The specialists are the most important factors for titles. A fully and effectively positioned specialist team can make up a strength difference of about 20. You can see if a specialist is setup effectively from the golden frame shown from KiO 9. The specialist rating, displayed on your setup screen and in match reports, shows the number of effectively setup specialists, not counting superstitious players (because they just increase strength). (since KiO 9)
Cat (CA) Available on position: Goalkeeper
The cat can save some shots that would otherwise land in the goal. You really want to have one!
Crossing Specialist (CR) Position: center back , offensive midfielder and attacker
The CR plays crossings to the HE. Flight headed goals can only be achieved in combination with a HE.
Header Specialist (HE) Position: center back, defensive midfielder , offensive midfielder and attacker
The defensive HE (CB and DM) can prevent flight headed goals. The more defensive headers you have, the less successfull crossings your opponents can play. All HE can achieve flight headed goals if they are served by a CR. Headers are equal to normal goal shots but with a bonus. Also, there is no position dependent goal shot malus, so even a CB HE can score.
Man-to-Man (MA) Position: wing back and center back
The man-to-man marker closes holes in the defenses with less than 5 defenders. They have very good duel stats especially in the 5-4-1 formation.
- not very effective with 5 defenders because there are no gaps to be closed, but some improved duels
- At 4 defenders, one MA is useful
- With three defenders up to 2 man-to-man-markers may help.
You can use any MA in defense to win more duels.
Counter Ace (AC) Position : attacker and offensive midfield
Counter Aces can handle counter with increased probability of goals as they can get a shot bonus. Also, an attacker AC is the preferred target of a deadly pass from a striker. Note that in this case, the ace gets no shot bonus, as the advantage of the deadly pass is that no defender can interfere.
Playmaker (P) Position: defensive midfield and offensive midfield
The playmaker plays deadly passes to attackers (not to OM). Deadly passes let the attacker target the goal immediately, without interference by a defender.
A central OM plays deadly passes with the highest probability. This is followed by an OM set to outer position with low probability. The DM plays in comparison to the other the least deadly passes.
If a counter ace is available, the playmaker prefers him as a target, but can also still play to other attackers.
Hammer (HA) Position: defensive midfield and center back
The hammer can fire long shots in defensive formations (343, 352, 541, 4231) if not placed on a wing. The hammer is especially good when playing 343/532 against 541/4231 and 541/4231 against lower strength 433/442, scoring important goals.
Superstitious players behave like normal players, but they can get strength bonus as follows:
- Mascots give a bonus of +1. You can have up to 15 mascots.
- The red pullover of the coach: You can purchase this item in the ruby shop. Once activated, the coach wears his pullover for 7 days, and it gives a bonus of +7.
- Enlightenment: This rare item (found in treasure chests) boosts the strength of a superstitious player by 10 for a couple of days.
The more superstitious players play, the more often you can get the mascot-morale-popup after winning a game. You can tap this popup to get morale +1.
With all mascots (which are hard to get), enlightenment and the pullover, superstitious players gain 15*1+7+10=32 which is quite strong and difficult to achieve.
Note that in tournaments with strength limit, superstitious players are also limited.