Thursday, February 11, 2010

PSP PHX '10: The Twin Towers

I am going to revisit a comment I made in the laning post for this layout in the next to last paragraph and offer a fuller explanation. Specifically this: (This includes routinely filling the MTs as the result is a predominantly defensive posture that won't allow teams to push the wires if they drop a body. It will also tend to overextend the lead wire player as it will lead to an inability on one side or the other to fill the voids anytime the lead player is eliminated.)

This is not an attempt to talk you (or anyone else) out of playing those bunkers because I know lots of teams will and that's fine. Given the typical skill levels exhibited in the lower divisions a defensive strategy is frequently effective because it is less demanding of the individual players and puts the other team in the position of needing to be demonstrably better all around--or else points devolve into two defensive-oriented squads hosing away at each other hoping to shoot somebody before they get shot. [And on this basis alone the move to raise the ROF will undoubtedly retard the development of some percentage of lower div players.]

My interest here is in discussing why dependence on the MTs is a tactical error, all things otherwise being equal. The attached diagram of the layout identifies the MTs and Home with red. Other likely breakout primaries are marked with yellow and the same side of the field transition bunkers are marked with green. The colors are intended for quick reference and to help visualize coming points. Red indicates primary spots taken in a common breakout using the MTs. Yellow indicates other primary options that are initially neutral but become defensive positions if the opponent is forcing the action. Early on green represents a first stage offensive push.
In any breakout using the pair of MTs as primaries the likelihood is the MT players will initially be inside the shooting zone and/or shifting to positions similar to B & I shown on the laning post diagram of the layout. This will tend to push both wire players to a limited number of primary options and on the D-side in particular will consistently expose that player to running the same lanes over and over. (On this layout that outcome is hard to avoid regardless but is particularly risky when playing both MTs.) The only tactical discretion that remains is whether the Home shooter has a specific rotation to make or is simply looking to fill should one wire or the other be eliminated. Among other things this becomes extremely predictable. Even the most aggressive breakout option utilising both MTs will seldom, if ever, push more than two players out to a wire. The immediate impact is twofold; basic breakouts employing the two towers put a premium on your laning for effect (as failure gives up the wide gun as often as not) and maximizes the impact of any wide rotation losses you take (because there is no one left to fill the spot.)
Once the breakout is accomplished there are only two options moving into the mid-game transition; Home player makes a pre-planned rotation to one wire or the other, or, Home player waits to fill if/when a wire player is eliminated. In the first case one wire player at least gains support but conversely the other wire is isolated. And eliminations of the wire players give up both angles and open the field deep into the defensive team's side of the field with only the inside guns of the MTs (and possibly Home) to contest control. Additionally wide eliminations without immediate attempts to fill put the defensive team at risk of pressure up the middle of the field.
Of course eliminations off the break will change the dynamics of how a point plays out but my basic point stands. Playing both the MTs is fundamentally a defensive game plan that puts extra pressure on your wings to stay alive and offers them little when its time to shift to offense. Do the MTs have a role on this layout? Yes. Should they be relied on or figure prominently in any game plan? No.

There's plenty more to all this but as usual I'm going long. If there are any specific questions don't hesitate to ask and I won't hesitate to try and answer.


Miller said...

How do you feel about one MT being filled by a rapid rotation (< 10 sec) from home after the break so as to stack one side of the field or the other? What about a rotation of the mid player to the wire and then a home rotation to one of the MTs instead of two mid-players filling the MT's and then forcing home to rotate (through lanes) to either wire?

Anonymous said...

I agree, the only way I see taking the 2 MTs being effective is if you have guys who can solidly lock down a lane, like Infamous did in Phoenix I think

Baca Loco said...

I think it's inevitable the MTs will come into play which is why I mention the issues related to them. Play them you will (Yoda speak) just don't rely on them.
I can see utility in shifting between them potentially and certainly from the snake side of the field there are viable rotation options. However in the posture of reacting instead of acting the timing is critical and if the opponent is good the window will be small.

Miller--that's what I was doing much of the time last weekend when we were using the MT on purpose.

With respect to the Infamous win in Phoenix in '08 the anchor of that win was largely the Glaze play on the D-side but A) there was an MT & a Can B) and it was a bravura performance that was, realistically, against the odds and not a model of how to do it.