NEforecast 2018: New England District Championship

**NEforecast: New England District Championship, April 11 - April 14, 2018
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It’s finally that time of the year again, folks! In a matter of hours, the best teams in New England will converge on the Agganis Arena for the event we’ve all been waiting for: The New England District Championship. 209 Teams from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Maine, and Vermont have battled it out over the past six weeks to earn a coveted spot at the most exclusive District Championship in the world. Five weeks of successes, heartbreaks, upsets and intense moments have finally led to these three days of competition, and only the best will emerge victorious and clench a spot at the first annual Detroit Championship.

The New England District Championship will surely turn up the level of competition, so we at NEForecast felt it was appropriate to step up our analysis as well. We’ll now be looking at THREE tiers of teams (the Top-Tier Teams, the Admirable Adversaries, and the Probable Power-Players), and will also predict what role they would best fill on an eliminations alliance. We tried to narrow it down to just two tiers, but the sheer number of worthy teams quickly made that impossible, so an extended analysis was in order. 

As far as strategy goes, we have a strong suspicion that the Two Scale + One Switch formula that has been so prevalent in the previous 6 weeks will continue. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? However, there are several successful roles a team can fulfill in this formula, so we’ve decided to highlight/predict what role each team will play. Here are the six we will focus on:
  1. Speedy Scale Scoring

  2. Precision Scale Scoring

  3. Opponent Switch Denial

  4. Home Switch Insurance

  5. Partner Lifting

  6. Speedy Vault Filler

    And finally, we’ve worked together to create a bunch of prediction eliminations brackets! Some of them are ridiculous, but hey, alliance selection NEVER plays out as we expect, and great teams are sometimes inexplicably left as a very late pick. Go up to the poll on top and vote for which bracket you think is the most accurate, and if you think we’re way off, make your own down below and show us how it should play out!

**Top-Tier Teams:
**195, CyberKnights:
**After a dominating undefeated performance at the Hartford District Event, it should come as no surprise that the CyberKnights are the team to beat coming into the NEDCMP. Their new multi-jointed climbing arm and parter forklift allowed them to capture the highest ranking point average in New England thus far, and when paired with their devastating 3-cube scale autonomous that can score on either side, Team 195 starts and ends all of their matches with a bang. Driver practice to scrape a few more seconds off of their cycle times is all that’s left for this team, and if they can get a schedule with teams that run a consistent center-switch autonomous, the CyberKnights will be a shoe-in for the top seed and their fourth NEDCMP win in a row.
Predicted Role: Speedy Scale Scoring, Partner Lifting

133, B.E.R.T.:
When they won the Chairman’s Award at the Pine Tree District Event, the Bonny Eagle Robotics Team locked in three blue banners this year and tied for first place in the district - and made it look easy. This robot is the perfect example of how design simplicity leads to success; the combination of a speedy intake, fast elevator, and detachable climbing system may not immediately draw your attention, but the coordination of all of these mechanisms and the excellent drivers running them makes them an absolute scoring menace. Their three-cube switch autonomous will make them the perfect insurance policy for any scale-scoring team, and their ability to quickly nab cubes from the switch fences is hard to beat. If they aren’t the top seed at the end of qualifications, they’ll absolutely be one of the top picks.
Predicted Role: Speedy Scale Scoring, Home Switch Insurance

319, Big Bad Bob:
They’ve returned to the excellent form they found in their 2016 season, and are having arguably the best season in their team’s history. After earning a wildcard slot at Central New York in Week One, Team 319 only got better in the following weeks. Winning both the North Shore District Event and the UNH District Event, their unique intake and speedy elevator can gather almost any cube with ease. What will be even more important, though, is their ability to carefully place cubes - as the scale piles rise higher and higher, more cubes have been knocked off, and Big Bad Bob is a premier example of a careful stacker. With their ability to score in all aspects of Power Up, 319 will make a very strong case to capture the #1 spot in New England at the conclusion of the competition.
Predicted Role: Precision Scale Scoring

2168, Aluminum Falcons:
While a blue banner to start your season is by no means a slow start, the Aluminum Falcons’ improvements since SE Mass have produced the robot they wanted to field all along. As one of New England’s three blue-banner teams and the only team to win outside of New England, Team 2168 has streamlined their robot into one of the top scale-scoring teams around. Their cycle times are astounding, allowing them to capture and score most of the switch fence cubes before other teams have even thought about it. The only thing the Falcons are lacking is a scale-based autonomous, but their two cube switch autonomous may be exactly what they run as they win their way to a third NEDCMP blue banner in a row.
Predicted Role: Speedy Scale Scoring, Home Switch Insurance

230, Gaelhawks:
When a team makes it to the finals at all three Connecticut District Events, it should be quite apparent that they’re more than a strong contender. With one of the strongest scale-based games in New England, the Gaelhawks are consistently gathering upwards of 5 cubes and dropping them on the scale. They also sport one of the few working two-cube scale autonomous modes in New England, allowing them to ensure the scale early on and put almost all opposing alliances at a disadvantage. They also showed a lot of interest in stealing the opponent’s switch using portal cubes at their most recent events, so watch for them to deny their opponents of any points.
Predicted Role: Precision Scale Scoring, Opponent Switch Denial

5687, The Outliers:
Seven winner’s blue banners over four seasons are numbers that thousands of teams can only dream about, yet this young team has made it a reality. By going three for three at their district events this year, the Outliers have established themselves as one of the most versatile scoring machines on the field. Like many of the top-tier teams, their quick ability to gather and score the switch fence cubes allows them to take an early lead in many of their matches, and with a variety of autonomous modes (including an almost-done two cube scale autonomous), they’ll fit quite well onto any successful alliance. This fast ability to take the lead in many matches has allowed them to practice their switch denial strategy with the portals, which will be a deciding factor in many NEDCMP matches. If you haven’t seen their unique elevator and four-bar system that allows them to elevate cubes so quickly, it’s definitely worth a look, because that design may very well end up on Einstein again.
Predicted Role: Speedy Scale Scoring, Opponent Switch Denial

**177, Bobcat Robotics:
**The Bobcats seem to be returning to their old form, and everyone should be afraid. A cascading elevator, excellent low-profile intake and four-bar for extra height make 177 a menace as a close-field insurance policy and as a careful scale scorer. Working with 195 showed just how quickly they can switch between roles - their ability to place cubes on the scale and then return to fill the vault or switch was smooth as silk, making them excellent as either a leading scale-scorer or as a backfield support robot. With their ability to play every aspect of Power Up with ease, 177 makes a strong case for being one of the top captains or selections of NEDCMP.
Predicted Role: Precision Scale Scoring, Speedy Vault Filler

125, NUTRONs:
No Top-Tier Team list would be complete without this well-known New England powerhouse! Rounding out our predictions for the top teams is the NUTRONs. Their unique handoff system may not fit the typical mold of a winning Power Up robot, but after four official events, Team 125 mastered their system and handily took the win at the Greater Boston District Event. They’ll be looking to perfect their two-cube scale autonomous to remain competitive, and will likely show off their ability to carefully place cubes as the stacks grow taller. If they can find partners willing to ride their climb-assist forklifts to an extra Ranking Point, the NUTRONs will end up at the top of the pile when alliance selection rolls around.
Predicted Role: Precision Scale Scoring, Partner Lifting

Admirable Adversaries:

**238, Crusaders:
**With finalist appearances at all three of their District events this season, taking home two winner’s blue banners, the Crusaders are ready to hit the ground running at NEDCMP. As stacks of cubes get higher and higher on the scale week by week, having a tilting intake that is able to spit cubes upward will definitely play to 238’s advantage. Strategy and execution is what really sets this team apart from the rest of the crowd, so expect them to play all over the field and not get stuck focusing on one element. Their center-focused 2 cube switch autonomous run will certainly get refined and become very reliable, which will pair nicely on a variety of eliminations alliances, making them an obvious choice on Saturday.
Predicted Role: Speedy Scale Scoring, Home Switch Insurance

**1519, Mechanical Mayhem:
**In typical Mechanical Mayhem style, they made the finals rounds at both of their events with ease and took home the winner’s blue banner at the UNH District Event. Their unique robot features a very skinny continuous elevator mounted on a beefy turret, and their ability to toss a cube from their floor intake into the elevator intake is something of a mechanical and programming wonder. What they lack in a climbing mechanism (for now!) they make up for in their ability to bombard all scoring elements with cubes and a plethora of impressive two-cube autonomous modes. 1519 will likely be looking to establish themselves as one of the top precision placers with their turret, so they’ll be a huge boost to any eliminations alliance looking to score points on the scale.
Predicted Role: Precision Scale Scoring, Opponent Switch Denial

**88, TJ(Squared):
**Even with an early exit in the semifinals at the Greater Boston District District Event, Team 88 is having their best season in recent memory with two winner’s blue banners to their name thus far. With a modification to their already-great intake system that allows them to score even higher stacks of cubes by dumping over the back of their elevator, 88 struggled a little bit to adapt to this new system, but it will undoubtedly be incredibly helpful at NEDCMP. Their fast drivebase and cool driving style, coupled with lots of playoff experience this season already, make TJ^2 a sure-fire pick for any alliance looking to load up the scale early in the match and put lots of pressure on their opponents.
Predicted Role: Speedy Scale Scoring, Opponent Switch Denial

78, Air Strike:
After easily making it to the finals at their first two events, Team 78 suffered one of the most surprising early sendoffs in the quarterfinals of the Rhode Island District Event, and will be looking to end their streak of less-than-stellar luck at the NEDCMP for sure. Their extremely clean arm and elevator system features a strong intake that allows them to quickly claim ownership of the scale and then devastate their opponent’s switch, so look for them to be racing around the field and scoring in as many locations as possible. As one of the most versatile robots at the NEDCMP, they’re a sure shot for eliminations.
Predicted Role: Speedy Scale Scoring, Opponent Switch Denial

176, Aces High:
After a subpar 2017 season saw them miss the NEDCMP at UNH, Aces High has rebounded in a huge fashion for FIRST Power Up. Their 1114/2363 style intake on an excellently-controlled elevator and maneuverable drivebase saw them easily achieve finals at both Waterbury and Hartford by controlling the scale and assisting on the switches when necessary. What will put them above the rest of the pack, though, is the presence of their two-cube scale autonomous modes and a sneakier autonomous mode that allows them to drop one cube on the scale while their alliance members are running cross-field autonomous modes. Every alliance will desire at least two strong scale-oriented robots if they want any chance at controlling it, so Aces High will quickly be snatched up on Saturday by a high-seeded alliance.
Predicted Role: Speedy Scale Scoring, Home Switch Insurance

4564, Orange Chaos:
This little Maine team that could is back at the NEDCMP for their fifth consecutive appearance. With finalist appearances at both of their district events and a blue banner at the WPI District Event, Orange Chaos has produced arguably their strongest season yet, and is looking to continue with a strong performance here. With some further intake modification and some driver practice, they should be able to collect cubes and place them carefully onto large piles, but will also shine in other aspects of play. Their ability to quickly swap between scoring locations makes them both hard to predict and a strong part of any alliance, and with a 2-cube scale autonomous in their pockets, they should be a sure selection.
Predicted Role: Precision Scale Scoring, Home Switch Insurance

95, Grasshoppers:
Everyone knows and love their build blog, and by this point in the season, you should feel the same about their robot. After tackling a lot of mechanical issues at their three district events, 95 didn’t get to take home a banner - but their quick scale scoring, fast, skillful driving and good strategic decisions will help this team excel this weekend. With the addition of a hook-and-bail climber at Southern CT they can be sure to open up the potential of a third RP during quals. If the Grasshoppers have sorted out their mechanical inconsistencies from their early season and get some practice under their belts, you can expect them to play late Saturday.
Predicted Role: Speedy Scale Scoring, Home Switch Insurance

2877, Ligerbots:
They said they made improvements for the Greater Boston District Event, and boy did it ever show on the field! After an average performance at North Shore left them looking for lots of points at Greater Boston, the Ligerbots stepped up in a huge way and pushed their robot into excellence. Intake and autonomous improvements, paired with more driver practice and stronger strategy focus, saw this team scoring cubes in the scale with ease all the way to the finals. We fully expect them to continue this new-found momentum and easily merit themselves a spot on a high-seeded alliance at the end of NEDCMP.
Predicted Role: Speedy Scale Scoring

**Probable Power-Players:
**1058, PVC Pirates:
**New England’s premier PINK arm is making their third appearance this season hungry for a blue banner. Sporting new autonomous routines and even more advanced control of their already slick arm, Team 1058 will be sure to light up the scale in both Autonomous and Teleoperated. They’ve also spent the past few weeks strengthening their arm to reduce mechanical issues that have kept this outstanding robot from consistently achieving its true potential. The Pirates will have needed to add some long-overdue ramps or a buddy climb to ensure the fourth RP come qualifications on Thursday and claw their way to a first round pick or captainship.
**Predicted Role: **Precision Scale Scoring, Speedy Vault Filler

**6328, Mechanical Advantage:
**As only a second-year team, 6328 is emerging as a very consistent contender in the New England District. With two district wins already in their short history, it’s hard to overlook them as a Power-Player at the NEDCMP. Mechanical Advantage took an early out at the SE Mass District Event, but went on to captain the number 1 alliance at the Rhode Island District Event and sweep through eliminations with only one loss in the Semi-Finals. The issues suffered by their intake mechanism in the finals of Rhode Island will need to be resolved, however, Mechanical Advantage will likely be called upon during eliminations to play a wide variety of roles to ensure their alliance’s victory.
Predicted Role: Precision Scale Scoring, Home Switch Insurance

**5813, Morpheus:
**If you’re looking for a team that is equally as fun and friendly as they are competitive, then Morpheus should be your go-to option! Though they’ve only been around for three years of competition, Morpheus has established themselves as one the most consistent contenders in New England, and Power Up is no exception. Their excellent machining and prototyping abilities show in their robot Insomnado. With an excellent intake that gobbles cubes from anywhere on the field and an elevator that can easily place them high on a tipped-away scale platform, Team 5813 will see themselves playing late into Saturday by capping off some heavily-loaded scales.
Predicted Role: Precision Scale Scoring

6329, The Buck’s Wrath:
With strong showings at both the WPI and Pine Tree District events, 6329 is coming into Boston with a purpose: to score in all of the switches. As the fastest switch-scoring robot in the New England District, it’ll be hard to pass this team over. They’ve also spent their time after Pine Tree shaving precious seconds off of their vault cycles and ensuring that they aren’t called for any unnecessary launching fouls. Are you a top-seeded alliance with two excellent scale-oriented robots? Is your alliance looking for some of the best switch insurance and fastest vault cycles around? If you answered yes to any of these questions, the The Buck’s Wrath should be the team at the top of your pick list!
Predicted Role: Home Switch Insurance, Opponent Switch Denial, Speedy Vault Filler

**1768, RoboChiefs:
**They may be sneaking in near the bottom of the rankings, but Team 1768 is far from a low-potential team! While their double-elevator robot was hindered by mechanical faults at WPI, a stronger showing at Pine Tree showed that they have what it takes to compete with the top teams at the NEDCMP. One of their most important features will be their incredible height for placing cubes; with the ability to place cubes three or four high even when the scale is tipped against them, the RoboChiefs will make for an incredible partner to any speedy scale-scoring team looking for insurance in the late game. They can also drop back and play a speedy switch and vault role while they wait for their time to shine on the scale, so 1768 makes more than a strong case to be picked on Saturday.
Predicted Role: Precision Scale Scoring, Speedy Vault Filler

**663, Robonauts:
**By earning their spot as a Top Eight seed for the first time in their long history, 663 broke a long history of being a very late pick in a breakout fashion. Their simple robot, which features static intake arms and a fast linear elevator, can cycle cubes off of the switch fences as quickly as any of the top teams mentioned here. Once these cubes dry up, however, their cycles slow down, and is ultimately what has kept them from making it out of the semifinals at their two district events this year. With some more driver practice and focus on other aspects of the game, Team 663 will make a versatile, smart choice to fill out any eliminations alliance.
**Predicted Role: **Speedy Scale Scoring, Speedy Vault Filler

58, Riot Crew:
A lackluster eliminations performance at the Pine Tree District Event may leave the Riot Crew out of the forefront of your mind, but their cube-scoring stats should do much the opposite. While they may not have the fastest intake of the competition, they collect a competitive amount of cubes and know exactly where to place them for maximum impact. Their ability to score on both switches, the scale, and into the vault with ease make them an incredibly versatile partner, and their detachable climber has likely had some further improvements that will allow them to capture more points in the endgame. As a very consistent performer who is well above average, 58 is another incredibly smart selection for any alliance.
Predicted Role: Opponent Switch Denial, Speedy Vault Filler

3623, Terror Bots:
When people analyzed FIRST Power Up, not many teams jumped to the conclusion that a holonomic drivetrain would allow for maximum competitiveness on the field, but there are always exceptions - and 3623 is this exception. Their fast holonomic drivetrain and fantastic intake make them an absolute menace in the near-field, where they devour the ten power-pile cubes and either deposit them in the vault for fast power ups or directly into their switch for guaranteed points per second. There’s a good reason why this team has made it to the finals in both of their events as a second pick; they are one of the best supporting robots in New England.
Predicted Role: Speedy Vault Filler, Home Switch Insurance

Chairman’s Candidates:
We want to wish best of luck to the following teams who are all so deserving of recognition!

Team 125, NUTRONs
Team 133, B.E.R.T.
Team 467, The Colonials
Team 558, Elm City Robo Squad
Team 2067, Apple Pi
Team 3930, S.M.A.R.T.
Team 4557, FullMetal Falcons
Team 5422, Stormgears FRC
Team 5962, PerSEVERE
Team 6328, Mechanical Advantage

**Predicted Elimination Brackets:
**Predicted Elimination Bracket 1:
195, 319, 2067 W
133, 2168, 558 SF
125, 238, 58 QF
230, 5687, 6328 QF
177, 176, 78 SF
4564, 1519, 88 F
95, 2877, 4909 QF
6329, 1058, 6933 QF

**Predicted Elimination Bracket 2:
195, 133, 5813 W
319, 1519, 558 F
230, 176, 4557 SF
177, 125, 58 SF
238, 5687, 2877 QF
2168, 4564, 3623 QF
88, 78, 1058 QF
95, 1768, 6329 QF

**Predicted Elimination Bracket 3:
133, 319, 999 W
195, 2168, 4557 F
1519, 230, 558 SF
177, 125, 1058 QF
176, 4564, 6329 SF
238, 2877, 88 QF
5687, 78, 58 QF
95, 5813, 3623 QF

**Predicted Elimination Bracket 4:
319, 195, 3623 W
5687, 133, 58 F
177, 2168, 6329 SF
125, 230, 663 SF
4564, 238, 2877 QF
1058, 1519, 558 QF
78, 5813, 1729 QF
88, 1768, 176 QF

**Predicted Elimination Bracket 5:
195, 177, 558 W
125, 2168, 4564 SF
133, 230, 1058 F
238, 319, 3555 QF
5813, 1519, 6329 SF
78, 176, 1100 QF
2877, 88, 237 QF
95, 5687, 6328 QF

Special Rookie Shoutout to the following teams: 6933 Archytas, 7127 LongMetal, and 7153, Aetos Dios.

That’s all for this year’s NEforecast! We’ll see you all next year, thanks to everyone for reading and voting!

I predict teams like 2170 and 4557 will throw off some brackets. In such a deep field, I’m curious to see where they land in seeding and if they will be playing in elims.

I think I’m speaking for all teams in attendance when I say we’re extremely excited to see how this event plays out. The level of performance will be through the roof, and every match played will be worth watching.

Good luck to everyone. We’re looking forward to taking Power Up to the next level.


I’m confident the projected brackets have one thing right: 195 will continue their presence in every New England Championship Finals match to date… the bigger question is if they’ll make it 4 consecutive years with the win, or will they “only” make it a 5 years of consecutive finals-appearances?!

Also, if it’s possible after a perfect 18-0-0 performance at UNH, 319 is still under-rated. They’re teleop scoring is incredibly smooth and efficient regardless of whether it’s on the scale, switches, or vault!

This year’s NE DCMP again has an incredible level and depth of teams; I fully expect it to continue to provide a great template for CMP alliance composition, strategy, and performance.

1519 has been busy with drive practice, climber incorporation, and building on our arsenal of autonomous routines. In addition to the suite of switch+scale 2-cube autos that were particularly key in district event qual matches, we’ve been accelerating and tuning our 2-cube scale autos and adding a few tricks up our sleeves to work with other multi-cube scale autos.

Not only are they smooth, but they’re also slow and fast!
I’ll be there Saturday to check out the competition!

NEDCMP is going to be a wild ride.

This is gonna be real fun. I’m looking forward to playing there with the best teams!

This weekend is going to be intense! Its crazy to think four years later we are heading back to the same venue and how much growth we’ve seen in the depth of the field in New England from veterans and newcomers over that time.

Can’t wait to see what this weekend brings and the strategies everyone has been working on.

Excellent work as always, this weekend should be an absolute blast for the teams. The Agganis is a great venue for FRC and will be rocking all weekend. Good luck to all teams competing, NE DCMP is by far my favorite event to watch every year.

Wait is NEDC starting tomorrow? :yikes: :yikes: :yikes:

Is TJ^2 excited for district champs?


So many high quality robots out there, it is going to be a blast to watch.

It looks like in the 5th bracket 558 managed to get picked by the #1 alliance as the final pick after the #4 alliance already selected them! :yikes:

I know; it feels like we were just at an event a few days ago.

Good luck to all competitors!

As it is such a competitive event, IRI East allows for some relaxed alliance selection rules. Nobody builds one robot these days anyway

Can’t wait to see who New England will be sending as tributes to the Detroit robot fair! Good luck to all teams.

Just like a real alliance selection, we tried to choose someone who was already chosen… and we almost got away with it! Thanks for pointing that out, we’ve swapped them for another worthy robot!