The winner of this MOTM-2/2008 is the Nightmarjoo-Testbug team who score with the elegant map "Faoi" that is also representing us at the ICCUP event.
In this map we see the application of the rotational symetry concept with the repeating unit being a high ground main leading to a low ground nat at the end of a dirt corridor which is connected by two ramps to a high ground center. This corridor with its two ramps is one of the salient strategical features of this map that clearly separate it from your classic "linear" map where you move towards your opponent's base while setting rally points further along the way. Here an army may set on the move up one of the ramps just to find halfway to the opponent's base that the enemy's army has descended down the other ramp and is proceeding to ransack their nat! Scouting this area and even placing sentries here may be crucial when you play this map. Resource wise the map has 8 gas in the mains & nats which means that, at least by land, the third gas for the players is a long way away unless you count the extra two gas in the islands close to the 3 and 9 positions. There is some dispute as to the effect on map balance of these two islands as they are not equidistant from the bases, but they do have a mineral block. Finally there is a minonly between the two ramps but having the central high ground just behind it, it is quite vulnerable. All in all this is a simple but challenging map that was made having fluent gameplay in mind and should generate some fun games.
The second place goes the map "Double Edge" by a mapper that is no stranger to MOTM or even EMOTY for that matter, we are talking about Lost Tampon.
This map is again another example of rotational symmetry with high-ground mains that have two chokes, one leading to the low-ground wide center of the map and another at right angles leading to a low ground gas-nat. The interesting twist here is that this gas-nat is connected to a second gas expo by a small hill with two ramps blocked by minerals (100 and 75 value) and this second gas expo is connected to the center of the map by two bridges. Although the value of the mineral blocks seems too high to make it practical for attacking units to gain access to this small hill by land, it is nevertheless an area that not only can be used for drops but that also can serve to allow (or impede) air access to a hill behind the gas-nat and to the main itself. Because of this it will be probably a good idea for the defending player to clear the minerals to control this vital high ground. Apart from this feature, the wide center, 12 gas and 4 minonlies just outside the mains should favor macro play. This map actually ended one point ahead of Faoi but due to uncertainties about the nature of gameplay (no replays) it ends up in the number two position.
And the third place goes to the map Scratch 0.93 which is the twentieth map contributed to this database by LML.
This is a 128x96 two-player map with a high ground main and a low ground nat which opens to a dirt corridor that runs parallel to the main to the opposite side of the map. A high ground center joins the ends of the corridor through wide ramps and to the middle through a smaller vertical ramp. This setup allows for a lot of interconnection, you can get to a given place in the map through several routes. Therefore control of the high ground behind a particular ramp will not necessarily block the mobility of your opponent. The central landmass features a very vulnerable gas expo and minonly at the foot of the large ramps plus a small minonly adjacent to the mains. Although both the main and nat are relatively safe and defendable, taking your third gas here will be risky unless you control the area around the expo. However, there are also two corner-island gas expos that can serve this function. This is a pretty straightforward and stylish map that should provide some fun games.
Well I challenged our mappers to "make an Ash map that will make Queen Kerrigan proud enough of you to kill you last" and many of them rose to the challenge. flothefreak, SynDroMe, LostTampon, PsychoTemplar, Nureru, Crackling, Grief_Stricken, SiaBBo, Testbug, someone09, SauruS and ProTosS4EveR each uploaded their best shot at vying for more time alive with the Queen of Blades and after the votes were tallied the winner with a whopping 30 points was.........................................
Testbug with his map "The Great Phase"!
With this map Testbug certainly will become the favorite pet of her majesty, at least for a while until, of course, he eventually is killed. This map whose design testbug pimped from Tuy is reminiscent of the map Python with respect to its base layout, high-ground corner expos accessible by a large ramp and low-ground island expos between the mains. This basic map design alone is very exciting as it creates a lot of strategical and tactical possibilities depending on the starting locations of the players. What makes a big difference in this map however, is the fact that the center is a high ground plateau connected to the adjacent low ground by 2 large ramps on each side. This introduces a new dimension of possibilities to the gameplay due to the narrowness of the terrain in the diagonal matchups and the strategical value of the control of the high ground next to the ramps in these and other matchups. Finally with 12 gas and 2 minonlies there are enough resources to keep your macro going for a long time, if you survive. This map is indeed a interesting place to die!
To be messily slaughtered by the zerg queen before testbug is Crackling the author of the map that ended in second place with 18 points "Burning Love".
The defining feature of this map is the 5 central plateaus that create a maze of corridors throughout the map. By this token the map would be considered "tight" if it weren't for the fact that each plateau has several wide ramps leading in various directions which provides the important flanking space and creates myriad of tactical and strategical possibilities making total control of any piece of high ground difficult. However, the large wide ramp right next to the nat may prove a challenge to some players but even then there is a second exit from the nat for smaller units that can relieve some of the pressure resulting from the enemy controlling the high ground. Ten gas and 4 minonlies should encourage a macro style of gameplay and help you give your enemy some of that burning love that feels sooooooo good!
And finally, scheduled to taste the steel of the queen bitch of the universe slightly before Crackling, is ProTosS4EveR with his map Citlaltepetl that received 17 points for a very close third place.
Inspired by a volcano in Mexico this map presents the players with various possibilities and challenges. Due to the proximity of the nat exits to the important nearby third gas, vertical matchups should prove more of a challenge than horizontal or diagonal ones. This is compounded by the fact that when leaving the nats the immediate access to the high ground is through 2 large ramps. But should the enemy concentrate on taking control of the high ground next to the ramps there is still a low ground route by the central borders that can allow you to circle and emerge behind your opponent. This makes the map very fluid, there is more than one way to get from one place to another. Although a bit spread apart there are abundant resources, 10 gas and 6 minonlies plus there may even be some virgins lying around for you to toss into the central crater to gain the favoritism of the Gods that undoubtedly dwell there, so keep your eyes open when you play here!
Of course way before ProTosS4EveR exhales his last breath the rest of our participants will have been thoroughly exsanguinated, diced and fed to hungry larvae by her majesty and her minions with the possible exception of PsychoTemplar who wins the honorable mention of best map theme/description and gets to live a few seconds longer in horrible pain.
As a map description for his map "Tsatine", PsychoTemplar wrote a fragment from the song "Blood" by the group "Abandoned pools":
Staring into the Sun, We eat our young, This can't be what you're waiting for!
A sobering thought for anyone that is naive enough to expect anything but the worst when entering the convoluted realm of the zerg in Tsatine!
And that is all folks, congratulations to the winners and thanks to those of you who participated and voted regardless of whether by now you are dead or alive.
Good God! This competition must have wiped out half of our mappers!
I will try to see if we can make the next ash map competition less bloody, just let me talk to.....huh?.......yes your highness?....why....why are you looking at me that way? what?....me?.....no your majesty, you don't understand I did not participate in the competition, I just organized it, you see I am Lancet, I am one of the admins here I.....please your majesty.....no.....no......put that blade away.......Sarah calm yourself down, please, no, please, no, noooooooo, aaaaaaaaaaah! blurp.....gurgle.....splat....drip....drip....drip....
Posted by:Lancet The year 2007 ended a little while ago and the time has arrived to post the map of the year (MOTY) winners!
With 43 points our mappers have selected the map "Shakras" by the Crackling and Testbug team as (4)MOTY!.
This map is a rather good application of the rotational symetry approach to mapmaking. The map's periphery in essence is made up of a counter clockwise arrangement of a repeating unit made up of a low ground main connected to a high ground nat and a distant hill overlooking the next player's main. The nat and the hill are connected to the adjacent central low-ground by 1 and 2 large ramps, respectively. Interestingly the available gas in the map is present only in these 3 elements (the main, the nat and the hill), while the mineral-only expos are between the nat and the hill. As has been remarked before by Nightmarjoo this expo arrangement favours a "push or creeping style expansion, taking one base at a time as you head towards your opponent". The center of the map is a plateau connected by 8 large ramps to a circle of low lying land that surrounds it allowing for unhindered movements of large amounts of units. All in all the map is "gamer friendly" favoring a "macroish" style of gameplay.
You may also want to check out the map that finished in second place with 35 points, ProTosS4EveR's "Rise of Teotihucan", which features a rather unusual main and nat layout.
Our next category is the (2)MOTY, which is won with 35 points by flothefreak's rendition of a map concept by Radix, we are talking about the map "Sound Barrier".
This is a 128x96 map with a total of 8 gas, which would promote a macroish style of gamepaly if it weren't for one particular detail. The salient feature of this map is an "S" shape arrangement of neutral buildings that slithers through the center tightening up the map. One consequence of this is that you will not be able to scout your opponent early in the game creating the first major challenge for players in this map. But not all the neutrals are equal. While most of them are 2000 hp psi disrupters, 4 of them are 800 hp power generators strategically placed next to the nats and in the center of the map. Selective disruption of the generators will create portals for attacking units early in the game so don't think you can safely expo with impunity, this is NOT an island map! As the game progresses, further clearing away of neutrals can change gameplay dramatically as it opens up the center of the map. One last feature worth mentioning is a hill behind the nats that can generate many interesting situations with regards to the possibilities of drops and air to ground attacks. To sum it up, and interesting and challenging map that will promote creative gameplay.
You may also want to check the map that finished second place with 28 points, "Silver Flush" by the Crackling, Tesbug and Flothefreak team. This map features very complex terrain and numerous attacking possibilities.
And finally in the experimental category, the EMOTY with 29 points goes to the map "Mirage II" by Flothefreak.
This map is an air map, but it seeks to address zerg's common complaint that they are weaker on air maps in a very original way. The map provides an in-base gas expo with the starting location blocked by neutral mines. Since zerg has early detection with overlords this means it will have an edge over protoss and terran which will have to build cannons and turrets to be able to detect and clear the mines for expoing. Apart from this feature the low lying ground of the map contains a whopping 10 gas expos with their corresponding minerals, plenty of resources to keep you going for a long time assuming you survive the transitions from high to low ground!