Season 3 Ladder Map Pool
Blizzard have announced the updated map pool for StarCraft 2’s Season 3 Ladder.
- Habitation Station LE
- Frost LE
- Alterzim Stronghold LE
I am actually sad to see Habitation exit the pool. It was a fun map to play regardless of the match up. And my recent Gangnam practice is now defunct!
I am happy to see the last of Alterzim, despite my 100% win record on it (which came from a single TvZ that lasted 52 minutes and was promptly vetoed afterwards, haha). Frost was also on my veto list, being a larger, four spawn map.
Waystation is an interesting removal. This map could have been considered two maps due to the forced cross spawn, which made for a very interesting dynamic. Would have liked to see this last another season.
The new, community created maps look very interesting. Haven’t had a chance to check them out just yet, however there is a second, three spawn map added in the form of Catellena and an Alterzim replacement in Deadwing. On the whole, the maps in the pool look larger, which could make it even more difficult for Terran, whilst opening it up more for Zerg & Protoss. But we will see how the maps play out, time for some play testing ;)
With 2014 Ladder Season 2 starting to wind down, we would like to take some time to preview our new maps for 2014 Ladder Season 3. The upcoming season will see nine new maps added across the 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, and 4v4 map pools. We’ve already published the new maps below to the Custom Games list, so after you’ve given them a quick look here, be sure to log in and get a few practice games on each before the season rolls at 12:01 a.m. PDT on Monday, July 7.
The 1v1 Map Pool
For the 1v1 maps this season, we focused on selecting maps created by our community map makers. In past seasons, we’ve used a mix of maps from our tournament organizers as well as community made maps. With so many talented map makers out there, we wanted to try a season with all new community maps. We reviewed several maps, and with the help of our partners, we chose the maps that were suitable for Season 3.
Habitation Station LE
Alterzim Stronghold LE
Foxtrot Labs LE
Created by Uvantak, Foxtrot Labs was one of the most popular entries from the Team Liquid Map Contest, and with good reason. Depending on your spawn location, the map offers drastically different ways to attack and expand. The natural expansion on this map should be a bit more difficult to secure compared to other maps, but we believe this could also be one of the more interesting things about the map.
Created by JessicaSc2, Deadwing is another finalist from the Team Liquid Map Contest. This is a four-player fortress map that has some interesting features such as the narrow attack paths near the third bases. It should also be easier to take four bases on this map compared to most other maps being used in Season 3. With Alterzim Stronghold being in the map pool for the past few seasons, we were looking for another macro map to replace it. Among the maps that we reviewed, Deadwing stood out as the one that we felt could fulfill this need.
A Team Liquid Map Contest finalist created by Timmay, Catallena features a fairly standard expansion layout with interesting narrow paths and ramps that lead to different locations. This would be the second three-player map used on the ladder after Merry Go Round, which was used this past season. Compared to Merry Go Round, we feel this map could play differently in terms of choosing and defending the various key locations around the map.
This is a four-player community map created by Icetoad. While this map was not among the finalists in the Team Liquid Map Contest, it has placed highly in similar contests and caught our eye. The in-base natural expansion on the high ground is an interesting feature, which combined with a slightly easier to take third base, should offer something new to the current map pool.
As with recent ladder seasons, the maps used in 2014 Ladder Season 3 will also reflect the map pool used in WCS 2014 Season 3. Beyond Season 3, the map pool will also be used in the WCS Global Finals at BlizzCon taking place November 7–8. Below is a compiled list of the complete map pool.
Complete 1v1 Map Pool for 2014 Season 3
Foxtrot Labs LE
King Sejong Station LE
Merry Go Round LE
The 2v2 Map Pool
In the 2v2 map pool, we focused on adding interesting maps that offered a more macro oriented play style. Last season, we tried adding more macro oriented 2v2 maps, and it worked out well. We’re looking to continue this trend with our Season 3 selections.
Old Country will be used as a 2v2 map and 4v4 map in Season 3. The unique thing about this map in the 2v2 scenario is that the opposing team always spawns cross position from your team. The middle of the map is blocked off by destructible rocks, so it won’t be possible to get to your opponents by ground until the path is broken. We know that this type of map is stretching the bounds of map diversity quite a bit, but we believe that this is the correct direction.
This map was one of the Team Liquid Map Contest team map winners created by Timetwister22. Although Preservation is a fairly standard map, we were looking for a map where the rush distances are fairly long to help fill a need in the 2v2 map pool. Last season, we tried a couple of new maps in 2v2 that were more macro oriented and that test turned out well so we’re trying to push this line of thought more in Season 3.
The 3v3 Map Pool
Our focus for the 3v3 map pool is to continue to create a more diverse map selection.
Temple of the Preservers
Sands of Strife
The goal of this map is to create a more fortress style map where defending multiple bases on your team is easier. By defending the main choke point right beneath your main base, it’s possible to secure not only three natural expansions, but an open High Yield expansion as well. Off to the sides, there are two more expansions that should be fairly easy to access. These features combined with the three Xel’Naga towers that watch over the middle attack paths, set this map up to play out very macro heavy.
Dust Bowl is more of a rush friendly map where each player per team starts spread out from each other. It is possible to gather your forces at the choke point leading towards the three players, but there is also a longer back door path that the opposing team can take as well. The center of this map features a long path with ramps serving as choke points that can be used as forward defensive positions as well. We believe this map will play very aggressive and the team controlling the key locations of the map or using a more aggressive play style will be at an advantage.
The 4v4 Map Pool
As with the 3v3 map pool, our goal for the 4v4 map pool is to help create a more diverse map selection.
Used in both the 2v2 and 4v4 map pool, the unique thing about this map in 4v4 is that towards the beginning of the game this map will play out as two 2v2s. The reason is that each team will be spread between two with two of four players starting near each other, and the other two being separated by rocks in the middle of the map. The key decision in playing this map would be to determine when the best time is to break those rocks and start playing a 4v4 game. Until then, this map will force both teams to play a more 2v2 like game that later opens up.
Halcyon starts off as a bit of a fortress map. There’s an open High Yield expansion right below the main ramp of your team as well as two secure High Yield expansions with rocks in the main base. However, once your team opens up the back door rocks to gain access to four more bases, having to defend the two large ramps that are very far away from each other will be difficult.
All nine of the new maps have already been published to the Custom Games list in order to give you a chance to check them out before the new season begins. Please feel free to grab some games on these maps and tell us what you think in our map discussion thread. All of these maps will also be available through the matchmaking queues when Season 3 begins at 12:01 a.m. PDT on Monday, July 7.
Good luck and have fun on the 2014 Season 3 ladder!