Week 2 in NC wraps up with the conclusion of the UNC Pembroke event which saw several breakout teams from across North Carolina. A similar trend of climbing’s importance quickly established like at Wake with 1225, a modified everybot which had played in Georgia in week 1, and 7443, last year’s District Championship RAS winner, ranking high with consistent climbs and autonomous outer port shots. This event seemed to have a higher-than average incidence of teams unable to get on the field for mechanical or electrical issues, with teams missing or being disabled for matches throughout the event, and two subs being called in during eliminations.
Unlike Wake County, several robots without climbers proved to be exceptionally valuable like 3196, who also played in Georgia last week, and 2655 with the most accurate inner goal shooter seen so far in NC, mastering the bank shot layup. However, it was the alliance captains and “do-it-all” robots of 1533, perennial powerhouse, and 4534, reigning Pembroke champion, who contended in the finals. Congratulations to event winners 1533, 2655 and 3661! Congratulations to three time District Chairman’s Award winners 3737, first time Engineering Inspiration winners 6729, and 8030 who won the Rookie All-Star award.
Qualifications started off slow with many teams still grinding away on getting their climbers working and shooters calibrated. However, on Saturday afternoon matches began to reach cumulative scores over 150. Part of this was fueled by many tech fouls caused by teams playing defense around the trench zone. As the rankings solidified on Saturday evening and Sunday morning it became evident that an everybot-style robot could yet again rank 1st. With one of the most unique alliance selections in recent memory, 1225 was declined consecutively by 1533 and 4534 ranked fifth and third respectively before picking 14th-ranked 2682 and their more than full-court shot. Many of the top alliance captains opted to choose high-output shooters, calculating that they could outcycle the extra 25 points from a double climb.
Teams to watch out for
435 Robodogs showed more of the same from their first event - consistently putting a few balls into the outer port and climbing at the end of the game. We will see them at District Championships next, where they will need to up their rate of fire to stay as competitive as they’ve been.
1225 Gorillas has had a resurgence this year and will go into Asheville with a full two events of drive practice under their belt. Even with a high level of competition there, Gorillas will be a top contender for a high seed, especially if they dial in their autonomous and are able to fix intermittent issues with their hang.
1533 Triple Strange scored 73 points on their own in their first match and only improved throughout the event. Their lightning-fast feeder-to-trench cycles are going to be difficult to contend with, especially once they start using CV instead of manual targeting. They did try buddy climbing with 2655 on the practice field, but could never get that to work.
2655 Flying Platypi once again proved that you don’t have to do all the game objectives to be a very competitive team in capturing their 4th straight NC district win. They couldn’t climb but proved to be very consistent at a task many thought impossible - scoring in the inner port from the protected area right in front of the goal by aiming high and getting the perfect ricochet. It remains to be seen whether they will attempt to add a climber or just dial in their shooter and autonomous routines.
2682 Boneyard Robotics coming off a huge championship Chairman’s award finalist win, started off the event quite slow, shooting errantly and learning their new swerve drive. However, as they began to control their quite powerful arm based shooter and pull off an off-center auto, they won their final 3 matches with an average score of over 100. 2682 has a high ceiling and if they work to perfect their arm + shooter combo will leave their opponents white as bone.
3196 Team SPORK had already gotten a week of practice in Gainesville however they hadn’t shown off much of their shooting capabilities, finding themselves playing defense in eliminations. This was far from the case at Pembroke as they had a dialed in trench shot throughout the event. If 3196 can manage to add a climber they will certainly scoop up more accolades.
3737 Roto Raptors struggled with RoboRIO issues throughout the event, but their 4-sided 1717-style intake showed lots of promise when it worked. With a Chairman’s win under their belt and a ticket punched to DCMP, they will have time to fix their controls issues and add on a climber. Operating at full potential, this team can snatch a win in any match.
4534 Wired Wizards despite passing up the “do-it-all” robot last year by not having a level 3 climb, 4534 came roaring out of the gates with a fast and accurate trench shooter. Their hook based climber was also consistent and led them to 4 climb ranking points. With an event under their hats, 4534 could summon an event win with more practice and improved autonomous.
7443 Overhills Jag-Wires arguably the biggest surprise of the event, they walked into the event as a clearly practiced shooting and climbing team and claimed the 1st seed for most of the weekend and the Entrepreneurship Award. Sunday had more ups and downs for the Jag-Wires as they moved down to the second seed and had their only losses in the last two qualification matches. Fixing the issues they faced on Sunday could help them climb over the hill to be a contender at District Champs.
Takeaways and Observations
Alliance selections were … weird. At his 29-team event only 5 alliances were able to put together double climbs, and only 4 double climbs were pulled off in elims (1 by the 5th seed and 3 by the 3rd seed). Even the 3rd seed of 4534 and 3196 were only able to put together the double by excellent scouting and taking a risk on 6177, who displayed major mechanical issues throughout competition but had matches with excellent shooting and good climbing.
NC Teams, don’t let 1533 and 2655 on an alliance together if you want to win an event. This teamup has now won 4 blue banners together going back to 2016 and clearly have excellent on-field synergy. The only alliances to beat this duo in eliminations were on Einstein in 2018.
This is two straight events that a lower port + climb team has ranked first, but with teams dialing in their shooter, this may be on its way out as a winning strategy in later weeks. We may see a repeat at ECU, but it would be surprising to see anyone but a good shooter taking the top seed at Guilford and Asheville.
Now we look forward to Week 3 in ECU. About half the teams here will be playing their second event, so expect to see a good step up in the level of competitive play, especially at the top level. With many teams having played an event and had a chance to improve, the field here is wide open, but one team for now is a slight favorite over the rest.
2642 Pitt Pirates back in Pitt county for the third time, the Pitt pirates look to plunder their third consecutive event win at home. With their new swerve drive and cannon-like shooter arm, 2642 will look to sail farther after a decent first event showing as the first pick of alliance 4 at Wake.
2682 Boneyard Robotics need to take their peak performances that earned them a spot in the 1st seeded alliance at Pembroke (albeit with two declines) and turn that into every match. If they make their shooting more accurate and develop a good trench shot they’ll be hard to beat. Pembroke was their first event running swerve and their driving is still rapidly improving.
3459 PyroTech having shelved the swerve that they ran in 2019, 3459 will attempt to use their climb and consistent shooting to scorch the competition and recover from a burn at Wake county where they captained the second seed but lost in the quarter finals.
587 The Hedgehogs ended the 2019 season with a very strong hatch and cargo bot with an octocanum drive. They’re running swerve for the first time in an official event, NOT WCD as originally stated.
900 The Zebracorns every year team 900 shows their stripes by creating advanced robots both in their control and mechanical systems. Oftentimes, however these robots take some time to ramp up and without an out-of-state event for the first time since 2013, it remains to be seen how refined their machine will be.
3737 Roto Raptors are in somewhat of a similar boat to 2682 - their peaks at Pembroke were good, but without too many matches without comms issues and without a climber they were very limited. A week isn’t a lot of time, but if all those issues are fixed 3737 could be scary.
4828 RoboEagles showed their capability in a few matches at Wake and have been working to improve in the last two weeks. They have a good autonomous shot and a hang, but were limited by not having a trench shot and a low rate of fire. Fix those, and the RoboEagles could join a wide-open list of contenders.
In addition to these teams, there’s quite a few others that could make a splash at this wide-open event. 3336 Zimanators and 5919 JoCo Robos both have a known working shooter and climber. 6908 Infuzed could follow in the mold of 3196 or 2655 in being a shooting specialist, or could have added a climb since Wake, and any of the teams who haven’t played an event yet could come out swinging.
Last week’s takes:
Bell Pepper Take: There will be no stage 2 activations at this event - correct
Banana Pepper Take: There will be at least 1 triple climb in qualifications - incorrect
Jalapeño Take: The climb RP rate will be less than 15% - correct
Carolina Reaper Take: A buddy climb will be attempted - mostly incorrect - 1533 and 2655 attempted it on the practice field but not a real match … we’ll give it .25 points
Last week’s score: 2.25/4
This week’s takes:
Bell Pepper Take: There will be no stage 2 activations
Banana Pepper Take: The top 2 seeds will both be able to shoot high
Jalapeño Take: A team not in our list of favorites or HMs will rank top 6
Carolina Reaper Take: The winning alliance will have two swerve robots.
We are avoiding any COVID-2019 predictions because we are engineers, not doctors or epidemiologists. Please practice good hygiene if the events continue and if not, we are very sorry but understand that it’s for the public good.
Errata: 587 is running swerve, not WCD, and ECU has run an event before. Thanks for the corrections!