Season 5 ends interestingly

Season 5. I moved to Superstar last season and have been struggling to put together enough results to mount a serious promotion challenge.

Well – I won 5 matches in a row in the month of May.

That defeat right at the end was disappointing – and a mite unfair: I’m at that stage of ML where around half the goals the AI scores are TFB goals. (Total Fucking Bullshit goals. They make me groan and swear.)

Those 5 wins saw me move up the table. Right up the table.

Here was the astounding table after 43 matches:

That’s my team in 6th (SIXTH).

(No, 21st century world, not SICKTH, as you keep wrongly saying it. SIXTH.)

After the season I have had, this is something of a miracle.

There were 3 matches left. Realistically it was between me and Leeds for that bottom playoff spot. With our currently identical W-D-L records, maintaining that healthy goal difference was the key. Oh, and winning all my matches of course.

The impossible dream of reaching the playoffs was on!

Here’s a random 45-yard free kick from Rice that cannoned (out and away) off the post. For much of my last session I thought this was going to be today’s major highlight:

I thought that was going in, until it didn’t. One day…

Back at the main event, my unlikely promotion charge, I was watching amazed as Master League table scripting kicked in. That match I lost at the end of the list above? Leeds lost their match as well. Of course they did.

It was one of those scenarios where I knew that if I kept winning my matches, I would be in the playoffs. And if I got to the play-offs, I swore to myself, this time things would be different from last time, two seasons ago, when I meekly went out in the semi-final.

Promotion this season, all of it played on Superstar, would be one of my greatest-ever PES achievements. ML table scripting or not.

The penultimate match, away to Millwall, saw me wear my lovely alternate away strip of black-grey-red for the first time all season.

A tight, tense match in which I had to defend like a sweating dog. Millwall have got Ataide up front – Classic (Brazilian) Ronaldo. Having spent so many seasons in D2, I’ve come up against Ataide several times, and each time he does indeed play like Ronaldo.

I kept him quiet this match by strict use of secondary pressure to shadow the midfield ball-carrier, whilst using my left-stick-controlled player to always stay with Ataide. It worked. I must have performed a dozen pass interceptions and/or meaty tackles on him.

This looked destined for a 0-0. I had a few chances, one of them with Gomez, dropping deep once more as per my tactical settings:

Whoomph. Pick that one out. None of yer fancy-dan R2 curling rubbish there! A traditional PES laces long-ranger.

That flew into the net at around 1am this very morning (last night really). I let out a strangled scream of surprise and amazement. Surely this was it! Surely I was going up!

My final match of the season, I was still level with Leeds on points. Away to Middlesbrough.

I went 1-0 down, but didn’t panic. I’ve been 1-0 down lots of times during this magical run. The difference now is that I relish the prospect of coming back to get a result, instead of feeling deflated by all the hard work involved. I relish having to squeeze that extra bit of juice out of all my players,.

And that was the problem. Nearly all my first-choice players were pretty much dead on their feet by half-time. I had played 3 matches in a week. Visual Fatigue as a gameplay factor is a winner in PES2019.

I forced a goal back to make it 1-1 by half-time, but catastrophically got my DMF, Rodriguez, sent off early in the second half after picking up his second yellow.

I conceded a sloppy goal soon after to make it 2-1 to them – and that’s how it stayed. My knackered players struggled to put two passes together. I don’t recall making a single chance. Defeat.

But there’s always ML table scripting, right? Maybe Leeds had lost their match as well?

Nope – on the final whistle my players all sank to the turf in dejection. Leeds had drawn their match – a heartbreaking outcome, as it meant a draw would have been sufficient for me to make the playoffs.

The final table:What a punch in the gut. After all my effort. To miss out on the playoffs by so narrow a margin felt worse than not being anywhere near them at all.

A slight consolation, the game recognised my extraordinary season and put 5 of my players in the Team of the Season:

I will make a small confession. There was a moment – more than a single moment, actually – at the end of the final game when I considered reloading and replaying the match to get the right result. Who would ever know?

I would know, and it would undermine the integrity of the narrative. So it didn’t happen. My entire season turned on the conceding of a single goal. But that’s how it has to be.

Onward. Season 6 looms, and with it a substantial watershed moment: I have to get promoted or there will be a Crunch Moment. At the end of this coming season all my key players – Gomez, Lincoln, Giorza, Castledine et al – will be out of contract. I’m already £3m in debt as it is. I can’t envisage their demands being anything less than eye-watering. I will need whatever financial boost that promotion would bring. Even that will likely be insufficient, but better than nothing. I’d get to keep a few of them. If I lose Gomez, I riot.

For Season 6 it’ll be promotion or, quite literally, bust.

Updated: 20th November 2018 — 11:52


  1. sounds like the right move, Turf – very interested to hear if the game and opponents feel much different in Championship versus your long stint in SPL. I’m on about my 154th restart now, really wish I hadn’t chosen Challenge mode but equally really keen to beat it. Yup, that community weekend should be tremendous!

  2. Cook – yes the Visual Fatigue was weighing on the AI’s back-tracking there – 5-0 down and looking it – the visual side of your run to the other box does look poor, at least one defender would have hurled himself at you in reality. And I don’t think you were really trying with the shot, were you?! I haven’t seen anything like that in my game, but then I’ve never been 5-0 up against an AI team either.


  3. Ah… What A bugger missing out on the final game of the season, great post.

    Been catching up on the blog, seems like everyone (bar Paul) is enjoying the game… I’d held off after barely touching 2018, not sure if I even made it to January of the first season(!)

    Picked up PES 2019 for £20 on the PSN sale last night and currently downloading all the PES World option files before I get started.

  4. I haven’t played PES2019, but from what I’ve seen, the problem Paul mentioned happens mostly when facing a deep defensive line. I saw this in PES18 too: when using a deep d-line, the defenders follow the strikers’ off-the-ball runs always and no matter what – and at any cost. Part of the logic is correct, as one of the priorities of a deep d-line is to eliminate the depth of the opposition’s offense; however it’s exaggerated and creates awkward situations such as seeing a defender chase the player he’s marking until he ends his run near the goal…then he just sits there, as if he’s patting himself on the back for the great job he did marking that guy, while the player with the ball is able to calmly jog into the defense, ready to shoot and completely unmarked. “That one might score, but at least THIS GUY didn’t!”

    Cook’s video merges this issue with a visibly fatigued midfield, which creates even more space for the offense to work with.

  5. Pete – hello again and whenever I think of the notional ‘expert player’ of PES or any game, it’s the likes of yourself (after seeing your Rocket League exploits up close), so it’ll be interesting to see how long Superstar will detain you.

    Orlando – good real-world analysis. The question is whether it works as a game, and it does work as a game just as PES2018 mostly did (albeit with a host of nuPES-style problems). Paul isn’t playing PES2019, remember, just commenting on goal highlights, which necessarily over-represents the ‘spaaaaaaace‘ issue relative to the game as a whole.

  6. Watching all these latest goals videos and assisted passing looks really easy. 😉

  7. Abbeyhill – good job I’m not on challenge as boro were 19th when I joined them – another total crock is that I had to wait until January to move – it treats you like a player transfer, so I had no chance to pre load contracts etc. The chairman said he was delighted to hire me and it was time for me to get promotion. Ridiculous. They have one or two decent players but they are retiring so I need to move them on, the rest are 68-72 dross. Huge squad, lots of build potential once I free up wages. I’ve already signed Buffon and Defoe – got really lucky that they dropped into regen free agency and added a few defenders as well. I need new blood across the pitch though and the youth team is awful. I won’t be able to judge the level till it’s my players in my system.

  8. Lloyd- I played 2 games last night on top player manual passing and wow full respect man!
    It was very satisfying just to work an opportunity at goal, the hardest part for me is the quick short passes sometimes it wouldn’t lock on to the closest player to the ball?
    I couldn’t imagine playing it on SS but i will definitely go back and give a proper go in the future.
    Have you ever tried advanced or manual shooting? The idea of how advanced shooting works sounds great and i tried a few years ago but because of 10 years of muscle memory i gave up pretty quick.

  9. nG – You’re correct and I wouldn’t change the visual fatigue at all despite these dysfunctional passages of play. I’ve been playing on autopilot all season and as a result have completely lost interest but Legend could be the saviour if 4 games yesterday are anything to go by.

    Still a great game of course and a good PES.

  10. Abbeyhill – sacked again? Ive lost track which team / league you’re at. What’s going to be your next move?

    Turf – getting Buffon this quickly must be beneficial though I’ve found starting OPR’s for regens are often mediocre, even for top players such as Buffon. What’s the club ranking looking like for Boro?

  11. Cook – you make Legend sound appealing. I’m doing one more season on SS before stepping up to Legend and I’ll give myself one full season on Legend to see if it’s something I want to stick to. What are your impressions of it so far?

    Max/Lloyd – I did a one off league mode on Professional last year on manual passing, the other through ball option (forgot what it’s called) and manual shooting. I like rules so having read “the rules” of what constitutes “manual” in the manual community that’s how I set up and it kind of soured my experience of manual because the through balls were “broken” (community opinion, not mine) and I just couldn’t get a handle on the shooting – counter intuitive. So full respect for going down your manual passing route; must be very satisfying but just not for me!

    Orlando / Paul – I think Orlando’s analysis could quite well be right and would be a logical explanation of what Paul rightly observes in the snippets he has seen. I think I’ve inadvertently exploited this piece of programming further: by having my centre forward as far up the pitch on my formation screen and set to counter target it keeps the centre of the AI back line deep even if the team as a whole have pushed right up. On top of that, I have centring targets on which sends multiple players goal bound when the ball is out wide, in anticipation of a cross. These players are tracked, pushing their markers back. So if I have the ball on the touchlime just inside the opposition half, I can edge down the wing a few yards and then *sometimes* if the initial space to create that scenario has been made, I can beeline towards the box into acres of space (The Paul Void) unobstructed. Another layer to this is having tactics set to counter attack.

    Cook – that is a damning indictment! One of the most extreme versions of the Red Sea.

  12. Cook – really don’t think I need to comment do I, that was appalling.
    You’ll have Jay and Ng claiming the visual fatigue was working and in evidence there, which is quite frankly ridiculous, if that happened in a top flight game, half the team would never play again, they’d be sacked, or the fans would lynch them.

    Pete/Jay’s description of why the space is appearing, ie deep back lines, tactics being used etc is well and good but again just proves my point even further that the AI has no situational awareness.

    If the COM is playing a deep back line, and the player has Centring targets on for example, meaning the COM sits back really deep and tracks players who are positioned high up the pitch, as per Jay’s example, this DOES NOT mean that they should leave the entire midfield open for players to waltz through at will.
    They should, and would in real life move players out to engage the ball carrier, make a tackle, close him down, as they are aware there is a threat if he runs in at goal.

    This is where PES Ai is awful, it has a set of instructions, determined by the tactics the player is using, and it sticks rigidly to those instructions no matter what, it doesn’t possess the awareness to be able to gauge a threat and act accordingly.

    I played FIFA last night and a match against Middlesbrough, who were 3rd, it was 1-1, I was attacking hard, the COM switched to a 5-41 and dropped loads of players behind the ball, I picked the ball up with my CMF and suddenly there was acres of space in midfield, I actually said out loud to myself “Wow, PES Midfield syndrome”, So i dribbled through the spacious Midfield and as soon as I got about 15 yards into the COM’s half, one of the COM defenders rushed out to engage me, and the man he was marking was then covered by a CB who moved across.

    Awareness of a threat, adapting to defend it, from what I have seen PES is largely unable to do this. It just sticks to the instruction an cannot deviate.

  13. Your avatar makes that response even more amusing.

    #1 – not sure what their ranking is, they’ve never been in the premier league in the game, but I can see already that players are keener to come than they were to Motherwell. I could have madrid’s right back if I had 2.5m wages spare as he is a 5 bar guaranteed signing. He was rated zero for the ‘well. Buffon and Defoe are very much welcome building blocks but they won’t be the finished article for a while and then will I have the funds to renew? I need to go up next season (this season is just trial and error).

  14. Paul – Correct, the AI is very robotic and also doesn’t seem to understand the offside rule. Some of the game play mods have helped a little but the underlying problem exists still.

    Jay – Legend is tough. High pressure, scripting nonsense, ping pong passing etc. But it is satisfying to score. Full concentration is needed so it’s not the relaxing experience PES can be at times. I have yet to play a good team though so my opinion may change, session variance etc. Give it a go in some meaningless games.

  15. I have a mini-highlights package for today’s post that I am confident will lay to rest once and for all the whole question of PMS (PES Midfield Syndrome – thank you Mr Acronym Paul). 25/10, da best eva, etc.

    Not happy this week as with work and life I haven’t actually played since Wednesday and probably won’t again now until Monday. Might get a few matches in today but I don’t like squeezing the odd few in here and there. Long, luxurious sessions are the way to do it.

  16. Lay to rest how NG?
    If it shows extended open play whereby the COM Ai actively recognises threats and adjusts accordingly, such as coming out to challenge attackers, closing space in midfield, and not just running alongside them, then im keen to see it.

    24/10 ??hahaha 4/10 maybe.

  17. #1 – still just in Ligue 2 using a variety of motley teams such as Red Star, Ajaccio, Sochaux. My trust % rating from the owner fell from 50% to 0% just 5 games into the season last night!

  18. 25/10. Best eva.

  19. 2.5/10? thats more like it 😉

  20. abbeyhill – I’m giving you purity exemption to stop playing challenge. It’s broken, it’s not necessary to use it, this is a really good pes year and you need to have some sort of good experience. Superstar, whatever house rules you want, is fine. Obviously not if you do what’s known as ‘NG fiddles’ by the good book – I’m talking winning cups on lower difficulty that you ‘forgot to adjust back up’ and the like.

    Last night when I realised Motherwell wouldn’t let me go to Boro until I’d completed another half dozen pointless games (during which I was actually offered Celtic – wtf? they’re top of the league by yards) I simmed them all. I only ever sim the Old Boys match but what would be the point of playing them.

  21. Turf – fair point, I will give myself until the end of the month but then go down to classic mode, these never ending restarts are ridiculous. Not-Greg must be on some fairly severe house rules this year to have such an awful squad in season 6, no?

  22. abbeyhill – wait till you see my new S6 lineup…

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