FRC Wildcard Distribution Order

Hello Everyone!
I’m a mentor for FRC Team 353 and I’m new to Chief Delphi. This is my first post so I just wanted to open up a general productive discussion about something that I have been talking about with other mentors from my team.
I personally believe that the order in which Wildcards are distributed should be amended.

The current order is as follows:

  1. Rookie All-Star Award Winner,
  2. Winning Alliance backup team (if applicable),
  3. Finalist Alliance Captain,
  4. Finalist Alliance 1st pick,
  5. Finalist Alliance 2nd pick,
  6. Finalist Alliance backup team (if applicable).

This is the new order that I’m proposing:

  1. Finalist Alliance Captain
  2. Rookie All-Star Award Winner
  3. Finalist Alliance 1st pick
  4. Finalist Alliance 2nd pick
  5. Winning Alliance backup team (if applicable)
  6. Finalist Alliance backup team (if applicable)

I think there might be a lot of people that have their own opinion about this and I would love to hear it. Maybe the current order is perfect, maybe you agree with my order, or maybe you have a different order entirely. If you disagree, please explain why.

My goal with this topic/discussion is to hopefully agree on something as a community and maybe FIRST will change it in the coming years if this gets enough attention.


RAS used to be an auto-qualifier, as did winning alliance backup.


I’m personally in support of swapping RAS and winning backup robot but otherwise I believe the current order is pretty reasonable. The backup robot on the winning alliance can be pivotal in that alliance’s success and (imo) deserves equal treatment (or as close as we can get) when it comes to championship qualification.


I’m in favor of removing all auto-qualifying awards and wildcards, and using a universal points system to resolve all of this mess.

If we’re stuck with this broken wildcard system, I would agree with your order but might even bump RAS down one more level. Backup teams are the hardest call to make, IMO. If an alliance pulls a backup team in round 1 and then plays them through the whole event, it would be a bit of a slap in the face for them to be the fifth wildcard. Maybe the three winning alliance spots go to the three teams that play in the most elimination matches.


Finalist captain felt like an auto-qualifier when each regional auto generated a wildcard.


I think it should go further than 6, as the fact that wildcards can be thrown away is ridiculous.


This year with double elims, is the first time you can determine a true 3rd place.


That’s because it WAS an auto-qualifier. Thosssssssseeee were the dayyyyyyyyyyyyyyysssss.

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It’s been mentioned (by me, perhaps others) to HQ that passing unused finalist wildcards (it happens, especially later in the season) down to the 3rd place alliance would be a SWELL idea. They did not summarily dismiss this as a bad idea. Sooooooooo…wait and see.

No more burning of unused regional wildcards to be applied to randos on a waitlist somewhere else. Sounds awesome to me - do you agree, my regional people?


The only downside is it hurts the priority waitlist teams that unfortunately didn’t get a wildcard. (Or screwed by the no long allowing hall of fame or og teams in automatically)

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I feel it’s super important to get any rookie team to champs it’s such a boost to most programs and brings with it a lot of support aswell as inspiring mentors and students alike it’s def frustrating esp if you’re a finalist early on before many teams have wild cards, 2827 was one of those teams, but I believe going to champs last year has been a significant reason for our success this season and it has become my go to recommendation for learning about first. So i’m happier a rookie team can go and have that first experience


Only change I would make is playing in the most winning elimination matches, for parity with current district rules (your elim points are multiplied by the fraction of winning matches you were a part of).


I think the Winning Alliance Backup team should be auto qualifying. I’m in support of the first wild card going to the Finalist Alliance Captain, and making RAS auto qualifying. Lots of really good teams that have been finalist captains didn’t make it to worlds since the wild card always goes to RAS, which is one big issue with the way the regional qualification system works but that’s a whole separate discussion.

Our team was lucky since we competed in a week 6 event where there was 3 wild cards, and we got the last one. (We were the finalist captain)


I’d prefer the wildcards remain with the regional at which they are generated. WOW teams (oops, there’s that taboo acronym again) would surely love extra chances to qualify 3rd place teams instead of letting those spots evaporate into the ether for the benefit of teams far outside their region.

I’ll leave it to the reader to go find out which 2 teams would have LOVED for such a rule to be implemented for Pittsburgh this year. Both teams happen to be on the list of best (top 600-whatever EPA) teams not to qualify for Houston.

Those 3rd place teams are no slouches, having slogged through the double elimination bracket.


Not all 3rd place teams though, it’s possible for a 3rd place team to be one that climbed through the upper bracket but then fell through the double elimination.

Possible, but regardless, I’d much rather the wildcards remain home where they were generated.

In my experience (and we have some experience with 3rd place, finishing there twice this season), we 3rd placers can be a hardy bunch.

We were seconds from making the finals as an 8th seed alliance at Midwest.

Ignoring the frivolity and joy that was M13 at Pittsburgh, we as a #3 seed eliminated the #2 alliance in M12 in a 172-171 barnburner. The #3 alliance had THREE of the top 8 OPR teams at the event in it - how does that happen, folks? I refused to say “2872 still hasn’t been picked” for fear I’d jinx it. :slight_smile:

And the 3rd place alliance at Buckeye had one of the very best robots in the world that is NOT going to Houston, along with another quality partner who also missed out.

From my experience, I’ll take my chances with the 3rd place teams earning those wildcards. :slight_smile:


Think at least 5 were thrown out the last two weeks. Some event had two even!

They don’t want a large amount of unplanned teams qualifying for the championship then what they planned for. They have to keep the backup winner as a wildcard to keep the number of champ spots given out equal in each regional.

What does WOW teams mean? Struggling with the acronym right now.

Even in districts there are still auto-qualifiers. And for travel planning purposes, auto-qualifiers still make a ton of sense. Having the entirely of FRC trying to all book flights and hotels after week 6 competitions before CMP would make this current housing/transportation mess even worse.

Replace wildcards with universal points? Sure. Replace all auto-qualifiers… I think that might do more harm than good.