Alliance Selection Picking


… Ultimately, teams who can do both the rocket and HAB L3 will do the best in Quals, bc they can get 2 RPs even if they lose the match (15 [for RP] - 12 [from L3] = 3 [only L1]). I think a pure Rocket team would be ultimately to more points gain than a pure L3 HAB and Cargo Ship team. If the 1st pick is lacking a lot in one area, that would probably effect–if not determine–my 2nd pick. This year, I think FIRST has made #1 seed alliance and 8th seed alliance more equal. I look forward to competing this year to see how it actually works.


I think that the 1 and 8 seed have progressively been getting more equal over these last few years. In Steamworks, it was rare for an 8 seed to defeat the 1 seed, but in PowerUP it happened multiple times, even at worlds (Turing subdivision). I think the flexibility this year in terms of strategy this year will make for some exciting playoff matches. :smile:


One consideration in draft choices is which teams you may not want to face.


I don’t know if the stats would back this assertion up. I remember it upsets being more common in Steamworks because the last pick of the #1 alliance would be less likely to climb and worse at running gears, and because the #1 robots were often fuel shooters who weren’t that much better at running gears than gear only robots.

I would bet if you were to run the stats, you’d find the opposite of what you said.


You bring up a good point, I didn’t even think about that. I am not sure where to find stats specifically related to how often the #1 alliance wins vs #8 alliance in any given year, but I definitely see your argument.

However, I do think that such metrics depend on the depth of each event. For example, if the top ranked robots are far better relatively than robots ranked #6-8, then an upset might be unlikely. Conversely, in an event with fewer teams, the #1 alliance may be hindered in overall capability by its 2nd pick, because by that point there will not be many teams remaining.

Again, feel free to agree or disagree, this is just my opinion :smile:


Yes, I had been seeing this throughout FIRST Power UP–because of the little difference in top teams (for instance @ CHS District Champs which my team was at [384, 1885, and 422 barely scooted past 1731, 1629, and 339 to then crush all the other alliances]). I welcome this change, but going further would result in a better #8 alliance (at least, if we had another game similar to Power UP where everyone that could reach the scale and had an intake (or another way of easily doing the exchange had a good shot at getting picked or picking).


When you are #8 seed most of those choices have already been made (sadly).


Personally, my predictions for the top alliances this year are:

1: Fastest overall cycler
Hatch/Cargo overall Bot (that can climb HAB 3 if you cannot)
Defesne Bot
Low Cargo Robot


Not true this year. Teams MUST be able to remain within or retract within their frame perimeter if they wish to play defense on the other half of the field this year.


Yes, and some teams will build mechanisms inside their frame perimeter to be able to steal dropped game pieces, making them more valuable a defensive team.


Since there’s no bonus for finishing a rocket or anything I think the playoffs is going to be all about cycling fast as possible and end game points. I feel like if I’m a captain we’ll be trying to find a second pick that has the possibility to get on that 6" platform and either score 2-3 hatch panels/cargo or slow down the other alliance by 2-3 cycles.

It’s just going to be situational because if you have a second pick playing defense and they get knocked into that hab zone it’ll be hard to overcome 10-15 points in penalties this year.


At early regionals, won’t it be more likely that there will be fewer successful scoring bots than at later regionals? So, wouldn’t sending an ineffective scorer over to slow down the opponent would provide a lot of dividends?


Turing had an incredibly high number of scale robots. Many 3rd picks were also pretty effective scale bots. It made for a pretty competitive field which was somewhat of an outlier in Houston.


I’m actually a bit torn on defense after sleeping on it for a bit. But I agree, only a fool would put a robot on duty to score 2 hatches when they can defend the opp from scoring 5 game pieces. That is, if drivers are even able to score 5 game pieces in the earlier weeks.

I personally think the “meta” of this game will be set a lot earlier than most years. So it’ll be interesting what theories get proven wrong after week 1.


In Elims, L2 is just an extra three match moints, and L3 is just 9 extra match points over L1; there is no bonus value for 15 climb points. Being able to get hab levels will help you rank high, but don’t make you any more interesting for picking purposes than a team which can’t do more than L1 but is a bit faster.


12 climb points is equivalent to 4-6 cycles. For good teams, that’s the probably the equivalent of about 60-90 seconds assuming an average of 15 second cycles. If you can climb in 20 seconds or less, you essentially just scored 4 cargo in a third the time. I think having this scoring ability on your alliance and denying it from other alliances will be extremely valuable. Even at the top level of play, I don’t expect to see cycle times under 8 seconds (I think this is crazy fast - in the videos 95 posted they were around 20 seconds to acquire a hatch, score, and return to the player station). A 20 second climb to HAB 3 is still potentially more efficient than even the best of the best robots.

While there’s no bonus incentive for 15 HAB points the amount of points you’ll score just from climbing and how quickly it can be done makes me think there’s no need for one. I also think it’s dangerous to assume that every team will always end on L1. While it’s not quite as difficult as parking on the batter in 2016, consider how many teams got beached on the platform in 2018. In playoffs a full alliance ending on L1 or higher will be more likely but probably still not guaranteed. None of us have seen actual match play yet and what will become the meta isn’t clear, but I think all of these factors are going to lead to climbing being extremely significant especially in playoffs.


The selected robots which cannot make an L1 climb in a fraction of a second will be few indeed. An L3 climb is only worth 9 points more than the decent drive train you will need anyway for elims.


I think almost every team in playoffs will be capable of L1, but I think we’ll only see all three robots in the HAB at T=0 about 80% of the time. Teams will either chase after that one last cargo or misjudge their alignment with the HAB and veer off of it. Teams missed climbs in 2017 all the time, and teams hit the platform at the wrong angle and weren’t all the way on frequently in 2018. I totally understand where you’re coming from but I don’t think it’s accurate to say that every team will achieve L1 in every match simply because the drivers are human and they make mistakes.


For example, last year we were easily able to get on the platform every match. However, in our last quarter-final match, we did not do so - because we were ‘standing down’ (keeping out of the way) so our alliance partner would have room to climb. They kept climbing but falling off, and we were hoping they would ‘get it to stick’ - but at T=0, we were not fully on the platform (and they had fallen from the bar yet again). (FYI, we were an alliance captain, despite having no climb mechanism at all.)

And don’t forget, even great robots are sometimes “dead in the water” (OK, not in the water, not a water game, but …) for the whole match, or lose comms, or whatever. Certainly many “2nd pick” robots at less competitive regionals may have these problems. I think “3 on the HAB” will not be a foregone conclusion, except maybe at DCMP (I’ve never been to one of those, not being in a District) or Worlds.


I have no doubt teams will miss climbs at all levels, but why do you assume level 1 climbers will miss climbs and level 3 won’t? Isn’t there much more possible failure points in the robot itself and more time to do any sort of level 3 climb than parking on the hab? Maybe you think that prioritizing level 3 may make it more likely but couldn’t the same argument be made for a level 1 park? Certainly, I would be surprised to see it every match, but in Elims when I can pick my alliance mates, why am I picking teams that lack the time management ability and driver skill to park a robot on the level 1 hab that end of the match?