Week 1 Recap: FIRST HQ delivers the stinky cheese (by not delivering all the parts) but the CHS fights through. After working through Friday night due to the disaster that is the STEAMWORKS field, the CHS event crews received gear pegs and many other missing parts of the field Saturday morning, just in time to start the events behind schedule. We are thankful that CHS staff have team interests as a top priority. Haymarket was able to get in the full 12 matches per team, but Blacksburg had to trim the qualification schedule to 10 due to numerous delays.
This is a difficult game to watch. Sightlines are bad for the drive teams and the audience. Scouts can’t effectively keep track of robots; robots climbing on the retrieval zone side are completely invisible. While the theme this year is fun, we are worried that the GDC has created a Muenster.
As expected, Gears were the dominant flavor across the two events with only one match reaching 40 kPa and the majority of bots not touching Fuel for the entire event. Many matches were decided simply by the number of climbing robots on the alliance or penalty points.
CHS Platter - Week Two - A Steamy, Cheesy Mess
As teams get used to driving their robots, and hopefully improvements are made to the pegs, expect more qualification matches to hit that magic number of rotors: 3. Most matches will be decided by the number of robots that can climb and expect to see more ties than in previous years. If you can’t climb, expect to either be passed over for the playoffs or one of your partners to try to serve you up a tasty dish of CHScake.
This week, expect more defense to be played but not effectively. With most alliances finishing the 3rd rotor with over a minute left in play it is unlikely that any defense will slow a coordinated alliance down enough to miss it. Cheese balls, I mean fuel, will be the deciding factor this week with so many matches coming to a tie in the playoffs, any points that can be scored outside of rotors and climbs are likely to provide the advantage.
Extra Sharp Prediction: No 4 rotor matches in the playoffs this week.
**1885 (76) **- ILITE is the only team this week touting a CHSyness in the 70’s and this gear specialist will Lite up the field with their speedy gear cycles. Still hunting their first-ever event win, this purple robot is the clear favorite (if you ignore the ILITE curse).
**449 (68) **- The Blair Robot Project looks to cause some chaos on (and off?) the field with a climbing, ball-grabbing, gear-toting machine. Unfortunately our informants in the CIA got outed before they could find out what Calcifer plans to do with the fuel.
4456 (66) - The Mech Cadets captained an alliance for the first time last week and toppled the #1 alliance containing the 2016 CHSy Champions. Expect them to march onto the field this week using the last week’s experience to their advantage to bring home the cheddar.
1111 (63) - The Power Hawks usually only place in the top 25% - 45% of their events but almost always end up as a high pick in the playoffs. They have another good looking robot this year with what appears to be an active gear deployment and a climber. We also assume there is a shooter tucked away in there somewhere.
Others to watch for:
4638 (66) - The JagBots have been steadily improving over the past several years. Having placed only in the top 55% and 76% in 2013 and 2014 respectively they came back strong with top 22% and 14% performances in 2015 and 2016. Expect them to get even CHSier this year as a gear specialist this week.
422 (58) - Some teams just want to see the world burn, especially those teams with Dragons. Tall bot with an expanding hopper, climber, balls, gears, we can’t keep track, and neither can Mech Tech.
1389 (54) - After a major jump in performance in 2015 we expect another electrifying body of work from this team. The Body Electric was getting a feel for the game while visiting the NOVA competition this past weekend. If they can work out the chain issues on their octocanum expect them to perform well in their first event this weekend.
4242(55) - This all-rookie drive team from FRESH Tech was surprising in Week 1. A tiny bot with a floor gear pickup and fairly reliable climber now has some drive experience. Don’t overlook this short robot.