Alliancing with a sister team

Hi all,

I built a robot (solo team) and recently qualified for states. There’s a competition coming up where both my sister team, which hasn’t qualified for states, and I are both going. My sister team’s pushing me a lot to alliance with them at that competition and try to take them to states.

Has anyone else dealt with this situation before? Should I try to win the competition with the best alliance possible or go with my sister team? I don’t want to cause any rift in our teams, especially since I have nothing to lose at this comp, but also want to try to do my best at the comp. Any advice would be appreciated.


you have to weight the benefits of winning another competition against the benefits of helping your sister team. You shouldn’t feel pressured to pick them if you don’t want to, but like you pointed out, you don’t have anything to lose by doing so either.


This is further complicated by the fact that my sister team and I are kind of on bad terms (they split off from our original team because they thought they could make a better bot).

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You definitely shouldn’t feel pressured or obligated to go with them, but if you want to do it then you should do that. Otherwise just go with whoever you want to/whoever you think would be best for you.


I mean, they were the ones who left your team, and that was their choice. They left because they thought they could do better, then came back asking you to help them. It was their decision to leave, and which team you choose is your decision. If there is another team that you want to choose, don’t feel pressured to choose your sister team. (Just my opinion.)
Also congrats on qualifying for states! (I know it’s hard to manage a team by yourself.)


I had a similar situation as you during my sophomore year. For the final at the League, that my team was participating in, we were ranked in 2nd place. 1st place wanted to pick us but 7th place wanted to be picked by us. Our sister team was trying to make it to state and asked us if we could help them (ranked 10th or so). (At that League both the finalists made it to state). The only way for us to get our sister team to state was to convince 1st to pick them and then we could pick 7th. I knew that I probably won’t win the competition that way but I was sure that we’ll all make it to the finals (due to the opposite brackets). We lost by about 4 points during the last match and didn’t end up winning, just like I thought. I still somewhat regret not winning that event, but at least all 4 teams made it to state and everyone was happy in the end. I guess it was all worth it.

I think you should alliance with your sister team since you kind of have nothing to lose. If you guys don’t get the state ticket for them then that’s on them. You did everything you could at that point, so they can only blame themselves. And once you’re at state, you’re not responsible for them any longer.


This may sound petty, but I would ask the sister to admit their robot is not as good as the one you built alone (Unless they rank high in skills, then they’re good in a different category). If they can’t or won’t admit that you, by yourself, built a better robot than them, I wouldn’t alliance. A good alliance partner knows their strengths and weaknesses compared to their partner, and if they can’t admit a weakness it would not be a very fun tourney.

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Dont do that that’s really…gross. Just play the game and if you can win with your sister team then pick them.


I’ve always been a big fan of teams that have always qualified for State/Regional to help a newer team get a chance to go. Sometimes it means a powerhouse robot picks a clawbot and gets them qualified.

People then complain that they are paired with a clawbot at the champs. But just think how inspired the Clawbot team is.


My team has carried Moby’s twice to finals, and we won once. We didn’t pick our sister teams, but they all made it to the tournament.


But how is it fair to the teams that really won a ticket to State to then have to get paired with a clawbot? Team 1A (for example) put in a lot of work and time, got to State. Team 1B lazed around, made jokes, and copied the instructions, got picked by a powerhouse robot with “nothing to lose”, and got carried to State. Then 1A is paired with 1B at State, which causes their score to fall and them to lose a chance to Worlds. So 1B gets to go to State as a reward for their laziness and 1A loses a chance at Worlds as a reward for their hard work. Why should the powerhouse robot have the right to “inspire” a weak team at the expence of 1A?


That is a really good way to think about it

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Nobody said they had to alliance at state. It’s just at qualifying tournaments, picking the sister team is always the bigger move.


To be honest I regret not having aa sister team as we are a solo team but I will admit that sometimes I find it a little annoying when a team will pick a sister team over a more skilled team just because they know them not because they are more skilled. It hasn’t happened to me but it would just bug me a little.


I think @242EProgrammer was talking about qualification matches at States. Getting paired with a clawbot and then up against two meta bots.

My response to @242EProgrammer is: You have the match list at the start. Do a quick scout of your partners. If they are not up to scratch, help them get better. Bling them so they can get the AWP during qualifications. Have your programmer help their programmer with a better auton. Rules say it’s a student lead competition, so go do that. And get help. Lets say team 23F is playing with you and team 424. Go find 424 and go “We have an issue, come help us with 23 otherwise we both die.”

Manage your partner. Tell them exactly what you want / need them to do. Toss goals in the corner and have them play blocking. Have them target the #1 robot on the other side and have them bang on it for 2 mins. Just because they are not a great robot doesn’t mean they can’t help. You’ve been doing skills all season, put that to good use.

And I’ll depart with this. Life isn’t fair, the fair comes in July. Average teams play OK. Good teams play well. Great teams overcome adversity.


I think it’s important to remember that while people tend to assume we live in a “meritocracy” we really don’t. Our relationships with other humans, and networking through those relationships is really important in life. This is part of the “soft-skills” that VRC (and similar programs) provides to participants.

Lets also not forget that if RECF wanted to find the “best” robots, the competition format would not feature 2v2 matches. Human interaction is good!


I’d say treat them like you would any other team in your position. Just like how you would alliance with a team that you like who hasn’t qualified for states, I’d take the same approach. If they are cool people, and you feel like they deserve it then go with them. And if don’t think that, then just go with whoever you want. I wouldn’t say you have to pick a partner just based on your likelihood to win if you’ve already qualified, but go with whoever you want. You don’t owe your sister team anything just for existing.

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If a team is lazy, I wouldn’t pick them, unless maybe I had good reason to think they wouldn’t be lazy with their States bot (like if they had just recently stopped being lazy or I knew they would work hard in exchange for me helping them qualify for States).

If a team is hard-working but hasn’t qualified for States because they have less resources or less experience, I would consider picking them, especially if I thought they deserved to qualify for States on their own performance so far.

If a team split off from mine because they thought they could make a better robot than mine, I would probably only pick them if they were willing to agree to my team’s instructions about what to do in the match. If they were likely to act like they were better at something than my team is, when in reality the opposite is true, I would be reluctant to ally with them.

I agree with @Foster that if you want your team to do well in your matches, it’s good to help your future partners with their own robots so that they can be good partners for you, too. You could even try to help other teams in your region outside of tournaments, which will make them better partners whenever you are allied in the future. (Insert obligatory Rising Tide Alliance reference. It’s designed around this philosophy, and still exists but hasn’t had much activity lately, though I might be able to do some things to revive it if there’s enough interest, or it could revive itself.)