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HT-Press Masters special

How the masters was won!

Thought Police's Unfortunate Victory won the cup last season (pre-match interview:- (18095)), and as with so many Premiership champions and cup winners before, gained entry into the HT-Masters international tournament for this season. After beating Red in the Final, if anyone had suggested that you'd emulate Bud to become England's second Master's Champion this season, what would you have said?

I didn't even expect to win that game, Red was the favourite as I was having a bit of a 'mare' with form and injuries. Even with the general spec advantage and also with indirects Red's overall ratings put him as a 65% favourite, so a little bit of luck kicked everything off.

My first thought about the Masters was how TS would affect my Premier League campaign but then I was a little unlucky to lose my qualifier so it didn't matter so much. I had a quick look through previous Masters games to remind myself of the standard and whether it was worth a splurge to see how far I could get. I didn't think it was worth it with the cash I had!

So, anyone suggesting I would go all the way wouldn't have received a serious response!

Can we discuss your tournament preparation? You'd bought no players in the lead up to your opening game, PIC'd away in the Cup but then PIN'd away in the league prior to your opening fixture (497040718). Your opponent from Barbados opted for a 4-5-1 press using just one wing attack and a half-decent defence, but they let you have 73% to 76% of the ball. Did you consider a PIC for this game to help boost TS?

No prep other than checking out the opposition and realising I'd got a kind draw in the first round. As mentioned above I didn't think it was worth getting in new players , especially not for that game. The league was more of a priority then, hence the PIN plus the TS boost wasn't required at that stage and I could get back to max TS just with the cup game for the second masters round.

After a chance for a PIC in the English cup, your second game was against the Icelandic champions (497212981). Did you expect them to CA quite so effectively with 3 CA chances converted as well as scoring a quick SE?

I'd expected to go up against a good defence and CA rating in this game but they were poorly spec optimised and that's killer for a CA side. Their converting all three CA chances wasn't in the plan, nor was my quick+pass SE falling to a player without scoring and then them bagging the same event later on. Certainly scoring 5 against that defence could be considered fortunate but the overall result was about right.

You then opted to PIC at home in the league, and to MoTs the Argentine team you'd drawn for game 3 (497320890) (readers should note that a MoTs or PIC order in the Masters has a relatively dampened effect on TS compared to that experienced in regular games). They edged the hatstats, but the decision to MoTs looks to have paid off as you edged possession with a midfield approx 2.5 levels higher than the opposition manager would have expected. Please tell us about your thought process leading to this crucial decision to MoTs?

The home PIC was against a relatively obvious CA which helped. From there I worked through the numbers and thought a Masters MOTS plus cup PIC would leave me in ok shape for the following league game so I decided to roll the dice. As I was against a side with good specs, I really thought I needed the midfield boost to progress. The match itself was another rollercoaster. A non tactical CA for them, another missed quick+pass to my converted winger up top without much scoring, them getting the head event and my lot failing to capitalise on a mistake from an unpredictable IM. Given the special event shenanigans I was gratified to have gone for the MOTS which secured the normal chances I needed to win a 50-50 ish game.

In Game 4, you'd been matched up with the Estonian champions (497361272) and had recouped some TS with a PIC in the English cup beforehand. They matched you in midfield but had 482 hatstats to your 436 indicating better attack and defence ratings. Do you think that their decision to AOW could actually have cost them the win, or was it the right tactic for them, and they were just unlucky?

The AOW was a bad decision and one I wasn't expecting. I believe I had a spec advantage which just led me to not MOTS this one. A TI trick wasn't an option and I put the league first and decided to hope my 35% or so chance of victory would come off. Still, they should have known I was a wing back down (either form or just because I needed the extra DF for midfield) so would have a wing relatively open. They could have left out the AOW and played their IMTWs normal for an even better chance at the win. An odd decision by them, for me.

For game 5, you drew Ukrainian side FC DeRibas (497445991) who were on for a hattrick of Masters titles. Did you seriously, at any moment think you could actually beat them? You PIN'd in the league suggesting you may have resigned yourself to defeat, and in the end they pulled 518 hatstats to your 428 with 57%+ of the ball, and they would probably win a game like that 9 out of 10 times.

Yup, I was definitely thinking that I was out. I could probably have MOTS'd but I just didn't see any point! Still, hard as it is to criticise a team going for a hat trick of Masters titles, they were also poorly spec optimised and why did he leave his right defence open? Moving his centre back to the opposite side would've played the odds. I'd gone asymmetric because I was a massive underdog, he didn't need to.

Still, a definite 1 in 10, to 3 in 20 game for me and another SE going to my poor winger playing up top who spuffed it yet again! Two other goals in the match made up for it mind!

We've heard on the grapevine that you went on a bit of a bender after that win, with some folk even suggesting that you were so hung over you actually forgot to set orders for the English cup, sending out a default PIC team, losing and getting a key full-back injured. Notwithstanding, you had drawn the Chinese champions for game 6, the quarter-final (497498379) who pulled 519 hatstats to your 425 and they had 52% of the ball. Seriously, most of us would be happy to get one lucky win like this in a season, let alone two on the spin in the Masters, even if your IM got injured on 34mins?

All true I'm afraid. When I saw the result against Bunfolds I was ultimately narked with myself. Not only had I thrown away my English Cup run but my TC took a battering and made the game against Arcadia an even worse prospect. The only think I can say about the game is that the Hattrick Gods were clearly sending a message to teams that hadn't specced themselves properly! The funny thing is that if they had the right heads and quicks that'd be about the team that I'd hope to build one day. Maybe a smidge more centre attack if money were no object but it's pretty much bang on.

So, having somehow skanked your way into the semi-final, your game 7 opponent was from Liechtenstein. In the interim you'd PIC'd the league (losing at home) bought a replacement full-back, a replacement IM and a TDF. These purchases included a nasty and a controversial, both of whom could have damaged TS on arrival, but you must have decided the investment was worth the risk? In the match (497566586) you MoTs'd, edging possession with 51% but they had 524 hatstats to your 468. 1 win like this looks like luck. 2 on the spin even more so, but getting 3 consecutive results like this, it begins to look very much as though you know something about the match engine that the rest of us don't! So what is it?

The H00ligans league game was a 50/50 given my PIC. I was tempted to PIN and start the TI trick, but I thought I'd have just enough at home with the new players. They were too good though and the IM injury and non tactical CA sealed their win. Again that was less than ideal prep for the Masters as TC still wasn't doing brilliantly.

The personalities of the new players were another calculated risk. The PIC would mitigate the drops a little and I needed the price/quality that they provided. Luckily I was up against another team that lacked head players, so I could buy another ringer IM without having to worry about spec. Sure enough I bagged another head SE in the match. I didn't need quite as much luck in this one, winning midfield helped, spec advantage again, closer in the centre than I had any right to be... A 30% chance is an automatic win for me in the Masters!

(497628283) The final. Latvian cup winners Trance Masters were the opposition. You pulled the TI trick for this match to raise TS after your MoTs in the semi-final. Incredibly, you had managed to avoid the temptation to use it earlier, and cannily held on to your biggest weapon to help you in the final. How on earth did you manage to resist using it for a previous game? You also bought two more players for the final, a TDF and an IM. A late injury after you'd used your subs put you down to 10 men, just 3-2 ahead with 8 minutes to play. Just how long were those 8 minutes, and did you have any fingernails left by the final whistle? Final Hatstats: 568 to your 494, making it 4 incredible wins to achieve this title, you must be overjoyed?

The TI trick was a given at that stage. As for not using it earlier, it just didn't fall that way. The other MOTS I threw was covered by the cup PIC, I guess I could have gone MOTS against Kollane but that was a bit early for me to see it as worthwhile whilst still in the other competitions. The same went for Arcadia as I still didn't really think I could win it at all, and being out of the cup meant TS was hard to come by. Oh, and I just didn't see any chance of winning against FC DeRibas at all!

For the game I mortgaged loads of players with the help of some kindly early bids to bring in the mega ringer TDF and other IM. The 6 heads didn't get me the SE though and at that point I really thought the dream was over. But, I'd got my attack sectors high enough that every one had a chance and sure enough I got an equaliser to keep my poor heart in it. Soon, they re-took the lead and I thought they'd go on to win at a canter but once again I got back into it and managed to go into the half level on goals and midfield. By this point I was on the bus home and checking my phone for updates. Classically, I was thinking "don't check, don't jinx it" even though I purport not to be superstitious! The goal to go up and then holding on with 10 men (always a risk when your team is so old you need to make stamina subs) had my heart rate, sat down on a bus, over my maximum threshold. Absolute madness. Overjoyed doesn't begin to capture how it felt. Grinning ear to ear for days, absolutely indescribable.

I'm just reading back through the thread on HT-England now (16672563.1) brilliant stuff.

The funny thing was I couldn't really bask as I needed to make sure I'd sorted out my transfers to buy Nathan (260436100) back, so as to not screw over the Posti and the NT!

Since winning, you have sold up, and other than having 2 Goalkeepers in training, your team is 'spent'. What next for TPUV?

I didn't really mean to sell up but I needed to ensure I could get Nathan back and it turned out I'd dug a little too deep to buy in the ringers.

I'll have to keep forking out for platinum to keep the second team going whilst I work out what to do with FWDP *cough* TPUV. There might be something cheeky at the end of this season but the sensible thing would be to build a team that can win the English Premier. I should have moved onto proper training but I'll see out Nathan's run in the NT and make a decision then.

Thanks to everyone for the comments in the thread. Honestly, it still hasn't sunk in!

2014-11-06 14:23:08, 17392 views

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