Opinions: The importance of elevation/suspension

At the Buckeye Regional this weekend, it seemed that many of the teams believed that hanging was fairly unimportant, and thus were told not to hang on multiple occasions (in most cases, we did anyways). It is my opinion that hanging is an entirely situational decision as are many tactical decisions on the field.

As an example, if you are playing in the near zone and there are zero balls in said zone at the last 20 seconds, it may or may not be worth it to go ahead and elevate to get those two points.

In another case, the middle zone has mostly been a dead zone in most of the matches I watched. As such, there doesn’t seem to be much of a loss (and pretty good gains) if the middle bot elevates, even if it takes 20 seconds to do so. Most alliances that I saw could not consistently take two balls from the middle and score them within 20 seconds even if there was no robot in the center.

On the flip side, if you are in the near zone, and somehow all twelve balls are there, you should probably just score them. Also, if you are defending and there are many balls there, it would be wise to stay.

I will admit that this is a somewhat selfish post because my team’s robot does hang. However, it seemed as if the teams thought of us as just a hanging robot, when in reality we did so much more than that. While I would not pick a robot solely based on its ability to hang, I believe that said ability in combination with a respectable ability to perform another task is a powerful asset to most alliances.

Pretty simple for me. At time XYZ, can you score 3 points (or stop 3)? If not, hang.

I agree, I the Finals in Troy it was more benifitial to stay and play defense in the far zone (where we were all match) then to go and hang for 2.

This is an extremely strategic game and I don’t think there is a single answer that fits every robot and situation.

What I will point out is that many of the top robots this year can hang and have done so consistently in both quals and elims (1114, 330, 33, 254/968, 1717). That list is just a small, fairly random, sampling of good robots that hang consistently (heavily/completely slanted towards the last week).

If you can hang consistently and you feel that you would not be able to score 2 balls in the time it takes you to hang, in most situations you should probably hang.

In my opinion, if you can hang, hang. If not, score the balls in autonomous.

In autonomous, teams are relatively uncontested. I’d much rather have a team score 2 robots in autonomous from the mid-zone than hang at the end. You’re doing a couple things:

  • you’re getting the two balls in the mid-zone either to your own side or out of the way so the other alliance can’t score them
  • the point value is the same as a single hang
  • the robot can then work on getting the remaining balls in it’s zone

I’d rather take a strong robot that can kick well from mid-zone than a robot that can just hang because they are far more useful to the alliance. But I’d also never stop a team from hanging because I don’t think that mid-zone teams can score > 2 balls in 20 seconds very well.

For my team, we have found hanging to be really important. In the last 20 seconds of the match, we have found that there won’t be enough balls in our home zone to score more than our hanger will allow. Those two points from hanging is a much more reliable way of getting 2 points in the last 20 seconds, seeing how our alliance partners can score in those 20 seconds also.

Don’t forget in the finale, the opponents may have the opportunity to get a red card, so many will be more hesitant to defend balls scored in the last 20 seconds, which allows your alliance partners to score freely.

Another thing, is that if you have 2+ robots hanging on your alliance, your opponents would have a hard time making up 4+ points that you receive from hanging.

If you are attending CMP, you better believe that getting elevated/hanging bonus points will be important.
It will determine quite a few matches, ESPECIALLY in eliminations.
AND, you will see at least one team in almost every match do it.

I’ve had a slightly different experience than you have, it seems. At the regionals I attended, scores did increase overall, but usually not as significantly has you have described (except when say, an opposing alliance’s defense bot was dead then entire match). As for usefulness in eliminations, it varies. I saw a few matches at Boilermaker in which 2081 hanging decided the match. Also, as a side effect of hanging, if the opponents play defense too aggressively, they may get a penalty (or in the case of Finals match 1 at BMR, a red card).

Under the assumption of a constant rate of scoring, 20 seconds for 2 points is actually fairly efficient if you actually only take 20 seconds since you get what is usually more than 1/6 of the total score for you alliance in 1/6 of the time.

Hanging is situational, but can be critical. In a close game, one (or two!) hanging robots makes the difference between a win and a loss, and especially given that close win/losses garner a lot of QPs, it’s very important.

Two otherwise-equally matched teams play in an elimination match. One has good hangers, the other does not. Who wins?


We built our robot as a strong mid-fielder – one that can consistently and effectively funnel balls from the midfield into our alliance’s scoring zone. If left alone, we did that very well, and won by a lot. If defended against, we tied up all of the balls in the middle most of the game, keeping the score rather low, and then hung to win – and thus won by a little.

This usually worked. It would not be a valid strategy if we were not a consistent hanger.


So that’s the answer to your question: the importance of elevation depends on how you built your robot to win games.

Something interesting to bring up. At the SBPLI Regional none of the 6 robots in the finals could hang or elevate themselves.

Identical situation at Buckeye if I remember correctly, although not true at the Boilermaker Regional. Honestly though, at Buckeye, there were very few robots that could hang that were really any good for anything else.

Right. This happened at L.A., in the finals. Since 330 and 171 hung consistently (almost) every match, and on the opposing alliance only 968 could hang (and they didn’t do it every match), they had to have at least a 2 point cushion at the end of the match just from scoring balls. I thought the two alliances were very well-matched and very nearly equal at scoring balls, so 294, 968, and 980 really had to work to get that 2 point cushion. It made 330 and 1717 an absolutely deadly combination.

There were 2 hanging robots in the finals at SVR, teams 254 and 100. It caused an interesting situation, because when one went to hang, the other had to follow, or risk falling behind 2 points.

One thing that i noticed in Boston is that in finals (especially when double teamed) we were blocking a lot of shots, easily more than two in the last 20 seconds. And because we were in the defensive zone we would have had to leave the zone before the last 20 seconds to avoid contact with the other alliance if they tried to hang.

~DK

Interestingly during Qualifications we had one team hang within the first 20 seconds of tele-op stopping us for going us under the tunnel after all the balls where out of their offensive zone. Hanging can defiantly give an advantage to an alliance, but a good scorer could easily make up the 2 points in the last 20 seconds.

How did they do that while remaining elevated?

I would highly advise against a robot stationed in its own defensive zone trying to hang. This happened to us in the quarters at SVR. Our alliance stationed 846 in the defensive zone, and they did a great job of blocking shots up until that 20 second mark. Then they went to go hang. I wasn’t watching them because we were in the offensive zone, pumping in balls (3129 single-handedly scored 8 points that match :D). While 846 did hang successfully, I was told by our human player and another alliance member that our opponents used the opening to score 6 shots. Final score: 13 to 10, them.

If robots on your alliance are going to hang, they should not be playing goalie. They should be in the front or neutral zones.

I would say that being able to elevate is a worth while mechanism if the robot can not easily make up the 2 points of elevation. At Traverse City BOB could have possibly made it into finals if we had a working arm. We lost the deciding match of semi finals by 2 so it is debatable if we could’ve actually won in 4th round of semi final match.

Our drivers couldn’t see if they where completely clear or if there would be contact. They where too afraid of making contact in some way and damaging ourselves sine our electronics are mounted pretty close to out top.

In Ann Arbor finals match 3, our two points via hanging won us the Regional, and sent us off to the Michigan State competition.

I believe the first time 1448 and 1328 hang together the final score of the match was 5-5… so they tied the match just via that.’

So, yes, IMHO hanging will be what separates good teams from great. Teams that can have others suspend off of them (Us and 1448 as far as I know) will be in great demand once they can do that consistently. One of the teams in the final game will probably have a team that can suspend someone else on the team, and that will be why they have gotten that far.

I disagree, I don’t think suspensions will be very common at Championships if they happen at all and I don’t think there will be a single suspension on Einstein or even in the division finals