It’s all about autonomous. If you win big in autonomous, you win the match. Two fabulous robots that miss in autonomous will lose to an alliance that can dump 8-10 pucks into the center goal in auto. No other single factor makes any real difference. At the Washington event, most elimination matches were essentially over by about 45 seconds into teleop. Some were over at the end of auto. Not much scoring happened after the first minute when four good robots were on the field.
Secondarily, as usual in robots, the better the alliances the more important and effective defense becomes. There were a lot of robot parts scattered around the field when defensive strategies ramped up. The last final match was 141 (44ish in auto) to 101 (all in teleop).
Third, if someone had a really, really fast solution for scooping pucks off the floor and scoring them, they would have a distinct advantage. You’d have to be good and fast, though, as most floor-lifters can realistically only score a handful of pucks compared to the tray dumpers.
As already said, Autonomous is often the decision maker. I’ve seen may rounds decided by how well the autonomous ran. I’ve also seen teams have specific autonomous to actually get in the way of teams during autonomous to make operator a more “even” match.
The need to be able to protect your dispensers and be able to descore your opponents. If you get your opponents pucks to the floor you will most likely win because it takes longer to get all the pucks off the ground and into the goal.
Yeah, autonomous is huge. If an alliance scores a rack during auto, they pretty much win. But if they’re blocked, and waste their rack, then things get much more interesting. Depending on whether or not you have the element of surprise, it’s possible to make the opposing team waste 1-2 racks during autonomous.
Ease of getting pucks out of racks is also a pretty big factor. Teams that have to do a lot of driving back and forth to line up do much worse than teams that can just align themselves by running into the wall.
Robots also tend to be horrible at getting stuff off the floor. Many teams use Lego claws to do the job (which usually end the match as several pieces scattered across the field) and very few of them are actually good or fast at picking up pucks. As mentioned, a team that loads well from the floor will have a huge advantage, especially if they’re paired with a team that loads well from racks.
Autonomous is big but not huge. Our robot had a pretty good autonomous but our performance was not well.
The strongest robots will be ones which can move fast to score pucks. Not the greatest defense, but the ones who can empty pucks and score at a great rate. Hence the great success of robots like zippy(sorry, i forgot team number) and power surge. They are quick and efficient.