Alliance Picking Consideration

What are some things that you put into consideration before selecting the perfect alliance or denying alliance invitations for the elimination matches?

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Scouting is key!

At one tournament in In the Zone, we had an issue with the code and lost all of our matches. We fixed it, and did well in our last match, but we were up against two of the best teams at the comp. We were picked as a third pick by the second seed alliance, however, because they scouted and knew we fixed our issue. We got to the finals and qualified for state.

If you do scouting well, you’ll know which robots compliment your own design, and which robots would be the best to work with in eliminations.


Definitely scout with multiple people. Most tournaments are too big to be covered by one person in a timely fashion. Also, don’t assume that the first seeded alliance is the best option. It’s okay to deny a highly ranked team because things can go wrong for good teams and less skilled teams can get lucky match schedules.

Use your best judgement as well. If someone says their autonomous is “somewhat consistent”, don’t just believe them because teams will try to put their best foot forward and make themselves seem better than they actually are. Make sure to ASK them questions about their robot. (Sometimes jank bots can perform well). Lastly, ask them about skills. If they can score high in skills, then they can probably drive well in matches.


I second scouting. Sure you can just pick the top ranked teams, but then you are running your success on luck. You might pick that one claw that wiggled its way up to a high spot. Or more likely, you’ll pick a robot that doesn’t complement yours.

As an extreme example, imagine you are a wallbot (robot that walls off scoring zones of the other alliance). You prevent the other alliance from scoring in any way during teleop, but you can’t score yourself. Now imagine you pick the second highest ranked team available, and oh no, they are also a wallbot that can’t score. Now your alliance’s best chance is to tie, and the other alliance will probably still score during auto. So you lose all your theoretical matches. Whereas if you scouted for a robot that would compliment yours (one that could score), you would have won the imaginary competition.

In a less severe example, lets pretend you are a traybot. You can make stacks of 8 and are decent at the low/mid level towers. You can’t reach the top tower. Depending your strategy, you may want another traybot to dominate the field, or you may want a DR4B bot who can place in the top tower to control the bonuses. Either way, you want to choose your strategy and not leave it up to random chance. And scouting lets you see which bots are the best at what you need.

Also remember that low ranked robots might be the best for your alliance. They could have been broken or missing a part (one you might be able to lend them). They might have just had a bad schedule. Or their bot design is more supportive and doesn’t win easily without a good alliance partner (that whole schedule thing).

Something else that is good to remember is how well you work with other teams throughout the event. You want a partner who not only has a good robot, but an auto that won’t smash into yours. You want a team who will follow strategies and who will give good suggestions. If you hate the people on your alliance, you’ll have a bad time during matches.

When scouting, look for robots that do their tasks well. And look for robots that would compliment your robot. Look to see if a bot looks broken or if their drivers are any good. Can they reach all the towers? How long does it take them to place a cube? Do they play defense? Do they get pushed around? What is their largest stack each round? Did they knock any cube stacks over? How good is their auto? What colored cubes did they go for? Etc.

Finally, remember that scouting is for more than just picking alliance partners. Its useful for matches. It lets you know what you are up against and if you should change your strategy, expecially for auto.


if u have a team that u played with (not against) and yal dominated together I would probably look into consideration in asking them


Does anyone have a scouting sheet they could share?

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Their pretty easy to make. Just open up google sheets or excel and make some categories to score based on a small rubric and/or quantitative data. I would suggest (for categories):

Type of Robot
Highest Stack
Max amount of Cubes Held
Stack on top of stack (Y/N)
Stack Deployment Speed
Stack Deployment Cosistency
Highest Possible Tower (Scoring) (L/M/H)
Highest Possible Tower (Descoring) (L/M/H)
Scoring/Descoring Speed
Intake Speed
Driving Skill (Scoring)
Driving Skill (Defense)
Match Results (Win:Loss Ratio)
Autonomous Points (for each autonomous)
Autonomous Consistency

I would say strategy but that’s kinda hard to put into a numerical form

Also, there are a lot of categories here and there are definitely waaayyy too many to be able to scout every team at a competition if you do all of these. I would honestly do like half of these. This is literally almost everything I can think of.


I think you should watch teams play then do one you like


Along with everyone saying scouting, I usually make a list of teams and stuff they can do. It helps for planning matches and forging alliances. Though some people are like “nah m8our robot is tippity top secret we won’t tell you anything” to which I say well we’re not picking you.


if you have the manpower, I recommend physically interviewing each team about their bot, but if you can’t really spare the humans it takes to complete this, you can do what I do, which is basically keep your eyes out during quals, and make some notes of the best teams for you, then in that break between quals and elims, ask each team you think would make a good partner.


So one thing that I always do, especially at smaller more local comps, is try to get to know people. I know several people fairly well from a robotics standpoint in my state. Personal connections are in my opinion one of the best ways to find great alliance partners that you can work well with. Also side note, never feel like you have to pick a certain team. You are the captain and you got there for a reason.


I have become our teams official diplomat and spend a good first half of qualifications interviewing all the teams on stuff.


I find that just writing about a robot is more effective than writing in a specific premade grid. Just write what you think on the robot and go with that.


But what time during an event would you have time for scouting? When you got picked by a team that is somewhat complement to your robot, do you risk to deny the invitation and hope that you can pick a more suitable team that isn’t already picked?

For those of you interested, I made this a while back

Could you make it public Mr. Killer Bean

What do you mean?
Also have you seen killer bean?

Wait I think I know what you mean. Here’s a copy of it not made with my school email