Coach's Corner: Getting a read on Ghost Reef
To most people Ghost Reef is the least favorite, least interesting, and least strategic map of the three that have been released. Now I'm not going to disagree with anyone who feels that way, mainly because it's true. The map isn't big, it's doesn't have many pathways of movement, and it's doesn't offer to many strategic options to the competitive player. Regardless of these facts the map still offers some level of depth to the player and I will be going into that in this article. I recommend that you have at least some experience on this map before reading the article as I wont be going into great specifics when describing the map.
Feel and Gameplay
Ghost Reef is small, and it feels that way. The map is cramped, and with only three capture points per team there aren't many places to play around or for. The size of this map can make the game play feel more brawl style team death match than RTS style strategy and because of that the major pitfall of every new player on the map is to just pick any fight instead of positioning for the right ones. The game will feel fast if you are on a team where you have teammates who are doing that, however if you are playing properly the game can quickly become a slow paced, experience starved marathon. A good team will spend ost of the game poking eachother and looking for quick picks and unfortunately that means that expeariance will take a long time to come.
Points and Geography
The map can be best described as one big lane with all of the points situated to the sides of it and the main feature of the map is the large pit in the center. This is where most of the poking will happen, but beyond that the pit will be mainly used for rotations.
Each side has three points to utilize, Pools/Oasis, Reactor/Fossil, and Intake/Vista.
Pools/Oasis are situated off the main pathway closest to the guardian. Their geography and placement almost always mean that no one is really going to be fighting on it. The pathway above is perfect for sneaking to the enemy guardian, and the ledge in front makes an acceptable vantage point to harass advancing enemies from. More often than not because of how close they are to the guardians no one will push to take these points. The best creature to place on this point is either a Cerberus, so you can see which way you enemies are going for the wound from, or a Cyclops, to cut off the upper pathway to the guardian.
Reactor/Fossil is situated opposite of of the Pools/Oasis point and is in it's own cave, creating a very closed area to fight in. Now this closed area can benefit either team depending on composition. The point features an upper pathway that gives any hero with vertical mobility and range a clear advantage in the point. It also has the very small pathway into the point which can be exploited by any AoE bearing hero. Due to the how easy it is to defend this point if the team plays near it I recommend placing a bloomer here, and nowhere else. This forces your team to play on the ramps overlooking the center of the map and means that the point becomes impossible to attack. The only downside to the strategy is if you are being attacked from the enemy mid point.
Intake/Vista are the middle points of the map, and because of their position offer the best vantage points and is the easiest place to fall back to after a fight. However due to it's multiple entrances and creature placement the point is much more difficult to defend than any other point on the map. The outer edges of the point are all elevated, the creature is in a depression at the center, and most of the entrances are along the elevated areas giving attackers the advantage. The last major feature of the point is the cliff at the outer edge of the map. This is an instant death after you fall to a certain point bellow the map and should be avoided unless you can use it to your advantage. Because of it's layout and level of difficulty to defend I recommend a cyclops on this point. A cyclops will wall off the main entrance to the point and will force the enemy team to attack from the other locations, which makes this point much easier to defend.
Movement and Positioning
Movement around this map is rather simple and I wont take you by the hand an walk you through it, you can figure it out. With only one main pathway around the map, everything situated off that path, and only very minor sub-paths between, movement is very cramped. The most common places teams will position on is between your Reactor and Intake points. There are many vantage points in front of these points for ranges to use, and the center becomes the major rotation point.
Due the simplicity of the map the only rotations on the map are from Intake to Fossil or Vista. When looking to attack Vista always look to attack from the upper entrances so as to gain the high ground advantage, and when attacking Fossil try to pile into the point as quickly as possible and spread out as much as you can to avoid get AoE gang banged early on in the fight. Attacking Pools and Oasis should be reserved for if you team is either winning by a ridiculous margin, or if you are an assassin back capping.
When going for the wound look to use as many pathways as possible, if your whole team runs down mid you will be easily repelled by the defending team. The outer paths put you on higher ground to attack the guardian from but take longer to get to. When in the guardian pit look to stand on the pillars to give yourself a tactical advantage as a ranged player, and if you are melee try your best to tank enemy damage and aggro, keeping your ranged free to do their job.
Ghost Reef is the least interesting map and the least complex. It offers very little to competitive play and by in large is just a glorified team death match. Use what you learned here to give yourself the building blocks you need to become a better player.