NEforecast: New England District Championship, April 10 - April 13, 2019
The Blue Alliance: https://www.thebluealliance.com/event/2019necmp
Who is the captain of the winning alliance?
- 5687, The Outliers
- 133, B.E.R.T.
- 78, AIR STRIKE
- 177, Bobcat Robotics
- 230, The Gaelhawks
- 319, Big Bad Bob
- 195, CyberKnights
- 1519, Mechanical Mayhem
- Someone Else!
After 1042 Matches, 949 Hab 3 Climbs, 82 Completed Rockets, and 12 District Events, our favorite event of the year has finally arrived: The New England District Championship! This year, we’re returning to the Harrington Auditorium at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, one of the staples of New England FIRST. Sixty-Four of New England’s best teams will battle it out for three days in an attempt to prove their worth and earn a place at the Detroit Championship.
The level of competition at the NEDCMP is going to be some of the highest we’ve seen in the world and the numbers are there to back it up. A quick count shows that there are more than 25 robots who can climb to Hab 3, which correlates to every alliance having a ~78% chance of at least one Hab 3 climbing robot. The top 48 robots are averaging ~6.58 game pieces per match, and the top 24 are averaging ~7.71 game pieces, so seeing completing rockets and cargo ships will be the norm in many of these matches. We’re incredibly excited to see what happens during alliance selections on Saturday, as we think this is one of the most high-powered NEDCMPs to date, so any of the eight alliances could make a claim to the big blue banner and a heap of district points. Quick note, it was incredibly difficult to pick only 24 teams and then sort them accordingly, so let us know your opinions! Without further ado, let’s hop into our longest analysis yet!
The Likely Alliance Captains:
5687, The Outliers: 10.48 Balls & Hatches/Match, Hab 3/Hab 2 Capable
For the first time ever, we can comfortably say that a Maine team is the top contender going into the DCMP. Seeing as they’re currently ranked 10th in the world for game pieces per match, it’s pretty obvious that The Outliers have created an absolutely outstanding robot worthy of the three blue banners it has already claimed. Their carbon-fiber based elevator is light and fast, their hatch mechanism works amazingly with their vision tracking, and their wide ball intake makes cargo handling a simplicity. What really makes this team, though, is all of their practice; the >100 hours of practice they have put in so far is plainly apparent as their drivers race around the field to score game pieces and avoid defenders. With a quick Hab 3 climb to top it off, Team 5687 has really outdone themselves this year, and they’re the team to beat.
133, B.E.R.T.: 9.18 Balls & Hatches/Match, Hab 3 Only
They’re in the Top 1% of all teams for total points scored per match, so B.E.R.T. is an obvious choice for our top-tier teams. Their barbed hatch mechanism, highly-improved cargo intake, and perfectly-tuned vision tracking made finishing rockets an almost sure task at Pine Tree, and they often had time left to finish off their side of the cargo ship. Only the best of defenders were able to phase this extremely practiced team, so Team 133 doesn’t have a whole left to improve upon and just needs to perform at their usual high level. We know that Team 133 and Team 5687 are very buddy-buddy, so if they’re allowed to pair up at the DCMP, everyone is in for quite the Bonny Eagle Beatdown!
78, AIR STRIKE: 8.40 Balls & Hatches/Match, Hab 3/Hab 2 Capable
Team 78 has 4 blue banners, has gone 3/3 on being the #1 seed, is ranked 1st in the NE district, and is competing for both the Chairman’s Award and Engineering Inspiration. We’re pretty sure that’s the best pre-DCMP season ever, because we have no idea how someone could do any better! To become the #1 seed three times, it’s pretty obvious that AIR STRIKE has to have quite the robot, and it’s true. Their robot is capable of quickly maximizing Level 1 scoring opportunities with their low hatch mechanism, and then their cargo manipulator is allowed to shine by piling cargo into any open bay. An incredibly consistent Hab 3 climber allows them to lock down extra ranking points, so they’ll be able to choose an excellent alliance partner and put up quite the fight in DCMP eliminations.
177, Bobcat Robotics: 8.82 Balls & Hatches/Match, Hab 3/Hab 2 Capable
They’ve been returning to their Einstein form since 2017, but this year there is no doubt left: The Bobcats are back, and it’s best if you stay out of their path to victory! Our prediction last week was dead-on - Team 177’s new hatch mechanism, cargo upgrades, and vision tracking made them a high-scoring force on the field. Yes, they were eliminated in quarterfinals, but that only speaks to how bizarre the elimination rounds at Hartford were. They can complete rockets by themselves, fill a cargo ship, and work with any partner given to them, so as long as the Bobcats get the high-alliance spot they deserve, they’ll be scoring deeper into eliminations than they have all season.
230, Gaelhawks: 7.77 Balls & Hatches/Match, Hab 3/Hab 2 Capable
Year after year after year, Team 230 has established themselves as one of the teams to beat. Using the standard Gaelhawks mecanum drivetrain and speedy elevator design they utilized so well in the Power Up season, this team is one of the fastest rocket-based cyclers in all of New England. Their lineup process on the hatch panel loading station is as smooth as they come, and the ability to pick and place hatch panels from the floor has allowed for some impressive saves. Their cargo game is also quite noteworthy; if left undefended, they’ll easily fill their half of the cargo ship with time to fill a rocket. With such a capable robot, it should come as no surprise that they’ve got a fast Hab 3 climb to top it off! Obviously, we’ll be seeing this team soaring to another deep elims performance.
319, Big Bad Bob: 8.59 Balls & Hatches/Match, Hab 3/Hab 2 Capable
As the reigning champions of the 2018 NEDCMP, Team 319 is certainly looking for a repeat performance. It’s certainly not out of the question - Big Bad Bob’s level of play is some of the highest in New England. Their game pieces / match average is through the roof due to their domination of the cargo ship, because even though their speed on the field doesn’t appear to be the highest, they create lots of cargo scoring opportunities for themselves and dodge defenders with ease. Their hatch panel ability is also more than adequate, so left to their own devices, don’t be surprised to see a filled rocket ship. Their drop-through elevator climbing system is fast and consistent, so they’re able to be a star member of any eliminations alliance.
195, CyberKnights: 7.10 Balls & Hatches/Match, Hab 3/Hab 2 Capable
As the holders of the current New England high score and winning all 3 events they’ve attended so far, Team 195 has had a deceptively slow start. Each event they’ve had to work through issues, turning it on just in time for eliminations. Their averages aren’t as high as some of the teams below them in this list, but it would be criminal to not predict the 4-time reigning DCMP champion as an alliance captain and likely winner. Not to mention, we’ve seen that when they’re working, their potential for scoring is up there with the best, as they managed to put up 15 cycles in Finals 2 of the Hartford District Event. There’s a reason this team has won District Champs the past 4 years, and this weekend may give us a reminder as to just how well they can bring the heat when it matters most.
1519, Mechanical Mayhem: 8.56 Balls & Hatches/Match, Hab 3 Only
They’re one of New England’s top contenders every single year, and this year is looking like their best chance yet to repeat their 2015 DCMP win. The intake redesign for Pine Tree was an excellent decision, as they were able to complete rockets on top of their former ability to fill the cargo ship, making them an incredibly versatile scoring machine. Mechanical Mayhem’s (admittedly terrifying) 4-bar climber launches them onto Hab 3 only, so they’re able to complete all game tasks at a high level but would like a friend with Hab 2 capabilities. Once they find themselves on the right alliance, they’ll certainly be quite the imposing force.
High-Scoring Early Picks:
6329, The Bucks’ Wrath: 8.79 Balls & Hatches/Match, Hab 2 Only
Anybody who has watched this small Northern Maine team in action knows why they deserve to be this high on our list. They’re not a household name yet, but the amount of game pieces this robot can place is astounding. A simple velcro hatch system is made deadly effective by a a perfectly-implemented limelight, and their ability to quickly score cargo was shown at Pine Tree with their 7 second acquire-to-L3-score of the last cargo ball needed to finish a rocket. They’re wise beyond their years, and the only thing keeping them out of our top tier is their lack of Hab 3 climber. If you’re a team with a good Hab 3 climber, though, The Bucks’ Wrath should be at the top of your pick list!
2168, Aluminum Falcons: 7.50 Balls & Hatches/Match, Hab 3/Hab 2 Capable
With their 3-week hat trick complete, Team 2168 has taken a nice two-week break to prep their robot for a run at their third NEDCMP banner (another triple!). The speed at which this robot is able to whip around the field is what really gets to us; one second they’re on the far side of their rocket, and the next second they’re almost done retrieving a new hatch panel. With this speed in mind, it’s no wonder that they’re consistently finishing rockets by themselves and still ending their matches on Hab 3. A lot of teams love working with the Aluminum Falcons, and two lucky teams will have quite the time as they fight along this squad and chase the last New England banner of the year.
125, NUTRONS: 7.32 Balls & Hatches/Match, Hab 3/Hab 2 Capable
When people think of New England FIRST, Team 125 is often one of the first names to come to mind, and with good reason. Winners of a Chairman’s Award, Engineering Inspiration Award, and two District Events, the NUTRONS are heating up and are ready to take DCMP by storm. With one of the few “PINK Arm” style robots in New England, Team 125’s dual-use roller claw really doesn’t look like any of the other robots competing this weekend. Don’t be fooled into think they made the wrong design choices, though - their arm and wrist assembly can score at any height, forward or backward, and their fold-out cargo intake allows for one of the fastest cargo acquisitions on the field. With one of the coolest robots at the event, all eyes will be on the NUTRONS as the slam hatch panels onto the rocket ships, drop off cargo, and hoist themselves up to Hab 3.
1768, RoboChiefs: 7.50 Balls & Hatches/Match, Hab 3/Hab 2 Capable
This robot is one of the most captivating in New England both on and off the field. In typical RoboChiefs fashion, their Deep Space robot is a masterpiece of design and machining, and it’s smooth operation as it quickly fills the rocket is beautiful. Their zippy slide drive allows them to juke out defenders and line up quickly on any cargo bay, as well as avoid their alliance partners who are trying to score in close-quarters situations. With the ability to score both hatches and cargo at all heights and quickly Hab 2 or Hab 3 climb, Team 1768 is an excellent addition to any alliance looking to put up quick points. If you have a chance to check out this robot in person, don’t miss out!
176, Aces High: 6.65 Balls & Hatches/Match, Hab 3/Hab 2 Capable
Last year’s impressive performance was no fluke! Aces High is back again and looking to create a blue banner wall to rival their Connecticut friends. With a robot that looks like a red and black twin to Big Bad Bob, Team 176 has found quite a bit of success as the #1 seed at each of their qualifying events. They’ve got a wide cargo intake, can release cargo in either direction, can place a hatch panel anywhere they please, and can easily haul themselves onto Hab 3 to end each match. To put it simply, they’re a consistently high-scoring robot, and they’re a guaranteed force in the elimination rounds.
2370, IBOTS: 6.16 Balls & Hatches/Match, Hab 3/Hab 2 Capable
A strong opening at Western New England was quickly followed up by a strong win at UNH, so yeah, the IBOTS are quite the addition to any top alliance! You can think of the IBOTS as a cargo ship bot with a little extra; while they almost always stick to quickly filling the center ship, they can also fill up the first two levels of the rocket to maximize their cargo scoring locations. Scoring speed is all that matters when it comes to the eliminations, and having someone who can quickly score over most of the field and end up on HAB 3 is exactly what a lot of team will be looking for. They also have a really cool sliding elevator, so that’s something to check out!
2877, LigerBots: 7.44 Balls & Hatches/Match, Hab 1 Only
Of all the robots that are stuck on Hab 1, the LigerBots are probably the best. With an average of over 7 game pieces / match, it’s obvious that the LigerBots’ slide drive is doing them quite well. As long as they’re close to a scoring element, it’s pretty difficult to stop this slippery robot from finding the split second they need to score a hatch panel or a cargo ball, so you’re gonna have to send your best defender after them. They’re a ton of fun to watch and to work with so they’ll certainly make an appearance in the elimination rounds of the NEDCMP.
95, Grasshoppers: 6.35 Balls & Hatches/Match, Hab 1 Only
It feels wrong to put a district-winning robot this low on our list, but that’s purely because of how crazy the NEDCMP team list is. With an excellent cargo intake, easy-align hatch mechanism, and pushy drivetrain, the only thing that Team 95 is missing is a climber - but so what? They’ll put so many points on the board or play such good defense that you won’t even notice! With their new sensor array still being perfected as we speak, we’re sure that the Grasshoppers are going to be upping their average game pieces / match to an even higher standard.
Back Of The Draft Steals:
1153, The Walpole Revolution: 6.62 Balls & Hatches/Match, Hab 3 Capable
SMALL ROBOT TIME! Let’s see what Team 1153 is packing: Zippy robot, wide cargo intake, practiced drivers, floor panel pickup, Hab 3 climb. What more could you possibly ask for when you’re trying to round out your perfect eliminations alliance? Walpole Revolution tends to rank highly due to their climbs and crazy cargo scoring, though, so it’s possible they’ll be an alliance captain or first-round pick.
1922, Oz-Ram: 6.74 Hatches/Match, Hab 3/Hab 2 Capable
If a team is asking you to take out a bunch of the null hatch panels, chances are it’s the best cargo ship panel scorer in NE: Oz-Ram. Their 4-bar and gripper hatch mechanism can only place on the lowest scoring elements, but when they’re putting up 6 or 7 panels with ease, it really doesn’t matter! Completing rockets really doesn’t matter in eliminations, so the winning strategy could very well involve Team 1922 maximizing the cargo ship score.
558, Elm City Robo Squad: 5.92 Balls & Hatches/Match, Hab 3/Hab 2 Capable
This is the exact robot a lot of teams dream of to round off an alliance; a capable cargo scorer with a bulletproof drivetrain that’s more than happy to cross the centerline and play some shutdown defense. Whether you keep them close or send them down the field, the Robo Squad will be a key player in any winning alliance, and if they can get the vacuum-pad Hab 3 climber working consistently, you’ll need to watch out for this Big Boi!
88, TJ^2: 6.90 Balls & Hatches/Match, Hab 2/Hab 3 Capable
Although their primarily cargo design may not be as effective now as it was in early weeks, Team 88 is still a total lock for playing in the DCMP elimination rounds. They’re simply too dominant on the cargo ship to pass up - they could easily clean up the entire ship while their alliance partners are each working of a rocket. With a new Hab 3 climb being recently revealed, they’ll be looking to add consistency there, making them a very valuable scoring machine.
4909, The Bionics: 4.78 Balls & Hatches/Match, Hab 3/Hab 2 Capable
With two events under their district run on the number 2 seeded alliance, the Bionics are coming into the New England District Championship ready to perform. A redesigned intake system since their last competition will allow 4909 to score even more game pieces than their finalist performance at Greater Boston. With their Hab 3 climbing system still as good as ever, they’ll be able to put up enough points to earn a spot on an elims alliance, and will likely play both some offense and defense throughout the competition.
3555, Aluminati: 7.09 Balls & Hatches/Match, Hab 2 Capable
This is the simple robot that a lot of teams are wishing they had built. With a really innovative cargo upper-ator (it’s not an elevator, but it definitely goes up) that changes heights to place balls very snugly in the cargo ship or rocket, the Aluminati have consistently put >6 cargo into scoring positions. They’re also excellent at playing positional defense and know when to come back and score the last few points their alliance needs, so they’d be a rock-solid choice for any alliance.
7407, Wired Boars: 7.18 Balls & Hatches/Match, Hab 2 Capable
They might have been a late acceptance to the NEDCMP, but they’re one of the most deserving teams on this list. This rookie team has fielded an incredibly impressive robot and their drivers are wise beyond their years. With the ability to quickly nab cargo from anywhere on the field and drop it into the cargo ship, they’ve been known to put up 6 or 7 game pieces with time left, so they’ll make an excellent scorer/defender combo.
3467, Windham Windup: 3.96 Balls & Hatches/Match, Hab 3/Hab 2 Capable
What a difference 5 weeks of rest can make! After a weak showing at Granite State, the Windham Windup gang brought the heat for Pine Tree and established themselves as a top-tier cargo robot. They can fill any open bay with their excellent intake, can quickly Hab 3 climb, and are one of the meanest defenders we’ve seen yet. They’ll also be re-revealing their hatch mechanism from Pine Tree, but now it’s here to stay. Whether you’re looking to outscore your opponents or completely shut down their scoring, Team 3467 is just the crew.
And a Tableau Graph:
That’s all we’ve got for this season! Because this post is so big, we’ll ask you guys to give us your best brackets, and we’ll see if we agree. Good luck to all competing, and we’ll see you at the competition!