NEforecast: SE Mass Event, February 27 - February 29, 2020
Which is your favorite of this week’s Top Teams?
With Week One in New England in the books, it is beginning to seem like Infinite Recharge is a game primed for upsets from all around the elimination bracket. Alliances without climbs, even high seeded alliances with exceptional power cell cycling ability, find themselves unable to keep pace with the lower seeded elimination alliances that have three climbs. Additionally, Week One lended itself well to alliances with tall offensive robots - 1740, 166 (winners of Northern CT), 4909 and 501 (winners of Granite State) all being tall, and in doing so they netted themselves extra time to practice and refine their strategies during build season.
Week Two is an entirely different animal, with a few of this weekend’s competitors having one competition under their belts. The mix of teams keeps a similar balance of short and high scoring robots, but as the season goes on and teams have more time to refine their optimal offensive strategy, the question is - where and how will teams be attempting to score in the teleoperated period? Will tall robots be cycling through the Generator Switch, or instead opt to refine shots from the Control Panel or from in and around the initiation line? Will short robots find their niche this weekend, or continue to lag behind their tall counterparts? Will Power Cell degradation upset perennial powerhouses and pave the way for success of the underdogs? Regardless of the answers, we know that the SE Mass Event will not disappoint.
2168, Aluminum Falcons: Winners of the 2017, 2018, and 2019 SE Mass District Events, it should come as no surprise that The Aluminum Falcons are the team to beat. It’ll probably be easier to win with them, though, than to beat them - what we’ve seen of their newest robot is scary. A simple over-the-bumper intake pairs with a slim hopper to cycle balls to the side of their robot where a low release point shooter with an impressive ability to find the Inner Port pumps out power cells. They’ll be dominating the Trench Run as they cycle around and shoot from the front corner, and we can guarantee they’ll have a very speedy climber that will allow them to dominate all aspects of Infinite Recharge. Watch out as the Aluminum Falcons fly to what could be their 4th SE Mass blue banner in a row.
6329, The Bucks’ Wrath: A quick look at The Bucks’ Wrath’s newest creation shows that they’ve made huge improvements in the design and manufacturing areas of their build process and will be fielding an extremely impressive machine. An 8WD with 6” pneumatic wheels, speedy mecanum intake, single-wide indexer, and sliding hood shooter allow Team 6329 to shoot from every protected zone on the field with some of the best speed and accuracy we’ve seen so far. A simple two stage elevator climber completes the package, allowing them to climb level in the center of the Generator Switch. We’re positive that this is the best chance The Bucks’ Wrath has had yet to secure their first blue banner.
4564, Orange Chaos: One of New England’s most reliable contenders is looking to bounce back from an off-year with a tall robot based around a long-shooting strategy. Their robot sports an 8WD with 6” pneumatic wheels, an intake that looks really similar to 1690’s Stronghold intake, a polycord indexer, and a folding hood to allow for both short and long shots. They also have two climbing poles that seem to allow for small adjustments to their hang in an attempt to always level the generator switch. Orange Chaos’ robot shoots incredibly hard from behind the control panel and may just be able to overcome the inconsistencies in power cells that have been plaguing teams so far, but if not, they’ll be bombing back and forth across the generator area deep into the elimination bracket.
78, AIR Strike: An uncharacteristic start for AIR Strike will see them working hard between their two events to get back into their usual dominant form. This long-shooting turret robot had a great series of auto routines, but tended to underwhelm throughout the teleoperated period. We suspect that the sudden lack of accuracy comes down to how terrible the power cells are holding up, and because this can’t be remedied, Team 78 will have to aggressively retune their robot or concoct some new strategies/driving paths to maximize their scoring output. They do have the major advantage of having already played through one event, though, so we’re sure they’ll be a major competitive force regardless of what happens.
88, TJ^2: Winners of the 2017 and 2018 SE Mass districts, and much more, it would be remiss of us to leave TJ^2 out of this list. This weekend, 88 will be looking to return as champions at their home event. We haven’t had a chance to see their robot yet outside of a few teaser photos, but if history has anything to tell us, we know that TJ^2 will be showing up absolutely ready to play and ready to play late this weekend.
1768, Nashoba Robotics: We would love to know just how many hours of CNC Milling were necessary to make this gorgeous machine come to life! With almost every visible structural member of this robot being trussed and powder coated a stunning black, Team 1768 has made one of the best looking boxy robots we’ve ever seen. A 6WD with 6” pneumatic wheels (and 6 Falcon 500s!), over-the-bumper intake, V-style indexer, turret with infinitely-adjustable hood positions, and telescoping arms pack a lot of functionality into a package that can still sneak under the Control Panel. Team 1768 has a lot to test and tune before they roll into the SE Mass, and if they can get everything dialed in over the next few days, they’ll be in excellent shape.
190, Gompei and the H.E.R.D.: Another team that is looking to strike early with back-to-back qualifying events early in the season, Team 190 will also be back in the workshop after Northern Connecticut. They performed admirably and have an excellent drivetrain for defense, but they’d much rather step up as a power cell scorer for their alliance. They have a solid 3-shot auto routine down but will need to work on their intake and indexer if they want to shoot with the best of them at SE Mass.
126, Gael Force: Another very solid performer will be making their debut at SE Mass with a high-shooting robot. Looking to build off the success they saw last season, they’ll be sporting their recognizable 6WD with 2” wide wedgetop treaded wheels as well as a fixed-hood shooter aiming for the outer or inner ports. Beyond that, we don’t know exactly what Gael Force will be bringing to the field, but we expect them to have a reliable climber and simple intake that will make them a good choice for any alliance.
5000, Hammerheads: It looks like Team 5000 has really stepped up their game to produce an impressive robot this year. A tall robot featuring an 8WD, mecanum intake, single-wide polycord indexer, and sliding-hood flywheel shooter, The Hammerheads will be looking to score plenty of power cells in the top goal while using their “skywalker” hook to balance out the generator switch for some extra points. Their success will come down to how fast their cycles are and where they decide to shoot power cells from.
Special Rookie Shoutouts this week go to Team 8013, Boston Lions and Team 8023, LRTC Northern Forge.