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ARV Maps - December 2017

Posted December 1st, 2017 at 10:59 AM by HS Codex

ARV Contest Review
Uncharted Wellsprings
By: Sir Heroscape

Hey all, this month is our second installment of our contest reviews! This time weíll be discussing the maps we saw submitted in our Uncharted Wellsprings map building contest.

Contest Overview:

The Uncharted Wellsprings contest was one of our favorites! We kept all the terrain and map building parameters the same except for the fact that the map submissions had to have a designated wellspring indicated by a power-side-up power glyph. We were excited about the prospect of each map submission having to balance their design with a specific power glyph as well as the inclusion of a wellspring, and we were surprised by just how many different designs were submitted.


This contest was one of our most popular, with a whopping 21 submissions! This was probably in part due to the amazing prize created by TREX that we were offering the overall winner, but I also think it was because the concept was unique, challenging and fun.

For this particular contest there really wasnít a theme we saw, but we did notice a handful of maps were quite large for your typical tournament map. What we saw was that the mapmakers really pushed the boundaries for design, uniqueness, balance and spectrum. No two maps were really alike, and we saw every possible terrain expansion used among all the submissions. It was fun to see the interpretation of the contest theme taken in so many different and fun ways and we really had a good time reviewing and scoring this map selection.

Of the terrain used, 13 map submissions used the Rise of the Valkyrie master set, 6 used the Swarm of the Marro master set, 5 used Battle for the Underdark master set, 2 used the Marvel master set, 8 used the Return to the Forgotten Forest terrain expansion, 3 used the Volcarren Wasteland terrain expansion, 8 used the Ticalla Jungle terrain expansion, 6 used the Fortress of the Archkyrie terrain expansion, and 3 used the Thaelenk Tundra terrain expansion.

Top 10:

The Top 10 for this contest consisted of the top 10 maps that we felt showed the greatest potential in being tournament worthy, though it was clear some of them pushed the boundaries, just as many of the submissions we received did. Of the top 10, three of the maps consisted of 3 temporary power glyphs as the singular glyph on the map. This was pretty unique and has not been very common in any tournament worthy maps thus far. We were excited about the maps though and felt the builds were balanced enough to playtest. However, as fun as some of those maps were, all but one of the original top 10 failed to measure up as tournament worthy.


The winner of the public poll from the Top 10 was Thaeberian Wellsprings by Nomad. While it was a close race for first place, Nomadís map pulled ahead to take the win with 47% of voters going his way and 41% of voters supporting Necrobladeís Cavern Crash, which came in second. Thaeberian Wellsprings is a beautiful map that uses the Thaelenk Tundra terrain expansion in a unique and well-designed way, while also bringing in the lush Ticalla Jungle terrain expansion. He does a masterful job of creating the feel of a thawing valley with powerful wellsprings revealing themselves. Even though it didnít make the cut for officially sanctioned ARV tournament worthy maps, the map is still extremely fun and exciting to play games on, and looks great too!

ARV Sanctioned Maps:

Playtesting these maps was a pleasure, because itís one thing to look at a map and another to actually play on it. When we playtest we look at a number of different things, but one we really hold in high regard is a mapís ability to balance the playing field for range vs. melee matchups. Range always has an advantage on melee (especially podding range), and maps can sometimes make that advantage almost unbeatable. We found that some of these maps tended to assist range just a little too much. This is usually in the way the map allows quick development to height and relatively defendable positions for podding units when theyíre finally in position. Some of the maps were too large, making it hard for melee to develop and traverse across the terrain, and some of the maps just lacked luster. We tend to be pretty harsh when it comes to sanctioning maps so that we set a bar for excellence. Of the top 10 only one of the original submissions, Bountiful Grove by Robber, was admitted.

The remaining 3 admitted maps actually came from resubmissions to the workshop thread. The workshop thread is a location where we allow mapmakers to resubmit revisions of their maps that may not have made the Top 10 or passed the playtesting process within the Top 10. The three submitted maps that were workshopped there, playtested by the ARV and then officially sanctioned as tournament worthy were: Marshall Law by rednax, Everglades and Evergreens by rednax, and A Couple Puddles by Leaf_It.

Overall the contest was a great success; we had excited mapmakers submitting fun and unique content and the competition was strong. We love these competitions and look forward to each one!
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