Next Map Prediction!

FFG teased a new map release this week. I’ve gotten a chance to look at some of the possibilities so I’m ready to make a prediction.

Options

All of the tournament rotation maps have come from Ally and Villian packs and not expansion boxes. Due to its size, it’s very unlikely that 30th Floor Plaza from Heart of the Empire will break that trend. I’ll limit my options to the two most recent waves as those are probably where the next map will come from. That gives 6 options:

  • Chopper Base (Hera Syndulla and C1-10P)
  • Mos Eisley Back Alleys (Jawa Scavenger)
  • Tarkin Initiative Labs (BT-1 and 0-0-0)
  • Uscru Entertainment District (Ahsoka Tano)
  • Coruscant Back Alleys (Maul)
  • Coruscant Senate Office (Palpatine)

Both Anchorhead and Jabba’s Palace have been in the rotation since April, so it’s possible that two maps from these two waves will find a way into the rotation. I’ll try to break down each map to see if it has potential for tournament play.

Non-competitive factors

The tournament rotation followed a pattern of one map from each faction for a long time, but Nal Hutta broke that pattern by giving us two Rebel maps at the same time. When Anchorhead rotates out, the pattern could be restored if an Imperial map is selected.

The tiles used are also a consideration. There is currently a forest map and a Jabba’s Realm inside-tile map, so those tile sets will likely be avoided.

Map Breakdown

Chopper Base (Hera Syndulla and C1-10P)

Mission B’s random effect for objective scoring is bad for competitive play, but not as heinous as some other missions. Mission A also has some swingy elements, but is relatively balanced. I like that mission effects make staying in the deployment zone dangerous. The map is big, especially in height, and it’s possible to set up a completely non-confrontational match. The doors separating these long halls are an additional non-competitive element.

Tournament rotation potential (1-5): 2

Mos Eisley Back Alleys (Jawa Scavenger)

The Jawa map is balanced and the mission rules fit a competitive skirmish scenario. The doors opening at the end of each round is a nice touch that makes it impossible to keep support units hidden behind them. It’s also a boon for figures like Han and Vader, who can open the doors before their end of round attacks/force chokes. Red has slightly better cover for sniping, whether moving to the top of the map to shoot into blue’s deployment zone, or posturing around the terminal to control the middle of the map. Blue may have a slight advantage for Melee figures, with a good hiding spot in the bottom hallway to the left of red’s terminal.

The deployment zones are 10 spaces away for small figures, but 18 for massive figures. Don’t expect the Bantha to make a return, especially with Nal Hutta in the rotation. The number of objectives will have players tempted to spread their forces thin on mission A. Mission B has some high value objectives in a very tempting central location. Low value units, especially alliance smugglers are very strong on this map. Overall this would absolutely work as a rotation map.

As an added bonus, all tiles are from the core set.

Tournament rotation potential (1-5): 5

Tarkin Initiative Labs (BT-1 and 0-0-0)

Mission A has a random effect for mission objectives, a bad sign for competitive selection. Mission B is unique with figures able to pick up tokens to add dice to their attacks. This especially benefits low cost units, who can no longer be ignored, but also don’t give big VP boons for killing. Neither mission is optimal for competitive skirmish, but they’re manageable.

The map has a lot of cover for both players to snipe into the middle. Controlling the middle of the map has a good balance of risk vs reward. This mission is not as good as the jawa map, but it could work.

Tournament rotation potential (1-5): 3

Uscru Entertainment District (Ahsoka Tano)

Mission A has players dropping courier droids in their deployment zone at the end of each round. Deployment zones are 15 spaces away from each other so it takes 3 rounds for a courier droid from move from one deployment zone to the other. This is bad for competitive games, where a match often only lasts 3 rounds. An opponent can easily stop the courier droid if necessary, so it’s improbably the objectives will have much impact on this mission at all.

Both missions prevent round 1 interaction by using  locked doors. I’m not a fan of forcing players to stall and posture for a whole round. Round 2 could open with aggressive play, since doors open automatically.

The size and openness of this map is terrible for melee figures. This map doesn’t have any randonimity like some of the other maps, but it doesn’t lend itself to a creative and diverse meta.

Tournament rotation potential (1-5): 3

Coruscant Back Alleys (Maul)

Mission A has a really bad random effect. Not only does the random effect impact objective scoring, but it also causes damage. Random mission effects killing figures is not something fit for competitive skirmish. Mission B seems OK.

The map is very big with an obvious advantage for snipers on both missions. Venturing too far out for the very dangerously placed propoganda posters on mission B does not seem to be worth the risk.

Tournament rotation potential (1-5): 1

Coruscant Senate Office (Palpatine)

1 VP per each control point on mission A seems pretty worthless. The negative accuracy is a boon for melee units, but the map is huge and there are no reasons for ranged figures to close the gap. Mission B is much more interesting, where it’s very important to control one of the 2 extraction points. Both missions are good for snipers (and Ugnaughts). It’s not the worst map, but it’s not the best either. This map is as big as Nal Hutta but with doors. With Nal Hutta still in the rotation, don’t expect Coruscant Senate Office to rotate in.

Tournament rotation potential (1-5): 2

Conclusion

Out of these 6 maps, Mos Eisley Back Alleys has the highest potential for competitive skirmish. The map is balanced, doesn’t heavily favor any specific types of lists, has reasonable mission objectives, and no random effects. This type of map allows for diverse meta options including melee, ranged, and objective running lists. It’s possible that multiple maps will be selected out of this group, and it’s also possible that the next rotation map will come from a different wave. If it’s out of these 6, I’m hoping for Mos Eisley Back Alleys.