The revamped Theme Park has now replaced Bank in the PL map pool for the second half of S11. So let's take a deep dive into how it's being played by digging into the playday #9 match between Reciprocity and Evil Geniuses. This was a good example match because it was very back and forth (6-6 result) showing both teams knew it well and their unique strategies were sometimes effective.
For anyone wondering why I'm not using the project athena/sternab blueprints set: I have pretty bad spatial memory and end up getting easily visually lost on the blueprints as they lack a lot of visual in-map reference objects, etc. It's also a lot faster for me to do these in a web tool with all the icons rather than use Photoshop.
Note: This will be pretty long and detailed, feel free to skip around!
We'll start by looking at the first 3 rounds of Rec on defense, beginning with Initiation.
Round 1 - Reciprocity Def - Initiation Setup
The image might look a bit busy but we are going to go through both the defense and the attack bit by bit w/ the callouts to help.
The overall idea behind this setup is to control the entire middle of the top floor including Day Care, Bunks, Break, Initiation, Waiting, Office and Yellow Hall. Generally attackers will enter through the 3 safer areas: Cafe, Cash and Control Room. Attackers that take control of Cash and Control will generally be able to control Dragon Stairs rotation, but not Yellow and Arcade stairs.
In this setup Jager controls a long angle from Bunks behind a knocked over table all the way through Initiation rotation/doorway into Control room. As you can see from the long well drawn line, he was able to eliminate 2 attackers through this angle. Goyo controls Initiation and Waiting with a shield to help him fight Cash Hall. There's barb wire on Initiation and Waiting doorways to help slow down attempted penetration as well.
Echo holds Office and is most focused on controlling Showers and the Vault rotation from Yellow Stairs. The other two defenders, Mozzie and Lesion setup traps and intel denial and roam. Their primary job is to control top and bottom of the Arcade/Cafe side of the map and they have ways to rotate back to Break, Bunks, Day Care, Initiation, Vault, and Waiting. They additionally have the Yellow Hall hatch open to allow them to drop down and rotate back up via Arcade or Yellow Stairs. This offers them the ability to rotate back to any part of the extended site needing help, which in this round they both did through the Yellow Stairs Vault rotation. I've drawn a line showing how they vault onto the railing of Yellow Stairs to vault up to the scaffolding to enter the Vault rotation, which is protected with a reinforcement on the Cafe side.
As a final bit of flexibility in case they have to defend the Bunks/Yellow Hall side, they have a Goyo shield near the Bunks rotation and on the Bunks door facing into Yellow Hall (with an ADS hidden next to the soda machine).
A quick summary of how this round played out:
- Zofia and Hibana took control of Control Room, but both died to the long angle Jager hit them with.
- IQ and Maverick took control of Cash after sacrificing a drone to the pest on the door. IQ died from a push into showers by Echo, who was quickly traded by Buck.
- Buck took control of Dragon, shot the ADS in Cash Hall and then naded the Goyo shield on the Waiting door, allowing him to rotate into Office through Cash and catch Echo from behind for the trade.
- Maverick pushed through the Showers into Office and picked off Goyo in Waiting.
- Mozzie rotated into Vault and killed Buck, was traded by Maverick and then traded back by Lesion entering into Vault just after Mozzie.
Looking at all the soft walls where one part is opened and one part reinforced (Cash and Bunks), you may notice that these are carefully chosen to put the angles in favor of the defenders while also allowing great freedom of rotation for any retake that may be necessary.
Round 2 - Reciprocity Def - Bunks Setup
This setup shares some overlap with the Initiation defense, but with some tweaks. Note the lack of rotation between Bunks-Initiation and Office-Cash. These are made more solid to slow down entry from the Cash/Control side since the defense is setup expecting more of a Cafe entrance. You can tell by the 2 ADS's and the deployable shield helping to hold Cafe. Since Goyo wasn't brought this round, instead 2 deploy-able shields were brought from Smoke and Ela. The second deployable shield was placed similar to a Goyo shield from Round 1 alongside Bunks wall, near the door to Arcade.
Here's how the round played out:
- Maverick, Hibana, Buck and Zofia took control of upstairs from Cash and Control, pushing all the way into Bunks relatively uncontested.
- Jager meanwhile kills the IQ who entered downstairs.
- Hibana opens the wall at the top of Yellow Stairs, pushing Ela into a death by Zofia from Yellow Hall.
- Smoke kills both the Buck and Zofia attempting to push him through the Break doorway.
- Maverick pushes into Upper Arcade and catches Mozzie playing next to the shield (sorry it's the wrong icon as Smoke in the diagram). He is quickly traded by the Valkyrie rotating up Arcade Stairs.
- Hibana pushes the same door as Buck and Zofia, but this time wins the fight against Smoke, then rotates around through the Break hole and finds the Valkryie on the other side of the shield.
- Lastly Hibana pushes into Day Care while Jager rotates up Yellow Stairs and takes a position behind boxes just outside the door. The resulting fight trade ends up with a semi-glitch win for Hibana due to Jagers dying first.
I'll wrap that round up with a couple of small things from the diagram:
- Ela put a gryzmot mine on the Cash entrance to Showers to help fight, but this was seen by a drone and Ela ultimately backed off.
- Valkyrie had a black eye cam above Dragon providing intel and most importantly letting them know if it was safe to rotate up those stairs.
- Hibana used X-Kairos to open lines of sight from Cash to Office and Office to top Yellow (which resulted in Ela's death).
Round 3 - Reciprocity Def - Throne Setup
I've included the 2nd floor to show Jager's kill onto Buck as well as the 3 breach holes Zofia opened in the floor (corresponding to the breach icons on 1st floor diagram). Also the final reinforcement is on the hatch.
Reciprocity's Throne Room defense is a little unconventional with Maintenance wall reinforced, but the Barrels wall left soft with line of sight and rotate holes. They also invested reinforcements in Lab to allow the Doc playing in Barrels to control a long angle through the wall, the door into Lab and the door into Drug with his acog as well as down the Joint Hall towards Bathroom via another hole. This helped him single-handedly control a huge area of the map and deny a flank on Throne. Doc also placed a bullet proof camera in Throne to watch his back from a breach via Maintenance.
The defenders reinforced the Tellers wall and barricaded Lockers door to slow/deny quick entries from these rooms that have uncontested entries. Jager and Valkyrie were on roam as usual, but they had one less roamer as Doc was playing an important role slightly off site, leaving Echo and Smoke holding site.
Here's how the round played out:
- Attackers took control of the top floor from the Cash/Control side as usual.
- Valkyrie gets in a small gunfight trying to slow them down but survives and rotates down to Lab to get healed by Doc through his line of sight holes.
- Buck gets killed through the soft wall of Office by Jager who then rotates down to control Bathroom/Drug.
- Hibana opens the Yellow Hall hatch above Blue, and Zofia starts opening holes in the floor of Office/Waiting above Armory all in an attempt to get some kills or pressure from various angles.
- Maverick and Hibana open the Maintenance wall. Maverick does not successfully Maverick trick the reinforcements and Hibana has to use X-Kairos to finish opening it.
- Maverick then rotates around Joint Hall past the Bathroom door where Jager waits to kill him.
- Zofia attempts to rotate down to Lower Arcade and dies to Doc.
- IQ enters Armory and kills Smoke with Hibana behind to kill Echo.
- Hibana attempts to plant with just IQ left to cover against 3.
- Doc manages to down IQ with a long angle from the Barrels wall into Throne and then enters Throne and loses a fight against Hibana.
- Valkyrie enters from Blue and finishes off Hibana.
Now let's look at how Evil Genius' ran their defense differently. From now on I won't be walking through the rounds as I just wanted to give examples of how attacks play out on the given sites, but I will still include kill positions/angles when available.
Round 7 - Evil Genius Def - Throne Setup
Keep in mind when looking at 2F, the positions of the defender icons are just to show their approximate roaming area at the start of round. Mozzie takes top Yellow Stairs, Cafe and Day Care. Mute takes Office and Waiting. Valkyrie takes Bunks and Break. I wasn't able to verify the location of the 4th Mute jammer, but I believe its either on the Waiting or Bunks door to Yellow Hall 2F.
This defense is similar to Reciprocity in having a heavy roam upstairs that falls back. The difference is a 3rd roamer upstairs and stronger utility dedication to site. In this case Barrels wall is fully reinforced w/ an Electroclaw, and the Maintenance wall has a Mute jammer (an issue for Hibana but not Maverick as seen in Round 10). The second Electroclaw is on the Armory wall to prevent any easy access. There are also Evil eyes in Armory and Throne in addition to the Black eyes both inside the building and at least one thrown outside. I wasn't able to get exact positioning on some of the kills due to who was being spectated, but hopefully my estimates are close! Also unlike Reciprocity, the Yellow Hall hatch is left soft/opened despite the risk of attackers dropping into Blue.
A lot of focus for Reciprocity on attack is to control Dragon after taking 2F. This is shown by them focused on controlling Maintenance then opening the soft wall behind the Dragon statue to provide angles onto the Throne door. The long angle used by Valkyrie was very effective because the holes in the soft wall between Armory and Throne were only foot level, allowing Valkyrie to see feet near the door, but the attackers being unable to see. Maestro also showed how vulnerable Maverick is while torching the Maintenance wall, dying to a quick jump out the Throne door.
Round 8 - Evil Genius Def - Bunks Setup
EG's Bunks setup shared some similarities with Reciprocity's, however there are some important differences. Reciprocity reinforced the Initiation / Control room wall, whereas EG left it soft and fought through the doorway instead. Reciprocity opened a rotate on the Break wall to Arcade hall to allow their Smoke player an escape with shield cover potential, EG didn't really utilize the Break room. EG reinforced the entire Day Care external wall instead of focusing some of their defense setup on Cafe, whereas Reciprocity left it soft because of their Cafe setup. EG brought Goyo for 3 shields, allowing a useful one on the Bunks/Yellow Hall door and double on Arcade hall. Reciprocity on the other hand brought 2 deployable shields (Ela and Smoke), using one for Arcade hall and the other for Cafe internal door. A final difference is EG bringing Mute to secure the Office and Bunks walls, as well as dedicating more Jager ADS's to Bunks for Goyo.
Overall neither setup was particularly successful in its initial round, however Rec only played it the one time and EG succeeded on their 2nd and 3rd plays of Bunks. I do like that Reciprocity utilized Break with a line of sight all the way through Day Care, and because the wall was left soft, potentially to Cafe door. The downside however is that Bunks itself was taken fairly easily until Smoke got the 2 kills from Break.
Round 11 - Evil Genius Def - Initiation Setup
This was EG's only attempt at Initiation, which ultimately didn't succeed thanks to Rec winning all their 1v1s and playing angles well. Overall this had a lot of differences with Rec's successful Initiation defense. For starters they didn't use Castle at all. Rec also opened up more rotations (Day Care/Bunks, Cash/Office, Cash/Hall) and played a much more successful roam. To be fair though, Rec brought Dokk to help hunt roamers whereas EG just focused on pushing site. Rec also attacked differently by taking both West (Cafe) and East (Cash) sides to play towards the middle. The lack of strong Day Care/Bunks presence definitely hurts this setup, especially with Cash being safe to take with showers uncontested.
I know that's a lot of info to sift through and I encourage you to look carefully at the setups and pay attention to all the possible angles and approaches as I'm sure their analysts will be. Here's a few things to take away when it comes to bomb site setups for Theme Park:
- Attacks will likely come from Cash, reinforce walls and control showers. Same for Control Room.
- Lots of good Goyo/Deployable shield positions, especially in doorways and Arcade hall.
- Put a pest on Cash door like everyone does. They will likely just have to sacrifice a drone, but you might be able to exploit this distraction with a C4 as they will be just outside the door.
- Take advantage of the Yellow stairs Vault rotate, but be away of Attackers doing the same.
- Don't dedicate too many resources to Cafe defense unless you know the Attackers rely on it.
- Be prepared to rotate back to site quickly for retakes if Attackers are objective focused like EG was.
- Maverick and Hibana are both useful for top floor, but more necessary for Throne. Thermite isn't really a good choice.
- Take advantage of long angles through doorways like Jager did from Bunks to Control with the table, Valk did with Armory, or Doc did with the line of sight holes along Barrels.
- Mute, Mozzie, Goyo, Jager and Valk is a pretty good comp to gain intel, deny intel and provide lots of shields, especially with choke points like Showers and Cash/Cafe doors.
- Dragon will often be the center of control for the attack, whereas the west side of the map will often be free to roam.
Hope the analysis of the different setups provided some good food for thought and we continue to see Theme Park breath a little fresh blood into the competitive scene!