INsight: 2018 Week 1 Travelers

Since going to districts in 2015, teams from the Indiana District have consistently shown they are masters at game strategy. They often choose to focus on a specific game task, and execute that task to near-perfection. They were among the world leaders in breaches and captures in 2016; they set the standard for 4-rotor matches in 2017. With a record amount of teams playing out-of-district, will Indiana teams influence how Power Up is played across the nation?

Miami Valley Regional:

Always a threat, Otis (or maybe Lightning) is another Cyber Blue creation of deceptively elegant simplicity. One of the most efficient robots of 2017 - 2 district wins out of 3 district events - 234 looks to continue its dominance in 2018. They’ll try to repeat their top 8 ranking finish from last year’s Miami Valley Regional. Their reveal video was light in terms of demonstrating the actual function of their robot, but in 2017 this didn’t indicate a lack of quality or performance. They have some tricks up their sleeves that will be revealed this weekend. Will that hold true this season, or will Miami Valley be an opportunity to get their robot tuned-up and polished before Indiana District competitions in weeks 2 and 4?

Typically a strong contender, the TechHOUNDS are fielding a simple Scale scoring capable robot with an active intake. Like their Indy-area neighbors Cyber Blue, this week-1 event will present on opportunity for 868 to fine tune their robot and get in some extra hours of work and drive time before coming back home to compete in Week 4 at the IN District, Plainfield Event. It will be interesting to see how the season progresses for the TechHOUNDS, as they’ll follow up their Miami Valley apperance with plays in week 4 and week 5 back-to-back.

A team that has proven it is not afraid to take risks, look for Cyber Tooth to be the class of Miami Valley. It will be perhaps the most polished robot at the event, with plenty of drive practice and experience as well. Even though they haven’t won since their rookie season in 2012, expect their teamwork-focused design and strategies to add to their Blue Banner count this year and leave the spectators simply saying “WOW.”

Predictions: 3940 is the standout and could be in serious contention for a banner regardless of how strategies shake out at the event as they’ve practically demonstrated their robot is capable of effectively addressing all of the game challenges including elevating themselves and a partner. It would not come as a surprise if they enter alliance selections as a captain of one of the top 4 alliances. 234 and 868 stand on fairly even ground at this point and will likely be making some adjustments through the course of the event. Look for a strong finish in quals for both of these teams with a definite presence in the playoff alliances.

Peachtree Regional:

Another team that has logged several hours on the practice field, the Digital Goats hope to capitalize on the momentum from their State win last year. They will be the talk of the town with their autonomous routines, and their velvety-smooth lift will impress the judges.

The Quadrangles will be a popular teammate with their double lift. Their attention to the switch will make them a vital alliance partner, poised for a deep run. They are no strangers to playing outside of state-lines, having won the Southwest Virginia district event in Chesapeake to start their season off last year.

GalacTech is coming off their best season in the team’s history, breaking through for a win at Tippecanoe and pushing the Indiana State Championship finals to three matches. This year, the tilting elevator will be a popular sight in the pits; will it translate to them hoisting another trophy?

Predictions: Once the Goats get out of the pen, it’s really hard to wrangle them back in. Look for them to seed in the top 4, where they very possibly could use their first pick on getting a lift from their Bloomington buddies, or scale support from GalacTech.

Central New York

Career Academy Robotics will represent Indiana well with one of the tallest reaches around, as well as multiple autonomous modes for both switch and scale. They won the first event they played last year; we’ll see if they turn this into a tradition.

Predictions: First-year regionals tend to be very popular events and Central NY is no exception, attracting teams from China and 5 outside states. That popularity will make the event a competitive one. 5484 is a rising star in Indiana and will compete; expect them to hang around the top 15 and round out a mid-seed playoff alliance.

Good luck to all teams competing this weekend!

The thing that intimidates me most is at our first event (INPLA, Week 4), it will be the third event for 234 and 3940. There will be so much strategy and counter-strategy and secrets about this game that can only be learned by playing it.

Know how it feels man, same for us. Though we do get time to find out all strategies to counter their robots ahead of time. Let the mind games begin!

Lesson learned from Miami Valley- don’t expect to get picked if you are a scale bot that isn’t in the top 8 at the competition.

In all honesty, I am surprised that 3940 wasn’t even picked. We had issues on our second day, but they remained really strong throughout. For that event, consistently putting 4-5 cubes in the scale for some teams just wasn’t enough.

I would say though, definitely expect a strong comeback this weekend from the three of our teams :wink:

Oh, and 829 rocks. Way to represent Indiana strong out there!!

The Peachtree Regional mentioned by OP is actually the PCH District Gainesville Event. The Indiana teams did really well at that event, including 829 seeding 2nd and being a finalist.

As a question to the teams that competed, what was the biggest surprise about actually playing on the field as opposed to practicing?

What went well and what didn’t?

Are there strategies that were really effective (or not)?

Also, any changes for the robots going into either Penn or Plains Field?

Finally, how does the game change between Quals and Finals?

To answer the first question from us, placing in the switch in auto. Maybe it was just Miami Valley, but everybody had an auto capable of scoring. It was more rare to not get that RP then to do it, though it seems to have been the opposite for the Gainesville event.

Placing in the scale is REALLY effective if you know your competition. To advise smart play though, don’t even really try too much for the scale of you’re it matched. Focus on the switches and it gives you a far better shot if you play your power ups right and steal cubes away from the other side of the field.

Changes will be making the elevator faster, easier climbing or something else, I’m not sure yet, better cube pick up, more stability, lighter elevator, and a LOT of autonomous. Plainfield is tbd.

Even though we didn’t play in Elims… the game doesn’t change much. Effective strategy and quick cube scoring always triumphs it seems. Until it’s really close and somebody triple climbs!

I was really surprised by the nuances of this year’s game. Throw OPR out the window. Fast and accurate is more important. And good defense ability is a huge plus. Stop a climb. No points are added to your OPR, but you took points off the scoreboard. Steal a cube or impede flow and you eliminate more points. What is better, adding points or eliminating points? I think it works out to the same end in this game.

Once you have the Scale and Switch, go find something constructive to do. Empty cubes into the nearest switch. You are not trying to capture that switch, you are trying to starve the field. No cubes, no recaptures of a Scale or Switch. Time is really limited if cubes are not readily available…

We were picked from 16th at MVR by 302 Dragons because we were one the fastest, most accurate and best defensive robots available, all fit into one neat package. We did whatever Dragons asked us to do. And we did it as fast and as accurate as we could. Funny that we were not even on most teams radar.

Ranking Points are an interesting feature of this game. You don’t choose your Alliance partners. But that random pairing totally limits your Ranking Points, no matter how good you are. Ranking Points take three good robots to achieve. So in Qualification Matches, your fate is left mostly to luck of the Alliance draw. That means there can be superior robots at lower rankings. For example, Dragons at 9-0 was in 5th place. Does that really make sense? It is an indicator that there Alliance partners were not good luck. And 5th, 16th and 24th rankings at MVR put up some very strong numbers in the Playoffs. How is that possible? Again, the Rankings have a lot of Alliance partners skills factored in.

The Gems did not even show up in the top15 OPR teams. Watch our matches and tell me how that makes sense. This is a totally different game. I believe it will come down to the synergy of the Alliances in the Playoffs. Just my two cents, what that may be worth now… Oh, Go Gems!

I agree with your assessment of this year’s game. I think there will be a lot of good teams that don’t end up in the top 8 and off the radar of most teams.

Also, it was nice to finally compete along side the Gems instead of against you like always seem to be.:slight_smile: