In my Beginner’s guide to PES Club Manager, I mentioned in the final post that I have not played in the Survival League yet. Recently on 20th March, the Survival League event dropped by again and will end on the 10th April. Since this event does not come by regularly, I took the opportunity to finally play this game mode for the first time.
I wouldn’t call this the hardest game mode in PES Club Manager. That title should really go to online cups. But what makes the Survival League notorious is the challenge of managing your players’ stamina.
Introduction to Survival League
Before I go into my experiences in the Survival League, let me explain what this game mode is all about. Survival League is an event available only for players in Top Player Division or higher. It is made up of 5 levels. At the beginning, you will start at level 1. To progress to level 2, you need to finish first in the league. If you don’t win the league, you stay at your current level. If you complete all 5 levels, you will complete the entire Survival League.
Survival League is quite similar to domestic leagues. There are no user teams and you will face 9 other AI teams in each level. However, there are no cup tournament, sponsors and football agent offer. Certain event features in PES Club Manager are also disabled while you are playing in the Survival League. I was not able to take part in National Team Challenge Spin Tour and Secret Drops Spring event during my time playing this game mode.
Survival League is all about managing your squad like in real life. You have completely NO access to recovery kits. Recovery kits (Shown below) are mainly used to recover stamina that players lose from playing regularly. There are also recovery kits for motivation, which decreases if you had bad results or a player does not play regularly, and for bringing players back from injuries immediately.
The reason why having no access to recovery kits is such a big handicap is that players’ stamina drain at a significantly faster rate in Survival League. It also takes a longer time for your players to regain their stamina. For instance, it takes 2-3 games of rest to regain full stamina from around 60%. Even goalkeepers are not spared from this. In other game modes, your goalkeeper easily regains full stamina after every match. But in the Survival League, your goalkeeper loses 10% of stamina every game regardless of how active he was. By the time you get to the midseason training camp, your goalkeeper is in severe fatigue after 9 games.
Speaking of midseason training camp, it only helps to restore around 30-40% of stamina in your players; whereas the midseason training camp in international or domestic leagues fully restores your players’ stamina. The only good news is that during the next season, regardless of whether you progress to the next level or not, your players’ stamina and motivation will be reset to full.
Instead of recovery kits, you get access to recuperation programmes (Shown below). Each season, you get at least 5 recuperation programmes. You must use up all recuperation programmes before the end of the season as they do not carry forward to the next season.
The benefits you get from recuperation programmes are small but still impactful. You should reserve them for boosting your team before a crucial match. Player stamina management alone is what makes this game mode highly challenging and at times frustrating, especially when your key players are always on low stamina.
Survival League first impressions
I played 2 seasons of Survival League and won the Survival League level 1, but played badly in level 2 and finished in 8th place. Here, I will share my experiences and provide a few tips for this game mode.
These were the opponents that I faced during my 2 seasons in the Survival League. The top 3 teams in each table were the top 3 strongest teams in their respective leagues. Teams you face in the Survival League come from all over the world.
Survival League Level 1
|Celta Vigo||La Liga||Spain|
|Real Sociedad||La Liga||Spain|
|PAOK FC||Super League Greece||Greece|
|Boca Juniors||Superliga Argentina||Argentina|
|San Lorenzo de Almagro||Superliga Argentina||Argentina|
|Club América||Liga MX||Mexico|
|Club Universidad de Chile||Chilean Primera División||Chile|
Survival League Level 2
|Inter Milan||Serie A||Italy|
|Levante UD||La Liga||Spain|
|Atlético Mineiro||Campeonato Brasileiro Série A||Brazil|
|Club Atlético Banfield||Superliga Argentina||Argentina|
The first thing you will notice when you start the Survival League is that at least one of the opposition players in each AI team has a “Counter lineup” special trait. This means that the player’s ability increases if you play a certain formation. Take a look at Inter Milan below, which was the strongest team I faced in the Survival League. A few players had “Versus 5 DFs”, which is something you don’t see in international or domestic leagues. Inter Milan’s overall rating will rise if you play 5 defenders against them.
Special traits give a significant boost to the opposition’s overall rating, so you should not give them the edge by playing to their advantage. Always check what your opposition’s special traits are before playing against them. Against Inter Milan, simply do not play 5 defenders and that special trait will not activate. The strongest team in each level also has one player with the powerful “Climax Hero” special trait, which gives that player a big spike in his rating during the closing stages of the match. There is no way you can prevent this trait from activating at some point in the match, but do note that it only boosts that one player’s rating and not his teammates.
Not properly managing your players’ stamina is highly consequential in the Survival League. Low stamina players cannot catch up to the opposing players and will make sloppy plays. One very important point to note is that your opponents are always at full stamina at the start of each match, so you are generally at a disadvantage all season long. You can try to conserve your team’s stamina during the match by setting your “Pressuring” to conservative and “Defensive Style” to all-out defence after you have taken the lead. Survival League is all about results and not fanciful or high-scoring football, so keep your focus on preserving stamina in your players.
Since recuperation programmes don’t provide big impact on team stamina recovery, you definitely need to sign additional players to compete in the Survival League. Fullbacks, wingers and forwards generally lose stamina at the fastest rate. So you must have backup players for these positions. Sign a backup goalkeeper as well. Note that you can still sign players from the scouting list after the season has started even though the transfer market is disabled.
Lastly, always check the schedule ahead of time and take note of when you will face the strong teams. Rest your key players strategically ahead of time and ensure that they are not low on stamina by the time you face those strong opponents.
I found the teams that I faced in level 1 to be quite manageable. Winning a level in Survival League gives you a good reward too; a random 6-star rating player with the “Climax Hero” special trait.
However, level 2 was just a frustrating experience. Not only were the teams significantly stronger than I expected, I was denied the win or draw at the closing stages of the match a number of times because my players were too fatigued to track the opposition or made blunders.
Overall, Survival League is all about realism. If you like the challenge of managing your team with limited resources, then this game mode is for you. There is less than a week to go before the Survival League event ends and disappears for the next number of months. So go ahead and get started if you haven’t!