NHL 20 takes hockey video games somewhere they've never been before: into battle royale territory. This year's offering introduces World of Chel's Ones Eliminator, a competition between 81 players. They play in groups of three, everyone against each other to grab the puck and make as many goals as they can in the short time a match lasts. It puts a frantic free-for-all spin on hockey by borrowing the "high risk, high reward" mindset of battle royale. It can also get as frustrating as battle royale, as losing kicks you back to the lobby to start anew.
No one likes losing, but how do you score a goal when you have no teammates and two guys rushing you to steal your puck? Here are some quick tips to help you come out of NHL 20's Ones Eliminator with a win.
You Don't Always Need To Have The Puck
You're probably used to standard hockey, where the mindset is to always have the puck. You want to put pressure on the other team, to wear down their goalie with constant shots. The thing is, there are no teams in Ones Eliminator. There's only you and two other people who want the puck. That means that whenever you have the puck, you're outnumbered.
It's often better to let one of the other players have the puck, and team up with the third person to harass them. Yes, you read that right. You team up with the third player, even though they're just as much your opponent as the puck carrier. The goal is to make the puck carrier mess up. Maybe they panic from the pressure and fire off a bad shot. Maybe the other player checks them and they fall, leaving you the last one standing. Whatever happens, you want to force a situation where the other two players get tangled up in one another and leave you to swipe the puck and go for an easy goal.
Don't Check, Just Don't
Another habit to break is going for big hits. They can be great in a standard game. You smash into an opposing player and then your teammate grabs the puck while you and the other hit the ice. But again, there are no teammates. The one picking up the puck after you lay down a big hit is another opponent.
This tip goes hand-in-hand with the previous one. You want to stay close to whoever has the puck, but not be in their face. Just put pressure on them and keep them from getting too close to the goal. The ideal situation is that the third player checks the one with the puck. Then you're the one who reaps the rewards (and a very clear shot!).
Learn The Spawn Points
This one comes courtesy of Podcast Now, who pointed out that the puck drops in a few set locations. Often it's the left or right corner of the rink, on the bottom part of the screen. Just like in normal battle royales, it pays to be aware of these "spawn points." You might be able to grab the puck right away if your opponents are slow or just don't know where the puck drops.
Also of note is how the goalie reacts. When the goalie has possession of the puck, he will often launch it to the other side of the rink. If players are surrounding him, however, he's more likely to cover it. You'll have to pay attention to what the other two players are doing and act accordingly when the puck resets.
Work On Your Handling
Even if you go hard on the strategy of letting other players have the puck so they can mess up, you'll still need to take it eventually. You will find yourself in the tense situation of trying to weasel your way to the goal while two other guys constantly hound you. There's only one thing to do to prepare for that situation: get better at handling the puck.
Practice makes perfect, but that will mean different things to different people. Maybe you'll want to play Ones with computers to just drill handling without the pressure of losing. Or maybe pressure fuels you, and you'll elect to practice in the heat of online competition. Whatever your muse, use it to get puck handling down to an art.
Shoot Quick, Shoot Close
Having the puck means needing to do something with it, and do it before someone takes it from you. That pressure has caused many a bad shot, and set many an opponent up with a free puck and a downed goalie. You need to make sure that your shots are skillfully placed so that doesn't happen. No hopeful slap shots allowed.
That's easier said than done, as you have so little time and space to line up a nice shot. That's where all the other tips come in. You want to set up a breakaway, where the other players are down or at least too far away to hinder you. When you have that breakaway, you want to do some puck tricks to confuse the goalie. It should all end with a nice wrist shot or backhand. If you are able to resist the pressure of two pursuers, have the handling skills, and get a little lucky, you should get the goal. And hopefully, the win that follows.
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