Will Defense be Effective In 2020?

After watching an extensive amount of matches this weekend. It’s safe to say that most of the Chief Delphi predictions have leaned different directions, for the different regionals and districts. Going for foul potential areas, and defense has been effective strategies for many teams(PNW especially)

Teams with instant intakes(indexes inside of bot, not while intaking balls) saw value when they can sneak by bots and collect from the opposing loading station. This was even more successful when teams forced positive feedback loops, keeping the area plentiful when going against average alliances.

The same argument has gone for defense this weekend as well. Many teams have seen value playing for the foul rather than the core objective of the game. For instance, teams were actually playing defense between the trench and the target zone. They were either shutting down teams or picking up limitless amount of fouls. This tango has led for very good defense bots to find their niche. Teams like 5803 this weekend, have found significant value in recognizing the shallow pool good defense robots, amongst the sea of poor defense bots.

Possibly in 2020, the best defense bots will find their way in: denying opposing alliances from loading(same side as shooting), coming back from safe zones(loading and target), preventing climbs, and maybe even auto(just drive fast into the trench). I’m interested to see what the other districts’ and regionals’ opinions are. I think there’s arguments for many sides. But the empirical data has led me to this conclusion. Especially from the Pacific Northwest.

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Defense was extremely effective last year mostly due to the limited space on the field to move, this year there is a lot more space to move around especially if you can go through the trench. My team built a tall bot, but even then there is so much space for the robots to move around each other. Defense can be an effective strategy if you have a powerful robot, a smart driver and if you can find the sweet spot that shuts your opponent down.

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I feel another thing that made defense so effective was the general need for precision and proximity to targets. Maybe it is just us, and I do not want to jinx anyyhing, but I feel we are more successful at quickly aquiring and scoring playing items than we were last year. Of course, our robot design is completely different.

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The thing I noticed at GSD was that it was two-fold. Quals was riddled with tech fouls, determining many matches and reeking havoc. However, in elims they became valuable; shutting downs teams like 1519 who couldn’t score from the protected zones and determining matches for the better. A climb in defense bot will have its niche in elims if it can avoid the endless penalties

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Defenders need to play smarter than I’be seen week 1…they need to go after Trench shooters prior to then obtaining protection by being fully in the trench. The ones that just hang on alignment line seem to waste all game doing so as teams just shoot over them. To play defense the defensive team needs to disrupt shots the trench is the best place to wreak havoc

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At MCC it definitely appeared to me at least in elims as well as a few quals matches that defense was effective if played smart. 7762 and 8380 in particular played some really solid defense that really contributed to their alliances making the finals.

Timing is going to be much more important this year to defenders. I think we will see a larger gap between the average defense team and a great defense team this year

But others, who didn’t play defense correctly, rolled up as many as 7 tech fouls (an individual robot!) in one game.

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Yup! I definitely agree that if a team isn’t playing smart defense, it ends up being a detriment to their alliance. However when played smart, it can make a world of a difference.

Defense was really what helped us win the PNW Clackamas Academy event. 6465 played fantastic counter defense that allowed us to shoot more 3 pointers, and came in clutch by delaying and ultimately preventing a climb from 1432 during semis.

In scouting for robots we like to give a rating of how effective a driver is, which helps determine whether or not they might be able to play controlled, penalty free defense

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Defense is proving moderately important in the NC Wake event. Some is not doing much good, but when effective defenders are on the field, it is very useful to an alliance. Right now, the #1 alliance has just won the event and their third pick was a bot chosen for it’s defense (Carrborobotics) and they’ve done an excellent job of slowing down the other alliances’ PC scoring without drawing fouls. It’s ensured that their alliance partners can use their own scoring to get to endgame ahead by a solid amount in points and then employ their climbs to win.

I see lots of mention of ‘smart’ vs ‘average’ defense. What makes defense ‘smart’?
My perception of defense bots are to not push but more of blocking offense bots from getting to point B. The rules are harsh on defense bots (especially G21/pins).

Sometimes the best way to do that can be pushing.

But where would you push them to? Trench, Loading, Target are all penalties on defender if you push opponent into them.

1 nudge can ruin 2 seconds of lining up or a stream of 5 balls from even getting in. you can also push them away from safe zones, if they don’t ever reach the safe zone then they aren’t safe.

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If the robot has a turret with auto-aim?

turrets will also have to adjust the RPM of the shooter wheel and that nudge can still be enough to stop at least one ball, even 254’s turrets aren’t that perfect.

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Exactly. Any nudge will cause a reduction in efficiency. A continuous push lateral to the goal is even better. Plus, most teams don’t even have turrets. The best might, but that doesn’t mean pushing, bumping, nudging are useless or even bad.

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Defense was huge in finals at PNW Glacier Peak. Some penalties lost them the second match but the blue alliance effectively limited the two swerve bots on the red alliance in both matches.

An effective defense could be to die near the opponents safe zone in hopes to draw penalties while blocking them :wink:

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