Deep Space Evolution

In previous games, we saw rapid evolution of strategies and robot performance over the weeks, which we can partition into periods: Early (Weeks 1 - 2), Middle (Weeks 3 - 5), and Late (Weeks 6 - 9). I have heard discussions comparing the merits of having an alliance of three offense robots vs an alliance of two offense robots and one defender, suggestions of climb defense, parking in front of the rocket during qualifications, and more. How do you think the game will evolve over time during these periods?

The GDC also often designs in some ability for them to raise the difficulty of a ranking point in order to adapt the game to gameplay, like in Stronghold, where the threshold for the Tower ranking point was increased - but they won’t necessarily do so, as seen in Steamworks where they evidently had room to do so with the prepopulated gears but did not due to the difficulty of attaining four rotors that year. Do you think by half champs/district champs that they will raise the bar for one of the ranking point challenges? There’s space in the rocket for 3 cargo per level, and there’s also always the option of raising the point threshold for the climb ranking point.

I’d love to see some sort of bonus for the rocket ship in eliminations. It seems like eliminations will be mostly low scoring because there is no benefit to scoring on the rocket ship which isn’t the most exciting thing to watch from a spectators stand point.

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I kind of doubt it, only because the manual this year gives them no such allowance (but the GDC has done some weird things over the years).

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In weeks 1-2, I think that teams will have a lot of trouble lining up to place hatches. This will likely result in low scoring games where a level 3 climb will be the difference maker. However, by weeks 5-6, fast cyclers will emerge on top as teams become really good at placing hatches/scoring cargo. I also see the Rocket RP becoming more common during the later weeks.

I think that the GDC has definitely made the RPs harder to earn this year. I think there will be a lot of 3RP wins in weeks 1-2, but maybe some 4RP wins by DCMPs.

I think early weeks will be dominated by teams that can lift themselves AND 2 partners to LV3. 36 points is nothing to brush off, and teams at this point will have very slow cycle speeds. I’m also predicting that defense won’t be as big as it will be in the future. Most teams will want to show off their scoring device (no matter how weak it is) and LV3 climbers will take half the match to line up/climb, so not many teams will even want to play defense. Defense will happen in Elims, but with little to no experience they will probably draw more penalties (somehow) than the points they can deny.

As teams get more experience, their cycle times will get quicker. When this happens more teams will be able to solo a Rocket, leading to a need for defense. By this time a team would have figured out an optimal defense strategy, which most other low-scoring teams will try to imitate. This will make any alliance of 3 scoring bots fall out of favor as there will be 4 robots on their side of the field. For qualifications, I can see alliances with one “powerhouse” play the other two robots as defense and counter-defense. So the scores might actually drop in the middle weeks, but the Rocket RP bonus will be more common. Dedicated LV3 climbers will start to fall out of favor as more teams figure out how to incorporate a LV3 climb mechanism into their robot. They’ll still be able to play defense, but they won’t have much flexibility.

At State competitions we’ll see defense every match. More teams will have tuned in their cycle times, so the weaker scorers will be asked to play defense to minimize congestion on their side of the field. Defense will now have to hold up 2 good scoring robots, so it’s likely that the Rocket RP bonus will be scored most matches. It’s here that people will suggest to the GDC to allow an extra RP for completing both Rockets, which will be shot down. Teams will need to get 4RP every match in order to rank competitively. This is when dedicated LV3 climbers will fall hard, even if they can lift both partners. The best powerhouse teams will have a 3 LV3 climber, making the dedicated team’s purpose irrelevant. The powerhouse teams that do have the 3 LV3 climber will have a huge advantage, even if it costs a cycle for setup time. States is also where we’ll see 2-3 cycles from teams during Sandstorm.

Worlds will see a bit of a decline in overall power compared to States, but the powerhouse teams will still carry. Teams will need to score 3-4 RP every match to stay at the top. Defense will now be the best it’s ever been, so top scoring teams will need to be able to score while against heavy defense (and not lose too much time in their cycles). I’m predicting world’s to be won with teams as follows:

Alliance captain: Fast cycle time that defense doesn’t phase much. They’ll also have a 3 LV3 climber that works every time regardless of partners.

First pick: The (next) fastest cycle time in their division. Having a LV3 climber is nice, but won’t be needed as the captain will do all the heavy lifting.

Second pick: Whatever defense bot that’s remaining. They’ll be coached well by their captain, but will still show signs of weakness here and there.

How Einstein Finals will go down:

Alliance listed above will dominate match 1. Defense will be played on the captain, but won’t make much of a difference. The defense bot will hold off the other alliance from scoring their potential, and the Captain will finish off with a 3 LV3 climb at the end. The point difference is huge and Alliance 2 will have to change their strategy to win.

Finals 2 will start differently. The defense bot will now focus the first pick, significantly slowing them down. The captain will score at their best, but is only a cycle or two more than their first match. The second pick will do the same defense strategy, but Alliance 2 will play counter defense to let their best scorer keep pace with Alliance 1 Captain. Alliance 2 will block the defense bot from getting back to their side during Endgame (controversial call), leading Alliance 1 to solo LV3. Alliance 2 will leave Finals #2 with a victory.

Finals 3 will go similar to how Finals 2 started, but Alliance 1 second pick will play better defense. The captains of each alliance will have similar cycle speeds, but Alliance 1 will still edge out. The second pick will not get stuck this time, maybe even leaving early so they can get their 3 LV3 climb. Alliance 1 will win with a close score.


Only 2 teams have revealed a triple LV3 so far (with another team stepping back) and neither are “specialists.” I don’t think those type of specialist bots will emerge. There will be some double LV3 specialists, but those really only add 9 points net vs a static ramp bot.


You get one ranking point for having one robot climb to level 3 and another robot driving onto level 1. An alliance that wins with a level 3 climber will almost be guaranteed 3 ranking points.

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I meant to say 3RP there lol, I corrected it.

Which is the second team? I know 1678 is the first.



Okay that makes more sense. That being said, I think that in weeks 3-5 where teams are at their 2nd event, there will begin to be a lot more 4 RP matches.

I definitely expect DDS to be a game with an “evolving” metagame, and a general (though not necessarily uninterrupted) increase in the importance of defense over time. Here’s my best guess at the meta evolution. (not a good one, likely, but my best)

  • Early on in quals, defense will mostly be played by robots who can’t do very much offensively, and in regions/districts known for heavy defense. Even in week 1, I expect most elim matches will have at least one robot which spends the majority of the match doing defense.
  • As teams see how difficult it is for three robots to act offensively, AND as second (and occasionally first) alliance picks are directed toward defensive capability, by week 3 (perhaps earlier) we will see quals defense at a level we have not seen since at least Aerial Assist.
  • As the number of robots which approach/reach/exceed the scoring speed required to solo a rocket, sending a robot for defense, or perhaps counter-defense, will be de rigueur.
  • Will we eventually reach the level where we have a champion alliance which regularly uses one robot for defense, another for counter-defense, and a single scoring machine? I don’t expect it, but wouldn’t be surprised.

Drivers will get more comfortable for their second event, so rocket cycles will become faster and the level 3 climb RP will only become more consistent.

Also even 6 points with a the 3rd bot doing a level 2. I’ve seen a few teams with larger wheels just using the level 1 ramp to jump onto level 2.

aka “sending it” :joy:

I don’t believe so. A defense bot will realistically only be able to properly defend one rocket/robot at a time. This means that you will be able to have one main-scorer still scoring unimpeded while the other will be scoring at a slower rate due to defense.

I believe that unimpeded, all Einstein alliances should be able to score the max score, if not, they will be very close. If we assume that the alliances on Einstein are all equal (which we all know they won’t be), then Champs will be decided by defense and climbing.

Are these the assumptions that led 1678 to build a three bot lifter?

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