The Dynamic Duos event is by far the best limited-time event the NHL 20 HUT team has put together. It brings forth great card art, an actual gameplay-focused theme, some good changes to the collectibles process, and of course it has a bunch of the best cards we’ve seen yet this season.
So I do want to praise the event for having an actual gameplay impact with its cards, but the idea of Dynamic Duos playing “better together” is a little unexplained. If the “better together” portion just means offensive awareness and positioning as the graphic above states, then fair enough. However, I don’t really think this needs two separate bullet points if that’s the case because the “better” part is easily explained in the same breath. If there is more to how these duos play better together, then it should be posted in the event somewhere.
Either way, the idea of tying together cards to make them stronger is a good concept. It’s something we’ve seen in other games modes like this, but to explicitly tie it to versions of the card adds a special focus on grabbing those cards. In an era where it’s becoming more important to get people to use more players in these modes so every team does not feel the same, this is a smart way to try and branch out.
With the challenges themselves, it’s still based around collectibles and completing challenges, but the way to get cards has been improved. Now, you don’t need to lock in all your collectibles and then get a locked card you can’t sell. Instead, you have options.
If you get 12 collectibles, you can trade them in for one of the master items of your choice — we’ll get to the cards soon — but if you get 14 collectibles you can get one of the six master items as a sellable card. The catch here is it will be a random one of the six. Now, I think all six master items are worth having so I think this is a fair trade off, but there are still clearly a couple “best” players so I would understand if some people did not want to take the risk. Regardless, this is a great way to at least give users a choice in this process.
On top of that, if you get 20 gold collectibles, you can get both parts of the duo as untradeable cards. Again, great work with the options here, and this is something other games could learn from if this becomes a trend for NHL HUT. The 20 gold collectibles are by no means cheap to acquire, but the point is at least you have the choice for how to spend a very large amount of coins in the game that you’ve earned to get very good cards.
Now, to the cards themselves.
First off, again, the card art is great. These are the sorts of cards that I would be drawn to as a kid, and it’s what these modes need to do more of as well. I think we sometimes forget that part of the appeal of these modes is tapping into the nostalgia of collecting cards. Don’t get me wrong, every one of these card-collecting modes tries to spruce up their art for new cards, but there are more misses than hits. The NHL 20 team has a big-time hit with these.
As for Brent Seabrook, he’s just not quite fast enough to be elite. He has great size at 6-foot-3, but his slap shot is weak and he does not have enough elsewhere to make up for it. Overall, this is one of those cards that does everything okay, but that’s what makes it seem worse than its overall rating.
Kurri is one part of a duo with Wayne Gretzky. You can get both these guys by completing challenges. Starting with Kurri, again the speed is really not ideal. He probably does not have enough elsewhere to make up for it either. But hey, it’s an 84 overall you can snag for “free” if you have some time, and it can be boosted as a duo and with some synergies.
Nilsson is 5-foot-7 with great overall speed, which will immediately pique the interest of some folks. However, his best trait is more as someone who starts plays by getting into the zone with speed than as someone who finishes them. His 84 hand-eye and 90 offensive awareness will be okay for tipping the puck, but his shooting stats are weak overall.
Lindqvist is the other part of the duo with Nilsson. He also comes equipped with great speed, and he has better shooting stats. The trade off is he’s a worse playmaker, and he still probably doesn’t provide enough as a scoring threat to be a top-level player.
Yes, there is already a better Gretzky card you can work towards or may already have, but still it’s another way to get a “free” Gretzky to use. One look at the attributes shows you he’s consistently an 85 in every way. That comes with positives and negatives, but the 85 faceoffs does mean he’s a hard sell as a top-line center.
Arvidsson is another one of those compact, speedy wingers that many people like. He’s got 85 wrist shot accuracy and 83 wrist shot power, which are not amazing. Elsewhere, his strength at 79 is also not great. Again, this is another player who is maybe just outside the cone of being super dangerous, but he should still be usable.
We’re getting closer to elite cards now with Corey Perry. He’s 6-foot-3 with 88 strength, 93 balance, 88 offensive awareness, 86 hand-eye and solid shooting. Personally, Corey Perry fits more into the mold I like to play in NHL. He’s big on the puck, he can keep possession through some bumps, and has enough power to be a threat as a shooter or in front of the net.
His duo is Getzlaf, who comes with similar size and strength. He’s 6-foot-4 with similar overall speed to Perry. He has 92 offensive awareness, 86 hand-eye, 96 balance and 89 faceoffs. He should be good in front of the net, he’s good enough at faceoffs to stick at center, and he’s going to very hard to knock off the puck.
The problem with Duncan Keith is more that his duo partner isn’t the best, and he’s a left-handed shooting LD. Still, he has 96s across the board for speed and has 90 balance with 88 puck control, so he will be good carrying the puck from end to end. The passing is at 91, which also makes up for the average shooting.
Kyle Connor is another big winger, but he brings more speed to the table than the previously mentioned big boys. His shot also has some extra kick to it, but I still don’t think he’s quite enough of a beast to carry your team. He’s not going to hurt you anywhere, and he’s versatile, but he’s more a second banana on a great line.
Here is where we move into more elite territory. Malkin has high 80s shooting to go with 93 speed, 88 deking, 89 puck control, 86 strength, 95 offensive awareness and 80 faceoffs. The faceoffs attribute does make him more of a winger, but that’s fine as a 6-foot-3 winger who can’t be moved off the puck is still awesome.
Patrik Laine could be my favorite card of the set. He’s 6-foot-5 with 95 speed, which is fantastic for a winger of his size. He gets 91 deking, 87 strength, 83 body checking, low 90s shooting, 95 offensive awareness and 85 stick checking. Laine can do it all, and smash you in the face or run you over in the process. This is a great card.
Duchene is an interesting card. He has 99 overall speed with 91 balance, 94 offensive awareness and 92 faceoffs. He’s an ideal center, but his speed and size make up an ideal winger as well. I think you keep him at center even if he’s maybe a little “small” for some squads because he’s still such a threat. The shooting, passing and defense are all great with this card. He’s going to go end to end and then use that 89 deking to ruin you at various points.
Sergei Gonchar is about where we break into “among the best cards in the game” category. With low 90s speed, 91 stick checking and 93 defensive awareness, he’s going to be able to move his feet and slow down most of the best players. He’s also a clear offensive threat with low 90s shooting, 93 passing and 99 offensive awareness. He does all of this with a 6-foot-2 frame, which isn’t massive but is still enough to get by.
Oh hey, another amazing Alex Ovechkin card. This one has mid 90s speed, 99 balance, mid 90s shooting, 90 body checking, 93 strength and 88 stick checking. I don’t see how this card is not one of the best wingers in the game. Will he get even better cards this year? Yes. Is this card still worth having right now? Yes. This is also the appeal of maybe going for the tradeable card rather than the untradeable one as you won’t be locked in if you want to upgrade your Ovechkin at a later date.
Speaking of amazing cards, this Connor McDavid is probably the best card in the game now. He has 99 speed across the board with 92 balance, 95 puck control, 95 deking, 94 passing, good shooting, 83 body checking, 89 stick checking, and 90 offensive awareness. Holy crap. He does only have 86 faceoffs so he’s probably best suited as a winger in this game, but that’s just fine. He’s a stud, and he’s the card I would least like to run into right now in HUT.
However, Erik Karlsson is the platonic ideal of what I would want out of a defenseman so he’s the card I want most from this set. With 99 speed across the board to go with 92 balance, 91 slap shot power, 91 wrist shot power, 96 passing, 96 deking, 99 offensive awareness and 92 stick checking means he can still hold you up on defense before wrecking your life on offense. He can activate from the point, and also lead your power play or start a rush. I want him.
Draisaitl may go a bit overlooked because his speed isn’t quite absurd like some of these other cards, but that would be a mistake. He is a true center in this game unlike McDavid because he has 91 faceoffs. On top of that, he has great shooting, 97 balance, 89 body checking, 99 offensive awareness and 90 stick checking. Basically, he gives a little back on offense but is going to be able to play in any and every scenario.
Brent Burns has 92 overall speed, which is fine when you’re 6-foot-5. His wrist shot power beats out his slap shot power, which is unique but accurate to real life. He also has 92 puck control, 91 body checking, 99 offensive awareness and 91 stick checking. The only issue with pairing him with Karlsson (and I imagine a small reason they don’t play together a ton in real life) is they do both shoot right handed.
Backstrom can make an easy case for being the best center in the game if we move McDavid to more of a wing. He has 99 overall speed to go with 96 balance, passable shooting, 95 deking, 97 passing, 95 puck control, 99 offensive awareness, 92 stick checking and 91 faceoffs. Basically, he edges out Draisatl due to his speed, and is still good enough to play in any scenario.
Again, this is a great event with great players. In addition, we’ll still get a goalie and perhaps some other new players as well because this event is still in progress.