Thursday, 9 July 2015

#FPL 2015/2016 - An unhealthy portion of "chips"?

FPL 2015/16 is finally live!  But guess what? It's changed FOREVER...

These are chips, not fries!

In the past did you sigh in silence whenever you felt your captain deserved more points? Did you mutter expletives whenever you lost points on the bench? Did you ever desire to play a genuine "Power 8" with 5 midfielders and 3 forwards?  Did you wish that the second wildcard (Winter Wildcard) wasn't just available for 5-6 weeks? Well, all of those things are now possible!

FPL have modified the way you can go about accruing points by introducing a set of boosts, known as chips (see here).  Even the two wildcards are classified as chips.  In fact, the chips are as follows:

  • All out attack - This allows you to use a 2-5-3 formation.
  • Triple captain - Your captain's points will be multiplied by 3 instead of 2.
  • Bench boost - All of your substitutes points will add up to your weekly tally.
  • Wildcards - Ability to change all of your players without taking "hits" (losing points).

But hold on a sec.  You can only use one chip per Gameweek and the newest 3 chips can only be used once a season!  In the two selected Gameweeks that you use your wildcards you can't also use the other chips.  The "all out attack" chip doesn't allow for autosubs if any of your midfielders or forwards fail to play.  But at least with the "triple captain" chip you have the peace of mind that if he doesn't play it isn't wasted as your vice-captain is still eligible for that honour.  Unrelated to the chips, I also noticed that the goalkeepers' prices have fallen (all sub £6.0M) which can now allow for easier accommodation of rotating a quality goalie with a cheaper one.  Having said that, some defenders' prices have fallen (or not risen) whereas genuine "Pound Shop Defenders" (i.e. priced at £4.0M) have become practically extinct as if they are gradually being pushed up in line with a mythical FPL Living Wage, which isn't rewarding us owners, but is instead short changing our pockets! 

Many FPL managers may shout out with joy and excitement at the new changes.  Perhaps they are long overdue.  But I am not so sure about them.  I liked the fact there was a winter wildcard, as I never used my wildcard early in the past and liked the fact that not many managers had the patience to hold on to their all-season wildcard for the April/May Double Gameweeks.  Dare I say it, I'm feeling a bit pessimistic, even with the new chips at hand.  I think it could be overkill for some and if FPL wasn't already about luck to an extent, you will have to be even luckier to win FPL in the future.  Sure, template teams will now be challenged with the new chips introduced that will skew weekly scores on occasion.  I personally think these changes have come in too soon and will complicate some things for a game that is cherished by millions for its simplicity.  I genuinely hope this isn't a "Jump the Shark" moment for FPL.  People won't switch off immediately even if they will scratch their heads a fair few times during the season.  However, if the chips prove to be detrimental in their desired effect, FPL managers may abandon ship and choose alternative Fantasy Football platforms, i.e. daily games, pick anyone games or non-cap weekly games.

Then again, what do I know.  I guess I'm just into my retro fashion of keeping things as they are; in fact I'm still enthused and remember fondly the old CM/FM games!  I like the classics and have seen too often in football games (of all varieties) that people lose interest if revamped changes don't marry up properly with the genuine desire for popular feature requests.  I guess we will have to wait and see how FPL fares with the new variables. It's loved by millions across the world and has grown steadily in 9 years.  There's no wonder why - "one passion and many languages" to paraphrase a quote from former FPLH writer Matej.  The litmus test could be the first few Gameweeks before the international break.  Yes, I desired a proper "Power 8" last season and have often lost big points on the bench.  If only the 3 new chips could be used during a live Gameweek or retrospectively.  There's only one way to find out if the confirmed changes will be hot or not, by playing FPL of course.  That's my semi-rant over.  Time for some fish and chips...