Capabilities Needed to be Picked at Champs

If the robot in question does so every match then it will likely be picking.

What teams will be looking for will depend on seeding. Higher seeded alliances will value reliability over taking chances. However, I think the best 2nd and 3th picks will be robots that can reliably do both of the Cat B defenses (ideally in autonomous), get on the batter, and potentially hang. The Cat B defenses take the longest time to do. It’s almost guaranteed either the alliance captain or the first pick will be low bots. Being able to do the drawbridge is nice, but sally door is also nice. Teams are starting to choose the Sally Door over the Drawbridge because visibility is now being valued more than the ability to stop a breach. Breaches are going to happen no matter what you throw out there.

To this point, the Sally Port is so much easier to “tap” than the drawbridge. 4607 can damage the Sally Port quickly, but the Drawbridge just sucks for everybody.

Anywhere from 1st pick to not picked depending on consistency…

Yet I’ve seen a few events where the last picks have scored high autonomously…

I believe that most high seeded alliances at champs will have two powerhouse boulder scorers, and will choose their third robot for defense (the backup might be another scoring bot though). Lower seeds will see a mix of defensive/offensive third robots, but if they choose to play more offense they will have to be able to outgun the two powerhouses while handling defense. My prediction is that most alliances will have a dedicated defense robot, either in the courtyard or the neutral zone.

Another factor that comes into play with regards to the value of a defensive robot is whether the GDC decides to raise the health of the tower. I see it as fairly likely that they bring it up, or else a capture will happen basically every match. If the tower health is raised to the point where 2 strong high goal shooters can’t bring it down alone, the value of offensive capabilites in a 3rd robot goes up.

If it’s brought up a little bit then a defense robot becomes more valuable since the capture will be preventable. As it stands, a defensive robot, even the best, will have trouble preventing a capture. 3 robots all score during or right after auton and the defense robot now has to prevent 2/3 elite scoring machines from getting 5 boulders into the tower. This is doubtful especially considering how unblockable some teams are.

I don’t see them changing it. And I also don’t see a capture happening nearly every Quals match. The average ability of teams is much lower than you’re anticipating in my opinion. Watching Quals matches from past years at champs shows lots of teams who fail to do much of anything.

I went to Champs when there were 4 fields. I keep forgetting there are 8… we were also a rookie team at the time so every team there seemed like they “had it all”. I guess you could say it’s been too long :stuck_out_tongue:

If you don’t drive well, you won’t get picked. And if you do, your alliance won’t get very far. Good driving is important whether you’re playing offense or defense, and some offensive robots may need to adapt to a defensive role quickly as eliminations comes around should they find themselves lower ranked than they would like and on an alliance that already has enough firepower in their first two robots.

I strongly recommend teams use the few weeks before champs to polish their driving.

One other factor on crossing in auto: be able to cross something other than the low bar or rough terrain. Of course crossing the DB or SP would be super cool…

One observation: the quality of the second pick robots available at Champs are much higher than at a typical Regional or District event. We’ve found that we’ve been able to get bots that were alliance captains or first picks at those events. (i.e., 862, 1640, 1671). That means that we get much better driver quality and bot reliability than we get at Regionals. So look to what those teams do at your local competitions for what to expect from second picks at Champs.

Most of you seem to be posting as if your third robots will be totally incapable of doing anything but defense and challenging. Maybe the events you’ve attended have had weak third robots, but at the events I attended, there were excellent robots available by the 24th pick, and some that went unpicked. Some examples are:

4203 could score 2-3 high goals in a good match
1450 could cross most defenses and score 2-3 low goals
3951 could score 2-3 low goals and climb
174 could score 2-3 low goals and climb
191 could score 2-3 high goals undefended in a good match

Heck, our 24th robot at FLR could score 4 high goals in teleop and one in auto in a good match. (That was an anomaly though, as 2383 flew under everyone’s radar).
I expect that, similar to last year, third and fourth robots will be robots that may have won regionals and districts as high seeds.

My personal priorities for a third robot:
Can cross something in auto that doesn’t interfere with my robot and my partner’s robot (or shoot a spy bot auto shot)
Can score either a ball in auto or a climb (10 points either way)
Smart Driving and good team players
Can score 4 goals if necessary (low or high- basically a backup in case the other scoring robot is shut down, or we decide to run all-offense)
And being able to challenge is a given.

I’m seeing a bunch of comments about being able to score boulders in auto being an important trait for alliance picks. It’s a cool thing, I grant you, but I just don’t think it’s that valuable–or common enough to be a prerequisite.

First of all, I’ve seen only a handful of robots in the entire NC region which even attempt to score a boulder in auto, and perhaps 1 or 2 which can do so reliably. Thinking that there will be more than a few in the top 8 seeds per division seems unrealistic, much less any left for the 2nd round.

Second, the large time investment required to build a reliable auto shooter for an extra 5 points just doesn’t seem worth it. Instead, you can just drive over the defenses during auto, hold onto the boulder, and shoot it more accurately immediately after tele-op starts. Fewer points, but more reliable, and you’ve hardly lost any time to go retrieve another boulder. If you shoot during auto and miss (most do), you get nothing and have to spend a bunch of time tracking down a new rock.

So, for my money, take a fast, accurate tele-op shooter over an auto shooter any day.


Be good at what it is you can do, and don’t think you’re better than that. also have a good drivetrain so you can play defense.

The thing is playing defense seems to be so destructive to the opponents who are trying to score that it is almost always worth playing that strategy, especially when the other teams are shooting from the batter. If they shoot from the outer works and cannot be blocked, then I agree it may be better to pile on the offense.

I definitely agree with your priority list though. Just good driving isn’t enough, it’s important to be contributing points whenever you aren’t able to play defense, which would be autonomous and the last 20 seconds.

I was going to write up a list, but Kevin has covered all my essentials. I would probably go with a spy bot shot over an autonomous crossing robot. It’s still autonomous points, weakens the tower, and isn’t as risky with two robots running a 20 or 30 point autonomous routine.

There will be more than 32 robots that can cross in autonomous. That skill won’t get you picked.

Ultimately, teams will pick what fits with their strategy and who they trust will perform well. Trust comes through consistent performance or previous team relationships.


IMO, I’d argue that you might be able to sneak a potential very good high goal shooter (ie 5 or so high goals) as a second pickif you are a lower seeded alliance, such as 6,7,8. This creates a larger possibility for those lower seeded alliances to go much farther and beat the number 1,2,3 alliances by an overall stronger alliance even though the individual robots may not be world class.