PCH District: 2019 Dalton Predictions

Gainesville Review

This past weekend, some of the PCH district’s strongest teams descended on Gainesville to take their first swings at Destination Deep Space (DDS). Week 1 events are pretty interesting because we get to see how the game will actually be played. DDS proved to be a more challenging game than we realized, and we saw big shifts in strategy as teams got accustomed to the game.

Early on, teams attacked hatch panels with the intention of either securing the full rocket or getting five points for the hatch panel + cargo combo in each bay. However, hatch panels have proved to be a very difficult challenge, and teams quickly realized they were better off utilizing null hatches and focusing on cargo.

That’s not to say that hatches were completely ignored. As the game developed and cargo ships filled up more quickly, alliances set themselves apart by their ability to place lower hatches and quickly fill bays with cargo.

Oh, and level 3 climbs? Well, they were both more plentiful and more critical than we expected. While we knew that the 12 point boost rendered the 1 RP almost trivial, level 3 climbs are currently at the point where they’re not rare enough to ignore, but also not plentiful enough so that most alliances have one. The end result was that teams with an L3 climb had a significant advantage in qualification rankings. Combine that with the fact that most teams aren’t strong enough to overcome a 9 point differential, and the L3 climb is almost a must-have.

The next progression in the game will be quite interesting. As L3 climbs become a bit more plentiful and teams need to equally consider hatches and cargo to see victory, teams who play early are liable to find themselves in a different game dynamic at the end of the season.

Dalton Preview

While the dust settles in Gainesville, Dalton begins our three-week tour outside of the Atlanta area. While there are week 1 teams competing in Dalton, it won’t be enough to offset the other 34 teams that will be warming up and playing DDS for the first time.

As usual the early advantage will be to teams who were able to leverage the extra time to improve their software, get more practice, and improve their overall game. However, any team that has studied the Gainesville strategies will come equipped with a serious advantage.

Last season, 4910 burst out of the gate with a strong scalebot that took Dalton, and its banner, by storm. East Cobb Robotics (ECR) is now looking for a third win in three trips up to Northwest Georgia with a fancy, purple-painted robot that was ready to go a full weekend before bag day. What does that mean for ECR? More time to test and practice. With an MCC+ intake, a center-gripped hatch panel mechanism, and a single-stilt level 3 climber, ECR has all the pieces to mount another serious run at Dalton.

2974 started powerup as a solid switchbot, and their multi-cube switch autonomous gave them a dominance on the switches that was hard to overcome and helped them to a second straight division finals appearance. This year, Walton’s decided to stay low with a single stage elevator sporting a formidable looking hybrid intake. If Walton can tune their machine early and figure out how to efficiently handle hatch panels, they have the know-how and design focus to help dominate the field at Dalton.

6177’s hoping to have a breakthrough year. After knocking on the door and ranking 3rd at DCMP last season, the Atomic Robotic Dogs are back with a fancy blue machine, multi-stage elevator, and a hybrid intake. However, the challenge in a complex design is typically practice time, something that is even more critical for a younger team. But, given that they’re about 20 feet away from the JRD practice field, 6177 ought to come into Dalton with both arms swinging.

1771 has had a bit of lull in the past few years, but the defending Dalton champions look to be making a resurgence. With a robot featuring an MCC+ intake, hatch panel mechanism, and a level 3 climb, 1771 appears to be one of the few teams that has all the pieces to dominate at Dalton. However, last year, 1771’s achilles heel was execution as they struggled to bring their robot to heel. With a more sophisticated machine that’s looking to do it all, 1771 will have to step up and prove that they still have what it takes to be considered among the best in the state.

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These posts are always fun to read. Thanks for posting! I’m excited to see how 4910 performs this year.

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Agree - these posts are fun to read and truly enhance the anticipation for a great district event.

Congratulations to East Cobb Robotics, 4910 for pulling out their first Chairman’s win in Dalton!!! Truly deserved, so happy for them. Very close to winning the event too.

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