Category: Schwarz

The good cheer mirror

This is Season 4 of my Master League career as Coventry City in PES2011. It’s been a pretty tough career so far. In my first three seasons I never finished higher than 14th in Division 2.

But now I’m top of the league after 13 matches, and looking a good bet for promotion:

I’ve scored more goals than any other team. I have conceded more than I should, but still few enough to get the results.

After you’ve scored a goal in Master League, the CPU often storms up to your end at once, and grabs a goal while you’re still mentally celebrating. I don’t care how often it happens in real life, it happens far too often in PES. But it is defensible, and I am defending it—and other typical situations—a lot better than I was.

Some matches are more rewarding than others, of course. In amongst the tough 1-0 and 2-1 wins, I’ve handed out the odd thrashing. Foremost among the thrashings was a 5-0 demolition job on Rosenborg. They have been a bit of a bogey team for me so far, so it was particularly satisfying:

I’m not showing off any of the goals from that match today. This is because I’m recording every goal I score this season for a special bumper video of goals. They’ll all be in that. I think there’s going to be a lot of goals to show. I’ll only show a few goals between now and that video.

PES2011: has it suddenly become too easy for me? This is the burning issue. It’s also a bit of a false issue at the moment, as I remain on Professional difficulty. Whatever happens in the remainder of this season, whether I get promoted or not, I’ll be going up to Top Player difficulty for season 5.

The goals feel as if they’re flying in. Already I can see that a certain kind of goal is worryingly common: a one-two followed by a through-ball for a striker to pass the ball into the net, Jimmy Greaves-style.

I rarely score any from outside the box now, a bit of an inversion from last year. I’ll return to talk about this once I finish the season and video, and get to see all the goals in chronological order.

I’m not really complaining (for now). My star player, Schwarz, finished last season as top scorer. He’s looking likely to do the same this season:

11 goals in 13 matches is a decent strike rate. I’m still not in the Cup (and haven’t been since season 1), so all my action is league action.

The current assists table makes for pleasant viewing too:

Unless something drastic happens to my form, this is going to be my promotion season. I make a lot of noise about my averageness at PES, but if I don’t get promoted from this position then I might as well turn in my joypad.

As mid-season approaches, I’ve got a few transfers lined up. I’ll cover them next time.

Today I’ve got one goal to show in advance of the end-of-season extravaganza—a curious kind of lobbed half-volley from my very useful reserve striker, Ciurmira (cheer mirror, Jon Champion calls him):

Link: PES2011 - semi-automatic lob

I enjoyed scoring that one. Lobs and chips of any kind are always apt to put a smile on my face. But I had, and still have, reservations about the goal. Because I didn’t actually do anything to bring about that result. I just pressed a button and watched the outcome. I was expecting a standard kind of volley, really.

I think that such misgivings are probably best discarded, to be frank. Abstracted control schemes are necessary for games to exist at all. How else are we to play any games, particularly sports games? It’s all a magic shadow-show, in the final analysis. I wouldn’t sit at a play and seethe about everybody on stage all being actors.

I think that a certain rushed-to-market, hideously disfigured, un-PESlike next-gen game that came out a few years ago is haunting my PES gaming like Banquo’s ghost.

It’s all PES2008’s fault, is what I’m trying to say. I’m more than happy with PES2011 and with the overall feel of my Master League right now. But the spectre of PES2008 simply won’t leave me alone.

Whenever I see anything in PES2011 I dislike, I sense PES2008’s clammy hand at my throat, and I hear its mocking laughter. Nothing has been the same since that fateful year of 2007.

Maybe I’ll get over it.

Schwarz is back

Well okay, he looks like a rejected cast member from a glossy soap opera of the 1980s, but he’s the best player in my PES2011 Master League career so far. He’s Schwarz, of course. And yes, I do mean for his picture to be this big:

(Is that a cold sore on his lower left lip? I’m not sure I want to know.)

I’ve passed through the transfer window and come out the other side. I’ve sold a few to bulk out my coffers with an eye on the end of the season. To keep the squad numbers up, I brought in a couple of new players—all Youths.

My existing players are ticking over nicely, for the most part. There are still a few Default duffers to get rid of.

Shawki and Nicolita are Youth teamsters. I believe that Shawki is the PES2011 version of Shaw, the celebrated, silky-skilled midfielder of fairly recent PES vintage. It’s not just the name, but the face and the overall look. I hope so. I was always a Shaw fan.

N’Gog continues to be good, and Bellion is a very able deputy. But there’s only one Sheriff in this town, and he goes by the name of Schwarz.

He doesn’t have a first name. It could be anything.

Schwarz first came to our collective attention in the fabled Year of PES5—a year that the series has been trying to live up to ever since. Schwarz, too, has been mostly living on his reputation for the past couple of years.

The PES cognoscenti like to say of PES2011, “PES is back”, but that’s still open for debate in my view. What is slightly less open for debate, in my opinion, is a similar proposition: “Schwarz is back”.

I have proof. I’ve played 29 matches of season 3—

—-and I’m in a miserable, lowly position of 13th. I’ll do well just to finish in the top half of the table.

And yet Schwarz is top of the goalscorers’ chart with 15 goals.

(Yes, if I’d defended better this season, I’d be up there scrapping for honours. Maybe next season.)

His stats are special for a 20-year-old and only going to get better.

He scores what I think of as signature Schwarz goals. Mostly bread-and-butter strikes, peppered with occasional piledrivers that light up the whole game and galvanise a whole session. I’ve already posted an example of the spectacular. But as with any great striker, his more frequent contributions are more straightforward. This is a typical Schwarz goal:

Link: A typical PES2011 Schwarz goal

The lad’s got it all. What does the future hold? At some stage he will inevitably bottom out, but not right now. Below is his current growth chart.

One thing’s for sure. I won’t be parting with Schwarz, no matter how perilous the finances get.

What this pledge means, of course, is that I’m declaring ahead of time that I won’t accept the game selling Schwarz from under me if I ever do get into trouble.

And because I have a strict no-reloading house rule, if that ever happened I’d have to abandon this career.

But I won’t let it happen.

Pre-season 2019

The 2019 season is almost here and it’s time to discuss my attitude towards Regens in Master League. At this stage of a career the established players who populated the game at the beginning all start to retire. I’m thinking of the likes of Rooney, Torres, Gerrard, Kaka—all among the very best players that the game has to offer. Lots of PES players forbid themselves from having Regens or Classic players

My policy on Regens and Classic players is simple: I’m allowed to have them. Next-gen PES2008 and a certain Mr Elcherino apart, they’re not overpowered for me in ‘original’ PES and they never have been. I’m only an average PES player and the Regens don’t ruin my game—they enhance it. Part of the fun of playing an ML career indefinitely all year, as I do, is bearing witness to the comings and goings of the great players. When Rooney retires—as he will in the next few seasons—and returns as a 17-year-old, will he be as good or better than he was the first time around? In my experience, the Regens are usually better, because you get the opportunity to develop them from the start of their new career or soon afterwards. That’s if you can get them as soon as they regenerate, of course.

You have to keep a close eye on the Youth list to catch the Regens you want as soon as they regenerate. Otherwise an AI club will swoop in for them and you’ll end up having to pay a king’s ransom further down the line. But sometimes that’s okay. If I’ve got a large squad and I’m always playing big games, a raw 17-year-old won’t get many appearances. Often it’s more efficient to let a young player develop at another club for a few seasons before trying to get him. By this stage of an ML career, money is usually no object.

Thierry Henry was sitting in the Non-Affiliated list just waiting to be picked up. He’s 20 years old. Obviously he must have popped up as a Regen a few seasons ago and I somehow missed seeing him (which was very sloppy of me). The peculiar thing is that no AI club snapped him up, which is what usually happens to the great Regens. Never mind. I was happy to find him waiting for me to give him a home.

Another striker I picked up, albeit on a ‘proper’ transfer, was a 24-year-old Christian Vieri. This player was a semi-legend for me back in the halcyon days of PES5. He’s only young at the moment and looking good again. I offered his club Shevchenko+a few thousand points for him, and of course they took my offer. Shevchenko was disappointing for me. He always seemed rather lightweight on the ball, and he lacked his legendary pace. In a game where every great attacking player has got explosive pace, Shevchenko just seemed rather ordinary. Maybe next time, Andriy.

Back in the Non-Affiliated list (I do flit around among these lists during a transfer period) I found a quality centre-back called Runzal, and added him to my squad. Last season I just felt I was conceding too easily too often. I still don’t know what is at greater fault, my carelessness or the more open, attacking play of PES2008. It’s probably a mix of both, but a top-quality extra CB won’t hurt.

Back in the Youth list proper, I couldn’t see any legends reborn. So I located and got a couple of solid old PES names—Chivu and Caracciolo. Chivu will be a good replacment for Roberto Carlos at LB when the latter eventually ages and declines, as he will inevitably do at some stage. Caracciolo was a great striker for me on next-gen PES2008—yes, yes, yes, everyone is a great striker on the shallow next-gen PES2008, but I’m curious to see how the big man performs here in a classic PES. These two are both 17, so their opportunities in the coming few seasons will be limited. I will try to play them whenever I feel I can get away with it, though.

Regarding my First XI, it’s time to make a long-overdue decision. Kim Cyun Hi has to go and sit on the bench, at least for now. He’s been a very good striker but, for me, hardly the prodigious talent that other PES players have found him to be. I suppose it comes down to differing play-styles as well as a certain random element within individual Master League careers. I’m sure Kim will be an excellent stand-in striker when called upon, as he often will be.

Schwarz therefore returns to his natural role in the centre of my strikeforce. Thinking back across all the PES years, I’ve always played with a big man in the middle of my front three. The last few seasons with Kim Cyun Hi in that position have been exceptions. So I’m going back to my roots.

Del Piero has now got too good to be left out of the First XI. He’s 24 right now in my Master League, and a true phenomenon. Leaving him out of my First XI now would be a crime against Pro Evolution Soccer. He’s not a natural CF but he’s always played superbly there when required. I’ll pick him in place of Andy Cole, who also drops to the bench.

Giggs is irreplaceable out there on the left. I’ve always regarded Stoichkov in PES3 as the best left-sided striker I’ve ever played with in PES, but Giggs could take that crown. It’ll be another few seasons before I can be sure, but the boy is a real wonder.

Back in the centre of defence, Couto has been good but not great. Runzal, my new CB, is statistically worse than Couto, but I want to develop Runzal, so in he comes.

I had to release some players. I had no further need for Larsson, Jong-a-Pin, and Laurito. This leaves my squad at a very healthy 28 players. I think this is the optimum number necessary for what will be a very ambitious season 2019.

In 2019 I want to win the Treble, and last the whole league season unbeaten, and concede less than 20 goals. We’ll see how all of that goes…

Pre-season 2017

Season 2016 was a good one. I won the Treble—League, Cup, European Cup—but it left me unsatisfied for a lot of reasons.

Number one was that I felt I shouldn’t have won the Treble. I messed up the start of the league season and should never have been able to overtake the CPU team at the top. When PES indulges in macro-scripting, it’s often not very subtle about it.

What does it all mean for season 2017 and beyond? It means that I now want to win a proper Treble. I want to win it in style. I want to dominate in the league and win it comfortably. I’d like one of my players to take the Golden Boot (my early money’s on Andy Cole to do that). I also want to move my team up to #1 in the overall club rankings. I can’t believe Barcelona are at #1. They’ve done nothing of note in this Master League. Nothing.

After several negotiations periods where I didn’t get any new players, I felt that I should at least have a look for some. My squad is great—some of my players are at the very top of their game and could be described as brilliant—but overall things feel a little stale. Also, I do have some lightweights. A couple of my players never seem to get a game and remain underused and underdeveloped. Larsson in particular—a great PES striker—has suffered from lack of use. On the odd occasions throughout the seasons when international callups, injuries, and fatigue have forced me to use him, I’ve found him to be a player of low ability compared to the rest of my team. It shows, sometimes painfully.

I’d like to offload Larsson, and by this stage Donk, for some replacements with considerably better stats. Money is certainly no object. Even after my mammoth wages bill is taken into account, I’ve got a staggering 150,000+ points to play with, as the blurry picture shows. Could I get it up to 1,000,000 before PES2009 comes out? I think I could. (But would it go up to 1,000,000? I don’t think there’s room for another digit there.)

I called up the list of All Players, and sorted according to the Attack stat. I was pleased to note that I already had most of the top-rated players in my squad. Shaw was the top-rated according to Attack. I’d never managed to get him despite many years of trying. He’s 25 now, and still just young enough for it to be worth getting him. If I leave it any longer he’ll be in decline.

I forget which club he was at. It wasn’t one of the big ones—it was somebody like Parma. Whoever it was, I offered them 40,000 points plus Larsson. I offered Shaw himself a salary of 3000 points, eight hundred more than my next-best-paid player, Schwarz. I thought I was bound to get Shaw. I’d just won the Treble. My club ranking was second only to Barcelona. There was no reason why he wouldn’t come, surely?

He wouldn’t come. Or his club wouldn’t deal. I don’t know which it was. (Another innovation I’d love to see in PES2009: detailed reasons why transfer bids break down.) What should I amend for my next offer? The points offered, the player offered, the salary offered, what? There was no way of knowing for sure.

So I played safe and bumped up the points on offer to the maximum possible. 59,999. I don’t know why you can’t offer any more points than that. 59,999 seems a pretty arbitrary figure to me. If it’s limited to five digits, why not 99,999? Anyway, I offered Larsson in part exchange again, and this time I offered Shaw 3500 salary points. And once again it was all refused.

I gave up at that point. I was also trying for a couple of other players as well. The excellent Bos would have been a welcome addition to my defence, but he turned his nose up at all offers. Khumalo wouldn’t come for any money. Nobody wanted to come to me. I don’t know what it was, and I didn’t care to find out. I skipped all the remaining negotiations weeks. To hell with them. I’ve got a great squad anyway. Larsson can still be built up into a great player. I played my one pre-season friendly, against Rangers (a 1-1 draw), and moved onto the season proper.

On the First XI front, it’s time for Andy Cole to become an automatic first choice. He’s just too good. He’s not just a handy goal-poacher, as he was in real-life (when he was in the right mood). He’s also fast, skilful, and unerringly just there, in the right place, at the right time, to get crucial goals. I think he could win the Golden Boot in this coming season. We shall see.

Kim Cyun Hi moves to his natural position of central striker. There’s a sense in which Kim Cyun Hi is on trial for me this season. He came highly recommended, but so far I’ve only seen flashes. He is still very young, and probably has yet to fully mature. When he’s been great for me, he’s been great for me down the middle, and he’ll get a full season to prove his worth.

Dropping Schwarz to the bench for the sake of Kim Cyun Hi might seem a bit foolhardy, but it’s a bit of a no-brainer for me. As good as Schwarz is (and he’s very good), I just never seem to get the best out of him. He scores a lot fewer goals than I think he should. And I can see that Kim Cyun Hi, if used correctly, is a striker more in keeping with my pass-and-move style of play.

Otherwise I’m making no changes to the First XI. It’s largely a cosmetic selection anyway, as ever. Very few games will see this exact team take to the field. Over on the left of midfield, I did look long and hard at Dos Santos. He’s 28 now and his best years are almost behind him. However, I don’t have any other dedicated left-footed AMFs in my squad (something to shop for in the mid-season), so he keeps his place for now.

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