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ARV Maps - March 2019

Posted March 1st, 2019 at 03:06 AM by HS Codex

Map Spotlight
Ruins of Rennoc by Flash_19
Author: BiggaBullfrog

It’s that time again: the time when we take the time to look at a map and discuss just what takes it from good to great. This time we’re looking at a map by Flash_19, a member who many consider to be not just one of the best creators currently active on the site, but also one of the best creators on the site as a whole. Today we’re highlighting one of his earliest maps: a gem from the “Wastelands of Valhalla” map competition called Ruins of Rennoc.

Map Bio:
Sergeant Drake Alexander stood at parade rest, watching as the bubbling lava slowly consumed a section of crumbling wall. It had only been a matter of time. Hidden geysers of molten lava were finally swallowing Rennoc, which until now had been one of the few remaining outposts located in the Fields of Fire.

There was nothing he could do to save it.

He was on his way to the uncharted swamps of Ticalla, and had hoped to find some sort of relief from travel through the harsh terrain of Volcarren. With a sigh of frustration, Drake turned to the figure next to him. Raelin stood, clutching her spear with a grim expression on her face.

“See if there’s anything worth taking,” Drake said, “and then let’s keep moving. Jandar won’t be pleased to hear that Rennoc is lost.”


The pathing on Ruins of Rennoc is pretty standard. There’s a big ruin in front of your start zone to make you choose how to divide up your army, but the pathing is smooth enough that you can go around it either way easily enough. Figures can leave the start zone and either start climbing the nearest hill or go straight into the valley to go for the defense glyph in the middle. All of these paths are easily accessible, and most of them are at least two hexes wide. The map as a whole has a very open feel to it that really lets it breathe.

An interesting aspect of the pathing to note is the road that sits just outside of each start zone. When first looking over the map, I don’t think many of us thought it would be very useful since it just goes from side to side. However, when playing on the map the road was surprisingly beneficial when I had to reroute figures from one side of the map to the other in a hurry. Since the map is fairly wide, the road is put to good use and is an excellent way to include the terrain effectively without going the standard route of making a road that leads right to your opponent’s start zone.


The height on this, like the pathing, is also fairly standard. There is a hill on each side of the map with a valley in the middle. The defense glyph is on the lowest ground, and figures moving right out of the start zone can sit on the easily obtained ground by the ruin and shoot at any glyph holders. That area, though, is vulnerable to the hills which can shoot on it with height advantage. Those hills in general are vulnerable to the highest ground, most of which is lava field, where figures get the strongest attacks. But camping on these highest spots is in turn vulnerable to an army that then takes the defense glyph and uses it to push those high spots that can’t shoot the glyph as well. There is a lot of interplay in how the height works out that, combined with the effectual terrain on the map (to be discussed next), creates a lot of interplay that goes beyond what the simple height scheme would suggest.

Effectual Terrain

This is where Ruins of Rennoc really starts to shine. While the pathing and the height on the map are solid, the use of the lava and the line of sight blockers on the map take that solid build and make it excellent. The strong glyph is balanced not only by being on low, vulnerable ground, but also by being on lava field, which has a chance to damage anyone being too greedy with it. Most of the highest points on the map, especially the points with the best shooting lanes, are also lava field, meaning that a player taking those spots has some risk/reward options to weigh. There is also lava placed in areas near the center where figures could otherwise sit and play defender. By having lava or lava field on spots where guards would love to sit and block enemy units, it again forces that risk/reward scenario onto players. This also helps when attacking a defensive player by keeping those prime defender spots vulnerable and open to attack, requiring more strategic play.

The line of sight blockers are also well used to keep the high spots of the map from being too strong. The highest spots of lava field are half-blocked by columns that keep them from having full reign of the shooting lanes, and the single rock hex on level four is mostly blocked by the two columns next to it, meaning a powerful ranged figure or cheerleader is going to be very limited in what they can see if they choose to take the spot. These areas still have enough line of sight available to be very relevant to strategic choices during battle, but they’re covered enough to allow players to make dynamic and interactive strategies when fighting to attack or defend those areas.


There’s only one glyph on this map, and that’s the defense glyph right in the middle. The defense glyph is a strong glyph and very tempting to grab, but it’s balanced on this map by being vulnerable in location as well as by being on top of lava field. This means that the glyph isn’t an automatic grab for any army. Instead, it requires more precise timing, since taking it too early will likely result in the taker being killed. It’s one of my favorite uses of a glyph on a map to really capitalize on the strategy of making sure to know when to take the glyph, instead of the usual “hop on and profit” method.


Ruins of Rennoc is an incredible map that takes many seemingly simple elements and combines them to make one of the most strategically dynamic maps that this writer has ever played on. The amount of plays and counter plays that take place during a game on it make for enjoyable games both casually and competitively. If you haven’t taken the time to set it up and get some games in on it, I highly recommend it! You won’t be disappointed with Ruins of Rennoc, one of Flash_19’s earliest hits.
Total Comments 5


Tornado's Avatar
Great map. Nice overview.
Posted March 4th, 2019 at 09:23 AM by Tornado Tornado is offline
lefton4ya's Avatar
Seems like a great map. Only dislike is the single height spot by start zone prevents double-spacers from getting highest spot outside of Lava field. I do like the fact that it is not a good Raelin perch due to LOS blockers, so maybe raise one or both of the road spaces behind it so that there is two or three raised spaces, but they are still behind fortress wall to block LOS and even clear sight for auras/special powers.

Otherwise do like mix of lava and LOS blockers that makes you choose strategically where to go.
Posted March 5th, 2019 at 11:38 AM by lefton4ya lefton4ya is offline
BiggaBullfrog's Avatar
Originally Posted by lefton4ya
Only dislike is the single height spot by start zone prevents double-spacers from getting highest spot outside of Lava field.
That's actually a point of a broader conversation that used to be pretty predominant, but that I haven't heard for a while. That argument being wether the strongest points on the field should be single-hexes or not, the idea being to give some advantage to single-hexers over the commonly strong double-hexers that used to dominate competitive play (like dragons, the Major Q's, Krug, etc.). I haven't seen that discussion happen for a long time, though, and would be interested to see what people think about it nowadays with current meta trends.

For this map, I (in my very personal opinion) think that making the perch in question a two-hexer over a single-hexer would be a slight step down (not a big step, for sure, but a small one). Double-hexers aside, it would allow you to get two Krav, 4th, etc. on that spot, and it would become a tad too strong. I don't think the map would be broken with it, but don't necessarily think it would be better for it. But again, that's me personally and is swayed by my own meta, play style, etc.
Posted March 5th, 2019 at 08:35 PM by BiggaBullfrog BiggaBullfrog is offline
Tornado's Avatar
Double hexers dominate play? I always found hordes of single spaced squads tend to win by attrition.
Posted March 5th, 2019 at 08:44 PM by Tornado Tornado is offline
BiggaBullfrog's Avatar
I was specifically meaning basically dragons and Q9/10 -- the competitive double-spacers that like Rats (which were a problem all their own). They alone had some map-makers wanting to keep double-hex perches from being the strongest points on the map (so if you look at a lot of older maps, a lot of them have a single hex as the highest point as opposed to two hexes). The other viewpoint was that there are so many not good double spacers (cavalry, Dumutef, Dund, etc.) that making single-hexes always be the strongest points hurt them even more. I should try to dig up where some of those discussions took place (probably somewhere in the depths of the BoV threads). I don't think it's nearly as relevant now, and was always in the middle myself. (My opinion = make a good map, and good players can make well-designed armies work on it.)
Posted March 5th, 2019 at 09:54 PM by BiggaBullfrog BiggaBullfrog is offline
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