I daresay I’m pretty good at it now. I thought I’d pass on some of the things I’ve noticed that differentiate the really great players from the average ones.
-Most matches benefit from having a goalie (to block goals), a striker (to score goals) and a midfielder, who drifts between the two. The aim of the midfielder is to be available for the goalie to pass to when defending, to pass it to the striker (ideally in a way that causes the opposing goalie to overextend or panic) or to catch rebounds and score goals. Change roles freely depending on the skill of your team mates.
-The range of the Soundwave right-click is surprisingly far. When you use it at its furthest distance, the ball won’t receive all of the force and it will move quite slowly. For maximum speed, get right up to it before booping.
-This also gives more control: you can aim up, down, left or right to determine where you want to pop the ball. Furthermore, it allows you to put spin on the ball to change it’s trajectory when it lands. E.g. if you hit the ball on its right side, it will spin to the left when it bounces. You can use this to set up rebounds, passes, and even goals (by letting the ball roll past the goalie if they miss the block).
-Use your ult to reach the ball before the opposing team (either to clear it from the goals, or to shoot past the defenders before they’re ready). It’s easiest to use at the start of the match when both teams are equidistant from the ball, but don’t be afraid to use it any time it’ll give you a much-needed edge.
-If you’ve got your ult (or someone on your team does – check tab periodically), there’s a good chance one of the opposing team members has their ult as well. Prepare for this by not leaving large openings, especially when the player positions reset after a goal.
-When contesting for the ball, don’t be afraid to punch or boop it off the wall to bypass the opposition. If you always shoot straight, you’ll almost always be blocked.
-Pass just in front of your teammates rather than right at them. If they have to turn to receive the ball, they won’t be able to pass or shoot until they re-orient themselves.
-If you need to travel quickly, the fastest way is to use the jump pad to wall-run. If you don’t want to wall-run, using the jump pads by themselves is still faster than running.
-When you use Amp It Up, both of your hands are occupied for a split second so you cannot punch or boop. If you’re going to use a speed boost, try and activate it pre-emptively rather at a moment where you might need to hit the ball.
-Generally speaking, you don’t want to make high passes because these take more time to travel across the field. Speed is key when passing, so minimise the opposing team’s chances of intercepting or responding by keeping the ball as low as reasonable for passes.
-The speed of the ball is also dependent on how fast you’re moving when you hit it. You can get a seriously fast shot if you use your ult and charge into the ball. You can also get significant speed utilising the jump pads; you’re fastest at the moment of the jump, so if you boop a split second after you can pass the ball very quickly.
-If the opposing team use an ult, try and keep the ball off them. Pop it up and over them and pass between team mates to build your own ult charges while negating theirs.
-Learn to receive passes well. Try and be side-on to the ball when it comes to you so that you can turn and shoot where you intend to.
-Learn to feint by hitting the ball into the walls beside and above the goal. The goalie will often overextend/jump, then you can catch the rebound and take a clear shot. At higher levels, this is the only way to get the ball past a good goalie.
-If the opposing goalie is about to blocks a shot from a teammate get right in front of them so that you can knock it out of their hands a split second after they try and get it clear. If you do it just right, you’ll knock it straight back into the goals.
-If you can get above the ball, you can spike it down past the defenders and into the goal. Don’t be afraid to use the jump-pads to set up shots if your team mates pass high.
-Learn the dimensions of the goals, and learn them well. If the ball is too high or too wide to make it into the goals, you don’t need to jump/go out to intercept it. Either catch the rebound and pass it, or wait for the opposing striker to take a shot so you can block it. If you overextend and meet the ball, the enemy striker might outmanoeuvre you while you’ve left the goals wide open.
-Don’t just watch the ball: keep an eye on where your teammates are, and there the opposing team’s players are. Also keep an eye on their goalie – if they’ve overextended or have committed to one side, maybe you can get a goal in if you time it well.
-Don’t just shoot straight at the other team’s goals; too often a match becomes a rally between goalies just passing back and forth without either gaining an advantage or disadvantage. Instead, pass the ball to the mid-fielder or into the corners so that your striker has a chance to score.
-If you do take a shot at the opposing goals, you might be able to get away with lobbing the ball very high (almost high enough to reach the ceiling) and then letting it bounce once and into the very top of the goals.
-Be super-aware of your cooldowns. If you use the soundwave, you’ve got three seconds of vulnerability so if they take a second shot off the rebound, be prepared to block it with your body or punch it out the way. Or, in a desperate moment, pop your ult to speed up your cooldowns.
-Time your jumps carefully. Most players will aim up when shooting rather than passing it straight along the ground, so if you get the sense they’re about to take a shot in the middle or upper goals, jump for it at the last moment possible rather than rising pre-emptively and letting them shoot clean under you. The longer you wait to respond, the harder it is for them to feint.
-If you get want to do a small jump to block a mid-height ball, hold crouch as you hit the jump button and this will cancel the effect of the jump pad. I personally don’t do this because I use the speed of the jump pad to clear it, no matter what the height. In 2019, this is no longer possible.
So there you have it! Remember kids: work with your team and you’re gonna do great!