Written by: Jon Scarr
The new defensive tool for this year’s EA Sports NHL game is the Defensive Skill Stick. It’s one of the flagship features of NHL 18 and gives you the tools to counter attacks with poke check targeting, extended pokes, and controlled stick sweeps to cover zones of the ice and take away lanes. Check out these tips to master the all new Defensive Skill Stick in NHL 18.
Let’s take a look at some tips to master the all-new Defensive Skill Stick in NHL 18.
In order to bring in the Defensive Skill Stick to NHL 18, the controls for the game had to be changed to make room. Previously, if you wanted to do a Puck Chop, you had to combine a poke check and aim with the right analogue stick.
Now, the Puck Chop is a whole lot easier to do. Simply press the right analogue stick down and aim in the direction where you wish to chop the puck to. It took a little while to get used to using the new way to do it but I am glad that EA Sports kept it in the game.
One of the best times to use the Puck Chop is when you aren’t able to get the puck fast enough to make a pass. Additionally, it’s good to use the Puck Chop if someone dumps the puck on you.
The most basic feature of the Defensive Skill Stick in NHL 18 is stick sweeping. It allows you to rotate your stick almost 270 degrees, which can by done by holding down R1/RB and then rotating your right analog stick. The ice in which you will cover will depend on the handedness of the player you are controlling.
Stick sweeping can be used to angle of attackers and cover zone. Additionally, it also allows you interrupt dekes, some passes, and shots. The best time to use stick sweep is while you are skating backwards towards your own net as a defender. Stick sweeping can only be used while on defense when your team does not have the puck.
It important to know that while you have your stick out, you wont be able to body check or pickup a loose puck. You’ll have to let go of R1/RB before you are able to do so. Overall, I found stick sweeping to be extremely effective against the new dekes that have been added to this year’s game.
As with previous NHL games, pressing L1/LB moves your skater down on one knee to block a pass or a shot. However, with the addition of the Defensive Skill Stick one-knee blocks have been improved to become more effective.
When you are down on one knee, you can now use the right analogue stick to control your stick and body positioning. This is a great new addition to NHL 18 as it helps block passes and shots quickly. One-knee blocks can be performed seamlessly with sweeping and a poke check.
One of my favourite aspects of the new Defensive Skill Stick is the use of LB/L1 to block passing lanes. It’s fast, fluid, and gives you a lot of freedom to do what you want on defense. It’s especially lethal along the boards when your opponent just doesn’t have anywhere to go and is almost guaranteed to run into you.
As soon as you pass the puck, you can let go of the LB/L1 button and your player gets up pretty quickly.
Poke checks haven’t changed all that much from last year’s game. However, a new way to execute a poke check has been added to NHL 18. While holding down R1/RB and sweeping your stick, you are not quite poke checking someone. Also considering that R1/RB are the buttons used to poke check, you would have to let go of the buttons and stop sweeping your stick in order to do a standard poke check.
EA has introduced a new way to do a poke check. While still holding R1/RB, you can click on the right analogue stick and aim towards an attacker to try and check their stick. This allows you to sweep your stick and poke check simultaneously. I use it very often in those situations where my opponents are going to run into me with the puck. Another use is to help take away the passing lanes from your opponents.
I hope you enjoyed my tips to master the all-new Defensive Skill Stick in NHL 18. Don’t forget to sign up for WorldGaming’s NHL 18 Cup for PS4 and Xbox One when the game launches on September 15th. 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.