Wild Card Spot Reform?

Hey guys. I was think about regionals and I started questioning the wild card system at regionals. A little background on me is I’ve never been to a regional or participated in a regional but I felt like the current wild card rules aren’t the best. Honestly, playoff advancement doesn’t define the best robots. Many good robots don’t win. In the district system, we seem to honor those that don’t do well in playoffs to an extent by doing a district point system that gives teams points based on qualification performance, alliance selection, playoff performance, and awards.

Why don’t we do this for the regional system? Say there is a regional where there are 3 wild card spots (I’m assuming this is very rare). Is it reasonable for the 2nd pick on the finalist alliance to get that 3rd wild card spot when the third alliance captain that’s been shooting 5 high goals all day doesn’t qualify because they were knocked out in semis? (Just an example. I’m not basing this off of a real life situation)

Now using the current district point system wouldn’t work perfectly for regionals but we could reform it. Obviously, the district point system tracks point throughout the whole season. This regional point system would be for only that regional. I’m suggesting we come up with a regional point system only for wild card spots. Not any other qualifying spot. So some regionals, it would be useless since there are no wild card spots. It would be most beneficial for later regionals.

So what are your thoughts? Any ideas to add onto this? Anything that you’d change? Has this been discussed before? I’m not sure and I’m eager to see responses. Thanks.

At Montreal, there was 4 wilcards. My team was captain in the finalist alliance, we got one. Our 1st pick got RAS, and our 2nd seed got the 2nd wildcard. The 2 remaining wildcards were thrown away. The wildcard system is weird, but i don’t see how they can make it fair. From your point, the 2nd seed on the winning alliance is less deserving to qualify than the finalist captain, so should they also change that?

I agree with that but I don’t think that should change. I think it stinks that essentially, the 24th best team has a better chance at qualifying than the third best team but winning is important. Keeping the 6 spots to qualify as they are is fine. Now with the current district system points, playoff performance can be about 40-50% of total points at an event. So the second pick on the finalist alliance will be high ranked in the wild card list but I think that we should design a system that allows like the third alliance captain who ranked 4th and was a semi finalist to rank higher than the second pick who ranked 23rd and was a finalist. Does that make sense? So I think the 6 current spots are fine. Reforming wild card spots would hopefully make the quality of robots at worlds better without changing the current qualification system too much.

You ever hear what happens when you assume?

(BTW, I’m a really big fan of “If you don’t know the system, you need to learn it before you can change it.” So don’t be afraid to come on out and experience a regional–SoCal in March/April is pretty nice, if you can find space in one of the events out here.)

2-3 wildcards is pretty common in late-season regionals. I can think of two offhand that saw the entire finals field heading for Championship. (OC had a winner with a previous RCA, a double EI, and a double RAS, sending all three finalists. Arizona West had two winners with previous wins, and one of the finalists was HoF so they passed the slot on to their partners).

Now, if you go past finalist… Which semifinalist do you give it to, the one that lost to the winner, or the one that lost to the finalist? What about the RI team, or a consensus team that should go because the audience/teams want them to go?

All members of the winning alliance should quality, in order to add incentive to be on a stronger alliance (preserve the power protect). However, I think that wildcards should be based on seeding beyond that. The seeding system isn’t perfect, but IME the top few seeds generally deserve to be there.
At SVR, for example, the top 6 seeds all definitely deserved their spots. I didn’t keep track beyond that.

Thanks for the information. I’d love to go to a regional in the near future (now plausible with my license and my car). Basically, I’m thinking there is a better way to do this system. It’s like reading a game manual and saying “that rule is dumb. Wouldn’t it be better if they changed to rule to do this instead”. I think you might have me misunderstood on what I meant by a regional point system. I’m not a fan of going down the alliances based on playoff performance for wild card spots (Captain, First Pick, Second Pick, Back-up). I want to create a system that is based more on qualification rank and alliance selection rather than strictly on playoff performance alone. Did I answer your questions at all? I basically just want a system that focuses on 4 variables like the district system rather than 1-2 variables like te current system for regionals.

At all three regionals we went to, Central Valley, Sacramento, and Silicon Valley, the entire Finalist alliance also qualified for world’s, so it does happen, at least in CA, somewhat frequently.

I think that this is a slippery slope. When you tell the third robot of the Finalist alliance that they won’t be receiving a wild card, and someone who didn’t make it to finals will, you’re basically telling that team that they didn’t really contribute to the alliance much. Imagine being that 3rd robot, and you played amazing defense, you even cheesecaked your robot for the alliance, but FIRST says you don’t qualify because you weren’t as good as some other captain who lost to your alliance in semi’s. I just don’t think that’s fair to that team.

I’m not saying that the current system is flawless, and there are amazing robots at every competition who don’t qualify for world’s, but I don’t think taking away the wildcard from a Finalist robot is the right thing to do.

This honestly isn’t a bad idea.

Using a district points-like structure to determine wildcards instead of the current system rewards teams that fall in the semis, but performed well in qualifications.

This would likely still include the finalist alliance captain and first selection, but may then fall to the semifinalist alliance captain who performed best.

This could help teams like 2791, who lost close sets in the semifinals at two different events.

Just gonna throw out this crazy idea perhaps we could bring teams into champs based on something similar to the district ranking system instead of the waitlist…

With what you said, should we then change the current district system? It’s very plausible for a third alliance captain who lost in semis to beat out the 2nd pick of the finalist alliance for one of the “next-in” spots based on district points. The third alliance captain that lost in semis will probably beat out that finalist 2nd pick most of the time.

5th rank: 19 points (based on 55 teams)
Third captain: 14
Semi finalist: 10
Total: 42

23 rank: 14 (based on 55 teams)
15 pick: 2
Finalist: 20
Total: 36

Assuming alliance selection goes based on rank (which never happens), the third alliance captain who lost in semis wins by 6 points over the finalist 2nd pick.

Would this the ban district teams from qualifying in this new waitlist system or would you figure out a way to make a mesh district regionional ranking system for wildcard spots? Sounds like a cool (and complicated) idea.

I kinda like this idea as well…

I think the goal you’re trying to achieve is to send the best teams to worlds, which I agree with. Clearly the winning alliance gets their ticket punched, but I do think the opposing alliance should be first to get their ticket punched with wildcard slots.

At NY Tech Valley Regional the entire finalist alliance got wildcard slots (or pre-qualified). Now if there were wildcards left unused, I think there needs to be a way to disseminate them to other teams. For the cost/expense of a regional, to leave golden tickets behind is reprehensible, IMHO.

The other idea worth floating is, to let the judges determine who gets the extra wildcards. FIRST is not all about the robot, and perhaps this would allow them the opportunity to reward a team for their off-field performance as well (eg, RAS, etc).

I get what you’re saying, and I agree with you in spirit. A problem, however, is that you are missing the entire point of the wildcard system as FRC implements it.
The point is that teams that are not the annual juggernauts are still able to go eventually. Remember, Worlds is a lot more than just the robots.
Like it or not, this is why it is like it is.

I personally would not bar district teams from getting in under this sort of system, I feel like the championship should have the best teams so if a team has more points then others throughout the world they should get in despite not qualifying through their own district. Obviously there would have to be some way to level the field between regional and district events and then the issue of teams that compete at multiple events. I personally think that you should use a teams best event, but others may very reasonably say use the average of all events or only a teams first event.

I personally have never been a fan of the waitlist system and have talked to teams who got in based on the waitlist and say they don’t think they deserve to be competing at the championship.

I’m not sure if I made this clear or not so I’m going to clarify. I’m not trying to get rid of the current 6 qualifying spots. Those are fine. I’m not trying to eliminate qualifying based on Chairman’s, EI, or Rookie AS. The current wild card system is based on robots. I’m trying to keep it that way with this “new” system. Going beyond robots is very important. I’m sorry if it seemed like I was trying to eliminate that :wink:

Now, if you go past finalist… Which semifinalist do you give it to, the one that lost to the winner, or the one that lost to the finalist? What about the RI team, or a consensus team that should go because the audience/teams want them to go?

Is this why the wild cards never extend past the finalist? A solution could be disregarding eliminations and giving it to the team that ranked the highest during qualifications, and is still unqualified for Championships.

As a student on a team who got in on waitlist last year, I have to disagree. Had we not gotten in on the waitlist, I doubt my team would even have gotten the chance to make it to champs. For me personally, it was touched me deeply to be in such a huge stadium with other kids interested in STEM like me, and for many students I think experience is very valuable. Without the waitlist (or the future double champs) many teams wouldn’t get that chance.

As a district-to-regional transplant, I’ve been compiling my thoughts on the matter into a proposal for using District Points to award wildcards. I have attached it, feel free to give it a read and tell me what you think.

ProposalforPoints-BasedWildcardDistribution.pdf (112 KB)


ProposalforPoints-BasedWildcardDistribution.pdf (112 KB)

I like that a lot. It basically says exactly what I want and adds some more. I’m glad to said something about district teams qualifying at a regional. I feel like 6 spots should be given to regional teams no matter what. It seems to be a lose lose situation when a district team wins a regional. The district loses one of its “next-in” spots and regionals get to send 1 less regional team.

I’d personally like if district teams could not qualify for championships through regionals and would automatically generate wildcard spots at regionals if they are on the winning alliance or won a qualifying award.