If you couldn't tell from the title, this is going to be a thread where I post reviews of various sc2mapster maps with accompanying video. I have a bunch of reviews of Annihilation maps on that map's feedback thread and will be reposting some of them here in due time. If you are reading this far into the future then most likely those reviews are already up.
(Note, I tend to write large walls of text. Just watch the 30-60 minute video accompanying the review if you don't want to read. Also note that I don't explain my strategy as clearly or concisely while playing as I do through text)
This is perhaps one of the hardest defense missions I've played where there is no asinine restrictions in tech or offensive capabilities of your units. You have the entire Wings of Liberty campaign tech tree available to you and your job is to hold out for 30 minutes against a massive Terran onslaught.
Our heroes have situated themselves in the heart of enemy territory. An island surrounded by enemies who are about to make industrial mining grounds into a battlefield.
This map's Aesthetic design fits quite well with the above mentioned theme. Very easily can you forget that this is a player created map in that it is a very polished and detailed one. That can be said of many maps but it still deserves to be mentioned. Simply put, it looks great.
I am quite a fan of hold out missions - I'm a fan of base defense in general. This mission tickles that interest in just the right ways to make me love it.
You're given almost the entire Terran tech tree in terms of usable units and two bases right off the bat. You also get a bunch of units that will destroy most early game attacks if you selected your entire army and attack-moved them towards an incoming wave. To compensate, you start with a pitiful amount of SCVs and the first attack comes 2 minutes into the game while you're still setting up your defenses and trying to get your economy going.
There are five places to defend.
To the south east is a hallway leading towards one of your bases. The best way to defend this is with a row of Bunkers built a short distance from your base. It'll be close enough to pull some harvesters to repair them and at the same time have enough space that ground units can easily move around there.
That said, place some Siege Tanks either behind the bunkers or on the high ground near the bunkers.
Take note that if choosing to place the tanks on the high ground, placing them within attack range of the bunkers will save you from losing them to enemy Siege Tanks. Ravens and other air units will usually spawn with attack waves later in the level, spotting for the tanks on the low ground. They'll attack your tanks on the high ground and you'll need some anti-air to deal with the spotter or attacker.
Personally, I suggest you just place them on the low ground once you have the bunkers filled. You'll have easier time repairing them when they take damage (especially when that huge air wave comes)
To the north is a very large ramp that is hard to defend. That said, don't even try to hold the ramp.
All of the waves that attack from this ramp have Siege Tanks and a bunch of units that can spot the high ground for them. The enemy tanks will end up sieging on the low ground, out of range of your Bunkers and your own tanks and dramatically chip at your defenses as you try to repair as best you can. Once all the spotter units are dead, the enemy tanks will un-siege and drive up the ramp and into range, but at that point, the damage has been done.
That said, the way to defend is once again with a line of Bunkers with Siege Tanks reinforcing from behind.
You need to place your Bunkers just far enough away from the top of the ramp that anything coming up it will still be in range. The path splits to the left or right and putting your Bunkers near either one will do. The enemies climb the ramp, get hit by tank shells and bunker fire, and otherwise ignore the completely exposed pathway towards the base on the other side. The wonders of SC2 campaign A.I.
The last three positions to defend are fairly similar.
To the east and west come air attacks that become progressively larger as you keep going. To the south are a lot of Medivac drops, usually of Siege Tanks and Thors. You need a minimum of 5 Missile Turrets at each location to survive every wave with acceptable loses. A group of 5 Vikings on the eastern and western ledges should also make it easier to deal with the attacks.
You also start getting slightly more random attack waves like enemy drop pods attacking your mineral line and transports bringing a bunch of units to an almost completely undefended ledge. Having a Bunker and a couple tanks in these places should fix these problems just fine.
This was a really fun mission. It was a little easier than I expected it to be, especially with how hard the beginning part was. Even with that said, it was still pretty hard. It's nothing compared to Last Stand and In Utter Darkness, but it's up there. I really liked it.
This is a fairly difficult mission, something that seems to be a trend with the creator of this campaign.
You land on a planet infested by Feral Zerg and find that it is also occupied by enemy forces. After gathering some intel, you learn that a bunch of armored personnel carriers are being taken off world that need to be destroyed. With the help of the locals, you do exactly that.
That was an extremely simplified version of the premise of this mission but I find that it gets the point across. This is another timed kill-the-objective map similar to The Great Train Robbery from WoL and Shoot the Messenger from HotS. What differentiates it from the above stated is how you go about killing the objective, which I will explain in the gameplay section.
Once again, really good terraining and doodading. The setting this mission takes place in is diverse and visually pleasing. I am surprised to realize that floating platforms over water is an aesthetic I enjoy looking it, which is where I spend literally 0% of the mission on funnily enough.
Homecoming is a fairly difficult mission. To reiterate, you're supposed to head out and destroy six armored personnel carriers as they try to make their way across the map. There are a bunch of ways you can do this.
The most direct way is to just take your units and attack the APC head on. You'll have to deal with their escorts, however, and they're pretty good at taking out whatever you send at them if you don't send enough. Just for reference's sake, five vikings and a bunch of marines, medics, and marauders should be enough to take them out.
Another way to deal with the APC is to take one of your hero units and have them EMP one of three generators keeping the bridges up. The APC and it's escorts will have to reroute through the jungle and deal with the primal zerg infesting it. There are just enough zerg to kill the APC. Unfortunately, the zerg will not remake those units so rerouting another APC through the same stretch of jungle will not kill it. You'll have to kill it yourself.
My strategy for this mission was a little... unorthodox. The above composition of vikings, medics, and marauders is hard to sustain if you don't micro manage your units well. I am not very good at micro so I tried out a strategy that required the least amount of micro. That strategy is widow mine drops.
Widow Mines are extremely cost effective in this mission. At 75 minerals and 25 gas, they deal 125 damage to ground and air units with 40 splash damage. You need at least 5 widow mines to kill a battlecruiser in one attack which is great since they costs a little less than half of the resources you'd need for that many Vikings (5 is also the minimum number of vikings to kill a battle cruiser with no micro)
Get 6 mines plus maybe some missile turrets for support and you're good to go as far as air attacks aimed at your your mineral lines go. Get more for the other entrance plus bunkers and two siege tanks as well and enemy attacks won't be a problem at all.
As for the APC, it's perfectly possible to just stealthily fly a medivac to one of the generators and camp there, either to drop a hero unit and use EMP or to drop a bunch of widow mines to take care of the APC and escort. It'll take a little bit of planning and practice to execute it correctly, though.
That said, I didn't plan or practice that much. I just watched Jayborino's playthrough and thought that maybe widow mines would work for this mission and tried it. Turns out, they do.
And you know what? This strategy really shows how flexible this map is. The objectives and premise is robust enough that you can experiment with different play styles, allowing you to come up with strategies like the one I used in the video. That's an aspect in custom campaigns, and in video games in general, that I really enjoy.
This is, hands down, my favorite map in this campaign. As I said, it looks good and the gameplay is solid and flexible. Those are things that I take into consideration when I play maps and this map definitely pushes those buttons.