Is specialization a viable strategy for Deep Space?


The problem with a low level cargo specialist is that your cycle time depends entirely on the cycle time of the hatch panels of your partners. Null panels will help with this but they won’t be scored.

The problem with a low level hatch panel specialist is that you only can do defense after 12 panels are placed by your alliance. You’d have to come up with a strategy with your alliance so that you don’t run out of panels to score. It is possible to be very useful to an alliance as a hatch panel specialist. Just don’t have more than one on an alliance.

However, a low level cargo/hatch specialist will always be useful, especially if you can have quick cycle times. The lower you can get your cycle times the more you stand out, especially since there isn’t any bonus for completing rockets in elims.


Unlike 2016, scoring in high in the rocket is necessary to gain an added bonus ranking point, so I think those robots will rank higher and more likely will be alliance captains than in 2016. That said, those robots lose much of their edge in the playoffs.


There are many more options than a Cargo Specialist in Elims.

For Example, a hatch specialist that scores 6 panels and 2 of them during sandstorm will be scoring 18 points (12 for the panels and 6 for the scored cargo). This is the same amount of points as a Cargo only robot and you have extra cargo that is already near the rocket for shorter cycle times.

Another example would be a robot that does both okay. Lets say they do a total of 5 cycles including one hatch panel during sandstorm and only scores on the cargo ship. That would be 17 points, if using the null hatch panels (5 during sandstorm from the scored panel and corresponding cargo, 12 from the other scored cargo.) And you still have the extra 2 cargo rolling out toward the rockets.

If your’e trying to be a cargo specialist, good luck.


You’re assuming the Rocket Ranking Point will be at least somewhat common. I agree that will be the case for teams like 1678… but for average regional winning teams I think achieving the Rocket Ranking point will be somewhat flukey and schedule dependent. I don’t think it will be a huge factor in ranking the top 8 teams outside of a few super teams at the top. I think it will be comparable to 2017’s 40kPa Ranking Point in that sense.

The climb Ranking Point on the other hand is a different story. I have a feeling there will be a really strong correlation between level 3 HAB success rate and where the team seeds at the end of quals.


Another point is that a hatch panel specialist will not be able to complete the rocket, since they can’t score any cargo. This will naturally make them rank lower.

Their goal isn’t to seed high. It’s to get picked and be a strong contributor to an alliance.


Is this really worth much?
The cargo strikes me as pretty reactive to being bumped. It seems like the first two hatch cycles are going to have to go through any cargo by the rocket (unless in sandstorm). It’s not clear to me a cargo rolling free in the middle of the field is more likely to be a short cycle for the alliance that put it out there or the other alliance.

I also have my concerns that cargo is going to have a habit of getting stuck in weird places around the field and causing havoc.


The point was show that a hatch panel specialist can contribute the same amount of points with having an extra bonus of the nearby cargo.

Now on your point of the cargo being unpredictable, that may be true. However, this game is all about who can shave a half a second of their cycles. But why would you not choose the option that can give you the closer cargo I.e. shorter cycle times?


Agree with the majority - cargo no, hatch panel yes, and low HP + cargo definitely yes.
To be valuable as an alliance member, you’ll likely need to do at least 10 cycles with >12 being great. With a max of 22 cycles at the low level, 8 at mid and 8 at high, being really fast at the low levels is very valuable. Higher levels will likely slow most teams down at cycles so making sure you get all the low cycles complete has the highest value.
I expect the #1 ranked team will select the fastest cycler first until we get to a point where 30 or more cycles are being scored by an alliance. And once we get to that point, defense will start becoming a factor.


I’m not sure about that. A #1 seed will prioritize both game pieces of cycle time (unless there is a big dicrepency). A super fast hatch specialist would be a good first pick in the earlier weeks (weeks 1 or 2). But I think that that will be over in week 3. The robots will be prioritizing the ability to score an extra 1 point per cycle (I.e. cargo 3 & Panel 2) over being the fastest cycler. And at worlds I think that the higher level robots will be practiced enough to compete/beat the cycle times of a fast hatch specialist.

They will still be awesome as a 2nd pick though.


Agreed. To do both game pieces is more valuable than HP only especially since you can then create offense zones to avoid robot to robot interference. We’ve been running cycles on HP’s and crossing to the opposite side from your driver station slows things down a bit, even with vision tracking of targets.
I don’t expect in our district events to run out of low and mid-level scoring options in playoffs. And specialists at this level will be faster than all but the best robots, so for us not until we get to District champs.


This discussion excites me because I disagree with a lot of these points. Though things will evolve as always, we might just be thinking about this from different perspectives.


Well what do you disagree with? We’re all here to collectively put our heads together to come up with the best solution to the topic.

If you disagree, I would like to know with what since I may be thinking of this wrong.


Unfortunately, I think I have to leave it at that. Maybe I shouldn’t have posted.


I would encourage you to try and voice your opinion if you are comfortable doing so. It is useful for everyone to hear different perspectives and while lots of people on this particular page seem to be of similar opinions, it is good to foster health discussion. There could be an argument made for specialization not being effective in this game or for the educational value of trying for a more complex robot being significant or maybe something I couldn’t even think of. Not saying that either of those are necessarily my opinion but I would like to hear what you think.


Sorry, this has gone way further than I thought it would. Of course specialization is viable, depending on what level you’re playing at. Unfortunately, I’m affiliated with a team and I’m uncomfortable going any further.


In regards to specializing, the top teams are going to be looking closely at whos ultimately scoring more points. I wonder how good cargo/hatch bots compare to super good hatch only bots, and how the selection changes based on the depth of events.

Not meaning to prod, but its not like the rest of us arent on teams… Cargo only OP?


I fully expect that you will see winning alliances where one of the robots handles cargo exclusively.


As a captain, first pick, or 2nd pick?


If I was a team planning to do two rocket hatch cycles in sandstorm (or close to it) - then it would be obvious to me to have the cargo ship feed me two cargo at the end of sandstorm.

Otherwise, it just seems like those cargo are more likely to get in the way or be bumped to the other side of the field before the rocket is ready to receive cargo. One of those means a slow hatch cycle and the other means a fast cargo cycle for the other team.

(Unless I am misreading, cargo in the rocket are 50/50 for which side they go to. That makes the rocket effectively 2 hatch panels before 2 cargo).

I am also a little leery of some of the cycle estimates I am seeing on this forum. Other than stuffing the vault last year, the teams running 10 cycles for the past 3 years have been few and far between. This game has some nice cycle time boosters (vision targets, cut outs for bumpers, etc) but it also has some cycle time drags (no protection in placement, clear sight line for defense, feeder station in a corner instead of an angle, etc).


Are you saying that they are a better pick than a hatch specialist for a high level team that can do both?