“In FIFA 20 there is one custom formation that stacks the odds in your favor every game and right now it’s the best FIFA 20 formation we know of.”
Published: September 2019
We all know that FIFA is based on algorithms and scripting.
It’s a video game, it has to be.
Every movement, button press, completed pass, shot on target, possession, etc all manipulate how the computer (both yours and the opponents) plays.
Each year we publish the best FIFA formations that we gather by watching how the top players in the world play. After the initial release we see how the pros line up. People generally fall into a few camps for formations, based on their play style and team.
However, in FIFA 20 one formation stood out because it took advantage of a loophole in the scripting.
The trick was discovered by FIFA eWorld Cup’s “DullenMike” and shared in a YouTube video published in Sept of 2019. In it, he shared in-game streams and commenters pointed out odd and unorthodox anomalies in the game play, then the questions came…
While “DullenMike” never explained the logic behind what was happening, he just hinted at a “formation that he discovered on a Chinese FIFA forum.”
Based on the positioning of your players and your formation, players will find space to make runs, take out passing lanes and most importantly game the script to your advantage.
Here is how you setup the ultimate FIFA 20 formation
Firstly, set your formation as 4-2-4
The elements to this formula are formation, positioning & player tactics.
Play both an LS and RS and push them as far up as possible, positioned in line with the goal posts.
Player instructions; get in behind with one striker, target man for other striker, aggressive interceptions for both, and stay forward on defense for both.
This will make sure your strikers are always looking for open space, runs on counters and constant pressure defenders.
Place your LW and RW slightly below and to the outside of the strikers.
Player instructions: free roam, aggressive interceptions, come back on defense.
This will keep your wingers acting like CAMs and coming back for link up plays and runs, but also coming up as strikers/wingers on attacks.
Their turbo will run to 50% by half time so make two of your quick subs your wingers.
Pick your strongest defensive minded mid-fielders and place a LDM and RDM as far down as you can and in line with the semi-circle at the outside of the box.
Player instructions: aggressive interceptions.
This will let your CDMs move up further into the midfield for link up plays and interceptions, while also coming back to help your defense lock down the area in front of the box, taking out opportunities for tiki taka passes in the danger zone.
Place your LCB and RCB as close to the goalie as you can and within the posts.
Player instructions; conservative and defensive, stay back on attack.
One of the advantages to this is the pairing with your back CDMs. Under normal formations your CB has to cover inside the box and outside when your opponent attacks. Now with this formation you effectively have for CBs; two forward and two back. The LCB and RCB in this formation lock down the box for crosses and headers, making those chips and lobs into the box near impossible to complete. They will also make that final pass into the box much harder.
Place your LWB and RWB at the corners of the box and in line or slightly above the CDMs.
Player instructions; Join the attack.
While this formation does offer some weakness against attacking wingers, this can be overcome by playing your Wing Backs conservatively on defense and never letting a run get behind them, i.e. playing a holding style. Give the winger some space on attack so you don’t get beaten, contain and force them to go to the middle with their runs or passes. They will immediately run into your CDMs and your CBs will take out any far chips or lobs.
The Wing Backs are one of the more interesting positions in this formation, as you will play them as traditional wide mid fielders when taking the ball out of your third. What you’ll find is that your Wingers will come back to help them out and make amazing open runs.
In addition, your CDMs will move up with your run and give you safe lateral passing options in the middle. Or, since most of your opponents players will be sticking to the middle of the pitch attempting to guard your players, your Wing Backs can even make 1-2 runs all the way to your opponent’s third.
I like to keep a RWB and LWB on my bench as you may rely heavily on them and they will burn a some Turbo.
What is the secret to this FIFA 20 formation?
When you visualize the above formation you’ll notice one thing…. The center of the pitch is empty. It appears like there is no mid-field.
Now the key to playing FIFA like a traditional in-person soccer match is a strong midfield that can hold & control the game and work the ball up the pitch.
So it seems idiotic to have no midfield and push all your players to defense or attack.
However, FIFA 20 is a video game and follows a set of rules and is NOT like real soccer.
The game doesn’t handle this gap well, or rather it doesn’t know how to handle it.
As a result, it has to bring your AI players from defense up to compensate or your offensive players back.
What this creates is SPACE. Your players will have lots of room to run into.
It means you will have an open area in the midfield and room for players to find excellent positioning.
The game will try to have your AI players follow a more traditional style but your formation and tactics prevent that from happening, as a result the game compensates for this “lack of midfield” by giving you insane scripted advantages.
The game doesn’t see what you see, it sees numbers, stats and data. Scripting occurs to even out the odds. FIFA knows that “fans want competitive play” (right /s) so they try to even out the match to keep things fun for all players.
When the game sees your team “empty in the mid” they immediately juice up your “advantages” elsewhere, which means you’ll win more 50/50s, your opponent will get more penalties, you’ll be more prone to get interceptions, etc.
As a result your defense and offense have every advantage, so you don’t even need to play any game in the mid. You go from shutting down on defense to all out attack offense.
You are effectively playing with 6 defenders.
The algo see 6 defenders and when it sees that it STACKS your stats on defense when the ball is in your third because why not, you have 6 defenders why wouldn’t it be stacked?
On offense, because of the advanced forward positioning, the computer thinks you’re playing with 4 aggressive strikers. What that means is that your offensive stats are also stacked when the ball is in your opponent’s third, because again, 4 strikers, why wouldn’t your finishing be stacked?
The game has a hierarchical value set for what different stats it values. Turns out the number of players in a zone and their positioning determines a BIG part of this. So 6 defenders and 4 strikers JUICE your stats huge in those areas. Couple that with the lack of midfield players upping your defense and offense stats even more.
But what about the mid? Who cares about the mid! In real soccer, games are won and lost in midfield but in FIFA you can just go from defend to attack. Who cares about careful possession play, working the ball up with expert tactics and patience when you can just counter attack and dominate possession in both ends? It’s arcade soccer on steroids.
YOU EVEN WIN IN THE MIDFIELD!
How come with no midfield you can win in the mid?
Due to your severe deficiency in the mid the computer tells your attackers and defenders to come in and help out, which is why they find such amazing space in the mid to make connecting plays and interceptions.
The empty field prompts your AI players (CDMs and Wingers) to fill it.
Under normal formations, your mid field players don’t make too many amazing runs or do anything but hold because they are supposed to be in the mid and hold / control.
Under this formation, when an attacker or defender sees the gap they run into the mid to make that perfect interception, link up play or run.
The game hates inequality and this is exactly what this formation exploits, as it thinks you are at a disadvantage in the midfield, so it tries to get your other players to come and help out.
FIFA will script different thirds of the pitch differently depending on how you setup your formations. It just so happens that having no midfield players exploits something FIFA 20 engineers never thought about.
Having a lack of players in an area forces other players to come help out (your custom tactics don’t hurt either!)
In their attempt to make a more equal game among competitors of all skill levels they actually engineered vulnerabilities for people who thought about the game more as a computer program with a script than “the most beautiful game” of traditional soccer.
Each year we wait for our new release and each year the best formations come out. Let’s hope FIFA fix this blatant exploit and we can have a eWorld Cup final where the two finalists don’t both play the same formation!
Can we get back to a FIFA where it is about the love of the game, real world strategy, technical skill and not exploits to make it an arcade version? In the meantime enjoy the best FIFA 20 formation.