Post-Bag Event Selection Strategies

Now that the rules changes for life in a post-bag era have been released, I’m wondering how that changes teams’ event selection strategies. Do you still try to go early before everyone has a chance to polish the rough edges, or do you wait and use the extra build time to your advantage?

What are you thinking?


What I’m thinking (and this probably won’t happen, since I’m not in charge of these stuff on the team) is doing one really early event and one really late - in Israel these would be ISDE1 and ISDE4 - since that would allow you the best of both worlds. This has been the best strategy for the last 3 seasons as well IMO (since Districts), and I don’t see any reason to change it. That being said, there’s also an advantage to doing ISDE2+ISDE3, since they are still a week apart and most of the teams don’t pick two consecutive events so you’re more likely to play with other partners and maybe have an edge on them (I heard from a bunch of teams that they chose the 2+3 combo this year because of that reason).

Although, since we only have 4 events and they are spaced about 1.5 weeks it doesn’t really matter as long as you don’t do 1+2 nor 3+4, since they’re in the same location (having ISDE1 on Monday-Tuesday and ISDE2 on Wednesday-Thursday, for example) and won’t allow you to redo parts of your robot between them, if you for example had your RoboRIO destroyed in a semi-final and wanted to put something on it in order for this not to happen in next events.

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Since we’re both Israelies and I’ve already touched upon that in the previous reply, I’ll introduce another variable into the equation which is the Poland delegation. For example, our school’s delegation to Poland (which includes 11th graders) this year ended on the day before ISDE2, and that’s the reason why we broke our usual ISDE1+3 registration from 2017 and 2018. Since schools plan this a long time ahead, I’d suggest looking into it and factoring it into your build season plans (for example, if all of your CAD team is in Poland during the week between comps that will probably render that time useless in the aspect of redoing the robot).

Another thing is matriculation exams and matkonot (pretty sure that there’s no English name for that). Most students need to prepare for these, and although I’d rather go to a competition than study to an exam, that’s another consideration to think about.

All in all I don’t really think that no-bag would affect the time between district events in Israel that much since we already had the 6 hours no-bag time, but rather the time before the first event and between the 2nd and the DCMP, which is pretty late this year.

Go early. We tend to get the robot done ahead of bag and tag.


It’s hard to say for me personally without the event schedule out yet (yay NE District). I think event location and timing is important with or without the bag. However, I think that it depends on what kind of team you are which events you should go to. High resource teams who are prepared by week 0 will have a big competitive advantage week 1, while teams who maybe are a little less prepared but who work really hard during comp season may have better luck with a week 2 or 3. The teams who don’t hold themselves to some sort of schedule (team set stop build to allow for tweaking and driving practice) are going to struggle no matter what event they go to, while the teams that excel year after year are going to continue to do so. So the people who this really effects are some of the mid-tier teams. But I think it will depend on the specific team and their culture. (Sorry, probably not the answer you were looking for lol)


We probably won’t make any changes to how we pick regionals. Not going back to back will be more important than ever, though.

Likely still has to do with location of the events in travel radius.

Week 1 is good (to get a jump on teams) except for major game/field/ ref kinks being worked out. I would only do week 1 if I knew we were doing another event.

I think week 1 and week 3 would be a good combo. A chance to jump and a chance to iterate before everyone is polished in week 5.

Even a back to back early would be good 1-2 or 2-3 same reasons , a chance to iterate and a chance to have in game experience before many teams do. I always highlight teams coming in with recent game experience as their performance tends to jump. We went jumped 40 in rank in back to back and every time rise in rankings in the second event. The first event is basically our practice.

We’re very unlikely to make any changes, since the event selection problem hasn’t changed for us. Since we’re in NC District, we have a very limited ability to select events the make sense for our team in terms of travel time and expense. We’re located in east-central NC, so traveling four hours to get to the Asheville event is just not practical. We’d barely arrive Friday night before the pits closed. We tend to prefer the Wake and Guilford events, which are much closer to us, but demand for these and the lottery system have meant we could only go to one (Guilford) the past two years, with our other event being over two hours away at Pembroke. NC has added a new event this year (bringing us to five district events) so that will take some of the pressure off of Wake and we might be able to do two events closer to home.

You’ll notice that none of this has anything to do with Bag Day or the lack thereof. We go with what we can and the timing falls where it may, this year as in the past.

We are looking at a week one (GNR) and a week 6 (7RR) - but not because of anything to do with ‘post bag’. These are two that have been on our bucket list for some time and this just happens to be the best year for it.

I really don’t anticipate much change for our team (4607) in the post-bag world. Juat more ‘business as usual’ from here in Becker, MN.

For us, our “Home” regional is Week 2 this year–so that’s a given, and we likely won’t try for Week 1 or Week 3.

From past experience, we don’t like playing Weeks 5 or 6 if it can be avoided. That puts us gunning for Week 4 for our second event.

You’ll notice that bag/no-bag doesn’t play into it much if at all.

For any teams doing 3 events (3 in-district events for example). I think there’s a new trade off between going to that 3rd event and staying home in the workshop. It used to be you got valuable pit time and valuable drive practice at a competition. Now the trade off is

Stay at home: Good workshop time with robot, mediocre drive practice at home
Go to 3rd event: Mediocre pit time with robot, good drive practice at a real competition.

I think we’re still leaning towards a 3rd event for the drive practice but are any other teams going through the same decision process for 3rd events now?


There’s an interesting dilemma for teams with good iteration practices

There is a strong incentive to attend late events to maximize build time. However, if a lot of these teams focus on late events, then the earlier events are going to be less competitive, so they would be easier to win.

Ultimately, I think it should depend on a few factors that vary between teams (besides logistics):

  • Which event you’re more invested in winning: your local district/regional or DCMP/champs
  • How good is your team at getting it right the first time?
  • Are you in a district or regional system? Dropping the ball at your first in-district event can severely hurt DCMP/CMP qualification chances, while regional teams get clean slates at their second and subsequent regionals. For regional teams, winning a first event takes the pressure off the second event and gives more leniency for iteration in anticipation of CMP.

Depending on funds, and if i were king for a day:

Phase 1: Build a hacky robot. Make it reliable and functional, but not polished or perfect. It plays to a certain strategy and that is all. A very specialized robot. Drive it like crazy, practice for hours. Make the students of the drive team avoid eye contact if you see them in the wild, ie, not driving. Go to a week 1 event. Win?

Phase 2: Have students watch matches religiously. Maybe send a student or two to regionals far away. Have them copy and clone the very best of ideas and strategies.

Phase 3: Implement said ideas into the second robot you were building on the side, that you continue refining and building during basically the next 5 weeks after the “old” season would have ended. Have just some basic functions done during the “old” build season. You now have twice the build and drive time.

Phase 4: Go to week 5 and 6 events. Win, hopefully.

I’m not sure how this helps teams with a limited budget though, as this rough plan will make upper mid tier teams crazy good, and who knows what the poofs will look like at worlds.


Likely the best mindset for any given decision post bag is to assume that the status quo is best. Don’t overthink it and so something dumb.

Get your robots done week 4 of build and compete wherever it makes sense per your usual metrics.

Then for 2021 use your 2020 vision to make informed post bag choices.


We will still be planning to go for our events weeks 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 of the season, as we have done in the past.

In an ideal world where all weeks are equal in convenience/cost etc… I’d go with week 1 and 5/6. You build a robot to qualify for champs and get a feel of the game. Then you have five weeks - essentially a whole build season - to either add functionality, fix things that didn’t work great, or build a completely new robot. Then you use your last event as an extended practice session before champs.

We plan to have the robot done by normal bag day, use the time between “bag” and the first event purely for tuning (we’ll see how it goes), and go for the most space between events without travel being horrendous.
For us we’re planning a week 1 and 4, then hopefully the week 6 DCMP. Back to back competitions I never like just in case something goes wrong.

Just to make sure i’m not mistaken. Detroit is actually Week 10 this year correct? So would your schedule be 1,3,5 for districts, 7 for dcmp and 10 for detroit?

I wish FMA DCMP was week 7 instead of week 6. It would make it easier to schedule and choose a week 5 district event.

I do like the idea of just maintaining current strategies and using this year to learn and then adjust

Yeah this is true, forgot Detroit was an extra week later this year. Extra week to prep after MSC!

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Literally just forgot districts was a thing.

wait… 5 regionals? oh yeah. Worlds. But that makes it 4. oh wait. district team…