Alliance Selection - Who do you pick?

You played six rounds of qualification matches and you rocked. Your co-driver was in the zone and you won each match you played by at least 10 points. It’s not like you had pushover matches, there were 14 other teams like you that had qualified for worlds in prior events. You are the top seed out of 28 teams and today is your day. Assume that there are top teams like the Cheesy Eggs, Acmethermic and others. Assume that if you ask, any of the top seeds will join you. Assume that the top 14 teams out of 28 have qualified for worlds.

  1. You are the fifth robot on your team, three of your groups robots have qualified, two have not. Who do you pick and why? Who is your second choice and why?

  2. You are the third robot on a team of three, all of you have qualified for worlds. Who do you pick and why? Who is your second choice and why?

  3. You are the only robot from your group. Who do you pick and why? Who is your second choice and why?

Try to detail out your thought processes on why you made the choices.


First off, who are the Cheesy Eggs? :stuck_out_tongue:

Secondly, I have been a part of a set of 5-6 teams, and I have never expected anyone of our teams to pick the other. Of course we always joke around saying, “If you get first, you got me, right?” but at the end of the day, we picked the team(s) that gave us the best chance to win.

  1. By fifth robot, I assume you mean xxxxE, which, IMO, doesn’t mean much. And for both teams I would pick any team that I felt gave my team the best chance to win.

  2. I’m assuming you mean xxxxC, and same thing here. Pick the best teams.

  3. I assume you mean xxxx, and same thing, pick the best teams.

Now picking the best team isn’t easy. You want to pick a team, not a robot. From my experience, we’ve never had cranky alliance partners, but it’s nice to work with a group of people with great alliance chemistry.

Now, don’t just jump the gun and pick the second place team each time. Pick the best team. While ranking is a good indication of a team’s abilities, it is not 100% accurate.

Lastly, for a second pick, you want to pick a robot that can at least drive around and play defense. If this last robot can play offense and score and wreak other havoc, then all the better. At some events, by the time the second picks roll around, alliance captains are clueless and they just take the next ranked team only to find out that the robot they just picked is a handicap.

Hope this helps,

For alliance selection, personally I would give no thought to whether or not a team is from my school or not in alliance selection. Yes, it could mean more teams go to Championship from my school, but ultimately at each individual tournament I’m playing to win, not playing to qualify.

The robot that does the best job at scoring while complementing my robot’s abilities is the first pick. When teams are very close, these are the general tiebreakers:
*]Seeding: If two nearly even teams are at the top of the list and one of them is an Alliance Captain, pick them in order to disrupt having to play a stacked alliance. This is the only time seeding should come into play.
*]Previous Match Experience: If one of the two teams had a qual match with me that went very well, they get preference simply because good teamwork is nearly assured.

I agree that the fact that a team is one of yours should give you no additional incentive to pick them. Unless you’re asking for an actual team number, I’d say that a robot that complements your team is always first priority.

If I could avoid it, I would never pick a robot that cannot “descore”. It’s just such an important part of this year’s game that any robot without that capability would likely be a hindrance.

Teamwork is huge and plays a part in many of our alliance decisions. If two teams have roughly equal capabilities and we have a great history working with one, that’s the one we want. As a general rule, though, positive history can only break ties (while negative history can almost completely eliminate teams from the running).

And, of course, a reliable autonomous.

I agree, especially since some teams just seem to contribute to victory no matter how their robot works. Driving, scouting, coaching (on the field), and game strategy are decisive, especially when the robots are of similar ability. You see this all the time at the most competitive events. This is why I’m a big fan of real scouting rather than excruciating numerical analysis. Most robots only play 6-8 qualifying matches, which isn’t nearly enough statistical information to make quantitative analysis viable.

I have a small example for you. Last year, 575 had a great year with a robot that was pretty much the same as 50 other machines at World Championship. What they DID have was a solid drive team, a brilliant scout (who picked exactly the right third alliance partner at BCIT, allowing them to win a tournament of 24 teams that had all already qualified for Worlds), and one of the very best field coaches in VRC. Everything has to work right to perform at the highest levels – not just the robot.

If you go into Alliance selection without a list of your favorite 25 teams in order, you are not doing your job.
“Scouting” doesn’t just mean sitting in the stands eating corn dogs and punching numbers into a notebook computer.

Possibly because scouting is so difficult, Vex teams are rather small, and lack of time given at tournaments for teams to discuss their seletion, we are seeing teams picking other teams from their own schools more and more.

  1. You are the fifth robot on your team, three of your groups robots have qualified, two have not. Who do you pick and why? Who is your second choice and why?

we will choose to win. because a qualification must be EARNED not leeched
if our sister team DOES have a robot that we think will make our alliance win, then that WOULD be earned

  1. You are the third robot on a team of three, all of you have qualified for worlds. Who do you pick and why? Who is your second choice and why?

same goes for here

  1. You are the only robot from your group. Who do you pick and why? Who is your second choice and why?

same here, we play to win, not “be nice” and let your sister team leech you
(you might end up loosing because of them)

another thing is “past alliance” friendship
if in the past, you and another team (can be from another club/school) are of similar skill level and choose each other and preformed your best, then chances are, you will choose each other again if you have the chance
from our first year in elevation, Moscrop has been in our first alliance. even though we lost (we were rookie back then), we worked well together and our friendship bonded us all the way until now
im glad we met back then and gained experience together, experience that cannot be gained any other way
im not saying that we MUST pick each other every chance we get, its just preferred because our experience keeps accumulating as the years go by.
it also helps that we are from the same country :wink:

Interesting answers, I was interested to see if other groups were working to qualify the most number of teams for worlds. It looks like that most are taking the ploy to win as many events as possible, and to not support “leaches” from either sister teams or people they know.

We’ve been trying to qualify as many different teams as possible from the Philly area. Recently the team from DCKnights posted three new events (on the same day) two of which are limited to teams that have not qualified yet.

Likewise we are thinking of splitting the March Downingtown event into two events, a last chance qualifier and a Championship.

With 15 teams I’m interested in taking as many roboteers to worlds as possible. It could be one of those life changing events for some of them.

So are we on the wrong track on getting as many teams to go, even if they are not “world class” teams?

So you are saying your metrics for choosing alliance partners includes factoring in a checkbox of “this team has not yet qualified”,
or is it “this other team **of mine **has not yet qualified”?
(Your wording is not consistent enough to be taken a particular way).

Do go so far as to have your PWQ (Previously World Qualified) but non-captain teams decline being picked (by another PWQ) so that they do not take up a qual slot?
Do you have your PWQ teams pick other PWQ teams and then collude with other leading alliances of PWQs to fix the match for the non-PWQs?
Do you create maximally-effective-sized-for-WQ local tournaments that are eligible for only non-PWQ teams?
Do you stack this tournament with your own non-PWQ teams? is one way to go about internally validating your own track.
If you have done an essay there about robotics, please link to it, as I’m sure it would be of interest to some of us on this forum.

Other Alliance selection considerations:

  • Alliance captains are You, powerhouseB, TeamD, powerhouseC:
    If powerhouseB turns you down, you should consider inviting powerhouseC before TeamD, so that if C refuses, they can’t be picked by B. ie Break up suspected alliances by other teams. This is picking to win, or picking to avoid losing to PowerhouseB&C.

  • When your group has 3 teams A,B,C as captains, don’t pick each other so that you have a greater chance of one of your group winning, and winning a qualifying slot. ie Spread your bets. A viable strategy for middle schools that bring 8 teams to a 25 team tournament. This is picking to win for your group stats (or world slots, if none already).

  • Picking to win means you get more practice at a high competitive level. A A tournament has only 5-8 qual matches, often against poor opponents.
    If you get into quarter/semi/finals, that is another 6-9 matches to play, or double the amount of practice for your time and money. If you don’t go to many tournaments, this should be an important consideration. Otherwise maybe not.

If you already have a Robot-skills or Programming-skills tournament win,
is it considered gracious professionalism?, or something else?,
to compete again, go last, know the score to win, beat that if you can, and if you beat it, touch your robot or otherwise disqualify yourself at the end to avoid another trophy.

well thats up to you (and your financial numbers)
right now, its hard to take even TWO teams for us!
each person will pretty much have to pay all of their share
last year, we qualified all three of our teams but we only registered two

  1. we did not have the money to pay $500 to register and shipping fees ($200)
  2. the third team was a “third pick” and we did not think that they will be a “competitive” robot
  3. the scouting, and parts sharing (if we were split between divisions) would be disastrous
  4. all the members from the “third team” still got to go to worlds and enjoy the experience, but they were mainly our scouters and they also did some robot repairs

if you have the money to fund all your teams then go for it!
this will just be a more “intense” competition with winning robots form all over the world :stuck_out_tongue:

General guideline after you have qualified for worlds is to pick the highest ranked non-qualified team.

No, if they are a non-captain team, they go to the dance when asked.

No, once the teams are set it’s play as hard as you can.

Yes, please come to the DCKnights Tri-events on 26 March with a Championship, HS Qualifier and MS Qualifier. We split the November Downingtown Fall Classic into two tournaments to be able to qualify more teams. We will most likely split the March Downingtown Event into a Championship and the March Madness Qualifier. The March date is the last possible date to get to go to Worlds.

I’m the assistant roboteer wrangler on 14 (soon to be 15) Middle School Robotics teams. So we end up stacking any event we go to just by the huge numbers of us. :slight_smile:

And we have done that in early season events to try to get other schools in our area qualified. Once a school has one robot qualified then the other robots in that school get more attention and there is a higher level of excitement to get their robot qualified. We are trying to spread the excitement. When I started with FVC there were 4 robots in four schools in our hour drive time. Today there are over 45 robots in 9 schools in an hours drive from me. If I can get another school, 4-H club, scout group, home school team, etc. excited I’m all for it.

We go to 6 tournaments a season and with 14 robots we can get some huge practice time in during build sessions. So the tournament play time isn’t a large factor

At some of our tournaments we offer the “Champion of Champions Trophy”. If you are a PWQ you can opt to drive the two skills for the CoC instead of doing the two skills for the tournament. The robot with the highest combined score takes the CoC award with them. It’s a team’s call what they want to do. But the CoC award is pretty big.

You posted the link to I listen to NPR so I sometimes listen to them. Mine short robot one is:

*]-Having quality “Problem Solving Skills” will get you farther through life than anything else.
*]-Science, Math, Engineering and Technology jobs are the wave of the future, but the good jobs will be hard to obtain unless you are ready for them.
*]-Competition Robotics is the easiest way for me to instill / build problem solving skills with a dose of STEM.
*]-Going to and winning local competitions is a great boost to roboteers.
*]-There is nothing like the World Championships for excitement and making roboteers work harder.
*]-Parent involvement is key, having their roboteer invested helps get the parent invested. Having the parent invested gets the roboteer invested. Going to Worlds helps feed that investment cycle.
*]-I’m out to change the world, one roboteer and one robot at a time. I’m paying forward some things that were paid to me long ago.

And to murdomeek’s point about money: It is expensive and the cost of registrations and shipping is managed by the club and our grants. Sending people to Florida is expensive, and not all members of a given robot will go. Other roboteers whos robot did not qualify can and some will go. And everyone will have a life remembered experience of meeting along with playing alongside and against some of the best robots and the nicest roboteers in the world.

You have a goal, and a balanced methodology to pursue it.
You are not sacrificing all other things to pursue one just metric (number of WQ teams).

Nicely said. I need to remember to focus more on building PSS.