I know that placing cubes in the scale is the main focus of most matches, but what should switch bots do? Our robot this year can’t access the scale, so I’m thinking of plans we could use for qualifications that don’t involve that. What switch bot strategies have you guys seen in week 1 matches?
Currently, I plan on either defending our switch while filling vault or attacking their switch while denying them access to the scale. Since we can’t climb, I’ll always attempt to get Levitate unless an alliance member can lift us for a triple climb.
(For the curious, our robot will likely be able to place multiple cubes in the switch during autonomous. Of course, that strongly depends on our auto system actually working )
Just in case you missed this, and for the benefit of those who did, note that after enough cubes to tip the switch (one is enough), extra cubes in autonomous will not have any effect on autonomous scoring.
Once auto starts, you have to stay a cube (or so) ahead of the opposing alliance to keep ownership of the switch, so the extra cubes WILL give you an initial lead and help in staying ahead.
Given the speed of cube scoring in this game, I expect most cubes to be placed (whether in a switch, scale, or exchange) close to where they begin the match, at least until alliances abandon places due to one alliance being so far ahead of the other that further activity on that location not beneficial.
Defense can be done either by getting in the way of the other robots, or by denying them of cubes (moving them farther away from where they want to place them, or in your power cube zone, exchange, or (if you won’t need them) a scoring plate. Another possibility to be aware of is that if the scale is hotly contested, delivering cubes to your scale bot might be able to swing it your way.
As a strong week one switch bot, we focused on maintaining control of our switch, while filling up the vault as quick as possible (that is when we have a scale bot on our alliance) However, we found it a viable strategy to designate the better switch bot to fill up the opposing alliances switch to deny them the scale points if our alliance had no scale capability. An average bot is still able to get the power ups necessary to win.
There’s been some discussion on this topic in a few previous threads like in Week One Observations and 4607’s Strategy Document considers this as well since their robot is primarily a switch robot - but the main roles are: filling the vault, protecting the home switch, and attacking the far switch, which you seem aware of.
Personally I think that the most important thing for a switch robot - even more so than a scale robot - is the ability to adapt to the match as it develops and manage where cubes are. You don’t always need to fill the Vault with all 9 cubes if you also want to have a few cubes on hand to protect your switch, for example, and the force powerup is typically only useful at Level 2; if your home switch has been taken then your alliance is usually doing something wrong.
The twelve unprotected cubes in the platform zone are incredibly important, and typically the alliance that controls the majority of the unprotected cubes will win a battle for the scale. As a switch robot, your low profile gives you an advantage to be more maneuverable on the field, so try to take control of the 6 unprotected cubes on the opposing side and use them to attack the far switch, denying easy cubes from the opposing alliance.
There are plenty of other strategies out there, and the key to success is to coordinate and communicate well with your alliance partners on the field and carry out your roles effectively. Also, to succeed in qualifications, the most valuable aspect of your robot that you should strive to emphasize is consistency.
You have the right ideas, but you could also try hoarding the 12 unprotected cubes. Either take those for the switch you are filling instead of from the portal or pyramid, or try and shuffle them over to your alliances null zone for your scale bot to cycle. The latter idea would allow a shorter scale cycle time since the scale bot never needs to drive around, and it claims free cubes as your own.
I would say the most valuable thing I would be looking for in a 3rd robot (assuming that generally the top 2 robots on an alliance are both Scale Robots which has been the case so far) is versitility. I would want to have my 3rd robot play multiple different roles including playing defense and attacking the Away Switch, defending the Home Switch and filling the Vault, stealing the opponent’s unprotected Cubes and feeding them into our Null Zone and a few other strategies.
In terms of ideal robot abilities for a 3rd robot, I would be looking for the following in this order:
Well trained/knowledgeable driver (not going to get a bunch of penalties)
Away Switch experience/ability
Home Switch ability
But that’s just me. Most alliances are just looking for a robot that can stay out of the way and fill the Vault quickly. That will change in future weeks.
We concentrated on doing just this in Dallas Regional last weekend. It was a viable strategy and with 118s help and other scale bots, got us to the quarters. The opposition ended up double teaming us on multiple occasions leaving the scale bots free to run rampant for points. We were able to climb due to 118s system. They had experience with our everybot (duh). We had a great and intense regional.
Notice once teleop begins how 7179 and 7319 immediately move to take possession of the 6 unprotected cubes on the opposing alliance’s side, framing both sides with 7319 physically blocking red from taking cubes.
Of course, a more functional opposing alliance would be more resistant to this, but watch how quickly 7179 takes down the far switch and has time to spare to fill the vault entirely.
Watch every match 6933 Archytas played at Granite State, and use their strategy if you can. This amazing rookie team bounced around between 1st and 3rd seed for most of the event, ending at 3rd but becoming 2nd alliance captain when 238 chose us (5687). They really showed how a switch-only bot can win this game, and came very close to winning the event. They were fun to watch and challenging to play against! I can’t wait to watch them in their next event.
Just competed in Utah pretty successfully as a team with a bot who can only do switch/vault.
Secure your own switch. Using your preload + 2-3 cubes at your fence you can have your own switch taken care of for the entire match in the first 10-15 seconds of teleop. It’s really nice to not have to worry about your switch for the rest of the match, and if the opposite alliance does attack you have plenty of time to react! Be careful about using fence cubes that your partners could use on the scale however.
Attack the opponents switch, use opponents fence cubes as much as possible. This will do two things:
put pressure on whoever on their alliance is scaling (giving your scaler an advantage), and
they might have to take cubes away from their stack to counteract which ends up removing vault points from them. However, these always won’t be accessible so once these are gone make portal runs. If their stack is gone (or reserved for vault play) and their fence cubes are gone, your cycles are now much shorter than theirs.
Get very very good at filling up the vault. The less time you spend doing this the more time you can spend attacking. In Utah we could come back from attacking with 60 seconds left in the match and still fill the entire vault with 9 cubes and it made a huuuge difference.
Another quick fix: cubes get used really quickly, especially in elims. Robots will constantly be going back and forth to the portal. I saw a few matches where robots would steal cubes the minute they dropped out of the enemy portal and would stick them in their switch. Not only does this benefit you, but it also wastes more of their time in getting a cube back to their side of the field. Good luck!
If your alliance can’t do scale at all, you need to secure your switch in auto, then attack their switch, then get back to your switch if they are going after it, or back to your vault to put three in levitate, one in boost, and two in force.
and keep your side of both switches ahead a couple cubes.
If you can actually do this, you’ll be picking an alliance, if you don’t get picked by one of the top ranked scale bot teams
both regionals I’ve attended had a few good switch bots, they ranked pretty high.