The MARtian has obtained exclusive actual footage of Ohio and WV teams battling against MAR.
But, in all seriousness, it’s obvious that the idea of MAR expanding to include Western PA blindsided not only the Western PA teams, but those in Ohio and West Virginia as well. While many users have already posted on Chief Delphi sharing their own opinions, the MARtian feels that the true solution is whatever will ultimately benefit the most teams. The expansion of MAR might enable further financial support from the state of Pennsylvania, but it would come at a great cost to those teams in New York, Ohio, and West Virginia that normally attend the Greater Pittsburgh Regional, as well as the Western PA teams that have close relationships with their neighbors in those adjacent states. With Indiana and Chesapeake already also in districts Ohio and WV teams will struggle for regional opportunities, and the state of New York will finally be landlocked by districts, further choking their teams from additional plays. The “WOW’ proposal has been discussed for a while now, and upon looking at the geography it might make more sense. In the beginning MAR would have to send volunteers out to Western PA to staff the two new districts with the hope that not only will a local volunteer base eventually grow, but team count as well. Nonetheless, even with MAR Champs being at Lehigh since 2013, the team growth in the Bethlehem/Allentown PA areas as been plodding, if at all. It has been stated in the email to Western PA teams that a discussion meeting will be held at the upcoming Pittsburgh Regional, but perhaps discussions should also be held at the Buckeye and Miami Valley Regionals, too, and maybe even the multiple NY Regionals. The MARtian fears that MAR and FIRST HQ is considering solely Western PA teams in this decision, and not thinking about the ripple events it will have elsewhere. At the end of the day, it is up to the community to steer the discussion, and ensure that those with the final say truly see and embrace the larger picture, and aren’t stuck with tunnel-vision fixated on one sole region. Share your comments, questions, and concerns, and get public opinion heard. Comment on this thread, attend the MAR discussion meetings, and speak directly to representatives from FIRST HQ, MAR, and WOW. We also thank the above organizations for their transparency during this process.
With that said, let’s get right into what the MARtian does best: some MARginally accurate predictions!
Just a mere 60 days after the start of the new year, it is time to ring in the 7th season of MAR. Last year, 2 of the 3 victors of MAR Champs were first time DCMP winners, and all of them are competing this weekend. With a fresh start each team has an opportunity to bring home the crown of our district, but they have to run through the gauntlet first. As per usual, the MAR season all begins at Hatboro-Horsham, where teams will be doing everything they can to tip the scale and the switch in their favor. Some robots will still be taking their first autos, while others will be climbing high, and perhaps even bringing a few friends along with them, too. The new addition of Power Ups during matches will add a layer of complexity and show which teams have a true understanding of game strategy. Expect veteran teams to show their status and up-and-coming teams to prove their worth in the Arcade and grab those all important Ranking Points.
- To much dissent, the MARtian labelled **103 **
a Dark Horse going into Hatboro-Horsham last year. This season, the same mistake will not be made. The Cybersonics won both of their district events in 2017, and also took home the Industrial Design and Quality Award. Their truly unique 2018 robot has intakes on both the front and back, letting power cubes effortlessly pass right through them. And with their swerve drive now perfected after its debut last season, playing defense on this team might be as difficult as pronouncing their robot’s full name. But without a visible climbing mechanism in their reveal video, will they be frozen on the ground come the end game?
- It’s hard to believe that **1218 **
did not earn a single blue banner in 2017. In fact, they only made it out of the Quarterfinals once all season. But this time around they plan to bounce back, with a robot that can carry its weight and then some. Sporting handy rungs on both sides of their elevator, watch for team Vulcan to spring their alliance to victory.
- Now a 3-time MAR Champs winner, **2590 **
lost Hatboro-Horsham last year after four exciting finals matches. This season they’ve come out of the gate with a Fury, literally. With a Simbot style claw and a second elevator solely for lifting, can Nemesis pull their alliance up to victory, or will they come crashing down early? Expect to see them rank high if they can get all robots on climbing high to Face the Boss.
- MAR’s 2016 rookie sensations **5895 **
are now in their third year, and picked up their second district win last season. Other than having a Simbot-inspired intake not much is known about their 2018 robot, but with a name like Cygnus, they might just be flying high come playoffs.
ranked third at Hatboro-Horsham last season and was the first pick of the #1 seed, but was unfortunately upset by the #8 alliance in the Quarters. With a stack of compliant wheels on each side of their intake, these snails hope to quickly tilt the scale in their favor once the bell sounds.
- Last year’s captain of the winning alliance at MAR Champs, **1807 **
had their breakout year with their first blue banner since 2009. Let’s see if the Redbirds can keep flight and bring home another gold on Sunday.
- **2607 **
lead their alliance to victory at Hatboro-Horsham in 2017, and want to do the same this time around. They also won Hatboro back in 2015 and made it to the finals in 2016, and will certainly be plundering for another win this weekend.
- **5401 **
came out fightin’ in STEAMWORKS with their best bot yet, ranking 3rd at MAR Champs and making it to the finals at Seneca. Will their 2018 robot Henry have what it takes to finally earn their first win?
- With three finals appearances under their belt, **1647 **
is still on the hunt for gold. They haven’t made the finals since 2015, but don’t count out these Devils once the iron gets hot.
- Not only did **3929 **
round off the winning alliance at MAR Champs last season, but they captained the #2 alliance to victory at Westtown as well. After doubling their blue banner count in 2017, will the Dragons slay again in Power Up?
- **3974 **
captained the #3 alliance to their 4th finals finish at Hatboro-Horsham last year, but missed out of their first win by only 5 points. This weekend E=mCD might just get the math right to finally earn gold.
- The Camo-Bots were in the spotlight after winning Hatboro-Horsham last season, but were nowhere to be seen in the MAR Champs playoffs after ranking 41st. Will **4285 **
be a sight to see again in 2018?
- This weekend’s hosts **708 **
ranked #1 at their district event in 2017, but returned home early after an upset in the Quarters. Armed with a Simbot-intake and an interesting-looking elevator, they hope to be tipping their hats from the winners’ circle on Sunday evening.
- For the first time since 2015, MAR grew in size! Welcome to the district 6808
, William Tennent Robotics, and best of luck this weekend!
- **708 **
is the only team competing at Hatboro that won Chairman’s last season, and even earned one of the two Chairman’s Awards at MAR Champs. However, **1218 **and **5401 **both won Engineering Inspiration in 2017, and will certainly be throwing their own hats into the ring as well.
Outside of MAR:
taking the trip up to the great white north to compete at the Montreal Regional for their first time. They led the #2 alliance at last season’s Montgomery MAR District Event to the finals, and look to bring their first blue banner since 2016 back across the border. However, with the Hawaiian powerhouse 359 and big local names like 3990 and 3360 in attendance, it won’t be easy.
- Fresh off a two-district-win season, **1923 **
is traveling south to the Palmetto Regional. Can the MidKnight Inventors add some gold to their Blackout? They’ll be competing against 3-time Palmetto champs 3824, 2017 Division Champions 125 with their dual lift, Hall of Fame newcomers 2614, and the Dutch cube-launcher 4481.
*]**2016 **is heading to the inaugural Central New York event to throw a Monkey Wrench at the regional, and with **223 **attending as well they will be sure to turn up the Heat. We wish them good luck, as they’ll be competing with the best from Upstate New York (340, 20, 2791, 5254, 639, 191), New York City (694), Michigan (27), and beyond (319, 4253).