Success of the #1 seeds at the Championship Event

For reference, you should read Karthik’s original thread here: The gist is that #1 seeds usually win their divisions at championship. In 2001, 2002, and 2003 3 #1 seeds won, and 2 #1 seeds won their divisions in 2004.

Now lets look at this year.

* 1 #1 seed won their division
      o Archimedes #1: 245, 217, 766
* 3 division champions were #2 seeds
      o Curie #2: 175, 33, 108
      o Galileo #2: 56, 254, 64 (Championsip Finalist)
      o Newton #2: 330, 67, 503 (Championship Winner)
* 2 #1 seeds were division finalists
      o Curie #1: 337, 1510, 85
      o Newton #1: 910, 135, 537
* 1 #1 seeds were division quarterfinalists
      o Galileo #1: 1089, 1280, 365

Anyone have any ideas why the #1 seeds didn’t do as well this year as in year’s past?

one thought i had was that the divisions had so many good team this year, the alliances had a good number of teams for amazing alliances other then just the first 2 being power alliances. It also was all about the third pick this year, that was the breaker for many alliances.

I think it’s all about compatibility. Not to slight any alliance at all, but I think at the championship event there are so many good teams that when alliances are picked, people aren’t just picking the powerhouse teams, they’re picking teams they’re compatible with. Seed #2 may simply have chosen more compatibly than their opponent in Seed #1. Then you take into account which seeds play each other at which point in the finals…this could be a factor in survival and essentially sets Seed #1 and Seed #2 on even ground.

I think that this year being number one seed didn’t mean what it did in past years. When you have three robots per alliance, the individual contribution of each robot is less. Therefore, a lot more of the ranking came down to who your alliance partners were in the seeding rounds than to just how successful your robot was.


I have to agree with Matt Leese. The most important thing in this year’s game was scouting. The seedings this year totally depended on wins and loses. So if one team is paired with 2 other bots which can’t cap, you lose matches, so your seeding goes down. That is when the scouting comes in play. I think it was team 66 in Curie Division who kept track of how many each team capped each match. At the end of the qualifying in Curie Division 108 was ranked after 60s… but according to team 66’s scouting system 108 was 7th in capping most tetras. Team 175 (BUZZ) and team 33 (Killer Bees) took advantage of the scouting system and picked 108, and went on to winning the Division.

… As I pointed out before, Triple Play was about teamwork, scouting and making relationship with other teams.

Wow…my thoughts almost exactly. In past years, one robot could dominate the score during seeding matces and get ranked well. This year you had to have at least one good alliance partner. The seeding matches this year did not mean nearly as much as in the past since there were 3 robots per alliance.

There are a couple of factors that caused the lessened success of the number one seeds.

As Matt pointed our earlier, in three on three matches, it’s very hard for a single team to control their own destiny in a match. There are five other robots out there who affect things. In the long run, this will average out, as you’ll have matches with good partners/opponents, and matches with bad ones. But with only 7 qualifying matches, in a division with 85 teams, teams were victims or benefactors of their schedules. So, many of the “best” teams did not fair very well during qualifying at the championship.

On Friday afternoon, I predicted that each division would be won by the highest ranked “elite” team. If one of the really strong teams had a good schedule, and seeded high, and was able to pick another “elite” team and in the second round get a “very strong” team, this alliance would be hard to beat.

Take Archimedes for example. After Friday, there was a general consensus that there were about 9 dominant robots. But when it came to alliance selection time, only 3 of them ended up picking. The other 6, were the first 6 teams selected. So who’s going to have the best chance to win? Clearly the alliance with two dominant robots.

So after writing all that, I was about to hypothesize that the #1 seeds did extremely well during the regionals. I believed this because, I figured with the immense number of seeding matches this year at the regional level, a dominant robot would always end up rising to the top. I was wrong, here are the stats:

Of the 2005 Regional Champions

  • 15 were #1 seeds
  • 12 were #2 seeds
  • 2 were #3 seeds
  • 1 was a #4 seed

That’s a good success rate for the #1 seeds, but not as high as I thought it would be. Further study is required. Alex’s point about the importance of the 3rd partner is very true. This game could be won or lost on that final selection.

I’m not sure about the other #2 seeds this year, but in Galileo, the #2 seed (Team 56 Robbe Extreme) declined an invitation to join the #1 seed. They then went on to win Galileo, and were Championship Finalists. Did any of the other #2 seeds also decline? With so many strong teams in the division, it was easy to decline and still have a dominant alliance.

Maybe, as FIRST grows, this is a preview of how the Championship will be in the future – so many strong teams that any alliance, 1 through 8, can win it all.

Yes, but keep in mind that the other two division winners were #4 and #5. I assume that this means that the Archimedes #1 lost in the semis, and I know that the Curie #1 lost in the quarters. The national champion was a #5. It looks about even to me.

Actually, Team 175 did all of our own scouting. We developed our tetra counting system at the Chesapeake Bay Regional. At nationals we had imputed the data into a team members PDA and we were able to rank it using that. Yes, when we picked 108 they were the highest scoring team left.

We did find that in this game alliance partners do make all the difference. Our first alliance pick (Team 33) was the highest scoring robot there but they had had quite a bit of bad luck and they ended up seeded around 11th or so. On the other hand, many robots that weren’t as good were seeded quite highly because they had good luck.

I think that teamwork and strategy were very important. I don’t really know about how much it played into the 2003 or competitions before that, but I think that this year, it was much more important than last year.

When strategy becomes more important, outcomes are much less predictable. This makes scouting more difficult, as you not only need to judge the robot on its performance, but also on whether it has the potential to improve its performance significantly based if it follows the direction of your team.

This years game had more to do with luck in alliance pairings than any other year did. Thanks to the three team alliance.

I saw many kinds of “bad” robots that tipped or didnt do so well in their own matches gain high qualifying points thanks to their alliance partners.
But, when they were forced to pick a team in the finals, they were underqualified in scouting, and did bad.

It happens. We should be happy for those who get into a position where they are forced to learn. They will hopefully identify strategy as a weak point and work to correct it. When teams learn from their mistakes, FIRST is doing its job. For those that know their lessons and are effected by something like this, sorry to say but it just happens.

I personally liked the 3 teamed alliance because it adds to the unpredictableness of the game. It certainly is harder to work with two other teams, but then again who ever said that FIRST was going to make it easier for us? :slight_smile:

GO 1403!!!

Penalties played a very big part of the competition this year. You could have a domiant robot but if you’re saddled with a clueless partner (or are clueless yourself) it doesn’t matter how fast it goes, how high it reaches or how quick it stacks.

Of the 2005 Regional Champions

  • 15 were #1 seeds
  • 12 were #2 seeds
  • 2 were #3 seeds
  • 1 was a #4 seed


According to the FIRST websitre, the winning alliance in Grand Rapids was the 4th ranked alliance of Teams 107, 66 and 93. They defeated 5th ranked alliance of Teams 288, 888 & 85 in QF2.

This year was probably to most exciting adn equal playing field that FIRST has ever had, and hopefully they’ll keep the three team alliances because I think it opens up the door for a lot of stratgey and situations that wouldn’t have been possible with 2 vs 2 alliances.

The comment about acrcamedes with the 9 dominate teams is pretty much true to a degree as far as outstanding teams. I believe the 6th seeded alliance beat the #3 seeded alliance, and the #7 seed almost beat the #2 seed. There is no way that anybody could say team 173, 1071, 191, 1592 were not dominate teams when it came time for eliminations and any of those bottom 4 alliance captains could compete with the best of them.

Koko ed is right about the penalities being really big in nationals this year, if you even got a 10pt penalty in a lot of matches this year it seemed to me like they made a difference more times than not… In our quaterfinals it got really aggressive and luckily 4 disqualifications (2 per each alliance in 3 matches) balanced eachother out, and although my team’s alliance lost I think all 6 teams agree we’re happy it ended in a penalty free match with a 7pt difference, so if that #2 seed made just 1 mistake and got a 10pt penalty they would have gone home.

We had the pleasure to be alligned with former world champions in Atlanta and I believe all three teams were regional champions this season or at least finalists and Triple Play really stumped all three vetran drive teamswith adult coaches on the field and pit support stationed all over the place to discuss what they saw during the previous match.

I think there are four reasons that contributed to the worse-than-average showing at nationals for the #1 seeds. Two have been mentioned already, but I’ll repeat them.

  1. Three teams per alliance lowered the importance of a good robot. (already mentioned)

  2. Three teams per alliance made the qualifying a little less reliable this year. (alread mentioned)

  3. This to me is the most important reason: lack of variation between robots and no single dominant strategy. In past years, there was generally a single dominant strategy that only a few teams figured out. If these teams didn’t qualify #1, they would usually be picked by the #1 seed and then roll through the eliminations.

This year, virtually every good robot did the same thing and it was all about driving, efficiency, and (let’s face it) a little luck on the timing. What do I mean by luck on the timing? During the final 4 in Atlanta, most of the matches ended with each alliance having practically the same (very high) number of tetras. The team that won was the team to be in the right position during their scoring cycle that they ended up with the last tetra on top in a key position. This was very similar to the high-scoring football games where you hear the announcer say, “whoever has the ball last is going to win.” Sure there is some strategy involved in getting the last one on top, but it appeared that the teams in the finals were generally playing very similar strategies.

  1. (not yet mentioned) Statistical variation. The performance of the #1 seeds in the eliminations is going to fluctuate a little year-to-year. Some of this year’s performance might just be simple statistical variation.

This isn’t true. The 4 winners all relized that it didn’t matter how many rows you had just as long as you out capped your opponent. This is why defense was lacking in the finals too because when you didn’t score they got more than you.

we did like 175 and 33 basically from the start as number 2 seed we knew we were getting either the best capper as our partner or the second best soo we went by how many tetras were scored per match by the teams and the #1 seed wasnt one of the top two and lucky for us we were able to get team 254. i hope theirs no hard feeling between us and 1089 for that. and i have not heard of anyone else turning the #1 seed down i heard 173 turned somebody down on archimedies but im not entirely sure