For August 2009's MOTM our winner is Tktkvroom, who I guess by now is an old mapper! Tk has won a couple MOTM/MOTWs in the past, including co-making the previous MOTM (July), but is largely unrepresented in bwm competitions. Well, he apparently got sick of that, and decided to win four MOTMs in a row, here's the second: (2)Sun Shower
This two player map is relatively standard, so I'll start with the most unstandard feature. Behind your otherwise normal nat in front of a normal main lies a backdoor closed by a mineral block (I don't know the mineral values). The theme of the map begins here. From your nat you have two paths, one leading over a nastyridge into the center of the map. The center is unremarkable, linear but fairly open. There are no expansions or strategic features in the middle. Following the backdoor path leads you to a fork, with an enlarged ramp leading to the 3rd gas expansion plateau, the other leading along the edge of the map, around the plateau. This path and a default-sized ramp from the plateau lead to a mineral-only expansion. Continuing along this path takes you to a second plateau with the 4th gas expansion. There are large ramps leading into the center from both plateaus.
As far as the map itself goes, that's it. Strategically the key to this map is controlling the plateaus. The middle itself has absolutely no value to it at all, a lot of the action is going to revolve around the plateaus and the side paths. The center links the two sides to eachother, and of course represents the main pathing from player to player. The other gameplay feature here lies in some relative flexibility as far as expansions go. Players do not necessarily need to take any expansion in any order. A player taking what I labeled the 3rd gas expo covers the backdoor to his nat, and puts himself in a pretty safe defensive position. From here the player is probably going to attack down the middle, particularly if his opponent also took the 3rd gas expansion. If his opponent took the 4th as his 3rd, the player could push along the side path from his 3rd, taking the min only as he goes. If his opponent took his 3rd gas, the player could push along the side anyway into his opponent's 4th. A player could take the 4th as his 4th, perhaps taking the min only by his own 3rd to defend his 3rd/backdoor from that side. The player could opt instead to wall-off his backdoor and take the 4th as his 3rd, and pressure his opponent along that side. Expoing on this map leaves you fairly vulnerable, which partially is responsible for the flexibility in expoing. There simply is no expansion you naturally take in any order, aside from the natural itself, hence its name.
In second place was (4)Orchidees Noi by Freakling. Just look at my post about the map when it won 2nd place for July's motm here. And I don't reward 3rd place out of 4 maps, which if you're curious was sty_lezerg-ex's (6)Twin Headed Snake, with 10 points.
For September of 2009, our winner is Tk's third appearance in a row, co-authoring with sty_lezerg-ex to make (4)Broken Wings.
This rotationally symmetrical four player map throws the mains in almost the corners of the map. The main itself, aside from being perhaps a little tight/small is standard. The nat deviates from the norm with another backdoor path. This backdoor is more prominent than last month's map. It leads into a cliff that oversees and circumvents the main, leading to a neutral blocking off the ramp to the 3rd gas expansion. The third gas expansion has a nastyridge on its other side leading into the center. The 3rd gas expansion by your own main is not necessarily the expansion you will actually take yourself, and in fact I find that to be unlikely. The 3rd gas expansion near your nat, but by another player's main is probably a safer pick. If your opponent is there, taking that expansion as your 3rd allows you to pressure your opponent. Securing the backdoor is critical for protecting both your nat and your main.
In the wasteland of a middle lies a 6-block mineral-only expansion. I don't know when a player would ever take it, probably never unless the game lasts a very long time. This expansion is fairly far from your other bases, doesn't lead into any other expansion and thus has very little if any strategic worth, it has virtually no economic worth, every other expansion both has more minerals and gas. The base is very vulnerable, being in the middle of the map with no choke to defend. I imagine the only reason it's there at all is so you can pretend the middle has something in it. It still in my eyes, does not. A big mass of clutter in the very center linearizes the map needlessly.
Gameplay should be pretty basic once you decide which gas expansion to take as your 3rd (your 3rd, another base's 3rd, or another base's main/nat, all of those being viable and/or preferable in some scenario or another).
In second place we have p4ver's tileset change/bugfix for the former promap (3)Demon's Forest, now titled (3)Demons Shiver. Promaps don't win bwm competitions, nor do tileset changes. In third place we have Excalibur and sWaGu's (4)World Tree, but my understanding is that it is incomplete, and whether it is or isn't, I see no reason to reward a map that lost to a tile-set change.
2009's October is graced again by the dynamic duo that is Tk and sty_lezerg-ex (what a lame name, let's vote on new names for him!), finishing off tk's 4-win motm streak. Apparently these guys became bored with all the standard maps we've had in MOTM lately, and made this map: (2)Flash.
The bizarrities begin right off the bat, with two entrances to the main. One is blocked with a stack of 6 neutrals (700 hp each neutral, so 700 splash damage kills the whole stack). Down the middle of the map is a wall which cuts the map into two sections, and the rest of the map is based on this division. In the center of this division is a troygate, which of course can be closed off. Once you close it, there are two neutral-blocked chokes which connect the two areas. And of course, the two areas are connected through your main. On the nat side of the map is a gas expansion on a tiny hill (so tiny that 3 cannot make comsat, and I will never edit this out, shame on you stylezerg/tk!), and past that is a large plateau with another gas expansion. This plateau leads through a backdoor into another gas expansion which lies behind your opponent's main. This expansion is pretty out-of-the-way except for by air/drops, but is easy to defend. Being hard to attack, hard to reinforce, and out of the way, this expansion is likely to play as a semi-island in many situations. A second choke, a bluestorm choke (lets only small units through) leads from that expo into a path which leads along-side the plateau ramp into the middle. Right outside this path is yet another gas expo, this being what you could call the "2nd nat" for your opponent. This expansion is right outside your opponent's 2nd main entrance. Then, in the very middle, on either side of the troy-gate are mineral only expansions you'll never take. These things are actually worse than the ones in Broken Wings, if you can believe that. Think about the expansions I said no one in their right mind would ever take outside of desperation in a very long game, make them shootable from behind, and take away a mineral. They atleast are fairly near other expansions unlike the broken wing min onlys, but there are gas expos with more minerals that are safer to take at the same distance or closer to another gas expo everywhere on the map. I don't understand why these min onlys are in what is already a money-rich map.
At anyrate, if you hadn't figured it out already, this map has very complex gameplay. There is a constant dynamic between the two sides. Players can always find a gas expo near another gas expo they already own on either side of the map, so there's a lot of flexibility in where and when players expo. Every expansion has an alternative choice that's just as viable or more viable in any given scenario. Mostly, the gameplay will be determined by how the players choose to use the neutrals. Aggressive players will seek to open up the neutrals quickly, allowing them to pour units all over the map, attacking their opponents on both sides of the division. Defensive, more passive players will seek to protect the walls (terrans can repair all the neutrals aside from the troygate, an interesting mechanic).
This map is fairly experimental, and as such is a little messy. The gameplay should be both interesting and fairly solid. It should be fairly difficult to play passively vs an aggressive player, so it could be difficult for players more used to passive play as such. I think the rewards to being aggressive too far outweigh the rewards for being passive, so I can't see it playing out any other way. The messiness is somewhat due to the experimental features, but more due to the odd expo layout. The concept itself would probably benefit a lot from a remake with a different expo layout. The authors apparently did not find it necessary to look into this however, and I decided to make fun of LML instead of giving them an essay on how to improve the map, so this is what we're left with. Either way, this map is interesting, relatively well-made, and is worth playing a few times if only to see how the divided-sections concept plays out.
In a very close second place is JungleTerrain's (4)Desert Yellow (4)Naous. This map is very standard. There isn't much to discuss here: You have a normal main and a normal nat. You have a normal/open/cluttered middle with mineral only expansions nearest to the nats. Cliffing the mineral onlys is a plateau which leads into the 3rd gas expansion, next to the mains. Zergs will likely take a nat/main as their 3rd (possibly a far 3rd gas expo vs terran, attempting to defend the small ramp with lurkers), and terran and protoss will probably pick a plateau based on where their opponent is, and take the mineral only/gas expo there, in no particular order. Players with map control will probably take the gas expo before the min only. Depending on positions it's probably a good idea to push towards the plateau facing you, and defending the gas expo from the plateau itself, inching into the min only a little later. If that's not possible players will probably take the min only nearest to them, then use that expansion to secure the plateau and the gas expo a little later. And, that's it for the map.
As I said earlier, I don't reward 3rd place out of 4th, which is sWaGu's (3)Hope if you're curious.
And there we'll stop for now, as I don't know if bwm is ready for a lastcurse motm quite yet. There are three outstanding MOTMs remaining, and then the current MOTM. If you haven't taken the opportunity to vote for 2010's January/February combined motm, please do so now! That motm has quite a few great maps, it would be a shame to spoil what ought to be such a tough competition with too small a number of votes. Be sure to look for great maps to submit for this current MOTM, as there's hope it might be posted this year!