Bastard Coated Bastards: Variety is the Spice of Life

Not all people are the same, nor are all bastards. Variety is very much the spice of life, and I want to make sure I season my team with a healthy amount of bastardry of different types. I’d actually really like to shape the players I have within Football Manager to encourage the kind of foul and hard-nosed football I like, but it’s actually quite hard. Dirtiness and Sportsmanship are hidden attributes that don’t seem to change from what I could see on FM23. Temperament if it was influenced by fines and corrective disciplinary action is again hidden and hard to track. Direct action and mentoring seem like they have little to no effect. At best, what effect they do have remains hidden unless you get an editor involved.

There are some apps out there, at least for FM23, that give you an idea of some of the hidden attributes if you enter the personality and media handling, but again they seem to miss out dirtiness, and give a broad range. We essentially want players with:

  • High Dirtiness
  • High Controversy
  • Low Temperament
  • Low Professionalism
  • Low Sportsmanship

But we can’t get direct access to this catalogue of important shit housing information.

The only clues in game to how much of a bastard a player is seems to come from some of the descriptions in the ‘Cons’ column of the scouting/coaching reports, their actions on the pitch, and potentially their personality type. You could also, at a stretch, throw in if they have certain player traits as well.

I’ve never been the greatest with transfers in Football Manager. So to help me on my South American Bastard Tour I’ve decided that I’m going to create my own Bastard Typologies to act as templates to recruit to. Best fits or approximations to allow me the best chance of signing some really unsavoury players. It’s not very traditional. In a way it’s like a Moneyball approach where I’ll be looking at factors that are undervalued except they are undervalued because they are objectively horrible rather than just underappreciated.

This specialization is also going to allow us to be more specific and focused on the pitch.

Bastard Filling Attributes and Factors

Dr. Cox, as always, was correct. At the core of everyone is a bastard fighting to get out. This pure bastard core, or filling, is what we can consider the core DNA of our players. It’s not quite as noble as Fibra and the approaches taken there, or are pure as the statistical perspective I’ve taken in the past. But it has some connection.

What we would like to see in all of our chosen Bastards is the following:

  • High Aggression
  • High Bravery
  • High Strength
  • A description in their report stating they have a competitive streak that sometimes gets them in trouble, as this seems to be the only window we have into dirtiness

These primary concerns should give us aggressive, brave, physically strong players who are a bit dirty. Seems like the core DNA for any bastard really and covers just two mental attributes, one physical and then a descriptor we can find through some reasonably light scouting. The optimal starting point for our scouting, even if that final point about the competitive streak is hard to get at a glance in some of the views in FM24.

Again if it seems familiar it’s because it is. These attributes are the core for Fibra and Grinta.

Secondary to this we might also look for the following:

  • Good Balance
  • High Workrate
  • Low Flair
  • Low composure*

These might be a bit confusing, but ideally we want a hardworking bastard who is going to put a full shift in at the Dark Arts factory. We can’t abide a lazy bastard. Balance might seem odd, but honestly it’s much easier to stamp on people if you yourself are on your feet. Likewise, it’s much easier to take advantage of the situation you have created through your cheating if you’re not sat on the grass. So I like balance. No one wants a clumsy bastard. I also don’t want a flashy bastard. Flair and creativity is something we can probably do without if we are being nice and direct.

The most controversial addition to those secondary considerations is composure. I should probably say I’m not looking for low composure, but that I’m not put off by it. I may be assuming wrongly that it has a link to dirty or rash play but it would make sense to me if it did.

Personality and Media Handling

Both of these are things to consider. We don’t want to see personalities like model citizen, or anything positive with professional in. We do instead want to consider personalities like Iron-Willed, Resilient, Temperamental, Unsporting and Realist. The FM Scout Guide on personalities types is quite useful, and a quick glance there will probably tell you why these are ones we keep an eye on. But most of these indicate potentially low Temperament, Sportsmanship and maybe high Pressure and Determination.

Media Handling can also indicate some key information as well. Something I almost always gloss over. Players who are Controversial (oddly enough), Short Tempered and Outspoken can all be added to our list of short fused mouth bastards.

Hard Bastards

Violence personified. These are going to be our enforcers, our goons. Our instruments of aggression on the pitch who’s main consideration is causing enough harm to the opposition to either convince them to give up, or kill them. We’re honestly not that fussy about which.

These are our sledgehammers and are likely going to be players that have core defensive duties, and that are more likely during defence and transitions to be in a position to do some…well defending. I’m happy for all our players to be Hard Bastards but it’s going to be more useful for our defenders and central midfielders to be in this particular mold.

All of the above about the core DNA or bastard filling applies. But we also want to add a little extra to this. I would also look for:

  • Marking
  • Acceleration
  • Tackling (maybe)
  • Player Trait: Dives into Tackles
  • Player Trait: Marks Opponents Closely
  • Player Trait: Winds Up Opponents

I’d also add that I’d exclude anyone who has the does not dive into tackles trait. I know marking doesn’t equal violence but it’s much easier to physically destroy someone if you can track them and stay on top of them. Linked to this a quick burst of speed seems essentially as you want the ball to still be at least near your victim when the horrific reducer comes in. Tackling here is a maybe as it’d be nice if some good tackles were put in but I’m also not adverse to some sloppy ones if the end result is the opposing player being left in a heap on the floor. I don’t need technical bastards.

The player traits then reinforce the reducer/goon role for me. In that they help us stick to players, put the tackles in and then get in their head afterwards. All reinforced by the team and player instructions.

I was also tempted to add height and jumping reaching to this to aid with the aerial duels, and being a hard flying bastard. I don’t think these are key for all, but it’s something I’ll also use as maybe a tie break for similar players.

Cheating Bastards

Whilst Hard Bastards aren’t exactly playing by the rules what I’m looking for in my Cheating Bastards is an element of Psychological warfare that can be spread across the pitch, sowing discontent (and violence). This involves getting in the Ref’s ear, inside the oppositions heads, and firing up the crowd to create a horrible atmosphere to play in.

These don’t have to be defenders. And in fact in some ways it makes more sense if some of our less defensive minded players took this role on as the extra cards picked up for bending the rules matter less.

In addition to Bastard core I’m looking for:

  • Decisions
  • Determination
  • Leadership
  • Player Trait: Argues with Officials
  • Player Trait: Get Crowd Going
  • Player Trait: Winds up Opposition
  • Personality: Ideally Unsporting

Decisions might seem like an odd one. High decisions means good decisions right? As I’m always telling my toddler before dropping him off to cause chaos at pre-school “Make Good Decisions.”. I’m hoping this is context dependent though and good decisions in FM can sometimes be mean decisions. Sometimes fouling the last man, swinging an elbow, pulling a shirt in the box, or dare I say it diving can all be good decisions in terms of favourable outcomes. I’ll keep an eye on this assumption and get back to you.

Determination I have as I don’t want them to give up on being a cheating bastard. When things look bad, I want them to behave worse. Their heads shouldn’t go down, they should be up. Scanning for the next rule to break and victim to work on.

Leadership seems odd too. I was in two minds about this. But being a leader doesn’t mean you are a nice or friendly leader. But it does mean to carry people with you and influence others. They are just bad influences here. With that logic I think all by really bastardy bastards should have high leadership but for the moment whilst I test it out I’m happy with just my cheaters doing this.

The traits I think speak for themselves. I’ve gone for Argues with Officials here rather than for the Hard Bastards as cards for dissent might have less of an impact for players that aren’t likely to be defenders. Personality is key here though as I think Unsporting gives us the best chance, or clue, for bad behaviour and rule bending/breaking. Technically, the Hard Bastards could be playing within the rules (just) and any harm caused is collateral. Here I want actual rule breaking. Fingers crossed for some diving and off the ball shenanigans.

Just a little off the ball tackle…

Sneaky Bastards

Is Sneaky not just the same as Cheating? Sort of. Think of them as a hybrid of hard and cheating. Or as Cheating Lite. A transitional bastard if you will.

I’m considering this a bit of a basic catch-all. It’s a pizza with everything on. A bastard compromise. This is just here really to reflect the fact that a perfect outfield bastard is going to be hard to find, and they might not be the stereotypical Hard or Cheating bastard. The attributes may be lower, the combination of traits less pronounced, and the personality more palatable. They are sneaky because they may fly under the radar or need more context and help around them to reach their bastard potential.

Fat Bastards

The original bastard between the sticks. I’m sure we can all hear the chant now.

I didn’t want to forget how important it is that being a bastard starts from the back. Think of it as bastard build up play. We could have keepers acting as sweeper keepers, charging out, getting physical and screaming their head off at anyone in earshot.

We need them to Psych people out and bend whatever rules they can at their own end of the pitch.

With this in mind I’m going to try and look for basically the Cheating Bastard list plus:

  • Player Trait: Dives into Tackles (assuming keepers can have this?)
  • Eccentricity

Normally I’d hate to have an eccentric keeper, but I think this attribute is probably the closest we might get to unpredictable behaviour from the keeper. With some of that maybe being on the edge of honest play.

I’m not sure if they can have dives into tackles. But if they can, I want it. I also think being Unsporting is going to be really key here, maybe more so than the core attributes and traits. They have limited opportunity to break the rules, so I want them to maximize it.

It feels like a bit of a cop out not to have more detail here about keepers as bastards, but I guess this is to serve partly as a reminder to not forget this opportunity.

We seek them here, we seek them there…

How do we find our bunch of bastards then? Well I’ve made some filters based on the above, so I can search via attributes, traits and personality. This is just one way of searching for our next star though. Unless we use the in-game editor we can’t search directly for dirtiness and the personality and media-handling types are only partial proxies.

The only bit of information that seems to directly speak to dirtiness is whether they have a competitive streak or not, something which appears under the cons in the scout or analyst report. So let’s search for that…Oh, wait. We can’t? It’s not something we can add as a column in the player search or analyst view? You’re telling me we can have how many cons, and which con someone else thinks is the biggest, but we can’t directly search for it?

Right then, we will just have to triangulate then. We can make an extra view that takes into account personality, media handling type, fouls, and lead con. Each individual item isn’t enough or may have confounds (high fouls could just mean bad tackling technique for example) but if enough of the key aspects align we can hopefully work out who to approach.

We can use this view, with the bastard filters. Once an interesting player appears with an unholy combination, we can check their actual report to see if competitive streak is listed.

As you might also notice there is a column for pro’s, for con’s and then two more for notable pro’s and cons. When you customize the view, it appears like so:

So they are technically different, and might give us more opportunities to see if competitive streak is there.

Now as you can see because I’m a real man I play with attribute masking on (this is bait) and I don’t have a great deal of information available to aid me. So this is a work in progress. This is very much to be continued. But I can say out of the 33 players in my main squad, 13 of them (39%) have a competitive streak. Something to definitely improve on.

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed repeatedly reading the word bastard until it lost all meaning. Next post I’ll acually mention La Serena and cover how our first season and a half has gone.