NEforecast: Waterbury District Event, March 6 - March 8, 2020
Which is your favorite of this week’s Top Teams?
Week 1 of Infinite Recharge is now behind us and we’ve gotten our first glimpse into how this year’s game will be played. The key takeaway from this past weekend’s events is that climbing is king. Tons of teams either seeded highly or had strong elims performances solely because of their ability to climb reliably, a trend that we expect to continue in Week 2. In fact, a big determining factor in ranking seems to be whether you get paired with good climbers in quals, something that can really shake up the Top 8 from what we’re used to seeing. Aside from that, most alliances strategies seem to boil down to having one robot play “cleanup” in front of their power port, one robot either shooting full court or running full field cycles, and the last robot playing some form of defense, feeder, or offense. We’ll be interested to see whether these trends continue for the rest of the year, or if this is merely an early game meta before teams work out all the kinks.
With that out of the way, it’s time to talk about one of the more competitive early events in New England with the Waterbury District Event. Though the team list isn’t as strong as it was last year, due in large part to Northern CT splitting up the field of early competitors (as well as 1676 & 3314 not coming up from MAR), some of New England’s premiere teams will still be on display this weekend.
176, Aces High: Last year’s Waterbury finalists are coming back with a vengeance for Infinite Recharge. Featuring a low robot that can go under the control panel, intake balls from the ground or the HP station, a deadly accurate turret, and some impressive auto routines to boot, Team 176 seems to be the frontrunner going into this weekend. We expect Aces High to primarily cycle through the trench, being one of if not the fastest cycler in Waterbury.
177, Bobcat Robotics: Though their 2019 season was filled with mountains of unfortunate circumstances, they still fielded a robot that was worthy of the Bobcat legacy, and this year looks to be no different. Showcasing a tall, turreted robot with an 8wd and a quick dual hook climber Team 177 will be able to fill the front zone ‘cleanup’, full field cycler, or full court shooter role with ease.
230, Gaelhawks: Featuring a mecanum driveba- wait what? Breaking away from their drivebase of the past 3 years, Team 230 has instead opted to field a 6-wheel drive along with staying tall and utilizing a turret. This team typically comes out of the gate strong and with impressive auto routines largely due to their software prowess. We anticipate the Gaelhawks seeding high and attempting to partner with a low bot capable of running trench cycles.
7407, Wired Boars: As arguably the best rookie team to enter the fray in New England last year, we fully expect the Wired Boars to continue their momentum. Using a pivoting shooter tower, they are able to cycle under the trench yet still shoot tall, and do so with unfathomably good accuracy. Sticking to tradition, their robot makes excellent use of COTS components to make simple and effective mechanisms, but they have most certainly taken it to the next level this year. With the addition of a climber, the Wired Boars will be unstoppable.
3566, Gone Fishin’: Admittedly they weren’t on our radar last weekend, however their performance at the Granite State District Event certainly impressed us. A low trench-focused robot with a simple intake and looping indexer, Gone Fishin’ made extremely efficient cycles to the front of the trench where they would drain shots. Though they ended up walking away as semifinalists, a big quarterfinal upset and 3 very close semifinal matches show just how good this team was, and their experience will allow them to really shine at Waterbury.
3146, GRANBY GRUNTS: If you had to make a list of the most improved teams in New England over the past few years, we suspect that 3146 would land somewhere near the top. Though they finished as quarterfinalists at all 3 of their NE events in 2019, we feel that’s not a good indication of how strong they were last year. We expect them to quickly beat their performances from last year with their Infinite Recharge robot.
236, Techno-Ticks: Usually starting out as one of the stronger teams in Connecticut, the Techno-Ticks are rolling into Waterbury with a 6wd low bot that utilizes an over the bumper intake and a turret to perform efficient cycles through the trench. If 236 can climb consistently and chase after those bonus RP’s, we expect they’ll rank somewhere in the top 10 by Sunday afternoon.
558, Elm City Robo Squad: With some of their main mentors stepping back, 558 had some big hurdles to face this season. Regardless, they appear to be pulling it together very well with their short bot! So far we’ve seen a flywheel shooter and an over the bumper floor intake that combines simplicity and elegance, but nothing on a climber. Don’t be surprised if they’re climbing this weekend!
1071, MAX: While mostly recognized for their outstanding Chairman’s award submissions, Team 1071 is always a solid performer at their early events. They’ve decided to field a tall robot this year that will be focusing on the long-range game and a climber with two hooks so they can center climb for the extra level bonus. If they climb consistently and can overcome inconsistencies in power cells, they’ll just make the field at Waterbury even deeper.
Special Rookie Shoutouts to Team 8085, MOJO, and Team 8167, Cognatives.