There is no true right or wrong way to fill out your coaching skills. Some of you will want game management if you have a high ranked coach. Some will start at the bottom of the skill tree and work your way up. This is a mini-guide on the Recruiting Tree only from level 1. This is not a Game Management guide.
Know the skills. Each skill is self-explanatory, but it’s good to know which skills help you at the beginning of the year, middle, and off season. That will help you determine which skills to acquire and which ones should take a priority in earning.
Understand the Tiers. There are 4 tiers in the Recruiting Tree. Tier 1 is unlocked at level 1. Tier 2 is unlocked at level 3 (but you need to be a level 4 to put a point in it). Tier 3 unlocks at level 10 (but level 11 is when you can put a point in) and Tier 4 at level 20 (again, you need to be level 21 to put a point in).
Tier 1 consists of Locksmith and Scouting.
Tier 2 consists of Royal Treatment, The Opener and The Closer
Tier 3 consists of Pipelines, Letter of Intent and Kitchen Sink
Tier 4 consist of Insta-Commit
Opinion on ranking up
Please note this is my personal assessment of how I will personally recruit. You may find more suitable uses for your style of recruiting.
Tier 1 – To unlock the next Tier, you need to spend 3 points in 1 of the bottom 2 options. Personally, I throw all my points in Scouting. Matter of fact, if you recruit the right way, Locksmith should never really be used (and if it is used… chances are you’re not going to land that recruit anyways).
With 3 points in Scouting, you get 100% scouting reports and a recruits final rating. You get to unlock the Gem or Bust status of the recruit and most importantly, you ONLY spend 50 points per recruit. Without putting points into scouting, you would spend 200 points to unlock their full potential and Gem/Bust status.
With Locksmith, you can unlock a recruiting battle candidate, however, if you’re already locked out, chances are that you’re so far behind in recruiting that you won’t catch up anyways. I honestly see no use to this item in landing a recruit. You will have far more important features to spend your points on.
Tier 2 – When you hit level 4, you can place a point in any of the 3 choices available. All 3 are quality options, and you can’t go wrong with either one. Although, I would recommend The Opener as the first point.
The Opener gives you more recruiting points for the first half of recruiting. The closer gives you more points for the second half of the year of recruiting. Pending on when you unlock this, you should (hopefully) unlock this early in the year to take advantage of The Opener.
Royal Treatment is excellent to get a boost on recruit visits. Since you will have more visits towards the end of the year, you won’t have to worry about a major investment in points early in the skill tree. However, when you notice that recruit visits are coming up, then you will want to get some points in here because the bonuses are significantly higher the more this is ranked up.
Tier 3 – When you hit level 11, you will be able to place a point in 1 of these 3 options. Kitchen Sink is probably the best option depending on when you hit this tier. You will have the ability to give more points per recruit which will help add value to your prospects.
The other 2 options are beneficial only during certain times of the year. Letter of Intent is entirely focused on off season recruiting. There is no need to invest a point in this until very late in the year, right before you end the season. If you unlock this early in the year, spend your points elsewhere… but at the end of the year, this is a CRUCIAL upgrade to get as many recruits you can for signing day.
Pipelines reduces the amount of recruits you need in a state to be a pipeline. The default is 6, and pending on when you unlock this feature, it might be a moot point. You gain 50-100 points for pipeline states, which is not an incredible amount of points during the recruiting process mid year. This upgrade makes it’s best use in Pre-Season recruiting where pipeline state recruits will look at your school more. If you’re already in mid-season, you won’t need to invest too much into this, but before heading into the off season and pre-season, you will definitely want this fully upgraded. Needing only 3 recruits per state is a HUGE boost when you first target recruits.
Tier 4 has 1 upgrade that unlocks at level 20, but you need to be level 21 to enter a point. Insta Commit gives you the ability to have a chance at landing an immediate commitment if you’re the recruits top school.
This skill is ONLY helpful at the beginning of year essentially. When you’re mid-season or late season, chances of finding someone without a scholarship offer that has you as the top school will be rare. So there is almost no use for this item after week 2 or week 3.
BUT, when you have this unlocked during pre-season recruiting and week 1, this is a lifesaver! And a major point saver. Any instant commit recruit means less points you will need to spend week to week on them, and more to spend on the other 24 scholarships. If you max out this perk, you get a 20% chance of insta commits.
Think about this for a second, if you fill your board with 35 recruits who have you as the top school, the odds say you will land 7 of them. 7 scholarships filled in week 1 is an INCREDIBLE boost, which will turn you into a recruiting juggernaut.
Play First Game or Recruit First?
Another fascinating element is whether to recruit first, or play the opening game. If you start at level 1 in recruiting, I suggest playing the opening game, before starting to recruit to see if you can unlock a few points or upgrades for your coach in game. That way you can setup Scouting to level 3 before starting your recruiting adventures.
The subsequent weeks will not have too much of an affect since your point totals per recruit carryover... and by time you unlock The Opener, The Closer and Kitchen Sink, you won't need to worry about whether to play or recruit or not. But ideally, you will want to play your week 1 game before entering the recruiting section at level 1.
Skill Tree Progression
Fastest or Slowest. Again, this is personal preference as to how you want to rank up. Before starting a dynasty, you can select the pace at which you rank up. Keep in mind, this pace will last your entire dynasty and can never be changed.
There are 5 speed levels, Normal, Fast, Fastest, Slow, Slowest. I don’t have any statistical data on the actual XP amounts needed per level, but as a general rule of thumb from level 1:
Normal = 15-20 levels in a regular season, depending on how much you point whore during games. You can certainly make more than this, but if you were to play with “normal” every day stats (you know, no 150-0 games with 1,000 yards of offense each game), you will hit 15-20 levels.
Fastest = 25+ levels. Again, depending on how much you point whore, but you could hit some 30 levels in year #1.
Slowest = less than 10 levels. Again, people can certainly go over those 10 with abnormal statistical games… but in an average environment, you will get about 10 levels on slowest.
Now just to reiterate, there is no right or wrong way of building your skill tree or your progression rate. You control your own path and should determine your own methods. But these general guidelines might help you make the choices that work best for your dynasty.