Com2Us, the same developer that released titles such as Chain Strike and Summoners War, is one of several companies that recently released in-depth, feature-rich games to celebrate the start of another Major League Baseball season. MLB 9 Innings 19 is the second such game we’ve covered in recent weeks, and this game comes with all 30 MLB teams, up-to-date lineups for the current season — we’re talking all real-life teams and players here — as well as a variety of features that could help you improve your team, may it be by adding new players (or even some players from way back in MLB history, if you’re lucky and patient enough) or training the ones you already have. Aside from the option to play full MLB seasons (all 162 games of ‘em) or abbreviated ones (as short as 40 games) in League Mode, you can also challenge other human-controlled teams, may they be managed by random gamers from around the world, or by your own friends.
Our MLB 9 Innings 19 beginner’s guide mostly focused on the basics of batting and pitching and some of the simpler in-game mechanics that every first-time player needs to know. While we didn’t make it explicitly clear at that time, these tips were mostly designed for those starting out in League Mode, which, due to its AI-controlled opponents carrying default lineups from the 2019 MLB season, is the easiest mode to play. However, there’s more than just League Mode in this title, which is why we’re back with another MLB 9 Innings 19 strategy guide. This time, we’ll be covering Ranked and Friend Battles and Clubs, talking you through some of the game’s other features, and discussing some in-game situations that we didn’t cover in our beginner’s guide.
1. Play Those Ranked Games And Be Sure To Set Your Lineup
Once you’re able to level up your existing players and bolster your lineup with the players you acquire through Player Pack pulls, you can try your luck in the Ranked Games, where you will be competing against other human-controlled teams as you try to move up from one tier to the next — you start out at Normal III, but as you go on and improve your roster, you could go all the way to the Legend I tier, which is the highest available tier in MLB 9 Innings.
Naturally, you’ll want to make sure your lineups are set for Ranked battles, and that’s where we should tell you that the lineups for League play are separate from those that you use in Ranked/Friend battles and Club play. Just as you normally would, go to Team Management, tap on Lineup, and tap on Other Lineup on the bottom right of the screen. Once you’re there, you can choose between Battle Lineup and Club Lineup, and make the necessary changes — to simplify things, you can import your League Lineup (with DH) onto your Battle Lineup, assuring that you have the best possible offensive lineup and pitching rotation/bullpen possible regardless of mode. (Also, don’t be afraid to make some manual switches — we’ve noticed that the game often places power hitters at No. 1 and No. 2 in the batting order, despite how MLB teams traditionally use the No. 1/leadoff slot for fast, high-contact players and No. 3/4 for the home run-hitting sluggers.)
Going back to Ranked battles, the game refreshes its Match Lists every eight hours, and automatically suggests players close to your Battle score. We would recommend focusing on this mode once your team’s overall (OVR) rating is around 75 to 80, as the game will suggest a lot of managers whose teams have 80 OVR or better! Winning a game will earn you some points (12 in Normal), while losing would get your score docked by a similar, or identical number of points. Also, you will get to earn Ranked Coins regardless if you win or lose — in the Normal tiers, winning a game will earn you 6 Ranked Coins, while losing will earn you 2.
At the end of each Ranked battle season (these last one week, or seven days), you could win rewards depending on your tier at the end of the season — Normal III, for instance, will get you a Bronze Player Pack and 100 stars (the game’s premium currency), while qualifying for the prizes at Legend I will give you two player packs, two Grade Increase tickets, and 1,500 stars.
2. Use Your Ranked Coins To Improve Your Team
Now here’s the main reason why you really need to play a lot of Ranked battles — those Ranked coins can add up, and as you earn more, you will be able to purchase items at the Ranked Shop, which a special in-game store exclusively designed for this form of currency. Take note that the most affordable items at the Ranked Shop cost about 150 Ranked Coins — this means you’ll need to play a LOT of games before you can really go on a shopping spree at this store. A Premium Player Pack (available in the Items tab — you can get Silver to Diamond players from such packs) will cost you 150 Ranked Coins, while a Team Selective Pack (Silver to Diamond players from the team in the pack — we’ll get to why this is important a bit later) is worth a whopping 500 Ranked Coins. You could also buy Grade Increase tickets (150 for a Bronze to Silver ticket, 700 for Silver to Gold) and Skill Change Tickets (500) at the Ranked Shop’s Items folder.
The items available at the Training tab are considerably (and initially) cheaper than the player packs/tickets under Items, and these are basically training tokens that will only affect your players in Ranked, Friend, or Club Battles, and not in League mode. Fielder Throwing Drills, for example, cost 80 Ranked Coins for the first purchase, and increase a fielder’s arm strength by 1.5 percent, while Batter Muscle Training increases the flight distance of the ball by 1 percent and will set you back by 150 Ranked Coins at first. These will get more expensive as you keep leveling up the different skills, but once again, remember that the training being pertained to only applies to Battles!
3. Add Some Friends And Take Part In Friend Battles
Not every player will be willing to get heavily into the social features of 9 Innings, but there are definite benefits to be had if you take part in the Friend Battles. Before you do, however, you will need to add some friends to the game by accessing the Battle Mode menu, going to Friend Battle, then tapping on the Add Friend button. No need to worry if you don’t have any actual friends or social media contacts who play 9 Innings — the game will recommend human managers whom you can add, and by tapping on the magnifying glass on the upper right of the manager’s avatar, you can view a player’s lineup and overall team rating. Generally, we would recommend adding managers whose OVR ratings are fairly close to yours — don’t limit yourself to those with weaker lineups, and feel free to add those who have slightly better teams than yours!
After you’ve added a few friends, you can play Friend battles, which could reward you with a certain amount of stars per day. This increases as your team’s rating improves — for example, you can earn up to 20 stars if your OVR is below 70, 25 if your OVR is from 70-75, and so on. Likewise, use the Team Management menu to set your lineup for Friend battles, just as we had advised you earlier. You can also earn Friend Points by playing these battles and taking part in friend events, and these Friend Points can then be exchanged for player packs. Aside from that, the game will also inform you that there are many other “benefits” you could earn through the aforementioned friend events. (Also, any excess stars you earn after you reach your cap will be converted to Friend Points, as the game says.)
As you can see, there is no downside to adding friends and playing Friend battles, so why not give it a try if you’re willing to improve your roster even further?
4. Joining A Club
MLB 9 Innings is not unlike MLB Tap Sports Baseball 2019 in the sense that it has that popular feature of role-playing games, in which you can team up with other like-minded players and join a guild, or in these baseball titles, a “club.” In this game, clubs are made up of 20 managers at the most, and you can either join a club that doesn’t require membership approval, or one that does — pretty straightforward, and not too much unlike the club feature of the aforementioned Tap Sports Baseball. Much like in Battle mode, you’ll want to go to Team Management/Lineup to set your Club Lineup (as we instructed above) to be sure you’re up to speed and putting your best foot forward. You can also tap on Lineup on the bottom menu in Club Battle to quickly get you to the lineup interface for your Club roster.
Taking part in Club Battles will earn you Club Coins, which you could then use at the Club Store — this in-game shop includes Premium Player Packs (100 Club Coins), Skill Training Tickets (200), and Grade Increase Tickets from Gold to Diamond (1,000), among other items. The latter should be especially useful if you’ve strengthened your lineup to the point that you’ve got a Gold player or two and need to increase their grade rarity to level them up even further.
5. Achieve Synergy By Completing Player ‘Set Decks’
Let’s take a break for a moment from the different game modes as we move back to the Team Management menu and the option right beside the one you use the most — by this, we’re referring to Set Deck. By tapping on this option, you can check your No DH/DH lineups, your Battle lineup, and your Club lineup, and see how many players from other teams, of a certain grade/rarity, or even from the most recent MLB All-Star lineup are on your team at the moment. Take note that this does not include players from the 2019, or “default” lineup — for example, if you chose the Philadelphia Phillies, a player from a previous year’s lineup will count toward your Phillies deck, but everyone else from the 2019 lineup won’t.
Earlier, we mentioned Team Selective Packs among the items you can purchase in the various in-game shops. As you can see, they will come in handy if you’re trying to build a Set Deck. But what happens once that deck is completed, or even about a third complete? The answer would be Synergy — this is a special effect that may vary depending on the type of Set Deck, but can only be obtained if you have, at the very least, more than eight players from any given deck. For example, having nine to 12 non-default Boston Red Sox players on your team (Rank D) will improve each of these players’ Power, Contact, and Eye stats by 1 point, while having all 25 required players (Rank S) will result in a boost of 5 points each for Power, Contact, and Eye for all Red Sox players that aren’t from the default lineup.
6. Use Gear To Improve Player Stats
Next to the Set Deck menu is the Equipment menu, and this is where you could equip different items that could improve each batter or pitcher’s stats, with each unit good for one game. You may have encountered this in the early goings of the game, as you would have gotten an Gear Draw that would allow you to get one item at random, in quantities ranging from 5 to 20. But what can these items do in particular that make them so helpful?
To set your expectations, the most basic types of Gear, meaning the bronze ones, will only be good for a one-point statistical improvement for each pitcher or batter on your team. For example, the Bronze Vitamin increases pitcher Stamina by one point, while the Bronze Rosin Bag increases pitcher LOC (location), also by one point. A Silver Baseball, on the other hand, increases a pitcher’s BRK (breaking pitch) stat by a good three points — as you can see, the rarer a piece of equipment, the greater statistical impact you can expect.
Where can you buy Gear Draws and how much do they cost? By tapping on the Shop option on the bottom of your screen, you can view various types of Equipment, as well as a few other miscellaneous items — you can, for instance, pay 500 stars to increase your roster space for backup players by 20, or to increase your Player Reserve by 10. Condition Drinks, which are helpful in improving a player’s conditioning for one stage in a game, are also available for 1,000 Points (the common currency) a pop. You can even pay 1,000 Stars each for a Level Reset ticket or a Team Change ticket (a reminder that it’s important to make sure you’re choosing the right team), but you’ll likely be most interested in the Gold and Silver Gear Draws. Gold Gear Draws cost 100 stars each, and allow you to get anywhere between 5 to 25 Gold Gear Cards, guaranteed. Basic Gear Draws, on the other hand, are worth 3,000 Points, and reward you with 5 to 25 Bronze to Silver Gear Cards, with the former being far more common than the latter.
7. Combine Players To Get Rid Of Weaker Ones / Save Roster Space
The Combine feature is a rather interesting one, and it’s yet another sub-menu under Team Management that you may want to check out as an intermediate player. We recommend it mainly if you’re trying to get rid of some of the weaker players on your roster so you could save up on roster space, though there are also advantages if you’re willing to sacrifice a rarer or more skilled player. So how does this feature work?
For starters, the game will ask you to select three or more players to combine — if you’re using this feature for the first time, you can pick three low-rated players from your team’s default 2019 lineup, as sacrificing those three, at least, frees up more space for players from other teams/seasons that can count toward your Set Decks. A Normal Combination would allow you to choose any player, regardless of grade or overall rating, and once you’ve got three to five chosen, the game will combine those players into a brand-new player who could then count toward any Set Deck. Fair warning, though — the player you’ll receive after combining three to five others would be completely random, and he may have an even lower rating than the players you sacrificed! The good thing about Normal Combinations, on the other hand, is that they can be done free of charge.
There are other types of combinations which you can try if you have the required players — a Star Combination requires a card “of the highest grade or above” as part of the combination materials, while Special Combinations require that you use Signature, All-Star, or Vintage Players. Meanwhile, position Combinations require three to five players of the same position (the game distinguishes between starting pitchers and relievers, so combining starters and relievers won’t work here) and will cost you 10,000 points in order to execute.
8. When And How Can You Steal Bases In The Game?
Admittedly, this guide is a bit light when it comes to in-game tips, but that’s mostly because we talked you through almost everything there is to know about the mechanics of batting and pitching. But what’s to do if you’re considering stealing a base if you’ve got someone on first, second, and/or third?
This one’s quite easy to miss, and we’ve also found that it’s easy to accidentally attempt to steal bases, because all you need to do is to tap on the player’s name in red (as they appear after they’ve gotten on base after a hit) so that they could attempt a steal. That’s all there is to it, and you definitely don’t want to be tapping on a player’s name by accident if his Speed rating is anywhere south of 60. Ideally, we suggest trying to steal second if a player’s Speed is 65 to 70 or greater, trying to steal third if the stat ranges from 70 to 75 or greater, and trying to steal home if it’s at least 75 to 80. These thresholds, however, apply to League mode — if you’re playing in any of the Battle modes or in Club mode, you may be facing teams that have a much greater overall rating than yours, and with that in mind, you could increase the thresholds accordingly or better yet, avoid stealing bases altogether so you don’t end up wasting one of your outs only for your baserunner to be caught stealing.
9. When Is The Best Time To Attempt A Bunt?
As a reminder for those who may not be familiar with the rules of baseball, bunting is the act of tapping the ball with your bat by holding it in front of the plate, putting the ball into play but making it difficult to field. While MLB Tap Sports Baseball 2019 relies on a hidden (in all other situations) Bunt rating to determine the success of a bunt attempt, there’s no such mechanic in 9 Innings, as it would mainly require good timing to make sure your player’s bat makes contact with the ball during the bunt attempt.
When it comes to bunting, the best time, as usual, to do this would be during close and low-scoring games, and never (and we repeat, never) when there are two outs. The idea here is that the player making the bunt attempt will be called out in order for the man on base to (ideally) move forward, hence the term “sacrifice bunt.” After all, what good is it for someone to go from first base to second when the batter bunting the ball gets called for the team’s third (and final) out?
These would be our tips, tricks and strategies for MLB 9 Innings 19. If you know any other useful tips for the game, be sure to let us know in the comment section!