Sliders in theory and practice

It was a tough opening to season 9—four defeats and a draw in my opening matches—but, soon enough, things took a surprising turn for the better. The only thing I did differently was to play around with the tactical sliders for a good while. I ended up with the settings pictured below.

I’ve spent most of my time on PES2010 doing my best to ignore the tactical sliders. They’re unPES to me. Oh, I’ve fiddled about with them. I’ve tweaked them here and there. But not to the extent that I have done now. In the midst of a match I must have spent a whole five minutes thoughtfully moving the sliders around until I seemed to have my team playing just right.

The results were dramatic. Here are my next four matches’ results:

This is unprecedented for me. Those ‘box scores’ show me controlling possession and dominating events in every match. The result in Europe against Juventus (the slightly blurry 3rd match pictured) was a particular highlight.

I’ve started to score more freely, and I’m scoring a wider variety of goals to boot. Below are a couple of examples. The first is a worked move that leads to a tidy finish from the edge of the area. In the second, I had just conceded an equaliser against Sunderland, my perpetual next-gen bogey team, and I was fuming about it. But straight from my kickoff, I got myself back in front. The floated cross from deep is a common type of goal for most PES2010 players—it hasn’t been for me. Not yet…

Link: Things look up

I also won and drew my next two league matches. It’s officially an amazing run of form. I’m up to 6th in the League table, and dreaming of the title. The season is only a quarter of the way through, but if this keeps up, I believe I could do it! Could it all really be due to the sliders? If so, I’ll kick myself for not taking them seriously enough so far.

My Europa League group consists of Parma, Juventus, and Dinamo Bucuresti. I still don’t know how I qualified for this tournament after finishing in 9th place last season. Of course I’ll take it. The prospect of matching myself against some elite teams at this stage is intriguing. It’s a tough group on the face of it, but I dealt with Juve easily enough in the opening match. Granted, this came in the midst of my sparkling run. We’ll see how the rest of the group matches play out.


  1. Great winning streak there, not-greg.

    It’s interesting to see your sliders setup, since they’re very different from mine.

    A couple that jump out at me are “Player Support” and “Position Switch”, that I have set to 100. This goes to show how different our playing styles are.

    I like to play quick counterattack whenever I can, so support has to be maximum to make my midfiel and forward players race down the pitch as soon as I steal the ball back from the opposition.

    Position switch is one option that I think can help a lot in scoring even more goals, since it gets your players out of their preset rails. A DMF might make an unexpected run down the middle and just be in the right place to head a ball in and stuff like that.

    One player I notice who doesn’t have the free roaming card, but is seen frequently bombing down towards the opposition’s goal is Pelaez (yes, I have im in my alternate ML, and he’s 22 and 80 OVR right now). A player like that with a “Reaction” card, can get the defenders by surprise very often.

    Another I tried was setting my formation as 4-3-3 with two strikers and an winger (Pelaez or Kakuta) positioned right where an LMF becomes an LWF. That throws the defense off kilter, since they have to pull players back from the middle to protect that side, leaving more space on the right for my RB to run down the wing. If they don’t that, they’re in trouble anyway, since I have an LB, an LWF and my left CF to play off each other.

    Anyway, great post today, I love to tinker too, and I do it all the time, including ingame.

  2. not-Greg,

    I’ve been trying to tell you all this time that the number one thing about Master League this year that has me hooked is the tactical element. Subtle changes make a huge difference, and tweaking of the sliders is essential to get your team functioning, as you said, just right.


    The one slider I am always messing about with is player support. Sometimes I want a slow build up, but I also want to make sure guys run forward at the right time. I am forever experimenting with attack/defense levels in combination with the player support (PS) slider in an effort to find the right balance. I usually like the PS slider at or near 100, with attack/defense level at medium. This makes sure they have an aggressive mentality, but don’t push too far up the pitch, especially midfielders. With slow build up, I don’t always want my CMF’s to make runs into the box; sometimes I want them to sit a bit outside the area to probe for an opening, and that is a difficult balance to achieve. For this reason,
    I also sometimes have PS at around 31, with attack/defense at or near red, with similar results.

    These are the types of discussions I’ve been waiting to have on your blog, not-Greg!

  3. Ken,

    I know what you’re saying. Whenever you change the sliders more drastically, you need to go over at least some players’ cards to set their offensive/defensive stance. There’s also a nifty bit that might go unnoticed: in the setplay menu, you can assign defensive players to join the attack. I usually have both my SBs set to attack, but you can add a CB too if you want (or if you’re desperate).

    One of the things I noticed this year (and was quite happy actually) was that when players join the club, and their teamwork stat is too low, they tend to roam about the pitch, as if a bit lost. It takes them quite a bit of playing time to actually be where they should be, and to actually obey your tactical “orders”.

  4. HA! I noticed that too! I signed Kalo Toure, and the first few games, he was all over the place. I would tell him to stay back, and yet he was still flying forward while in possession. Now that he’s settled a bit, he’s more useful, but I’m still hesitant to use him for that reason.

  5. Adriano—the descriptive text in-game that accompanies the sliders isn’t too clear about what they do so I’ve (belatedly) been catching up from various sources online (including yourself and Ken today, and other commenters previously).

    I don’t want to pre-empt the next few posts too much, but Friday’s will be about what happened when I didn’t change the sliders. In the next batch of fixtures I tried to persist with the settings that worked so dramatically for me in the matches covered by today’s post. The outcome was… illuminating, put it that way. Can you guess?

    After that, we’re into tinker territory. I’ve noticed my midfield players often being slow to get forward…

  6. Ken—what can I say? My laggardliness in regard to the sliders is due to a couple of main factors. 1) Time. For the most part I just want to fire up the game, and play my matches, and let that be it. That’s been my routine for 10 years. 2) PES conservatism. “What is all this new-fangled slider nonsense? Ahhh, I’ll just slap a 4-3-3 on the pitch and get on with it. Things’ll come good eventually. They always do…”

    I’m fully on board the sliders wagon now though. As I hint at in my answer to Adriano above, Friday’s post will underscore the importance of the sliders when I look at what happened when I tried stubbornly to persist with the slider settings that worked so well in the little run in today’s post.

  7. I restarted my ML on professional, I don’t like changing difficultys during a season. I see where your troubles came from now! Six matches in and i’m rooted to the bottom with 3 points, with no wins. Oscar also picked up a 6 week injury in training. How did you even begin to start picking up wins, you earn so little money. The AI felt weak on regular but now it’s ruthless, I lost 4-0, 4-0 in cup and league respectivelly.

    On topic, I need some decent sliders to get this team going. Useless in attack and defence right now. I tried upping support but it’s just made me concede more.

  8. Not Given,

    It really is an experimental thing, and is based on your personnel. Not having used the defaults, it would be hard for me to recommend anything. But the player cards (which amount to the forward/backward arrows of years past) also have a huge impact. If you’re conceding too much, have a look at your fullbacks, and make sure they are on defense priority. This will ensure they don’t get too far forward. Do the same as well for your defensive midfielders.

  9. Ken

    I just looked at those cards and what a shock. My attacking midfielder was defence minded, my CF Castolo was defence minded and my full backs were attack. How did that happen.

    Before I made those changes I just won my first game, a scrappy 1-0 against the neighbours WE United. Always good to win that derby match. Ive changed from 4-3-3 to a very narrow 4-4-2 with full support and tightness. It’s worked well, but theres no width unsurprisingly. Form is decent, 2 draws 1 loss and 1 win, and we did not deserve that loss..

  10. Not Given,

    In my first season with the defaults, my lineup was the following: Ivarov GK, Palmieri CB, Baumann CB, El Moubarki RB, Ruskin LB, Kooistra DMF, Oscar CMF, Espimas RMF, Ettori AMF, Castolo CF, Gutierrez CF.

    Formation was 4-1-2-1-2.

    This was what worked best for me.

    My sliders were all set to allow slow buildups, since I had no speed to speak of in my team, except for Castolo and Ruskin. That means your Player Support slider can stay around 50-60. Support Range has to be a low number too, since the defaults can’t pass very well. Position Switch needs to be conservative too, since these guys can’t play their own positions well, let alone others’. Attacking Style I’d set just before it goes into “Attack down the middle”, so your players don’t veer off too far from each other. Regarding the Pressing slider, I like to set it as far as it can go without exhausting the players too much. Defensive Line and Compactness are up to you. A deep seated defensive is good for the slow deafaulters, but it practically kills the ability to pull off offside traps. Compactness has a lot to do with the Pressure slider, but it works both ways, meaning, if you set it too high, your players will flock around the opponent carrying the ball, if you set it too low, they’ll chase him without providing enough backup.

    Anyway, you should play around with different settings, always keeping in mind that these frequently have to be set differently according to the opposing team.

  11. Adriano

    Thanks for the information, tried a many variations but I can’t stop losing. 11 points at the half way point, with about 5 losses in a row at the end.

    Can anyone tell me how this team fund sheet works? I have present £1793000 and team salary 1668000 as well as 250000 operating costs. I take it my current total of 1021260 will leave me bankrupt at the end? Have a transfer on the table but it looks far too expensive, 400 000 transfer fee alone.

  12. Not Given—that’s solid advice from Adriano and Ken, and I need it too! I’m hardly an authority on the tactical front. I’m only starting to learn about it in-depth now, really, as the next week or so of posts will show. The one advantage I have is 140+ hours of play, so I can spot most changes immediately. Just keep experimenting and getting used to the game—if your blood pressure will let you…

    Re. team funds, don’t worry about the dreaded GAME OVER—that doesn’t happen any more. Instead the game will sell players automatically and/or downgrade your staff levels if it has to, in order to balance the books. I’ve spent many seasons cutting it fine (!) but always managed to avoid that, apart from early seasons when I didn’t really know what was going on.

    Speaking of which, I was caught out by Expected Earnings. Don’t trust Expected Earnings any more. If you have any outstanding transfer offers for your players, Expected Earnings counts them as already accepted and that can get you into trouble if it shows a positive balance falsely.

  13. Ken—wandering full-backs were a bane of my PES life for several years, but I really find them pretty decent in PES2010. This must be due to me paying attention to the ATT/BAL/DEF setting for each player from the start. I’ve got my fairly average full-backs set to all-out DEF and I rarely have to shout at them.

  14. Well I sold most of the deadwood during the mid season window but managed to get no players to join me. I’m losing every game now, whats going on. It started out as a tame AI that didnt really attack, now it scores its auto goal and then passes around so I cant get it. I just watched the clock during the last match against Celtic, they kept it for 30 minutes in game time. I was running at the ball as they casually tapped it about. AI plays like a human online- like an asshole. It was even running into the corner and hiding in the 70th minute.

    I have around 3 million to spend after I lose my way through this season, but whats the point if you can’t see players stats. Are transfers just guess work now?

  15. Adriano—how often do you alter your sliders, and what do you look for in the other teams that influences your slider choices? E.g. do you look at their formations ahead of time and adjust the narrow/wide settings accordingly? I tried that just this morning, with mixed results it has to be said.

    I find PES2010’s Master League, for me at the moment anyway, yields more goals and chances through central attacking midfield play. Since some successful wing play in the early seasons I’ve rarely threatened much down the flanks.

  16. Not Given—you only get to see player stats after Scouting them. Your Scout’s speed of work and the depth of the Scouting is all related to the level. On your current level it would take several game weeks to get the first stats through. You have to build up the Dossier on players you’re interested in. Don’t forget you can scout and negotiate at any time throughout the whole year, not just in the two windows.

    Looks like you’re entering the phase I feared you’d enter. The AI’s keepball annoys me too, but keep your finger well away from that sprint button and it shouldn’t last long. Eventually it’ll be a rare match where the AI manages to keep the ball for very long.

    Make sure to grab a few players from your Youth team, even if you don’t want or need them. They often go for good money in the next window. Only get what you can afford, just in case they don’t sell.

  17. No don’t get me wrong I am loving the game so far. I like the small things about this new ML too, like viewing the D1 leagues while in D2 etc. The youth team is a good add too. I am just confused as when I switched to professional on the last file, I was getting results regularly. Now I can’t buy a goal on this one.

    -and yes I am very guilty of the clamp, especially when losing! I will broadcast a few games later, and you’ll see how badly I play.

  18. My goals are quite varied in this game, partly due to using a great team I suppose. I get some from crosses via Alves, though a lot less after the patch (which coincidentally coincided with year 2 of master league, when it supposedly gets harder anyway). I have found a revelation of sorts for my own play. I try to build slowly, work it around patiently, ultimately trying to get Xavi or Iniesta on the edge of the box, with only one defender between them and a forward, then play that final through ball (which, despite what people on the forum boards are saying, works 100% of the time in these “2 on 1” type situations, as they should) to set myself up for a shot. This has taken a lot of slider tweaking to get right, to make sure Xavi and Iniesta are where I want them to be a the correct moment, to make sure Abidal and Alves are pushed just forward enough to provide support/crosses, and to make sure the spacing is right between the three forwards up front to allow the gaps to open up for that final ball.

    It’s a constantly evolving tactical battle, and I truly believe that the CPU adjusts to what you are doing (which could explain bad runs of form after you think you’ve got your tactics sorted). Otherwise, there would be no need to ever adjust your tactics…

  19. not-Greg,

    Currently, I don’t change my sliders much because my team is at a point where it’s the other teams that have to adjust. How about that? 😉

    But earlier on I’d adjust after a few minutes of playing. One thing that you always have to be aware of in this game is to be very careful at the beginning and end of every match, especially when you’re on a winning streak. The AI loves to score straight from the kickoff.

    But after a few minutes or even during the break you can have an idea of what you’re doing wrong or what you can do to improve things. Just like a real life coach would. Of course with some teams you already know how they play, and you start the game with your settings ready. Don’t be afraid of the man-marking settings. They are a life saver sometimes. Also don’t be ashamed to set your team to all out defense (by pressing R1 + R2). When I’m playing away from home, I set my team to defense and press R1 + circle for good measure, so I can more effectively exploit counterattacks.

    Re. attacking variatons, I currently attack mostly down the middle, especially when counterattacking, since I’ve trained both my main strikes with the Passer and 1-on-1-score cards. But I’m building up, most of the action is through the sides. I had a lot of success with early-crossing during the first few seasons, mainly because I had the players for that (Castolo is a beast in the air), but I haven’t used it as much since.

    Not Given,

    Keep an eye on the Free Agent pool, and try to bring in players by negotiating throughout the season. Some of the Youth Team players turn out really good, so it’s a safe bet. Some guys even start out with really bad stats, but develop really well. I wrote a sort of guide thing for ML beginners in a previous post here, but I forget where it was. There’s some decent advice there, if I may say so, regarding starting an ML, and negotiations.

  20. Sorry about the typos in my previous post.:(

  21. If anyone was in any doubt about how crap I am, have a look at this.

    What a demoralising match, the first goal was so predictable it knocked the stuffing out of them straight away. Absolutely dire. I need help..

  22. Not Given,

    You didn’t do that bad, IMO. The 3rd goal was inevitable, the others might have been avoided, but even with superb playing the defaults always find a way to give the game away.

    The first goal could have been avoided with more aggressive defending. When an opponent comes rushing down the wing, you can either stand in front of him and bump him without pressing any buttons or you can do a well-timed slide tackle. I’m guilty of timing slide-tackles right in the middle of the opposition player’s legs, so that causes a bunch of yellow and red cards.

    What you can do when you’re being rushed is use the R1 + square combo to have one of your players mark the guy with the ball while you control another playing to mark the guy who might receive the ball. This could have helped you avoid the first and second goals. Not guaranteed, though.

    I think you need to adjust your Support Range slider, your players are too far from each other. Notice how Ettori frequently loses the ball when he’s trying to run down the wing, and has nobody to pass to. Btw, Castolo can play as SMF too, and he’s one of the fastest players in your squad. Ettori does ok as AMF or CMF, but he’s crap on the sides, too slow. Put Ximelez or Ruskin on your LMF spot.

    If you’re not using super cancel all the time, do so. It’s essential both in attack as in defense. When the opposition’s passing around, you can steal the ball by hanging around one of the players, and then use super cancel to rush in front of a pass. While in possession, you HAVE to use super cancel to connect passes, since more often than not a defaulter will miss the mark.

    A few pointers about default playing:
    1 – Do not try to dribble.
    2 – Don’t hang on to the ball for too long, these guys are slow and have poor ball control.
    3 – Use a lot of first-time passing and 1-2’s, especially in attack and on the wings.
    4 – If you want to try a range shot, you have to be fast on the buttons, these guys take a couple of years to take aim and shoot from outside the box. Your best bet is to try lofting the ball to the box. Both Ordaz and Castolo are good at that. And Hamsun. Gutierrez can score headers but that’s rare. Early crosses work best, since your players can’t make it to the goal line to attempt a cross anyway.
    5 – Macco and Burchet are useless players, I’d sell them as soon as possible. Don’t add them to your transfer list, though, especially Macco, since his contract is expiring in your first season. Espimas is much better than Macco. Fouque, besides his stats, is quite useful, as are Iouga, Giersen and Dodo.

    This is true in my experience at least. YMMV.

  23. not-Greg,
    Regarding the sliders, I have mine set to:
    Player Support: 79;
    Support Range: 100;
    Position Switch: 63;
    Attacking Style: 67.

    Reading all these comments, it seems that I play very differently to most of you. I mean, I think my average possession per match is 42%, yet my average shots are always at least 10 above the AI’s, and in the match stats after every match, the total number of passes I’ve attempted is rarely above 100, usually around 75, while the AI consistantly makes around 150+ passes. My highest ever possession percentage is 60%, while my lowest is just 28%! Maybe that’s why I’ve found it so easy, because I’m playing so direct – I can’t remember the times where I’ve passed the ball around waiting for gaps; the gaps are just there. Or, it might be because of my habit to dribble all the time and shoot outside the box. Sigh. I wish my experience was like yours. I don’t know if you remember, but I was playing in that League with Barcelona and I was complaining about how I’d lost twice already (6 matches in). Well, since then, I’ve won every match, without any trouble, not even breaking into a sweat, in both the CL and the League. I mean, I’m on a winning streak of 33 games! Something’s not right. I’m tempted to start another default ML because, at the beginning, it is hard, and it is fun, but I know that it’ll become easy far too quickly. At least Mass Effect is hard.

  24. Not Given—I’m sure you’ll understand why if I say I was smiling at you not being able to get the ball for the first 5 game minutes of your match, until you kicked off following their goal… That still happens to me today, even with a half-decent team. It seems to be a rule of PES2010 that (as Adriano mentions) the AI is particularly threatening from its kick-offs.

    You seem to keep trying what I still keep trying—short little passes into feet that should, in PES tradition, ‘work’, but which the AI player(s) somehow hustle you off of.

    If you’re automatically squeezing R1 as soon as you’ve got promising possession, and then losing the ball a lot because of the knock-on (and/or because the game insists on completing a certain amount of sprinting animation), just lay off R1. R1 is the most overused and misused button in PES history (I speak as a fellow R1-lover). It has a massive penalty attached to it in PES2010, and that penalty is the conceding of possession and ultimately goals.

    Don’t you think the AI gets an insane possession/speed/strength bonus when running down the wings? Again, even with a half-decent team and some experience on the game now, I still get skinned repeatedly. Slide tackles that my players ‘should’ make are skipped through or evaded somehow. You have to get closer in this PES before committing to the slide.

    I also had to smile (again, in a good way) at your record of W1 D10 L10—ahhh, that takes me back it does.

    I hope you get through the early phase, and it’s good to see you’ve got Oscar and Jacobs. If nothing else those two players represent many millions in the bank, if you need to cash in.

    All in all a good vid that I watched all the way through, including the epilogue (did you mean to dribble with Jacobs and then hoof the ball out to end the match?).

    For the future I just hope you can keep from exploding at—frankly—the complete bullshit that PES2010 does like to throw your way. See my misplaced pass, a full ninety degrees away from its target, in today’s (Friday’s) post for a very good example. Some of the things that often happen in the game just aren’t fair to the human player IMO, but that’s the game we’ve been served up to play and conquer if we can.

    A few days ago I recorded a full match of my own—on digital camera, with quite poor quality but it’s still watchable—that I’ll be posting on Monday now.

  25. Adriano—I second your #1 advice for playing with the Defaults. Do not try to dribble with them!

  26. Darshan—have you played an ML yet with an edited PES/WE United, with the Defaults? I think that was your first ML career, but not sure now.

    Your sliders seem quite neutral, apart from the Support Range one. This strange new science of sliders in PES is not an exact science, I think. A lot depends on our individual play-styles, the teams we play with, the formations we use, and other things.

    This week I recorded that full match I’ve been promising, and will be posting it on Monday’s post. 😉

  27. Ken—as I hint at in today’s (Friday’s) post, I’ve more or less come to share your belief that the PES2010 AI does eventually ‘learn’ (or crack) your slider tactics after a period of adjustment. Of course a good enough human player would offset that effect to some degree (perhaps totally), but for the rest of us it seems little tweaks and nudges are required more or less constantly.

  28. not-Greg,
    I’ve played 2 “full” Mls, one with PES United, and one with WE United, both with the defaults. The third ML wasn’t really me playing – it was when I chose WE United with the defaults again but just simmed until I got to D1 (it took 6 seasons if I recall correctly). I then played a League with Barcelona, which was also too easy, but at least they give you the All-time player goals/assists! I wish they hadn’t got rid of that in ML. Or the season results, which also appear in league mode.

  29. Darshan,

    When I play with a super team (players over 80 OVR), it’s way too easy too, that’s why I have house rules.

  30. Adriano,
    But surely in any given ML, there’ll come a point where your players are over 80 OVR, and, for me, that happened almost too quickly? Do you start again once that happens? What are your house rules?

  31. I sign all of my Youth Team players when they reach 20 years of age.
    I sell all or most players I get good offers for IF I have a player to cover that position in my bench.
    I sell most or all players who reach or exceed a rating of 80 OVR.
    I try to have mostly young players in my squad, when they near 27, they’re out the door, unless they reach an 80 rating before that.
    Currently, I only have a couple of players over 80, and those are my keeper Graafland, who was 79 at 19 anyway, and my star striker Z. Hines, who is 81 OVR.
    I got defender Sariw last season, but he’s nearing 80 already, so he’ll have to either go, or stay as a sub to my other defenders Parthalon and Mutojovac, rated respectively 76 and 70.
    There are plenty of players from my Youth Team who perform exceedingly well despite their rating, like Mikinoric, Gekas and a bunch of defenders whose low ratings are misleading.
    Of course, with those restrictions, I haven’t won the biggest championships yet, but I was runner up in both the Europa League and the Champions League, and I’ve managed to win both the English Cup and the English League already, even though Man Blue have an unbeatable team in my ML.

  32. Darshan—only some strict house rules will rescue PES2010 for you now I think. I’ve been where you are with PES2008 and (to a lesser extent) PES2009, and I didn’t find ML very enjoyable under house rules personally, although I gave it a good go. Have you tried BaL? Might be worth a look, but if you’re into Mass Effect now you’ll risk forgetting the story between sessions! That’s what’s always stopped me getting very far into it. I once managed 5 hours—up to the bit where you visit that council thing and get told to go off investigating stuff, but as you can see, after a few weeks back on PES/FIFA at the time, I forgot the whole Mass Effect story… Maybe one day.

  33. Adriano—the unbeatable team in my ML are Porto. I was 2-0 up against them this morning and cruising, and then they scored two crazy goals out of nowhere. I seriously thought about reloading, it was just so stupid how they got the goals. But I stood firm.

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