This will be a brief article that will try to explain what each game of tecmo comes down too. I think every game played comes down to 4 basic components. Skill, Matchups, Luck and Playbooks. I put them in that order as that is the order of importance.
The most important thing is to be skillful in any game and Tecmo is no different from any other game in that regard. Here are the vital skills that separate players.
1. Ability to use any defender effectively and to be dominating with great defenders.
2. The ability to use the QB. Know when to throw the ball and when to run. Recognize when a wr is open and when you can throw it and when you can’t. Be able to go through your progression at will. Avoid any drones or blitz. Know where your hot reads are.
3. Getting the most out of each run while staying near the sideline. Avoid drones, dives and the human defender. Yet also keeping an eye out for your lead blockers. You do not always need to go where the play is designed.
4. Knowing who has the tapping advantage in a game. Then making a game plan to eliminate it if the other guy out taps you. A great player can make it so only a couple of plays come down to a tap. Yet at the same time a great taper can get a few more one on ones and torch the slower taper. (I want it to be clear that no game has ever came down to tapping alone and it’s not an all important skill. Yet for some reason it psyches people out.)
5. Using any other skill or trick to win a game of tecmo. Arrow tricks, condition checks, special teams, field goals, wasting time and even punting inside the 10 can be a skill. Another skill is when you need 3 yards for a first down is to take it with the qb and not to throw. Just get the first down and don’t risk an incomplete or int.
Next is Matchups. There are two components of matchups. The first is picking two teams to play against each other. I discussed this earlier but now for the other part of matchups. The second skill is to know the on the field matchups during the game. Here are some examples.
There are matchups where a DL will bust an Ol for most if not all of the game. Teams like Phi, Det and on the low-end have bad lines. Great DL’s could get pressure on the qb or penetration in the run game.
There are lots of matchups with a slow safety or DB. Put your best wr to go against this slow player. Then when you see that he is covering your top dog you might be able to throw in coverage and end up getting a step on the defender. Teams with terrible DB’s include Philly safeties, Cincy CB’s, DEN CB1, Atl DB 2/3, DET DB 1, RAMS DB 2,3 and PHX cb’s .
Matchups where the JJ int come into play. If you have a DB with 3 ratings higher than the QB’s pc you have a chance at an automatic int each pass play. If its 4 or more it’s almost automatic. You just have to be in the right place at the right time. If you have a qb going against this you have to know when you are being baited.
More on the field matchups include high int LB’s and Dl’s. Which can help contain mobile QB’s. The presence of several good defenders who can help you stop the run. The quality of the lead blockers to set up a play like the sweep. Knowing that a team with a fast ol 5 or a fast DB4 have good kick returns and punt returns, respectively.
Even more include using slower wr’s in the red zone to buy time. Taking advantage of a high ps qb or a low ms qb. Knowing that if you have two great RB’s that one can be used at wr to exploit matchups in the passing game.
Finally know who you’re playing. A lot of people at this tourney are highly visible. Do a little homework if your new and look up there records. See what teams they like and avoid them. Get them in games with the big or little name teams. Just because a guy won Madison, another tourney or has done well in the past doesn’t mean he can not be beat by a total unknown. Watch the games in your group and see if you can learn any insight for your game.
The third component is luck. Luck doesn’t mean just throwing it up for grabs. It means understanding your odds each play. Luck comes down to the passing game (ints/catchers) and running game(fumbles).
Every player fumbles but your odds of losing a fumble go down the closer you are to the sidelines. Get your yards and go out-of-bounds. Get close to the sidelines and the drones might push it out-of-bounds.
Keep in mind when you fumble you cannot gain yards but you can sure lose them. So if its 4th down you don’t want to be tackled between the hashes a yard in front of the marker. If the play looks dead on 4th or 3rd down and you got the first down go to the sidelines.
The next component of luck is in the passing game. Each pass is completed based on percentages determined by the rec of the receiving player and the PC of the passer. If a defender is present his rating also comes into play to reduce the odds. The higher the int level the more likely he is to have a chance to pick you off.
Each catch is determined by luck. Meaning even a great QB will have a wide open pass dropped on rare occasions. At the same time even a great defender with high int will experience a CC (coverage catch). If your going up against a high pc qb you will need to be your better defenders with high int. If he has a fast wr too then you really need to always be a top int/speed guy.
As for getting or defending the deep bomb the only real science is to throw to rice. Besides that the odds go down a little if the qb has high ps like Marino, eagles, bills or moon. Yet also guys with around 38-50 ps throw great lob passes. Testeverde can be very frustrating to play against has it seems like he can just lob it right over you defender and you can’t ever deflect the ball.
Eventually the other factors win out so if a guy is constantly throwing deep just drop back with a great DB until his luck runs out. Then take advantage of it.
The final factor is understanding playbooks. In this version you can only set playbooks before the game. You should come to the tourney with a good ideal of what plays you like and how to defend the most commonly used plays. It’s also important to know if a play has a major weakness.
A lot of runs are really weak to LB4. Any play that is up the middle can be shut down automatically by LB4. Other plays can have varying results depending on where a good LB is. For example a fast LB 3 can destroy weak side open (the run 2 with the motion). LB1 is left free of a blocker against the offset I plays (run 1,4).
As for passes playactions are hit and miss. A lot of them have the same LB4 weakness. Then a number of them leave the qb in a bad situation. The game does not give you control of the qb till several moments after the play fake. The last weakness to a play action is if a defender is breaking through the line. The most effective playactions is oddly enough named playaction and is an offset I fake.
The best passes are the run and shoot, shotgun and pro form passes. Make sure you know exactly what your wr does down the field. On a lot of these plays they will stop at a certain point. Sometimes there is a wiggle at the start. Watch out for curves on the route. Its harder to complete a deep pass when your wr is not running a straight line deep.
The things you need no matter what side of the ball you are on is what players are commonly left open. Those players are your responsibility or opportunity. It’s good to have passes and runs that match formation. This makes it harder to make a pre snap read on defense.
The only other thing I can advise you is to be a good sport and have fun. If you’re not going to Madison there are now at least 8 major tourney’s so it’s not all just this once. Though the spectacle of the Madison tourney does come just once a year. So enjoy it for all your worth Saturday if your going.