Maps and strategic depth/diversity
I was chatting about Steel with some folks and the casters just reminded me of Swiftwater as well, so I was curious to hear folks’ takes on which comp maps have the most strategic depth or diversity of strategies and why – from whichever format(s) you know best.
(“Maps in the RGL pool” is a fine starting point, but if you have a retired map in mind I would love to hear your explanation of that as well!)
Stopwatch maps are largely overrated in terms of strategic depth. Not to say they don’t have any, but its just that the strategies you use on stopwatch are so in-your-face and obvious that its hard to miss.
5cp is a very engaging gamemode with a lot of depth, but stalemating is a real vibe killer and kills a lot more strategic depth than it enables.
Koth gets a huge rep for being the “unga-bunga DM mode” but I really feel like that doesn’t have to be the case at all.
Playing other gamemodes “smart” is a very rigid requirement. Its hard to imagine cp_steel being won by a team that puts no effort into coordination. By contrast, many teams with low coordination but exceptional mechanics have won against traditionally ‘smarter’ teams on koth. I don’t think that implies the maps have less potential for strategic depth though. The reason you can out-dm your way to victory more often on koth is because forcing fights is much more achievable compared to 5cp/stopwatch. It’s very hard to circumvent a mechanical difference on koth in the same way its very hard to circumvent a strategic difference on stopwatch.
That doesn’t necessarily imply that stopwatch/5cp have higher ceilings than koth however, just a higher floor. I would actually argue that the fact that fights can happen more readily on koth actually increases the potential depth of the gamemode. More strategies are open at any given moment, and necessitate responses/adaption. Proactive play is rewarded more, and learning how to strategize on the maps isn’t something you can just iron out with a 15 minute map talk because decision making is so much more variable.
@nabla That’s a good point about floor vs. ceiling. Would you say there’s a qualitative difference as well, perhaps of on-the-ground tactics vs. overarching strategy?