Spectating from Home and the Value of the Fourth Robot at Championships

What an amazing championship the 2016 Championship was! The matches were intense and close, the Einstein presentation was definitely the highest quality it’s ever been. And sure, there are things to be disappointed with, like the prevalence of red cards and the Einstein tiebreakers, but overall it was an incredible championship.

I was spectating from RIT this time, and I got to watch the (surprisingly high quality!) streams of all the divisions and watch all the New York teams excel this year. New York had more teams in eliminations than any other year in my recent memory, and 4 teams on Einstein!

It was exciting, despite my inability to help either of my teams beyond feeding 5254 some information on some of their alliance partners.

Both my teams ended up in eliminations, with 20 joining 27 and 1114, then selecting 5924 in Carver. 5254 was selected by 971, 1323, and 193 in Hopper.

Both teams played in their first quarterfinal match, and then after a less-than-desirable outcome, were switched out for the other robot on the alliance.

20 was assigned to play defense, but then when 27 tipped over, 20 switched to offense. Because of 27 being tipped over, they were unable to win the first quarterfinal.

5254 began the match by missing a crossing in auto, then made a shot and had difficulty moving after that, so they got on the batter early in the match and stayed there. It turns out the battery that was put into the robot was of poor quality. The alliance won the match anyway, but it was closer than we would have preferred.

Both of these alliances had some issues and immediately swapped out the third robot to deal with them. Whether this was the right decision or not is arguable, as 20 and 5254 could have potentially lent some firepower to their alliances, but it does highlight an interesting side effect of the 4-team alliances at the championship.

At a regional, if your third robot is having issues, the immediate recourse is to work on fixing them or dealing with the issues as best you can. At championships, many alliances deal with issues by just swapping the third robot out. This can be incredibly effective, like as with 987’s alliance in Hopper 2015, where swapping in 2512 had an immediate positive effect on their scoring abilities. It can also be detrimental.

Teams at championships need to take into careful consideration whether the third robot is the problem, or if there’s a greater problem with the alliance.

Championship strategies are awesome, and I hope to have as good a handle on them as 1678 one day where we can repeatedly get to Einstein like that.

*Note: This is not meant to say that our captains in 27 and 971 made the wrong call switching these teams in, just that I’ve noticed a common thread of teams being trigger-happy to call in their 4th robot, and these were two potential examples that hit close to home.

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