NEforecast 2018: Week 3 Southern CT

NEforecast: Southern CT Event, March 16 - March 18, 2018

The Blue Alliance Link: http://thebluealliance.com/event/2018ctsct
Webcast: https://www.twitch.tv/nefirst_red

Sorry for the late post everyone, we ran into some technical difficulties. It happens with our robots, so I guess it can happen with predictions too.

Another week of FIRST Power Up has come and gone, yet little changed in the way of strategy. At Waterbury and SE Mass, the two winning alliances (and both finalist alliances, for that matter) had the standard construction of 2 scale-oriented robots and a switch/vault robot. It’s possible that this is because the field isn’t deep enough to allow for other strategies to emerge, and if this is the case, don’t expect this week to provide anything new. Southern Connecticut, New England’s new event for the 2018 season, is only sporting 30 teams attending. North Shore is significantly deeper, but there are a lot of second-event scale bots who will likely stick to their tried-and-true ways to win.

Observing the game itself, FMS issues and fouls continue to be an overarching issue, and it will be especially interesting to see if teams can give their referees’ arms a rest this week. We hope that an increase in second-event teams will correlate to a better understanding of the rules, especially in regards to the null zone and controlling multiple cubes. If this doesn’t start to change quickly, fouls might be as viable a strategy as going for the scale!

Enough about Power Up itself, let’s take a look at the teams competing at Southern CT! As always, leave your thoughts down below and make sure to vote for your favorite team in the poll!

Top Teams:

**195, CyberKnights: **While they’re one of New England’s most feared teams, they’ve become notorious for starting the season off slowly, making them a team to watch closely during Southern CT. Since the New England District started in 2014, 195 has only made it beyond the semifinals at their first event once (2016). It would be foolish to count them out, though - from what we’ve seen so far, they’ll be sporting a speedy drivetrain with a 3-stage single masted elevator and an impressive intake that can rotate around the top of their robot, not to mention a climber with a platform for their partners. If they can avoid their first event mishaps expect this team to seed highly and make a competitive run in the elimination rounds.

**230, Gaelhawks: **The Gaelhawks are one of those few teams who can build a mecanum drivetrain and then use it to its fullest extent. Their agility, paired with their great intake, strong elevator and smart driving, gave them a relatively smooth run to the blue banner at Waterbury in Week 2. They’ll be looking to rank at the top again and choose the next best scale robot to help them soar into back-to-back wins, a feat they could totally pull off.

**5687, The Outliers: **This young Maine team transitioned from winning the Carson Division in St. Louis in 2017 to winning at Granite State in 2018 with ease, so they’re just looking to continue their streak of success. Their robot features a fast elevator with a long-reaching 4-bar that proved to dominate the scale in week one, so some minor adjustments to their intake and some driver practice should allow them to better hold power cubes and score them quickly. While they may be playing with unfamiliar faces down in CT, everyone will quickly find out who they are!

**95, Grasshoppers: **New England’s favorite build-blogging team is hopping into their second event with some upgrades. After a solid semi-finals run at Granite State, 95 has decided to drop their static ramps and focus purely on their cube-scoring abilities. Some upgrades to their chain maw should allow them quicker acquisition of cubes, which seemed to be their main weakness, so expect 95 to do quite well.

Potential Power-Players:

**5856, Bullbots: **Their second time playing in eliminations led them to a finalist appearance at Waterbury, so it’s fair to say that the Bullbots are having a breakout year. They’re the definition of simple yet effective; a standard drivetrain with a tall elevator and solid intake allows them to consistently play all aspects of the Power Up field. If 5856 can keep up their smart playstyle, they’ll come rampaging into the playoffs on Sunday.

**4557, FullMetal Falcons: **If you’re looking for a vaultbot, the FullMetal Falcons are the team for you. With the second-highest vault point average in New England, 4557’s small robot uses its killer intake to hold their switch, fill the vault, and then go wreak havoc on an opponent’s switch. Their key to success this weekend will be pairing up with a great scale robot, because these guys can handle all other aspects of Power Up.

**2067, Apple Pi: **The tastiest team in Connecticut produced another delicious swerve drive this year! Apple Pi’s scale-oriented robot did quite well at Waterbury, but their cascading elevator and cube intake weren’t quite strong enough to establish them as a top scoring machine. With some streamlining of their autonomous routines and their cube scoring mechanism, 2067 will be scary to face on Sunday.

**228, GUS Robotics: **GUS’s interesting elevator design, which allows for the intake to pass through the elevator, was able to collect and score plenty of cubes into the scale. However, their run at Waterbury ended in the quarterfinals, so they’ll need to add some new tricks if they want to gather enough district points to continue onto the New England DCMP.

**Chairman’s Top Teams: **

**1071, Team MAX: **Sporting Chairman’s Award banners from Waterbury and the New England District Championship in 2017, 1071 is a favorite for the Southern CT Chairman’s Award. Helping save dogs from shelters, helping other FRC teams, and mentoring FLL teams are just some of the things this team does to help their community.

**230, GaelHawks: **Winning New England District Championship Chairman’s in 2016 and a District Chairman’s win in 2015, Team 230 continues to enhance an already strong Chairman’s winning program. With STEM Night at their high school, mentoring FRC & FLL teams, as well as volunteering at an FLL qualifier, 230 provides a variety of reasons why they are deserving of the Chairman’s win at Southern CT.

**Chairman’s Darkhorses: **

**195, CyberKnights: ** Winning 2015 NEDCMP Chairman’s and being one of only four teams to win Engineering Inspiration at the World Championship in 2015, Team 195 has proved they are more than just robots. However, without a Chairman’s Award win in 2016 or 2017, the Cyberknights will be looking to reclaim their former glory.

Special rookie shoutout to teams 6811 Gunnery Gears, 7127 LongMetal Robotics, and 7153 Aetos Dios!

I hope we can live up to this forecast. We experienced some damage at the end of our last match, but we should be up and running with a couple of minor improvements.

4557 also hopes to repeat their performance from waterbury. We have made a couple tweaks as well.

4055 upgraded all systems on the robot especially acquisition and delivery of the cubes. We expect to give 4557 a run for their money on the vault and switches while still being able to double hang with most other robots.

95 is excited to play this weekend!

Thanks for the great write-up, as always. We love reading them.