Null Hatch Panels VS Cargo post week 1


What should you preload and how will that change in future events?

At week 1 teams learned pretty quickly that pre loading all null hatches was the best bet. Do you guys think that will change as bots get better at cycling sandstorm gamepieces?


No. Max of 5 hatch panels in sandstorm, 8 hatches to cover= not worth the stranding yourself


There are several other post already covering this topic and by the numbers it appeared 5 hatches and 3 hatches had the 2 highest win rates.


I agree the use of Null hatch panels is a good idea, but the outcome is variable depending on how you do it. Rarely is using all 8 available null hatch panels going to be a good idea. You don’t want your alliance to be left with “nothing to do”. Preloading 4-6 panels would be the best bet strategically in my opinion.


Each Alliance only gets a maximum of 6 null hatch panels. The front 2 bays are always prepopulated with cargo per 5.1.1 E.


It comes down to this, you should almost always put 6 nulls on the cargo ship. Here are the only 3 exceptions in my book: 1) You are going to fill all the goals and literally have nowhere left to score. Then it makes sense to start taking away null hatches to up your max score. 2) You plan on scoring on the side of the cargo ship in sandstorm. 3) You have an alliance with bots that are only capable of scoring hatch panels or at least better at it than they are at scoring cargo by a lot. In addition these bots can only score on level 1 and you suspect that the 6 hatch spots on level 1 that will remain will be less than your alliance is capable of scoring.
Other than those frankly rare situations, you should always (in my opinion) go for 6 null hatch panels on the cargo ship.


What you preload should depend on the alliances’ team capabilities. That said this was week 1, so drivers and robots will get better, as such limiting your potential score will eventually matter.


Take your best two scorers. Figure out their real (not their advertized) cycle time. The third is most likely going to be devoted to Defense or Counter Defense. There cycle time has to drop a lot. You want to be able to fill the cargo ship after completing the rest of your game plan. How many cycles does your game plan leave open? You need 16 cycles to fill the cargo ship if you put on no Null Hatches. Null hatch to get as close to balanced as you can.

Good Luck


2910 was doing 10+ cycles last weekend undefended. If you get two good low scorers, you aren’t going to want any null hatches.


Just to point out… Lets say you get 12 cycles and no one is defending you. Half have to go to hatches (on average). 6 - 5’s is 30. You pretty much need 75 as a minimum to feel comfortable that you’ll win (ignoring defense). Good climb points looked to be 21 last week. now you are up to 51. You are forcing your partners to come up with 24 points of offense.

Now change your strategy to Null hatched. I’m betting you put on 1 hatch in sandstorm. That leaves 11 in cargo. or 35 pts. You’ve just cut the requirements on your allies by 5 points.

The math seems to be pretty clear to me. But I’m old and don’t really get this modern math…


my apologies just got the numbers mixed up in a rush


A couple more variables to consider would be the capabilities of every team’s robots. Look at all the low bots this week like jack in the bot which can’t go high but they could easily do 10+ cycles. They will almost always run out of locations if they used null hatch panels. They would then need to interfere with their own alliance partner to obtain access to more scoring locations.


My philiosophy on this is that teams shouldn’t assume they will run out of space to score until they complete at least one match where that actually happens. It’s not a problem if they do run out of space in that first match - they’ve essentially already won - and then they carry significantly less risk of leaving off otherwise necessary hatch panels based on their preconceived scoring ability.

Very few teams will “easily” get 10 cycles this year…


There are 8 cargoship locations and 4 rocket lower levels. 24 potential cycles. If two robots each do one hatch in the sandstorm then you’ve finished 4 cycles total, because of the preloaded cargo. Cargo cycles are each faster than a hatch cycles, because they are right next to your cargoship after they fell out.

For the vast majority of alliances, null hatches are probably better. But if you have two 2910 caliber robots on your hypothetical alliance, you aren’t going to be wanting those lower levels to be limited at all. The math changes up a little if you have a robot who can go high, or are worried about defense (which you should be).

For reference: in Finals One at Mount Vernon, 2910 scored 9 cycles and climbed, and would’ve scored a tenth if they had preloaded a cargo instead of a null hatch. Looking at their driving, you can tell that they would be able to score even more if they had even more practice, implying that there won’t be space for 2 2910s without a team who can go high, even if you use exclusively cargo in the cargo ship. (

This absolutely wasn’t their highest scoring match, just one that I had offhand.


I completely agree, it would be foolish to begin your first match expecting to do 15 cycles.


2910 was doing 10+ cycles last weekend undefended. If you get two good low scorers, you aren’t going to want any null hatches

This is the problem with limiting yourself to low scoring. Low level there are potentially 24 scoring locations for 24 cycles, but the problem is the points you receive per cycle lessens when you’re scoring hatches instead of cargo. Doing an even number of both hatches and cargo gets you an average of 2.5pts/cycle. Doing more hatches than cargo gets you <2.5 pts/cycle. Doing more cargo than hatches gets you >2.5 pts/cycle. If your alliance can score 24+ cycles but can only score low, then you max out at 60pts even if you have time to do more cycles. If your alliance can score 24+ cycles but some can score high, you can null hatch the whole cargo ship and get 63pts (or more if you can squeeze in more cycles). Null hatches only start to work against you if your alliance can score 34+ cycles (not counting any sandstorm hatches).


It’s worth remembering that higher cycles take longer than low cycles, and those 12,13, and higher number of cycles might not be possible if you’re scoring mid and high.

ETA: Also, the time that it would take to build a robot capable of scoring high means that you can spend less time practicing, something that has a huge correlation with quick cycles. Also 2910 has a 3rd level climber, so their max score is actually somewhere around 78.


I wonder if there might be instances where having an exclusively L1 hatch bot play defense rather than leaving null hatches off would be advantageous. (But I think if that was true, there’s still no good reason not to put null hatches on)


One of the interesting things I saw in week 1 was that against some robots, Cargo on the floor was a good counter defense. This happened some but not a lot.

Against others, their defensive strategy was to take your cargo and score it on their side. This happened much more often.

You decide the implications here…


I mean what other teams do and its effectiveness is going to be related to how similar your strategy and robot is. A robot that can only score hatch panels most likely shouldn’t be running null panels, and a cargo bot shouldn’t be pre loading cargo. Yes I have seen the numbers. No I am not convinced yet.