Coach's Corner: Settling Into Sanctum Falls
This map is the oldest and largest map currently released. It's size and geography make it incredibly open which highly favors ranged heroes and high mobility heroes. However most of the open spaces of the map are used as vantage points for poke wars and rotation pathways. Because of this the map is deceptively closed off since most of the fighting will happen in closed areas with good cover.
The map feels every bit as big as it is and it makes the player feel like you are expending large amounts of stamina to get anywhere. It also has a large number of movement options to the strategic player, allowing for a lot of smart dueling in some of the hiding spots. Due to the size, the open spaces, the layout of the points, and the major clash transition, there is a lot more traditional MOBA-style strategic play that is available to the competitive player on this map.
Points and Geography
This map is at it's most basic level two "bases" with two neutral points between them. Each base sports three points and the two neutral points are on opposite ends of the center of the map, one low side and one high side. The center of the map is a large river that sports a variety of movement options and a large number of ranged vantage points. The bases are divided into three main areas by platforms designed to aid the movement of the defending team. The closest point to the guardians are down in a flat area inside of the upper walkways, the side point is in a depression at the edge of a cliff, and the forward point is a grassy clearing guarding the two main entrances into the base. The last major feature of this map is the clash arena which is almost inaccessible pre-clash. The arena features a ruined building, the gazebo to the one side, and stage to the other, with a small platform filled area between.
Each base has three points: Statue/Stones, Bell/Harp, Shrine/Forest. The two neutral points are Altar/River.
Statue/Stones are the closest points to the guardians and is arguably the hardest to defend, however because of the size of the map and it's proximity to the guardian it is also the safest point. It is likely that unless one team is pub stomping the other this point will never be attack. It is however in close proximity to some important features, secret(passage) and the upper walkways. Secret is the most used pathway to the guardian because it is off the main path and out of line of sight from most of the major defensive vantage points. The upper walkways are where most of the major vantage points are located, and will help you defend your guardian against the enemy team. In clash this point becomes situated in a ruined building off to the side of the arena. Because of it's relative safety from full team pushes I suggest a cerberus be placed here early, with the upgrade to a bloomer for the clash transition.
Bell/Harp are placed at the edge of a cliff and guards the other outside path to the guardian pit. It features an elevated pathway on the inner edge of the point, and a structure on the outside. This point is the most often back-capped due to it's placement and should have a strong creature so it can defend itself, however other than being back-capped this point also benefits from being far back into the base and is less likely to be pressured by the full enemy team. In clash this point transitions inside of a structure leading to the stage on the outer edge of the arena. Due to it's vulnerability pre-clash, and placement in clash, I recommend putting a cyclops here and upgrading to either an adult cycolops or drake.
Shrine/Forest are the front points of the bases and they guard the main entrance to the base. They feature a large outcropping of rock and trees with a catwalk guarding the river entrance to the point, and a staircase that makes up the altar entrance to the point. At the back end of the point is a stairway leading to the Bell/Harp point and the archway under the upper walkways that leads to the Statue/Stones point. In clash the point becomes the center points in the arena which is very susceptible to poking down. This point is where a large amount of the action will happen and, depending on which point the enemy team holds in the center, will be defended differently. Fighting on the creature you summon here with ranged support from the upper walkways and vantage points is the best option. I recommend placing a bloomer on this point pre-clash for solid defensive potential, and upgrading to an adult cerberus or drake for self-defense in clash.
Altar/River are the center points of the map and they are both completely different from each other in geography and in purpose. Altar is the high road and features a closed off gazebo with staircases on either side. Secondary entrances off of the staircases lead to openings into the gazebo. Altar is incredibly closed off and is easy to defend, and holding this point allows you quick access into secret as well as a solid place to poke and siege the enemy forest point from. In clash this point remains where it is, offering a good pathway to the enemy guardian and the enemy Statue/Stones point. I recommend a cyclops here for both pre-clash and in clash upgrading later to any adult cyclops, cerberus, or drake. River is the low road and features an open platform closed off on one side by a wall with two staircases leading to it on either side. This point can be hard to defend but offers solid positioning for pushing into the enemy forest point. In clash this point moves to the stage on the opposite edge of the map featuring a vantage point to the whole clash arena and staircases on either side leading to the new Bell/Harp positions. I recommend a cyclops on this point and upgrading to an adult cyclops. This walls off the entrance into enemy forest pre-clash allowing for free and easy pressure on the enemy point, and walls off the staircase protecting your Bell/Harp and guardian.
Movement and Positioning
The movement on this map revolves around how you move through the center. With the passage under Altar, the platforms in the center of the river, River point, Alter point, and the elevated walkways across the river you have a lot of options on how you play this map. Most of the time your movement will be relegated to underneath and through cover and points because ranged heroes effectively make the open center area a no man's land. Because of the phenomenon most of the fighting happens on the points which is where the closed feel of this map peaks through. Use your team comp to your advantage when choosing which neutral point to hold, a more brawl centered comp will have a better time holding Altar and using River, and a more range heavy comp will have a better time holding River and using Altar. Position your team to use the advantages of the point you take and split your team to punish all in rotations from the enemy team (IE attacking enemy Forest/River with two people and defending a full team rotate on your Alter with the remaining three members of your team). In clash most of the rotations are going to be for the center points, Forest/Shrine and River/Altar. You can use range to your advantage when attacking the Forest/Shrine points by keeping them aggro'd with melee heroes and poking them down with your ranged heroes. After these points are down it's all positioning and fighting for the power orbs. Look to get picks and play safe when low hp.
Pre-clash the rotations are all based off of what points you hold, however most of them involve either attacking from your center point into the enemy Forest/Shrine, or from your Forest/Shrine into the enemy Altar/River point. In clash almost all rotations are defensive until you win a team fight. You play for your orbs and picks. After that you take objectives.
Overall the map is much more open but just because it's big doesn't make it complex. There are still a small number of rotations, and the nature of the map makes it deceptively closed.