Month: November 2015

Umlaut of örder

Gotze bemoans a derby defeatSeason 6 of Master League. I’ve just passed through the mid-season transfer window. One bit of business to report, and it’s a pretty big one.

I finally located a top-rated player who agreed terms. Again, as has already happened a few times in PES2016, he’s a bit older than I’d usually consider. But this is a PES where the oldies can still do the business — chiefly, I suspect, because this is a PES where stats and age mean less than they ever have before. They’re not completely meaningless, just less meaningful. Thus the older players are pretty much as good as the young ‘uns, until they start officially declining. So I have found, anyway.

Step forward the 32-year-old M GOTZE, the most famous World Cup-winner that nobody remembers. Seriously, stop a hundred random people in the street and ask them who scored the winning goal in the 2014 World Cup Final, and you’ll be lucky to get, what, 5/100 correct answers? Maybe even none. It’s a curiosity of our times that football is held as being some all-conquering entertainment juggernaut at the forefront of popular culture, but its actual status is somewhat more marginal. Video game football is better anyway, so it doesn’t bother me.

I sold ARCAS. That’s right — the man second only in my affections to Castledine. I parlayed a £15m offer up to £19m, and he was on his way. That was enough cash for Gotze’s transfer fee, a very reasonable £18m.

Gotze famously plays up front as an accomplished SS/CF, but his major role is as an AMF. So in letting Arcas go I’m trading like for like. At 89 OPR, Gotze might be my first 90+ rated player in PES2016, but he’ll start declining soon enough. Castledine, currently sitting on 88 OPR and still growing, is likely to be my first 90+ rated player.

Onto the on-field action. I’ve hit a rich vein of form. Here’s a typical run of results:

PES2016 season 6 a typical run of resultsThat 2-2 against West Ham was the kind of match we know all too well. Both their goals were straight from kickoffs. When the game decides you’ve won enough matches, there’s little you can do except get away with a draw if you can.

Here’s the table after 23 matches — exciting stuff:

PES2016 season 6 after 23

The league title is definitely out of my reach, but Europe is a near-certainty in my current form. Champions League here I come? It’d mean getting a shot at the Treble next season, which would spell the end for PES2016 if it comes. We shall see.

One other dynamite bit of transfer business that happened just before the time of writing (Thursday morning). Long after the mid-season window had closed I had an offer for Cavani. I’ve turned down quite a few, Cavani’s one of my ‘names’ of PES2016 — one of the players who’ve defined this edition for me.

This was the offer:

PES2016 Cavani the offer too good to to turn down

He’s 34 and officially in decline. I took the money. £22.5m for a declining 34-year-old is something I cannot turn down. CANNOT turn down.

Cavani will leave my club at the end of the season. This was a tough decision but one I feel increasingly comfortable with. Luca Toni is just 20, already as good as Cavani at his peak, and only going to get better.

Cavani still has something (as this season’s highlights reel will show), but there are a few too many matches now where he fails to make any real impact. Just like a real-life ageing player.

The cash will pay much of my wage bill and free up some funds for squad-building. Another key player or two and I really fancy my chances of a Season 7 Treble.

But first I need to finish this season in the top 4.

What’s the Mathieu, gotta no respect

Captain Castledine turns up the derby heatHere we go with Season 6 of Master League in PES2016. I kicked off with a bruising encounter against Leicester, my local rivals in this ML world. A crazily fast 3-3 draw was the outcome. It sounds thrilling — but it wasn’t, really. I found it rather tedious. There are too many 3-3-like scorelines in this game.

I’ve felt from the beginning that the Class of ’16 would not be a long-lasting one. This PES is much too fast and fluid and attack-oriented, and we all know why that is. The online marketplace is in the process of destroying football gaming as we knew it.

But at least Master League has lasted this long. I think it’ll last a few seasons yet. I’m at least two seasons from being eligible to go for a Treble, so there’ll definitely be at least be a Season 7 in due course, and probably a Season 8 too.

But yes, Season 6. Let’s get this thing done. In my pre-season wheeler-dealering, I decided to indulge myself. So I searched for, and found, a particular Regen: step forward, Mathieu. One of the few players with his own category on this blog.

PES2016 a PES legend arrives

PES2016 Mathieu looking good

PES5 players will have just genuflected and crossed themselves and bowed their heads in respect for the best DMF in the greatest football game ever made.

There’s an ancient saying: ‘No man goes down to the same river twice’. It’s a straightforwardly true saying.

PES2016’s Mathieu isn’t going to be like PES5’s legendary version. Firstly, he’s just a 16-year-old Regen. Secondly, and most importantly, in PES2016 he doesn’t play at DMF.

This is shocking. Of course I popped into Edit Mode and gave him DMF as an alternate position. I knew it wouldn’t carry over into my ML world, and it didn’t, but I had to try.

Still, it makes me happy just to see that name on the screen and I’ll relish coaxing his development for however long PES2016 lasts.

Anyway, my other wheeler-dealering (that’s my favourite compound phrase!) resulted in this squad to take me through at least the first half of Season 6:

PES2016 Season 6 start squad and XII now have players rated in the 80s in every position. I tried for a few 90+ players before the window closed, but they are too few and all out of my price range anyway.

I had another tempting offer for Cavani that I wasn’t tempted by. I also had one for another player that I was tempted by: Arcas. Somebody offered £15,000,000.

Arcas is 27 now and somewhat past his best. Still useful, but no Castledine. I was so tempted. But who would I get that’s better? Not many, and they’d dilute my Team Spirit anyway. Still, I lingered over the offer for a while before turning it down (or ignoring it, which amounts to the same thing).

Toni steps up to being first-choice, despite being only 20, and will start as many games as possible next to Cavani. Let’s see how the goals flow from these two as the season progresses.

After Leicester, my next game of the season was a daylit match against Chelsea. They’ve been unbeatable for so many seasons, but I cantered to a resounding 3-0 win.

PES2016 season 6 thumping ChelseaThe great result seen above was followed by a few middling results.

PES2016 season 6 a draw to followAnd yes, that is another daytime match on show there. I think I’ve already had as many sunny matches in Season 6 as I had in the whole of Season 5.

I had a few days off work at the tail-end of last week and played some mammoth sessions. I like to listen to audiobooks and podcasts when playing PES. It’s the perfect accompaniment. I had a great few days, just chillin’ in muh yard, playin’ muh Pro Evo.

I played all the way to Matchday 15. The current table:

PES2016 season 6 after 15I’ll do very well to barge into title contention from here, I think, but my main goal — Champions League qualification — is within reach. I’ve drawn a few too many games already. I need to start winning those ties instead.

I’m saving up the goals and other interesting incidents for a bumper end-of-season highlights reel, set to some appropriate music. If I score any super-duper jaw-dropping goals between now and then, I’ll be sure to post them here on their own.

Art for art’s sake

Season 5 of Master League in PES2016 has rumbled to a halt. The final table:

PES2016 Season 5 final tableMy second season up here in the Premier League saw a considerably worse performance than my maiden top-flight season, where I finished 8th and came within a result or two of getting into the Europa League.

It’s difficult to explain the decline this season. I feel that my squad got stronger, that I’m more enthusiastic about the game in general, and that I played better and turned in better performances on the whole. What’s possibly different is that the lesser teams took more off me this season than last. More of the marginal results went my way last season.

Work of Art Coventry 1 Liverpool 0 in PES2016

Highlights of my run-in included a 1-0 win over Liverpool that was a true work of art.

They turned up like any top team in PES2016 does: tooled up and slavering for the fight. You sense it from the beginning: hyper-aggression, hyper-speed, no time on the ball.

Under such conditions there’s nothing to do except turn turtle: play hyper-conservatively, making sure you give away nothing at the back, never commit too many players forward, and hope to snatch a goal or two at some point.

And that’s exactly what happened, with my main man Castledine bagging the winner midway through the second half. My patience and tactics were rewarded. I was very pleased.

And so to Season 6. In the run-up to the end of the season Cavani was performing so well that I received a £26,000,000 bid for him, He’s valued at £19,000,000 currently. This opportunity to cash in on an over-30 striker almost certainly won’t come again. I should sell, shouldn’t I?

But I’m not going to sell Cavani. My instinct is telling me not to sell. There’s another good season at least in Cavani. I need his goals and the inspiration that playing with him brings. It often seems that only two of my players are capable of popping up with critical goals. One is a certain Mr Castledine. The other is Cavani. Like so:

He’s staying. Besides, it’s not like I’m short of offers for other players who might be surplus to requirements.

This is a very generous Master League on the offers-coming-in front. One of those other offers is a £13,000,000 bid for Dzeko, who is valued around £16,000,000. This one I am tempted by, as I feel Dzeko has had his day and is in decline. And Dzeko’s departure wouldn’t leave me short of big men up front. I have the young Luca Toni on my books to act as understudy to Cavani. So it’s looking like Dzeko will be on his way.

Bertrand comment season 5It’s still a dilemma, as Dzeko is still at least as good as Cavani. My instinct tells me Dzeko’s ready for the door, though. This is the kind of decision-making that I play Master League for.

My pre-season transfer wheeler-dealering will be detailed on Tuesday. And then to Season 6, where I want to at least qualify for the Champions League.

I always start any season, wherever I am and whatever level I’ve reached, wanting to finish as high up the table as possible, ideally in Number 1 spot. It’s only when I get to roughly this level of an ML campaign, though, that it’s actually feasible. I’ve got a great squad. I’m very happy with some individuals. All the carping aside, I’m enjoying PES2016. This isn’t a classic year by any means. But it’s still a decent one.

Big men strike again

PES2016 a rare daytime matchSeason 5 of Master League on PES2016. It’s at this stage of a PES year — when the nights really start drawing in and Slade starts echoing from shop doorways — that I start getting down to the serious business of Master League.

I’ve played a lot of PES2016 over the past few days. I’ve gone all the way through mid-season and a long way past it.

The table after 30 matches:Season 5 after 30 PES2016I won’t be storming up the league to win anything this season. Last season I came within a couple of whiskers of the Europa League spots. I don’t think I will this time, but we’ll see.

I didn’t go mad in the mid-season window. I don’t observe a revolving-door transfer policy. I think I’ve got a good squad as it is. For all PES2016’s faults, it’s keeping me interested on a number of levels, and one of those levels is a traditional one: nurturing a nucleus of players in Master League and bonding with them over a period of time.Castledine after thumping Stoke Season 5The prime example being Castledine: he just keeps getting better and better. The player of PES2016’s whole Master League for me so far, without question. Although there are other contenders, Castledine has been with me from season 1 and will stay until the end, whenever that comes.Castledine, SuperstarMy team isn’t currently setting this ML world on fire, but Castledine certainly is. Teams of the Month like the one below are pretty regular:Seaons 5 a typical team of the monthI picked up Luca Toni in mid-season. The current 19-year-old Regen was mentioned often by a few regular commenters on the blog, something which usually puts me off those players. I like my discoveries to be my own. A player shared is a player halved and all that.

PES2016 season 5 Luca Toni arrivesBut there’s a method behind my search for big men. (No, don’t take that out of context.)

Individuality in PES has been nerfed over the past few years, of that there is no question in my mind, but the big men remain very satisfying. (Stop it now.)

Dzeko and Cavani, and now Toni, handle like all players in PES always should, There’s momentum and inertia. There’s clumsiness and lack of responsiveness sometimes. They’re not the insta-responsive ninjas that the online component of the PES community apparently spent years calling for, and eventually got. Konami should never have listened to those voices, but it’s far too late now.

Season 5 Rakitic becomes a generalAs well as the rare daytime match seen at the top of this post, I also had my first injury in about a season and a half — and it had to happen to Cavani.

Cavani gets injuredI missed him when he was gone (leave it now), and the goals dried up a touch. I think Dzeko is just past the period when he’s most useful to me. Toni came in and didn’t really do anything. Too young. In a season or two I’ll be in Europe, hopefully the Champions League, and he should hit his stride then.

Cavani returned, eventually, and started scoring again almost immediately.

Here’s a Season 5 Miscellany of goals that starts with another fine Dzeko header and ends with a stylish Cavani hat-trick. Gorgeous from Cavani! The third goal is one of the unusual stranded-keeper ones that I think we’ve all scored some version of by now. Somewhere in the middle is a last-minute winner from Castledine against Spurs that had me roaring with good old-fashioned Pro Evo delight. Aimar, fresh on a substitute, makes the goal with his pace and then with the cross.