Gettin' Picky: A Guide to Alliance Selections (Part 1: The Picklist)

Hello! Brian and @Katie_UPS here!

Alliance selection is hard, and there are not many resources out there about how to navigate it. Given the positive reaction to Katie’s thread on scouting, we decided to create a comprehensive guide for alliance selection and everything that goes into it.

Picking is an art, not a science, so much of this advice is subjective and reflects our experiences. We would love to hear about other philosophies and methods in the comments.

About The Authors (a.k.a. “Why listen to us?”)

Katie Widen, self proclaimed Scouting Guru, has been making picklists since 2011. Some of her top hits include 1296’s Turing Division runs in 2017 and 2018. Her work has also been featured by 1675, 3928, and 253. She takes pride in her obsession with spreadsheets and seeing 20+ students working together to create the Ultimate Picklist.

Brian Maher was a college mentor on 2791 from 2016-2019 and helped the team overhaul its scouting and strategy processes. Smart scouting and picking helped them take home their first ever regional win in 2017, followed by three other regional wins, six offseason wins, and getting picked in the first round in three championship divisions. He loves getting students excited about analyzing data and scheming up winning strategies.

What is a picklist?

A picklist is a document a team creates to help them during alliance selections.

  • The rankings are not a good picklist!!
    • Make your picklist using scouting data
      • If you don’t have any, ask other teams nicely. Someone will share.
    • If you absolutely have to go in blind, use OPR
      • Offensive Power Rating (OPR) is a mathematical estimate of individual robot scoring ability based on match scores. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than qualification rankings. The details of OPR is beyond the scope of this post, but there are plenty of resources about it on Chief Delphi.
      • OPR can be found in the TBA/FRC Spyder mobile apps.
  • Your picklist should be 23 teams long, or 31 in a championship division
    • “Even if I’m the 8th seed?” Even if you’re the 8th seed. You never know where you’ll get picked, and there’s nothing worse than running out of teams on your list.
    • Why 23/31? The max amount of teams that will play in playoffs is 24/32 (including yourself). You want to make sure that even if every robot you liked got picked, you still have options.
  • Your picklist should indicate which teams you want to pick and why
    • It can be useful to include short descriptions or relevant facts about the teams as quick refreshers.

When to make a picklist:

  • When you are likely to rank in the top 15
  • When you are likely to be a first round pick
    • If you can come up with a reasonable argument for why you could be a top 16 robot at the event, congrats, you should make a picklist.
    • You never know when you’ll be picked earlier than expected.
    • There are always clueless captains - good picks can be the difference between winning the event and losing quarters in two matches.
    • Even if your captain does have a picklist, you may notice things that they don’t.

How to make a picklist:

  • Plan the meeting
    • Block out enough time for it in the evening
      • For smaller events, 2-3 hours is a good start.
      • For larger events, 4+ hours.
    • Find a location
      • Meeting in person is always better than tele-conference.
      • Brian’s Take:
        • For our local regional, we would meet in the school after the bus returned.
        • For travel events, we would seek a conference room in the hotel. Plan B would be a lobby or lounge, with using a student or mentor room as a last resort.
      • Katie’s Take:
        • Local regionals are weird. With 1296 we did everything at the venue because the kids got home so late - a small group did the preliminary sort Friday afternoon and we fine tuned Saturday. 253 has done Discord calls.
    • Have dinner before or during the meeting
      • Hangry scouts don’t make good picklists.
  • Discuss your goals for the tournament
    • For district teams, this is generally maximizing the number of district points earned, with winning as a secondary goal
      • The district system encourages less risky picking: each victory in playoffs generates points, while regional teams who lost in semifinals get nothing.
    • For regional teams, this is often winning the event or earning a wildcard invite to the Championship
      • Regional teams should discuss the difference between optimizing for a wildcard and optimizing for a win.
  • Before you start making a picklist, talk about what kind of alliance you want to build
    • Know what you need to do to win, talk about what top alliances will be
      • Who are the obvious top teams, both by rankings and stats? What will they try to do in the playoffs?
      • If you’re playing from the bottom half (seeds 5-8), ask: what are the long-shot strategies that can beat them?
    • Building the wrong kind of alliance can kill your chances before playoffs even start
    • Examples of poor alliance compositions from the past few years:
      • 2019: Two robots who can only score hatches
      • 2018: An alliance with only one scale bot
      • 2017: Alliances with no kPa or four rotor potential
    • Watching early season competitions can provide great insight about what winning alliances look like
  • Discuss your own strengths/weaknesses
    • You can’t build an alliance to complement yourself without evidence-based knowledge of your own skills.
    • Get a sense for the role you should ideally play on your alliance.
  • Once you know what kind of alliance to build, identify needs and wants for picks
    • Needs are the things your alliance requires to execute your strategy of choice.
    • Wants are the things that are optional but preferred and will be a secondary sort to needs.
    • Your needs and wants do not have to be the same for captain/first pick and second pick.
      • Brian’s take: if the requirements are vastly different (like 2019), I like to split up the “picklist” into two separate lists. For example, one list for offense (scoring) picks and one for defense picks. This is okay, and teams can appear in different orders on the two lists, as long as the total number of teams on the lists is 23 (regional/district/DCMP event) or 31 (CMP division).
      • Katie’s take: I’m not a fan of the standard 2 Offense/1 Defense alliance line-up and prefer to have three robots that can all score. This usually leads to one continuous pick list that has a line drawn at the breaking point for a first pick. I don’t want to box our picks into two lists, if I can get two first-pick quality teams then I will.
  • Once you have your needs/wants, use them to rank teams based on CART:
    • Compatibility: an ideal partner complements your strengths and helps mitigate your weaknesses. Unless your robot does everything amazingly, picking a carbon copy of yourself is rarely the best approach
      • Is their starting position the same as yours?
      • Are your autons complementary?
      • Do you work best on different sides/areas of the field?
      • Do you require the same feeder stations or scoring locations?
      • Have you played together before? Did it go smoothly?
    • Ability: What can a team do? How many game pieces can they score? These questions are usually answered by taking the maximum of a collection of data points.
      • If it didn’t happen on a real field, it doesn’t exist (probably). Even if there is a video of something working on the practice field in their shop, if it has yet to work on a real field, it can’t be counted on to do so.
      • Counter point: if a team demonstrates everything that is required to do a task, they can probably do that task.
        • Example: A team that demonstrates skilled driving is probably a good candidate for defense.
    • Reliability: How often does the robot do what it can do? How many game pieces do they usually end up scoring? Do they break? These questions are usually answered by taking the average of a collection of data points.
    • Trend: Have they gotten better over time? Good. Have they gotten worse over time? Bad.
      • Recent matches are usually a better indicator of how a team will look in playoffs than early ones. Look at the trends.
      • The easiest way to visualize this is with a line graph.
      • If they got significantly worse over time, you can ask them why. If there was a single thing they had issues with and fixed it, that’s a good sign. If they’ve been chasing various gremlins the whole event, that’s a bad sign.
    • This leads to the consistency vs ability trade-off, i.e. should you prioritize high reliability or high ability? Given two possible picks with the same level of ability, you generally want the more consistent one. When you have two partners with the same level of consistency, you generally want the one that can do more. However, comparing two teams is rarely this clear-cut.
      • You need to know your opponents: Do you need a reliable partner who won’t drop the ball or a wild card that might have an amazing match?
      • Generally, seeds 1/2/3 will have a captain who is pretty consistent, and thus a consistent first and second pick are usually required to minimize the risk of losing.
      • Generally, the 6/7/8 alliances will need to muster as much scoring potential as possible to have a chance against that consistent 1/2/3 alliance in quarterfinals. It’s okay to be risky here if that’s what it takes to win.
      • An 8th alliance can be the most consistent alliance there, but if they can never outscore alliance #1, it is literally impossible to make it out of the quarterfinals.
    • If there are any questions that come up while making the list that you can’t answer (usually “why did team X break in match Y?”), write it down and ask/watch that team.
    • Morning before selection: Look at the specific teams that you wanted more information about.
      • Make clear what you want to know before you start scouting.
      • Update your list (if needed) based on your additional information.

Common mistakes:

  • Not choosing a strategy for the alliance
  • Picking based on brand name/Not using your scouting data
    • This should be a tie-breaker at most
  • Not having a pick-list agenda/organization
  • Not having a long enough picklist
  • Upping a team because of one good match
  • Lowering a team because of one bad match
  • Looking blindly at averages
    • You’ll only have 8-13 data points for each team. Look at all of them!

Red flags that you’re not making a good picklist:

  • Everyone disagrees on who should be placed where
    • You don’t have a cohesive strategy in place.
    • For the most part, how to order teams should follow logically from your needs and wants.
  • The obvious best teams are not at/near the top.
    • Your data is bad and/or your filtering is bad.
    • This goes against the “don’t pick on brand name” item, so YMMV.
  • The top robots are just like your robot… unless, of course, you’re perfect.
  • Gut feel - If something feels wrong, it probably is.

Signs you that a list is/was a good one:

  • The top robots have skills that complement yours.
  • Alliance cohesiveness
    • Is strategy a breeze?
    • Do the teams simply play well together?
  • Doing well competitively
    • Winning matches by your own merit - not opponents breaking
    • Pulling off an upset
    • Losing on a series taken to 3
    • Being out-played does not necessarily mean you made bad picks

What do you think? How do our opinions differ from yours? Have any questions? Let us know.

Stay tuned for Part 2: Alliance Selection and Part 3: Getting Picked, and let us know if there is anything you would like us to cover in those posts.

64 Likes

Good stuff. Only thing im not totally on board with:

From experience, they (usually) dont need to be this long, and can easily turn people off from participating or cause issues with team rules (curfews) if you try to force it. As long as you go through your stuff thoroughly and create a good list, the meetings dont need to take hours upon hours to complete.

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Not to derail this thread, but I see you saying a teams experience is at best a tiebreaker. This begs the question, does team pedigree matter at all? Should certain teams be moved up because they’ve “been there” with lots of blue banners? I think yes, but it obviously depends on the team. I wouldn’t want to play against 1678 in division finals, for example (ok I would, because that triple climb is dope, but hopefully you see my point).

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I cannot emphasize the importance of this enough. There have been a couple of times in the past when I felt like we should have made a pick that we didn’t (and vice-versa) or should have declined a selection that we accepted (I assume vice-versa will happen eventually but it hasn’t happened to me yet :crossed_fingers:) but said nothing before the decision was made. In (almost) every case, my gut feeling would have at least progressed our team further in the competition.

If the time for the scouting meeting runs significantly over this time, is this a good or bad indicator? In my experience, it’s been a mix of both, but I’m curious to get OP’s opinions on this topic.

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Fixed that for you.

What regional event ran 13 qualification matches per team last year? Districts will never run a surrogate match because 12 matches/team is divisible by 6 no matter the team quantity at the event.

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One thing to add on here, if you’re certain that you’ll end up as the #1 seed, try and get an idea of who you want as your 1st pick as soon as possible and sit down with them to make your 3rd robot picklist and talk strategy. At the Israel district champs, the night before playoffs, it was obvious either us or 1577 will finish 1st(there were 2-3 Qual matches left for each team) so we sat down with them in the evening to make a preliminary list.
If you know for sure who you’re going to get as your 1st pick, sit down with them to make the 2nd pick picklist as soon as possible.

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For the record, now that I’m replying, these messages reflect my opinions only (and not Katie’s).

I could see it, though every picklisting meeting I’ve been involved with that took <2 hours either felt really rushed or I was unhappy with the resulting list. Maybe it’s just because 2791 and I are really thorough, or maybe I’m doing it wrong. ¯\(ツ)/¯ YMMV, do what works for you.

It can also be worth talking to team leadership about waiving curfew for students involved with the picklisting meeting. 2791 does this, with the understanding that abuse of this privilege will not be tolerated and that everyone is to go to bed after the meeting concludes.

The advantage of taking a while on the picklist is producing a quality result. If it’s getting late, I like to ask myself a couple questions:

  • Are students staying on task/focused?
    • I am pretty strict with keeping meetings on topic and have gotten close to asking students to leave over being distracting.
    • If students are struggling to stay on task, sometimes this is a sign to take a 5 minute break. Sometimes this is a sign to call it a night. Read the room.
  • Are we stuck? If we’re arguing in circles or discussion slows to a crawl, sometimes it’s just time to give up and sleep on it.
  • Is this really worth it? If we’re splitting hairs on whether to put someone 21st or 22nd on our picklist, sometimes it’s just not worth it, especially if we’re going to see 2 or 3 more matches from them the next morning. However, if discussion is yielding useful analysis, I am much more inclined to let it keep going.

Sometimes late nights picklisting win events. Sometimes they leave everyone too tired to think straight the next day. I think a good rule of thumb is to shelve it by midnight for a district/regional and 2 am for champs.

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This is a valid point, and definitely one that could spun off into a whole thread.

The way I see it, I want to pick the team that gives us the best chances of achieving success in the playoffs. I think past success can be an indicator of the ability to achieve success, but doesn’t really say much about their ability to execute our chosen playoff strategy, and that’s what really determines whether the alliance will play well or not.

Team history comes up most often for us when talking about second picks, some of which are really hard to differentiate on data alone. It sometimes comes up from a “pedigree” angle and sometimes from a “friend picking” angle:

  • 771, our third pick on Darwin, gained some points with us because their two event wins showed that their robot could take a beating
  • 7651, our second pick at Tech Valley this year, was one of two teams we had as basically tied on our picklist. The tie was broken by our past experiences with them, having assisted them through their rookie season and playing a quals match together at the event. We knew they could follow directions, take feedback well, and be an effective team player, which made them feel like a safer option than the other team, who we had never worked with.
  • 3624, our second pick at Tech Valley 2018, was one of two teams we were considering, and part of why we chose them was our experience playing with them in 2016. We knew they’d be in it to win it and work well with us

On the first pick side, there was Central New York this year. 195’s sudden dramatic improvement the morning before alliance selection was scary and caused us to bump them from 5th to 1st on our list. Their history of consistency in playoffs made it easier for us to overlook their inconsistency during the first day, combined with talking to them about their process of ironing out the kinks in their robot. We did consider them the second best robot there (behind us) going into alliance selection, but our fear that their upward trend would continue in playoffs if we didn’t pick them really sealed the deal.

While facing 1678 is scary because of their history and their scouting/strategy cred, I think the real terrifying part is that their robots are really freaking good.

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2791 played 14 qualification matches at the Central New York regional. Each team got 13 matches and we played a surrogate match. It was the first time in my life I was unhappy about playing too many qualification matches. Having 3 one-match turnarounds isn’t fun.

Then you’ll enjoy part 2, there’s already a whole section written up about this :slight_smile:

Great post, looking forward to the next articles.

One thing I’ll add that I like to do is to compare my list with an alternative list to see the big differences. Elo and OPR are good for this, but If you can get some other team’s list that can work too. When comparing the lists, don’t worry about the teams that are 1 or 2 positions different. The teams that are 5 or more positions apart though might merit some additional investigation. Really think through why your system might be overrating or underrating them, and likewise for the alternative system. It really helps to have a solid understanding of how Elo/opr work for this, because although they certainly have their shortcomings, they actually do have power though to “see” things that scouters overlook, and if you can take advantage of that you can improve your picklist.

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For any Ontario teams: Many events here are held at universities/colleges, and thus you can reserve classrooms for pick list meetings. Perhaps other regions can do something similar, it’s super nice to just walk to a different part of campus, eat, and jump into some pick list discussions, and it probably helps a lot with:

This issue… Long picklist meetings aren’t good. Teams get distracted too easily, aren’t efficient enough, and sometimes go into too much depth than what should be done. 4+ hours is completely bonkers for a non-championship event. 2ish hours seems like the real sweet spot for us at least, and you definitely shouldn’t need more than that for an event of 30-40. Long picklist meetings from what I have experienced personally are very overglorified, and most definitely don’t usually create a better picklist.

Another big thing you can do is only have your scouts in the meeting. Don’t keep all of the driveteam, pit crew, and cheering people in for the meeting. If someone is getting tired, send them home/to their hotel room.

Evaluate what your priorities are and your event win conditions are before you attend that event. Review them at the start of the meeting, write them down somewhere visible.

Another big thing is rapidly tiering potential picks into groups (we use 5, Elite, Good, Average, Below average, Bad.) Spend literally 30 seconds going through each team. Don’t get side-tracked. 30 seconds ish, tier the team, move onto the next team, don’t add anyone to DNP. After you go through all the teams, it gives you two very important things:

  1. Context of what the whole field looks like performance wise
  2. Direction for each stage of your pick list of the range of robots you are looking at selecting.

Create your list by taking tier 1, sorting them till you get to a few left, merge tier 2, resort… etc

I think it’s very important to sort in order of importance what your needs and wants are. There are always major factors with making a picklist that cause points of contention where it’s unclear if x is more valuable than y, even though both teams may have all the “needs” checked off. Go deeper than just talking about what and why is important, talk about what is the MOST important first, and know what that is going into your meeting.

  • at Houston/Detriot championships.

(i’m not going to tell you that the team that has been broken and hasn’t scored anything all event is going to make a picklist)

Yous should go deeper than this. It sucks working with an alliance captain that hasn’t thought about a 3rd robot that you liked, and isn’t on their list, and they have no formed opinion of them. You don’t need to be perfect on the post 23 pick range, but having some sort of rough idea on other potential teams is very valuable when a team says:

“I like team 1234!”
and all you have to say is “Oh uhh, they aren’t on our picklist”

(or vice versa)

Highly recommend going +4-6 over the limit of teams that play on your pick list. It has saved us more times than once with picking incorrectly for our final pick. The one time we didn’t do this we got burned pretty hard for not having a good enough understanding of the team we selected.

Something else that should be highlighted more is:

Don’t look for perfection in your picklist, look for a comprehensive discussion and ranking of teams. Plans change, matches get played (at most events) after the picklist meeting. You collaborate with your alliance partners during the selection. Don’t get too hung up on teams. Make an executive decision and move on.

Another thing to think about is predicting where teams will fall when it comes down to it (both ranking and who they pick) considering what alliances you have to beat to reach your goal is a big deal.

Also a plug for the talk section I gave about picklist creation -> elims process

Very good foundation post. Keep up the good work! Lots of good info in here.

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Our scouting meetings usually take about 1.5 hours these days. Worlds is usually more like 2.5 hours, IRI is like 30 minutes, and other offseasons are like 10 minutes. We’ve been more successful at events that are not Worlds, so maybe we should be making more snap decisions there like we do at the other events. Lol.

We’ve dropped or added teams over 1 match before. There are also usually other red flags though that ‘seal the deal’, typically that we feel we may not work well with them behind the glass.

People like to think they shouldn’t care about teams with pedigree until they lose to those teams. A lot of times these teams have more experience in high pressure playoff rounds, which increases overall playoff performance versus the performance you see in qualification rounds. It’s not something you want to ignore on your picklist, and we’ve won more competitions since we started factoring it in. Obviously data is #1, but this is more than just a tiebreaker at least for us.

Lots of good info in this thread. We’re probably a bit unusual in that we operate through ‘gut informed by data’ as opposed to ‘data informed by gut’.

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I can vouch for just about everything the OP said. If anyone’s curious, I go into detail about 1678’s picklist process here.

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This is an amazing guide and I love how in depth this goes putting things in writing and explaining the reasoning behind things that my time does but we always took for granted. I would just like to emphasize a few points that were brought up in the resulting discussion.

First off, I agree with what a lot of other people have said about trends being key but even past that there’s a special piece to that being a leap of faith. Is there a team that you want to gamble on as a second or third pick. Have they been chasing an issue all comp and are about to solve is propelling them into the realm of being a sleeper pick. Can there robot be cheese caked into being better than other picks. Could this leap of faith provide the x-factor that you need to beat an alliance. However, this can back fire as maybe issue they’ve been chasing is worse than previously thought. This strategy is highly dependent on the data that is collected during match scouting but also knowing teams previous competition performance as well as good pit scouting.

I also agree with a lot of what has been said in this thread about the length of scouting meetings. An hour or two is enough in my experience past that productivity takes a sharp decline. Keeping a strict schedule is a lot easier when scouting meetings are not a whole team affair in my experience. Having a carefully curated group of drive team, team leadership, and committed team members that know the teams, know the data, have played with and against these teams, talked to them in the pit, and have watched matches does a lot to limit the time wasted by the inefficiency of having a large group. Additionally having members that have spent the whole competition fixing the robot in the pit or cheering in the stands maybe don’t know the teams at the event as well as those who have been more devoted to data collection and might even pollute the discussion with opinions based off of pedigree or previous competition performance.

Another thing to be said about creating a pick list is that it opens a team wide discussion into the larger topic of why certain robots are good and what event winning strategies look like. There is something to be said about the mentality that if you do the same things that a top tier team does your team will probably see improvements. That is also why I advocate for every team to create a pick list. even if a team doesn’t meet to create a pick list doing something like making it into a game and having students submit a list of what alliances are going to look like.

This is such a useful thread. This is extremely helpful, even if you think you’ve got scouting fairly well nailed down.

I can attest to the whole data part. In 2018 at an event, 1506 was seeded #1, and we wound up choosing the #10 seeded team as first pick due to the data, and the fact that as we watched that team compete, they were incredibly consistent. The data was in their favor, even though the ranking wasn’t indicative of their performance. Quite a few teams were surprised/somewhat upset at our first pick. As an added bonus, the alliance played extremely well together, and we all complimented each other’s abilities.

Data is key, and our scouting team and mentors spend a lot of time poring over the data as the competition proceeds and adjusts as necessary. It’s absolutely critical no matter where you happen to be ranked, as you need the data to collaborate with potential alliance partners for strategy.

“Do we even need to make a picklist this event? We’re below rank 15 and there’s no way we’re getting picked in the first round.”

“Well if someone does pick us in the first round they’re really going to need our picklist.” - Sean Lavery, 2015

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We also operated this year through ‘gut informed by data’. I feel too often that qualitative analysis of the robots takes a backseat to quantitative measures (data points). The ‘eye ball test’ is hard to deny and we’ve picked based on that alone at times. Experience with teams is also a big factor for us (see Carver selection, our first pick is 1746 ranked 44th). Knowing how our teams interact and work together can overcome a cycle or two. We paper scout teams and try to get information for three matches per team (early, mid rounds and late) although miss getting tree data points for every team sometimes. A lot of data is already out there, so this is verification/qualitative…the ‘eye ball test’ for the data available.

Quantitatively, who compliments our abilities (this year, anyone who could score) is the first measure. Seriously, we needed cargo points more than anything and that was out biggest quant factor. This data was provided by TBA.

Pit scouting gave us info about double/triple climbs. Also gave us info on teams expected ability which we could validate by watching a match.

What quant didn’t do was tell us offensive drop off when defended. This was critical for pick list and match strategy. Also, who we played with and against…who was easy and effective to work with…who do we avoid because they ave a large productivity drop when defended (we can’t really pick up the slack). First and experience did as much to craft our selections as any quant factor.

Team experience is also considered. Some teams know how to win in elims (dang 1678) and we would love to work with them. Some teams know how to win qual matches by the fistful and struggle with the game in elims. We definitely consider teams more favorably that have demonstrated they know how to win in elims.

May not be ideal for everyone, but in our brief history, we never lost in quarters as an alliance captain (5 captain position, 1 win, 2 finals, 2 semi). Finals this year, we lost to a very good 2910 team and 1678 team.

This is just our process. Everyone should take these suggestions on this tread and figure out what works and doesn’t work for them. No system fits all.

1 Like

There’s a couple more things I make sure my team discusses at the pick list meeting:

  • Are there any teams we would decline, if they invited us to join their alliance? There’s a strategic component if you’re likely to be in the top 8 and think you could form a stronger alliance on your own. But there’s also sometimes discussions around “we (usually the drivers) really seriously don’t want to be on an alliance with Team X because they’ve been deeply disrespectful/condescending/their adult drive coach screams and swears at us/etc”, and that’s something you want to get out in the open and make a decision about as a team
  • Are there any teams you want the folks in the pit to connect with our drive coach/strat lead/etc if they come asking tomorrow? If you’re one of the top teams, you may be inundated with teams wanting to talk to your decision-makers on Sunday morning, and it can be helpful to know who to tell “sure, I’ll go get them right now” vs “sorry, they’re not here, I’ll tell them you came by”
  • Conversely, are there any teams your drive coach and/or strat lead should go talk to tomorrow?
  • How much scouting are you going to do tomorrow, if any? Are there any teams you want to keep an eye on to see if they’ve fixed their issue from yesterday or are still broken/struggling?
  • Who’s going to be on the field for alliance selection? Hopefully this has been decided well in advance, but if it’s not announced at this meeting I get asked who it’s going to be about a dozen times the next morning

Not directly related to making the pick list, but they’re questions I want settled before everyone disperses on Saturday night.

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That last point is the most important. If you are a team wanting to be successful, do not follow this guide. Learn from it and from the experiences of others, but in the end you should do what you are confident in doing and what works best for your team.

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This is a good point and I’d add to try not to make it public. If the top seeds makes it aware who they are going to pick, they just gave that advantage to the second seed.

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