Lessons learned from Israel #1

After watching a number of matches from 2020 Israel #1 I see this game will not be clean in the first few weeks.

From what I gathered (no particular order):

  1. Most teams struggled with shooting the power cells accurately.
  2. Many teams have not figured out the climb yet.
  3. Strategies seem very different throughout quals.
  4. intaking power cells is still very difficult
  5. A team that can capitalize on accurately shooting the PC can be a top pick in the early events even though they cannot climb.
  6. The rendesvouz is a place to avoid if at all possible
  7. Cycling will be very important.

What have you seen/learned?


Playing defense usually leads to lots of penalties. This game has the most protected zones of any game that I remember and the penalty for contact in those zones is a full cycle of balls in the inner port. I don’t think we will see any form of anything close to effective defense until later in the season


more game pieces on the floor than 2017


A lot of teams are using pneumatic wheels and brushless motors in their drivetrains this year. It’s so easy for robots like this to push defenders around and into protected zones that I doubt we’ll see any great defense for almost all of the season.

I think by later weeks and the championship events the meta strategy will be triple offense on both alliances to try to prevent the feedback loop from starting in the feeder stations. I think the top tier of teams will be cycling so quickly that the offensive contributions of a not great scorer will be enough to get the loop started and lead to a decisive loss for any alliance running the 2 offensive 1 defensive strategy we’ve seen for the past few years. Maybe I’m completely wrong, but I really feel like triple offense is the way to go this season because defense won’t be great and the feedback loop will always be less than 3 cycles away.

I want to add that I really like the low goal this year. I suspect Everybot-esque low scorers will be a hot commodity in quals and playoffs alike. Being able to dump 5 balls really quickly from a protected zone is great for chasing the Power Cell RP in quals and for forcing the feedback loop in quals and playoffs. Low scorers will also likely be running routes that aren’t congested by high goal shooters or trench running bots. I think every team has the potential to build truly competitive robots that can offer more to an alliance than mediocre defense and I applaud FIRST for designing a game that facilitates that.


It looks like seeing whether an opposing Alliance robot is in a protected zone is very difficult at best…

Playing 11 match tournaments, in Events with low number of participating Teams, is likely to be very hard on the robots. I saw much performance degradation, for example in shooting accuracy between the beginning and end of the Event.
As an example, 1577 - Steampunk’s robot could barely move or shoot by Finals 2.

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Yeah we had some long range shooting problems - will be looked into.
About finals 2 - at the beginning of the match we had no robot code despite deploying the build. Head ref decided to not let us re-deploy, and started the match instead (that’s why we didn’t move).


Ouch! That code problem was so unfortunate, especially dropping on your team in the Finals 2 match like that!

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  1. There is effective defense and bad defense
  2. Hang two remove one seems to be the new normal
  3. Auto/Tele scores improved
  4. Endgame scores declined
  5. To be effective , you must score

Bad defense is your opponents’ best offense.


Top three scoring areas are a good Auton, A good climb and an opponent that gets tech fouls.


As a spectator from afar, my biggest take away was that exactly zero points were scored all tournament with the control panel.

This emphasizes how difficult it was for alliances to even score 29 power cells, let alone the 49 required to achieve the ranking point.

  • Climbs are king, especially this early in the season.
  • If your driver can’t handle staying out of protected zones, please don’t let them play defense.
  • Don’t rush over to park if you can stay out and score a few more balls. Crowding the shield generator is terrifying for the robots trying to hang.
  • Teams are going to struggle big time with these game pieces.
  • Human players need to really coordinate helping load robots quickly. This one at a time stuff is so slow.

Were you surprised? I’m not.

I wasn’t surprised that this happened. Surprised nobody mentioned it through the first 11 posts in this thread though.


In my opinion, unless you are going for a triple climb, its almost always better to just leave 2 bots in the rendezvous, especially if those bots are hanging. I’ve seen many matches where hanging robots are being pushed around by their partners just trying to park.


I got a question how many people have color wheel spinner

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Apparently, the blue port not registering scored power cells is still an issue… let’s hope this can get figured out before too many more events get underway.

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Here’s what I overheard about the sensor problem:

At the end of ISR1 day 1 a team told the FTAs that they thought the blue sensors weren’t counting right. The next match they watched the sensors and saw that one of them wasn’t working. They ended the day two matches early to debug and test, and found that the problem was a loose cable.

The sensors were regularly tested throughout ISR1 day 2 and and the morning of ISR2 day 1 and they came out right every time. In the middle of the day of ISR2 day 1 they noticed the problem had returned, so they started testing again. What they found was the cable they thought had been loose was actually intermittently broken, so sometimes it counted and sometimes not. The cable was replaced and they haven’t seen problems since.

There’s no reason to think this problem should be systemic or show up at any other competitions. That being said, if you think that the sensors aren’t working correctly at your event you should let your FTAs know ASAP so they can look into it.


Thank you for the info and explanation. It’s good to know that it was probably a one-off occurence.