NEforecast: Granite State Event, February 27 - February 29, 2020
Which is your favorite of this week’s Top Teams?
Welcome to the 2020 season of NEforecast! Kicking off the Infinite Recharge season in New England is the Granite State District Event, hosted at Salem High School. This year’s team list looks to be the most competitive since GSD became a district event, with many teams having taken home multiple event wins in just the past few years. The field is quite deep, even given the already high level of competitiveness in New England - and that only means a more dramatic and exciting playoff bracket come Saturday.
Infinite Recharge has already seen significant strategic evolution and new discoveries have emerged in the two weeks since the FIRST official Week Zero event. No matches at the ISR District Event 1 saw any alliances capable of attaining or even nearing the Ranking Point from Energizing the Shield Generator - an indication of just how difficult scoring 49 power cells and manipulating the control panel may be. In addition, the Shield Generator Operational RP (earned once an alliance reaches 65 endgame points, either via 2 robots hanging level or three hanging), was only reached 12 times in qualifications out of 118 possibilities at ISR 1, and never by both alliances in a match. As the game is still quite young, we predict this is the target most teams will have their sights set on for Week One, especially given the high value of climbing while teams work to refine their power cell scoring abilities. Expect many matches to be decided on climbs, and qualification seeding order to be heavily weighted in favor of teams capable of balancing with partners. The threat of defense will also be a huge deterrent for teams that prefer scoring from unprotected zones, as we have already seen. It also is a very easy way to rack up foul points quickly if executed carelessly, so teams, be on the lookout for where you (and your opponents) are when defending!
5687, Outliers: The Outliers have won their last 6 district events in a row and have won the Granite State District Event for the last three years. Need we say more about why they’re our top pick for this event? Team 5687 showed off their stout robot at the Official Week 0 and was quickly scoring from the far initiation line into the 3-point inner port goal. With complicated but robust software control, an upgraded shooter, and loads of drive practice, The Outliers will be scoring deep into the elimination bracket Saturday afternoon as they go for four wins in a row.
133, B.E.R.T: After a stellar 2019 season saw the Bonny Eagle team land on Einstein, Team 133 is undoubtedly one of the strongest New England powerhouses in the game. You might even look at their 2020 robot and mistake it for their 2019 entry! The wide green elevator for climbing the generator switch looks quite familiar, but this tall robot is sporting an extremely fast over-the-bumper intake, simple belt-driven indexer that somehow doesn’t use sensors, and a hooded flywheel shooter that will be sure to nail the inner port. It’s simple yet effective, and that’s how B.E.R.T. has been sweeping up blue banners for the past 4 years.
501, PowerKnights: With an impressive showing at the official Week 0 scrimmage, Team 501 locked in a spot as a top team at the Granite State District Event. Their simple strategy of running short cycles between the human player station and the control panel proved that the “long shot” is a viable strategy and is key on a winning alliance. An upgraded vision tracking system will see their accuracy increase, and with two weeks of more practice under their belts, it’s no doubt that 501 will be a “power”-ful contender right out of the gate.
95, Grasshoppers: Looking to get an early jump on the competition, the Grasshoppers are starting off their season per usual at Granite State. Chances are you’ve seen their excellent build blog, so it’s common knowledge that Team 95 will be fielding a tall robot with a wide over-bumper collector and hooded flywheel. Their climbing mechanism is much more out-of-the-box, however, using a spring-loaded deploying hook and single pneumatic cylinder mounted in the center of the robot. Combined with a stalwart drivetrain, 95 will be a well-rounded pick this weekend and their climber will be sure to entertain late into the day on Saturday.
319, Big Bad Bob: Team 319 has become a perennial powerhouse in New England, hoping to continue their history of picking up district wins in 2016, 2018, and 2019. With a conservative design strategy, BOB has opted to go for a tall robot with a turreted shooter, over-bumper intake, and belted indexing system. Paired with a falcon-powered 6WD and telescoping climber and 319’s history of sound strategy, Big Bad Bob is in a fantastic position to take home the blue this weekend.
1519, Mechanical Mayhem: After making a stylish return to the Granite State event in 2019 by climbing their way to a blue banner, Team 1519 is looking to establish a GSD win streak of their own. An over the bumper intake feeds into a circular ball storage system, leading to a turreted shooter giving them the ability to score from almost anywhere, sealing the deal with a telescoping climber. If everything goes to plan, you can expect 1519 to be playing till the end this weekend.
4909, Bionics: Gaining momentum as an up and coming team in the district, 4909 is looking to start their success early. The Bionics 6 falcon drivetrain, belted indexing system capped by a vision-based turret, and out-of-the-box climber could easily come together to create a scoring powerhouse that will be scoring in the outer and inner port from all over the field.
1058, PVC Pirates: Opting to build a no-compromises robot focused around trench power cell cycling, the PVC Pirates have the potential to be one of the strongest on the field. Featuring a mecanum roller intake, U-shaped ball indexer and telescoping climber, expect 1058 to seed high and play late in eliminations come Saturday.
4905, Andromeda One: Week One success is largely dependent on being ready to show up and play, and having a working solo climb that can keep the bar level gave Team 4905 a big leg up at Week Zero. Their low-capable robot with a consistent initiation line shot has the potential to be one of the best cyclers at Granite State, so keep an eye out for Andromeda this weekend.
Special Rookie Shoutouts this week for Team 8046 LakerBots and Team 8421 CRUSADERS!