WizKids recently revealed that the newest Map from Avengers Defenders War is legal, along with it’s seriously strong special map rules. What does this mean for you? Let’s cover the first map here on Clix Fix!
Prior to about a week ago, whenever a map was banned for tournament play by WizKids, that meant both sides were no good, even if there was nothing particular unbalanced or wrong with that side. The reasoning behind banning maps was because of the orange text or special rules that were associated with them. It’s pretty much believed that WizKids was under the impression that any of these special rules could present an unfair advantage to the player who selected the map.
An example of Special Rules text.
This made a lot of sense for maps like Danny the Street, which completely hoses players for movement purposes based on what they roll, or the Jean Grey School Outdoor which could damage characters, or most of all, the Speakeasy that acted as two separate maps stacked on top of each other and caused a whole mess of confusing rules which was never clarified on how it worked (at least to my knowledge).
However, this ended up killing off a decent chunk of maps and many players including myself were left wondering why one side killed the other side with it. Morlock Tunnels, the reverse of Jean Grey Outdoor, is a really neat and fun map that is a decent counter to range. The Speakeasy had a really cool cargo plane on the other side. It was a bummer to see new maps come out and if they had special rules that made the map odd in sealed events, you instantly new that the map was going to be banned.
This was exactly the case with Avengers Defenders War. On one side, we had the completely wacky Dark Dimension that literally everyone knew was going to be banned. During my release event, my opponent decided to try his luck and ended up teleporting one of his characters directly next to my starting area. Needless to say, he was KO’d on my first turn. However, the reverse side, Wakanda, is a really neat map that’s well designed visually and has a very unique special rule that doesn’t hurt anyone in particular.
With Wakanda, it doesn’t penalize anyone with it’s rules, just makes it much harder to fire on characters that are hiding in the jungle. That’s a really strong effect since we’re seeing a lot of characters these days with high defenses but no reducers.
Let’s take a look at the entire map so we all know what we’re dealing with.
Photo courtesy of SaturnFlight and MatthewKiall on HCRealms
There’s quite a lot of hindering on this map, which makes for a difficult map to navigate for pieces that don’t ignore hindering for movement. What’s important to note about the special rules on this map is that it specifically says that lines of fire drawn through printed hindering terrain get the bonus, which means you can’t use Smoke Cloud and get that nice benefit; you have to be hiding in the intended squares.
Obviously this map grants a ton of benefits for characters that want to hide from ranged attackers, or melee attackers that have to slow down in hindering, but there are some other advantages on this map too. This map is very good at nerfing a popular defensive power; Barrier.
Let’s see what the exact text is for Barrier.
Give this character a power action; place up to 4 blocking terrain markers in distinct, adjacent squares of clear terrain that are all within this character’s range (minimum range value 4). At least one of the terrain markers must be within line of fire when it is placed. The terrain markers remain until the beginning of your next turn.
Emphasis is mine on that. Barrier must be placed in clear terrain, and that is really hard to do on this map. This means pieces like Green Lantern from Joker’s Wild, a very popular meta piece, is somewhat limited here. If you have a Stealth character hiding deep in the jungle, he has no way of placing his wall next to you and turn your Stealth off. Pick-a-power pieces like Jakeem Thunder and the new Iron Man immediately take a small hit (not that they really pick Barrier, but the point is that they probably won’t on this map).
One thing to take note of is the small amount of water terrain on the map that’s placed rather close to each other. That’s important for a few key pieces, which I’ll get to shortly. It’s interesting that they decided to include these squares of water deep in a jungle city and it gives a slight advantage that some folks might miss.
Just like I did with my Deadpool Chases, I want to go over the Positives VS. Negatives of this map.
Positives: Very good for teams that ignore hindering terrain. Slows bruisers. Water terrain adds unnoticed benefit. Pretty even in terms of which side you start on. Nerfs Barrier. Very little blocking terrain to deal with.
Negatives: Very bad if you’re facing a team that ignores hindering. Can slow you down if you’re not careful. Not much cover to hide behind if your plan goes south.
This map looks like it’s a crazy power house, but it’s really a double-edged sword that can completely screw you if you aren’t careful. Let’s talk about some figures that do surprisingly well here. This won’t cover every good figure, just those that came to mind for me right away.
wkD16-011 Aquaman – Aquaman has a neat trait that says if he’s in water terrain, he gets Combat Reflexes, Willpower, and lines of fire drawn to him are blocked unless the opposing character is also in water. If you happen to start on the side with the throne and most of the water, you have a really good melee piece that can stay completely safe from ranged attacks. Combine this with some offensive TK to bring people to him and you have a nice bruiser.
NFAoS 054 Namor – If you really want to take advantage of the water terrain on the map, this Namor is the ticket. Every group of water is at most 6 squares from each other, meaning this Namor can be given a free action and teleport to a different portion of the map, and then Charge 5 squares with Super Strength. He also flies which means you’re getting to ignore all that hindering terrain for movement while still getting the benefit of protecting him while he engages.
NFAoS 056 Nick Fury – I know, Nick is a pain. While that’s true, there’s no denying that this map was borderline made for Nick. With nothing but hindering dotting almost the entirety, and the ability to almost shut of Barrier, Nick has nothing standing in his way of sniping everyone. He’s also got Stealth up front to keep him safe with safety next to him anywhere he looks.
TMNT2 024 Rat King – Hmmm…. he teleports to any hindering terrain within 6 squares for free, has Stealth, has high defense for melee, and has a Mind Control power that sees through everything, oh and Perplex and Prob. This guy seems like Wakanda is 100% his playground.
ADW 101 The Man Without Fear – With killer stats to boot for his low cost, the main downfall to his effectiveness is getting stuck on a map with little hindering terrain. With Wakanda, this version of Black Panther is going to be healing every turn and has a pretty dangerous 8 square swing. Traited Stealth and good reducers/high defense makes him a staple.
JW 016 Batman – Bats has always really liked maps with lots of hindering terrain, and what really makes this version stand out is his Outsiders team ability which can effectively neutralize the map bonus for your target, and then promptly Outwit their defensive power (or anything for that matter). While he doesn’t get the overwhelming benefits of other pieces here, it’s still a strong showing for him. To be honest, any Outsiders piece will be strong here.
WF 027 Blackbriar Thorn – Free penetrating damage to everyone within 5 squares every single turn seems like it’s pretty good, even if his cost is 90 points. He does have the Mystical keyword and has the Mystics team ability, so wild cards will like having him. A little expensive, but a great effect.
I know there are probably dozens more pieces out there that would love to call this map home, so I’d like to hear from you all what piece you immediately thought of and why. List those in the comments below and we can keep a nice collection of what’s good on this map on one convenient page.
I hope you all enjoyed this initial map review. I thought it would be a nice change up from what I normally do since I talk about pieces and builds a ton, but never really talk about maps. I’ve been thinking about reviewing each of the premium maps since those things are $25 a pop and most people will only get one or two and that might help them decide. Careful though, once you get one, you can’t stop.
See you guys on Thursday!