Written by Jon Scarr
One of the main differences between competitive players and casual gamers is the ability to play a good defense. It all comes down to limiting your opponent’s scoring chances and increasing your own. Consequently, a successful defense in NHL 18 is one whose players are in position on the ice at all times.
Time and time again, I have seen many gamers one by one take their players out of position by quickly cycling through their players while chasing the puck. In the end, not only do you take your players out of position, you leave yourself wide open, thus giving your opponent a prime scoring opportunity.
I’ve put together some tips and techniques to play defense like a pro in NHL18.
I can’t stress the following enough, stay between your net and the puck. Unless you are down to the last minute and need a goal, you don’t want to take any risks to cause a turnover. Furthermore, unless you are 100% comfortable and have mastered controlling all positions, stick to controlling one player and let the computer play the other positions.
If you try and play all positions and are not 100% comfortable at doing so, it could easily cause you big problems. As you get more comfortable and familiar with the other positions that the computer is controlling, you can jump between each of them without taking them out of the play.
Now that we have our defensive zone strategy down, lets take a look at some techniques you can use while playing defense.
The poke check is a great way to get the puck away from your opponent simply by pressing R1/RB. The position of your player relative to your opponent is important in a successful poke check. It could mean the difference between getting sent to the penalty box or knocking the puck away.
The poke check is most effective if your opponent is deep in your zone and you want to get some distance between them and your goalie. Though the poke check is by no means a guarantee that you’ll cause a turnover, it does create the possibility of one. So, be on your toes at all times. And, remember not to let your stick come in contact with your opponent’s skate, otherwise it could bet two minutes in the penalty box for you.
The stick lift is one of my favourite techniques to use when on defense. To perform the stick lift, you press X/A when your stick is near your opponent’s, who has the puck, stick. When comparing the stick lift to the poke check, you’ll find that the stick lift is more likely to get you immediate control of the puck upon successful execution.
Additionally, it’s important to pay close attention of where your opponent’s stick is in relation to yours. If you try to perform a stick lift while behind your opponent, you will very likely get a penalty. More over, if your defense is smaller than your opponent’s offense, I find that the stick lift is a far better defense technique to use instead of a body check.
This is a tough one—literally! Aside from fighting, body checking is most people’s favourite part of hockey. If you can land a hit, you’ll definitely rock your opponent to the core. However, you have to be extremely careful as most skilled players will avoid these hits by doing a quick cut or deke. If that happens, they will end up with either a breakaway or an odd man rush giving them a golden opportunity to score!
My advice, body checking should be used sparingly on defense. If you are certain you can land a hit, then go for it. As you skate towards your opponent, press the right analogue stick in whichever direction you are coming at them from. If done correctly, you’ll knock your opponent to the ground, giving you or a teammate a chance to recover the puck.
I hope you enjoyed my tips to play defense like a pro in NHL 18. Don’t forget to sign up for WorldGaming’s NHL 18 Cup for PS4 and Xbox One. Every single day from September 15th to October 31st, you can enter NHL 18 Cup brackets and earn medals based on how you place. At the end of October, the players with the most medals win their share of $1500!
Based in Toronto, Jon is a proud Canadian who loves all things gaming. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry who has been in love with technology and gaming for over 20 years. Come say hi and join the conversation with Jon on Twitter.
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