Tuesday, February 5, 2013

New Design: Same as the old design?

Here we have one of the new layouts Sup'Air posted at PBN as a sample--of what to expect I suppose. Of the samples posted I chose this one because it will also be the competition layout for the first CFPS event and first AXBL event. While I'm not prepared to make any sweeping statements based on one design but it does share some interesting characteristics with some past layouts.
And, of course, there was the debate last fall about whether returning the field to its original length or adding additional props was the answer to speeding points up. Related to that Sup'Air posted some alternate ways the Cup field might have been different (read: faster) with extra props. The problem with that was while some extra props in the back 30 was nice they had zero impact on one of the causes of slow play (on that field) which was placing a dedicated gun on the gap feeding the snake and frequently doing so from one of the midfield stand-ups.
With the PSP returning to the original length I was curious to see what if any changes might be made to the general designs offered by Sup'Air--particularly given 4 more props. I was also curious to see how new designs would compare to old ones, would there be any indications of change consistent with the talk surrounding Cup? For some years now designs have utilized the stand-up props as blocking lanes OTB. In many instances the placement of some of those stand-ups encouraged teams to play one or both, oftentimes shooting the crossfield. While not inherently wrong it is a characteristic that doesn't serve the stated aim of encouraging speed, movement and aggressive play as it is a fundamentally defensive posture. (Not every stand-up within the zones or elsewhere is necessarily a defensive play--but it's easy to see the difference.) As you can see on the diagram the two center (grey) columns are marked A and the two bordering (darker grey) columns are marked B. These are the zones where the stand-ups serve the majority of their lane blocking function and incidentally encourage a defensive posture when played. On this layout 6 of the 8 stand-ups are within the two zones and the other 2 abut a B boundary line. This is in line with the last three years of designs that on average have 2.85 stand-ups in the A zone and 2.3 stand-ups in the B zone for an approx. average of 5 stand-ups per design.
Looking at inserts and feeds to both wires our sample doesn't appear to have added extra bunkers to shorten the gaps between props but to be sure I calculated the appearances of inserts and feeds by wire side over the same 3 year period as I did for the stand-ups. And with two on each side this is actually a small increase as the snake side average is 1.5 and the d-wire average is 1.2. (I did not count Pins when they were used in place of other more traditional props thinking that the Pin remains primarily a blocker not really suited to consistent play from the majority of players. (Even so that alone wouldn't change the numbers more than a fraction.) So while 2 per side is slightly above average it's not unheard of.
So far it looks like business as usual--so will the shorter field really speed up points across the board and across the divisions? I still think so but there is another factor I hadn't given much consideration until the end of last season, the "technical" snake. Oh sure, I didn't have a good word for it from its first appearance in the media but it can be made playable. What is proving more difficult is to make it playable past the 50. If neither team can use the snake to effect from their opponent's territory it's like posting a giant stop sign.
(And this particular snake will be problematic both in terms of passing the 50 and playing snake 1--if there's an opponent in their snake side MT. It looks like the move is to go for MR in the central snake construct.)

No doubt VFTD will revisit this topic a time or two during the year to see what, if anything, is changing--and whether it's for the better or worse.


Anonymous said...

Do you think they should have gone back to the old style snake beams? Also, if you were playing on the field what type of breakout and game plan would you choose most of the time?

Baca Loco said...

I think the Elbows cause most of the problem as the beams are still beams even if they are narrower/lower.

This field will play pretty conventionally tho the change of pace aggressive run or center move could be useful. A lot of teams will walk this and find angles where they cross up their lanes early in points.

Anonymous said...

Agree the biggest issue is with the elbows. It seems like the concept was to get a "free knuckle" but they don't play that way at all. All the elbows do is force players to move away from the beam where they can get shot from any standup on the field.

Anonymous said...

I wasnt able to find the thread on PBn . Can you post a link ? thanks

Baca Loco said...

Here's a hint, anon, the thread is called, 'PSP 2013 smaple layouts' and it's in the PSP forum.

sdawg said...

Just played AXBL D4 yesterday on this layout. I don't very many games went to time, and the field seemed fast-paced.

By contrast, I played a tournament the weekend prior on a 2012 Mao layout with the old field dimensions. Seemed like games were going to time quite a bit.

I think that the difference is that the shorter field puts you in a close range gun fight a lot sooner. And it is a little easier to lane a runner, although I only got laned-out once going to D2. And I am a tall, slow, relatively old dude.

BTW I thought the new bunkers were announced as extra SD (small dorito) bunkers, but this field seems to have two extra MD (medium dorito) bunkers?