Predictions Week Four: Ramping Up the Play

As more and more teams learn how to efficiently stack, both scores and the demand for cans are on the rise. While the autonomous battles have yet to come to fruition, more alliances are aiming to cap more than three stacks. With more effective scoring machines, stack height and can quantity are going to continue to grow in importance. High level alliances are already posting can scores in the neighborhood of 100 points. With more teams starting to unbag for the second (or even third) time this season, expect these trends to continue. Even the teams competing for the first time have had three weeks to watch and learn the tricks of the trade. They shouldn’t have quite the same struggles of learning how to use the human player station or coopertate that early week competitors had.

Large quantities of capped three and four stacks will still be viable at many events this weekend. Only a handful of alliances have assembled that can put together four or more stacks worth 36+ points each. The alliances that are capable of that have been borderline impossible to stop to this point, and the only way it seems likely at this point is through self-inflicted mistakes from the power house. Two teams each posting a single towering stack is often not enough to overwhelm a well constructed alliance. Aside of the top tier teams, which generally operate in isolation, it’s hard to identify any one particular strategy as ideal. Game plans are heavily dependent on each robot’s exact capabilities this year. Do you work to combine or enlarge stacks? Do you simply cap whatever your alliance partner built? Do you have space by the alliance wall to noodle your bins? The answer varies from alliance to alliance, and even match to match.

Bayou Regional:
Perhaps to the chagrin of some of the visitors from Texas and Florida, the 2015 Bayou Regional is anything but an easy win. Outside names make up most of the headliners, with 1477 and 3310 looking to improve on early exits in Dallas, 179 aiming to advance further than they did in South Florida, and 2383 hoping for their second banner of the season in what’s already their third event this year. The Ninjaneers have shown the most so far, but if the kinks can be worked out of the other three machines they will be forces to be reckoned with. If they fail to improve enough, there are plenty of teams ready to pounce. South Florida finalists 3502 and defending champs 3937 are effective landfill stackers that could be key cogs to a collaborative alliance. Local favorites 2992 and rising Texas power 4587 will be making their debuts as well. If 3847 or 3959 can raise their consistency at the human player stations, they could be factors as well, but they have a ways to go before they catch up with 456’s ability to create station-fed 36 point stacks. As it stands, Bayou is open for the taking. Some team will have to take their game to the next level if they want to walk away champions.

New York Tech Valley Regional:
While a few teams are coming in with regional or district events under their belt, the majority of teams at NYTV will be competing for the first time in Week 4, then again next week at FLR. The favorites are 2852, one of the two teams coming into Tech Valley with a regional win. While 2056 got most of the hype for the GTRE last week, 2852 was no slouch, seeding second and putting up big scores in the eliminations. 263 won South Florida with a consistent stacking game, and could repeat their success again with the right alliance partners. 195 had an uncharacteristically weak first event, but they are no strangers to in-season improvement, winning their second event in convincing fashion every year since 2011. They have a busy Thursday ahead of them, but they could be one of the strongest stackers at the event. The harsh winter impacted some of the traditional New York state powerhouses, such as 340 having plenty of work left to do. 20, who’s been on #1 alliance at every regional they’ve attended in the past two seasons, may have the most practice out of the bunch, and may stand the best chance of the traditional regional contenders. Don’t count out 1923, 2791, or 3044 on the right alliance either. The former two both have the potential for strong autonomous and co-op scoring, but may need help to maximize the value of their bins.

Waterloo Regional:
Few events have the reputation of concentrated awesome quite like Waterloo. Despite a bite sized team list with plenty of youth, the average quality and names atop the podiums at the regional the past few years have been incredible. There’s no escaping the fact that 1114 and 2056 are attending, both coming off of dominant performances in Greater Toronto events and with a history of taking home banners from Waterloo. Already proven capable of placing four six-stacks in a match, if Simbotics can guarantee at least equal footing with the cans, they are the definite favorite. While the odds of OP Robotics keeping their regional streak alive are good, they will have some fierce competition. 1241 is coming off a finals appearance against OP last weekend, and is already competing for the third time this season. 4039 and 1285 are representing #teamtether, but MakeShift is unbagging for the first time this season and Big Bang will need to step up their game. MakeShift’s apprentice 5406 is looking to start their history on the right foot, as well. Ultimately, it’s 3683 that may stand the biggest chance to topple one of OP or Simbotics, and finally claim a banner of their own.

Wisconsin Regional:
Many of the higher profile teams in Milwaukee this weekend either struggled (compared to historical expectations) or are just now making their season debuts. In spite of this, the field of 60 teams should have no issue forming a top notch playoff roster. 1732 has won this events three times int he past, including the past two seasons, but will need to find a way to contribute more than they did in Rock City if they want to add another victory. Similar stories for two other frequent contenders, 1714 and 2169, though MORE Robotics features a proven can snatcher. It was a trio of lesser known teams that enter the event as champs, with 93, 2526, and 4818 forming a potent alliance that won Lake Superior back in week 1. It was the first ever regional wins for Crimson Robotics and The Herd, and the first since 2008 for NEW Apple Core. All three should have roles once again in the playoffs here, but 93’s ability to cap towering stacks and steal bins from the step may have the most universal appeal, and will put them alongside 1675 as one of the best specialists at the event. The first outings from 2338 and 967 should also be monitored closely, as well. Ultimately, it looks like the favorites are a team that hasn’t been able to secure a title in the past two seasons, 2826. Wave Robotics’ design is as ambitious as ever, and their 3-tote and 3-can autonomous is a sight to be seen. If 2826 is ready to play right away, they will be difficult to stop.

(FIM) West Michigan Event:
With the deluge of young teams in Michigan over the past two seasons, it’s rare to see a district event with as much veteran expertise as West Michigan. Combine that with the young talent, five of the rookie and sophomore teams have already experienced playoff Recycle Rush, and you have an event that stands poised to continue the strong legacy of FIRST in West Michigan. Despite the deep field, only 2054 and 2137 have emerged as champions so far in 2015. Both are effective human player stackers that should be in the mix again, and Tech Vikes’ grab everything autonomous gives them a leg up on most of the field. A number of other typical contenders in Michigan will be attempting to best short runs at their first outing of the season. 85 and 4967 combined forces on the #2 alliance at Kentwood, and may have pushed to the finals (or possibly even topped 2054) if not for a dead robot and low score in SF2. 1718 has a dual-stacker designed for the landfill coupled with a double-can grabber in autonomous, but they were outed after an autonomous collision resulted in their robot flipping in the Waterford quarterfinals. 1918 and 107 are both effective stackers from the loading station that should be ranked high or early picks, though 107’s alliances have found the consistency to escape from the quarterfinals in either try this season. 4003’s conveyor belt stacker and 3-tote autonomous led their alliance to the finals at Howell. There’s enough scoring machines here for at least a handful of high quality alliances to form, which should make the playoff tournament quite the event.

Arizona East Regional:
The original WCD goes mecanum - 60
Likely favorites - 1538
Trying to recover from lackluster openers - 2846, 3158, 4183
AZ contenders - 842, 1492

Central Illinois Regional:
Dominant at their last outing- 2481
Quick stacker and potent autonomous- 2512
Hoping for an impressive debut - 111, 1756, 3928

FRC Festival de Robotique - Montreal Regional:
Leading the pack- 2590, 3360
GTR-E veterans needing to improve- 3387, 3986, 3990
Contenders making their debuts- 1075, 2626, 5095

North Carolina Regional:
Played in the Palmetto finals- 1533, 2059, 4073
The only other team with playoff experience- 3506
Looking to establish themselves as a regional power- 4828

Sacramento Regional:
Battle tested elites- 118, 1678
Sky high potential, but perhaps some opening night jitters- 971
Could be the glue that holds a stacker alliance together- 3250
Looking for the right partners- 701, 1671

St. Louis Regional:
Chance for their first regional win- 1658
Strong showings in Arkansas - 1208, 1706, 1986, 3284
Trying to build off their previous outing - 931, 4329

Virginia Regional:
Hoping to improve from week 1 performances- 346, 3489
Opening their season as favorites- 384, 1731, 2363
Brazilian threats - 383, 1156
Should be in the chase - 1086, 1262, 2053, 5279

(FIM) Great Lakes Bay Event:
Numbered 5000 or higher- 26/40 teams
Standish finalist alliance - 5603, 5509, 3570
#1 seed and Kettering champion- 314
Historically good competitors looking to earn points and reach MSC- 910, 2619

(FIM) St. Joseph Event
Way above average Joes- 3620
Previous finalists- 70, 469, 2959, 3452, 3688
Landfill contributors- 2474, 2767

(IN) Purdue Event:
Fresh off victory- 234, 135, 3856
Tuning up after strong outings in Indy- 447, 3948, 5188
Machines with plenty of mileage- 829, 1024, 1501

(MAR) Seneca Event:
Tall stackers that self cap - 25, 1218, 1640
If finals were won on averages, they would have claimed South Florida - 2016
Looking for the right alliance partners - 203, 2729, 5684

(NE) UNH Event:
Getting a late start- 126
Young guns- 4564, 5122, 5265
Continuous improvements - 319, 1058, 3467

(NE) Rhode Island Event:
Hometown heroes- 78, 5112
The CT contingent- 176, 237, 558, 1099, 2067, 2168, 3719
Building momentum- 125, 1100

(PNW) Central Washington University Event:
Automated machine could lead to an automatic victory- 4488
Steals cans and rains noodles - 3238
Quality scoring machines - 1595, 2930, 3588
Playoff components- 2147, 4061, 4125, 4450

(PNW) Shorewood Event:
Trying for their first win without the Skunks- 1318
Great chance for banner #1- 3663
Previous medal round finishes- 492, 2557
Young guns- 4911, 4915, 5495

A very busy thursday indeed…

Thanks for the mention from all of us at Team 3238!

9 teams from the Tech Valley Regional will be competing at FLR next week. I wouldn’t call that the majority of the event because it is a quarter of the teams (9/36).

How does LF know that we are continuously making improvements…I mean they aren’t wrong…

Looking forward to competing at UNH. Thanks for another mention!

Thanks for the mention, everyone here at 4828 is ecstatic about it!

To do justice to that prediction, we are going to have a VERY busy Thursday coming up, but we are prepared.

Looking forward to seeing all the Week 4 events!

Thanks for the analysis as always !
To add to this list,

1421 - always comes up with a unique design, 30 point climber was amazing in 2013, lots of awards !
364 - previous Bayou winner, really fast lift and always brings an interesting design.
2080 - Made the QF @ Southern Classic
4265 - Secret City Wildbots , great team with many awards.
2973 - Mad Rockers consistently bring good robots

Looking Forward knows all. They have their ways of finding out information.

Like being able to google search for Jay’s Facebook account.


1 Like

Awesome to see 20 on here! Can’t wait for TVR!

I’ll make two additions to the Wisconsin predictions. It seems like 706 and 2062 have solid looking bots this year.

Love that this team got a mention. Definitely one of the top up-and-coming teams in New England, not even just robotwise, but on the outreach front as well.

We’ve already been making improvements to perfect our 3 tote auto for UNH this week on our practice bot. cant wait till people see what our robot can do!

Thanks for the mention for RI (and Reading two weeks ago)! FRC 1100’s definitely building momentum :slight_smile:

I’m excited to see the rest of the teams at RI, it’s gonna be a solid event!

Fun fact about the West Michigan district, the past two years the number one seed (862, 74) have both made it to Einstien. Let’s see if the streak continues…

They? That explains a lot. Stupid me.
Such detailed analysis couldn’t be done by one.
Or could it? If it was one individual, they couldn’t mentor a team or have a job or a life.

Ramp-ing Up the Play :slight_smile:



Arizona East Regional:
The original WCD goes mecanum - 60
Likely favorites - 1538
Trying to recover from lackluster openers - 2846, 3158, 4183
AZ contenders - 842, 1492

Orig. WCD goes mecanum -It was about time, game called for it, it works OK so far, nothing to push around hard. You named every # so far.