Top Eleven 2018: Soccer Manager, or simply Top Eleven 2018 for short, is the newest entry in Nordeus’ popular series. Once again, you will be tasked to start your team from scratch, control all aspects of your club’s management, and play the transfer market and/or train your existing players to improve your club. For those who are new to the series, this game may slot into the same category as games like Football Manager 2018, but the Top Eleven series has always had its own unique selling points, beyond the endorsement of Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho. These selling points include, as mentioned, the challenge of starting from the bottom on the way to the top, and maybe even the fact that each and every player in the game is fictional. The only “real players” in this game, to borrow the popular marketing term, are the managers in charge of all those clubs in the Top Eleven universe.
We’re not going to delve into the tougher aspects of this game just yet, as we believe that everyone has to start at the bottom, much like the team you’ll be handling. And that’s exactly why we came up with this Top Eleven 2018 strategy guide — so you know what to do, and know when to do these things. So read on if you need some beginner’s advice on how to play the game, or on which options to choose when you need to make a decision for the benefit of your team.
1. Don’t Expect Big Things Right Away
Many of the top football management games for mobile devices, as well as those for other platforms, will allow you to take control of top-tier teams right from the get-go, if managing your favorite soccer stars and controlling the winning real-life teams is your thing. That’s not the case in Top Eleven 2018, as the game will start you out with a lineup of scrub players. Your management experience will always begin with a low-level team in a low-level league, and that’s where the challenge lies — your goal is to turn these nobodies into somebodies, and you won’t get there overnight. For starters, however, you’ll need to start by choosing a team name (just about anything, just as long as it isn’t offensive, of course) and choosing your nationality — the latter will determine the league you’ll be placed in, as well as the nationality of most of the fictional players that make up your team.
2. Always Check Your Assistant’s Report
If the whole interface of the game is getting too overwhelming for you, you don’t need to worry, as Top Eleven 2018 ensures that you won’t be alone. Your Assistant Report can be found on the bottom right of the home screen’s first page, right below Match Preview. Tap on it and you’ll see all the pertinent issues you need to address, as well as news on player injuries and retirements, and all-important updates on your finances. Basically, this is the feature that brings you up to speed, so you’ll want to access it whenever you could.
3. Making Lineup Changes – Get Used To The Manual Approach
Top Eleven 2018 is not a lazy man’s game when it comes to choosing your lineups and formations. As the game seeks to gauge how well you can manage your own football club, you won’t find any option to automatically select the best formation, or the best starting lineup to go with that formation. Everything needs to be done manually, with no help whatsoever from the game’s AI.
One simple thing to remember when setting your lineups in the game is to make sure that each player is playing their preferred position, or in the absence of anyone who can play the role as dictated by the formation, close to their preferred position. Of course, having everyone in their preferred position is the ideal scenario, as a left defensive back won’t play as well as he should if you play him at right. Worse, you wouldn’t want to have any midfielders up front as your strikers. Take a look at each player’s star rating and their individual stats, determine which formation maximizes your team’s strengths, and take it from there. It may be tiresome to drag your finger up and down to adjust your lineup, but the game wouldn’t have it any other way.
4. What Is The Best Formation In The Game?
Based on our experience, 3-4-3 is the default formation, but at the end of the day, there’s no real best formation that could guarantee you a better chance of winning more games. As we said in the tip above, it’s best to study your lineup and assess your strengths and weaknesses. If you’ve got a strong back line, then you might want to have five defensive backs and only one striker. Conversely, you can go 3-4-3 if your strikers have high Shooting and Creativity stats, and have fairly high star ratings compared to the rest of your team.. Other than optimizing your lineup based on each player’s strengths, there are no hard, fast rules to follow. And there’s no limit either to what type of position you want to create in the game — just tap on the Formation tab, and drag your players to where you wish to have them positioned on the field. (Addendum to what we said about there being “no limit”: although you can theoretically place anyone anywhere on the field, you will see a big exclamation point on the bottom right of your screen if the game senses anything seriously wrong with your formation. Don’t worry, though — tapping on the exclamation point will show you where you may have messed up)
5. Make Sure You Train Your Players Before A Match
Unlike in other football management games, where you can complete a season at your own pace, things are different in the Top Eleven series, as the games take place in real-time, typically once a day. That should give you enough time to visit the Training screen and choose drills for your players to take part in. When choosing drills, we would recommend that you keep things simple for starters, and choose one Attack, one Defense, and one Physical/Mental drill at a time if you’re just starting out. For the first set of drills, go with a mix of hard and easy drills, and if your players are looking a bit tired after that first set, you can go all Easy and Very Easy in your next set of drills. From level 1 to 3, you’ll only be allowed to complete three drills at a time, but this number, as well as the total drills you can complete at any given time, will go up as you increase your player level. In most cases, we suggest conducting drills with the intent of making your team as strong as possible in each of the three areas, though if you’re weaker in one area than the others, you can focus on that in your pre-game training sessions.
6. How To Choose Set Pieces
For those not familiar with the term, set pieces refer to players whom you’ll be assigning to take care of corner kicks, free kicks, and penalty kicks, as well as the one whom you’ll want as your team captain. This should be a giveaway for the corner and free kicks in Top Eleven 2018. Under the Spec column on the Lineup screen, you’ll see icons that correspond to a player’s special ability, for example, how good they are in taking free kicks or corner kicks. Use this information to choose your corner and free kickers, and if you’re looking for a good penalty kicker, your best bet would be the player who has the highest shooting stats in your lineup. Again, this is a classic example of the folks at Nordeus trying to make this game as challenging as possible, but choosing your set pieces shouldn’t be as hard as it seems.
7. Don’t Neglect Player Morale And Health
The reasons will not be made clear at times. You’ll be able to see it coming if you’ve got a player on the bench presumably disgruntled with a lack of playing time. Other times, it will be a complete surprise — maybe the player is trying to adjust to life away from his home country? Have they had it with having to play out of position? Those are all possible reasons for morale to go down, and if you see unhappy (or worse) players on your lineup, address those concerns by spending one of your Morale Boosters, which can be found on the top of your screen. Using a Morale Booster could instantly change a player’s morale, so don’t be afraid to use them when needed.
The Treatments, which are recognizable on top due to their unmistakeable Red Cross design, can be used to expedite the healing of certain players. We only suggest using this if it’s an injury that could take out one of your key players for quite some time, as your supply of Morale Boosters and Treatments will be limited.
8. Adjusting Your In-Game Tactics
Once again, the best thing to do is to keep things balanced here. Everything defaults to the middle setting once you tap on the Tactics tab on your squad screen. And while it might not hurt to turn up the heat on your attack or defense just a little bit, or to take a slightly more conservative route in any given area, it’s not a smart idea to go overboard and choose the superlative options. We suggest tapping on the yellow-and-black i’s on the right side of each tactic, as that’s going to show you the consequences of choosing certain options; for example, the game may tell you that you can keep possession by making short passes, and that making long passes could “provide good attacking opportunities,” but come with the risk of the opposition taking over.
Once your games actually start, that’s where you can fine-tune your tactics and make the necessary adjustments that will ensure your team of the victory, or at least prevent you from incurring such a shameful loss against a much stronger opponent.