The Sun Dream Team has long been established as the leading game offered by a daily paper, thanks in the main to an impressive prize pool. Little has changed in that respect with £1 million of prizes again on offer, but this season the Sun have made the bold move to offer free entry and attempt to balance matters between the casual and the hardcore multi-entrant manager.
Fantasy managers can register one free team in an effort to win the £100,000 top prize. Although this entry is limited to one team per user, a “Premium” version of the game offers a package of 6 teams for £25. Entrants here qualify for the same competition as the free competitors but are also in the running for Premium only prizes with another £100,000 on offer for the top boss. There’s also some superb monthly cash prizes with £5,000 available for the top manager each month, £10,000 a month to Premium managers.
The Sun game was notorious for allowing multi-entrant managers to flex financial muscles and enter hundreds of teams in a bid to claim prize money. Some thought nothing of investing huge funds – great for those who have the time and cash to play at such a level, not so great for the casual single team manager who find themselves up against monopolies at the top of the rankings.
The new Premium packages do allow multiple teams but limit entry to 10 packages of 6 teams per month. In terms of the overall prize, multi-entrants are limited to 60 teams before the season deadline. Those who splash out obviously have an advantage over the free entrants, although only one team per entrant can qualify for a prize so, even if you invest in 60 or more teams, only one of these can claim a prize at the end of the season. That might, just might, result less investment from the multi-entrants giving casual managers more opportunity to get amongst the money list.
While the entry rules are a little complex, Dream Team does at least make things simple when it comes to the basic ruleset.
Each team must include 11 players with a budget of £50 million to spend. The teams must be laid out in one of two formations – a 4-4-2 or a 4-3-3.
Scoring gets a little more complicated, not least because Dream Team doesn’t rest when the Premier League puts its feet up. Players accumulate points from matches in the domestic cups and also in Europe with Champions League and even Europa League matches contributing. That gives us a lot more to think about – finding players immune to cup rotation is often crucial.
With Europe and cup progress included as factors, the points scoring can be heavily skewed towards the top clubs. This is compounded by the fact that goals and clean sheets are the major point contributors – players earn nothing for assists.
Dream Team has it’s own arbitrary “Bonus Point” scoring system in the shape of the “Star Man” award with earns 5 extra points, while all players who earn 7 or more in the Sun player ratings in a match fetch another 3 points.
The Sun have taken another bold step this season – and perhaps another move that will deter multi-entrant managers somewhat. Extra transfer windows have been introduced giving Fantasy managers the chance to change their lineups a total of five times over the season. Three transfers can be made at each of these windows which means more effort for those juggling multiple teams.
Setting up and joining a mini-league is a given, but this season the Sun have handed Fantasy managers the chance to join up to five leagues with just one team – a far more flexible approach. This is linked to the fact that there is no longer an overall prize for the top mini-league.
The Weekend Dream Team is another new option this season – in a clear nod to the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) format, this is an optional contest that takes place over a series of 30 gameweeks and involves picking three more players to boost your squad to 14. What’s more, you’re then asked to pick one player as your captain to score you double points over the weekend. Sound familiar?
The top scorer in a gameweek earns a grand with 99 prizes of £100 also up for grabs – a nice addition giving extra incentive to Dream Team managers on a weekly basis. The rules aren’t totally clear here however – it appears that the three additional and temporary squad players – a defender, midfielder and forward, are added to your core starting XI free of charge with no budget constraints. That’s far from obvious however; we can only wait for the first weekend to find out exactly how this will work.
The Player List
There are no glaring mis-classifications to be found at first glance. Both Gareth Bale and Seamus Coleman are labeled as midfielders, while Blackburn’s David “Junior” Hoilett at £2.5 million and Theo Walcott at £5 million, look decent options here as players who will likely threaten double figure goals.
Adel Taarabt gets a price of £3.5 million which could tempt investment if his future at QPR is secured, although arguably Swansea’s Scott Sinclair, with a £2.5 million price tag looks more secure. Luis Suarez at £5.5 million, is already proving to be a very popular striker option – although Liverpool’s starting fixtures remain off-putting. The likes of Demba Ba (£2.5 million), Asamoah Gyan (£3.5 million) and Bobby Zamora (£3.5 million) all appear to be strong options lower down the price bracket.
Dream Team makes a strong return this season. The move to limit multi-entrant managers is a welcome one, leveling the playing field somewhat for those who just want to enter a single team and be in the hunt for one of many cash prizes on offer.
The ability to join multiple mini-leagues and the new Weekend Dream Team options are clearly influenced by the popularity of the FPL game but are nonetheless smart moves from the Sun organisers.
Five transfer windows offer enough flexibility to give the more hardcore player the opportunity to bring their knowledge to bear but, at the same time, casual players won’t be intimidated by a wealth of options or a demand to constantly tweak their lineup.
It’s not all positive. Things do feel a little rushed with the initial release – there’s no data on last season available in the players statistics unless you click on individual players, while the classification of Bolton’s Darren Pratley as a Sunderland player is just plain careless. Clearly the Sun were keen to get a weekend start on the other Fantasy games and, by stealing a march with their new options, they may have gathered some new traffic – job done perhaps.
Dream Team is not an FPL killer – but it’s staked a stronger claim than ever for a place in your Fantasy season by waving a range of glittering prizes in front of us; prizes that seem tantalisingly within reach of one and all, not just the flush multi-entrant.
The Scout League
With more flexibility available with mini-leagues and the option to enter a team free of charge, we’re more than happy to open up an official Fantasy Football Scout League for those registering for this game. The details are below and will be added to the homepage.
League Name: Fantasy Football Scout