the club had fallen on hard times due to financial fair play violations (which included a forced relegation in 2003 per French rules which was overturn only on appeal) and as recently as 2012-2013 was playing in Ligue 2.  It was around that time that the club made a change in philosophy of buying young prospects as soon as they legally could do so and put them straight into their first team or their main reserve team.  It was when they brought in Claudio Ranieri as their manager and the team started buying an handful of U23 prospects that he identified and rebuilding their youth team with proper scouting.  While Ranieri did leave at the end of the contract, the team was back in Ligue 1 with tons of exciting young prospects and eventually made a run in the Champions League.

The strategy

Three simple philosophies are based in the Monaco Way including:

  1. Buying top prospects as soon as they are able to, namely from Africa where France has lenient foreign player rules regarding those players.  This includes 16 years old for most EU nations, and 18 for South America.  The focus is the nations where it is easier to buy the players for five or six figure deals, not in nations where it costs at least 7 figures for a 16 year old.
  2. Avoiding the loans unless the player is already homegrown, the player is too old for the academy, OR it is clear that the player has no chance in making the first team.  Sometimes the loans are necessary due to France having a strict non EU rule.  The loans are usually done to the Belgium club Cercle Brugge, which is a nation that has much more lax rules regarding foreign players, or to Portuguese club Rio Ave (another nation with lenient foreign player rules), but occasionally to Ligue 2 clubs.
  3. Only buy players as roster spots allow in only the positions of need

When it comes to the bigger clubs wanting to buy their first team players, usually it comes down to whether or not the player is unsettled and the most important aspect: is there a player (substitute, out on loan, reserve player) capable of making that player expendable.  Almost every season at least one key player is sold but not before the club had made a 8 figure profit.

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While typical Monaco techniques is to buy cheap prospects they rarely go with a large first team or reserve team.  They only buy to fill in the roster spots, partially due to the severe punishments that French teams face for violating domestic financial fair play rules.

How Monaco does this is the use of proper scouting, making use of scouting knowledge and the best scouts.  Their focus is Eastern Europe, Africa, and South America.  They have dipped into North America from time to time but the talent is not what they prefer and those players count as non EU slots, where in South America the talent pool is much better.

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Staff often come and go in the top flight but their staff members often come from several nations that the team often scouts players in.

Pulling this method off in Football Manager 2017 can be tricky but if you can do it right your club is simply reloading even if your best players keep getting sold.

#FM17 Bypassing the MLS Superdraft

If you have noticed MLS clubs may only sign youth players from their own academy in Football Manager 17.  So what if your rival team has a nice prospect that you really want that is in their academy?

The good news is that there is a way to get around the Superdraft but it will require some clever thinking.

Basic requirements:

  • Two head coach profiles, one for the MLS club of your choice and the other for a FOREIGN club with somewhat decent reputation in a nation where foreign player rules are very lax.
  • The use of editor to make the two clubs affiliated with each other may be necessary but there are some clubs that are already affiliated with.  To make things easier for yourself use the live editor but I have done this without.

Now the trick is

  • Always save the day before the youth intake date in the USA.  You actually have no control on which youth players come into the academy but you can keep reloading the save if the intake is awful.
  • Have your foreign club sign the prospects of the rival clubs around their 18th birthday.
  • Buy or loan the players the ensuing transfer window for a small fee.
  • Repeat

The best combo to run this is with Sporting Kansas City and Flumeinese – SKC has a B team and both sides got respectable youth setups.  Any other combo will need live editor but I had past success with SKC and Sporting Portugal.  NYRB is another good club to pull off the trick by using any of their European affiliates.

The main trick is trying to work around the MLS roster rules but with young players this is easier to do with the salary cap and by the time they are 22-23 the big boys are interested and you can flip the talent for profit.

How does this method works?

The Superdraft only applies to Amateur contract players based in the USA and Canada.

#FM17 – flipping young players for profit

I seen the one post about a player that did a revenue flipping technique for loans.  My approach (which I did in FM16 but not on a large scale) is simple:

  • Buy players on Amateur or Non Contract between the ages of 16-20
  • Buy only players with high potential
  • Sell to another club within 3 to 5 years

There are some databases you will need enabled.  First database is the USA.  Any database of a amateur club or a semi-professional club that always issues non contracts or amateur contracts (most of the African clubs in smaller nations go in this manner along with a lot of the smaller European nations) should also be enabled.

For the league, you should only go to a nation that has lax rules about foreign players.  Portugal and Gibraltar are two of the first choice nations (you will need a custom database for the latter.  Other nations with relatively lax rules include Belgium, Holland, Belarus (only in their top flight), Germany (10 year nationality rule is a drawback and can only do it in the top flight), and Sweden.  Portugal is a favorite of mine because you only need two homegrown players in the match squad in the top flight and as long the current ability is 95 or higher your player is suited to the division.   For FM17 an added bonus for Portugal was that the roster size limits were increased considerably along with when players could be registered, giving you more lee way on signing U19 players.  The roster rules are somewhat tighter in the lower tiers but all they care about is homegrown players.

With this setup I can bring in 10-15 players for less than 15,000 total (mostly in agent fees) at the age of 18, and by the time they are 19 or 20 another club sometimes pop in with bids.  You want bids at least in the 6 figures if their potential is above 140 and 7 figures if above 160.  The longer you hold on to them, the offering price will only go up, especially if they are a first team regular.  With the Americans, the MLS clubs will realize that this is a good way in circumventing the MLS draft and will often bid each other up and in most cases do not have to blow a DP slot.  As a result a lot of MLS clubs have set up affiliation agreements in Portugal on a real life basis with the big clubs.

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AFTER
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Turning a free transfer into a pure $170K profit with future add ons – always excellent piece of business.

#FM17 – Ukraine Large Club Homegrown Challenge

Download on Steam Workshop

I been trying this with Ukrainian clubs for a few days and tweaking the custom database.  Before I show the screenshots of this challenge here are some things you will work with:

  • Youth intake age is 14
  • The reserve teams are Reserves and U19
  • The three biggest clubs are banned from making transfers but have the best facilities to compensate.  The smaller clubs can transfer all day long.
  • Minimum age to play in senior matches is 17
  • No roster sizes but no more than 7 foreign players in the matchday squad.
  • Youth intake day is random between last week of February to the second week of March.

Want to play for the 3 major clubs?  Good luck in developing the youth.

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Your youngsters can’t play until their 17th birthday, making loans pointless.

You are allowed to keep existing players on the big clubs and you are allowed to loan out players.  Transfer rules have been adjusted so nobody can buy your players before their 18th birthday.

 

Disgaea 5 – optimizing the item world

How to get a basic Glimmerblade into an end game power item?

Unlike the past Disgaea where item optimization is done on a different scale the process in Disgaea 5 is different.  It has taken me over 16 months to figure out the best way to do it.

The general basis on item world bonuses:

  • Kill bonus starts to slow down after it hits 400.  The hard cap is 550 but it can take a very long time to achieve it even on 20 star difficulty.
  • Training bonus cap is 3260 for an Rank 40 item.
  • No cap on assembly bonus but this ties in the number of times you can pass a bill in the assembly and this assembly is pointless other than increasing movement, attack range, jumping, and removing level caps.
  • The maximum number of item world floors is 10000.
  • Kill bonuses does increase stats as they increase but by a small amount.

Kill bonuses is clearing floors and increases faster if the difficulty is set higher through the cheat shop.  Regardless of difficulty, the kill bonus slows down considerably once it hits 400 and it may take 200 floors of clearing everything for the kill bonus to go up 1 point.

Training bonuses is defeating mystery room fights, defeating invaders, defeating bosses (+1/+2/+3 to General/Kings/Gods) and defeating the Proto Darkdeath (whether Mr Egg drops him or you go via Mystery Room).  Training bonuses affect stat increases, as long the innocents residing on your item are of the 8 basic stat modifiers: Master, Gladiator, Physician, Tutor, Coach, Sentry, Marksman, and Dietician.  The dual stat modifiers do not work, and the other stat modifiers have no effect.

Below is a image of two Traps that are level 1.  One is the basic one you get from stealing from Item God 2 in an Arcadia Carnage Item World.  The other is one that I used divers with Boss Floor Forever setting and defeated every boss but in a manner where I did not level up the item.  The basic stat modifiers were put in the one I worked on training bonus:

The image on the left has the basic one with nothing done to it.  The image on the right has a training bonus of 206 (just killing item bosses, couple random invaders, and two mystery rooms of proto), minimal kill bonus (only cause I was doing it at 20 stars), and no item level ups.  If you have noticed, there is a dramatic difference in the two items.  I only used the 8 basic stat modifiers when I ran through the item world.  The item went up almost 150K points in the stats without leveling up the item.  Training bonus makes a big difference.

The cap for training bonus on an Rank 40 item is 3260.  So I ran another weapon, took it to level 500, left the cap there, and worked on increasing training bonus.  With a 400 kill bonus, as long as just the basic stat modifiers are on the item (leave out gladiator as the unique innocent on Glimmerblade cannot be removed), this item gained stats in several areas that does not have stats at the start. It does not matter if the difficulty is 20 stars, but kill bonus does have a slight impact on stats.

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This is a training bonus 1857 Glimmerblade.  Basic stat modifiers were used on some but not all (I used dual stats on the attributes not important to a sword user to prove that they do not have any affect – basic stats were used on the others at first).  There is sizable increases in HP, DEF, RES, and HIT that the item does not normally have to start.

To compare it, here is the same Glimmerblade that I just hit level 500 with KB 400 and just a training bonus around 400-500:

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If you noticed there is a dramatic difference.  I didn’t put my 50000 stat innocents in this one as this was a dry run.

What you do to begin leveling end game items?

For the revenge booster weapons and some of the Rank 40 weapons go use the innocent shop and remove the unsubdued innocents and replace them with 50000 innocents in the basic stat modifiers.  (Dual stat innocents do not work.)  Since you cannot add population slots from the item assembly at the beginning you will have to go through one floor.

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This is the weapon I’m going to build for my LD sages.  Notice that I do not have stat innocents in INT and RES at this moment as this item has not yet entered the item world.

Go to strategy assembly and pass the Proto Darkdeath bill.  Now enter the item world carefully not to level up the item at all until Mr Egg shows up. If this does not happen reset to the netherworld and try again until this happens.  If it happens kill and use Mr Gency Exit, then repeat until the second one happens.  Killing Proto will give an automatic Population Bonus of 1, an assembly bonus, and 3 training bonus.  At the beginning of the item the training bonus is not as important as the population bonus.  Repeat until the population stats max out.  Gency out after killing the second one.  Put all the stat modifiers.  The training bonus should be around 6 or 7 depending on how many floors that it took you (took me 12 floors).

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With training bonus 7, I started with the stat bonus in the items that have no stats to begin with.  If you noticed there is a slight increase in those stats.  Now it is time to level the item up to 500.  If you got in the Innocent Town before the second Darkdeath kill, set the route to Invaders.   Do not pass any assembly bill at this time and only pass the level cap one when it has to be done.  Before entering any item world always pass the Darkdeath bill.  Only put the basic stat modifiers in the item that you will level up.  Clear all the mystery room floors and skip the duping floors.  I have the difficulty set at 20 stars.  Once the training bonus has capped, you can then take it to level 9999.

For the support crew I have Softening Aura and Explorer, and one member has Sapphire evility that increases odds of invaders.  The support crew I use has 1 sage, 1 maid, 2-3 sea angels (with one having the flying evility), the unique evilities of Evil Eye and Angel Song, and common evilities Lock Eyes, Normal Soul, and if necessary, Borrish Counter.  One of them has Dark Song.  The LD Sage has Bonus Boost and if possible the unique innocent of Mogul.  I have another support member with Geo Blast and Geo Change in the event the geo panels load unfavorable.

Good luck in hunting the uber end game items and in a few weeks I will post an update.

The video below shows how to do one to an Rank 40 weapon.

#FM17 Why do youth prospects do not meet their potential?

There are variety of reasons that prospects do not meet their full potential.  Some of the reasons you can control, others you cannot.  I have successfully created multiple wonderkids in both FM16 and FM17 and sometimes players that have high potential end up being big busts.

The reasons beyond your control

  1. Injuries.  Progress of your prospect can be set back by injury.  Serious injuries cannot be predicted and even the proper scouting of a player will not predict a future injury.  A season ending injury will likely set back his current ability by at least 10 points and possibly his potential.fm-2017-01-15-17-27-21-32
  2. Playing time given by coaches on youth teams/reserve teams/out on loan.  While there are methods (second head coach of the affiliate club, head coaching the U23 team) that are much more time consuming but the playing time on affiliate teams and reserve teams are beyond your control.  The coach of the team is not obligated to give your star prospect any playing time.  Playing time affects potential.
  3. Suspensions.  A player that keeps getting sent off will risk sitting out multiple first team games and that could mean him relegated to the reserve team to serve out his suspension.  The same is true if that is happening in the reserve team and he is simply not good enough for the first team.
  4. The first team player that is ahead of him in the lineup is simply too good to bench for him to get playing time.  The same is true if there is an excess of talent in the position that he plays.
  5. Roster rules for certain competitions.  Want to give him a chance in first team but there is no open roster spot available?  In some of the nations this is a problem, especially in ones that have strict foreign player rules.
  6. English work permit rules.  In England there are work permits and if you cannot get one for a prospect (which is likely the case), you must loan him out somewhere.  Since that team is not obligated to play your star player, he may be just sitting there on the bench.
  7. International Duty.  If your prospect has to miss time due to international duty and doesn’t play while away, there is nothing that you can do about this problem.  The problem is that it always happens on Checkatrade Trophy matchdays, which can strip your top talent valuable first team playing time.

The reasons that you can control

  1. Youth Intake Days.  While the intakes can be random (I heavily suggest save the day before the known date of the intake and reload as necessary), you can decide on what positions are in greatest need and reload until the best talent in that position loads up.  You can cut the useless players instead of signing them.
  2. Training.  While I leave most of the training to the assistants I often take over control of the individual training on positions.
  3. Scouting.  When looking at other team regens you can scout them.  I always avoid the injury prone players and the ones with possible attitude problems.  While the scouting does not predict future injuries, it will point out players with previous injury problems.  Also it is necessary to avoid players that have known attitude problems.
  4. Deciding on which players to loan out.  While loans can be useful on first team action they are not always a good thing.  I usually prefer loaning out players that do not have work permits, and usually young players that have no chance of gaining a professional contract.
  5. Tutoring.  As long as the senior player is at least 24 years old, you can control the tutoring process. You cannot control how the tutoring pans out.  Proper tutoring is necessary for some of the prospects.
  6. Giving playing time to prospects when rotation is necessary.  I recommend low priority cups, matches against inferior opponents, matches where the outcome means nothing, and preseason friendlies.  Keep in mind, injuries and suspensions may force a young prospect into the starting lineup or enter the game as a sub at some point of the season, even if it is a player that you rather not give the playing time to.

Hard Brexit and #FM17

Since I have not seen the effects of what the Hard Brexit does in Football Manager 2017 I created a custom database and a game save to find out why.

The short term effects:

  • Players pursue English citizenship.  As long the player has been in the nation for at least 5 years, almost every player in England pursues citizenship even the ones that see it as pointless when it comes to a soft brexit.
  • Several good players end up leaving on a free transfer because they are not grandfathered.  These are likely the quality players that had expiring contracts in the first two years but will not live long enough to get the 5 years in AND are fringe players on their national team.  This will mostly apply to some of the EU nationals that are under 23.
  • Player values of domestic players in the top two flights skyrocket.  It is not unusual to bid mid 8 figures for top players in the Championship.
  • Football in the lower tiers become just as important.  The “minor leagues” suddenly become viable feeder teams and the number of loans will increase.  Almost every club from the third through the seventh tier had match squads that had the limit of loans.
  • Domestic transfer market is stale and mostly involves free transfer and loans.

The long term effects

  • All the clubs in the top two flights take a serious approach in upgrading their facilities and put their focus on homegrown youth talent.  By the end of the 5th season, all the Premier League clubs, most of the yo-yo clubs, and some of the solid Championship clubs will upgrade to “State of the Art”.
  • Younger players often get more first team opportunities, especially in the lower flights.
  • When looking for a first team player in the transfer market, top flight clubs will only go in for the right player.
  • Feeder teams in Scotland and Gibraltar become extremely valuable.  Scotland usually has the better competition (but their top flight is only on par with Football League 1 at best) and remains in the EU.  Gibraltar only requires a player to reside in the nation for 3 years, their leagues are on par with Football League 2/National League, and it can be useful to loan out any player from 18-22 who are likely fringe players for top flight teams anyway, and has no known work permit rules.  Any player with citizenship from either nation always gains a British work permit.  (Note it may be necessary to use live editor to bypass the board on affiliate club requests and to ship players out on loans.)
  • Scotland and Gibraltar leagues skyrocket in UEFA coefficients in the first five years.  Their national teams also go up in rankings but nowhere near their domestic leagues.
  • England coefficient goes down considerably over a period of time to the point the top two flights are near each other on the rankings for the first time in four decades.
  • Coaching turnover based on results slow down considerably when it comes to clubs with more conservative budgets.  For the bigger clubs this turnover remains but not to the frequency as it was before.
  • England fails to make it to the World Cup at some point within the next 30 years.
  • Clubs hold on to domestic fringe players longer than they should.