What To Do When There’s Nowhere To Hide
There’s a funny thing about this game we like to call Aerial Assist. There are no safe zones. None. Let that sink in for a minute. What that means is that this game goes from one of control and speed, to one of near anarchy. OK, maybe not. But those massive score-fests of the past few years are gone, and you better build some strong bumpers. What this does mean is you will have an offensive and defensive chess match in which timing of hits and synchronism in offensive attacks will be a must. Lets break down the strategy of attack and defend in this game:
SET THE PICK
The GDC threw in the obvious defensive option with allowing a goaltender, but what they didn’t tell you was how easy it is to negate that blocker by just having your partner come in to halve the field with a pick. Coordinate your scoring drive to have your little buddy enter the middle of the goaltender area before you get there, and then just aim for the goal on the opposite side of the field that the goaltender has now been trapped into. Its a basic maneuver, but one you should master because you do not want to be chasing a blocked shot across the field. This move can also be effective in the open field to open up a shooting area, however, you would want more of an active “pushing pick” from your partner against the defender to tie them up longer.
Passive defense is an important skill to master. You still want points right? In a game that rewards use of all three robots on an alliance, dedicating a single robot to defense is not always acceptable. This is why timing hits while traversing across the field to begin a cycle or on your way to position yourself for a pass is key. The more you can disrupt the timing of an opposing alliance, the better shot that they will make a costly mistake. Jam them, spin them, force them to react, then move on. Passive but powerful, that is the ticket.
TIME TO DISRUPT
Defensively, just ramming an opponent might eat up seconds, but that will only take you so far. Anticipation of a shot means the world in a game where an alliance only has one ball. Look for a tell, maybe a mechanism winding up or even just a consistent two second pause that lets you know that an opponent is about to pull the trigger. When you feel confident that they are about to let it fly, thats when you do. Don’t just hit them head on, aim for the corner of the robot and try to spin them. This will upset the shot trajectory and possibly even force the ball across the field. A well timed hit will not only get them to waste a shot, it will give them pause in the future and force them to make new, possibly unwanted decisions.
Remember, winning matches is about solid strategy and proper coordination with your partners. Learn the basic and successful offensive and defensive moves in a year and work with them. The team who is best at strategy is the one that forces the other teams to change theirs.
Good luck and high scoring!