Kelsen’s Folly

And just like that, June is (nearly) gone. This time next month, it will be less than one month to the new PES – which I might or might not be there for.

Whether or not I do end up getting PES2019 depends, bizarrely, on myClub.

It’s a bizarre situation because of all the barracking I’ve given the mode over the years. Of course myClub is the mode for which the game has been fundamentally changed. All the fast and frantic, fouls-free, flowing action is entirely due to answering the needs of myClub. Online players want to sprint-pressure for 90 minutes with little or no interruption. So that’s what has to happen.

I’ve played myClub enough now to admit that, yes, it is a good mode. There is unexpected depth. Player individuality, that staple ingredient of PES, is more pronounced in an arena where the slightest edge really matters. Even the online opponents are not universally the insane button-mashers I have so often parodied them as being. Many of them are that way, but it’d be unfair to deem them representative of the mode.

One of my most amusing discoveries in myClub is the discovery that there are no fouls online either. There’s an average of 1 foul per match, I’d say. Most matches are incredible scenes of constant sprinting aggro. The game allows it. 20 fouls per match and 6 red cards would not be excessive, given the way 98% of players play. But of course that would never be allowed to happen.

Playing myClub demonstrates why fouls will never return to PES – or to any other football game. The players would never stand for it.

Given this poxy state of affairs, there’s little point in old-school players enacting any kind of boycott. I’ll continue to get my ML fix in the past, in editions of PES that valued single-player experiences above others.

But why not play myClub on the current PES as well? Why not, indeed. It has an excellent squad-building mechanic. I’ve currently got four squads, each individually tailored to meet a need. It doesn’t take long to start feeling that Panini sticker-book urge. The mode has player development and levelling up (something Ultimate Team doesn’t have). There’s the interest in taking a team ‘to the top’ of something, even if it’s just climbing a ladder in one’s own head.

So all in all, PES2019 might happen. If it does, it’ll be myClub-only from day 1. I will see what unfolds over the next month.

The last few days have seen me play precisely two matches, offline, in myClub’s ad hoc single-player mode that I sketched out last time. (For anybody struggling to spot the single-player option, it’s the one with the big black letters that says VS COM. This is only a partly snarky remark. I get easily lost in new-to-me menus too.)

My Irregulars have not been able to gain any traction the last few times I’ve taken them for an outing.

I went instead for my Kelsen formation. You can give each squad an individual name. Kelsen’s Folly is aptly named.

This old-school Default’s 5-3-2 was such a spiffing wheeze to take online, I thought. Then I promptly got thumped, twice, by opponents who probably couldn’t believe their luck.

I tried the formation here in single-player. You’re allowed to tweak the players’ positions slightly, as I have done on the right here. Difficulty: Professional Stronger (myClub has its own difficulties-within-difficulty levels).

Got thumped 1-3 by The AI That We Need… I was lucky to get that 1 goal.

Formations and tactics are very important in myClub – which is another damning indictment of nuMaster League, where they are not very important at all. Sorry, but they’re really not.

You’re locked to the manager’s formation in myClub. It’s a tricky concept to explain to the uninitiated, but it strangely works. Restrictions bring a sense of freedom and accomplishment, when you manage to work with them. Look at what I have to do to accommodate Bale in this formation. CMF.

For my second match vs COM, I switched to my A Team  and easily won it 4-1. Which I regret doing now. I will stick with the Irregulars (maybe even with Kelsen as manager) for single-player from now on.

I also spun a few balls and got Boateng and Nacho and Benatia to shore up my leaky defence. I’m nearly ready to venture back online again. Nearly.

Updated: 29th June 2018 — 10:40


  1. Looks like everyone playing MyClub (I don’t, or PES anymore) has received a gift of a black ball and Diego Maradona

  2. n-G – IF you get PES 2019 (I suspect you will at some point if not day one) I think you’ll find it hard not to give ML a whirl – if only to prove you are right. And you will be of course. The mode we all love will have no fouls, barely any need for tactical tinkering and a virtual footy world devoid of luxuries like trophy presentations and injuries.

    I’m still not fully understanding MyClub but it has given nuPES nu, sorry, new life for me just as a different framework within which to play what is left of the PES gameplay I enjoy. Like Star Wars Battlefront, I can fire it up, play it for an hour or less and feel absolutely no sense of needing to return soon to continue the story, the campaign or the season.

  3. Metz – thanks for the news, I had no idea. There’s very much an end of term feel about myClub on PES2018 right now and this only adds to that feeling.

    I will have to grab the little genius of course, but it now means likely every online match will now feature a Maradona vs Maradona situation, which sometimes happens with other duplicated players on the two teams but not nearly every match. It will always strike me as wrong.

    As I hint in the post, PES is a busted flush in single-player terms. It’s really gone, and been replaced.

    I found myself thinking of firing up PES2014 again this morning. I will return to PES2011 though soon enough.

    Shed – I think I ‘got’ myClub (possibly in my own way; other ‘gets’ are probably available) when I started wanting to develop my players and see how they fared in different formations and the like. So myClub, for me, is a wrapper within which to acquire players, develop them, create squads, and generate personal stories. Not exactly shone online yet, but the single-player has become more important this past week.

  4. NG – one of the pieces in that exhibition is this –

    While not agreeing to that vision of a stadium (clearly ‘continental’ in outlook with the drums etc) I think it’s one of those warm and wonderful creations that summarises his feelings about his relationship with his club. I really wish it was closer than oxford.

    On other matters I’ve found myself actually doing what I swore I wouldn’t and giving fortnite 7.99. There are no competitive advantages whatsoever in terms of game mechanics in buying a pass (which gives you access to challenges which in turn reward with outfits, logos, etc) and yet there are simply because being a non payer puts you in a default kit with a simplistic pick axe tool and screams ‘newbie’ to every gun toting opponent. As you get more unusual clobber as you level up I’d definitely think twice if a James Bond suit wearing type carrying a lollipop ran in front of me. It’s an interesting study – should I remain in default even when I get much better to encourage that over confident engagement by an opponent for example? However at the moment I’m playing the 50v50 fight and as shallow and brief as the action is I’m loving the unspoken teamwork (I refuse to have speakers on). Last night I fell wounded and in the seconds left to me I was revived by another player who paid for their kindness by being gunned down by an unseen rival. On another occasion there was no one to help yet myself and another player crawled towards each other to die together. It’s like every cheesy war film you’ve seen.

  5. Uncle Turf – the corporate arena-style stadium is the new permanent default I think, for commercial and practical reasons. They all have to do double duty (or triple duty etc) as music venues and hosting other sports and so on. I remember when old Wembley hosted an NFL game in the 80s, thinking how strange and unusual it was, and how the business of suborning football stadia would never catch on…

    I well remember the urge of Fortnite-type games from my Battlefield 2/Warhawk days. Eventually I moved away from the group melee scene to playing a sniper-only game. One kill per round – sometimes per session – would satisfy me. How’s the Fortnite sniping?

  6. Unless it’s a sniper specific rule game it’s very infrequent. In solo matches you simply can’t shoot and stay hidden from the other opponents – the free for all negates well chosen cover as you can’t watch all sides at once. In the group games it’s useful for being the much loved of navy seal type movie ‘god’ idea, where the man with the long range weapon watches over the rest of you. Similarly armed with a huge rail gun you can be the guy who kicks down the door of the house for the others to charge in. Were there to be proper communication you could have a very strategic encounter but the chat I initially heard was either non English or teenage ‘bruv’. I was very pleased with myself that I once showed an injured comrade in lassie movements that they should follow me to get a bandage I’d discovered.

  7. I am still baffled as to why player individuality is more prevalent in myclub than in master league. I understand the commercial idea of “bought” spins but surely the main thing in myclub is assembling the best players / teams through spins and not the presence of individuality per se from a gameplay point of view. Players just need to look the part and I assume Konami’s good with the myclub crowd.

    Having said that I just got my first “legend” in master league (already present in the game for me due to pc patch). I’ve been playing a very casual final season (or two at most) of master league on pes 18. Professional difficulty, original Ajax line up, no defaults. About 5 games per week tops. Anyway back to the legend : Johan Cruijff is his name, might ring a bell.

    It is clear that much more effort goes into these Legends. He looks and moves the part, even to the point that it’s quite disturbing seeing him move, run and shoot just like he actually did. He is also the only player that I instantly recognize when he’s on the ball in terms of handling. Superb job from Konami, truly. I’m not being cynical here. Now they just need to give this kind of attention to the tens of thousands of other players, not just the ones that have the potential to generate extra myclub dollars..

    On a side note, been playing Destiny 2. Pretty decent game, single player mode is hardly mentioned in (metacritic) reviews but it’s actually very solid and should give you dozens of hours of (pretty mindless but nothing wrong with that) good FPS gameplay. Even tried my hand at online – since that seems to be the hip thing nowadays over here – and was actually part of the winning team.

  8. #1 – I’ve touched on the ‘why more individuality in myClub?’ question a few times in these posts. My take on it is that the small margins of individuality that we see in ML (so small they might just as well not be there) are massively magnified in myClub because you’re contesting with a human who is usually being awkward and cunning, and under those conditions every slight edge you have, that the other guy doesn’t have, really counts. Having a player with extra pace, another player with strong ball control, etc. etc. – against human opponents, these do show up more.

    Does this redeem nuPES player individuality in any way. or even redeem nuPES as a whole? Absolutely not. Effectively, PES was quietly retired a few editions ago, and this multiplayer pretender installed in its place. The classic deep experience of PES will always be in Master League, and it will now always be in the past, sadly.

    I’m so wrapped up in Fallout 4 now that no other games have any chance of displacing it to the end. Level 15 is close, when much of the Season Pass DLC will unlock, and I’m closing in on the Local Leader perk so I can share resources between settlements.

  9. NG – makes sense. As for ML being a thing of the past I keep hoping against better judgment…

    I was where you’re at now with fallout 4 (second playthrough) last year when pes 18 hit. Hence why I started much later than you all. It really does draw you in doesn’t it? The local leader perk will make your settlement building so much quicker and addictive as well. I hope it doesn’t ruin fallout 3 for you, if I’m not mistaken you’ve never played that? It has great atmosphere and storytelling but the gunplay is far (far) inferior to fallout 4’s. Irrelevant though as you have hundreds of hours of gameplay ahead of you on fallout 4. Got a small itch to start it up myself, play on survival. See what that’s all about…

  10. #1/NG – Fallout 4 is such a well designed game and agree the local leader perk makes such a difference. I can’t remember what game interrupted my flow at the time but it was a typical case of struggling to get back into it once the momentum had been broken.

  11. #1 – I played a couple of hours in Fallout3 a long time ago, not long after it came out, but something interrupted the momentum (as Darryl alludes to) and I never returned to it. I’m not thinking about anything else but persisting with Fallout 4 for now. I still haven’t gone to Diamond City yet. I’m the kind of sci-fi fan who pulls a face at the Falloutverse’s jokey brand of alternate world (with its large helping of steampunky-fantasy), but it’s grown on me. Switching off all the quest markers and pursuing one goal at a time is helping a lot. Might even try Skyrim again after – whenever that is. I purchased the Season Pass so I have all the DLC, and Survival Mode still to come. I could feasibly play this for a year, easy.

    Darryl – funny thing, momentum. Look at the 90% awful stutter-step penalties in the World Cup, and England’s decision to interrupt themselves against Belgium. I’ve put a fiver on Colombia to win by 2 clear goals on Tuesday.

  12. NG – I have Columbia in my sweepstake at work and they are a very good side. I would make them favourites on Tuesday. Also thought about what you said previously when it comes to VAR in the Russia v Spain game. Referees are using it to back up them bottling out giving big decisions. There was no doubt that Spain should have had a penalty in extra time and VAR used correctly would have backed this up. But match situation came into effect as it would have been highly unpopular in front of the home crowd, so it wasn’t goven.

  13. Darryl – I saw the incident in question and thought the same. It was a certain penalty. It’s very possible the VAR studio refs signalled the pitch ref to run to the viewing pod at the side of the pitch and take a look, but it seems the pitch ref can choose to disregard VAR advice. (The match ref in England’s first match vs Tunisia apparently did do that – he was told to check replays for Tunisian grappling, but he chose not to.) The match ref today would’ve been thinking completely contextually of course. He would have known that if he goes to look, he has to give the penalty. VAR won’t eliminate the part of refereeing psychology that nudges them into cowardly decisions.

  14. Did someone say we were all getting Maradona in myClub? I span the ball before couple of quick matches over the weekend but only got Diego Costa.

  15. Shed – I’m puzzled too. The blurb in-game clearly says ‘Maradona and Black Ball’, but I too only got a single free black ball spin. No Maradona, and I can’t see where he might be hiding. Am disappoint. With about 8 weeks of myClub left I was going to drop Maradona into my 1-star Irregulars, take them online, and see what happened. But where is he?

  16. n-G – Maybe Konami dropped him after his hands of God were all over the booze and women during that last Argie group game last week. Probably not though, they’ve probably just messed it up. I’m quite happy with Diego Costa though. He’s a beast of a forward. I need to get a better manager though as I can’t fit all these superstars into my A-Team as I’d like.

  17. Just looked it up and it seems the Special Agent spin INCLUDED Maradona in the pot but we both failed to land on him, hence our alternative not-nearly-as-exciting signings.

  18. Shed – I’ve also just looked it up and it seems the apparently straightforward wording really means ‘get 1 random player from a long list of 88 Black Ball players that includes Maradona’. The disturbing thing here is that in the few places I’ve found discussion about it online, nobody else seems to have thought (as we did, and Metz did when he commented on it) that ‘Maradona and Black Ball’ meant guaranteed Maradona plus a black ball. You’d think the PES net online would be melting down about the deception, but it’s not. This seems very strange as that’s the most obvious meaning. Maybe it’s a youth thing and they automatically understood what Konami meant.

    I’ve been reading Jonathan Wilson’s celebrated book again (a great history of footy tactics and formations) and the best managers really were as inflexible as the myClub managers are. You could move around a bit (as we can move the players half an inch on the myClub formation screen), but they were determined to make the opposition adapt to them rather than the other way round.

    I got another defender in my black ball spin. Name escapes me now, but he’s a good ‘un. That’s three black ball CBs I’ve got in a row now. Very welcome, as a weak defence is really found out online.

  19. Well I did say the World Cup would be dull! What has had me hooked is the variety of games on offer and we have seen some very special goals.

    As for tonight I just have that growing feeling that England will get beat as NG has predicted. I am not sure about the 2 goal margin though. Travelling into work has seen the loseometer go up. The local radio presenters have been going on about how excited they are and have seen an increase in car flags, which is never a good sign from past experience. Much preferred the low key optimism at the start but that was never going to last.

  20. Darryl – it has been good yes. The truly duff matches are very few so far. I wonder if it will continue as we’re getting to the stage now where teams will tighten up and play conservatively. I’d hate Brazil to win it. The Myth of Brazil, I should say.

    There’s something eerily inevitable about an England-Russia semi-final and all the political theatre that would surround it.

    But I think Colombia will make that moot tonight by winning.

  21. What’s this? MyClub??

    How long have I been away…?

    Did Hell freeze over while I was gone…?

  22. Tommy – a lot to catch up on…

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