The impact a map can have on a game is often overlooked. A good strategy incorporates a tactically-sound map choice. But when it comes to locale, sometimes it's hard to see the forest for the trees. We're here to help you make smart decisions when it comes to Heroclix real estate. Official Title: Soul World Also Known As: Infinity Gauntlet Month 1 Dimensions: 24" x 36" (24x24 squares) Map on Reverse: Nexus of Reality Set: Infinity Gauntlet Tournament Series Status: Active
Infinity Gauntlet's month two just came to a close, and many of us now own the first maps from the series. Of course, the Nexus of Reality is a powerful new tool in a competitive player's map box, but what about Soul World? Should you consider this utopian landscape for your next team?
The layout of Soul World is similar, in many regards, to the old Asgardian Fountain: a central pool of water is surrounded by elevated stations. In most situations, the Elevated portions of the map are too far back to factor significantly into strategy. However, there's one raised section that extends nearly to the middle of the map. Either player can find ways to use this to their advantage, but it won't help a character much unless they have flight (or a similar elevation-ignoring ability) and range.
In fact, all of Soul World favors the flier. Blocking terrain breaks up the main area of combat, while the lake will prevent grounded characters from crossing into a fight they didn't plan to participate in. When the game starts, note who your opponent's mobile figures are. If your long-range figure can hang out on one side of the lake and fire at opponents on the other side of it, you get some safety without giving them hindering bonuses.
For those characters forced to keep their feet on the ground, Charge can be just as useful as Running Shot, and close combat figures without move and attack options are actually at less of a disadvantage than usual. The scattered rocks on the flat side of the lake will come into play most games, and they provide a lot of cover from outside interference. Non-mobile ranged attackers, however, will want to steer clear of Soul World.
Busting up blocking terrain is an overlooked move, but here it can really open up the field. If you find yourself without a shot, consider breaking the obstructing terrain before moving. In the long term, you'll benefit more from destroying their cover.
The best characters on this map will be Hypersonic fliers. But this time, let's look at some figures who could really use this map to make the most of their dials:
Spider-Man of the new Fantastic Four likes to attack opponents on elevated terrain. This map has one prime place for snipers, and it's on top of a hill. So set an object beneath the edge for a +1 defense against retaliation and catch that sniper off guard!
A host of Atlantean characters can use the lake well, but the ones who can use it best are the ones that need to keep moving through it. Hulkmariner can re-equip regularly, Tiger Shark can keep that full-speed Charge, and Attuma might even Quake an opponent into rocks and walls.
Skaar will more often than not be engaging an opponent while he's next to Blocking Terrain, netting him an upgrade to his damage reduction. The same Blocking Terrain can cover him from outside attacks.
Arkillo shouldn't need more than 2 Barrier tokens to majorly disrupt an opponent's movement.
Diamondback has convenient cover to run back to after using her 'out and back' Running Shot. Doesn't make her a good figure, but if you're going to use her anyway...
Juggernaut doesn't care what terrain is in his way, and can open up paths for the rest of your team to attack through.
The entire concept of the Infinity Gauntlet maps- use the comic locales for each event- is fantastic. Still, Soul World doesn't look much different from any other outdoor map. The other maps in the series definitely score higher. Clarity: 4/5
What is going on with that blocking terrain in A4-D8? It actually won't block fire between the two elevated portions of the map, as the blocking terrain isn't on elevated terrain. Other than that conceptually confusing element, the map does a good job of marking everything well. Tactical Impact: 5/5
Fliers play this map drastically differently than grounded figures, and aquatic figures go another direction entirely. This is a great map to illustrate the differences in tactics necessary when playing different sorts of characters. Balance: 2/5
It hurts to be a grounded, stationary ranged attacker here. If you're a flying Hypersonic character, you've found your paradise. Terrain Diversity: 5/5
Hindering, blocking, water, elevation. All the standards are here, and well utilized to all come into play.
In a lot of ways, this seems like your basic map, but Soul World actually can give significant advantage to the right sort of team. Use it as a neutralizing map if you see your opponent packing a big, stationary ranged attacker (Adam Warlock? In-Betweener, perhaps?)
That's it for this week! Until next time, enjoy the scenery!
Love this map. My friends and I have been playing on this one for a minute. Very fun and balanced....unless you're a grounded sniper as mentioned above. It's easy to look at, too. I hate maps where it's hard to tell what's going on due to not enough contrast or too similar colors (I believe Bizzaro World is all pink or something - hate LOOKING at that map).
The Man in Black fled across the desert, and the Gunslinger followed...