Team Liquid Map Contest #17

Team Liquid Map Contest #17

September 13th, 2022 16:02 GMT

The Team Liquid Map Contest is back again, continuing its search for the best maps in competitive StarCraft II. Once again, we’re joined by our wonderful partners ESL, Shopify, and Blizzard, who are helping us award $5,000 in total prize money to the contest winners.

We begin now with the map submission phase, which will continue until October 10th.


  • There are no major updates, as TLMC #17 has largely the same rules and format as TLMC #16. There are no specific map themes, challenges, or areas of focus—map-makers are free to exercise their creativity as they see fit.
  • We would like to remind participants that due to the removal of the official pre-judging feedback phase that existed in previous contests, it is important for map-makers to conduct as much quality assurance on their maps as possible before submitting them to TLMC.
  • For clarification, maps submitted to the TL Community Mapping Competitions may be submitted to TLMC #17 as well.



  • Guidelines: Maps in this category explore new ideas for how StarCraft II can be played. This category is intended for unorthodox, outside-the-box maps.
  • Examples of features that might be included in this category:
    • Heavy or atypical usage of backdoor entrances with Mineral Walls/Reduced Mineral Patches.
    • Usage of Vespene Geysers as potential gates.
    • Inhibitor and Accelerator Zones.
    • Non-standard numbers of Mineral nodes or Vespene geysers at bases (Restriction: Values of each individual resource node cannot be adjusted)
    • Other strongly non-standard map designs.
  • Map dimension guidelines: The “playable” area of the map should be approximately between 14,000 and 18,000 (NOT the “camera” or “full” measurements in the editor). This is a recommendation, not a hard restriction.
  • Examples:


  • Guidelines: Map favors early aggression and offensive play.
  • Average rush distance (main ramp to main ramp): 33 seconds or less. (Note: Not a hard restriction. Could be more or less)
  • Playable map dimensions guidelines (not full map dimensions): Map playable area should be approximately between 14,000 and 16,000. (Note: Not a hard restriction. Could be more or less)
  • Examples:


  • Guidelines: Medium sized map. Players tend to have more flexibility on these maps to open with a wider variety of strategies and/or builds.
  • Average rush distance (main ramp to main ramp): 33-38 seconds. (Note: Not a hard restriction. Could be more or less)
  • Map dimension guidelines: The “playable” area of the map should be approximately between 15,000 and 17,000 (NOT the “camera” or “full” measurements in the editor). This is a recommendation, not a hard restriction.
  • Examples:


  • Guidelines: A map that favors defensive play and encourages players to reach end game unit compositions.
  • Average rush distance (main ramp to main ramp): 38-43 seconds. (Note: Not a hard restriction. Could be more or less)
  • Map dimension guidelines: The “playable” area of the map should be approximately between 16,000 and 18,000 (NOT the “camera” or “full” measurements in the editor). This is a recommendation, not a hard restriction.
  • Examples:

Features allowed per category – overview

This table is mostly extraneous as TLMC #16 and #17 have allowed all major features to be used in every map category, but we’re still including it for tradition’s sake.

5 Levels of Terrain Height image image image image


  • No custom textures or Force Fields.
  • No custom data on maps.
  • Maps must meet Melee mode requirements: Triggers and Data cannot be edited.
  • Yes, Renegade Missile Turrets are still banned.

Focus on Quality Assurance

The Team Liquid Map Contest has always welcomed a broad range of submissions within the tournament rules, regardless of the experience of the mapmaker. However, this leads to a large number of submissions that do not meet the standards for competitive StarCraft II, or are poorly optimized for in-game performance.

While we do not wish to tighten the standards for submitting a map, we request that map-makers conduct as much debugging and quality assurance as reasonably possible before submitting maps to TLMC. This will reduce strain on TLMC, ESL, and Blizzard staff, and assure that high quality, refined maps are added to the competitive map pool.

Factors to consider in QA include, but are not limited to:

  • Unit pathing
  • In-game performance (too many doodads is a frequent culprit)
  • Correct line-of-sight blocker implementation
  • Mineral/gas placement
  • Compatibility of natural expansion chokes with standard wall-offs
  • Unintended drop locations
  • Removal of misc. remnants from map creation/testing phase

Please use resources such as video documentation of TLMC map feedback, previous TLMC feedback threads, and community groups such as the “Mappers’ Circle” Discord server to learn more about the principles behind high-end map-making. In particular, community groups can be invaluable for map-making discussion and getting feedback on your maps.

Suggestions and Notes

  • Reminder: We are keeping the reduced “Average rush distance” and “Playable map dimensions” values that were implemented in TLMC #14, as we still feel there is plenty of potential for high-quality maps to be created on the ‘small’ side of the spectrum. Ultimately, the listed values are just suggestions, and it’s up to each individual map-maker to decide what map size fits their vision best.
  • The average rush distance and playable map dimensions are guidelines and not strict restrictions. For example, large maps that play out aggressively or small maps that promote long games will still be considered using the same criteria as the other maps in the category.
  • Maps with insufficient edge-map distance have been an issue in past map pools. While recent map pools have mostly avoided this problem, we still recommend map-makers leave a modicum of air space between playable ground areas and map edges.
  • Overlord high ground scout positions over naturals have a large impact on gameplay and should be sized and placed carefully. We want to remind everyone that while these spots are still acceptable, they are not required, and we’d like to see a greater variety in how they’re placed.
  • When deciding to utilize a gold base, make sure there is some sort of risk associated with them. Otherwise, gold mineral bases with low risk tend to usually favor Zerg over the other races.
  • Be careful when adjusting the number of mineral nodes, vespene geysers, or rich vespene geysers at bases, especially in the main and natural, as it could impact balance between races and/or matchups.
  • When using air pathing blockers, avoid setting up zones that trap air units within them.
  • During the iteration phase of the competition (more on this below), small changes are often more desirable than large radical changes that dramatically alter the map’s direction.
  • We want to let map-makers know that submitted maps aren’t required to utilize a high number of ‘non-standard’ map features (acceleration zones, mineral walls, etc), even in the Freestyle category. Maps will be judged based on how well map features are used and how much they add to the map.

Post contest map iteration

We want to give the map-makers an opportunity to edit their maps after the contest period to make any adjustments if necessary. Hopefully this will give the map-makers more control and a chance to make improvements based on any feedback from ESL, Blizzard, pro players, or the community at large.

After the contest, map-makers will be contacted by ESL or TLMC staff in order to make improvements and get their maps into a ladder-ready state before the next ladder season. For instance, map-makers can make small adjustments to the maps such as changes to Reaper cliffs. Results from our performance tests will also be made available to map-makers who can use those results to improve performance.

Contest Phases

Note: The default timezone for TLMC is Pacific Standard Time (PST). While countdowns and specific times should be converted to local timezone on the website, PST will be used whenever we “just” use dates in posts. For example: the end date for submissions is October 10th. So the deadline is October 10th at 11:59 PM PST.

Submission Phase

September 13th to October 10th

Once again, we will not be holding a pre-judging feedback phase for this edition of TLMC. To ensure that maps are ladder-appropriate and have minimal performance issues, please conduct as much quality assurance as possible on your maps before submitting them to TLMC.

TLnet Judging Phase

October 11th to October 17th

Once the maps have been submitted they will be checked for quality and the remaining maps will be passed to the TLMC staff and selected professional players/community figures for judging. If you are a professional player and would be interested in helping out, PM us. Together, the judges will trim down all submissions to a final 16 that will be used in the next stages of the contest.

Note: All submissions are anonymized before being sent on to the judges. Only the main admins of the contest have access to who the submitters are.

Tournament & Public Voting Phase

October 25th to October 30th

Finally, the public will then vote on the final versions of these maps. Public voting determines the final rankings of the maps and how much prize money each map-maker wins. However, it does not directly determine which maps will be chosen to appear in the next season of ladder play. However, it is the community’s chance to make its voice heard on which maps it wants to see on the ladder.

The tournament phase is extremely important both for map-makers and for voters. It allows everyone to see the maps being played by some of the best players in the world. We will work together with Wardi again for the tournament. Details will be announced separately at a later date.

Iteration Phase

October 31st to November 7th

The iteration phase has become a vital part for map-makers in TLMC. It gives them a chance to fix smaller issues that they may have been caught during the tournament phase. Note that smaller fixes are often better than huge changes.

As with previous TLMC’s, we will make a public post introducing the sixteen finalist maps. Map-makers who make the top 16 will be given the opportunity to submit extra screenshots and link to YouTube or Twitch VODs of their map being played. We will also be collecting information about what they’ve changed and will mention the changes in the voting post. All this information will be sent out in a PM to the 16 finalists after the tournament phase.

TLMC Winners Announced

Shortly after the conclusion of the voting phase, we will present the final standings. After this, all sixteen maps will be considered for inclusion in the upcoming ladder seasons. After a rigorous QA session, the new maps will be officially announced ahead of the new ladder season.

Prize Distribution

Provided by Shopify

Thanks to Shopify and ESL, the prize pool maintains its increased prizing at a total of $5000.

First – $800
Second – $500
Third – $250
Fourth – $150
Fifth – $100

In keeping with the most recent TLMC contests, map-makers will also receive $200 in bonus prize money for each map that finishes in the top sixteen.


How To Submit Maps

Submission Rules

  • Each individual map MUST be assigned to one category. DO NOT submit the same map to multiple categories.
  • Map-makers will be limited to five(5) map submissions each, with a limit of two maps per category. For example, you may submit two maps in two categories, one map in a third category, and none in the remaining category.
  • For this contest, the judges will pick sixteen(16) finalist maps to move on to the next stage:
    • Three(3) Standard Maps
    • Three (3) Macro Maps
    • Three (3) Rush Maps
    • Three (3) Freestyle Maps
    • Four (4) “Judges’ Picks”
  • The four Judges’ Pick maps will be selected through a combination of overall map scoring and discretion of the judges’ panel. Judges’ Picks will be made regardless of category, and consist of the maps deemed most deserving of finishing in the top 16. This helps alleviate situations where certain categories are overloaded with high-quality maps.

Please PM your map file(s) to TL Map Contest with the below format by October 10th. Please title your PMs with the name of the map. You must submit one PM for each map (five maps = five PM submissions). Once your map has been received you will receive a PM back confirming that we have received it. If you have not received a reply within 24 hours, please contact us directly. We may also PM you back requesting missing information. Your entry will not be officially confirmed until any issues with the submission have been resolved.

If you want to submit a revised map for the contest before the end of submissions, please send us a reply in the original PM chain on TLnet. This to ensure there are no mixups in the submission process.

The submission PM must contain:

  • Map name
  • A download link to your map
  • A picture of your map. Please use the standard 90° top down overview—do not use any angled or tilted images. Please mark start locations and describe any starting location constraints. You may attach additional images to highlight map features if you wish, but the top-down view is most important.
  • The map category you wish to enter with this map
  • The size (dimensions) of the map
  • Number of bases
  • Main to Main distance (in-game seconds using a worker from town hall to town hall)
  • Top of main ramp to top of main ramp distance (in-game seconds using a worker)
  • Natural to Natural distance: (in-game seconds using a worker from town hall to town hall)
  • Any relevant analyzer images (optional)
  • A description of the map: This is a very useful resource for judges and TLMC admins who are examining dozens of maps, so please try to be both informative and concise. We recommend around 700 characters at most, although this isn’t a hard limit.

The map file must contain:

  • A short gameplay description: There is a field for this with a limit of 300 chars. You can include some flavor text here, or base it on the gameplay description from your map submission.

Entries not in this format may be excluded from consideration. Please do not send questions to the ‘TL Map Contest’ account; contact TLMC admin Waxangel instead.

Submit your map


Q: Do I need to send my map file, or will an image or a link to my map on be enough?
We want the map file for this contest, so a link to is not sufficient. There will be a huge number of maps to choose from, so we will need to open many of them up in order to check for details that we can’t find otherwise. To send your maps, upload them to a file hosting service such as Mediafire or Dropbox and include the link in your entry.

Q: How do I attach a map file or image to a PM?
The Team Liquid PM system does not support attachments. Instead, use an external image/file hoster such as Mediafire, Dropbox or Google drive for map files or Imgur for image files. Please send those links along with your submission.

Q: Can I enter a team map/FFA map into the contest?
Sorry, we will not be accepting non-1v1 maps in this contest. In the past, the Team Liquid Map Contest has occasionally allowed team play maps to be entered and evaluated separately from 1v1 maps, and some of these submissions did eventually reach the ladder map pool. However, we are focusing on only 1v1 maps for this contest. While we hope to hold a team map contest in the future, we cannot guarantee one at this time.

Q: Will the first place map automatically be included in tournaments?
No. A list of top maps will be considered by ESL for use in tournaments and ladder.

Q: Will any of the maps outside of the top 16 be included in tournaments?
While there is a very small chance for this to happen, it’s not to be seen as commonplace.

Q: How crazy can my maps be?
Maps need to be ladder appropriate. This means that features requiring specialist knowledge (rising lava, geysers used to block ramps, etc.) will not be accepted. If your map passes that test and complies with the guidelines above then your map is acceptable! Of course, if you are concerned that your map may not be suitable for ladder then please PM us and we will tell you whether or not it is appropriate.

Q: I’m interested in the contest, but I’m horrible at map making. What can I do to support the map-makers?
Post in their map threads and give them support, encouragement, and replays on their maps! Giving your favorite map-maker support will be much appreciated by the map-maker. Replays are especially valuable as it helps the map-maker align their design goals with the map with the reality of how people play their map.

If you have any unanswered questions please do not hesitate to ask them below or PM us who will be happy to answer them. Also, we recommend you join the “Mappers’ Circle” Discord server, where the majority of participants are likely to be active.

Best of luck in the competition.

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