In addition to our usual forecast contents we are including two new parts this week. We’re including a chairman’s award segment - more on that later, but also we are including Forecast Polls - polls that allow the community to choose their favorite New England team at the event. You may select any one of the week’s Top Teams as your favorite. We hope that this will help provide a more interactive experience for our awesome teams!
One of two New England events this week is being held at UNH’s Whittemore Arena in Durham, New Hampshire. UNH began hosting FRC events in 2014 at the Lundholm Gymnasium and then moved to the Whittemore Center in 2015. Most teams attending UNH have already competed at Week Zero, Palmetto, Granite State, Reading, Worcester, & Dartmouth but this weekend 11 more teams from New England make their way to a Stronghold field.
UNH has an incredibly strong and deep field this year, with tons of experienced veteran both young and old and a few breakout rookies. Many teams have adopted a strong individual breaching strategy plus the occasional capture, but a few more complicated strategies such as transporting balls over the defenses from the neutral zone have become more popular during Week 3. Teams like 195 and 1768 have shown that batter shots into the high goals are winning strategies as low goal focused robots have a harder time to keep pace with the action up high. Additionally we have seen that upsets are extremely common. Two New England events have been won by the sixth alliance (Granite State, Worcester) and another by the fourth alliance (Dartmouth). Only two events have been won by the first alliance (Waterbury & Reading). From what we’ve seen, Stronghold just might be the year of the upset. Teams finding themselves at the top of the rankings need to make wise picks and develop sound, well execute strategies if they want to come out on top.
**5813 These rookies have more than proven themselves as a notable team. Coming in strong at Week Zero only set the bar high for this team, and they have yet to lower that reputation. With a 6 wheel pneumatic drivetrain, speedy mecanum intake, and effective batter shot, Morpheus will be on every scouter’s radar. This Rookie All Star team, currently placed 16th in New England with 52 district points plus 10 rookie bonus points after the WPI event will only keep impressing as they compete in this event and prepare for District Championships.
1519 Since 2005, MAYHEM has always competed during Week 1 and often with a successful finish. This year they have waited until Week 4 for their first official competition of the season. Their eight wheel pneumatic drivetrain worked well for them at Week Zero conquering many defenses and they have had plenty of time to tune their shooter and intake mechanism. With software being their strength from year to year, you can expect their four weeks of preparation have allowed them time for some boulder action in the opening seconds of a match. It might be hard for them to top their five banner district run of 2015, but you can count on the fact that Mechanical Mayhem will still put on a heck of a show at UNH this weekend.
319 After coming out on top winning the North Shore Event Week 2, Big Bad Bob is ready to do it again and is the 3rd highest ranked NE team after one round of play as of Week 3, with 68 district points. After demonstrating strategic play, quick defense crossings, and numerous low goals, their efficient cycles will help them land a spot high in the rankings their second event. While their shooter didn’t see much action at Reading extra time might allow them to dial in their autonomous shot. Their Dozer-like robot has proved itself as a valuable competitor, and is ready to bring them home their second banner.
166 Similar to 1519, the Chop Shop has also waited a much longer period of time before starting their official 2016 season. Featuring a robust drivetrain, CD7 polycord intake, wedges for category A defenses, and high goal shooter. They were highly functional at the Week Zero event, only looking to up their reliability for UNH. 166 isn’t a normal suspect for seeding high or playing in the finals but this season has a strong possibility of changing that.
1831 After a surprising upset win at Granite State, the Screaming Eagles have an incredibly simple robot, that when driven well was able to get them a ton of low goal dumps and crossings for the A, B, and D defenses, plus the ability to go under the low bar and make tons of Sally Port trains. Finish it off with a defense crossings and consistent low goal scoring auto, and 1831 should hit the top 10 or even 5 at UNH. With all this capability in such a light package, they will likely be adding another mechanism or two to finish off their capabilities. They rank #18 in the district with 60 points.
138 During their first event Entropy revealed their machine capable of playing more aspects of the game than just crossing defenses and dumping into the low goal. Their do-more strategy left consistency as their primary weakness during Granite State, but it is their foremost task for improvement coming into UNH. With so many features they can adapt to the increasing levels of play many teams might not be able to adjust to.
1153 After ranking 6th at the WPI District, their elimination run was shortened down to just two matches, but don’t count the Robo-Rebels out! Their super fast low goals and good breaching skills set this team apart. Being able to traverse category A, B, and D defenses quickly while escorting balls to their alliance partners to shoot will make 1153 a very valuable asset and therefore gobbled up quickly in alliance selections, especially if they can prove to play smart and take advantage of their ball shuttling capabilities.
131 Their quick batter shot worked well for CHAOS but their inconsistency at Granite State left a little to be desired in the shooting department. However, their ability to quickly intake and low goal helped make up for their lack of an accurate shooter. Combine an improved shooter with a hybrid drive base that won them the Creativity Award and 131 will likely be a very high seeded captain or first pick that will get them late into the eliminations this weekend.
4909 While some technical issues kept them from performing at their best at Reading, they still completed qualifications ranked 10th and captained the 6th alliance. With most teams opting for pneumatic wheels or tank treads to conquer the defenses, their smooth colson and belt drive kept up with the pace of competition. With time to iterate through their mechanisms and potentially add more, the Bionics are poised to keep up with this mainly veteran pack.
**Honorable Mentions in no particular order:
95 Steadily improving their low goal and breaching strategies and finalists at last week’s UMD Event, but this third event is only practice for what hopefully will be an impressive DCMP run.
2370 A one rampart wide machine with quick low goals and wide intake was a wise strategy decision by the iBots that almost took them to the finals at WPI.
213 If they can shave a few seconds off their ascent they can tip the scales in their favor with an endgame bonus.
2876 Need to breach fast? Call up the Devilbotz for a fast RP and mean defense.
237 Has taken a long break from Palmetto. Possibly enough time to get their climber working and a defense cross in auto with their consistent spybox high goal shot.
885 In a world full of Rhinos, these custom treads get the job done carting boulders quickly to the low goal with minimal need for lining up.
1922 High quality machine in 2015 with simple competitive machines in 2013 & 2014. If they can bring the two together this team from the land of Oz can find much success.
501 Brutal defender in the Reading elimination matches. If they can give more time to climb and improve their low goals they can be an all-star robot to round out a winning alliance.
2342 A rough start at GSD but with a few small tweaks you can expect their 67-esque shooter to be on point this weekend.
Special Rookie Shoutout to Team 5813 Morpheus, 5902 The Wire Clippers, and 5962 perSEVERE.
This week on NEforecast, in addition to our Top Teams and Honorable Mentions, we are including a new Chairman’s award segment in the forecast, aimed at highlighting some of the teams potentially in the running for this weekend’s top award. New England has a deep history in FIRST with several original and sustaining teams: 126 Gael Force, 151 Tough Techs, 190 Gompei and the HERD, and Hall of Fame teams: 23 PNTA, 151 Tough Techs, 175 Buzz, & 236 Techno Ticks, that it only seemed fitting to shed light on some of our role model teams.
1519: With their outstanding FLL outreach and multitudes of demonstrations, and as one of the only teams with a recent CA under their belt, (2015 Northeastern District) and an EI award in 2014, 1519 is one of the top contenders for the CA Award at UNH.
4909: Just recently earning the EI award at North Shore for their strong social media presence, strong sponsor base, and known around their community for their VEX, FLL, and FTC teams, Team 4909 has strong potential for winning their first Chairman’s Award this weekend.
4546: With a steady stream of teams above the 4000’s winning CA this year, and with an EI win in 2014 at UNH, 4546 could be the darkhorse that takes home the Chairman’s Award this weekend.
**131 CHAOS: Chairmans at GSR in 2013 & UTC in 2002. Engineering Inspiration at GSR in 2011.
166 Chop Shop: Chairmans at GSR in 2011. Engineering Inspiration at GSR in 2003.
501 Powerknights: Chairmans at GSR in 2005. Engineering Inspiration at GSR in 2008.
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