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Power Play Strategies - Umbrella (and how the AI plays it)



I examined the Umbrella strategy in this video.

We all know what the umbrella strategy is. It's what the Washington Capitals use to help Ovechkin 30 powerplay goals per year.

For those who don't know, I describe the umbrella as follows: one defenseman is back at the blue line to help act as a cycler, moving the pucks to the wingers who are situated near both faceoff dots or hash-marks. Between those two wingers is a forward, who can also cycle and/or screen, and then a fifth and final skater is located near the net, looking for rebounds.

Last year, the AI never played the umbrella strategy well. This year, sometimes it looks good and sometimes it looks bad. I comment on the strategy while watching the Blue Jackets employ the strategy against the Devils in the video above.

Thoughts?

Replies

  • Please don't target my horrendous 17 yo voice lol.
  • You should use overhead or zone camera when you're doing something like this. It would allow the viewer to see the movement of the AI players and how they keep (or don't keep) their shape much more clearly.
  • boumbidiboum
    446 posts Member
    edited November 2019
    In your video, the umbrella strategy doesn’t seem to be very effective against your opponent strategy (look like they are a little bit too aggressive, so you don’t have much room/time to cycle the puck). Would have been nice to see how the umbrella worked against other strategies. I don’t know if you could have switch your opponent strategy and then look at the difference without having the cpu changing it. (Might work with two controllers, one on each team as coaches)

    Anyway, the AI seems to loose the puck to easily to even cycle the puck enough to make it effective. It might be possible to make it a little bit better by tweaking the sliders a little bit, but it won’t help when you play online. And the other problem is that the AI is covering too much players that move out slightly of position or to prevent breakaway (not offensive enough). I don’t know if it would help to switch the offensive pressure to Full Attack while in PP or if it is only affecting 5on5 offense.

    The AI is not always thinking like we want them to think. Sometimes, you want them to go to the net and they don’t, etc... I believe that the easiest way to fix that would be to have some sort of Audible/On-The-Fly plays that we could preset in the strategy screen and assign to a certain combo of buttons. When you press those buttons, your players do a certain action(s) until you press it back or you loose possession of the puck. It would help a lot and make it more realistic, in real life, players can talk together and change strategies or just tell one or more players to do a certain thing to see if it would help.

    That is just an idea, I don’t know if I am the only one thinking that would help and even if it is even possible...
  • VeNOM2099
    3148 posts Member
    edited November 2019
    The Umbrella play works in REAL hockey because teams on the PK actually play positional defense. The idea behind this strategy is to use your forwards to force the defense to collapse around the net, so you can have space to cycle to the point and go for good shots. It also helps if you have pointmen with really good shots (both power and accuracy).

    In EA's NHL, people are always b-lining towards the puck trying to poke you or hit you off the puck so it's practically useless in most PP scenarios. The only time I would suggest using Umbrella on the PP in EA's NHL is against a skillzoner (IE: someone who just collapses in front of his net and sits there not moving).

    I mostly use the Overload strategy on the PP. It gives you a good mix of the "behind the net" + "shooting" strategies by giving you both deflection/rebound options in front of the net and puck cycling options behind the net. It also gives you point options you can shoot from if your opponent is concentrating his defense in front of his goalie. To me it's the most versatile option to use in 1v1 modes.
  • VeNOM2099 wrote: »
    The Umbrella play works in REAL hockey because teams on the PK actually play positional defense. The idea behind this strategy is to use your forwards to force the defense to collapse around the net, so you can have space to cycle to the point and go for good shots. It also helps if you have pointmen with really good shots (both power and accuracy).

    In EA's NHL, people are always b-lining towards the puck trying to poke you or hit you off the puck so it's practically useless in most PP scenarios. The only time I would suggest using Umbrella on the PP in EA's NHL is against a skillzoner (IE: someone who just collapses in front of his net and sits there not moving).

    I mostly use the Overload strategy on the PP. It gives you a good mix of the "behind the net" + "shooting" strategies by giving you both deflection/rebound options in front of the net and puck cycling options behind the net. It also gives you point options you can shoot from if your opponent is concentrating his defense in front of his goalie. To me it's the most versatile option to use in 1v1 modes.

    I'm talking AI vs AI here. I don't associate with online play due to the crappy abusable plays that the players have.

    How would I make the AI less aggressive on PKs?

    I've noted that the AI tends to be extremely aggressive on every penalty kill, leading to power play insufficiency from all power plays.
  • boumbidiboum
    446 posts Member
    edited November 2019
    I don’t think that there’s a way to change their aggressiveness. I was thinking more about increasing puck control, passing and other stuffs, and reducing the poke checking so that the PP AI have a chance at cycling the puck a little before they loose it. It won’t keep the PK AI to choose a strategy that may block the umbrella though, but might help a little bit.

    I’ve not tried it, so I can’t confirm that it would work. If I have time, I’ll try it and let you know.
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