By Galen Andress
Welcome to the first MLG StarCraft 2 Map Guide. In this series, we’ll be taking a look at the Melee maps featured on Blizzard’s ladders, as well as a few community-made maps. We’ll go over the features of each map in depth, so you know them in and out and can use them to your advantage when taking down your opponents. In this first article, we’ll take a look at the current player-favorite on the Blizzard ladders, Metalopolis.
Spawn Positions: 4 (12 O’Clock, 2 O’Clock, 7 O’Clock, 9 O’Clock)
Regular Mineral Expansions: 6
High-Yield Expansions: 2
The two Xel’Naga Watchtowers in the center of Metalopolis are very important to control, as they give you vision over the main highways that connect the bases on the map. They are especially important to control if you expand to a High-Yield base, as they can be attacked from either highway.
Spawn locations are very important to consider when analyzing any map. Because Metalopolis has four spawn locations, it can lead to a variety of different games. Games where players spawn in close positions by ground will often look very different than ones where they spawn in cross positions.
Close Ground Positions: If you spawn close to your opponent by ground (2/7, 9/12) games tend to feature more aggressive strategies. Since the closest expansions for you to take are also closer to your opponent, it can be difficult to expand safely. Also, since the ground distance between you and your opponent is very short, an army can quickly arrive at your base before you have much time to prepare.
Another difficulty with close ground positions is that you can’t use the Xel’Naga Watchtowers effectively to see when an enemy attack is coming, since they only give you vision over the center of the map.
Close Air Positions: Close air distance spawns with your opponent (2/12, 9/7) can often lead to interesting games. The most obvious thing you can take advantage of when spawning in close air positions is using air units. Being close to your opponent by air not only lets your air units get to your opponent faster, but allows them to retreat to your base faster and reinforce an attack on the front.
Another thing to take advantage of in close air positions is holding the Xel’Naga tower between you and your opponent. The closest path between you and your opponent by ground can be observed very well by holding the one tower closest to your base.
Close air positions also allow for aggressive expanding. If you expand along the outer ring of the map, your expansions will get farther and farther away from your opponent’s main, making attacks on them more difficult.
Cross positions: Spawning across from your opponent (2/9, 7/12) gives you the most distance to cover by ground before reaching your opponent. This makes rushes much more difficult to pull off, and makes expansion a little easier. In general, games where players spawn in cross positions will be longer, more macro-based games.
When spawning in cross positions, it is important to have control of both Xel’Naga Watchtowers. Since the attack distance is very similar when taking either road to your opponent, it is a good idea to have vision on both towers to know where an attack is coming from. This becomes even more important in the later stages of the game when you have more expansions to defend.
Another feature that is important to consider on Metalopolis is the smoke vents inside of each main base. These vents deny vision to the small area inside of them unless your opponent gets a unit in there, or uses a Scan on top of it. Because of the vision restriction, the smoke vents can let you be sneaky in a few different ways.
You can use the smoke vents to your advantage by hiding buildings inside of them and deny your enemy information. This can be very helpful when rushing to a tech unit like Banshees or Dark Templars that you don’t want your opponent to see.
The smoke vents can also help you mount sneak attacks against your opponent. Because your opponent can’t see inside of their own unless they have a unit or building in there, the smoke vents are a great place to drop units or place a Nydus Worm and ambush their main base. Or, if you want to be extremely aggressive, you can use the vents to hide an early Photon Cannon rush or Proxy Barracks inside your opponent’s base.
Always make sure to place a simple building like a Supply Depot or Pylon inside the vents in your base, or fly an Overlord on top of them if you don’t plan to use them to hide buildings. This way you can see any enemy ambushes coming from them.
Now that you’ve got the features of Metalopolis down, it’s time to go out there and put your knowledge to use! Be creative with the smoke vents and use the Xel’Naga towers to keep an eye on your enemies, and use the knowledge of spawn locations to help you make a solid gameplan. Metalopolis is is one of the most interesting and fun maps in Blizzard’s arsenal; make sure you take full advantage of all the options it gives you.