Return of the Elevators or Low Robots?

I’ve heard and read a lot of discussions since kickoff, and I’ve noticed that two of most popular ideas are elevators or low and fast robots. I see pros and cons with both, but which option is more viable?

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Elevators for sure. With a low robot, you can’t really score on the higher level of the rockets. However, if I was a rookie or low resource team, then I definitely would go for the low and fast robot idea.

The best answer? Whichever option you make work best. I’m sure you will have teams who are able to use both well.

This is a great discussion to have… With your team.

In my experience CD is not a great sounding for early design questions. Most of the greatest minds of CD are often peculiarly quiet during this time of year (for good reason).


Consolidating the answers, it really depends on your team’s resources and priorities and tolerance for risk. I expect that a playoff alliance with no elevator or other rocket capability on the field will be a rare thing. On the other hand, a low, fast robot is better if you don’t have the resources to build an effective, working, and stable rocket bot in time to get enough drive practice with it.


you only get a ranking point for a complete Rocket, so you need to do mid and high.

A team that can’t do a high-hatch or cargo will be depending on others for their rank.

I don’t want us to be one of those.


Yes, definitely

Or: will that win Einstein?

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An alliance of low robots will not win Einstein. An alliance containing one or more low robots could.

We had a sense of deja vu thinking about methods for the lift mechanism, and we’re assuming it was the same for others as well. I can see some rookie/new teams trying to at least go for the middle level of the Rockets, maybe with an arm that can reach up to the middle.

Yup a low bot might not get you that high RP but a fast bottom scoring bot will be invaluable to an elimination alliance where it doesn’t matter anymore.


I think there will be a large, large contingent of teams that will go “hey, low resource teams should definitely not build elevators just for the rocket, but we need it to be competitively successful this year”. Recognizing the good advice of staying simpler, but deciding it doesn’t apply to them for some reason.

Many of these teams are going to be handily defeated by a robot incapable of raising discs or even picking them up off the floor. Some of these robots will win events as the top seed.

The ranking point sure is cool, but:

  • You need to complete six full cycles to achieve it. This is certainly doable by one robot, but a nontrivial challenge, especially with the odd angles you have to score both the balls and the discs.
  • There are plenty of available goals at the ground level. It’s rather unlikely you will run out of locations to score until deep into district championship events.
  • Generally these kind of tasks are attractive because you can complete them on your own, unlike endgame RP. But do keep in mind that the endgame RP this year can be achieved with barely two robots, as long as you can reach level 3.

At high levels, you may even be able to get away with only one elevator robot on the alliance. There’s only 8 scoring locations off the ground; a single robot can get most of those.


Another advantage of a low robot: you can make a ramp-bot to allow your partners to get to Hab level 3. With that capability you will be a big asset to an alliance.

Awesome idea. My quick sketch shows a robot with a 17" long frame perimeter that ranges from 18" tall at the front to 9" at the back can basically BE a ramp with a solid roof and a couple of fold-or-slide outs. Just drive onto the center of level 1, have an alliance partner drive up you onto level 3, and BOOM! RP.

Edit: This should even be quick enough to be useful in elims.

Umm, 12? Granted, cargo should be an easier thing…but it’s still most of the way back to the loading station.


I thought that at first, but I think he’s working this like a four stroke engine, so a “full” cycle means both a hatch cover round trip and a cargo round trip.

I don’t think having a strictly low hatch bot is a viable option. To maximize sandstorm points you should do as many cargo ship hatch panels in auton as possible, so really after that you only have 4 hatch panels to place.

If a “low” robot elects to manipulate multiple gamepieces, and maybe stick to both low hatches and cargo ship cargo, they might be a more valuable third pick, much like the combined switch/exchange bots from last year.

I’m confused why you’re dismissing a low hatch + low fuel robot as a third pick. The low goals aren’t just “extra” points or worth fewer points than any other goal.


I’m not dismissing a low hatch AND low cargo robot, just saying that a strictly low hatch robot will quickly become irrelevant.

Robots that can place low hatches AND low cargo (and maybe cargo ship cargo as well) will be valuable third picks imo.

I will emphatically disagree with this statement. There are 8 low scoring bays in the cargo ship, and 4 low scoring bays between the 2 rocket ships, for a total of 12 low scoring bay opportunities.

It would be optimistic for most regional and district event playoff alliances to score 3 pre-loaded hatch panels. That leaves 9 low scoring opportunities that could have hatches scored on them. And you would want to avoid use of 0-pointer null panels if you aim to maximize alliance point ceiling (a bit of an over-simplification here).

Those up to 9 panel placements would be a challenging feat even for second pick, playoff-worthy teams. If I was a captain or first pick who could handle both game pieces to a similar level of efficiency, I would LOVE to pick a specialist who is better at one piece as my third partner. I could just shift my focus to scoring the other piece to complement.

If the choice was between a bot that could score 7 hatch panels, versus one that could score 2 hatch panels + 2 cargo throughout a match, I’ll probably be choosing the hatch panel specialist to join my alliance (sandstorm + end game being equal).

Currently I foresee an even split between the number of event-winning alliances that have two tall/one short, and one tall/two short. There is likely very little to no advantage to having two successful tall bots on your eliminations alliance.