Winning Alliance Strategies

I am a Strategy Mentor posting for first time. I have been trying to predict what the overall robot role breakdowns will be of the best alliances that will be winning Districts, Regionals and beyond. I have thought of 3 alliance templates that perhaps may become common strategies seen in winning alliances. I’d like to know if others agree that these will be winning combinations and also would like to hear other combinations that the community thinks will be effective. All three types assume three robots that climb, somebody that effectively controls the color wheel and an effective combined Auto game.

Type A:
Long Shooter - Retrieves from loading station and makes shots from the DJ booth (brilliant reference!)
Forward - Stays on offense, retrieves loose balls on floor (from long shooter misses + feed forward overflow) and scores them in high goals.
Defender - Plays disruptive defense against the other teams best robot wherever that makes the most sense (a whole topic should be dedicated to the details of that)

Type B:
Trench Runner - Retrieves from loading station and shoots from front of trench. Hopefully makes most of shots.
Forward/Forechecker - Stays on offense, since should be less misses on floor, spends most time aggressively disrupting opponents loading station to try and force loose balls rolled on floor. Steal those balls and score high. Obviously must not take penalties.
Defender - Plays disruptive defense as in Type A.

Type C:
Elite Defender/Chucker - Alternates between defending close shooters and servicing loading station. Whenever 5 balls are loaded (from opponents misses or own station), cross the line and chuck the balls into the offense right corner. The idea is to flood the other side of field (preferably right side) with balls.
Two forwards - Have 2 forwards vacumming up the numerous balls on floor and rapidly scoring high points from wherever is most effective. Triangle and front of trench are options if defense is fierce.

I think scenarios like the above 3 makes more sense than having 3 bots makes long cycles from the loader to the goals. Lot’s of wasted time in transit. I am curious what other people think. I fully understand that there will be matches in early districts and regions that will be chaotic and will look nothing like the above. This post is more about the idealized alliances that teams might be striving to be a part of.

Thank you


My advice as a now 7 year Strategy Mentor and 6 year scouting Mentor is to simplify it.

You won’t know what you have until after Day 1 of your first competition. This is the performance expectation for your team. This will wildly vary once you get to the end of Quals on Day 1.

It was obvious to me last year with two rockets the “winning combo” would be TWO Rocket +L3 bots and a good Cargo scorer. This was the basic makeup of all regionals I saw. You need two to avoid defense (with one defender)

This year there can be up to three defenders… So I would not not worry much about “robot types” rather what improves your chances against three defenders if the other alliance were to put up a score on you early. The better you can counter that strategy the better your alliance will be.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

― Sun Tzu, The Art of War


How often do you think we’ll see an alliance have all 3 robots play defense?

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Like any sport, you waste their time and frustrate them into fouls , while ahead then if they break you and go back to scoring 1 for 1 … you win. Control the pace

The “choke point” is the single goal…think about it

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I don’t think we will see all three defending the entire match, but it could happen if they are all mid cycle.


Don’t forget about there all offense strategy. I think we could definitely see teams winning events by focusing on out cycling their opponents at all times.


That is interesting, I never considered 3 defenders when creating this topic. I know in qualifications it is hard to convince teams to play defense because they want to put up numbers to be noticed by scouts. In eliminations teams will do anything to win, so coordinated defense becomes a thing. I kind of doubt there will be three defenders, but maybe a super elite long shooter will want to pair with 2 defenders that can significantly suppress the other side. Especially if the 2 defenders can force misses and pick up loose balls. Thanks for the suggestion.

Any more ideas? I know I learned so much about advanced strategies the last 2 years as gameplay evolved and we were fortunate enough to be paired with some elite teams at States and Worlds. I’m hoping to anticipate some of these things sooner this year to get a jump on things in Districts.

Strangle the control panel PC feed at key times , all about “delay” . Guarding the trench which is “not as protected” as other areas. Basically forging a low vision game into a frustration is valid and then you can win. Play defense hard by player stations, play smart away.

People are severely underestimating the vision aspect at far end in this years game . Defense can and will thrive.

We toyed with this, but saw the big advantage as coming from having two-three climbing bots in qualifiers, rather than something to switch to if you gain a lead. If you have a clear advantage in climbing, so that you know that all or most of your alliance can climb, and that the opposing alliance can’t, then lock them down in the middle game and win in the last 30 seconds. That said, the high scoring potential in the middle game makes this a bit harder to play, and climbing is something that has got a lot easier for most teams over the years.

Hi Boltman,

It’s been a while! Hopefully this message gets through - I don’t think my last few have gotten through. I’m still trying to get the hang of this new version of the website. When my nephew was over during Christmas he said the ChiefDelphi updated their look so I guess it was just me!

Either way, hope you are doing well - looking forward to discussing this year’s game with you! I was never too big on Star Wars but the game still seems interesting enough. Also figure since I’m having trouble sleeping and found my way on here that I’d take the chance to get involved in a good conversation with you!

Now I don’t exactly have the pedigree that you do with your years of being involved with a team and my years of visiting this webpage sometimes and going on to watch the odd event - but, hear me out. You’ve mentioned 3 teams playing defense if they can take the lead early in the game. I’m not so sure about this idea, doesn’t really seem to click with me is I guess what I’m saying. If I’m reading it right we’re saying if the teams can score faster than their opponents, they’ll stop scoring to play defense on their opponents? It also seems to me that no matter what the game is most of the top shelf teams really seem to like sticking to playing offense, which is what they’re good at anyway - seems fair! Now what I think could happen is more like - if a team has the lead, they might send over 2 of their robots to play defense, but only if they think those two teams slows the others down so much that the one “elite” offense bot they left can keep the point gap. That way it just, like you said, creates a ruckus and makes it likely for the other teams to take penalties. Then maybe towards the end of the match if they don’t really have many balls anymore, the offense bot comes over to steal balls or hit robots. I didn’t read the rules over very well yet so I’m not sure but I guess what I’m trying to say is: If none of your robots are trying to score points, you can’t expect to score any points.

And when it comes to my memory of any world champion events it almost seems to be that there are 2 or 3 types of alliances that show up real big every year.

  1. 2 Offense, 1 Shutdown Defense
  2. 1 Offense, 1 Half and Half, 1 Defense
  3. 1 Allstar Offense, 2 Defense (who can score a bit as well)

And really when we’re thinking about it winning strategies should all be talking about this type of thing I think - the world champs right! That’s what everyone is in here trying to do as far as I know. I’m starting to go on too much though and I should really be getting to bed. I can hear Lyn wondering where I am. Just before I go though I’ll leave you with a matching quote from a book with a similar name.

“I like thinking big. I always have. To me it’s very simple: if you’re going to be thinking anyway, you might as well think big."

– Donald Trump, The Art of the Deal

Best Regards,


Hi Again,

Just before I go I wanted to say this preview panel they’ve got on here now is real handy!

Anyway, night everyone!

Best Regards,


That HAS happened before, notably in 2017 if an alliance figured that they could go 3-rotor and then play prevent D (lack of time for 4th rotor). This year, I could see it happening if an alliance got Stage 3 Capacity with time to kill before the climb and their opponents were still in trying to activate Stage 2.

So don’t rule out an alliance switching it up to play all-out defense–but at the same time, I don’t think it’ll be common except in early quals before mechanisms are dialed in.

If you do end up playing all out D you have to make sure it’s 1v1 x 3 instead of 3v1 or 2v1 or risk getting called for G22 (shutting off parts of game play)


I personally think Type C will be the most common, have your two best scoring robots grabbing power cells off the floor for scoring and have a trench bot cycle all the Power Cells opponents score into your high shooters. This starves the opponent of power cells, and I believe most games will be decided by number of cycles.
If the opponent has to do a full field cycle and you have a half field cycle, more power cells go in for you.

If I’m ahead and I got ahead by scoring, why would I stop scoring to defend. If i stop scoring and go all defense, every point you make puts me in a worse position. As long as I can keep scoring, I will.

Now for to the other side. If you were scoring and I got ahead, then your only choice is to out score me. Shifting to total defense gives you no chance to do that.

The only way I see this strategy working is if the scoring conditions changed. My 3 robots were out scoring your 3 robots, but one of mine broke down. I might take both of my remaining robot to defense, but I have to think that the loss of the one robot will allow you to overtake me.

I don’t think all 3 robots on an alliance will be playing defense simultaneously, but I could certainly see each of the 3 robots trading off defensive duties as the situation and game flow decrees.
Kind of like a pick-and-roll, but in reverse.


Here are the main offense-based teleop roles as I see them.


Sometimes I miss the Spotlight feature


G22 anyone?

While I would not even try this without the verbal consent of literally every single person on the alliance what about an active defender on your side of the field shooting ball into the opponents lower goal? assuming the opposing alliance’s primary offence is comprised of forwards not only could you starve balls atleast on their scoring side they would only gain a +1 per ball scored rather than a +2 or +3 where your offence can make up the difference. Also you would gain back those balls entirely in possession though the human station (Again this is a strat with little thinking behind it and i would never use it without 110% agreement wiht the alliance)

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