Have Some Heart


Disclaimer: The below article is based on what I “believe” will be incorporated into your Master League with the heart system in PES 2014. This is purely speculation. 

It’s Anfield in November. You’re coaching Liverpool, and you’re currently in seventh place. Gerrard, Coutinho, Suarez, and Sturridge have proven to be a formidable combination at home, yet have struggled on the road. The good news, though, is that you’re coming off back-to-back wins, and team morale is high. You also have a fantastic home crowd where the Anfield faithful have lifted your squad game-in and game-out. The bad news? It’s matchday and Manchester City is warming up across the field. They’re undefeated and sitting atop the league with Aguero and Yaya Toure already proving to be the blue’s (and league’s) most dangerous one-two. 

You study Manchester City’s starting lineup and strategize. You could try and outscore the Blue Monster, go in guns blazing and hope for the best, but you’re smarter than that. You know Manchester City has been lighting up every team they’ve faced in the EPL, and they’re showing no signs of slowing down. What do you do?  

Then it hits you. Maybe you can’t outplay an in-form Manchester City, but what if you can take them off their game? What if you focus on cutting out the heart of the opponent by swarming and frustrating Yaya Toure and Aguero? Essentially nullifying their one-two punch. You tinker with your formation and tactics and send out your starting eleven, a game plan firmly in mind. 


The first half is a war, a back and forth barn burner that sees your defense and midfield doing what they set out to do – stopping Yaya Toure and Aguero from playing their game. You rough-up Aguero, forcing him to miss shots and get out of rhythm, and as you do, his heart slowly depletes. Yaya Toure is more difficult to break down, but you manage to nullify his transition game and pick off his passes, until he too is losing steam. Soon Manchester City is arguing amongst themselves as team morale lowers. Vincent Kompany and Joe Hart try to rally their squad, but to no avail, as the Anfield stadium is too loud and alive. Liverpool is fired up, and they’re playing great. 

Gradually, as Manchester City loses heart, their play begins to dip, and unlike form, which you can overcome through savvy playing (as it just lowers stats), heart affects the intangibles, forcing more mistakes in the areas of shooting, passing, and dribbling. In other words, if your team loses heart, it’s an uphill battle to bring your team to victory (especially on the road where you don’t have home fans to lift your team back up). Manchester City is making more mistakes now, and Liverpool is quick to capitalize on their vulnerable opponent when Coutinho sends in a perfect ball over the top to Suarez. Suarez passes it over to Sturridge, who hammers it home for a goal, beating Hart at the near post. The crowd goes absolutely mad with excitement. Manchester City’s heart is all but gone as the first half is almost over, while Liverpool’s heart is through the roof. 


In the second half, Manchester City plays smarter, slower, and they manage to lift their heart up a bit, forcing a momentum shift and keeping Liverpool on their back foot. Aguero nearly scores as the ball deflects off the post in the 70th minute. Soon after, Manchester City’s Jovetic finds a loose ball from Fernandinho in the box and puts it away, leveling the match, 1-1. It’s now the 78th, and Liverpool’s heart is dipping, but Gerrard stays consistent and full of motivation. He knows he has to step up, and soon he does. In the 84th minute, he stops Yaya Toure in the middle of the field and pushes the ball out to Suarez, who breaks through on goal before getting fouled from behind near the box. Manchester City’s Kompany sees a second yellow and is sent off. The crowd goes wild. Gerrard steps up to take the freekick and smashes it on goal, but Joe Hart comes up with a massive save. The crowd can’t believe it. Everyone is on their feet, when the ball is pushed back out to Coutinho, who lays it off to Gerrard, who steps up and buries it in the side corner. Liverpool is now 2-1 up, and the crowd is electric. 

Manchester City tries to rally but Liverpool has too much momentum, and the Blues are held off 2-1 as the final whistle blows. The Anfield faithful cheer as Liverpool celebrates their biggest win of the season. A victory that came not from simply trying to outscore the opponent, but by systematically breaking down a stronger side through shrewd tactics. By taking their key players out of their game and using their dip in heart to spread like a virus through their whole team, they turned an unbeatable superpower into a beatable team with average abilities. It’s something we’ve never seen before in a soccer game, something that can only be achieved through the new heart system in Master League, and it’s something we see in real life all the time. It’s an exciting new system that makes it even more rewarding to use less powerful teams, made even sweeter when you return to the ML home screen to find your team on the cover of a newspaper with the caption “DOWN GOES MAN CITY!” It looks like Konami has finally implemented a system that makes your Master League that much more realistic and even more addictive. Now here’s hoping the editing tool allows us to create Anfield. 

The Heart system is a new feature in Pro Evolution 2014 that affects your team’s day-to-day morale in Master League. It can be turned off and will not be featured in online matches.