Give me your best defense of 2019

Destination: Deep Space is much more permissive with defense this year, in case you hadn’t heard. I’ve only watched a handful of events so far, but the teams I’ve seen haven’t taken full advantage of their freedom yet.

Here’s some of what I mean:

-FIRST allows you to pin for up to five seconds before incurring a penalty. Most teams I’ve seen hit a robot into the wall, then run away as soon as they see a referee’s arm swipe. Keep holding the pin! You can easily cut down two or three cycles from a robot by enforcing a pin for four seconds each time.
-Strategic blocking. The Rocket is challenging to score up because it needs action on three sides to complete a score. Parking a robot in front of one side will block that side, cause an opponent to “pin” the defender if they try scoring through them, and clog scoring lanes on one end of the field.
-Making smart contact. Instead of rearing up and bashing teams, start a collision based on what the target’s doing - if their intake or scoring device temporarily loses grip at some point in the scoring process, a hit can dislodge the piece and force an error.
-Intelligently choosing targets. A great defender causes chaos for the whole alliance, not just one robot. Attack robots near key objectives, switch to someone else when they get free, clog traffic lanes, force teams to set a pick, try to entangle multiple robots at once.

So, give me your best defenders. Show me some videos. Which teams really shut down the other alliance? Let’s celebrate the strongest disruptive forces from the 2019 season.


3238 played defense at the Mount Vernon Event in week 1 throughout all of eliminations. We we ended up winning 1 and losing the tiebreaker by 3 points, but the defense made all the difference. The announcer in one of them even calls our robot “the brick wall”

I mentioned this in another thread, but 3792 at MVR. We were averaging 8-9 cycles and maxing out at 11. In finals 3, they held us down to 3 while also disrupting the other scoring bot on our alliance while receiving no penalties. They did just the same in the other two finals but I thought that last one was the big deal match for them. Wish they got the extra wildcard because I think they deserved it.


Rookie team 7723 like a bat out of hell causing chaos all over. Very entertaining to watch. They manage to defend multiple teams at the same time, hit hard, and even beach a robot on a ball for a few seconds. They somehow defended all three teams on the opposing alliance throughout the match.

I recommend Q1-2 and Q1-3 at Wilsonville. The flaming chickens, 1540 went undefeated in quals and had a 3.00 rank score. After selecting 4043, nerd herd to join the first alliance, it was lookin likely that they would coast through elims and win. However, we (1425), played amazing defense on 1540 and eventually out scored the first alliance as the fifth alliance.

Not to be biased… 5943 was playing defense against 2 different bots at 1 time

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Quarterfinals at Auburn Mountainview with 2907 was fun to watch, it was essentially 2907 singlehandedly trying to slow both 1983 and 2046. Parts and signage were strewn over the field.

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Second that :point_up:. Absolutely the best defence I’ve ever seen

I might be biased because it’s our team, but our team (7502) pulled off a pretty good defense in the final match at IN.

Just curious, but what do you think are the best attributes for a defensive bot? We have a very light robot (51.7 pounds without battery and bumpers). I’m trying to determine if we’d be better for manipulating pieces or playing defense. We have the kit of parts tank drive chassis.

Best attribute: Reliability. The robot needs to not break, especially if it’s bashing into bumpers.
Second best attribute: Driver practice. If the drive team understands the defensive role, and is comfortable with the controls, then I can feel comfortable that it will handle its role. Even a box on wheels can be an effective defender with the right driver.

Light bots are two sided when it comes to how well you can play defense:

1: light bots give you more agility witch is usually enough to allow you to push other bots enough by get them off track

2: light bots, especially ones as light as you, will never be able to push bots out of the way. I can strongly tell you that light bots pretty much will never get picked for there defensive ability. I would strongly recommend adding weight. Perhaps by adding more moters.

id suggest placing pieces. if you want to do defense i suggest adding some “beef” to your robot to make it heavier. our robot is only about 90 pounds but we have a 22:1 gear ratio so we can easily push others around, even if they are at the full 125 limit.

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Semi-Finals 1 at Midwest. 2062 Only allows 16 Bomb Squad to score 5 points during the entire match.

4627 at Canadian Pacific ran some excellent defense (humble brag). Here’s an example from Semis:
Even though we lost that game, the amount of time our driver shut down one or two of their robots was impressive. We decided to switch back to having all three teams scoring in the 2nd and 3rd match though, which got us into the finals.

we were in a similar situation (65 pounds) and we built a robot that can do all low hatch panels really quick (12 second average cycle time) and we are extremely fast and maneuverable while being built like a brick wall, with only 3 major pieces to our outer frame This allows us to score high while also being able to play a great defense, and to counter a robot trying to stop us from scoring. I would recommend using your low weight to your advantage to be fast and maneuverable, but also be durable at the same time so you aren’t getting parts knocked off if you get hit too hard. Train your drivers to be able to play a good defense, but also make sure that they are aware of the rules, so they don’t get penalized.

To be fair, a lot of the time those pinning rules are called somewhat inconsistently based on your ref. If you always go to the very maximum time a lot of refs might incorrectly call you as having pinned for more than 5 seconds.

Here is our robot. We are pretty good at placing hatch panels, cargo takes a little longer, but we are pretty proficient at them. I think we well just see how it goes match by match, I was a defensive back in football so I know what a little knocking off can do.

If you feel good about your hatch ability, I would push that. Don’t stress about defense and I find it unlikely you could be successful with such a light bot

250- they play some amazing defense. The cat and mouse game we played in setting up robots before SFm3 was fun.

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