[FRC Blog] 2023 FIRST Championship Advancement

Originally posted on the FRC Blog, 12/13/2022: https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/frc/blog/2022-2023-first-championship-advancement

2023 FIRST Championship Advancement

Written by Collin Fultz, FIRST Robotics Competition Senior Program Director

Back in October, we announced that this year’s FIRST ® Championship will host at least 600 FIRST ® Robotics Competition teams in 8 divisions. We also announced the 30 teams that will pre-qualify for the 2023 FIRST Championship.

I wanted to share additional information about how teams will qualify for the FIRST Championship during the season. This information will be kept up to date on the Championship Eligibility Criteria page on the FIRST website.

Regional Events

  • Regional Events initially qualify the FIRST Impact Award winner, Engineering Inspiration Award winner, Captain of the winning alliance, and first and second pick of the winning alliance.
  • Regional Event Rookie-All-Star Award winners and winning alliance backup teams (if a backup team joined the winning alliance) are placed on a Priority Waitlist.
  • A Wildcard is generated if a team that has already qualified for the FIRST Championship qualifies again at a Regional Event. A Wildcard is also generated if a team from a District is one of the teams who initially qualifies at the Regional Event. (District teams cannot advance to the FIRST Championship from a Regional Event.) Wildcards are issued in this order:
    • Rookie All-Star Award winner
    • Winning alliance backup robot (if participating)
    • Finalist alliance captain
    • Finalist alliance first pick
    • Finalist alliance second pick
    • Finalist alliance backup robot (if participating)

District Events

Each district is allocated a number of slots proportional to their population of teams. Each District determines the number of Dean’s List Finalists, FIRST Impact, Rookie All Star, and Engineering Inspiration Awards to present at their Championship, within a range established by FIRST. For the awards, ranges are developed by using ratios agreed upon by FIRST and District Leadership. These ranges allow each District to represent their own community as they see fit. The specific number of each award at each District Championship will be posted on the Championship Eligibility page. District representation at the FIRST Championship will be:

District Allocation
FIRST Chesapeake 19
FIRST in Michigan 82
FIRST in Texas 30
FIRST Indiana Robotics 10
FIRST Israel 11
FIRST Mid-Atlantic 23
FIRST North Carolina 14
New England FIRST 32
Ontario 23
Pacific Northwest 22
Peachtree 17

The following teams competing in the District model earn a Merit-Based Qualifying slot:

Priority Waitlist

  • Open FIRST Championship slots are filled using the Priority Waitlist until it is exhausted. At that point, slots are filled using the normal open Waitlist
  • In addition to Rookie All-Star and winning alliance backup teams, the remaining Hall of Fame teams who were not pre-qualified and the Original and Sustaining teams will be added to the Priority Waitlist for Week 1.
  • The process for selecting teams from the Priority Waitlist is mostly the same as 2022. The only change is that teams qualifying during the season are given a higher chance than pre-qualifying teams.

Open Waitlist

Teams can sign up for the Open Waitlist through their FIRST Dashboard. In order to sign up, a team’s Lead Mentor 1 or 2 must

  1. log in to the Dashboard,
  2. in the Team Events section, click the “Event Options” drop-down menu,
  3. select View Team Events,
  4. click the Find An Event button,
  5. locate the FIRST Championship Event in the event list, and
  6. click the Waitlist button.

I am once again asking for :tada: to become a reaction. This is amazing!


Glad regional advancement is mostly back to normal but it’s too bad RAS winners and backup bots are still waitlisted. Is there any data on how likely it was to get off the Priority Waitlist last year and how that might apply with more slots at this championship?


Looks like we get one extra spot for regional qualifications, and its the third member of the winning alliance, as expected. I really wish we could clean up the qualification system for non-district teams so that you aren’t incentivized to go to later events because they’re naturally more likely to have wildcard spots, among other reasons, but I guess we’ll have to wait at least yet another year to see improvement there.


I wish this was reordered. The winning alliance backup robot (if participating) should go under the Finalist alliance second pick, IMO.

Reason number 1, controversy alert the robots on the finalist alliance were picked for a reason before the backup robot. The backup robot just happened to be next-in-line to be picked.

Reason number 2, does this give some weird “incentive” to use a backup robot purposely just to help the backup robot earn entry into champs? I think it does. Why would an alliance do it? One scenario could be alliance x is completely over-powering the competition because they chose an awesome winning alliance. With the substitution rules changed, alliance x can now invite one of their buddy buddy teams to play 1 match and hope for a win. If they don’t win, big deal, it’s either a double elimination path to the championship round, or it’s BO3 and it’s a calculated risk.


Here’s a chart of the change in District Allocations over 2021:

District 2022 Allocation 2021 Allocation Change Percent Change
FIRST Chesapeake 19 16 +3 19%
FIRST in Michigan 82 64 +18 28%
FIRST in Texas 30 23 +7 30%
FIRST Indiana Robotics 10 8 +2 25%
FIRST Israel 11 9 +2 22%
FIRST Mid-Atlantic 23 18 +5 28%
FIRST North Carolina 14 10 +4 40%
New England FIRST 32 25 +7 28%
Ontario 23 11 +12 109%
Pacific Northwest 22 18 +4 22%
Peachtree 17 10 +7 70%

Why did ONT grow so much? New teams or old regional teams joining?

1 Like

I’m not particularly worried about this. Remember, calling in a backup robot means you have to sub out someone and they have to stay out. No matter how “overpowered” their alliance is, nobody is going to bench a team they have been playing with in order to “give a shot” to whatever the next team in the backup order is.

I mean, you could, but this was always the case with backup robots. I haven’t heard any story of a team ever calling in a backup robot to give them a bid to champs even when doing so didn’t take a wildcard spot away from another team, and I would hope it would be more common in that scenario.

EDIT: Forgot about the new backup team rules

With the new rules they don’t have to stay out anymore, right?

  • Backup robots are required to play in the first match after they are called and may not be called until after the alliance’s first match. After that, the alliance can choose to play any of the four teams now on their alliance.

Backup robots are required to play in the first match after they are called and may not be called until after the alliance’s first match. After that, the alliance can choose to play any of the four teams now on their alliance.

Ah, you’re right, forgot about this. That makes it a little more complicated…

I could see an alliance calling in the backup robot early on if they thing they would actually be a good contributor to their strategy of choice, since they do have to play a match after all.

That being said, I think that is going to be rare. You have almost no control over who that backup robot is, but I do agree with you that it is odd that you can basically choose to form a 4-robot alliance with this specific, available robot, and then take another spot away from a (presumably) very deserving finalist alliance captain.

Note that it doesn’t necessarily have to be so “planned” though… The point of this is to allow you to sub back in your “primary” robot once they complete whatever fix they didn’t have time to do before the next match. I would actually expect most backup robots to only play one or two matches while their sub is being fixed really.

Now does that backup robot that only (potentially) played one match early on in the playoffs really deserve the spot more than the finalist alliance captain? I think we’d find many different opinions on that one.

Couldn’t you say the exact same thing regarding the finalist alliance first pick vs the winners second pick? And that doesn’t even get into the difference between seeding high enough to be a captain vs being picked form further down the list.

A backup team is a part of the alliance, win or lose. I don’t see why we should be giving advancement to finalists before we give advancement to someone that got a winners trophy and gold medals. That would be a little backwards.


Ontario only fielded 70ish teams in 2022 because a province-wide covid lockdown in January prevented most teams from accessing their build space until February. We’re back up to 120ish teams in 2023 (knock on wood).


I mean, you dont get to choose who that backup bot is still, its just whatever highest seeded team is left.

Anyways, said team is only waitlisted. Waitlist is not a guaranteed entry. Said alliance also has to win with the backup to unlock that qualification spot. This seems like nitpicking a severe edge case imo.


This is not the case in the district format. I would really like to see a structure implemented where the backup bot in districts *(district championships) gets the district points for winning the event but doesn’t earn an automatic bid for playing in as little as 1 match.

In the big picture, I would much prefer a transition to a fully points structure where there are no automatic bids. Assign point values properly and let the teams who have earned them throughout the whole season qualify for championships.

This is a particularly big deal for smaller districts where there aren’t as many qualifying spots to go around.


Wow I called this pretty closely considering most are only off by 1 team I am going to chalk it up to more teams registering since October and rounding error. I also called the teams who would advance from regionals more or less correctly as well.

Honestly I am conflicted on the backup alliance member location on the priority for wildcards. At the moment I am like 75% ok with it however if we were allowed to pick the 4th member during alliance selection ala champs then 100% I would be ok with it. Tell events with 40+ teams they can opt into 4 team alliances and the decision is made before the event starts. The 40+ is arbitrary but I feel that number gives the 8th seed gets someone who can hopefully at least move since there would be at least 9 robots available to them.


I miss the 1 wildcard per regional event


The issue is balancing this point structure in the transition from qualifying for DC and qualifying for Champs. You want the values in relation to each other to stay the same for both (that is why the values triple for everything at DC as opposed to changing arbitrarily)

If you increase the value for Culture Awards at the DC in order to give the Impact, EI and RAS teams a shot at making worlds based on points you have to do the same at the qualifying events, this will result in teams who would have made it to the DC on robot merit no longer being there since they were replaced by an EI or RAS team who now gets to compete with their robot not just for the award.

If you don’t care about the culture awards being allowed to qualify then I will wait for you to say so since I don’t want to put words in your mouth or accuse you of anything. If you want the culture awards to keep their auto qualify but take it away from the winning alliance that is a different argument that goes back to them taking the automatic bid away from 3rd regional robots last year which was something I disagreed with as did many members of the community but I will hold my specific arguments until I know what your solution is.

This is not really what you’re asking for, but it’s what I got:
Assuming a cap of 600 (which they said was the minimum), the district tallies (283 spots) listed and 62* regionals (310 spots) on FIRST’s website, there remains 7 waitlist spots unassigned to any event. With wildcards covering the double-qualification scenario, it seems unlikely that anyone not already pre-qualified for champs will get to go.

Edit: As @MARS_James pointed out, I’m not including the 30 pre-qualified teams which means FIRST is either overpromising by 23 spots or the minimum is actually 616 623. To be fair, 616 623 doesn’t sound as nice as 600.

That said, I don’t know how many teams turn down their champs ticket.

*This information in combination with the regional attendance caps makes me think we should be allocating regional advancement slots in a similar manner to districts. The smallest regional is almost half the size of the largest (32 - 63)


You forgot the 30 prequalified teams bringing the slot count down to 570 not 600 so right now FIRST is over promising by a potential 23 spots.

Edit: @Katie_UPS making it so a team who hasn’t been around since 2005 is catching strays. :stuck_out_tongue: