Watching Week 0.5 and Week 1 events was interesting seeing teams test out Stronghold and make a go at competing in a very different game than the previous few years.
Things that bothered me:
- Teams shooting from space.
Why in the world would teams design to shoot high goals from just random space? There are 2-3 logical places to shoot from: The batter, the outer works, and (maybe) the corner near the spy box.
- The batter was the most obvious one to me and many others. You can get extremely close, be hard to defend, and have a consistent hard stop to line up your shots. Watch this video of the Waterford District with 67 (the captain) running low goals and 33 (their first selection) consistently hitting that batter shot.
- The outer works are a protected shooting location, meaning when robots are in contact with the outer works, opponents can’t hit them to knock off their shot without incurring fouls. They are, however, far away from the goal, so they can be difficult to shoot from for that reason, and there’s not a lot to use to consistently line up with, so you may need some sort of targeting system in place.
- The spy corner is similarly protected as the batter, however teams can get right in front of you and try to block you when you shoot from there.
- Teams not getting breaches.
I remember watching a really strong team at an event make a conscious decision to go challenge the tower instead of cross one more defense to get the breach in qualifications. They didn’t have the tower captured, and they had a sizable lead in the match. Getting the final weaken made far, far more sense than challenging in this instance because it gave them the extra ranking point. Get the easy ranking points! Rarely should a match go by without a breach on one side or the other. It’s really rather easy to do for almost every robot I’ve seen as long as they have two moving robots in the match.
- Lack of defense
In eliminations, every alliance should be playing defense at this point in the season. Good defense caused so many upsets this past weekend, and could have caused more. The #1 seed at Hatboro-Horsham and Mt. Olive both were upset by smart defense. The #1 seed at San Diego was taken down by the #8 seed in quarterfinals due to defense. Additionally, given the option to play defense on one robot or two robots, focus on one robot. I watched Palmetto finals, and saw 2614 trying to play defense on both 179 and 4451 simultaneously. Both of the shooters on that top alliance shot from space (they were very good at it, but they shot from space), and could have had their high goal scoring greatly diminished with smart defense, but 2614 was getting pulled in both directions, and while they definitely slowed down the power-scorers on the #1 seed, they couldn’t take it all the way.
Things that impressed me:
- 3683’s play at GTRC
I watched one match in qualifications at GTRC where 3683 secured a breach, then started playing defense on 188 such that 188’s alliance wouldn’t also secure the breach. It changed the way I thought about qualification matches quite a bit. 3683 left when it was time to challenge and hang. They won the match, and 188 did not get the breach by just one weaken.
- The return of 177 and 341
177 and 341 had lackluster 2015 seasons, after having exceptional 2014’s. I was happy to see both 177 and 341, traditionally powerhouses, sieging these towers with exceptional machines. 177 won the Waterbury District Event as the #1 selection with 558, while 341 did not come away with a banner this weekend, despite being the #1 selection at Hatboro-Horsham.
- The field
Despite a plethora of complaints on Chief Delphi about the Chival de Frise’s breaking and the low bar fabric being removed, most of the field elements are holding up surprisingly well considering the crazy mechanisms teams build to do these tasks.
I’m excited for the next few weeks, as well as 20 and 5254’s debuts at the New York Tech Valley Regional in Week 3!