GARDEN OF TERROR (By Phantom and SC2John) Let the battle begin! The Garden of Terror is one of the 6 maps available on the Heroes of the Storm Beta. The map revolves around a night and day cycle in which players have to kill small minions called “shamblers” at night to collect seeds. When 100 seeds have been collected, a Garden Terror grows in your team’s base. The Garden Terror is a big powerful creature which you can take control of and use it to take down walls, towers, forts, and win team fights. Overall, Garden of Terror is a very balanced and dynamic map that offers a lot of interesting strategies and lends itself to very mobile compositions, making it one of the most popular maps in competitive play. The terror awaits heroes! Come and take its power. Getting to Know the Map Geography Garden of Terror is a huge map that consists of three lanes with relatively windy jungle areas and quite a lot of bushes to hide in. The large size of the map and the Garden Terror mechanic make it ideal for split pushing, but team fights are also quite common due to the firepower necessary to clear the plant camps swiftly and safely. There are plenty of little nooks to hide an Abathur or a Murky egg and small corridors to retreat safely into or trap other players in. Most of the walls are very thin, allowing plenty of counterplay for jumping, dashing, blinking over the wall and back into the safety of another area or your base. An ogre camp is featured on one side of the map with an additional ogre camp and bruiser camp on the other side of it for each team (somewhat similar to the positioning of the mercenaries on Cursed Hollow). Each mercenary camp gets its own lane, so you never have to worry about double mercenary pushes like you do on Dragon Shire, and therefore all lanes can be pushed rather equally. When the night comes, the Shamblers will appear at both the top and bottom of the map. While the position is similar, the shamblers are a little closer to the left on the top side of the map, and to the right on the bottom. This positioning makes it so that bottom is more favorable for the red team (right side) and top is more favorable for the blue team (left side), and this is very often reflected in the metagame with three-hero lanes in the top or bottom lane to either push the lane hard and comfortably gather seeds at night or to counter the opposing team’s push and attempt to steal their “easy” camp to take. Similarly, it also affects how the mid lane rotates for seeds as well. As opposed to in Sky Temple, where the focus is constantly on one part of the map, Garden of Terror forces teams to focus on all parts of the map due to the way the map mechanic functions and the way each side of the map is a mirror of the other. Gathering Seeds at Nighttime The first night always begins at 1:30 into the game, when both teams are nearly level 3. When the last seed is collected night ends and the next night will fall approximately 3:30 later. Each small shambler gives 5 seeds totaling 15 seeds per small camp, and each golem gives 60 seeds. This means that there are 90 seeds on both the top and bottom between the golem and the two small camps, and a total of 180 seeds per night. This is a lot of math, but it plays a key role in how players take the camps, as covered in the game analysis below. Night falls once more. Typically, both teams will take the closest or most convenient small camps on their side of the map, and then depending on where most of the team members are, they will attempt to take one of the two golems. If both teams go even on seeds the first night (two small camps and a golem each), both teams will sit at 90 seeds and neither will get a Garden Terror. Throughout the game, it is important to get as many seeds as possible, and at some points it’s even vital to steal a handful to just to prevent your opponent from getting a Garden Terror. Controlling the Garden Terror The Garden Terror is a unique and fascinating creation by Blizzard, capable of both sieging forts and also playing a key role in team fights. It has rather high single target damage, but it does not do extra damage to structures like the Dragon Knight does; it is ideal for disrupting team fights, pushing a lane, or clearing up mercenary pushes quickly. The Garden Terror has a timer of one minute and 30 seconds and has three abilities: Spore Queen’s Curse - After a short delay, enemy heroes in the target area are turned into plant zombies for 5 seconds. While heroes are under the effect of this spell, they move more slowly and are unable to cast any spells. Spore Queen’s Curse is great at disabling heroes during a team fight or during a push, and probably what makes the Garden Terror so versatile. If you catch a hero in the center of the spell, the curse will actually land twice and disable them for a long time. You can place it in chokes to prevent heroes from safely travelling down corridors, use it to zone out heroes in team fights, or disabling crucial enemies to be able to turn a fight in your favor. You can also put it on top of a Plant Horror Overgrowth (which I will refer to as a “Flowerpot” for the rest of the article) and prevent a melee hero from attacking it, making the Garden Terror also strong for split pushing. Plant Horror Overgrowth - Disables and damages all enemy structures within a large area as long as the Horror Overgrowth (“Flowerpot”) remains alive. Deals heavy damage to minions within its area of effect. Flowerpots essentially kill everything that is non-heroic. Minions are easily dispatched and towers and forts are disabled and take massive “AoE” damage. An unattended Flowerpot can nearly take down towers alone and take about one third of the health of a fort, and if the Garden Terror is nearby, it can be cast again with almost no down time. However, there’s a very easy counter to their unbelievable power: just focus down the Flowerpot and kill it. A good team that is focusing on killing the Flowerpot as quickly as possible the moment it appears will take very little siege damage from the plant aside from whatever auto attacks it uses on buildings. This creates a bit of a dance between heroes trying to snipe the Flowerpot and the Garden Terror to trying to place Spore Queen’s Curse in a way to disrupt or prevent the Flowerpots from being sniped. Another essential use of the Garden Terror is to clear up lanes that are heavily pushing. A Garden Terror can easily make a detour and plant a single Flowerpot to demolish a knight or ogre push with a ton of minions. Sprint - Gives the Garden Terror a short speed boost of 30% over 3 seconds. Pretty straightforward ability. You can use it to quickly enter battle, run around the enemy team, or chase down a hero to get an extra swipe in. Sprint just gives the Garden Terror a little more mobility on a fairly large map. Although the Garden Terror deals a good amount of damage with his auto attack, the real siege strength of the Garden Terror is in the Flowerpot. This means that it’s generally bad to suicide onto a fort in the hopes of killing it, and instead either slowly poking with your team or running around to multiple bases is more effective in terms of overall damage dealt. In fact, because the Garden Terror poses so much of a threat, it’s also quite useful as a split push tool: the Garden Terror can push the top or bottom lane, and the rest of the team can push the other side of the map, creating a difficult situation for the enemy team. On the other hand, with Spore Queen’s Curse and high hero damage, the Garden Terror is ideal for team fights as well. Pushing with the entire team creates a formidable force that is almost guaranteed to take down a fort with good positioning. It’s quite common to see plant vs plant fights if the other team has a Garden Terror of their own, with each team dancing around and trying to pick at the enemy Terror and dodge Spore Queen’s Curse. The winner of this fight usually has an additional couple of seconds to make a push and potentially destroy a fort or some towers. This makes it so the one who controls the Garden Terror, can have a variety of strategies available to him, and so, deciding if he stays with the team, or tries to split push while his teammates pressure another lane can make a very big difference in the amount of damage you make. Furthermore, since the Flowerpot can be destroyed, where you place it will also have a high influence on how much damage you make. Do you place it in the middle of the enemy base? Having the potential more damage because it can hit all the buildings, but the flowerpot is very vulnerable there? Or do you place it outside the gates behind the terror, where it won’t hit the fort, but will surely do damage for the entirety of its duration? Since the enemy team is there, the Garden Terror positions the Flowerpot outside the base to guarantee it stays active as long as possible. When someone takes control of a Garden Terror, untouched mercenary camps disappear on the map until the Garden Terror is dispatched, but camps that are already being attacked or taken when the Garden Terror spawns do not disappear. This means that it’s ideal for teams to start taking mercenary camps before the Terror spawns in order to ensure that they have additional pushing power while at the same time denying their opponents the same luxury. Now that we have covered the basics of the map, lets make an in depth analysis. Are you ready for some amusement? Pro-Game Analysis: SK Gaming vs. 3DMAX Grand finals of the Go4Heroes Cup #11 Caster: Khaldor SK Gaming Lineup: Tyrael,Tyrande, Valla, Rehgar and Illidan. Sk Gaming chose a high mobility team composition which is good at getting map control. They only have one warrior, but with two supports and the tankiness of the Garden Terror its not necessary to have more. Rehgar and Illidan are a great combo because Reghar can give Illidan more sustain letting him deal more damage. 3DMAX: Nazeebo, Malfurion, E.T.C, Sgt. Hammer and Tassadar. 3DMAX’s composition is based on high sustained damage. Having Sgt. Hammer on the team makes it difficult for the enemy to get close to Nazeebo and stun her without receiving lots of damage, and the heroic ability of E.T.C can be devastating with this comp. Tassadar gives them an good all around hero that also provides vision on the big jungle areas at the center of the map. The game starts with lots of action. Both teams chose to have a 1-1-3 lane distribution, to be able to either push hard or kill an out of position hero, but when 3DMAX started to siege the top lane, SK Gaming rapidly rotated to defend, attempting to wrap around, using their high mobility and long range attacks, they netted two kills. This was a very important decision and it shows that map awareness on this map is crucial due to all the jungle areas on it. A few seconds later, and after securing their 3rd kill, SK gaming started to collect seeds on both the top and bottom of the map just as night started. Thanks to those kills, they were able to rapidly secure 60 seeds while 3DMAX could collect none., This is the true power of killing enemies early on in the game: Not from the experience, not from the respawn timers themselves, but from what you can manage to do with the time the enemy is disabled, in this case, gaining a considerable lead in seeds . 3DMAX couldn't commit to a fight or take more risks because they would just fall further behind, so what they did was not rush for the Garden Golems, but instead calmly try to gain control of the lanes, which their composition is good at, and wait for SK gaming to start killing a golem, so they can seize the opposite golem at the same time. Neither team wants to miss out on lane experience, so only two heroes from each team start to take their respective golem. SK Gaming however manages to get a Garden Terror, but before summoning it, the team made sure to start killing a bruiser camp, this is because, as we previously mentioned, the mercenary camps disappear once the Garden Terror is summoned by a player unless there is already someone fighting them. This gave them the ability to split push and force the enemy to react or suffer more damage on different lanes. Little details like this can mark the difference between a win or a loss in the long run, so they shouldn’t be overlooked. As an experienced reader might notice, neither team rushes to the center of the map, a common strategy on the ladder, instead, while the Garden Terror is pushing mid lane, and forcing 2 people to defend against it, the rest of the team presses bottom lane. This is because SK gaming has a strong mercenary push going and also wish to suck the experience from the third lane. A split push is very powerful in this kind of situations, and so, SK managed to destroy a fort, a gain a level advantage, level 10 to 9, and gain access to their heroic abilities. After that, they pushed a little more and destroyed the two towers and the gate that guards the bottom keep, and then, not seeking to overextend retreated back all the way to the top lane. Once there, they focused and kill Sgt. Hammer, initiating a team fight, but thanks to a quick reaction on the part of 3DMAX, Illidan was taken down and both teams retreat. There isn’t too much down time between when a Garden Terror dies and nightfall, but capturing mercenaries at this point like 3DMAX is did is a good idea because they can deal a good amount of damage while the enemy team is gathering seeds. After each team took one side of the map, both teams end up having a Garden Terror. The teams are now confronted with a decision, either start an epic battle between the two, or to have each of them push a different lane. Because 3DMAX managed to kill Rehgar, they chose to start sieging middle lane, while SK chose to defend. Notice the position of the Flower pot. Both teams needed to be careful. A lot of players would just go in head first, but if you or most of your team gets taken out, that means you would have just wasted your Terror, while the enemy will still have theirs, and your base is left vulnerable. Another thing to note is that the players controlling the terrors should also position the Spore Queen’s Curse carefully, as it can easily swing the fight in their favor. Even though 3DMAX is pushing, both teams are being really careful not to overextend and lose the teamfight. While 3DMAX is taking a Siege camp, SK gaming decides to ambush them, prompting an interesting fight. This is 3DMAX seeing an opportunity to destroy their opponents and seizing it. First, they waited for Hammer to arrive,as to avoid a 4 vs 5, and once she arrived, they got into position to deploy their heroic abilities. However, in an incredible example of coordination and skill, SK Gaming managed to instantly disrupt 2 of the ultimates and turn what in a normal pub game would have been a massacre, into a pretty even fight where both teams ended up with only one person down. In the following fights, notice how SK Gaming focus Hammer, which is the main damage dealer of 3DMAX, and then, thanks to the 4 blood for blood talents their team has available, they can burst down both E.T.C and Malfurion. When SK gaming grows a new Garden Terror, you can see how he briefly moves to the top lane to plant a flowerpot, denying the mercenary push, and then moves back to mid lane. The nights pass, and the teams keep following the general rules: Don’t overextend, play defensively, and if its a plant vs plant situation, try to deal the most damage you can without risking putting your team at a disadvantage. However, when 3DMAX wins two big team fights at the twenty minute mark, they manage to get the engagement they needed, and successfully take the two Golems, getting slightly ahead and almost getting two terrors. Then, 3DMAX deiced it was time to finish the game and push the enemy’s core, but SK reacted appropriately and managed to kill 4 of them. Unfortunately for them, 3 of their members were also taken down and they took a lot of damage to the core thanks to a siege camp. Night falls once more and the shamblers rise again, but despite SK best efforts, 3DMAX manage to get another terror. At this point, with their core at 56% SK gaming makes the only choice they can, they decide to try to finish the game even down a terror but up two heroes on their opponents. SK Gaming pushes, managing to take down a keep and start attacking the core, but when Valla dies and Sgt. Hammer respawns they are forced to retreat, and make one last desperate stand in the middle of the map. After the dust settles, SK Gaming has lost, 3DMAX pushes with the Garden Terror and the core falls, 3DMAX emerging victorious at the 32 minute mark. Conclusion The Garden of Terror is one of the most balanced maps, and the fact that the map objective is controllable, and more versatile than others like the Dragon Knight, ultimately opens up more opportunities to display skill and strategy. It has some problems, one of them being that games on this map tend to last longer, but at the end of the day, it’s a very interesting map.