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: Negative Zone Prison AKA: Prison Alpha, Prison 42, Fantasy Island Map on Reverse: Avengers Mansion Grounds Dimensions: 24" x 36" (16x24 squares) Set: Marvel HeroClix- Chaos War Status: Active As a bonus, we'll look at a few thematic inmates!
Today we're going to look at a comic book location and a group of characters that fit with it. The Negative Zone Prison continues the tradition of prison maps that are brutal on your team, with narrow hallways through the middle and plenty of small rooms along the sides. This is a lockdown map; if you need to keep your opponent struggling to effectively utilize multiple characters, head to the N-Zone and let him try to find a way to get everyone into the action.
The orange terrain is simple, so I won't even quote it. Blocking terrain that can't be broken. No one is going to tear apart the fabric of the Negative Zone, so be thankful it's confined to the outer ring of the map (if the Sinister Prison had unbreakable walls, we'd have really had some trouble!)
There are three zones that will become combat areas on this map, and they're all in the central choke point. The central room probably has the most open space (which is still not much at all). The other two options are the hallways on either side of the room, which are at times only 1 square wide. If you're hoping to get a Hydra or PD boost on a ranged attack, you can forget it.
So what's the key to success here? Size. It's no accident that a map like this was included in a set that introduces the Tiny mechanic. In these narrow hallways, smart use of size progression can get you 3 shots to your opponent's 1.
During the events of Civil War, this prison was created by Mr. Fantastic, and it remains active in the Marvel Universe to this day. Here are a few characters who have done some time here, allowing for a unique, completely comic-based theme, in the unofficial sense:
Blizzard, Cloak and Dagger, Diablo, Dragon Man, Gorilla-Man, Grey Gargoyle, Hydro-Man, Iron Fist (posing as Daredevil), Jack Flag, Kang the Conqueror, Klaw, Lady Deathstrike, Mad Thinker, Miek, MODOK, Molecule Man, Mole Man, Penance, Prowler, Psycho-Man, Puppet Master, Red Ghost and his Super-Apes, Taskmaster, Terrax, Trapster, Wizard
This team is thrown together based on using the Sinister Syndicate team ability to share attacks and make the most of confined spaces.
Cloak Veteran 75 Blizzard Experienced 46 Hydro-Man Experienced 57 Penance 58 w/Thunderbolts ATA 8 Taskmaster SR 139 w/Thunderbolts ATA 8 Super Apes: Igor 50 Super Apes: Mikhlo 50 Super Apes: Peoter 50 Tyros of Lanlak 86 Daredevil Experienced (Sinister) 66
Maybe I'm a sucker for Civil War, but I like that we took a more thematic approach when we revisited the prison concept. The look is very otherworldly and sterile, which works. It's not a Gotham City or a Weapon X facility, but it's still unique to the Marvel Universe. Clarity: 5/5
This map is crystal clear. It's simple. Tactical Impact: 2/5
This map has less tactical impact and more tactical suppression. There is NO space in the combat zone. That's accurate to the idea of a prison, but not necessarily fun for an unprepared team. Balance: 1/5
All I can think of is Darkseid and how mean he'd be here. Terrain Diversity: 2/5
Hindering and Blocking, mostlyin the form of walls. Oh, there's orange terrain. It's blocking too.
There are certainly strategic reasons to use this map, but for the average team it'll just get in your way at best and ruin your team at worst.
That's it for this week! Until next time, enjoy the scenery!
Last time I played on this map, the Nova Corp went to town on opposing teams during a 3 round tournament. While a ranged based team would normally not do too well here, I went with the CTD Nova (New Warriors era) instead of Nova Prime. Rich's charge proved invaluable here as he did a great job pinning downa and playing "tie up" as the rest of the Corp (3 Centurians and a Denarian along with two space phantom pogs to fill points) went around blasting the heck out of the tied up pieces. It did help that I kept on rolling 6's for the super senses granted by the Denarian). There was also a game where Rich picked up Mjlonir and took the fight directly to CW Ultron. That was a bad day for Ultron and her drones ...
Teams I've done well with here:
Ultron/IM Drone swarm
Close combat oriented teams.
My feelings are that this map is really good at nullifying your opponents range. This means that not only does it shut down the versatility of Ranged combat attackers, but it also makes all your opponents support powers hard to use. It's really hard to effectively line up outwits, Perplexes and prob controls, and fairly easy to interpose. Green lanterns will get demolished on this map by effective other teams. It also does a reasonably good job of nullifying the versatility of Hypersonic characters, because it shrinks the size of the map, which is sort of counter intuitive as usually maps like this do well for Hypersonic characters who find it easy to get a good hiding space after an attack.
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I've had some pretty brutal fun times on this map with Hand teams, the amount of walls everywhere keeps them clear to advance up for melee being nearly immune to range teams. Also Leech has some fun here shutting folks down while hiding behind walls/in very well placed (for him) pieces of hindering.
Overall I feel like this map really favors close combat oriented teams and "control" teams. Nice writeup as always!
We were just fooling around and my buddy decided to play 500 point thanos, so I pulled out an all Flash (or mostly Flash) team consisting of:
Jay Garrick Flash (DC 10th Anniversary)
The Flash (Justice League Fast Forces)
The Flash (Justice League 52)
Black Flash (Brave and the Bold)
The Flash (Icons)
Johnny Quick (DC 75th Anniversary)
The Flash (DC 10th Anniversary)
I must say they were very affective against thanos. Despite not having outwit, perplexes allowed me to ding at him until he was down to toughness. I missed a lot but it didn't matter because he couldn't catch me. He did outmaneuver me at one point however because I ran all my flashes into two side by side jail cells and he parked Thanos in front of the doors... I felt so stupid. Despite that they held up very well.
I see a lot of people build 700 point build totals for teams. why is that? Usually the format is 200,300,500,or 1000, but its odd to have a 700 point build. I guess it feels right to some players.
I actually just added figures to the team until I was happy. My mind isn't really on competitive tournament scene when I suggest teams to people. I just wanted figures that complemented each other (wildcard!) and would do well on this map (Cloak!), and when I got to around 600 I started looking for point totals to close up the build.
Feel free to add or subtract inmates to suit your format!
Played this map for the first time on Tuesday with a 600pt X-Men TV show team against Leader and some Hulked-Out Heroes. The battle was mostly confined to the center room, allowing Gambit/Rogue to sneak around the back. I also used the small corridors to great advantage, blocking them with more *ahem* expendable Jubilees. I mean characters! It was still a close game, though, because due to the map size, whenever the Hulks got close to anyone, it was hard to get away!
I got two of this map to lay them side by side and have them pop up on the other map based on a 1d6 roll: 1-2 pop out of the top, 3 pop out of the left, 4 pop out of the right, 5-6 the bottom.
Who Has Used The Bat Belt? (7-3 W/L)BM049 Socialist Red Guardsman(W); BM207 The Joker(L); D10a007 Nightwing(L); DKR023 Henri Ducard(W); FFBM002 Damian Wayne(W); CR010 Liberty Belle(W); NML002 Batgirl(L); BM103 The Batman of Zur-En-Arrh(W); TabApp-E Superman(W); SoG040 Deathstroke(W)