Master League 2020

Here we go, here we go, here we go. The real game starts here.

Coventry City. Master League. Defaults.

My general Master League settings:Professional was absurdly lightweight and lasted for 1 game before I went up to Top Player.

They’ve re-zoned the difficulties this year. Instead of progression being Professional/Top Player/Superstar, it’s going to be Top Player/Superstar/Legend.

This will be home until the club realistically gets big enough to move to another stadium:My starting Formation and First XI has a wonderfully familiar look. It’s funny, when this lot of Defaults made their debut in PES2016 – I didn’t like them. Then I grew to quite like them… Now I love them. As beloved as Dodo & co.? Not quite, but not too far off.Not all Defaults are created equal of course. For every Castledine and Rice there’s a Driessen and a Hervey – and even they probably have their fans.

Personally I’m not sure about Goios, and I’ve never seen the point of Pallister, but I’m giving them a go.

If you go through the Defaults one by one and look at their stats and skills, the ones who stand out tend to be the ones you already love – but there are others who need a chance to shine. I am interested in the likes of Redmond and Karlsen and plan to keep them around for a few seasons at least.

I forgot to mention, I picked this manager avatar:My 3 kits, as supplied by regular commenter Paul, whose PESFX site is a repository for many bespoke kits.

Above from left to right: my traditional brown 3rd kit (an unofficial homage to the infamous 1979-80 CCFC brown kit; forget Lady Godiva and The Specials, the ‘excrement kit’ is one of the few things that non-Coventrians know about Coventry).

The other two kits are the current official CCFC kits, Away and Home respectively.

The game has picked Arcas to model the kits on the pre-match screen of every match so far – including a match where he wasn’t even on the bench. Weird.And so to business. The presentation of information in Career Mode is pretty much replicated in PES2020.In a hypothetical court case between EA and Konami, who would sue whom and for what? Did ISS invent the through-ball? Did PES invent the career mode-style mode as we have come to know it? Was Career Mode a rip-off of Master League, and if it was, does that let Master League off the hook for ripping off Career Mode nowadays? What a court case it’d be!

Something else that PES is mimicking from FIFA: no AI fouls. All the fancy shielding and dribbling mechanics are irrelevant when the opponent can just barge into you without consequence.

We all knew it was going to happen, and it has happened.

I’m aware that some people are getting AI fouls, enough to satisfy them. That doesn’t alleviate my suffering when the AI fouls count per match in my maiden Master League session was like this: 0, 0, 1, 1, 0. Which puts PES2020 alongside the worst for fouls that I have ever known in PES.

There are signs that this might pick up as my familiarity with the game picks up. I’m not in total despair just yet. But I am watching the PC scene keenly and waiting for news of a ‘fouls mod’. Most of the time those mods are just moonshine of course, but you never know.

Overall, PES2020 plays a great game. I love the ‘miss-kicks’, whether or not that’s a miss-spelling. Individuality is good. Shooting is fantastic – so many times I pull the trigger with my player poorly positioned, in a way that would have produced a shot on target (or a goal) in previous years. In PES2020, I very often see such shots going out for a throw-in. On BASIC shooting…

Here is a little 1m 50s digest of my opening few matches, with a few goals scored – none of them special. But Jarvis gets off the mark, and my three kits are all showcased.

Master League is the gift that keeps on giving. Nothing can stop it.

Updated: 13th September 2019 — 10:31


  1. nG – Only since going back to assisted. First 5 games was TP on manual, then Pro on manual for two more before I gave in.

  2. The diversity in everyone’s struggles with the defaults is great. I could read them all day.
    Castledine still holding up for me. Rice in rotation. Arcas has his moments but there is something unlikeable about him. I’m wondering if any will be left after a couple of seasons.
    I signed the same youth teamers as Paul just by name and skillset from previous games.

  3. prsgame — I’ve stubbornly played Castledine on the left where he has shone for me in the last two PESes. I might try him central to see if there’s anything there. The Myth of Castledine could become a new thing.

    And this

    Arcas has his moments but there is something unlikeable about him

    is so weirdly true.

    I’m keen to try a few of the other Unknown Defaults before any post-season Great Culling happens. I’ve stumbled upon E Canning, who feels very Ruskin-like at LB. I spotted Texeira in the Youths who was a sterling LB for me in PES2019, but I can’t do reruns for Youths. Harrington is there but being left alone too.

  4. Arcas and Hettich could be twin brothers!!

    I often nose about on for unearthing players with key skills. very useful.

  5. nG – Re: Castledine central; There isn’t.

    Hard to judge the defaults as I’ve been feeding off scraps for the first half of the season. Castledine and Arcas have had a couple of moments, but mostly absent (especially Ed). Arcas the pick the litter, though. With my squad being poor and all the talk of release fees, I signed Arcas, Castledine, Gioza and Sahnoune onto new contracts. Wage-wise they were roughly the same, so I’ll keep them for a bit longer. Hettich has gone. Utterly useless.

    There is one youth, Mogridge, that I’ve been thinking of bringing in. He looks ok and is developing well.

  6. My line up is my usual 3-5-2 – the 2 wide men of the 5 drop back as Glenn Hoddle era wing backs so need to be among my best players. Consequently I signed the two relatively young free agents from the small start pile (I didn’t apply the update, so it’s headed by Tevez.

    Federici on loan – back 3 of Vasilj in the middle (the best by far), Giorza and Erikson, Hettich in dmf very deep (does a job, not looking to replace him yet but his shooting is always awful), those 2 lmf, rmf dudes, Rice cmf buzzing away and Castledine amf in the ‘hole’, Arcas SS, Jarvis CF. The only subs I’d really use is a CF just to give Jarvis a break, Sahoune and one of the youths I picked up. I think that Hettich, Rice, Castledine midfield axis is alright.

  7. No Love for Seiffert? Useful anywhere on right.

    Castledine is middle for me, always a 7 out of 10.
    Arcas has a Zlatan attitude without the skills to back it up. He’s a cash cow to finance the big rebuild in season 2 or 3

  8. Read this line in the Operations Sports review of PES 2020, with similar sentiments in other reviews:

    Unfortunately, and much to the dismay of pretty much the entire community, “regens” (players who retire after year one such as Gigi Buffon or Carlos Tevez) will reappear as 15-17 year-old players in your youth squad. These can still ruin some of the fun of a long-term Master League career.

    I bloody love the regents and I’m pretty sure most of us here do too!


    That’s my squad at the moment.
    Don’t think I’ll do anymore changes in January transfer window, unless again they will activate release clause on someone. The most I’m afraid to lose Giorza or Arcas at the moment, as their clause is less than their value.

  10. Seabass – regens annoy me, its counter-immersive to the whole ML experience having a Famous player reincarnated as a highly skilled 16yr old with an old face and all the skills they had at their prime.

    FIFA does regens right, players come back as a different name, and have the ‘potential’ to reach the same level as their famous conterpart, but you have to develop them to get them to obtain similar skills and traits.

    Much better.

  11. I’ve never felt that ML is in any way realistic. It’s always been this weird fantasy world, with Pele rubbing shoulders with a teenage Peter Crouch for St Ettiene in the Champions League. That’s part of the fun – a 16 year old Riquelme – awesome!
    I guess it’s partly because I’m a big Football manager player which is very much grounded in reality to minute detail.

  12. I didn’t necessarily mean Regens had to be true to life realistic Seabass, I’d have no problem with them if they came back as 16yr olds with appropriate stats and not many traits, but they dont, they come back as 73 OVr rated and loaded with first-time shot, scotch move, sombrero flick, driven shots etc.

    I’d just like to see the regends/youth setup revamped.
    Be able to hire staff, have an U21 side, put youths in there, have them play in a competitive U21 league, get scout reports on their development etc, promote them to senior side, oir loan out with clauses that they must play at least 50% of matches etc.

  13. Regens. I love and I hate them. The fun is having young superstars that you know and love, and still having those players in your game past retirement age. Without, you’d have the likes of Buffon and Robben around for only one season, and then they’re gone. A world full of made-up fake players would get boring pretty quickly. What’s wrong with regens is how quickly they develop. I know Totti is going to be world class, I don’t need him to be 95ovr at 18 years old!

    I don’t think you should get rid of regens, they’re part of the PES Master League DNA. But an option to turn them off would be nice.

    What year was it we had the option to turn real names off, and have a ML world full of fakes? 2012 or something…? Or am I imagining things…?

  14. I’m 100% in favour of Regens, not a shadow of a reservation about them at all. Regens are a big part of what makes ML for me. If they ever removed them, a massive slice of ML would go with them. My most recent ML would never have been the same without the likes of Forlan and Gomez and Mascherano and many others, all Regens, and that goes for all MLs I’ve played. Agree that the mode should give you the option not to have them in the ML world though — and an option for them not to come back with all their skills. I’d actually choose this one and would enjoy restoring them to greatness myself.

    Tommy — you’re not imagining that there was an ML with a totally fake world option, can’t remember which one though, and again it’d be nice as an option.

    abbes — another vote for Mogridge there I see. Unpleasantly reminiscent of Jacob Rees-Mogg or not, he sounds intriguing.

  15. My d2 is made up of peu teams (edited to be Bundesliga 2 sides) so fictional players a go go, also homebrew classics. A bit of tweaking tonight and vfl osnabruck are good to go!

  16. Werd – going all werd-like there I see 😉 great! I’m assuming you’re going to go with one of the legend managers?

    Re. Regens- never gave them a second thought really. They’re part and parcel for the ML world as a whole to me. Couldn’t do without them but don’t see why they couldn’t be an option

  17. I’m stuck with planning my ML tonight but hoping to get going tomorrow. No rush this year.

    One quick question, can you change manager avatars mid-season?

  18. Shed – no, it’s a final pick for all time. I went with an old-school non-name manager. Although ‘D Pleasence’ is a famous name too of course. The Japanese have an affinity for cult film stars.

  19. NG – that they do. One of my all time favourite strategy games is tactics ogre ( from the same team that made final fantasy tactics) and one of the recruitable characters is called Donald presence. bit of japanglish sprinkled on there…he’s a priest as well.

  20. NG- The formation being listed as defensive is in respect to the Game plan screen. If you cycle through the 3 formations 1 and 3 are offensive and 2 is defensive. The system is to give you 2 differing offense and 1 defensive to be easily selected and telegraphed on screen. There’s your useless information for the day!

  21. One season – two injuries. I’m in shock.
    Also tactical foul from CPU when i’ve been going for one on one and straight red card. Love it again.

  22. I moved Castledine into the middle. AMF, just behind the front two – another notch forward and he’d be an SS.

    Result? Result!

    ‘Only’ on Professional of course, and an R2 long-ranger rather than a laces long-ranger, but I was starting to worry even these were no longer possible.

    And it’s Castledine! He’s not been nerfed. He just needs to be in the action this year.

    I had to share that tonight. It’ll be in a mini-compilation of goals and highlights in Tuesday’s post.

  23. Yes, that’s his position, he doesn’t have the uncertain versatility of castolis and can lock up that position against all those identikit amfs. I signed new contracts with rice, arcas and hettich last night. I’m not reckoning I’ll get to bring in many quickly. The only issue I have with regens is when you get so many top draw ones that you can afford to ignore youth regens of players like Robbie Keane, Jermaine Defoe, eto’o etc etc. It detracts from their value.

  24. Nice finish NG, I came close last night with one of those.

    Also bagged my first Free Kick, Courtesy of Arcas, who’s becoming my standout player.

    Was messing with the broadcast settings and missed the actual live taking of the FK, just captured the replays.

    Its all clicked for me now, up until now I was still fiddling with difficulty, camera angles etc and wasn’t fully settled into my ML, but I am now.

    Last nights 5 game session was glorious, 4 wins and a draw, some sultry football being played, maybe upping to Top Player again won’t be too far away.

    I’ve also put the player names over the heads, and reinstated the power bar, which definitely helped for my FK goal.

  25. #1 – nope, seeing as I cant make my own avatar I plumped for the bloke who looks like Takashi Miike 🙂 My usual RWF red haired 20 year old me is present including a player from NAC Breda/PSV you may remember back in the day, Vonlanthen?
    T. Schumacher at Koln and Rudi Voller et al.

    Just had time to watch the press conference last night complete with Anna Friel and 2DF sponsors 🙂 Match 1(one) starts tonight!

    NG – Tasty goal

  26. Paul – Lovely free kick and so close with that dipping, swerving effort. I’ve been very impressed with shooting so far.

    Applied an option file and started a ML up to the eve of the first fixture before saving, quitting and playing a few friendlies with the defaults last night. They are indeed awful but I managed a win on Top Player so I might set my ML matches at that level.

    A slightly disappointing variety of stadia has led me to base my Brighton side in the Withdean athletics stadium era for now. I might ply them with some Skint-sponsor era kits if Paul is still taking requests at some point.

  27. Cheers Shed, shame I didnt capture the actual live taking of the FK, was a better viewing angle.

    Yeah let me know what you want and I’ll sort you some kits out.

  28. Paul – Thanks very much. I’ll email you over a couple of pics if that’s okay.

    Werd – Looks like we’ll both be kicking off our MLs tonight then. I went with the baldy Italian mobster looking avatar in the end. Very odd and limited selection to choose from. I much referred the create-your-own option.

  29. Thats fine shed, email them to me, I’ll try and get them done today so you can start your ML with them tonight.

  30. Werd – I do remember him! From his PSV days mainly. Vonlanthen, Swiss bald guy if I’m not mistaken. Haha that is so very werd-like that you would include him.

    None of the managers look like Dutch mid-thirty guys at all so maybe I’ll go with Cruyff or Gullit. Cruyff seems a bit morbid though…
    Proper start will commence today. Contemplating starting with AC Milan in SerieB. Change of pace from the English leagues for once.

  31. Uncle Turf – I’m very pleased to have found Castledine’s position. Coincides with me ‘clicking’ with Professional all round. Goals and highlights comp in today’s post shows me running riot in last night’s late late session.

    Paul – I think I get PES2020 now – the intricacy, you can’t hold onto the ball for as long as in previous ones (very PES2011-ish), etc. and I’ll be back on Top Player tonight for sure.

    Shed/#1 – remember when there was no avatar at all! I preferred that

  32. NG – You can hold on to the ball you just have to go about it in different ways.

    Almost tempted to re-start ML and make tactical changes, because every english side more or less has their tactics set to Deep defensive line, which means as soon as they lose the ball all their players retreat back in a rigid line deep into their own box, and you constantly get that situation of having the ball in the AMF position and trying to weave little passes through a packed box.

    As for keeping the ball, its all about putting your players body between the ball and the defender, shielding it, using R2 to close control and passing it off, or turning the defender.

    My worry about TP is the insane constant pressure, professional gives you more time, you can look up and play a pass or dribble, on Top Player as soona s you get the ball the COM hunts you down and pressures you meaning every match is a ‘get rid of thew ball quickly, and try 1-2 give and go’s every attack’ type scenario, which gets repetitive and frustrating.

  33. I’ll get the first season finished today in a respectable 12th or so on Top Player.

    I don’t feel I’ve put in any more hours than usual but the games have flown in. Is that a good game or streamlining somewhere?

  34. Paul – i have done that (removing deep defensive line on almost all teams) going off forum-talk and it makes ALL the difference, trust me on this. You would lose your progress but I think it’s worth it in the long run. Takes all of 20 minutes to fix.

    NG – i actually so remember that. Simpler times…sometimes I dislike having so many options.

    As for top player behaving like it does – wasn’t this the case on Pes 17 as well? I distinctly remember a recent Pes where mostly everyone skipped over top player because it was such a frustrating difficulty level..

  35. Bad news for anyone currently enjoying the game I have just bought it!

  36. Yeah cheers Darryl. Great.

    It’s over.

  37. Oh No Darryl. 😉

    #1 – Do you see much more varied defending from the COm with it off?

  38. Shed – Kit files below.

    I could not find a high res, or even low res copy of the old skint logo anywhere!!!
    So I had to draw it, hopefully doesnt look too bad in game.


  39. Paul that I did. Simply put they don’t retreat to their back line immediately anymore but also engage you in midfield.

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