For fans of soccer/association football mobile games, particularly those that allow you to play the role of a club’s manager, the name Nordeus should certainly ring a bell. That’s because they’re the company behind the Top Eleven series of football management games, including the latest edition, Top Eleven 2020, which rolled out in December and is now available for iOS and Android gamers alike.
Unlike most other games in this category, this isn’t one of those that try to up the ante by including real-life players and clubs — instead, your objective in this game will be to control your own football team and start it out from the bottom, working your way up to the top league as you defeat other human-controlled teams along the way.
As we’ll be mentioning a few more times in this guide, this is a game that truly seeks to test one’s ability to manage their club without any of the aids that may make things easier, but ultimately takes away from the realism of things. It may seem a bit overwhelming for first time players, but then again, that’s also why we’re here.
Sit back and check out our first in a series of Top Eleven 2020 guides, as we start out with some tips and tricks mainly designed for first-time, beginner players, or for those returning for the first time in a while and needing a refresher on the game’s mechanics and features.
1. The Basics Of Top Eleven 2020
As one of the top football management games out on the market, Top Eleven hasn’t changed much through the years, but in the new edition, Nordeus has made a few new tweaks here and there without messing with the basic formula. That said, let’s talk about the basic fundamentals of the game before we discuss anything else about the 2020 version.
If you’re playing Top Eleven 2020 for the first time, you’ll start out by naming your club and choosing your nationality, upon which you’ll be assigned to the lowest-ranked league featuring other managers from your country. But if you’re a returning player, your old team will carry over and return for the new version, though you may see more than a few new faces in the lineup if you haven’t been playing in a while. And that’s another thing we need to get out of the way while discussing the basics — all clubs and players are fictional, most will come from the same country as you do, though if you’re willing to part ways with some premium currency, you can use your Tokens to buy official club jerseys and emblems.
Talking about the types of currency that are available in the game, Cash is the common form of currency, while Tokens are the premium form, as we said above. You’ll also have a number of resources at your disposal, namely Treatments, which expedite the healing process for injured players, Rests, which allow fatigued players to recover quickly, and Morale Boosters, which are self-explanatory as they improve the spirits of demoralized players.
In the in-game shop, you can watch ad videos to earn more Treatments, Rests, and Morale Boosters. Cash is generally earned by playing matches and through the sale of players, while new and returning players get an automatic increase in Tokens; you can also get premium currency through your TV Rights deal, among other methods.
Last, but not the least, Top Eleven 2020 is still all about competing against other human managers, building your club and improving your lineup as you match strategies with these real-life, living opponents. There is no PvE mode here of any kind, not even for practice purposes, as this is a game that prioritizes the PvP element, as well as interacting with your fellow managers from time to time for the purpose of gaining more resources.
2. Know Your Squad
Once you’ve loaded up the game and claimed your welcome-back (or welcome) bonus, you can then head to the left-hand-side menu and tap on Squad, which will allow you to review your club and select your starting 11 for the next match, among other things.
The first place to visit is arguably the most important, as the Lineup tab allows you to view your complete roster and get a snapshot of how everything stands at the moment. You’ll be able to view, from left to right, their current position, their uniform number, their preferred roles, their age, their conditioning, and lastly, their morale and quality in terms of stars. You’ll also see the Spec field, which shows you if a player has a special skill or not. You’ll also want to view each player and review their attributes, which will come in very handy when it comes to organizing your team selection and tactics, which we will be discussing later.
When viewing a player’s Overview, you’ll see a lot of the information we discussed above, but what the game will tell you to pay attention to early on is the Quality section on the upper right side. This will show you how many stars a player currently has, their percentage in relation to your club’s level, and their overall quality. As the game explains, a player would need to hit increments of 20 percent in order to reach the next skill level — 40 to 59 percent means Good, 60 to 79 percent Very Good, 80 to 99 percent Excellent, 100 to 119 percent Elite, and 120 percent and above World Class. This percentage — as well as your players’ overall Quality, will increase over time as you play more matches and you keep training everyone in your club.
The Formation tab under Squad allows you to set your formations and choose your set pieces, and as we’ll mention later, this could be quite an arduous — though necessary — task if you’re used to games that make management easier through auto-selecting lineups and set pieces. Meanwhile, Tactics are what Top Eleven uses to refer to the various tendencies in each match — how do you want to focus your passing, what type of offensive mentality or passing style do you wish to employ, or are you willing to force counter-attacks or not? You’ll have a wide range of tendencies to scroll through here, and that goes for both the offensive and defensive aspects of the game.
Now that we’ve jogged your memory or given you a primer (depending on whether you’re a returning or a new player) on the essentials of the Squad menu, let’s talk about something where your mileage may vary — most players may be used to automatic selection and remade formations, but the folks behind this pre-made title simply aren’t fans of easy-does-it, arguably lazy management techniques.
3. There Are No Shortcuts To Team Selection
At this point, we’d say it’s long been a hallmark of the Top Eleven series. Other football management games will make it easy for you, spoon-feeding you with stock formations to choose from and including an auto-select option that allows the game’s AI to choose your best starting 11, essentially eliminating the possibility of starting someone who doesn’t play the position best suited to them and making sure that you’re playing to your fullest potential at the moment.
That’s not how we think Nordeus would like managers to play, however, as the latest edition of Top Eleven still does not give you an option to choose from a preset formation nor does it let you plug everyone into their best positions with the tap of a button. Just as usual, you will need to manually choose your best and/or most rested players and drag them to the position you want them to play, and manually move the pieces in order to come up with a formation. Even if a player is serving a ban (i.e. a suspension) for a red card or is out with an injury, or if you’ve just signed a new player to your club, you’ll need to do everything yourself.
As we mentioned above, it’s important to review your squad and take stock of the basic attributes you need to pay attention to. You may have to keep in mind which players should be starting more often than not, and if a player’s conditioning bar is yellow, orange, or red, you may want to keep him on the bench for the meantime, unless it’s an important match — in which case, those Rests will likely come in handy. Of course, you want to avoid playing someone out of position, which the game will notify you of when you see an exclamation point in their icon.
Likewise, the same manual selection rule applies to choosing your Set Pieces — meaning penalty takes, corner takers, free kick takers, and captain — as well as adjusting your Tactics, which are more like player/club tendencies, as noted earlier.
It’s going to take a good deal of work and maybe a good deal of patience, but as any Top Eleven veteran would tell you, that’s also where the charm in the game often lies — the no-shortcuts approach to management. After all, the world’s best managers didn’t get to where they are today by hitting a button to sort things out automatically.
4. Choose The Deal That Suits Your Playing Schedule The Best
Just as always, Nordeus appears to understand that not everyone is able to tend to their club on a daily basis, which is why there are different types of sponsorship deals available. You can access this via the Assistant feature, which you can find by scrolling down and clicking on the green Assistant button on the right side.
Under the TV Rights section, you’ll have four choices upon starting out or returning. The Stable Income option allows you to earn one token daily, regardless of whether you log in daily or not, with a a maximum of 28 Tokens over the span of the deal. Extra for Dedication rewards those who come back on a daily basis — you can earn up to 35 Tokens over a 28-day span, so this should be for you if you’ve got time to log into the game at least once a day.
If you start playing between days 1 and 7 of the ongoing season, you can choose the Win Your Tokens option, where you can earn up to 30 Tokens depending on how many matches you win. Lastly, Quick Buck is recommended for those who might not be available everyday and are hoping to use those Tokens sooner rather than later — the downside here is that you’ll only receive a onetime allocation of 21 Tokens until the contract expires.
For Jersey Sponsorship deals, your first option is Season Contract, which rewards you with a large lump sum immediately, good until the end of the season. Biweekly Contract allows you to earn every two weeks until the end of the season, with a 20 percent bonus compared to the Season Contract. Weekly allows you to earn once a week with a 30 percent bonus, and finally, Daily lets you earn once a day with a 40 percent bonus.
Again, your choice will largely depend on how often you play, but this time, you’ll also need to consider whether you joined the game early, midway, or late in the season — if you joined rather late, you may want to take the Daily Contract, but if you joined early, Season Contract works if you want a quick buck to add to your cash total.
The Assistant menu also allows you to do a few other things, though we’re going to discuss that at a later time, once we’re done talking about the things you need to know as a beginner player.
5. Improve Your Preparation Level Through Training Sessions
In the middle part of the Home section, you’ll see a bar displaying your Preparation Level ahead of the next match — tapping on the “i” on the right of it will show what needs to be done in order to be more prepared, may it be conducting a few more training sessions, boosting some players’ morale, or choosing your set piece takers. It’s arguably the training sessions that are most important when it comes to getting everyone ready for the next match.
The first thing to do when setting up a training schedule is to choose the players whom you want taking part in the session. There will be multiple options available that could speed up the process a bit, as you can select everyone on the squad or limit things to players that play a certain position. The game, however, would prefer that you manually select each player, which would make the most sense anyway, as there may be some players who are too fatigued to benefit from that training. It’s no use training players who won’t be able to improve to their full potential because they’re just too tired, so you might as well let them sit things out if that’s the case.
Once you’ve decided on the players who will be participating in the drills, you can then choose the drills yourself — per Top Eleven’s usual tradition, you’ll need to select them manually across three categories, namely Attacking, Defense, and Physical & Mental, then drag and drop them into a free slot, of which there are five. Now here’s where choosing per zone before fine-tuning things to insert and remove new players would come into play — you would normally want your forwards to focus on the first type of drills and your defenders to focus on the second, with midfielders receiving training in both of the first two categories.
The third category could apply to all players on your club, and when it comes to your goalkeepers, you’ll want to put them through keeper-specific drills (available in Defense) and mix that up with something in Physical & Mental. That’s because you won’t get a team bonus if you focus on one type of drill alone.
Generally speaking, you want to conduct training sessions with three to five drills all in all in order to improve your chances of getting a Team Bonus. But try not to fatigue your players too much or take it too easy on them, or that will decrease the efficacy of the entire training session! Normally, we recommend going for a Conditioning decrease between 4 and 10 percent for the combined three to five drills — anything less or more than that wouldn’t be as effective anymore!
In addition, you’ll also receive training points once each session is completed, and as you earn more points, you’ll be able to move from one training level to the next. Once this happens, the game will ask you to choose a reward for leveling up — it may come in the form of a new drill or if not, it may increase the efficacy of an existing drill.
6. Review Yours And Your Opponent’s Lineup Before Each Match
Aside from putting your players through training sessions, you also need to take a good look at your opponent’s lineup and formation and tailor-fit your first 11 — and maybe your formation as well — accordingly. This would require you to view each individual player and review their attributes if you haven’t yet. Building on what we had mentioned earlier, Top Eleven 2020 still won’t give you any easy answers, even to the harder questions, and it will be all on you when it comes to choosing the best possible starting lineup.
Of course, we had already established that it’s not a good idea to be starting anyone who’s too fatigued, because that will tell on your players and it will affect their performance — if you need to get back on track after a tough losing streak or simply feel that the game is a must-win for you, you can use your Rests (if available) to get their conditioning stats back up. You can also place your reserves in the starting lineup against weaker teams, as that could do some good in keeping their morale up.
Once again, we must reiterate that your pre-match prep will also include choosing your set pieces — it helps knowing whether your players have special skills for corner or free kicks, as you can easily slot them in their respective places on the field without having to do much analysis. Your most accurate shooters, meanwhile, will naturally be the best choices when selecting penalty kickers, while your top players in terms of Physical and Mental stats will make the best options for Captain.
As for the formations and tactics you should be using, we do recommend switching to a more defensive setup if you’ve got an opponent with a strong attacking game, or to have two or three strikers up front if you’re trying to overwhelm a team with lots of defenders. Generally speaking, your formation should be based on your team’s most obvious strengths, though there’s always room to make some changes here and there depending on your opponent.
7. Take Note Of The Match Time And Be Involved If You Can
Last, but not the least, we strongly advise Top Eleven 2020 players to take note of the next match’s schedule, as it would greatly help if you’re actually taking part in the match, making team management decisions on the fly. You may need to make substitutions, change your formation or your tactics to adapt to your opponent’s strategy, or tweak things in such a way that you’ve got a better chance of protecting that lead you currently have.
Now we’re not saying that you need to be present for every single match, but if the schedule matches up with your free time, you should definitely be managing your squad and making those adjustments, as opposed to letting the AI handle it and possibly make simplistic decisions that aren’t as nuanced or as appropriate for a given on-field situation.
There you have it! This ends our beginner’s guide for Top Eleven 2020. Stay tuned as we may come back with another guide for the game with some advanced tips and tricks in the near future!