Friday, December 7, 2012

It matters if you're (on) black or white

You might have noticed that on most of the maps, some of the tiles are lighter and some are darker, arranged in a chessboard pattern. I think that's no accident!

 

When you're learning how to play chess seriously, one of the first things you learn about the bishops (other than the fact that there are two of them) is that there is one bishop on the white tiles, one bishop on the black tiles, and the bishop on the white tiles NEVER can move onto the black tiles. Fascinating! But, you say, in HA units can take 1 step or 2 each turn, so that situation never arises. That true, but if you pay attention to what units work better on what tiles, you will find yourself having just the right units in just the right places when you really need them.

 

This comes out most obviously with the spy and the pyro from TF2 - both units have 2 move, but the pyro works best at range 2, whereas the spy works best when stabbing from behind. We'll have each nit start 1AP away from the deploy tile - most often, a player will deploy a unit and spend at least 1 AP clearing it off the deploy tile so those units don't clog up the deploy area.

The target wizard is standing on a white tile, so by starting from a white tile, the pyro only needs to take 1 AP to move into ideal range.

 

The spy, on the other hand, would prefer to start from the black tile when targeting the archer on the white tile. The spy gets full use out of each of his AP spent moving.

 

What if the pyro was on the black tile instead? Here you see that the pyro has to take a half-step in order to get the wizard in range, thus leaving no AP left to stomp.

 

Whereas the spy, when starting from the white tile, doesn't gain any AP advantage from starting one tile further in front - he has to take a half step forward.

 

This might seem obvious when we're dealing with a target and units already on the board, but where this concept really comes in is when you have a tile you really want to protect, like the sword tile on the teleport map, or a gem tile. Lets say you really really wanted to protect the gem tile marked below.

 

Clearly, you would want to have the spy on the black tile, and the pyro on the white tile, since the important location is on a white tile. So next time you're deploying your units, consider the prime spots on the map, and which units should cover which squares!

 

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