Opening Moves: Using the Map Advantage

  • Dave Oliver, Blizzard Entertainment

Before professional StarCraft II players take the field of battle, one of the most important tactical decisions they need to make is which map or maps to remove from the map pool. Vetoing maps lets players avoid what they feel would be their most disadvantageous arena and increase their chances at victory.

When it comes to making this important decision, it mostly comes down to unique map features, but there are some general things to consider. Below, Mikolaj “Elazer” Ogonowski and Sean “Probe” Kempen share some of those important specifics with us.

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"It really depends on your own preparation. You would expect Zerg to veto a map that all Zergs hate, but if all Zergs veto it and you prepare a special strategy for that map, then it might be an ace up your sleeve. Sometimes when you play a worse opponent, you might switch up your vetos just because you feel confident and you want to hide which map you really don’t want to play. But usually there's always one map that you just hate, and you remove it every series."

"Maps usually follow some patterns when it comes to the first four base locations. There are maps like Acolyte and Violet Square where there’s a rear base that you can easily take—I hate those because they usually force you to plan for the late-game right from the start—or more standard ones like Blackpink or Catalyst where you need to expand to the front and you usually have two options for the third base."

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"If I know how my opponent is going to play on a certain map, and I am happy with my game plan to counter it, then I still might play on an un-favored map. It might also not be that it is bad for Protoss, but that it is bad for me and my specific styles."

In our next installment of Opening Moves, we'll look at how these players prepare when going up against different races.