The ABC of Tactics

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The following contents are based on the opinion of Hattrick users — which means that their veracity and accuracy have not been confirmed by any official statement, and consequently they do not necessarily reflect the game reality. Please take this into consideration!

I intend to add a Wiki version of The ABC of Tactics here soon, but for now you will have to cope with the old static version at ABC of Tactics



The purpose of this guide, The ABC of Tactics is to provide a foundation for understanding and mastering the tactical part of Hattrick. Tactical part refers to the part of the game where you from an actual squad and a known opponent select your best formation and tactical orders before a game. This guide is not about trading players or economy, these facets of Hattrick are covered elsewhere here in the Wiki.


This guide has been around in a more static version since 2002, and still exists as such. The static version also has several translations, as opposed to the all English Wiki version. The contents of The ABC of Tactics is hereby handed over to you dear Wiki community, make the best possible use of it!



Choosing a Formation

The Basics of Player Selection

Player Selection Using Formulas

Formula Examples

Individual Orders

Tactics Settings

The tactical settings have been around for some time now, and have added quite a lot to the depth of the tactical game. There are opportunities to beat an opponent with superior midfield, something that was quite difficult before the new settings...

Counter Attacks

The counter attacks setting is probably the most exciting new tactic, but also the most overestimated! It's not the ultimate solution to be used in any game where you don't believe in your own team.

What happens is that you give away some midfield strength (always a bad idea in HT) to get the chance of getting a counter attack each time the opponent attacks and your defence over-powers them.

Use counter attacks only when:

  • you're certain to lose midfield, when you win midfield you will get no counter-attacks (note that midfield strength may vary during a game due to stamina, red cards, injuries and substitutions)
  • your defence is significantly stronger than your opposition's offence, or you will only concede goals
  • your offence is strong enough to take advantage of any counter-attacks created

If you fail to meet any of these requirements, counter attacking is not for you!

People who successfully play counter attacks play previously forgotten tactics like 5-3-2, 5-4-1 (too poor offence in my opinion), 4-4-2, 4-3-3 and even extreme ones like 5-2-3. For extreme counter attack teams midfield is completely omitted so the confusion that comes from 5-2-3 is no problem. But, like I said at first: this is the most over-rated new tactic setting, used without causion you will invite your opponents to easy victories!


This setting is basically for keeping the numbers down in a game. It's not a tactic that will ever get you a victory (OK, occasionally you will get lucky) but a tactic that might get you a draw now and then, and keeps your defeats down. Your players will chase down opponents all over the field and keep the number of scoring opportunities down, effectively eliminating chances that your opponent, or you yourself(!), would have.

Use it when:

  • you are pretty certain to lose otherwise
  • you lose midfield, or you'll be eliminating your own attacks (if your attacks are really poor it may still be a good idea though)
  • your midfield has good stamina, otherwise you will lose possession in second half, granting your opponent more attacks than they would have if you played normal

These are the base requirements, but in order to be really successful you should:

  • have a lot of defensively strong players on the field, line-ups with 4 or 5 defenders are a good idea
  • keep in mind that supporters prefer a team that loses 2-5 to a team that loses 0-1...
  • have high stamina on all players (they all contribute to the pressure)
  • for extra efficiency you may use powerful players, that contribute a lot more to the destruction of play

Attack Directions

There are two settings here, attacking in the middle (AIM) or on the wings (AOW). They are two sides to the same coin. Attacking in the middle only means that you get slightly more attacks in the center of the pitch and slightly less on the wings. Attacking on the wings works the other way around. The settings do have another drawback though: you lose some defensive strength accordingly! E.g. if you attack in the middle, you will lose some wing defence strength.

The base rule when to use attacking directions is to use it when you have more to gain from the redirection of attacks that you lose due to defence weakening. If you make 1 more goal from the wing that won't do you much good if you concede 2 extra in the weakened mid defence...

Use the attack directions settings when:

  • you have better chances at scoring in the middle (AIM) or on the wings (AOW)
  • you have some possession (if you don't create any chances, there's not much to distribute and you will lose some sorely needed defensive strength), generally you should dominate possession or the defence weakening will cost you too many conceded goals
  • you can afford losing the defensive strength, e.g. if you have an extremely solid defence compared to your opponent's offence, or if you have a high possession

The settings should be decided on a match to match basis, but there's some general cases when they are extra interesting:

  • for teams playing with 3 attackers AIM is often an interesting alternative, unless the opponents have the mid defence to match
  • for teams training wingers and playing them offensively, games with midfield dominance will be candidates for AOW