PPM Tactics Revisited: What We Know & What We Learned

Almost a full season ago PPM made some pretty big changes to the game engine regarding tactics and counter-tactics, and the ability to score goals.

Now, 100+ days later, how have those changes stacked up? Did PPM screw the proverbial pooch with the changes, or did they improve the game?

To be perfectly honest, I believe you could ask 100 people that question and most probably end up with a 50/50 split on the resulting thoughts. Clearly, a season on and the changes have been met with plenty of mixed emotions.

tacticsFor a little catch-up, the primary changes were the reduction of counter-tactic strength and a much greater influence put on the shooting attribute. Up until this season, if someone player the Offensive tactic, you could guarantee an advantage by playing Defensive, and so on. This season that changed, with tactics being much more influenced by actual team strength. Of course, counter-tactics DO still work, just not as much or as good as they used to. The changes to the shooting influence was the biggest and most felt change to the system though, with teams who had dominated on the scoreboard finding it hard to put the puck in net this season. My own team, who had averaged 150 goals over seasons 5 and 6 dropped to just 128 this season.

So were the changes an improvement?

I can’t speak for the thousands of other managers in the Powerplay Manager community, but from my own experience the changes were, for the most part, exactly what PPM wanted them to be; as could be seen from my own goal scoring figures.

The issue however, is how do you train a strong team that uses the PPM Tactics to your advantage while still playing to the strength of your team? First of all, you need to think team first, instead of just thinking tactics. PPM Tactics are no longer a pick and play thing; they require effort and a team that can actually play the style of tactic you choose.

By this I mean, if your team has very few snipers (high shooting attribute players), then one could argue that the offensive attribute would be less effective for your players. Saying that, the other side of the coin is that the offensive attribute could mean you take more shots, and as they say, the more shots you put on net, the more chance you have of scoring goals.

The PPM Guide talks about the individual tacts at Powerplay Manager and gives a description of the type of team you need to have in order to best benefit from them. I suggest you read the tactics section of the guide often, as knowing this information will not just help you win games, but will help you build a MUCH more stronger team going forward.

PPM Tactics aside though, you need to score goals, and to do that, PPM have made it VERY clear that you need a highly trained shooting attribute on your players. If you ask around the forums you will find that most often, teams with the most goals and best seasons all have a lot of highly trained scoring players. This is no coincidence, and is pretty much the way PPM wanted it to be when they changed the influence of the shooting attribute.

Lastly, I want to briefly talk on the game importance option when you setup your games. This season saw the change from the 3 step (Low-Normal-High) importance system to a much more detailed 5 step (Very Low – Low – Normal – High – Very High) system. As with all my previous posts, I suggest playing on the lowest possible game importance you can while still ensuring wins. Teams who favoured the higher importance are now at a disadvantage in the playoffs because they have much lower seasonal energy for their players. So please keep in mind that while game importance is often overlooked, is is as vital a PPM Tactic as any of the other things I have touched on in this post.

Good luck to all the teams in the playoffs this season, and to those fighting for promotion or to avoid relegation. Remember, even if things don’t go well, there is always next season.

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MOVED: PPM Tactics Revisited: What We Know & What We Learned

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PPM Hockey Tactics: The Big Secret That Wasn’t

We’re 6 games from the end of season 4, and one thing still seems to confuse people; tactics. You would think that after more than 140 league matches, multiple NC and Tourny matches and countless friendlies, the issue of tactics would be more transparent.

PPM  TacticsIt actually is! It’s within the people who play the game, around the community and in particular, on the PPM forums. Many managers have discovered the “Circle Of Countertactics” by simply asking. The most ironic thing though, is that there is no big secret to the choosing the right tactics. The information isn’t some super-secret scroll hidden away in a secret vault protected by Furies. It’s not even a semi-secret scribble on a piece of paper hidden under some managers desk. Heck, it’s not a secret at all. Many will try and keep this information hidden, but the fact of the matter is, after 4 seasons of PPM and numerous blogs and forum posts, it’s there for the public to see.

Most managers are well aware that Defense is the best tactic to defeat Offensive. That is logical, is it not? Many managers are also aware that to defeat someone using the Normal tactic you are best to use the “Breaking Up” tactic. This leaves just Defensive, CounterAttack, Active Forecheck, and the Breaking Up tactic to figure a way around. But let’s take a step back and break this down. Why does one beat another and why is there always 1 tactic that is the “perfect” countertactic to use? Here are are the 6 tactics, each with their countertactic and an explanation as to why I believe this is the case. We’ll start with the 2 we know.

Offensive: Defeated by Defense
This one is basic logic. If you want to shut down a highly offensive team, you play an equally good defensive game.

Normal: Defeated by Breaking Up
The normal tactic is thought of as the most balanced approach, neither offensive nor defensive. This style relies on an open game where a team can change tactics on the fly, play defense where needed and use momentum to its advantage. The key to shutting down a normal tactic is to stop the momentum, hense the Breaking Up tactic being the best option.

Breaking Up: Defeated by Counterattacks
As previously mentioned, the Breaking Up tactic uses starts and stops to break the momentum of a team. What you would want then, is a tactic that can use these attempted breaks in play to start an attack. Counterattack is that tactic. When the opposition tries to slow down the game by forcing an offside or freezing the puck, your team uses Counterattack to force penalties and turnovers, therefore giving you the puck to start an attack.

Counterattack: Defeated by Active Forecheck
This is possibly the tactic that people get most confused about. Well, this one and the next one. A team that uses counterattacks is never easy to beat because any error you make is often going to result in them getting the puck. You need to counter this with the opposite style of move. While they are waiting patiently for you to cause an error and give them the attack, you need to pressure them into doing the same. A good quality, solid forecheck is often enough to shut down any team looking for you to make an error. Take the game to them, and you should win.

Active Forecheck: Defeated by Offensive
We now know that a patient counterattack game is defeated by a puck pressured forecheck. But how do you beat a team that is putting the pressure on you? Playing a patient defensive game is going to play into their hands. Playing a hard forecheck game is counterproductive as that’s what they are doing to you. Instead, you need a tactic that is fast paced enough to keep up with them, but skilled enough to get around their defensively minded forechecking forwards. A solid offensive game is what you need.

Defensive: Defeated by Normal
Lastly we have the tactic that has won many teams championships over the years. The defensive tactic is a killer and that pesky neutral zone trap that helped the New Jersey Devils and Dallas Stars win games is a horrid beast to get around. At least, it is if you don’t play a solid all round game. If a team is playing defense most the game, you are going to want to play along with them, looking for gaps and finding their weaknesses. The Normal tactic, while the most balanced in the game (allegedly), is the best to use here.

This makes up the “Ring of Counter-Tactics”, as pictured here: Normal > Defensive > Offensive > Forechecking > Counterattacks > Breaking up > Normal

Note: There has data done to 99.99% prove these tactics are the best options. There are websites that have all the data, and no, before you ask I will not be sharing the link.

Next time you play a game, be sure to research your opponent and don’t be afraid to take some risks.

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MOVED: PPM Hockey Tactics: The Big Secret That Wasn’t

Please Note: This article has been moved to the PPM Hockey Guides section.

You can jump directly to it HERE

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