The new EA Sports NHL 17, donned by Vladimir Tarasenko, has many new and exciting features that RealSport will give you the low down on over the coming days. But first of all, we have to start off with the game’s ever popular mode of Hockey Ultimate Team.
In HUT, you are to build your team of players, win coins, buy better players, win more coins, buy even more players, and so on and so on. It used to be that the players that you put in your lines were dictated by chemistry. The player’s team and playing style were immensely important to maximising team chemistry – which led to easier flowing play.
Now, instead of team and line chemistry, there’s synergy.
What is synergy?
On NHL 17 HUT, each player card also has a synergy type – which you reveal by pushing up on the right analogue when viewing the card – which will grant you a bonus, either to certain players or your whole team, if you have a certain amount of other players in your team who have the same synergy type.
On the home screen of Hockey Ultimate Team, there is a synergy guide to help out – keeping the NHL game franchise up to their always very high standard of helping players of all experience. On this screen you will see each synergy, their perks and a number. The number dictates how many players in your starting team need to possess that synergy for you to get the perk of the synergy.
The synergy types that require four or three points/players with that type, give perks that only apply to the players involved. For example, if you unlock the Speedsters synergy (appears as S on the player card) – by having four players with the Speedsters synergy in your starting team – each of those four players earn a +2 on their acceleration, speed and agility.
Then there are synergy types that require eight or six points to unlock. These grant bonuses to the whole team rather than just the eight or six players with the specific synergy. For example, the synergy It’s A Trap – love the Star Wars reference – requires six points, but grants a +3 to stick checking, defensive awareness and discipline on each player card.
Which synergies to pick?
As you have just 20 players (12 forwards, six defensemen, two goaltenders) and a coach on your team, that means that you can only make up 23 points worth of synergy. So here’s a table to show you what each synergy needs and gives, along with rating them as to how helpful they’ll be on the game.
|OJ||Offensive Juggernaut||3||+2||Slap Shot Power, Slap Shot Accuracy, Off. Awareness, Strength||5/5||Player|
|NP||Net Front Presence||3||+3||Hand-Eye, Aggressiveness, Balance, Strength||3/5||Player|
|DD||Dirty Dangler||4||+3||Deking, Hand-Eye, Puck Control||5/5||Player|
|PP||Passing Playmaker||4||+3||Passing, Poise, Off. Awareness||5/5||Player|
|WW||Wicked Wristers||4||+3||Wrist Shot Accuracy, Wrist Shot Power||4/5||Player|
|S||Speedsters||4||+2||Acceleration, Speed, Agility||4/5||Player|
|FM||Faceoff Master||4||+4||Poise, Faceoffs||5/5||Player|
|RF||Relentless Forecheck||4||+3||Acceleration, Endurance, Stick Checking, Body Checking||4/5||Player|
|DR||Defensively Responsible||4||+3||Stick Checking, Body Checking, Def. Awareness, Balance||4/5||Player|
|HH||Heavy Hitter||4||+4||Body Checking, Strength, Def. Awareness||3/5||Player|
|IS||Iron Shins||4||+4||Def. Awareness, Shot Blocking, Durability||3/5||Player|
|CG||Cycle Game||6||+2||Endurance, Agility, Puck Control, Passing||3/5||Team|
|TT||Tape to Tape||6||+3||Passing, Off. Awareness, Poise||4/5||Team|
|SB||Team Shot Blocking||6||+4||Agility, Balance, Shot Blocking, Durability||3/5||Team|
|T||It’s A Trap||6||+3||Stick Checking, Def. Awareness, Discipline||4/5||Team|
|1T||One-timer Efficiency||8||+3||Hand-Eye, Passing, Off. Awareness, Slap Shot Power||5/5||Team|
|B||Long Range Bombers||8||+3||Slap Shot Power, Slap Shot Accuracy, Off. Awareness||4/5||Team|
|TW||Team Wheel||8||+3||Acceleration, Agility, Speed||4/5||Team|
The ratings above are primarily based on what are generally the most desired stats on NHL games and then what pretty much every other EA Sports game has as the key to victory, such as offensive positioning and stick handling, speed and acceleration. However, the rating do also consider some of the new tweaks to the gameplay that have been made, such as net front battles, passing aim and accuracy, etc.
With there being 23 points of synergy available, you’ll want to hit one of the two available three point synergies (Offensive Juggernaut or Net Front Presence) as they are the only odd numbered requirements. By doing this, you’ll be able to get a full team of synergies.
After the three point synergy, you’ll be able to have 20 players available to get fully synergised. So you can go with any combination of the four, six or eight point requirement synergies. Using both of the threes – or neither of the threes – would result in there being some synergy left out.
Whilst you’ll just want to make up any synergy as soon as you can when you’re starting out, once you start to accumulate enough coin to buy cards you’ll want to consult the table above to help you enhance your team as best as possible. Sometimes buying the 84 rated player will boost your team enough to get them over an 85 or 86 rated player.
However, you’ll want to keep in mind your style of play, or the style of play needed to maximise the perks given by the synergy that you’ve unlocked. For example if you never shoot slap shots from the blueline and prefer to work your way up to the keeper and wrist or deke it in, then it’s probably best to avoid the likes of Long Range Bombers for synergy, as it just wouldn’t suit your style of play. Or, of course, you could just adapt to get the most out of the synergy that you have. Then you may also wish to look to couple your perks, for example if you get Long Range Bombers, then you may as well get Net Front Presence as well – then you can get a decent screen going to hide your slap shot or get a tip-in, which the new net front battles for this game will enhance if you play them right.
Are there booster cards?
In the old NHL games, you were able to boost player stats, change team affiliations and change positions. Not anymore. There also isn’t a card to change or boost synergy values. What you get is what you get.
The franchise has been edging out the unique method of training players, adding duration and then having your favourite silver or bronze youngsters being good enough to go in your lines. The only way to boost players now is by unlocking synergy, which makes it crucial to getting the edge in the game.
You could say that the coach cards are boosters as they add three counts to the points requirement of their specified synergy. However, coaches cards on HUT 17 only count towards team synergy perks, so none will contribute to a synergy that requires less than six players to unlock it.
How do I know if the synergy is active?
On the team screen, at the bottom of the page there is a key. If you press the button to see synergy details then you can see which players apply to which synergy section in your team.
Once you’ve completed a synergy set, you’ll not only see it completed in the synergy details section, or along the bar above the key, but on each of the player cards a green diamond will be present on the right side of the card, along with their synergy code being green when you view it.
Can I activate a synergy more than once?
Once you hit the points requirement for the synergy, for example with Speedsters you need four points (four Speedster players or one Speedster player and a Speedster coach) but after that, every single Speedster you have also gets the perk.
So rather than needing eight Speedsters to unlock the perk twice, you merely need four to unlock it and then every player after that gets the perk as well. You also only get the one set of perks. So you can’t, in the instance of Speedsters, get eight Speedsters and each of them have a +4 four perk rather than a +2 perk as you’ve doubled the requirement to unlock it once.
There are a lot of perks to be gained through the new synergy system, and what’s great is that you can still get a synergy boost from playing a few as three players. This also frees you up to play your players on whatever line and with whatever players that you want.
Hope this quick guide to the new synergy function on NHL 17 Hockey Ultimate Team helped, be sure to stay tuned to RealSport for more NHL 17 guides, tips, over powered players, and much, much more.