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Concrete Strategy for Mitigating Sacks Issue

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Old 11-16-2017, 08:47 AM   #1
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Concrete Strategy for Mitigating Sacks Issue

Like many, I've found myself wanting to quit playing Madden altogether this iteration because of the QB AI issues, specifically because of the high number of sacks the CPU QB takes.

I've found a way of eliminating this problem that's worked over a 15-game sample size with three different teams in the context of CFM. I've used CHI, SF, and NYJ, which covers a range of base alignments and edge rusher types.

I must say up front that I use Sabo's custom playbooks, which eliminate on the front end those plays that the CPU QB almost never throws well: Verts, Curl Flats, etc. I also edit QBs traits to either pocket/pocket, balanced/balanced, or mobile/scrambling in the edit screen to ensure there's no conflict between these settings that might compromise the QB's ability to process a play.

That said, I believe that most of the sacks come when users spam two controls very early on in the life of a pass play: the sprint function and the pass rush buttons. When user rushers use R2 at the snap, or when they mash the pass rush buttons several times early on, it seems to break the CPU QB out of his reads and send him into freakout mode, often ending in a sack.

What' I've done is this:

When controlling a rusher, I now feather the stick much more gently to remain in an "under control" running animation, and I simply do not sprit with DL or rushing LB, ever.

I use some hard rules when pass rushing.

With above average rushers, I first focus on establishing my rush lane, which means that I establish an angle and engage with the OL. I then attempt a pass rush move once the pocket has started to form (i.e., not an instant-win at the LOS pass rush move). If that move is not successful, I wait 1 second and attempt a second move. That's all I have to spend, so to speak on that play. If I win on either move, I pursue the QB at a reasonable clip, but also under control, by feathering the stick. This allows me to gather and change direction if the QB evades, and it also allows me to get my hands up if I sense that I can't get the sack. I do not sprint or dive to get the QB.

With an average to below average rusher, I do exactly the same as above, but I limit myself to one move. With really big guys who have no real rush ability, I simply occupy blockers to establish pocket integrity.

I use some additional strategy too. On several rushes per game, I set up rushes for later in the game. I might take several rushes where all I'm trying to do is establish my lane and stay in it. I may not even engage in a rush move, or I may do it very late. This allows me to set up a more intense rush later where I take a different lane or use my moves a little earlier (though still after the pocket has formed). On certain down and distance calls, I will focus more on being able to get my hands up than to sack the QB. I get user deflections now, which is great.

This strategy alone has transformed the game for me. In a 10-game sample with CHI, I averaged exactly 2 sacks per game. I saw CPU QB Ai that many say is not in the game, including incredible pocket movement and intelligent scrambling. I simply do not see the sack-fest now and I don't have issues with statue QBs. It's an entirely different game.

I do still think there's an issue with the QB approaching the LOS and deciding to hold the ball rather than throw it away, but EA knows about that and has stated that they're addressing it in a patch.

An added benefit of letting the QB AI do its thing is that targeting is better. I now routinely see the QB going to WR1 and taking more shots. I think this is because the user controls are not forcing them out of these reads too early in the play.

I was hesitant to post this because I don't want to argue with folks about how the game works. I just know what I see from playing hundreds of hours of M18, and I really do think the QB AI we want is in the game, but certain user controls disrupt the QB AI and send it into fight or flight mode, and the CPU QB AI isn't built to do fight or flight well.

The more I considered this, the more I think it's just sim strategy. I watch a lot of Raiders games and I notice that even Khalil Mack is not going HAM all play on most plays. He sets up his rushes, takes lots of rushes just to establish a lane or ensure that he's also in a viable position to defend the run, and he doesn't attempt 5+ moves in a rush. For some reason, I always have done these things in Madden, but it's not sim. It's like the sprint fetish for me. There was a long time when Madden rewarded sprinting all game. Now it's such that it's better to run under control so you can change direction & perform moves better. It's the same, I think, for user pass rushing. I believe Madden rewards a more controlled approach and subtler manipulation of the L stick.

I have used this technique on All Pro with KingV2K3's sliders and on All Madden with a personally tweaked version of Flazko's sliders.

I am currently working with a Jets franchise on All Madden and will post some additional thoughts on how this plays out at that level. My previous testing (10 of those 15 games) was with CHI on All Pro.

I hope this is relatively clear and that it can help some folks enjoy the game more. I'm happy to clarify some stuff if folks want, but I don't want to debate with folks about the core theory. To quote Jigga, "If you don't like it, then fine. It costs you nothing, pay me no mind."
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Old 11-16-2017, 10:14 AM   #2
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Re: Concrete Strategy for Mitigating Sacks Issue

I love how people have to "police" themselves in order to create an authentic experience in this game.
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Old 11-16-2017, 10:30 AM   #3
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Re: Concrete Strategy for Mitigating Sacks Issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunderhorse
I love how people have to "police" themselves in order to create an authentic experience in this game.
This sort of response is precisely the reason I hesitated for 2 weeks on posting this find.

I'm not interested in this sort of conversation; I'm just interested in sharing what's worked for me in the hopes that it might help others enjoy the game.

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Old 11-16-2017, 10:33 AM   #4
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Re: Concrete Strategy for Mitigating Sacks Issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunderhorse
I love how people have to "police" themselves in order to create an authentic experience in this game.
I agree 1000% with everything that TM has to say on this issue, simply because we've both slogged though a variety of different approaches, before landing on this one...

I don't think of it as "policing myself", so much as playing within the constructs of the game and not spamming the controls (jump the snap / button mashing the pass rush moves / leaning on the D Assist and / or Sprint Button) or employing some half baked options (Pass Rush: Aggressive / Pass Commit)...

I also agree that the game animates in a much more realistic and organic fashion when you play this way AND the stats for the CPU (sacks taken / completion percentages / YPA) are as close to IRL numbers, that I've seen from this series...possibly ever?

You basically have three ways to go about this:

Hit the Gas / Pump the Brakes / Tap the Brakes

It might not be for everyone, but learning how to generate a realistic rush / result, by "Tapping the Brakes" has really kicked the game into high gear...for me...

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Old 11-16-2017, 10:52 AM   #5
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Re: Concrete Strategy for Mitigating Sacks Issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trojan Man
This sort of response is precisely the reason I hesitated for 2 weeks on posting this find.

I'm not interested in this sort of conversation; I'm just interested in sharing what's worked for me in the hopes that it might help others enjoy the game.

Fair enough,

It was just my opinion.
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Old 11-16-2017, 11:25 AM   #6
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Re: Concrete Strategy for Mitigating Sacks Issue

Is every thread now doomed to be infected with the usual Madden baggage, it seems likely.

As to the topic of the thread, In addition to most of the things that TM does, I also have raised the CPU pass blocking on All-Pro to 58. That has been the sweet spot for me. Several years into my CFM with an elite Rams pass rushing unit, I only get pressure on about 30% of the plays when I send only 4.

Another thing that has to improved for M19 CFM is getting the CPU teams to value elite offensive lineman much more than the do now. They are more likely still to draft a QB early to be the 3rd string guy, than go after a LT to shore up their Oline. When I do play against a rare CPU team with a top tier line, their whole offensive is exponentially better.
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Old 11-16-2017, 11:27 AM   #7
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Re: Concrete Strategy for Mitigating Sacks Issue

This a great example of what OS is here..this is a solution to a problem..I agree with u Trojan 100%..are u still using ur physical edits as well? Because I still 100% agree with ur thought on that as well..EA tried to combat Michael Vick type QBs by nerfing QBs physical ability behind the LOS..

Also to piggyback off ur opening post..no DE/OLB/DT just rushes the passer without a plan, any Pro level rusher..is no different then a good pitcher..they are constantly setting things up for further moves..

I would only suggest the best DE/OL animations in this game are shown only when u allow the CPU to control the front 4


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Old 11-16-2017, 11:49 AM   #8
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Re: Concrete Strategy for Mitigating Sacks Issue

TM - do you only user the DLine?
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