Master League 2019

And so it begins. A frustrating weekend of work and life is now firmly behind me. Finally I have started Master League in PES2019. For the coming week, real life is the fantasy realm that will exist at the margins of Pro Evo.

Thanks again to commenter Paul, of PESFX, for the custom Coventry City kits.

The Sky Blue on my TV is a lot more sky-bluey than you see here. Vids and screenshots will be slightly compromised on the blog for the foreseeable future.

I am playing on a 4K TV, which is marvellous, but it turns out that the PS4 Pro can’t capture the images in true fidelity. Pics and vids will sometimes make PES2019 look more like PES2015’s distinctive chalky pallor. Sony need to provide a software update.

Anyway, the game’s the thing, and I was all set up and running in the usual 20 minutes.

Paging through all the menus, getting everything set up – bliss. Arguably the best part of a nuPES Master League is the first session, and the first few sessions after that. Certainly that’s been how it’s been for several years now, as the series has declined in single-player terms.

PES2019 seems to be slightly different from its immediate predecessors, at this stage. We will see how things pan out long-term, but for now, in these balmy days of early September, there is genuine ground for optimism.

That’s me, taking over at the helm. I never sport facial hair in real life. The current vogue for wild post-apocalyptic beards can go and do one as far as I’m concerned. But when designing my avatar, the beard just seemed the way to go. (I’d love to get a real version of that ball.)

I went for the Stade de Sagittaire as my home ground. Renamed of course to New Highfield Road, in memory of the place that the real-life Coventry City should never have left.

Time for my very first Squad Screen tinker. I was happy to find my preferred nuPES formation of 4-2-2-2 already waiting for me.

I have only moved a few personnel around, and left their positions unchanged. I will see how things go with this formation. 4-2-2-2 always strikes me as the ideal nuPES formation.

I note the addition of a few new names, and will see how they do. Will the likes of Mihailov and Karlsen emerge as heroes in the classic ML sense, or be quietly moved on after half a season? It’s always one of the most interesting aspects of ML, finding that out.

Early signs are that A REDMOND – who has been an anonymous ML player for a few years – has been beefed up. He got me two good goals in the ICC Tournament that kicks off every Master League now.

I was, of course, mostly battered in that tournament.

I was lucky to get nil against PSG (lost 0-3), then lost more narrowly to Boca Juniors (0-1), and then managed a draw against Celtic (2-2, both goals from REDMOND). I am still only on Professional difficulty.

At the time of writing I am still only a few matches into the Championship season proper – a win and a defeat.

I’ve not brought in any outside players in yet. The transfer window is still open.

I have promoted one Youth, who looks very, very interesting so far.

W HARRINGTON. He is a 20-year-old AMF who reminds me of a young F FRIDAY, my big-boned star striker of PES2017.

I don’t know if everyone has the same Youths again this year, but it is likely. If so, and if you don’t mind sampling players others have mentioned, he’s there for the taking. He’s big and powerful, and showing signs of being a force.

Again this is another Master League storyline that joins all the others. How will this ‘Promising Youth’ subplot play out? Will you be hearing about Harrington again, or will he also be quietly moved on after a time? Master League in a nutshell.

Finally, two goals from my opening-day fixture vs Swansea, and a rising shot from Rice that hit the bar. The first goal is an AI moment that caused me some concern. Bony gets clean through on goal, but he decides to check back and lay the ball off to a teammate coming from behind him. I hadn’t yet seen this well-documented tendency of the AI, but to see it once is too often. Completely immersion-destroying, and if it’s not top of the patch priority list at Konami, we single-players really have been sold down the river.

I got the winner with a headed goal after toying with the Swansea defence for a bit. Remember this is all ‘only’ on Professional.

And that’s me up and running. Master League 2019.

I wish I could do it all again – the week 1 anticipation, then the arrival, then the getting-to-know-you sessions, then the start of ML proper. Now the real business starts.

Updated: 4th September 2018 — 11:03


  1. You must have missed my comment half way down page 2 of the comments on the previous post NG, where I wax lyrical about W.Harrington.

    Signed 2 youth players, Teixera (LB) and W.Harrington (I think of him as a Will) (AMF)?

    second video (Twitter Link) shows a beautifully taken debut goal from Will Harrington, after his promotion from the youths, and sub appearance.

  2. n-G – Could the Bony check-back be seen as stumble? Probably not. The AI did take its chance quite nicely in the end.

    Given how fullbacks are being closed down at goal kicks by the AI in PES 2019, I’m thinking of a change in formation to something with three at the back this ML. I can than play two up front or two DMFs, depending on the opposition.

    I plan to put all the defaults on the transfer list when I start my ML later. Of course now you and Paul have mentioned Harrington as a potential star, he’s dead to me.

  3. Yes, I wondered that – I didn’t initially see the Bony incident as a check back and was waiting for another goal to come along. It looks more to me like he miscontrols it and has to go and retrieve the situation. My concerns have been more of the ‘and smith must score’ variety, before smith lays it off to another player rather than taking the obvious chance, very much after you Claude and a little like England’s Euro 96 goal against Holland where sheringham could have leathered it but instead squared to shearer.

    Saw Harrington, declined. Took a left back from the youths and four Japanese free agents – tell me everyone else is seeing these Japanese frees? They are the only ones I have over and above the usual three identical stat options for each made up player.

  4. Turf – had a look last night, free agents was a mish mash, but didnt see any japanese sounding players.

  5. If you are moving up the difficulties then the check-backs do not seem to be a thing I’ve encountered on superstar. (Source: me receiving mostly batterings in about 30 games at that level).

    They shouldn’t be a thing on any difficulty of course…

  6. Copied over from right at the end of comments on last post:

    I’m still holding off my ML until all the fake teams and fake players (even Brazil are fake this year!) are gone!

    I’m playing on Top Player – plenty of fools – doing a La Liga season with Bilbao. Have had numerous plyers pull up in my 17 games so far and one 3 day inury courtesy of an in-game knock.

    I’ll be starting my ML on Superstar. The low crosses from the AI is definitely a thing in *some* situations. It punishes you mercilessly if you X + square pressure. Standing off when they’re outwide works sufficiently.

    In terms of formation, I’m so far favouring the formation England are preloaded with, but with changes to the advanced settings. The AMs and WMFs link up a treat. I’m also noticing some individuality. I think this PES is the best one this side of 2012, and the only reason I don’t say further is because I can’t honestly remember earlier ones too vividly anymore, other than the fact I loved PES3 and PES6


    Shed – three at the back is my early favourite way to go and does have the advantage of being able to ping it to WMFs on halfway line. Another thing I like to do is move my striker/tallest attacking player out of the wing manually and flick it on for the winger.

    nG – forgot how much I enjoy your writing style 🙂

  7. Paul – ? Hmm. Odd. I had about 80 frees, most were just replicas of the youth team, where only the names change between for example an RMF from Qatar, Mexico and England. But about 20 are Japanese of varying age from around 60ovr to 72. So not likely to change the squad but an option. In picking Motherwell you’d have assumed the frees would have been Scottish journeymen, replaced by my defaults, but no – where did they go?

  8. Harrington is just Niellendner with a new name, is he not?

  9. My bad for naming youth players in the previous post but the two I have have been named above as well. Haven’t signed anymore and halfway through January. A regen Karl Henry just didn’t do it for me.
    I’m getting a few AI own goals on Top Player, unluckily heading ball into their own net at pace. Nice to see blades of grass stuck to their faces afterwards.

  10. Tommy – that’s what I thought too. Who did Karlson used to be? I like him, foot like a traction engine.

    I moved up to superstar and haven’t won a game since. I was winning regularly on Top Player. Qudos to Turf and others starting off that way. Free transfers is diluting the purity though.

  11. I’m usually heavy on the house rules in my MLs and I don’t see this year being any different.

    My current Robocop-like list of ML directives include:

    1. Transfer/loan listed are the only players available to be signed. I make a tiny exception on swap deals as part of transfer offers for my players. Youth signings in an emergency.

    2. Players on any kind of down-arrow are considered injured.

    3. Maximum squad size is 23 players or 25 if qualified for Europe

    4. Three strikes and your out policy in contract negotiations.

    5. Wage cap for Div 1, Premier and Premier/Europe. Usually £1m, £2m and £2.5m respectively.

    I’ve play ML with house rules since the PS2 days but nuPES needs them more than ever I find.

  12. I like the idea of house rules but could never get along with them or stick to them for any length of time.

    I will double check the free agents Turf, assuming we are using the same OF, so shouldn’t be any different?!

  13. Cook – T. Matthiessen

  14. Yes, should be Paul. Unless starting position has altered, no idea where Motherwell have gone, distributed across all the others I guess.

  15. Motherwell are part of the fully licensed SPL Turf? Are they not appearing in your game then?

  16. Yes, the team kit etc is Paul, but I went for default starting eleven so I was just wondering what happened to the Motherwell squad. Last time I picked a genuine team (Newcastle) in 2015 or so the likes of coloccini, krul etc subsequently appeared as free agentsas they’d been shunted out by arcas and his mates. This time I just get kawamata and friends.

  17. I think I will be going up to Top Player tonight. Professional wasn’t letting me have it all my own way by any means but it is definitely about 10% easier than last year.

    Tommy – I thought Harrington was Niellendner too, but he’s a very different physical type. Harrington is more of a thickset, old-school centre forward type (already thinking of retraining him for that role), whereas Niellendnder was more a slender classic AMF type. They also look different, and handle differently. I definitely think Harrington is occupying the Niellendner niche in the Youths, but he isn’t a direct doppelganger.

    Jay – I’m still not seeing the wingplay/low cross thing, and have started to wonder if it would have been noted if it wasn’t so much of a thing in the PESverse chatter right now. Of course this time next week I’ll probably be ranting against it, but for now, nope, I have no idea what the fuss is all about.

    Paul – I remembered seeing the name, as I always note a Harrington, having craved to have one of the famous Harrington jackets so much when I was a lad, but never getting one.

  18. Oh, and Bony definitely passed up the chance to run on at goal. For me, playing live, it very much was a ‘Smith must score’ (sorry Shed) moment. Looking at the other player running behind to whom he passed, I think the game might have calculated him as having the better scoring opportunity and ignored how contextually strange it was.

  19. Started a ML yesterday.

    Manual Passing

    Played 5. Lost 5.

  20. NG – I can 100% say that I’m not seeing the AI spamming low crosses issue just because the ‘PESverse’ mentioned it.
    It’s absolutely and blatantly a thing. Most of the game, every game, even if I’d never seen it mentioned online, it would be way too apparent to miss it.

    If you are not seeing it, then great! how do the Com score most of their goals? any pattern? or just mixed?
    Also whats your team att/defense tactics setup as?

  21. Paul – I checked last night when I got on, and I did have my defensive tactics set to Contain Centre, with a three-quarters compactness. The AI goals I concede come about in a variety of ways. Say I’ve conceded 40 goals in total across all modes and difficulties since last Wednesday – about 8 of them have come via the ‘AI forges down the wing and puts in a low cross’ route. I can 100% say that if this wasn’t a thing in the PESverse it would never be noticeable. For now. I go up to Top Player tonight…

    I’ll record the whole of my first match and upload it for scrutiny.

  22. NG – you may say if it wasn’t a PESverse thing then YOU wouldn’t notice it i assume.
    As that certainly wouldn’t apply to me and many many others.

    I will also upload a whole match, so you can see how many times the AI performs the exact same routine, Pass to wing outside penalty box, player shimmies about a bit, passes low inside the box, player shoots.

    I’ll even put a counter on it.

  23. Paul – I’m not seeing it either – most goals I concede seem to be right through my middle on Top Player. I will say this the AI hit them at an almighty pace from just inside the box and always seem to find the top corner.

  24. Paul – is it the new cutback drama a la PES6, although this time on the AI side rather than the human?

    I genuinely don’t see this with any kind of unusual regularity –

    Pass to wing outside penalty box, player shimmies about a bit, passes low inside the box, player shoots

    Sometimes, yes. The above description would describe a huge amount of goals and attempted attacks in football in general. But spamming levels of attempts? Not even remotely.

  25. I’m with Paul on this one. And this PES forum/blog is the only one I look at.

  26. Just had a brainwave. Why am I thinking about uploading it?!

    I’ll STREAM it! get with the times, Granddad…

    Give me an hour or two to get some other business done, then I’ll have to set up the relevant accounts. I’ll stream at about 6.30 all being well.

    And my upload speed might not actually be up to scratch (half a MB or so on a good day), but I’ll give it a go.

  27. For those that don’t see it, that’s great, shows its an intermittent thing obviously triggered by some factor in the team setup.
    But you can be rest assured that if it wasn’t a thing or only happened once every so often, I wouldn’t be here talking about it as a concern, I’d be off playing the game.
    Factor in that so many people all over the internet are experiencing it too, means its a thing.

    It’s irrelevant really whether its a shimmy on the wing and cut into the box for first time shot, or dribble through the middle and 30 yard shot every time, the overriding issue is that the COM’s style of play is very 1 dimensional, limited and unrealistic.

    I’m hoping that with differing tactics, different defensive setup and/or moving up the levels will nullify it a little, but right now, its very noticeable in 2 out of every 3 matches.

    Quite funny too that the DP/Patch out today that Konami claim ‘fixes logos and images on a number of teams kits’ was pulled apart by a PC Modder and he claims the only change they made was literally moving the club badge for one team in the Argentinian league about 2cm across the chest, that was it.

  28. Hmmm, just looking into it and I don’t think my upload speed will even manage a 480p stream, but I’ll give it a go.

    Paul – has the issue stopped you playing the game?

  29. No, not currently NG as I’m only 5 matches in. Ask me again in a seasons time.
    The same way that the central shooting and other bugs stopped you playing after a few seasons in 2012. But no one dismissed what was valid concerns that you had.

  30. This kinda thing. Repeatedly.
    No need for the shuffle. Should beaver I’ve been a low cross from that position.

  31. A couple of goals, just because. First is from an ex-QPR midfielder and the second a lovely looping oggy. I’ve noticed the CPU literally stick it’s neck out in an attempt to cut to cut out crosses a few times… but it can also backfire.

  32. Paul – oh I don’t disbelieve you and others – you know how interested I am in shared perceptions and beliefs and how they transmit. E.g. I’m still seeing almost no fouls, but I don’t disbelieve that you and most others are seeing plenty (by nuPES standards).

    Just recorded FA Cup 1st round match vs Huddersfield and it was a typical example of how I’ve seen the AI. 3 instances that could be described as wing obsession and low cross attempts. All other attacks a variety of positions and distributions, with the most common one being an attempted diagonal forward pass from the RMF/LMF positions to the forwards. Looking at it through neutral eyes I think I’m defending well with my fullbacks though – the AI often looks as if it wants to go wingward but I’m in the way.

    I recorded the full thing. It’s the most dreadful quality of any HDR-affected footage seen yet. Just trying to shrink the size for upload.

  33. Paul – I can see how that’s infuriating if it keeps happening it looks so unnatural.

  34. I have never seen the AI do that showboating-style display anywhere on the pitch at any time.

    Interesting all this, isn’t it? At what point will I start to see this thing – and I think I will. Maybe after I start getting AI fouls!

    Tommy – one of my favourite parts of the demo was spotting an AI defender stick his neck out to take the ball off my forward’s head and put it out for a corner.

  35. I checked my fouls stats the other day and had 1.97 average which is nowhere near the number others are seeing although more than you by the sounds of things NG.

    Just played 4 games after work and followed the tatics suggested to stop the low cross and it worked very well. Had 2 games with very different CPU style, West Brom pressed for 60 mins and scored twice before shutting up shop then Sheffield United the complete opposite, scoring two late goals after not threatening at all.

    Tommy – That OG is great, don’t recall seeing anything like that is PES past.

  36. OK, I got the full match down from 1.2GB to just 85MB by doing some serious violence to the quality. The worst 480p YouTube upload since 2008 has hit the airwaves. Not just filmed with a potato, but filmed through a potato sack. Alas, until Uncle BT switches on the superfast fibre down our way, this is the only way this video was going to be seen tonight while the debate is going on.

    Huddersfield Town vs Coventry City – with Huddersfield playing just as the AI has played in my time on PES2019 so far:

    I doubt many will watch the whole match. Of approximately 15 attacking moves by the AI, I counted 3 instances of wing-play/low cross. The AI clearly does want to go down the wing more than I will let it, though.

    I’m the white blurry shapes. Huddersfield are the yellow blurry shapes.

    I actually made a huge signing just before this match, who is making his debut. Bonus points if anyone can spot who that signing is through the 480p murk.

    I’ll delete the video in a day or so.

  37. Lasted about 30 seconds. Can’t see the ball!

  38. It’s there, it’s the small hazy cloud of pixels that keeps moving between the taller hazy clouds of pixels. DON’T hit the full-screen button. Good luck…

  39. Paul – I’m seeing the same as you. There was one passage last night when the unmarked AI winger checked backward and forth literally FIVE times, I was screaming at him to just get the fucker into the box. Get the impression that the low cross is overpowered for the player too

    not-Greg – interesting, although we are playing similar formations with the defaults for some reason your full backs are wider and deeper which cuts off some of the options. Lovely goal by Gaia, or whatever Coutinho is calling himself these days. He came up with a cool finish for me last night, although on checking the replay he had actually mishit the ball with his right foot only for it to deflect off his left into the corner

  40. abbeyhill – even more curiously (or not, depending on your view of whether PES in-match strategies are real or just busywork buttons for us to push), I was playing with Attacking Fullbacks on for most of this match, with 4/5 on the ATT/DEF levels. So in theory they shouldn’t often have been in position to block the AI’s wingophilia.

  41. Doesn’t look too bad on mine, I spotted Lincoln and someone like L Yellowjuk or something? Is it Lincoln? A 2013 classic amf but not been near my squad since.

    Never seen what Paul showed but I’m more intrigued by the beaver he’s been….

  42. Uncle Turf – my Free Agents list was missing all the Japanese you found in yours, but there were so many other players it was ridiculous. I found Lincoln – 20 years old – and a certain aged Lars Veldwijk who both used up all my salary budget between them.

    A 37-year-old Samuel Eto’o and a 33-year-old Wayne Rooney would have come, but their wages were too high.

    My interpretation is that Paul thinks he was once a beaver, but he isn’t one now, and he laments the change in his status. It’s a tragic poem.

  43. Yes, Veldwijk looked decent on his debut, seemed to hold the ball up well. There was another incident on 5.14 when the AI striker should have scorched away into space beyond Vasilj but needlessly checked back

  44. abbeyhill – it never seems to work out for returning heroes of previous PES instalments, somehow, so I will be interested to see how things go for Veldwijk in Season 1. I’ve never had Lincoln before in any PES (as far as I remember), so I’m very interested in how things go there. My Free Agents is a treasure trove of talent. Gabi is there – still 80OPR – among many many others. Disturbingly, all of them (the likes of Rooney and Eto’o too) on maximum likelihood of joining. I would only need the salary money.

  45. Haha typo victim. No beavers here. None harmed either. Just upped to top player. Will play a few matches see if there’s any change in AI approach.

  46. Eh?! How does that work then, surely free agents have always been the same. My best is a 29 yo Japanese striker on 74. Is it superstar? Random? Can’t be option file. Rooney is still at Everton and Lincoln isn’t even in my game….this has to be part of the transfer madness of 15 player pl squads

  47. Uncle Turf — I do have Classic Players set to ON. If yours is OFF, maybe that is why? Although I can’t think how. We’re using the same OF. But then again, I really am not seeing the AI’s wing-walking and low-crossing, and my AI fouls count feels worse than PES2018 at the moment. Strange indeed.

  48. I have classic players off and don’t see the japs.
    Turd. Sounds like you’ve suffered a corrupt OF install. Rooney should not be at Everton. Did you apply the live update ?

  49. Please don’t edit that. Beavers and turds in one night.

  50. Flash typing whilst playing PES. Never good. *Turf. Haha

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