Posted by:Nightmarjoo Well the summer's coming to a close, and it's time to close up two Map of the Month competitions! I can't say that activity has been as high as it could be, but hopefully as people settle into school or whatever as autumn starts people will be more active!
For MOTM 7, we have a familiar theme! In first place, Testbug unsurprisingly takes another win! This guy is seriously like Savior at his prime of mapping!
Interestingly enough, July's Map of the Month happens to be a remake of last month's second place map, (2)Spinel Valley, by NastyMarine!
Testbug's version, Spinel Valley III, has quite a few differences, as it was remade from scratch!
Starting with a bang from the very start, this two player map has low-ground mains with a high-ground nat, something seen in relatively few maps. Past the nat comes a pretty close mineral only expansion, which has its back to the middle low-ground main central path. This expo is very close, but very vulnerable from ranged attacks from behind the expo, in an easily accessible area impossible to defend with static defense, as the ground is rocky.
Beginning its unique structure and layout, the map features two paths brancing out from the area between the nat and min only, with one being more of a backdoor large ramp path, leading into the lowground which heads behind the min only, and the other being a large highground area. The backdoor path leads to the 12/6 expansions, which I'll call the 4th gas expos.
These expansions are directly cliffed by a hill which is accessible by a ramp from the mains. They are on the lowground, between the two large highground plateaus which feature the nats and min onlys. These expansions are interesting in that they almost belong to the player whose main is far from the expansion if you expo in order of proximity to your other expansions, but the cliff and distance from the min only make appear to belong to the player whose main features the cliff overseeing the expansion. These expos' "owner" is ambiguous, they could play as neutral expansions, though the easily accessible overseeing cliff does make this unlikely. The shape of the mains make them relatively easy to drop, and taking this expansion can be useful to help guard your main from drops, as it could be difficult to respond to such a drop should your force be elsewhere in the map.
If you take the highground path the opposite direction along the crags path, you'll end up in what I'll call the 3rd gas expansion, which is lowground and entered by a normal-sized ramp from your highground. This expo also has small entrance leading into the lowground, a path which passes two large ramps and ultimately leads to the 4th gas expo. The 3rd gas expo is important as while it is not the closest expo, it's easily the most defensible expansion. Ensuring it is not too defensible however, is an overseeing cliff from which players can easily drop/harass the expo.
Taking the first large ramp on the way of the lowground path leading out of the 3rd gas expo, or following the highground path past a very large ramp just past the min only is what I'll call the 5th gas expo. It is homologous in structure to the min only, in how it juts out of the highground to be surrounded and under-cliffed by the lowground middle. This expansion will easily be the hardest to secure, as it is both far and very vulnerable, but by featuring another gas geyser, it can easily critically turn the tide in a game. The distance of these expos can also make them neutral expansions. They appear to belong to the player whose highground plateau they are on, but they are quite near to the 12/6 expos belonging to the player whose cliff oversees it. For the player who owns the nearby 12/6 expoansion, taking this expansion could be easier, as they would be able to secure the middle lowground behind it easier, though securing the highground area could be difficult, as it is between the 3rd gas and min only expansions, with ramps and highground positioning which if used properly by their opponent could make taking this expansion from behind difficult.
Overall this map is quite unique. Its every expansion past the nat is quite vulnerable to some form of harass or cliffing. The map features many different paths which allows players to abuse their mobility and be all over the map at once. The map offers a lot of expo freedom, which each expansion having its own clear advantages and disadvantages. The players are not bound to taking any expansion in any order, and where and when they expo is quite bound only by the player's style and preference. The map is relatively open, with many different routes for flanking or escaping. Very well made, with lots of freedom for the players to control the game in any way they wish, without limiting any field of play, the map easily deserves to win this Map of the Month competition!
Spam the map's thread here, download the map here, and grab its obs here.
While this map never really threatened Spinel Valley III's first place position, it certainly was not far behind in votes. Following last month's theme, with Testbug taking first and NastyMarine taking second, Testbug takes this month's first place and NastyMarine again takes a close second!
Long time mapper NastyMarine shows us he's still got it, giving us another taste of his mapping skill which won so many Map of the Week competitions in the past, in the form of (4)Korhal Pride 1.3!
This map starts out standard, with 4 mains in the corners. It quickly starts revealing its unique quirks and features however, with two of the ten mineral blocks having only 500 minerals, so that the main will only have 8 mineral blocks after a relatively short time. The mains in this map are also lowground, with highground nats.
The nats are relatively normal, but the mineral only expansions are not. A narrow path leads from the mains around and behind the natural expansions to reveal an in-main mineral only. This area directly cliffs the nat. While this expansion is easy to take, it is somewhat out of the way, and at the same time easy to harass as it is not in the path of your normal pathing, from the main towards the middle, to respond to it you must head into your main and around the nat, or by air/drop.
Past the nat is the 3rd gas expo on a highground plateau entered from by a large ramp. Fairly close and relatively small, this expansion is mostly defensible, while being somewhat vulnerable to drops or harass.
And that's all the expansions on the map! Most of the map's money is close to the players, ensuring lots of macro based play. The unique mineral only expansion can encourage lots of aggressive play through attacking the min only, nat, or main, all by dropping/attacking the min only.
The map's middle is quite large and open, forcing the players to carefully maneuver their armies and reposition based on where their opponents are, and giving players many opportunities to delay their opponent as they retreat towards their corner.
As lategame approaches however, deciding on when and where to expo becomes very crucial, with the players having a fair amount of freedom on where to expo, and how to attack their opponents and their expos. On the surface the map appears to be a basic macro map, even perhaps a turtle map, but when you look closely, that's not quite the case. The close proximity of the first 3 expos outside of the main certainly encourages macro oriented play, but after that taking a 5th base can be quite difficult, with such a large distance from your corner to another. Players must carefully decide when and where to attack, when and where to expo. The gameplay will flow differently from "normal" maps, where you are given basically a path to follow to expo, whereas on this map you are given your first 4 bases, and must obtain the others quite on your own. The expo layout makes players think, about whether they want to try and secure another corner sooner or later, as doing so is inevitable should the game move on to lategame.
The map's many features still feel quite familiar, ensuring players can be comfortable on the map. Overall the map feels mostly standard, while still keeping its own unique gameplay despite using mostly standard features.
In the first daily bi-weekly testing tournaments I hosted, this map played quite well, with very few complaints at all. Players all seemed to agree that it feels and plays quite well. Leave it to an old and experienced mapper to create such a map, which definitely earns its place in this Map of the Month.
Spam the thread here, download the map here, and grab its obs here.
Taking a not so close third place, is Ptar's (2)Flavors! Ptar is also no stranger to MOTM, and interestingly was involved in last Month's MOTM third place, being involved with Jul13n's (2)3nim0.
Ptar takes this place with yet another two player map, something he definitely specializes in. This map is quite standard, and yet still has its own unique feel and structure.
The expo layout seems to encourage split map play, but the rest of the map's structure encourages non-linear non-split play, through making mobility easy and natural.
The main is normal, highground and all. The natural is nearly normal, with the secondary, almost backdoor path to its side being the only somewhat non-normal thing about it, which leads to a highground 3rd gas expansion. The natural and 3rd gas expo both have their own paths, which despite leading in different directions, still intertwine later, similarly to in Tau Cross, with the proximity of the 3rd gas also being Tau Cross-esque.
The nat path leads through a lowground area, featuring a min only, as well as leading to the highground middle in the center, and a lowground 4th gas expo to the side, whose ramp exit leads straight to the highground middle as well.
The 3rd gas expo's path leads through the highground to the 5th gas expo, and from here into the middle highground. All of these areas are linked with bridges and ramps, allowing for mauch mobility. The expos are basically player-owned, not really neutral at all, but the rest of the map's layout encourages more aggressive play, with players atleast preventing eachother from taking their own expos.
The map overall is well-made and well-thought out, but lacking the spark of any form of creative gameplay is likely what prevented it from taking a higher place in this MOTM, but it surely earns third place, which is still certainly not shabby.
Spam the map's thread here, download the map here, and don't grab the obs version because no one made one.
And thus concludes July's Map of the Month, but August's MOTM will actually come on time this month (zomg)!
August's MOTM's winner is a new face to the map competitions here, and we hope to see more such quality maps from him in the future!
This MOTM's winner is none other than Morrow[MB], with his map (4)Dread Core 1.1! This map obtained quite nearly ALL of the few votes this much. While it certainly earns its place in MOTM, it is disapointing that so few votes were cast for so few maps, but hopefully this batch of inactivity will fade as the summer does.
This map is quite nice, as it manages to have its own gameplay and layout, while still managing to remain very familiar and comfortable! Overall, there literally is nothing non-standard about the map, and at the same time it still is quite a nice map.
The map features normal highground mains in the corners, with normal lowground nats, with normal mineral only expansions past the nat in the middle, and then plateaus with 50%-larger-than-normal ramps which hold the 3rd gas expo. And that's it!
What then, do you ask, makes the map so special? It's the position of the otherwise normal expos! The expansions are placed such that you are forced no matter what you do to expo towards your opponent, which forces gameplay to be more intense, creating more action and aggression naturally, while keeping a normal and comfortable macro oriented layout.
The mineral only expansions and 3rd gas expansions both belonging to the player and the adjacent position are nearby the first player, creating some expo freedom, and ensuring some action no matter what, with the min onlys being vulnerable by being out in the open, and the 3rd gas expos being almost just as near to your opponents as they are to you, forcing you to move out of your base more.
The map may not be terribly unique, but for what it lacks in singularity, it makes up in execution and gameplay. It undoubtedly is a solid map, with solid gameplay, and overall is well-made and well thought out. This map is one of the few entirely standard maps which still earns a place in the Map of the Month competition purely out of execution and comfortable gameplay. This map was also in the map testing tournaments, and after a simple modification played quite well.
Spam the map's thread here, download the map here, and grab its obs version here.
There were so few votes that there are no convincing second or third place maps for this competition, and there exists no hint that the other maps will recieve more votes should the competition be kept open and delayed any longer, so it will have to suffice that only Dread Core 1.1 takes a place this month. As an honourable mention of sorts, NastyMarine's (4)TheWake and (2)Morris Plains each recieved a vote, by the same person.
I really hope activity picks up here, but despite the inactivity we're still getting some quite nice maps, slowly but surely. I hope everyone has had a good summer, as it's definitely coming to a close. MOTM 7 and 8 are both out of the way, so everyone can put their full focus on September's Map of the Month, let's see some nice maps and some more activity!
So then, congratulations to Testbug, NastyMarine, Ptar, and our new face Morrow!
lol since I'm the guy who makes these news posts, I make it my job to know the maps very well before posting. I think I usually play atleast a couple games on the winning map and the 2nd place map, sometimes not on the 3rd place map though, but it doesn't need as long a description/analysis anyway.
But yeah, nice job Morrow, I really hope to see you making more maps of that quality, and maybe you'll be the next NastyMarine or Testbug :)