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Unread 04-21-2012, 05:12 AM
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2012 Picklist Formation and Strategy

I've been thinking a lot about this recently and I thought i'd share my thoughts and get the opinions of others.

I think the ability to triple balance will be neccesary for any alliance planning to win their division. I could be wrong, and something like an 1114 2056 combo could be good enough to outscore their opponents by 7 top baskets (or they could find a way to triple together ), but i'm going to operate under the assumption that we want to triple, generally meaning 2 widebots and a long or 3 widebots.

(note: our robot is a widebot) For alliance selections, I plan to give our representative 2 lists. First a list of the best 30 teams in the opinion of our scouting team, ranked in order from number 1 to number 30. The rankings of these teams however will generally favor wide bots over long bots, meaning a longbot may score higher than a wide bot by a some margin yet the wide orientation is enough to put them above the longbot on our picklist. Our representative will use this list to pick our first robot. The second list will be a list of the 30 best wide robots in order from 1 to 30. If our first pick is a widebot we use the first list again for our second pick. If our first pick is long we use the second list. (this is of course assuming there's enough widebots in the division.)

If you're a longbot then i'd only have one list ranking all the widebots with a few top pick exceptions that would make you're alliance forego the triple.

Generally speaking though, I would think you'd want the top widebot as you're first pick. If you're wide and you pick the best widebot available as you're first pick, then your second pick becomes the best robot still left. If you pick a longbot first your second pick is limited to the best widebot left, and depending on their scarcity that well may be starting to dry up by then, or the gap between the best longbots and widebots left may have become incredibly large.

Anyway, what do you guys think? What are you planning on doing for you're picklists? Do you pick robots to fit your strategy or do you pick the best robots and then form a strategy?

Last edited by Austin2046 : 04-21-2012 at 05:15 AM.
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Unread 04-21-2012, 06:24 AM
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Re: 2012 Picklist Formation and Strategy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Austin2046 View Post

(note: our robot is a widebot) For alliance selections, I plan to give our representative 2 lists. First a list of the best 30 teams in the opinion of our scouting team, ranked in order from number 1 to number 30. The rankings of these teams however will generally favor wide bots over long bots, meaning a longbot may score higher than a wide bot by a some margin yet the wide orientation is enough to put them above the longbot on our picklist. Our representative will use this list to pick our first robot. The second list will be a list of the 30 best wide robots in order from 1 to 30. If our first pick is a widebot we use the first list again for our second pick. If our first pick is long we use the second list. (this is of course assuming there's enough widebots in the division.)
Please, don't do what the bolded section says...

Drafting straight off of a list can be a huge mistake. When forming an alliance, there are usually distinct traits you will want from each of your alliance partners. You want to draft to play a strategy. There will be roles that you want your alliance partners to fit into. Figure out what roles you can fit into. Determine what other teams can fit into other roles you want and will play effectively with you.

(Of course there are often times situations were you want to just take the best team available, but many others where you need each team to play a part in your strategy, rather than just being good. This is especially true when all of the teams you have to draft from have clear weaknesses, that you need to be able to cover up in your strategy.)

Based on your first pick, then you will need to reevaluate what traits your alliance has, and what other roles your alliance needs filled, in order to select a your third alliance partner.

So, if part of your strategy is to triple balance, and you only have one wide, then select a wide (if that is what you feel is important to complete your alliance).

But in a more general sense, (as a very simple example) say you draft an offensive robot first (Team A), and decide that you now have enough good scorers that there wont be enough balls to score, so drafting a third scorer doesn't make sense. Then there is a scorer (Team B) that you ranked above a robot (Team C), that plays better defense than B. In this situation you would want to draft C. Had you not been able to get A, you would want B, but now your alliance no longer needs B, so you should draft C, but drafting straight off of a list you would have ranked B higher than C.

Another reason to not draft directly from a list is that it allows you to take input from your alliance partner on who to select with the second pick. It is important that all 3 alliance partners are comfortable working together.

I would suggest that you have your teams representative be as well versed in the teams, so that they can make an educated selection. Give them a pick list, but don't make it strict. Get your representative to be knowledgeable about the plan, how it works, and what teams need to be able to do to be a part of it. Also, enable them with as much information as possible. This way your representative can also help your alliance captain make a better second selection, if you are not an alliance captain.
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Last edited by EdwardP : 04-21-2012 at 07:42 AM.
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Unread 04-21-2012, 06:57 AM
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Re: 2012 Picklist Formation and Strategy

I would agree that the triple balance is a good way to win...but not the only way. It does take a good amount of time typically to triple balance......meanwhile your opponents are scoring up a storm. A perfect 36 point auto with super strong offensive play can outscore it especially if two bots on the opposing alliance easily and quickly balance for 20 while their third bot continuing offense the whole time .....its a winning strategy that could outscore a triple balance.
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Unread 04-21-2012, 08:29 AM
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Re: 2012 Picklist Formation and Strategy

Quote:
Originally Posted by EdwardP View Post
Drafting straight off of a list can be a huge mistake. When forming an alliance, there are usually distinct traits you will want from each of your alliance partners. You want to draft to play a strategy. There will be roles that you want your alliance partners to fit into. Figure out what roles you can fit into. Determine what other teams can fit into other roles you want and will play effectively with you.
I've never seen drafting straight off a list to be a bad idea, as long as you make the right kind of list. The list should not be who the best robots are, but instead should list robots in order of their ability to help you win. The OP had a good idea of this, saying you should rank a widebot slightly higher than a longbot with the same capabilities if you want to be able to triple balance. If you make a list of robots based on careful calculations on what teams will most likely allow you to win, and then pick from that list, nothing particularly bad can happen. Of course your alliance selector should be knowledgeable in all the teams to verify that you are making the best possible pick.

For the most part, you shouldn't have a strategy set in stone before your alliance makes its final draft selection. You can have a pretty good idea that you want to triple balance every match, or do a certain thing in hybrid, but please take a look at the teams still available before making a pick based on a certain strategy. For example, if it turns out there's a longbot available for first pick that can shoot 4 balls in hybrid reliably (including 2 from the coop bridge), and no widebots can do that, we will pick that bot immediately because that's 24 points in hybrid plus 6-12 points taken away from the other alliance because the coop balls are ours.

Another thing: If you split your list up into different categories (first pick, hybrid second pick, defense second pick) you can run into this kind of problem:

Code:
First pick    Second pick (defense)     Second pick (hybrid)    Good balancers
...           Team B                    Team C                  ...
              Team D                    Team D
Team A        Team X                    Team Y
...           ...                       ...
So Team B is better than Team D at defense and Team C is better than Team D at hybrid. But you should only pick Team B if you really, really, REALLY want a good defense bot rather than a well rounded bot like D. In almost all alliance selections, you want well rounded robots like D so you can change your strategy when facing different alliances. So, say you're smart and pick Team D. Well, you just missed out on a huge opportunity because it turns out Team A was still available! Although they're a great scorer, they can also play defense like a boss and score in hybrid better than all the hybrid bots on your second pick list. THIS is why I always put together a single pick list in order to accurately rank the teams:

Code:
Pick List
...

Team A
Team D
Team C (good hybrid)
Team B (good defense)
Team X
Team Y
...
As you can see, the team has decided that Team C (with the good hybrid) would be better than Team B (defense) but Team X (defense) would be better than Team Y (hybrid). We would not have known that if they were on separate lists. Also, making one list encourages picking well rounded teams over teams that are good for only one strategy. This allows your alliance to mix things up strategy-wise when going against alliances with different capabilities.

And another thing, if you really do like a team for one strategy that you think will give you a huge edge over other alliances, put them on your list exactly where you'd want them. I think 3601 was as high as 9th or so on 3322's list at Kettering; without them, we wouldn't have had a 6 ball Rube Goldberg autonomous!
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Last edited by JABot67 : 04-21-2012 at 08:34 AM.
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Unread 04-21-2012, 08:51 AM
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Re: 2012 Picklist Formation and Strategy

Keep in mind, that those two robots (1114 and 2056 in this example) would actually have to score 11 balls in the same time as a triple, due to the fact that they would only be able to score a single. That being said, it might be possible. 1717 scored 7 balls in about the same time as a double. Assuming a adequate ball supply, two teams(maybe 469 and 1717) could possibly pull it off, but it would really depend on the field conditions at the time. From what I have seen though, the triple can be pulled off pretty quickly. 973 pulled off triples with 3 widebots really easily and quickly, and many of the better teams with stingers should be able to pull a triple off just as quickly.
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Unread 04-21-2012, 01:13 PM
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Re: 2012 Picklist Formation and Strategy

Quote:
Originally Posted by EdwardP View Post
But in a more general sense, (as a very simple example) say you draft an offensive robot first (Team A), and decide that you now have enough good scorers that there wont be enough balls to score, so drafting a third scorer doesn't make sense.
The problem I have with picking to strategy is always what if that strategy fails? What if we want to do something different, but now we're limited by the makeup of our alliance partners.

Also, i think there are a number of ways to play defense, a good scorer can also be a good defender, but how would you know unless they played defense in their quals? unless you're ranking defenders on pitscouting and drivebase alone... which i feel would be another mistake. A good defender could simply be a ball feeder/stealer starving you're opponents of opportunities to score.

What if in the course of your matches one of your scoring robots break? Maybe they can still drive but their shooter fell off severely hindering their ability to score. Do you then go with 2 defenders and one scorer? Or can the robots on your alliance switch and adapt to play different roles? If you're third bot is just a drivebase, but a really good balancer and defender, i don't think they can fill that void. So then you have to bring in a backup bot and hope that they can fill the role in your strategy.
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Unread 04-21-2012, 01:29 PM
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Re: 2012 Picklist Formation and Strategy

Quote:
Originally Posted by JABot67 View Post
So Team B is better than Team D at defense and Team C is better than Team D at hybrid. But you should only pick Team B if you really, really, REALLY want a good defense bot rather than a well rounded bot like D. In almost all alliance selections, you want well rounded robots like D so you can change your strategy when facing different alliances. So, say you're smart and pick Team D. Well, you just missed out on a huge opportunity because it turns out Team A was still available! Although they're a great scorer, they can also play defense like a boss and score in hybrid better than all the hybrid bots on your second pick list. THIS is why I always put together a single pick list in order to accurately rank the teams
I agree with almost everything in your post. I only made the 2nd list of best well rounded wide bots to ensure that we could triple balance. i felt that it was important enough to filter our general picklist accordingly to assure we didn't pick 2 longbots.
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Unread 04-21-2012, 01:33 PM
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Re: 2012 Picklist Formation and Strategy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Austin2046 View Post
The problem I have with picking to strategy is always what if that strategy fails? What if we want to do something different, but now we're limited by the makeup of our alliance partners.
I've always been an advocate of picking a 'tactical robot' as a second pick. A tactical robot is a machine that's capable of playing multiple roles on an alliance to allow them to change strategies on the fly. Ex. If your secondary scorers shooter breaks, the Tactical Robot would swap roles with the secondary scorer to finish the match.

In most cases, the tactical robot's role will be very defined (either offense or defense), but it's additional versatility over a 'pure' defense or offense bot might be just what you need in a pinch to move on.
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Unread 04-21-2012, 01:36 PM
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Re: 2012 Picklist Formation and Strategy

Why not just pick three really good offensive bots, and have the one that can play the best defense out of the three play defense/ball starvation? This works really well if you're in alliance 4-8, because then you are starving the rest of the field of another offense bot.
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Unread 04-21-2012, 01:44 PM
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Re: 2012 Picklist Formation and Strategy

I always thought one of the dumbest things you could do in alliance selection is send down anyone but your head scout to make the picks. (With an exception for teams who "whiteboard" picks from the stands, then you can send whomever you want.) The person picking needs to have knowledge of all of the teams being selected.

No matter what you do, ANY list this year NEEDS to have robot orientation on it. In my opinion, if you're not trying for the triple balance, you're not trying for the World Championship. Have fun trying to score 7 balls in the extra ~15 seconds you have over a good triple alliance, or rolling the dice with legally hazy defensive strategies that take a robot away from an offensive contribution anyway.

Some long bots can hang off the end. Some long bots will say they can hang off the end but in practice be really, really bad at it, or won't be able to get enough of themselves on the bridge by the time it starts moving. Knowing the difference is part of good scouting and there is certainly a trust factor in there.

Every pick should have the triple balance in mind. In the first round you should have enough of an idea who you might get to pick that you can talk to them in advance and see what they need to make a triple work. In my mind, that is the true advantage of a top seed in the era of the serpentine.
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Last edited by Chris is me : 04-21-2012 at 02:01 PM. Reason: go simbots
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Unread 04-21-2012, 01:49 PM
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Re: 2012 Picklist Formation and Strategy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris is me View Post
Every pick should have the triple balance in mind. In the first round you should have enough of an idea who you might get to pick that you can talk to them in advance and see what they need to make a triple work. In my mind, that is the true advantage of a top seed in the era of the serpentine.
2054 and 548 did this at MSC. It was no secret that 67 and 469 would be together, so 2054, the barring-catastrophe-second-alliance-captain, and their ideal second pick, 548, asked us if we would triple balance with them Saturday morning to see whether a triple balance with two longbots hanging off the edge and a wide in the middle would work. It ended up working (I'll post a pic later) and they ended up forming an alliance that even gave 67-469-830 a good run for their money
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Unread 04-21-2012, 06:20 PM
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Re: 2012 Picklist Formation and Strategy

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Originally Posted by Chris is me View Post
In the first round you should have enough of an idea who you might get to pick that you can talk to them in advance and see what they need to make a triple work. In my mind, that is the true advantage of a top seed in the era of the serpentine.
As an aside/advice, try not to let other team's know who you are going to pick. If I'm the #2 seed and I know who the #1 seed is picking, that is a huge advantage for me because I can now talk to the team who I'm picking, discuss strategy and potential 3rd partners. Just this year at Wisconsin, it was an advantage knowing who the top 2 alliances were before selections so we could do more planning before our representative is under the bright lights with a microphone infront of her face. So, its a great idea to talk to the team you are going to pick, but its in your best interest to do it discretely. You earned the right to talk to your future partner, don't give that advantage to the next team.
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Unread 04-21-2012, 07:45 PM
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Re: 2012 Picklist Formation and Strategy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris is me View Post
I always thought one of the dumbest things you could do in alliance selection is send down anyone but your head scout to make the picks. (With an exception for teams who "whiteboard" picks from the stands, then you can send whomever you want.) The person picking needs to have knowledge of all of the teams being selected.

No matter what you do, ANY list this year NEEDS to have robot orientation on it. In my opinion, if you're not trying for the triple balance, you're not trying for the World Championship. Have fun trying to score 7 balls in the extra ~15 seconds you have over a good triple alliance, or rolling the dice with legally hazy defensive strategies that take a robot away from an offensive contribution anyway.

Some long bots can hang off the end. Some long bots will say they can hang off the end but in practice be really, really bad at it, or won't be able to get enough of themselves on the bridge by the time it starts moving. Knowing the difference is part of good scouting and there is certainly a trust factor in there.

Every pick should have the triple balance in mind. In the first round you should have enough of an idea who you might get to pick that you can talk to them in advance and see what they need to make a triple work. In my mind, that is the true advantage of a top seed in the era of the serpentine.

But if you go far in the tournament most teams will probly be able to triple so that means they will cancel out and it comes down to hybrid and telop. And hybrid is more point then telop but potentially you have more time to shoot more baskets. So then comes the question what which one do you go for?
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Unread 04-22-2012, 03:51 PM
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Re: 2012 Picklist Formation and Strategy

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Originally Posted by MICHAELABICK View Post
Keep in mind, that those two robots (1114 and 2056 in this example) would actually have to score 11 balls in the same time as a triple, due to the fact that they would only be able to score a single. That being said, it might be possible. 1717 scored 7 balls in about the same time as a double. Assuming a adequate ball supply, two teams(maybe 469 and 1717) could possibly pull it off, but it would really depend on the field conditions at the time. From what I have seen though, the triple can be pulled off pretty quickly. 973 pulled off triples with 3 widebots really easily and quickly, and many of the better teams with stingers should be able to pull a triple off just as quickly.
Do you think two long good shooters might pick each other two try and out score a triple or triple easier to go for then scoring?
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Unread 04-22-2012, 04:06 PM
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Re: 2012 Picklist Formation and Strategy

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Originally Posted by 3098 callahan View Post
Do you think two long good shooters might pick each other two try and out score a triple or triple easier to go for then scoring?
That would be extremely hard because if the two long robots score until the end they have to overcome a 31 pt deficit (11 balls have to be scored to overcome the triple balance and they need to make sure their third robot gets the solo balance). That is a lot of points to make up for two robots. Even if you have two robots go for you bridge and you keep one good robot scoring they still need to make up 21 pts to overcome the triple which is an even harder task.

Your best bet is to for for the triple yourself and if you are down, pray that the other alliance can't pull it off.
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