4 ball vs 3 ball auto

How much more likely is it that you get the quintet with a 4 ball rather than a 3 ball? I assume many robots at this stage in the competition will have a 2 ball auto, and we have to add something to our robot to get our 4 ball working. I am not sure if it is worth it to change the robot, and if running the 3 ball is good enough.


You’re assuming too much imo

My suggestion: Dial in 2, get 3 ball working and dialed in, then work on 4 if time permits. Having options is always better, and (theoretically) 3 should be easier than 4 to do, which means you can have more to use in case you run out of time.


CD has been proclaiming the unparalleled amazing-ness of Central Illinois since it started this week, and their alliances only averaged at Low+High total of 4.57 balls in auto during playoffs. (3.39 in quals. I didn’t pull all of them, but this was the high of what I checked.)


Some of the FIN Columbus playoff matches had 35+ point combined totals in auto

What does “combined total” mean? TBA has Columbus playoff alliances averaging 3 balls in auto (10.8 auto cargo points, 16.4 auto points). I’m not pulling any alliance in any match scoring above 30 in auto. I guess if you mean combined as in Red+Blue, there are a few of those? Not sure how that speaks to the OP though.

Yeah I mean red and blue alliance combined. The post I replied to said something about the Illinois regional event having low auto scoring, so I was saying how high it was at Columbus. There were at least a few where the total between the alliances was over 30, and even one with red scoring 30 and blue scoring 24.

Oh, I wasn’t trying to say that Central Illinois was low-scoring. Far from it, it was quite high-scoring. In fact, by your metric (>=35 Red+Blue in auto in playoffs), 13 of 15 matches there met that standard. Only 5 of 15 met it at Columbus.

The OP assumption was that “many robots at this stage in the competition will have a 2 ball auto”. Central Illinois had playoff alliances averaging 4.57 balls per auto. At Columbus, this same metric was only 3.0 balls. Either way, the idea that 2-ball auto is common enough in matches is not very well supported, so I’d advise the OP consider that in weighing the 4-ball auto decision.

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I don’t know the answer in terms of actual statistics… but anecdotally I think it’s a pretty big difference. You will maybe have alliance partners contribute 2 Auto balls in 3-5 of your matches at GNR based on what I know about the teams. I’d estimate that number is 8-10 when accounting for just 1 ball.

I’m guessing your 3 ball auto will be a top 5 auto at GNR. I think there will be ~3 teams with a 4 ball auto, and a other couple with a 3 ball auto. With only a few days before we leave for the event I’m not sure it makes sense to make any modifications to your robot that might compromise performance! You’re in a great position heading into the event as is.

Ah ok, I gotcha.

Side note, I’m glad my team’s upgraded to a three ball auto. Our human player is getting really consistent too.

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Teammate of OP here. We already made the modifications for the four ball and it works most of the time but misses one here and there. We still have the 3 ball high goal like we did at Lake Superior but now we also have a four ball low goal. Can’t wait to see you guys at GNR.


Looking forward to seeing you as well! Should be a really fun event.

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If you have a 3-ball auto you will probably want to have someone talk to your future partners to make sure they have a one-ball +taxi. Even if you just have them dump into the low goal, it will make a big difference toward the quintet.

I’ll be curious to see how important the “quintet” actually turns out to be. That is, what percentage of alliances ended with exactly 18 or 19 balls vs <18 and >19.


I think you have to include 20 in your calculation. If the quintet was tried for because an extra ball was attempted in auto. That means that if the autos had not been increased in order to try for the quintet, the the alliance might not have made the 20…

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The 4 ball auto with 1 from your alliance partner requires you to score 13 in teleop. A 3 ball auto with 1 from a partner requires you to score 16 in teleop. Since teleop is 135 seconds long, and the last 30 seconds will probably be spent climbing, you have about 105 seconds. These 105 seconds apply to all 3 robots, so the alliance has a total of 315 seconds. So if you get the quintet, all 3 robots must have an average cycle time of at least 2 balls every 48 seconds. If you do not get the quintet, all robots must score at least 2 balls every 39 seconds. For alliances with an average cycle time in this 9 second area, the quintet matters a lot. For alliances with average cycle times under 39 seconds, it won’t.
I made a little excel calculator that will show whether an alliance will get the quintet given predicted cycle times, number of balls in auto, and how long they will be scoring in teleop. quintet value calculator.xlsx (11.1 KB)


On March 19th and 20th, 2363 played back to back district events. Over the course of 29 matches we ran our 5 ball auto 27 times. The other two times we had partners that needed one of the balls for their auto, so we ran our 4 ball.

General observations:

  • None of our autos are 100% accurate. There are many variables that can mess things up along the way. One notable effect was that it ran better on the blue side of the field than the red side of the field. Which kinda sucked during elims.
  • We had at least one auto ball (possibly more) bounce around for a while in the upper goal before being scored as a teleop ball. When this happens, it costs you 2 points and doesn’t count towards the auto quintet.


  • In our 21 qual matches, we got the quintet 16 times.
  • Of those 16 quintets, we made 5 auto balls seven times.
  • In qual matches where we made 4 balls in auto, we got the quintet 6 of 7 times.
  • In qual matches where we made 3 balls in auto, we got the quintet 2 of 4 times.

Extrapolating conclusions from this data is fraught because of the small sample size, and also because the performance of alliance partners changes from match to match and competition to competition. But, it seems clear that making 4 balls in auto drastically increases your chances of making the quintet.


We had one match at Sammamish last weekend where the human player’s shot gave them the quintet in auto, and the final ball total was 19. So the human shot made the difference between ranking point and no ranking point. Too bad there’s no way to track that!


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