Predictions Week 5: On the Bubble

Week four saw an elevation of play in rebound rumble to levels previously unreached. Across many events, winning alliances were putting up huge scores and breaking records. 42 points in autonomous in Boston, courtesy of 30 points from Miss Daisy alone. 113 points put up from the Northville winning alliance. The Waterloo champs scoring 100 before penalties. The Wisconsin champs putting up 98 points two matches in a row, with only a single three point penalty between them. The HOT team reaching double digits in terms of completed triple balances. Daisy already notching their third victory of the season. Wildstang and Beatty pairing together for only the second time in history, and then losing in the finals. 1114 and 111 latching onto partners to aid with balancing. It will take one hell of a weekend to top the action that just happened.

As in many years, the “2+1” (two offense and one defense) alliance structure is the default strategy in elimination matches and is gaining popularity in qualifications. The roles of the defensive bot vary, but the usual standard seems to be the “point guard” on the opposite side of the court. They battle for loose balls and shoot them forward to their alliance partners. In the finals at Boston, 125 gathered directly from their human player and launched them to their offensive via their shooter. A more physical defense method is employed by some teams, attempting to slow scoring by harassing teams as they gather balls or lock them into field corners. Others, particularly when they opposing alliance is unlikely to cross the field, stay on their offensive half and block the ball return to starve the opposition of ammo and keep their offensive machines well fed. With defense on the rise, more fender shooters are beginning to utilize the sides of the key to stay competitive.

Some prognostications:

  • It was surprising to see Raider Robotix go down once in the quarter-finals last season, but now it has happened at both events they’ve competed at this season. Coming off of yet another Einstein appearance, this is obviously not the start to the season that 25
    had planned. The bridge has been a fickle mistress to 25’s alliances in eliminations, and their preference to score from the fender has made them a defensive target. Undoubtedly, they’ll continue the strong scoring they showed in Lenape and it would be shocking to see anything aside of a deep run at Mount Olive. - The last MAR district will make for some exciting bubble action, as many teams try to solidify their spot in the (recently downsized) MAR championship. Mount Olive will host contenders on both sides of the bubble, such as 103
    , 1279, 1923, 714, and 1302. Each of these teams are capable of making a deep run with the right alliance partners, and some will need it more than others (namely the Midknight Inventors and Panthera, who’s finals appearance in Chesapeake does nothing to help them reach the competition at Temple University). But don’t expect established “locks” like 1676, 222, and 56 to go easy on anyone as they try to earn points towards reaching St. Louis. - Despite twice as many points being up for grabs in FiM as MAR this weekend, the bubble is much smaller with more teams already having completed two events and teams like RUSH, 217
    , and 1718 having very little work left to do to secure a bid. Additionally, more teams are competing at third events in Michigan than in the Mid-Atlantic (including major contenders like HOT, Las Guerillas, and NC Gears), meaning plenty of points are likely to “disappear” this weekend. 245, 1025, 910, and 2851 will be some of the bigger factors in deciding the last few qualifying teams, with IMPI Robotics competing at the much more winnable Livonia event. - Livonia may not have the star power of Troy, but it is still shaping up to be a strong Michigan event. Deadly accurate key shooters 1023
    and 3322 will be the prime contenders, but strong qualification efforts from fender bots like 27 and 862 could make things interesting. - You don’t expect many high profile debuts this late in the season, but that’s exactly what we’re getting from 254
    in Silicon Valley. Skyfire hasn’t tread upon the field of play yet, but is the likely favorite at the regional that the Cheesy Poofs have dominated since their inception. - While the Poofs come in as favorites, 971
    and 192 enter SVR as champions. Both teams have already won events in 2012 and look to make things interesting in the bay area this weekend. Consistent hybrid scoring makes them dangerous against any alliance, but both will need better key scoring during tele-op if they want to contend against a 254-led alliance. Both would obviously prefer to be aligned with the Poofs than against them, though. - DC lacks some of the high profile talent that has visited it in years past, but should still be a decently competitive event. 1218
    is clearly the team to beat, having already notched up victories at the Hatboro and Chestnut Hill events, and being one of the best long range shooters in FRC. Their blemish is a lack of triple balance, despite having a pneumatic foot designed to help them accomplish that exact maneuver. If some of the second tier of scoring machines, like 2377, 888, 357, or 1418, can create a triple balancing alliance they may be able to stop the Vulcan Viper. - South Florida looks to be almost like “Orlando part two.” Most of the top competitors from the Orlando regional will meet again, including 180
    , 744, 1065, and 1592. But perhaps the biggest wild card will be Swamp Thing, who played a simple 2 point and bridge tipping game previously, but never pulled off their highly anticipated ramp maneuver. Can 179’s unique strategy tip the balance of competition? Or will the shooters reign supreme? - A lot of teams in Long Island will be looking for redemption after missing the eliminations at the bigger and more competitive NYC event. Namely long time LI power 870
    , who’s 4-4 record in Manhattan doesn’t match their expectations. - Two Long Island teams have already won regionals, but have very different outlooks heading into the event. 522
    will depend greatly on their alliance partners once again, as they can’t score or play a point guard role, and are limited in what they can do defensively by their size. They’ll need to find partners who value their bridge manipulation skill and triple balance if they want to contend again. 358 looks to be one of the better scoring machines at the event, and has a much better chance of controlling their own destiny. - A number of exciting offensive machines are looking to punch thru to gold at Connecticut after falling short at prior events. 177
    lost to the #8 seed in the quarters at WPI. 195, 228, 118, and 176 each took home silver at their previous event. 2168 and 175 were bested in the semis in New York and BAE respectively. Each of these teams should factor into the elimination rounds heavily at this highly competitive event, but obviously it’s going to come down to alliance structure and scouting to get the edge. If an alliance can triple balance, expect them to be the favorite. Otherwise, a slight advantage towards the Robonauts and GUS as potential champions. - Less than 20% of the attendees at the Oklahoma regional competed in Aim High in 2006. The young field doesn’t have much experience overall, and most of the field will be competing for the first time this year. The event may come down to whether some of the teams that have shown solid potential in their previous event, like 1806
    , 1540, or rookies 3937, can elevate their game to the next level. - The Simbots seeding first has been anything but a sure thing this year. 1114
    has had their ranking decided in their last match at both events, and will continue to need strong coopertition scores to reach the top seed again in GTR-West. If 2056 seeds first, it’s likely they’ll select their friends from St. Catherine’s, but there are other contenders waiting in the weeds to break them up. If the two Canadian heavyweights pair up once again, they’ll be next to impossible to stop if their dominant performance last weekend is a sign of things to come. GTR-West could very well be decided during qualifications. - Don’t expect other teams to play quietly in Toronto. 188
    would love to upgrade from their pair of silvers they’ve earned at GTR-East and Buckeye. 772 was the class of Smokey Mountain, and is 14-0-1 on the season. Those two will be the top candidates to dethrone Canada’s kings, but teams like 1241 and 3161 will be factors as well. - Wonder if we’ll see the alliance bridge start to come into play in hybrid. 2056 attempted it during GTR-East, but it wasn’t part of their elimination plan. If it happens anywhere this week, it would most likely occur at Troy.
  • There are two double regionals this weekend, and both look to be heavily tilted towards local teams. Both Minnesota and Dallas had explosive growth in the past several years, leading to sizable but inexperienced events. It will be a golden opportunity for younger teams to step into the limelight and take their first steps towards becoming perennial contenders.
  • 10,000 Lakes should be a wide open event, with no prohibitive favorites. It’s going to come down to scouting and reliability, with a well rounded alliance rising to the top rather than one led by a powerhouse. 2052
    and 2538 both seeded high and captained alliances at Lake Superior (all the way to the finals, in the case of the KnightKrawler), and are looking to build off of their success at their second event. Expect both to be high seeds once again. - North Star has a more competitive top of the curve compared to 10k Lakes, mostly due to the presence of Wildstang. 111
    looks to be the class of the field, and it would be surprising to see them stopped short of the finals. - Dallas East will draw more focus than its counterpart, with the Bomb Squad and Robowranglers headlining the show. The pair won Midwest together last week in Chicago, and 16
    and 148 would love to get back together in the eliminations again this week. That combination would be almost impossible to stop at an event where only five of the 42 teams were around in 2008. - Dallas West is poised to have a relatively level field of competition, with no team capable of absolutely dominating. 935
    does appear to have an edge over most of the other competitors, but 1421, 1296, and 2468 should be able to keep it very interesting. - It’s surprising how few instances of feeding have occurred during autonomous in the eliminations. With hybrid scoring playing such a critical role in this game, more alliances should focus on getting balls to their best shooters. Even instances where teams like Daisy have set up an “extra” ball on the bridge to help them shoot more are rare.
  • Troy is definitely the highlight of the weekend, if not the “regular season.” With the quantity of elite firepower and well designed machines, this event will give us the biggest clue as to how the game is going to be played at the highest level. Expect progressive strategies to be employed, particularly when it comes to ball management in the eliminations.
  • Triple balancing will be a huge factor in Troy, and the alliances that can’t do it will have to learn to defend it if they want to survive. More alliances will try the triple here than any previous event. 67
    , 469, 33 will be top contenders as each are excellent shooters that have balance assist devices, though the Killer Bees have yet to use theirs in a triple balance and prefer to score from the fender. 1918 completed a triple balance at their last event without the aid of a stinger, but is working on adding one for Troy.

Keep your tips and breakdowns coming in!

175, 195, 228, 118, and 176 each took home silver at their previous event.

I think you’re mixing up this storied and legitamitely great veteran team with a bunch of nubmuffins from upstate New York…

522 is going to throw a massive wrench into the alliance selections at Long Island. Does a high seeding team pick them and give up scoring capability? Or do they let a lower seeding team get them and win with triple balances. I very highly doubt that they’ll be left open for the second round.

Great predictions as always!

862 is looking forward to Livonia this weekend!

Ouch… that’s kinda harsh. Maybe I’m just partial because those ‘nubmuffins’ were our alliance captains :rolleyes:

Connecticut is definitely my regional to watch this week. 177, 176, 118, 228 and 195 have all been having a solid season, despite, in large, less than successful regional bids. I can’t wait to see what goes down on the Connecticut field!

16 and 148 are also going to be teams I look forward to seeing. It seems they’re going to be the big dogs on their field this week. Barring some smart playing by the other teams to split them up, we may see Midwest, pt.2: The Return of the 16 and 148.

Michigan is going to be HOT too this week (pun intended). But that’s no surprise. Still, this is arguably the most competitive FiM event since Traverse in week 1. And I’m really looking forward to seeing a lot of great teams hit the field again.

I don’t see this happening actually. Although they are small, I can easily see them go into the second round of the draft.

GTR - West Is gonna be soooooo Fun this Year :smiley:

1718 and 27 actually have both secured bids to MSC already. Both were district chairman winners which is an automatic bid to states.

I’m going to go far enough and say this will probably be the most competitive FiM event ever not named MSC.

Absolutely. Just looking at the team list, there’s enough teams to make almost every alliance look like a division elimination alliance. Troy is going to explode. Explode with robotic awesome-ness.

It is remiss to bring up 10,000 Lakes without mentioning 525. They are a great team and will have a good shot at winning there. Their robot is really solid at shooting, gathering, and balancing.

If they’re in the second round, whomever gets them will be in the finals. Calling it now.

Not to mention they are the defending champs of the regional. My guess is they will have worked out all the kinks from GKC and will be at the top of their game this weekend.

The dynamics of several of these team’s is going to make an interesting competition. There’s some potential rematches from earlier this season I’d love to see happen. All I can say is this is probably going to be one of the most interesting Alliance selections I’ve seen in a while. I truly believe that this year more than ever, the pairings is going to make a huge impact at this event.

Every team at North star with 111 should start writing code now to feed 111. 2151 did at their request for elims, and it made our two iffy 2 pt shots into far more reliable 3 pt auto baskets. If we had known in our qual match with 111 that this was possible, it would have been a very exciting auto.

I’m sure there are numerous feedable Auto teams competing in wk 5. Plan now and stand out as a great alliance partner…

Thank you for the kind words. The main issue we faced at GKC was the variation in ball condition as the event went on. This made a major impact on our shooting percentage as even though we had some of the higher numbers in regards to balls shot, we were struggling to make a high percentage of those shots. We have plans to add a device for testing ball compression and adjusting wheel speed on a per ball basis. If we can effectively implement this device, we will greatly improve our overall game to include being effective in hybrid and teleop to go along with our solid bridge game.

Should be an interesting regional. Lots of work to get done tomorrow.

Team 2861 will be at 10k lakes tomorrow also, saw a lot of robots when we dropped off our but when we left we saw a lot that also weren’t passing their bag and tag inspection? Wonder why? But yes last year it was quite fun to see 525 win, would have been better if we would have been with you, but besides that good luck this year and make sure you stop by the 2861 pit to pick up your FIRST Robotics Chap stick that we give out every year, make sure to get there early because we only brought half of what we brought last year which was 1500 tubes.

Week 5 is gonna be so exciting! Can’t wait for SVR! 12.5 hours to go!

Sorry, I meant no offense to any other upstate NY teams, I was trying to make a joke about 2791.

Oh, no, no offense taken. I thought you were making fun of 174 :o