Skull Island is a tricky map because of the terrain. There are several spots on the map where you think it’s one kind of terrain but it’s not. These little things can throw you off your game. When looking at the foundations the two sides mirror each other. When you look at the terrain then it’s a little different. The Blue side has 2 more impassible terrain squares then the Red side. It’s really a very minor difference, but can be important depending on the units you bring. After double checking with a few people there are 87 Impassible terrain spaces, 32 Rough terrain spaces, and 8 cover terrain. These numbers differ from what I see in the Wiki, but I’ve double checked and asked advice and I think my totals are the correct ones. If I missed something here please let me know.
Terrain is going to be a big issue here for some units. Units without any kind of movement ability are going to struggle a lot on this map. The Red dice show all the impassible (water) terrain. There are 87 spots with water terrain, with the blue side having 2 more spots at K17 and L16. There are 32 spaces with Rough Terrain marked with the blue boost dice for sand and white dice for trees. There are 3 spots on each side that can be very misleading because they are part road (open) terrain, and part sand (rough) terrain. In these cases it means that it’s rough terrain. For the Red side these are at C3, H3, and H5. Blue mirrors this on there side. This map has only 4 spawn zones with 3 East of the center row of buildings, and 1 on the West side. The West side has 2 teleporters that can let you cross to the other side of the map or get you to the middle. There are 2 Neutral spawn zones, but they are in the open so they don’t get cover. If you want to hold these then putting high defense units there will give you a better chance of keeping them. There are 9 power zones spread through out the map each side has 2 that are within 2 spaces of a starting spawn. The one at Q7 for red and Q11 for blue need the ability to move over impassible water terrain to get to it. Agenda’s that can nest or transport units will have an edge in getting board control. With only 4 spawn zones and few safe pockets, units are going to have spend time screening their monster to keep them safe. Units that are good at building screens with either transport or tow will really come in handy here.
Skull island is both very open and yet it is also very dense. There are only two foundations that don’t have another foundation that is adjacent to it, so you have to watch out for big power attacks. Both starting monster zones have a clear open lane going north and south. The row of buildings in the middle prevent any movement from side to side. Each side has a pure building pocket near their West starting monster zone. In the center of the map there is a spot where you can be mostly safe. There you can be fully screened by a single unit. It also puts you in a good position to strike any where on the map if your monster has a movement ability. If a monster hugs the East side wall they can be completely safe from beat back attacks, where as Toss will give you the range to hit the middle row of buildings. If a monster goes to G3 or G14 they can super stomp down 4 buildings and clear a path from side to side. It’s also quite easy to rampage from the starting monster zones to knock down 3 buildings with a 5 speed. A monster with 8 speed can rampage either north or south after taking a couple steps and take down 4 buildings from either monster starting zone. Those monsters that like to level the city quickly may find this map to there liking.
Morpher placement is very limited on this map. If you place a building with Live Wire in the spots shown, you severely limit there starts, or they have to put them selves in a potentially dangerous position. If you get the chance you will want to try and put the Live Wire building on the West side foundation at either A5 or A12. This makes it more difficult for them to make good use of the Teleporters on the West side, and also you have more options on where to place the second live wire building in the center row. Out of 27 spots where morphers can be place only 10 assist in securing a building. The Red side has 9 spots that are on impassible terrain while the Blue side has 11 spots. So the Red side has a little more breathing room for morphers that don’t have an ability to stand on water. Standard monsters are safe from a first turn live wire attack. There are no corner foundations for the morpher player to do the hyper up along the edge trick, but there’s a lot of water on West side that allows for the Manly Morpher Retreat. Morpher can do well on this map, but their quick openings can be really slowed down with some aggressive building placements. This map is very unforgiving so a small mistake can cost you. You have to watch out for a morpher hypering up into alignment for a big power attack. Over all I think this map plays fairly even when it comes to monsters vs morphers.
I really like Mole units on this map. The rough terrain doesn’t slow them down at all, as all of them have either burrow or jump. The water terrain only slows down a couple. They are also mostly very tough units at 3 to 4 defense, so they tend to last a little while longer. I like Ulgoth on this map. Mire plus all the rough terrain can slow down even the fastest unit forces. With Massive if he hugs the East wall he’s very safe from most attacks. Monsters that can summon or transport can also do well on this map, also if you have some sort of screen break. It seems like almost every map I like Mechathugrosh, I could be biased on this one, but I think he also plays well here.