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saturnflight
06/01/2011, 18:53
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/80851/HCRealms.com/201106/Review- GenCon.jpgThis year introduces a new approach to map choice for Gen Con Worlds (http://wizkidsgames.com/blog/2011/05/23/worlds-2011-the-map-menu/), limiting the choices for this summer's big tournaments to a finite list of 2'x3' maps. This week, Heroclix Map Reviews will take a broad look at the list, how it will effect the tournament scene, and planning around some of today's most competitive figures.

Click "Full Story" for the scoop!

saturnflight
06/01/2011, 19:13
Tournament formats change constantly, and format changes are almost always defined by restrictions. Point values are the first restriction; a 300 point format will keep Cosmic Spider-Man in the tacklebox, even if he's one of the most competitive figures in the game right now. Then, Modern Age phases out older figures, to encourage continued investment in the game, sustain constant evolution of the metagame, and phase out problematic figures of the past. This format also excludes the tactical elements known as Feats and Battlefield Conditions, the latter going so far as to make irrelevant one listed bonus for a Themed Build. All of this is a mass of examples to point out that a restricted list of maps is just another extension of the highly-competitive tournament format.

The legal maps for 2011's Gen Con Worlds Heroclix Events are:


The Lab - Marvel Heroclix: Armor Wars
The Junkyard - DC Heroclix: Collateral Damage
Airbase - Marvel Heroclix: Avengers
The Bank - DC Heroclix: Justice League
Spaceship Crash Site - Marvel Heroclix: Secret Invasion
The Asylum - DC Heroclix: Arkham Asylum
Fountain of Asgard - Marvel Heroclix: Hammer of Thor
Graveyard - DC Heroclix: The Brave and the Bold
The Bridge - Marvel Heroclix: Web of Spider-Man
The Crater - DC Heroclix: Brightest Day
The Monument - DC Heroclix: Brightest Day
Airport Terminal - DC Heroclix: DC75
Madripoor - Marvel Heroclix: Giant-Size X-Men
Ferris Aircraft - DC Heroclix: Green Lantern Fast Force
Oa - DC Heroclix: Green Lantern Fast Force

This list of 15 maps covers a wide variety of locale types, and should offer something for every team. At the same time, it removes some of the maps that drastically effect team building options, making a wider array of teams viable.

If, for example, you had to build with Hawkworld in mind, you'd need to be sure your whole team was immune to knockback or possessed the Flight ability; if you had to consider Krakoa, you'd need to exclude Stealth-reliant characters or those that utilized hindering terrain for other powers, as well as considering carefully before including a figure without damage reduction.

Some of these maps have been covered in depth by previous Heroclix Map Reviews, and more of them will be featured in upcoming articles. For those that have been covered already, click on the name as I highlight each map to link to the full review.

saturnflight
06/01/2011, 19:25
The Lab (http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/showthread.php?t=296276)
Significant Feature: S-shaped flow of combat
Advantage: Barrier, Charge
Finding a line of fire in the Lab can be difficult; most attacks will take place within 6 squares of each other. This takes the advantage away from long range characters, and allows you to advance safely with close combatants. Consider this map if your opponent is playing a ranged game, or if you've got a Hypersonic Speed attacker that can retreat behind a Barrier. You can quickly lose ground here to a team that can press the attack.

The Junkyard (http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/showthread.php?t=300095)
Significant Feature: Central hindering terrain
Advantage: Fliers and Stealth
A bit like dodgeball, the Junkyard discourages you from crossing the center, and whoever does so is likely to get pelted by the whole force of their opponent's team. If you can set up and stay there, this map might be for you (especially if you can make the most of that terrain via Stealth). Fliers also enjoy the mobility of this map. Do not let Nightcrawler face you here; he will win, and you'll find yourself escaping the trash compactor without the help of Chewbacca.

Airbase (http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/showthread.php?p=5747809)
Significant Feature: Central blocking terrain
Advantage: Barrier, move and attack powers
This map works exceptionally well with Barrier, as you can connect the wall to the tank and completely cut off your opponent. This map favors an attack you can move through rather than one you can fire through, so keep on the move and strike from diagonals.

The Bank (http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/showthread.php?t=328020)
Significant Feature: Protected area behind the counter
Advantage: Stealth and Energy Shield/Deflection on ranged attackers
There are two paths through this map, making it ideal for a force that needs to be divided. The main floor is wide open, so long range attackers can use it effectively, as can Stealthed figures who can hide in the teller's area. The rest of your force should probably advance through the vault and offices; look for the pincer move here.

Spaceship Crash Site (http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/showthread.php?p=5727667http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/showthread.php?p=5727667)
Significant Feature: Blocking terrain scattered among hindering
Advantage: Barrier
This map feels too random to effectively strategize, but the truth is that blocking terrain finds ways to be intrusive more often than you'd expect. Add to that with some blocking terrain of your own. Mobility is key here; lines of fire don't last long, and the narrow channels of clear terrain can impair movement if you're stuck avoiding hindering.

The Asylum (http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/showthread.php?t=317946)
Significant Feature: Individualized cells
Advantage: Hypersonic Speed
A great map to drop on a Hammer of Thor Captain America, this map has narrow hallways and a miniaturized central combat area. Hypersonic hit and run has a lot of places to take cover here, but Barrier can make you regret that tactic. Most Charge characters should find a way to get the first strike in, even against the usually superior Running Shot.

Fountain of Asgard (http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/showthread.php?t=321043)
Significant Feature: Central fountain
Advantage: Any ability ignoring terrain, especially ignoring elevation
This map has two routes, and which you take depends on what abilities you have. Going up the middle offers nice cover in the form of central squares of elevated terrain, but you'll waste a lot of movement if you don't have flight, phasing, or leap/climb. The less fortunate among your team will have to use the left or right outside edges, and transferring to the other side of the map mid-battle will be difficult, so split up wisely.

Graveyard
Significant Feature: Open graves
Advantage: Hypersonic Speed
The wide open nature of this map makes it a great choice for beating a Xavier; you should be able to get past the line and sack the QB. Wide open outdoor maps like these also make great maps for beating Xavier's rival, Magneto, who will struggle to create rubble. Open Graves grant powerful stealth-like cover for you; consider it with hit and run types.

The Bridge (http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/showthread.php?t=305102)
Significant Feature: Narrow combat area
Advantage: Flight and swim
Potentially the best place to face Magneto, aside from his ability to TK you into water. The bridge will quickly become congested, so if you want to use ranged abilities, your best bet is to launch your attacks from the sea. This map's hindering is very centrally located, making it a good map to face Stealth on (you'll know just where to go to nail them. Aside from the potential dunk tank, Nightcrawler will be easier than usual to attack here.

The Crater (http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/showthread.php?p=5669893)
Significant Feature: Elevated rim around combat area
Advantage: Long-range snipers
Potentially the number one place to face Nightcrawler, the Crater offers little terrain inside the impact zone and a wide rim to set up attacks from. Going into the middle should be an act of desperation, and you'll want to position carefully if you need to go there.

The Monument (http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/showthread.php?t=323325)
Significant Feature: Large area of elevated terrain
Advantage: Charge, especially with flight
The constant pillars and a closed room at the center of the raised area makes the Monument an ideal arena for close combatants, especially those that don't stand up to ranged combat attacks well. You'll need to overcome the rise in elevation early in the game, so consider fliers, leap/climb, phasing, or at least a taxi with those abilities.

Airport Terminal (http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/showthread.php?t=297515)
Significant Feature: Carefully laid-out hindering terrain
Advantage: Stealth
This map can be used to get to Xavier; take the moving sidewalks to gain extra movement, so you don't waste turns running. The tarmac makes a good safe zone, but there's no escaping it if your opponent gets into it. The best use of this map may be a Stealth/high defense ES/D pod of 4-5 attackers who complement each other, set up in the chairs that make up the major feature of this map.

Madripoor (http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/showthread.php?t=324086)
Significant Feature: Narrow combat area
Advantage: Close Combat Swarms
When using this map, your priority should be to make the alleyway as deadly as possible. With only one roof and huge chunks of blocking terrain, there are few alternative points of entry; you can foresee where figures will be able to attack from. Note that certain teams (namely, those lacking in mobility) can be majorly screwed up by filling the walkway from the boat with objects. That can buy you a few turns of setup and allow you to claim the alley before it's contested.

Ferris Aircraft
Significant Feature: Central office complex
Advantage: Hypersonic Speed, Barrier, and ranged swarms
The middle offices are excellent for a choke point, and offer multiple points to retreat to. If you can phase into an unusual position, your opponent can struggle to get to you. Use the choke point of the only doorway to your advantage, especially if you've got numbers on your opponent. Cut of his retreat, or divide his army, with Barrier.

Oa
Significant Feature: Z-shaped flow, obtrusive rooftops
Advantage: Fliers
Perhaps the most obstructive starting area in the game exists on the roof of one side of this map. The streets can be difficult to navigate, and your grounded figures will find themselves at a huge disadvantage against more mobile opponents, who take shortcuts over roofs and across hindering to gain first attacks. A few well-placed areas of blocking terrain can really come into play here, and a winning player will use them well. This may be the best choice for Nightcrawler, as the hindering terrain is abundant and he has escape routes that can be hard to follow. Also a great map for Magneto.



That does it for the quick overview of this year's big tournament maps! Watch the reviews in the next few months for more of these to be covered extensively. Until next time, enjoy the scenery!

TheRedHood
06/02/2011, 10:43
This is very cool! I am running an event at my venue to mirror the worlds event and this definitely helps. Since you started doing these, I do give a lot more thought to maps I choose.

Just one question. What happens if you lose map choice?(which I am apt to do). Tonight I will be running a close combat team(all different versions of Multiple Man/Madrox and Abin Sur) and it is not a theme. I would probably choose the Madripoor map, but chances are I won't get to choose.

If someone chooses the crater, what would you do? Sometimes I try to hang out and wait for them to come to me, but sometimes that does not work and let's face it, passing is lame. I just don't want to carry everyone into oblivion :)

silversurfr77
06/02/2011, 11:13
OMG this is a great review saturnflight......If I could rep you ten times I would. At work right now so I can't read in depth right now, but now I can't wait to get home EVEN MORE !!! :) Thanks for this....very insightful

DucksFlying81
06/02/2011, 11:31
What a great article.

supremepontiff
06/02/2011, 11:46
i just don't get how they nerf some maps with special rules (space, hawkword) due to "them being unbalanced for teams", yet allow the avengers map, and the graveyard in play, which cater to two teams in general that both run two peices. it should have been get rid f all the old maps, or special rules maps, or just let us choose. no team on any map is purely unbeatable., and i understand getting rid of "Killbox Prison" but ut's just as easily run on arkham as it was on the jail map. on an unrelated rant note, do you think they limited out the Blackest Night map because no one understands it, or because they thought it gave an advantage to some team?

-RmL

saturnflight
06/02/2011, 13:50
i just don't get how they nerf some maps with special rules (space, hawkword) due to "them being unbalanced for teams", yet allow the avengers map, and the graveyard in play, which cater to two teams in general that both run two peices. it should have been get rid f all the old maps, or special rules maps, or just let us choose. no team on any map is purely unbeatable., and i understand getting rid of "Killbox Prison" but ut's just as easily run on arkham as it was on the jail map. on an unrelated rant note, do you think they limited out the Blackest Night map because no one understands it, or because they thought it gave an advantage to some team?

-RmL

I don't feel that the front page is the place for me to carry on discussions about policy, so I won't get into that aspect of your question. But I'll gladly give you my thoughts on the maps you mentioned...

-Space: This map doesn't represent at all what I envision a space battle to be. It has a lot of special rules that are forgotten. As far as I'm concerned, it is not a very good map.

-Hawkworld: This map can be a lot of fun to play on, and of all the excluded maps with special rules, this probably would have been my first nomination for reconsideration. However, knockback has recently been given out too freely, in my opinion. Figures like Wonder Woman and Iron Man deal it so easily (and occasionally without even attacking) that it's unfair to figures without move and attack or range. Add in free damage and banishment to the starting area, and I don't think people are taking knockback as seriously as they should be.

-Airbase: This map CAN be used for evil with HoT Cap and Cosmic Spider-Man, but it promotes Charge and can be brutally useful for anyone playing Barrier (really, why Barrier isn't making most tournament teams I can't understand). One figure should not invalidate a map.

-Graveyard: The wide open nature of this map is not my favorite, and the open graves are odd. Open maps do have their place, however...

-Prison: This may be the only map I see people consistently use tactically. Unlike the Lab, which I see people use consistently without any tactical consideration at all. I welcome the 'retirement' of this map, as it's become an eyesore to the tournament scene with repetitive team builds on the same map game after game.

-Arkham: I don't like this map. I think it's inaccurate to the look of Arkham, and I think it's dull. I can't deny that it offers unique tactics to a game.

-Blackest Night Sciencells: This map is one big error. It's like putting Av. Firelord, with his two missing powers, in a list of 50 figures legal for your biggest game- why would you put THAT foot forward?

saturnflight
06/02/2011, 14:02
Just one question. What happens if you lose map choice?(which I am apt to do). Tonight I will be running a close combat team(all different versions of Multiple Man/Madrox and Abin Sur) and it is not a theme. I would probably choose the Madripoor map, but chances are I won't get to choose.

If someone chooses the crater, what would you do? Sometimes I try to hang out and wait for them to come to me, but sometimes that does not work and let's face it, passing is lame. I just don't want to carry everyone into oblivion :)

Great question!

First off, don't pass and wait for something to happen. Sitting in your starting area is a chump move and a losing tactic. You can do it once, maybe, if there's some strategy to the change in action tokens that will take place. But starting areas are almost never the safest spot on the map. You're giving your opponent the ability to position exactly how he wants, and then you'll be stuck trying to get your own positions while he has his way with your team. Don't do it.

I played in a game where the opponent was packing some big ranged threats. I mean 19-20 defenses, 8-10 range, running shot, the works. I was rockin' 1 ranged attacker (Living Laser, trying to hit those defenses), a Charge figure, three Leap/Climbers, and Prob Control. This was on an Oa map, with the rooftops demolished by a BFC (my starting area was now hindering). My opponent passed the first three turns, by which time I was within 6 squares of my opponent's starting area with most of my team. From there it was all him on the defensive, never using that full range advantage.

Second, look for what you have that he doesn't. With a Madrox team, it'll be numbers and disposable characters. You can afford to send a tie-up to keep three opponents from using their range. He may even survive a round or two. Use characters (yours and his) to break up line of fire. On the crater map, you may even find that staying around the edge of the rim keeps you out of range from the other side of the map. Remember that with 8 speed, you can base someone with 8 range before they can fire on you.

This will not be an easy battle. The map is completely against you. But the best way to deal with it is to look for the holes in your opponent's build, and more importantly in his positioning. Your opponent might be so good that his team, positioned right on this map, will prove unbeatable. But at least take down some points.

DucksFlying81
06/02/2011, 14:09
(really, why Barrier isn't making most tournament teams I can't understand).


I noticed how many times you mentioned Barrier in the article and thought, "Gee, he must use Barrier a lot." That struck me because I never see Barrier used, and I usually play in one or two tournaments a week. I've literally seen it used once since I started playing regularly at the beginning of March.

saturnflight
06/02/2011, 14:25
Think of Barrier this way:

Use 1: Give (50 point figure with Barrier) a power action. To deal damage to (250 point figure you're centerpiecing), opponent must first make an attack dealing 3 or more damage against absolutely nothing of consequence.

Use 2: Give (50 point figure with Barrier) a power action. Target opponent cannot move next turn and cannot draw line of fire to anyone, unless someone deals 3 or more damage with one attack against nothing of consequence; and even then, unless the character ignores terrain, they may only move 1 square.

Use 3: Give (50 point figure with Barrier) a power action while occupying an indoor map. All characters in this room cannot be attacked until someone makes an attack dealing 3 or more damage against absolutely nothing of consequence; and even then, you have higher defense and a narrow window through which you can be targeted.

I could keep going, because versatility is what makes Barrier amazing, but I think the point has been made.

saturnflight
06/02/2011, 14:27
If you want an eye-opening experience with Barrier, build your next team with IC Pyro and CT Avalanche (both with 8 range). Make a point to do nothing with them except for alternate Barrier, one each turn to end your turn. You'll see...

fastcat99
06/02/2011, 15:37
What happened to Hawkworld? Did they just overlook it or is it included since it's backside of the airport?

Wait....nevermind. I read over it again and see why.

I do have one more question about Ferris aircraft, though...The elevated area at the back of the building, a character can climb enter and exit the indoor terrain through the elevated platform, yes?

goldpony
06/02/2011, 16:04
is the Aerial Baffler object still legal in MA? I'm surprised i dont see more use of it on the Crater map, especially with charcters that can create hindering terrain...

Quebbster
06/02/2011, 16:09
is the Aerial Baffler object still legal in MA? I'm surprised i dont see more use of it on the Crater map, especially with charcters that can create hindering terrain...

It's from Collateral Damage. It's been a while since that set got retired.

absolutvt69
06/02/2011, 16:13
Good article, only thing I'd point out is I thought the Rainbow Bridge rules were not for tournament use. Will they be in effect at the big events?

Quebbster
06/02/2011, 16:45
Good article, only thing I'd point out is I thought the Rainbow Bridge rules were not for tournament use. Will they be in effect at the big events?

"Not for tournament use" still means "not for tournament use".
You can still use the map, you just can't use the rainbow bridge.

saturnflight
06/02/2011, 16:45
I don't see any reason to think the worlds tourney would be any different than any other tournament, in regards to the legality of rainbow rules...

absolutvt69
06/02/2011, 18:04
Fountain of Asgard
Significant Feature: Central fountain
Advantage: Any ability ignoring terrain, especially ignoring elevation
This map has two routes, and which you take depends on what abilities you have. Going up the middle offers nice cover in the form of central squares of elevated terrain, but you'll waste a lot of movement if you don't have flight, phasing, or leap/climb. The less fortunate among your team will have to use the left or right outside edges, and transferring to the other side of the map mid-battle will be difficult, so split up wisely.

I think I read the quote wrong. I thought that last part meant "transferring" as in using the bridge.

kencklets
06/02/2011, 18:55
If you r looking for a Modern age alternative to barrier with 8 range under 50 points 75 anniversary Ice it's a nice choice if you consider she comes with the freeze in place power.

Top10
06/02/2011, 19:40
If you r looking for a Modern age alternative to barrier with 8 range under 50 points 75 anniversary Ice it's a nice choice if you consider she comes with the freeze in place power.

Ice is a good choice for Barrier. She has lots of things going for her.
Pushable Barrier.
Freeze in Place Power helps get entire team in place.
L/C lets her set up position on her own OR get away when she is based.
RCE with 8 range to provide a little muscle.
JLA free move

goblynqueen23
06/02/2011, 19:57
Really enjoyed your article. It was well thought out and showed no bias in reasoning of the decision to eliminate certain maps. I will probably study this again before going to Gencon.

mohenjo
06/02/2011, 20:06
Good article, thanks.

But why do you think the Bridge map is "Potentially the best place to face Magneto"?

saturnflight
06/02/2011, 22:22
Good article, thanks.

But why do you think the Bridge map is "Potentially the best place to face Magneto"?

First off, he can't make debris easily. No blocking or walls to destroy.

Second, the map is wide open for line of fire. It shouldn't be hard to press the attack and get close enough to fire on him.

That's really all it takes. Wide open so he can be ganged up on, and no terrain that can become debris.

Of course, if you're using a close combat team, you may do better with a map where you can cut around elevated terrain and get right in his face... but I expect few people at that level go without ranged combatants, and I can't think of a map that fits well with that tactic without also offering Magneto the chance to boost all his stats by 1.

vlad the red
06/03/2011, 09:14
on the rainbow bridge map in the special rules section it says that this is not for tournament use...is this map still legal for worlds?

vlad the red
06/03/2011, 09:16
oops...strike that last post i now see where you guys covered this.

red king
06/03/2011, 11:42
First off, he can't make debris easily. No blocking or walls to destroy.

Second, the map is wide open for line of fire. It shouldn't be hard to press the attack and get close enough to fire on him.

That's really all it takes. Wide open so he can be ganged up on, and no terrain that can become debris.

Of course, if you're using a close combat team, you may do better with a map where you can cut around elevated terrain and get right in his face... but I expect few people at that level go without ranged combatants, and I can't think of a map that fits well with that tactic without also offering Magneto the chance to boost all his stats by 1.

Thats why I always run Magneto with either Moleman or Cave Carson. They are transporters that create hindering all over. =]

Dr. Briefcase
06/03/2011, 14:33
Barrier works best indoors, a hypersonic flier cannot be locked down with an outdoor barrier. An indoor barrier blocks any mover except phasers, and don't forget HoT Cap. I'm not saying that a barrier is useless outdoors, but I would never pick an outdoor map with a barrier team if I'm choosing map.
Best barrier maps: Asylum, Bank, Lab, Terminal.

TheRedHood
06/03/2011, 16:24
Great question!

First off, don't pass and wait for something to happen. Sitting in your starting area is a chump move and a losing tactic. You can do it once, maybe, if there's some strategy to the change in action tokens that will take place. But starting areas are almost never the safest spot on the map. You're giving your opponent the ability to position exactly how he wants, and then you'll be stuck trying to get your own positions while he has his way with your team. Don't do it.

I played in a game where the opponent was packing some big ranged threats. I mean 19-20 defenses, 8-10 range, running shot, the works. I was rockin' 1 ranged attacker (Living Laser, trying to hit those defenses), a Charge figure, three Leap/Climbers, and Prob Control. This was on an Oa map, with the rooftops demolished by a BFC (my starting area was now hindering). My opponent passed the first three turns, by which time I was within 6 squares of my opponent's starting area with most of my team. From there it was all him on the defensive, never using that full range advantage.

Second, look for what you have that he doesn't. With a Madrox team, it'll be numbers and disposable characters. You can afford to send a tie-up to keep three opponents from using their range. He may even survive a round or two. Use characters (yours and his) to break up line of fire. On the crater map, you may even find that staying around the edge of the rim keeps you out of range from the other side of the map. Remember that with 8 speed, you can base someone with 8 range before they can fire on you.

This will not be an easy battle. The map is completely against you. But the best way to deal with it is to look for the holes in your opponent's build, and more importantly in his positioning. Your opponent might be so good that his team, positioned right on this map, will prove unbeatable. But at least take down some points.

Hey thanks for all the advice. I was right and did not get to choose map all night. two matches on the bridge vs TRU Apocolypse and Rip Hunter and Fantastic Four starter set. I was able to chip away at Apocolypse, use Jamie Madrox's incap to keep him from doing anything. Madrox split twice for me, but alas it was not to be. In retrospect, I should have targeted rip hunter for the points.

Vs the FF team it was much closer, I managed to take out Mr Fantastic and get Torch down to his last few clicks. The big issue with both games was time. This was a slow team.

The team worked way better than I originally thought, with all the perplex and the leadership on the two GSX Jamie Madrox's to remove tokens from Abin Sur and his other multiples. It was also way fun!

I found basing as many of my opponent's figures as soon as possible was the best thing.

I have tried sitting in my starting area(especially on the prison map, I hate that map) but it has never gone well for me.